It’ s back to reality once again, our Christmas break didn’t go exactly to plan. The princess got sick on Christmas day and then I got it the next day and we both had it for over a week. It was the worst dose of flu I’ve ever had, I was on the couch for 3 days unable to move or eat, the fact that I lost weight this Christmas is a sure sign it must have been bad. I completely lost my sense of taste and smell but it didn’t stop me from cooking, I cooked a fabulous meal on New Year’s Eve even though I ate none of it, I made lentil and pancetta soup for starters, it’s tradition in Italy to eat lentils on New Year’s and I cooked a beautiful rib of beef from Jim Flavin’s butchers for main. Everybody raved about it so I’ll take their word for it unless they were just being nice because I was sick:)

We spent Christmas Eve in the MIL’s as usual, Christmas Eve was the fish feast where we had prawn cocktail and calamari salad to start, followed by pasta with prawns and fried squid and calamari for mains. Chrismtas day was the usual feast of food with a selection of antipasti, followed by lasagna with eggs and mini meatballs and cannelloni with spinach and ricotta and then 2 types of  lamb for main and then the traditional panettone including a limoncello one for me. I rolled out of there and still managed to gorge on turkey sandwiches that night:)

Bru decided to make risotto for lunch on New Year’s day, so it was great to photograph someone else cooking for a change, excuse some of the photos as it got dark quite early. Once again I couldn’t taste it but they all assured me it was wonderful, I think secretly they were delighted I was sick as there was more for them:)

what you need:

100g dried mushrooms, I use an Italian “mushroom medley” from Superquinn.

40g butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 onion

1 sprig rosemary

couple sage leaves

1.5 litres veg stock

1 sprig flat leaf parlsey

350g risotto rice

200ml barolo

40g Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

what to do:

place your mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water and leave to soak for 20 mins:











finely chop your garlic:











chop your sage:











chop your rosemary:











chop your onion:











melt the butter with the oil in a pan and add your onion and garlic:











add your herbs and cook over a low heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally:











add your mushrooms, season, cover and simmer for 15 mins.











bring the stock to the boil. Add your flat leaf parsley and your rice, cook, stirring constantly until the grains are covered in fat:











add your wine and cook until it has evaporated:











add a ladleful of 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, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. I have no picture of the finished product as it was too dark at this stage so I’ll just leave you with a photo of the princess opening her presents on Christmas morning:)