Unit converter



The BloggerAid Cookbook

Prawns & Mushrooms Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chosed to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

For this challenge, we must make our own chicken stock and the risotto base. I was not worried about making my own chicken stock but more about making risotto. You see, I had only eaten risotto once in my life when my sis-in-law made it last summer. All I can remember was it tasted super delicious! Since then, I have been wanting to make risotto but was too scared to even start. I even bought ready packaged risotto (like those ready packaged rice) to start out but each time my courage left me. I sound very silly, don't I (even Pierre looked at me weirdly when he found that out). Those packets of risotto are still sitting in my garage. LOL! Now that the Daring Cooks had issued this challenge, I had to stop running and making excuses... however I did procrastinate on it until the last minute!

I had an idea of what kind of risotto I was going to make - Prawns & Mushrooms. Even watched a video on how to make basic risotto just to make sure I would not screw up on expensive prawns (I'm not even talking about fresh ones - the cheap frozen ones already costs about 12 €/kg). I had everything bought and ready to go, and then my laptop went belly up that very day (right after I got back from my grocery shopping). Arrggh! All my data, recipes, food pictures were in there! How can I cook when I don't have the basic risotto recipe to follow? How can I post on my blog? Yep! You got it right. FRUSTRATION is the word that described my state of being for the following days. As if it wasn't bad enough, someone up there decided to put the proverbial icing on the cake and the whole family got seriously sick with flu by late afternoon. Peachy or not, risotto was on tonight's menu. So I spat on my hands and rubbed them well for good luck like a baseball batter (Gotcha! Just kidding!), I went ahead and cooked it sans recipe, with just memories of how the guy in the video did it, crossing my fingers and hoping it would turn out good.

What do you think? Did it turn out good or bad? Did my ninja's training saved the day? Read further to find out!

Prawn & Mushrooms Risotto
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • risotto rice (I use Arborio rice & measure 1 expresso cup per person)
  • 1 expresso cup dry white wine (for 2 expresso cups of rice)
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock (approx)
  • some button mushrooms (sliced)
  • some fresh prawns (peeled)
  • a dash of parsely (chopped)
  • salt & pepper
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes until the onion is fragrant and translucent.
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger's width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Then add in mushrooms, season it with salt & pepper with another ladle of stock.
  7. Continue adding the stock and stirring it once in a while until the rice is nicely al dente.
  8. Then stir in the prawns, parsley with a little more of the stock. Cover and heat through until the prawns turn pink and are cooked.
  9. Serve immediately
The Verdict

Strike! I got it right - the risotto was done just right, the rice was thick and moist but not mushy, the prawns were cooked just enough to remain crunchy and flavorful, and go well with the mushroom. I can still see a possible improvement by using more refined mushrooms - morilles (morchella) or cèpes for example would probably make the dish a total bliss.

Don't be afraid to cook risotto like me. It's actually very easy - like cooking rice except one adds broth to the rice little by little until it is cooked. It's that simple. The great thing about risotto is that once you know how to make the basic risotto, you can make risotto with anything you have in mind or in your fridge.

Risotto
Notes

To avoid having a very starchy or lumpy looking risotto, don't stir the rice constantly while it's cooking .

For the above recipe, I used my leftover frozen chicken stock from Poulet à la crème (Creamy Chicken). It's a very basic stock of water & chicken carcass without any extra ingredient. However you can also try making DC's Challenge Chicken stock if you wish.

12 comments on this post.

Wild Mushrooms Pie

My sincere apology for the delay in posting my mushroom recipe. Settling back to normal daily routine with a little one is hard and difficult after a summer vacation... plus I wanted to get good and precise mushroom informations, and it turned out to be a lot harder than I expected (partly because it's very different between French and English names).

