Sorry for my absence but it’s been a crazy week in La Cucina, our main deli assistant Iwona has returned to Poland so I’m trying to find someone to replace her which is proving rather difficult. Normally when we advertise a position we are inundated with C.V’s but not this time so I’m working crazy hours until we do!! There is a positive though as it means I’m there a lot more than usual 11am to 10pm the last 2 days so I get to see what’s going on, the poor staff, they’re probably secretly hoping that I have a baby a year for the next 20 years so that I’m on permanent maternity leave:)

There’s a really great buzz around the place as it’s really busy, the weather has been lovely this week so lot’s of people eating outside drinking cappuccino and eating Laura’s cupcakes. We’ve added a new range of ready to bake “pasta al forno” dishes which are proving really popular, we tried them a couple of years ago but they didn’t sell so I’m really delighted that they have taken off now.

They are really handy as you just pop them into the oven for 30-40 mins at 200 degrees, the trays serve 2 but bigger trays can be ordered in advance.

 The range includes:

  • meat lasagna
  • aubergine and courgette lasagna
  • macaroni and cheese
  • sun-dried tomato, black olive, mozzarella, parmesan and tomato sauce.
  • Italian sausage, porcini, mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan and tomato sauce.

We’re starting a new range of ready to cook oven meals which I wanted to get your opinion on. I’ve been asking everyone in the shop all week what they think and I’ve received a really positive response. We’ll basically prepare a full meal – meat, potato and vegetables which you basically pop into the oven and cook, we will even provide instructions. We will only have one option to start and this will change weekly e.g.

 – WEEK 1

 – WEEK 2

The list is endless – roast beef, lamb, chicken, shepherd’s pie etc etc. I would love some feedback from my Limerick readers and everyone else, if this service was available in your area  would you avail of it?? I know when I came home from the hospital with the princess I would have been lost without the MIL’s “MEALS ON WHEELS”, she used to send us home dinner every evening and it was so handy. I think they would be great also for a dinner party or just those evenings when you don’t have time to cook and you would like some “real” food!! Let me know what you think!!

Anyway there wasn’t much cooking in the Italian foodie house this week just this tasty risotto on Tuesday night! Everytime we have risotto we wonder why we don’t have it more often as we have pasta a couple of times a week, I know it takes a little longer to prepare but it is SOOOO worth it so people this week get out the arborio or carnaroli rice and get cooking:)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 20g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 75g spinach chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 celery stick plus leaves chopped
  • 1 litre vegetable stock – we used fresh stock from La Cucina but you can use stock cubes.
  • 200g risotto rice – we used carnaroli
  • salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • goat’s cheese – we used St Tola
  • nutmeg

WHAT TO DO:

 – melt 10g of the butter with the oil in a large pan, add the spinach, onion and celery and cook over a medium heat for 5 mins, then lower the heat and cook for a further 10 mins.

 – bring the stock to the boil in another saucepan.

 – season the vegetables with salt and add a little freshly grated nutmeg and stir in the rice.

 – Add a ladleful of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed.

 – continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 mins.

 – when the rice is tender, stir in the remaining butter and some Parmesan.

 – serve with some goat’s cheese and Parmesan on top!

 

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