Sunday, 26 January 2014

Knitty Gritty

Recently I've been brushing up on my much neglected knitting skills. I get so carried away with sewing that I haven't knitted anything for some time.

My Mum got me the Knitty Gritty Beginners & Next Steps book for Christmas. I have to say this is the best 'learn how to knit' book I have found! It has clear instructions, photos of what your knitting should look like at each stage, and even a 'what could go wrong' section at the end of each project.

The first two things I've knitted from the book have been baby related - booties and a hat - as almost everyone I know is pregnant right now! These cute little items were happily recieved in the new home and will be worn by Lily May as soon as she is born!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Chilli Crab Risotto

1 crab weighing about 800g-1kg, cooked, the meat removed and shells reserved 
60g butter 
200g carnaroli rice 
1-1.5ltrs approx of hot crab stock* 
2-3 red chillies, finely chopped 
2-3tbsp chives, finely chopped 
100g unsalted butter to finish 
60ml double cream

*For the crab stock:
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium leek, washed and roughly chopped 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 
20g butter 
The shells from the crab, broken with a rolling pin or back of a knife 
A few sprigs of thyme 
1tsp fennel seeds 
10 peppercorns 
1 bay leaf 
150ml white wine 
2ltrs fish stock (we used Knorr fish stock cubes)

To make the stock, gently cook the onion, leek and garlic in the 20g of butter for a few minutes, until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, giving the occasional skim.
Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve. The stock should be strong in flavour: if it's not, reduce it until the flavour is concentrated. You should be left with about 1-1 litres.

To make the risotto, melt the 60g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the rice, stirring it well with a wooden spoon over a low heat for a minute. Gradually add the hot stock a little at a time, stirring constantly. When the rice is almost cooked, add the chilli and continue cooking for a few minutes, then add half the crab, the unsalted butter, double cream and chives; season if necessary. Warm the rest of the crab through under a grill, spoon the risotto on to warmed serving plates and scatter the crab on top.
(We served our risotto topped with pan fried haddock, we also added the trimmings from the fish to the crab stock)

Vegetable Crumble

For the crumble topping:
Butter or margarine 100g
wholemeal flour 175g
Cheddar cheese, grated 100g
Mixed seeds 50g
Sesame seeds 2 tbsp

Mixed root veg (parsnip, swede, turnip, potato, carrot etc) 675g
1 large onion
Butter or margarine 50g
wholemeal flour 25g
300ml vegetable stock
142 ml milk
3 tbsp chopped parsley

Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the cheese and seeds and mix in.

Chop the vegetables then melt the butter in a large pan and cook the onion until transparent. Add the prepared veg and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the veg is just tender.

Transfer to an oven proof dish. Press the crumble topping over the veg and bake in the oven at 190c for about half an hour, until golden.

(serves 6)