I'm also so sorry for not having new pictures today. Here's a word of advice: when the new Windows Vista tells you that there's a problem with your memory card and ask you if you want to fix it, what it really means is if you want all your precious and perfectly fine pictures to be definitely and permanently wiped out.:-(

As I was saying in my mushroom post, picking mushrooms was very exciting and fun - time just flew by while we were in the forest (to me it seems like the time has come to a stand still - just the gently cool breeze that blew at you once in a while, the sound of birds chirping... well including an occasional barking intrusion from the hunters' dogs.) I'm so lucky to have in-laws who love nature and who love picking mushrooms or else I wouldn't have the opportunity to ever experience this. I personally can't identify which mushrooms are edible and which aren't... it's Michèle, Patrick and Irène who guided me. Sometimes we will pick up a mushroom that we are curious about or not so sure of their edible state... once home, my parents in-law usually check out the unsure ones with their mushroom encyclopedia.

The hard work on mushroom trips is to re-identify them and sort it out by the species and throw out whatever that we aren't sure off or too old. This is to make sure that there are no poisonous mushrooms in it. Then we clean some of the mushrooms, try getting the worms and bugs out of the mushrooms by placing a plastic film over it to seal off air. After a few hours or overnight, all the bugs will come to the surface.

First an obvious disclaimer: picking mushroom and eating them can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly. Some poisonous mushrooms can look eerily similar to edible ones. You should not engage into it without taking all necessary precautions, including asking a specialist (in France, pharmacists are trained to recognize mushrooms and will traditionally help identify them, free of charge). Although I've done my best to be accurate, mushroom informations below could be inaccurate and should not be relied on when evaluating mushroom edibility or toxicity.

Judy guessed it right that I'm making a pie out of it while Gourmet Traveller,, Orchidea and Karin's sharp eyes identified: cèpes, Chanterelles and craterelles from the basket. To be more precise we had :

  • Yellow foot or funnel chanterelle or commonly called winter mushrooms (name scientific Craterellus tubaeformis & Cantharellus lutescens) is a yellowish-brown and trumpet-shaped chanterelle found end of summer/autumn until first sign of frost. It grows on moss or rotten wood in the forest and in groups. It is not easy to spot this mushroom since the cap looks like dead leaves on the ground. Very good mushrooms. It has a sweet to peppery flavour and is slightly chewy in texture. Great complements with soups, stews, poultry, vegetable dishes, casseroles, cheese or egg dishes and sauces. Raw unwashed mushrooms can be stored in a bag in the refrigerator for 5 to 8 days. It can be freeze for more than a week if cooked and stored in an airtight container.
  • Girolle or Yellow chanterelle (name scientific Cantharellus cibarius) is an apricot-coloured mushroom with an unmistakable vaulted cap, whose gills run down to a thick stem below - found during summer to late autumn. It has a rich and meaty flavour and a good texture. Excellent mushrooms. Best keep fresh girolles in brown paper bags rather than plastic, which causes them to sweat and rot prematurely. If kept in plastic, make sure that the plastic bags have air holes in them. In Europe, a chanterelle is generally either a chanterelle grise or a chanterelle jaune, indicating whether its stalk is indeed grey or yellow. The stalk is thin and hollow and the cap is usually brown and quite delicate.
  • Pieds de mouton - Hedgehog mushroom (scientific name Hydnum repandum) looks like a large chanterelle but the underside of the cap has a shredded appearance, like a tiny shag carpet. The flesh is firm and dense, and is quite delicious in soups or stews. They are commonly found under the chestnut trees in groups spread out under the dead leaves from September to November. Although distinctive in appearance, the hedgehog mushroom can be confused with non-edible species.
  • Cêpes or Porcini (scientific name Boletus edulis) is a highly regarded edible mushroom. It has a distinct aroma reminiscent of fermented dough and it has a higher water content than other edible mushrooms. This mushroom grows singly or in clusters. Found mainly in forests dominated by oak, pines or spruce during summer to autumn, following sustained rainfall. It's flavour is described as nutty and slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture. Porcini are eaten and enjoyed raw, sautéed with butter, ground into pasta, in risotto, in soups, and in many other dishes.
  • Amanite rougissante or Blusher (scientific name Amanita rubescens - The European blusher has a reddish-brown convex pileus (cap), and strewn with small cream-coloured warts. The colour of this mushroom varies depending on humidity, age of mushroom - it can be very pale, clearly white, or it could be rather dark. The flesh of the mushroom is white, becoming pink when bruised or exposed to air especially at the base of its feet - an important feature in differentiating it from the poisonous False Blusher or Panther cap (Amanita pantherina), whose flesh does not. Though edible, it can be confused with poisonous species and should probably be avoided by novice mushroomers. Worse, this mushroom should always be eaten cooked as it contain a hemolytic poison in its raw state which is destroyed during cooking. Commonly found during Autumn under dead leaves.
  • Petits violets or Purple Mousseron or Amethyst Deceiver (scientific name Laccaria amethystea) - these beautiful little purple ones have deep violet colour when wet and pale grey when dry. The caps are edible. Colorful, edible and tasty. Season is July to October. Can be found in large groups spread around under the moss or dead leaves or pines.

