With the wettest April on record, the wettest June on record, a miserable July and a frankly bikini-hostile August, the garden has done very badly cropwise, presumably because my parents weren’t prescient enough to plant appropriate crops, like rice. And water lilies. And water-cress. And fish. There’s been a decent return on the string beans, garlic, cucumber and some of the cherry tomatoes seem to have begged, borrowed and stolen enough sunlight to finish ripening, but overall it’s been a poor show. The only other plant that seems to have mastered photosynthesis-whilst-underwater has been the humble beetroot, and there are several fat globes of it presiding over the fridge now with their usual “I dare you to eat me whilst wearing white clothes” vibe.
Yesterday saw a fairly thorough clean-out of my food cupboard, and there’s a decent handful of quinoa, a decent handful of bulgar wheat, and some white rice that could do with being mopped up, plus some button mushrooms, so this evening’s attempt at food-poisoning will be a variant on risotto.
One large beetroot (peeled and ready-cooked).
3 decent-sized button mushrooms, peeled and chopped.
Half an onion and two garlic cloves, chopped finely.
Glass of white wine.
Pint of vegetable stock.
Equal parts white rice, bulgar wheat and quinoa.
Amount – 2-3 generous servings.
Heat oil in a large pan, add garlic and onion. Fry gently for 5 minutes, then add the grains, mix thoroughly then add the wine. Allow to bubble for 5 minutes. Then add the stock, put a lid on the pan, and allow to simmer gently (adding more stock if necessary) until the grains are soft. The quinoa, bulgar and white rice may all cook at slightly different speeds; check the advice on the packaging and add the different grains earlier or later to the mix if necessary. Season as desired.
In a separate pan, heat up a generous dash of olive oil, add finely chopped beetroot and mushrooms, stir-fry for five minutes. Add to the grain mixture, stir in well with a handful of grated cheese – the risotto should now be a lovely pink colour! Serve with a dash of soured cream.