As I am spending my days stuck on a chair, leafing through the Claims Management course book and repeating the same points over and over again until, hopefully, they get soaked in my fading memory, my man took over preparation of today’s lunch. I must say that it was quite an original piece of work with not so common ingredients and an exquisite combination of a sweet and tangy aroma.
To start with we had a chicken liver & red grape risotto – the strong liver taste was enhanced with the sweetness of the red grapes and the fragrance of the lemon zest.
Chicken liver & red grape risotto
Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)
- 250g rice, vialone nano
- 250g red grapes, deseeded
- 6 pieces chicken liver
- rind of 1 lemon, thin strips
- 40g grated parmesan
- 50g butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 850ml chicken/vegetable stock
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
This particular risotto rice is cooked in the following method: (as per chef Ferron’s instructions)
Place 25g of butter in a saucepan, leave to melt and then add the chopped onion together with 1 ladle of stock. Keep cooking until onion is transparent, then remove onion and keep aside.
In a large pan, pour 30ml of olive oil and throw in the rice, toasting it for a few minutes. Add the remaining stock and cook rice for 10 minutes, stirring only once.
In the meantime, melt the remaining 25g of butter in a separate pan and add the chicken liver pieces, lemon rind and the grapes. Stir delicately so that the grapes don’t break. Season with salt & pepper.
You can now add the cooked onion to the rice and turn off the heat. Mix in the grated parmesan and leave to rest for 1 minute covered with a clean cloth.
Serve the rice and top with the chicken liver sauce. Sprinkle some chopped parsley and lemon rind.
Risotto was followed by Grilled milk-fed veal chops served with grilled onion rings and a turnip, celeriac and sweet potato bake.
Turnip, celeriac and sweet potato bake
These no-ordinary vegetables, that is a celeriac, 2 turnips and 2 sweet potatoes were spiced up with a mixture of cinammon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. Unpeeled whole garlic cloves were slit and added to the vegetables together with thyme sprigs and 250ml of water. Vegetables were cooked in a pre-heated oven of 165 degrees celsius for 25 minutes covered with foil and another 20 minutes uncovered. Must say that result was a sweet, pleasant and original taste… a culinary escape from the boring commitment of studying!
Grilled veal chops with onions
Ingredients for 4 persons:
- 2 onions, sliced into rings
- 4 milk-fed veal chops, 3cm thick
- 4 garlic cloves
- sea salt
- olive oil
Slice the 2 onions into rings, removing the core and leave them to soak in cold water.
Bring the meat to room temperature, and remove any excess fat. Prepare grill pan on high heat, pour some olive oil and spread all over the pan with a tissue, when the pan is heated add some sea salt, 4 garlic cloves and onions and leave to cook for 4 minutes from each side.
Following, cook the veal for 3 minutes from each side, placing the onion rings on top of the meat to avoid them from burning. You can then serve the vegetable bake together with the veal chops and grilled onions. Chops were succulent!
As I stood alone in my room sniffing the odours of cooking food I realised that we had no dessert in store to compliment this lovely menu! So I closed my books, ran down to switch the electric mixer and blended a simple swiss roll, or as we recall it in our childhood days – a roly poly!
Chocolate roly poly
- 4 eggs, whites & yolks separated
- 150g sugar
- 100g flour
- 60g fecola di patate (Italian product found in local supermarkets)
- 2 tsp yeast for cakes
- a jar of chocolate spread (Nutella)
- icing sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Beat the egg yolks with 75g sugar. Separately, beat the egg whites and the rest of the sugar. Add the sifted flour, yeast and fecola to the beaten egg yolks and blend in delicately with a wooden spoon. Add the fluffy egg whites mixing steadily but slowly to keep the mixture soft.
Line a 30×40 cm baking tray with oven-proof paper and pour in the sponge mixture. Cook for around 10-15 minutes making sure that the sponge turns golden but not brown. When ready, remove the sponge from the tray and lay on a greaseproof paper, roll it and leave to cool.
When cool open up the roll, spread the chocolate all over and roll again. (I used a chocolate spread a friend of mine got me from Brussels but you can use Nutella or something of the sort) Dust a new greaseproof paper with some icing sugar and wrap the swiss roll. Place in refrigerator and serve dusted with icing sugar.