This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging host by Katerina from Daily Unadventures in Cooking.

Tourte aux champignons

(Michèle's recipe)

Ingredients
  • 2 shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée)
  • 400 g tasty mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk slightly beaten with a bit of milk

Creamy béchamel sauce

  • 30 g butter
  • 40 g flour
  • 250 ml liquid cream
  • salt, pepper & ground nutmeg
Directions

Creamy béchamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
  2. Stir in the flour and let it cook for a minute.
  3. Pour in the liquid cream and mix it well. Season it with salt, pepper and a dash of ground nutmeg.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil while stirring it all the time. Once the sauce has thicken, set it aside.

Mushrooms fillings

  1. Preheat oven at 220°C (425°F - gas mark 7).
  2. Place one pastry crust in a pie dish and with a fork, gently prickle the base of the crust. Set aside.
  3. Cook the wild mushrooms with a bit of olive oil without any seasoning. Drain the cooked mushrooms with a strainer as it will give out a lot of water during cooking.
  4. Mix the creamy béchamel sauce with the mushrooms.
  5. Spread the creamy mushroom mixture onto prepared pie dish and fold in the side border of the dough. Brush the border with water (this helps to seal the two pastry). Then cover it with another puff pastry, pressing on the border a little to make sure it is sealed to the bottom pastry. Fold in whatever is left on the side.
  6. Cut a tiny hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney and place a small cone on the chimney.
  7. Brush the surface of the pie with the beaten yolk-milk mixture.
  8. Bake it in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  9. Serve hot.
The Verdict

I didn't know a mushroom pie could be this delicious. The full woody flavour of the mushrooms just fill up your taste buds and the creamy sauce just heightens up everything. It was so good that everyone was fighting for the last piece ... hehehe ... guess who won the last slice? Bet you would never guess it.;-)

Ok... people there is a mystery price to be won here;-) ... whoever gets it right first gets a French specialty from this region and if the winner is a French, gets an Asian specialty instead.

Notes

The bring out the goodness and full flavour of this pie, it's best to use wild mushrooms, preferably: Craterellus or Black trumpet or Blewit or Chanterelles...or mix of wild mushrooms.

27 comments on this post.

Mushrooms

The past few days the weather has been rather wet, and after a big storm the other day we could almost smell the mushrooms sprouting everywhere in the forest. So yesterday afternoon, we went mushrooms-hunting, hiked up in the forest and stared hard at the ground as we walked, making sure we weren't stepping on some precious mushrooms. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the light in the woods and differentiate the moss, dead leaves, good and bad mushrooms. Mushrooms were everywhere - well lots of bad mushroom anyway. My heart beats with excitement like a little kid on her first treasure hunt... suddenly I spot my first edible mushrooms. Once you find them, you will most likely find the whole bunch sprouting near each other. I enjoyed myself thoroughly... it's like treasure hunting... you never know what you will find next:-) - big treasure or small treasure. Well I can't say the same for little ninja who missed her afternoon siesta and was whining throughout the whole trip.

Look at my lovely treasure !

Can you tell what type of mushrooms I have in the basket?

Hmm...what kind of dish do you think will I be cooking these lovely mushrooms?
Psss: we have another bucket full of wild mushrooms

29 comments on this post.