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Kitchen Therapy: Ideas and Recipes During Lockdown

In these challenging times with the coronavirus epidemic, we thought it might be helpful to share a few ideas and recipes that you may be able to make at home with what you have available.

Pea Risotto with Minted Mascapone

When it comes to store cupboard ingredients, few are as versatile as rice. Over the last few days we have noticed stocks returning to the previously depleted shelves - or you may have some in your cupboard already. With just a few additions you can transform this humble staple into countless delicious dishes from all corners of the world. Some of our personal favourites include Paella, Jambalaya, Jollof rice, Nasi goreng, Biryani, just to name a few!

In recent times, another favourite has been this lovely green pea risotto. Originally a recipe included in our 2018 cookery demonstration at Gate Street Barn, it proved to be one of the most popular recipes featured and tasted by our audience. We especially like how quick and easy this recipe is, but it’s the clever method of using the peas both pureed and whole that makes it stand out.

Since we first wrote the recipe, we have successfully adapted it for our wedding menus, by topping it with seared salmon and serving it with pea shoots and fresh mint, but it is equally good as a family supper, perhaps with a green salad or charcuterie on the side (or simply on its own!).

Pea Risotto with Minted Mascapone (serves 4-6)

1.5 litre vegetable or light chicken stock, hot.

2 tblsp olive oil

50g butter

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 leek washed and chopped finely

350g risotto rice

200ml dry white wine or vermouth

Sea salt and black pepper

50g fresh parmesan cheese

300g peas

3 tbsp mascarpone cheese (optional)

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Peashoots to serve

Heat the oil and butter in a wide pan and add the shallot and leek, and cook gently until soft. Meanwhile take 100g of the peas and puree them with a ladleful of the stock until smooth. Add the rice to the shallot mixture and stir well to coat in the oil and butter.

When the rice begins to look translucent add the wine or vermouth and bubble for a minute. Season, then stirring well start to add the remaining hot stock, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking until the rice is almost tender. Add the peas, and pea puree and stir gently to combine.

Add a final ladleful of stock and cook for another minute until the rice is cooked but retains its shape.

Mix the mascarpone with the mint and spring onions and season well. Add a spoonful to each serving of risotto. Serve topped with pea shoots and extra parmesan. Garnish with mint.

Sourdough Bread

When it comes to transforming humble ingredients, it doesn’t get much better than making your own bread. If you’ve previously had aspirations to make your own loaves, now’s the perfect time to pick it up. And if you make your own sourdough starter, you’re not reliant on shop bought yeast, which is currently in short supply. It’s not often that we have time to pursue kitchen hobbies, but this is one of the projects we’ve been enjoying.

There’s something so miraculous about the whole process, which simply requires a little water and flour to begin. Once you have the starter made, it will only require weekly feeding (if kept in the fridge). Apart from the delicious loaves you can make, there are many other ways you can use your sourdough starter, such as sourdough versions of crumpets, pizza, pancakes and brioche. We like to use excess sourdough bread from our wedding catering for making bruschetta for our canapés, as well as croutons for a few of our wedding menu starter salads.

If you would like to learn how to create your own sourdough starter, check out Bake with Jack, a Surrey baker and YouTuber AND former Tandem Catering bridegroom! Here are two of his fantastic YouTube guides, the first for making a sourdough starter and the second for making a loaf from start to finish.

Tandem Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of all the chocolate chip cookie recipes we have tried over the years, we always return to this one. The addition of porridge oats gives a wonderful texture and adds nutritional value and means you need less flour, which is still somewhat scarce! A fun activity for children, these cookies store very well in a sealed container - although they are more likely to be eaten immediately!

Tandem Chocolate Chip Cookies

100g butter

100g light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

140g plain flour

85g porridge oats

85g chocolate chips or chopped into chunks

Preheat the oven to 180c and line two baking trays with baking parchment

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are well mixed and you have a soft dough. Alternatively use a bowl and wooden spoon.

Form the dough into walnut sized balls and place onto the baking sheet, leaving sufficient space to allow for spreading. Flatten gently with a fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 mins or until they are light brown on the edges and still slightly soft in the centre if you press them. Cool on a wire rack and then enjoy with a glass of milk!


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