Tag Archives: mushrooms

Warm blue cheese, chorizo and cucumber salad

10 Jul

Ah, Saturday lunches….

An opportunity to experiment. Or to just slap a pizza into the oven.

At the moment I’m on a carb-free couple of weeks while I try to recover from the waistline exploding effects of two weeks in the USA (see my foodie exploits in New Orleans and New York to understand why adding just shy of a stone was almost inevitable). This makes eating pizza, or pasta, or bread for that matter, a complete no no.

I’d made a Greek salad the week previously and my inclination was to repeat this, but there was a glut of ageing vegetables in the fridge which were screaming out to be gently fried and added to the obligatory cucumber, and a slab of blue cheese that was about to see better days.

This became warm blue cheese, chorizo and cucumber salad. It was unconventional, but simple to prepare and worked well. Who needs carbohydrate when there’s something like this on offer instead?

Ingredients for two

Half a cucumber
7 or 8 mushrooms
Half an onion (red or white)
1 yellow pepper
Handful of cherry tomatoes
2 inches of chorizo (roughly chopped)
150g blue cheese


Gently fry the onion, chorizo, mushrooms and peppers in a little olive oil, until lightly browned.

Meanwhile chop the cucumber into small chunks, mix with the tomatoes and crumble in the blue cheese. Set aside and wait for the frying to be done.

Once cooked, mix all the ingredients together and marvel at how colourful it all is!



Creamy mushroom pasta

15 May

Creamy mushroom pastaRecently I’ve been eating a lot of pasta. Call it laziness, but putting together a pasta dish, healthy or otherwise, is an ideal way of avoiding a night spent over a hot stove, but without resorting to takeaway.

This dish was born many years ago – in fact it was the first meal I ever made that I considered to be gourmet. Mrs G probably only went out with me because I was able to woo her with its creamy charms. It’s ironic that I now think of it as a thrown together effort, but we all have to start somewhere.

The original was served with rice and chicken, but this is definitely a descendent. Let’s move on to the detail…


300g of mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pack of pancetta
200ml of single cream (I used Elmlea)
A few fresh sage leaves
Grated parmesan
Your pasta of choice


Chop the mushrooms into thick slices. Blanche the mushrooms in half a centimetre of boiling water for 5 minutes, seasoning them to taste, but don’t skimp on the salt.

Remove and reserve the mushrooms and dry the pan.

Put your pasta on to cook.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil over a medium heat and fry the garlic for one minute. Add the chopped onion and fry for 2 more minutes, then add the pancetta, sage and mushrooms.

When the onion and pancetta is cooked through  (10 minutes or so), add the cream and stir, bringing it slowly to the boil.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss into the creamy mushrooms.

Serve topped with grated parmesan.

Should risotto be red?

1 Feb

Chorizo and leek risotto

Risotto has to be the ultimate dish for using up things that are left in the fridge. With the exception of soup, which although I can appreciate for its nutritional value and ease of preparation, I can never get excited about.

I do get excited about risotto and I’m pretty excited about the version that emerged from the kitchen a couple of nights ago. I have christened it Chorizo and Leek Risotto from which I’m sure you can deduce that it is risotto, containing chorizo and leaks. Can you spot the mushrooms in the photo above? Well done, you have spied the secret ingredient.

This risotto is creamy, spicy and packed full of flavour. If you want subtle, this is not the one for you. It also goes through phases of being alarmingly red, although as you can see, by the time you serve it has downgraded itself to yellow.

I think that my base risotto recipe is pretty foolproof and relatively faff free, so I’m going to share it with you here in the guise of last night’s dinner

Chorizo, leek and mushroom risotto


Knob of butter
1 garlic clove chopped
3 leeks sliced
Chorizo (as much as you like) chopped roughly
1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 goodly splash of white wine
1 stock cube (I used beef)
1 cup of arborio rice
Plenty of boiling water
Some grated cheddar


Gently fry the garlic, leeks and chorizo in the butter until softened and the chorizo oil is colouring the leeks.

Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Chorizo and leeks frying

Chorizo and leeks frying

Pour in the rice and stir quickly, frying the rice in the hot chorizo oil for a minute tops.

Add the wine and stir while the wine is absorbed.

Crumble in the stock cube and quickly add a splash of boiling water. Stir to make sure the stock cube is evenly distributed.

Add another cup or so of water and turn down the heat.

This is the point at which most recipes will tell you to stand over the stove stirring continuously to ensure the risotto doesn’t stick. I say “rubbish”. If the heat is low and you check back every so often to give it a quick stir and top up the water then you can get 20 minutes of your life back. Of course, if you try this and promptly burn your dinner, don’t blame me.

After 20 minutes add the grated cheddar and stir. Add more water as necessary until the rice is cooked, swollen and gooey.

Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of parmesan.