Need to perk up your palette? Take a peek in the pantry. From the vibrant yellow hues of curry spices and turmeric to the fiery reds of pimentao and paprika.The orange-red stigmas of saffron to the chamois of cinnamon and taupe of nutmeg.Wherever you look inspiration is hiding right there in your vegetable rack or spice jars, just waiting to be released.
Mother nature had so much fun with colours when she was creating fruits and vegetables – red tomatoes, yellow corn, green peas, and purple brinjals. While making food look attractive and appetising, she also managed to provide us with an indicator of exactly what nutrient each fruit and vegetable had to offer.
So if you have a plate with an array of colourful fruits and vegetables, it’s probably extremely healthy as well. In fact, the deeper the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the higher it will be on the protection score and antioxidant value.I have put my mind recently to turning some of my much tried and proven recipes into more colourful plates. I had to think what to add that would introduce a colourful element with a dollop of health to boot.
The truth is, food that looks good often ends up tasting better. So next time, if your plate looks dull and lifeless, toss in a generous helping of some wonderfully colourful fruits or vegetables and transform your regular meal into one overflowing with the goodness of nature.With piles of portly pods of green peas and broad beans on the market stalls at the moment I must confess that I have not been giving enough attention to the vibrant lush Pantone minty green pea colour of the year Emerald 17-5641. I decided to strengthen the colour balance of my usual risotto and perk it up with a creamy pea purée.
Risotto primavera with fresh peas
broad beans and goat’s cheese
Risotto is my ultimate comfort food and I am always willing to try another risotto recipe – I already have quite a large selection!!! My first risotto that I tried was a simple butternut squash,and it was so delicious that I was hooked for life.
I have also tried using different grains, such as pearl barley and even made a red wine rissoto. A basic risotto is like an open canvas, the possibilities are endless. You can serve it as a side dish, main course or even as a dessert. It can easily be vegetarian, but what ever you make it to be, it will be delicious and comforting.
Spring came late this year so although I am eager to use summer vegetables, we are just not ready for salads…. Having had warmth from the sun all day it can still feel a little chilly in the evenings, so one still wants something a little warm and comforting but at the same time bright and vibrant, and that for me means…..Pea Risotto!!
350g Arborio rice
1 litre Marigold vegetable stock
a small glass of white wine (optional)
2 leeks,thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
! cup of broad beans,podded,cooked and skinned
a handful of mint plus extra for garnish
zest and juice of a lemon
100 gr young green beans – steamed and chopped diagonally.
1 log goat’s cheese
salt and black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche
a knob of butter
Cook the peas in some water with the mint. When cooked, drain and process the peas until you have a green chunky consistency. Keep the peas warm. Heat your chicken stock and keep hot in a separate pot.
Heat the olive oil and some butter in a large, heavy saucepan over a low heat. Add the leeks and saute about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until white spots appear in the center of the grains, about 1 minute.Add the wine,if using, and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes.Add one ladleful of the hot stock, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the stock, one ladleful at a time and stirring constantly, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes.Now add the mushy peas, parmesan, butter and sour cream and stir in quickly. Taste and season if needed. Add the lemon juice and zest, crumbled goat’s cheese, the steamed green beans and broad beans. More parmesan can be added if so preferred.Garnish with chopped mint leaves and serve.