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Beetroot Risotto with Feta and Peas

I watch MasterChef a lot.  It’s a yearly addiction and probably explains why I am always thinking about food.  Or cooking food.  Which then leads to eating food.  One of the things that is a recurring theme on MasterChef is the humble risotto.  They call it the “Dish of Death” because no one can successfully make one that the judges deem worthy of them.  So many people have tried and failed.  Mushroom risottos, chicken and asparagus risottos, cheesy risottos – they all suck (apparently).

I have never really understood this because I find risotto very easy to make (and even easier to eat, but let’s not talk about that right now).  Take this Beetroot Risotto.  Delicious.  It is totally worth the bright pink fingers you end up with (unless you wear gloves of course, like a sensible person) and is quite a visually impressive dish to create if you want to look good in front of guests.  My rather haphazard recipe is as follows :

Ingredients 

4 medium beetroots, trimmed of stalks and roots
1 litre vegetable stock
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or 1Tbs minced garlic)
1 1/3 cups (300g) arborio rice
1/3 cup water mixed with juice of half a lemon (or you can use 1/3 cup white wine)
Few sprigs of fresh thyme or Tarragon (I used a bit of both)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, cooked
Crumbled feta and chopped parsley to garnish

Wrap each of the beetroot individually in foil and place in oven on a baking paper-lined tray.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 200 C until beetroot is tender.

Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, pop a lid on to keep it warm, and set aside.

Heat  olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, thyme or tarragon; cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until onion softens and turns transparent. Add rice; stir to coat grains with oil.
Increase heat to medium–high.

Add reserved stock one-third at a time, stirring occasionally and allowing rice to absorb stock between additions. Add water + lemon juice in last batch of stock.

Rub off beetroot skin and discard. Dice beetroot into small chunks; set aside. Once rice is al dente, stir in peas and beetroot (the more your stir it in, the brighter red the risotto becomes).

Serve risotto topped with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

Serves 4.

Enjoy 🙂

PS In your face, MasterChef!

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Hermosa

 Last week, my friend SR and I enjoyed a delightful meal at Hermosa Cantina on Cambridge a funky little Tapas restaurant located not far from our workplace.

Gosh, it was so delicious!  We usually pop in there every couple of weeks to have a catch-up and a yummy green juice (a Punch Love, which consists of apple, lemon, kale and ginger, plus some mint if you ask very nicely and flirt with the waiter ha ha), but this last week we decided to stay for dinner as well.  So glad we did – it was so enjoyable.  The flavours were fresh and clean, and each dish was presented so beautifully.

We started out with a complimentary dish (that we weren’t even expecting) that consisted of fingers of brioche toast with pickled beetroot, capers and other things we were too busy eating to take note of.  So YUMMY.  They actually brought us out something with meat on but immediately rectified that when we said we were both vegetarian.

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Next up, we had the oh-so-scrumptious roasted pumpkin, salt baked beetroot, pickled beetroot, marinated yoghurt (and I think a nut crumb).  Beautiful – so fresh and tasty, all the flavours were so distinct, yet all melded together perfectly.

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We also tried the josper roasted peppers, melted tetilla with  polenta chips, which was also delightful.  So flavourful and party-in-the-mouth good.

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As is usual for tapas, the dishes were small, but very filling and we felt as though we had eaten a full meal.  We didn’t even get dessert!  Maybe next time…

To make the evening even more enjoyable, when we went to pay, the owner forgot to charge us for the juices we had had.  When I reminded him, he simply smiled and said “That’s ok ladies – come and see us again and we’ll call it even…” So nice!  I guess we have been there a few times now so he recognised us, but even so, some places can be a bit funny about you just coming in for one non-alcoholic drink and not ordering food AND staying a long time (which is what we normally do).

So, if you’re in Perth, do try Hermosa – you won’t regret it.  We’re going again this week with some workmates – hope they like it too.  If they don’t, we’ll eat theirs for them 🙂
Check out their menu HERE.