Just look what was delivered a few days ago…
…yes, that’s a large wicker hamper – and it was heavy…
…it was full of lovely ingredients for the fridge and store cupboard. Wow.
This was all because I had a conversation with a goat. I didn’t even know goats could type. I mean, I know horses and rabbits can use smart phones to tweet their thoughts, but I hadn’t realised goats could too. Ethel (@EthelTheGoat) is goat-persona of Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese, and I am taking part in her blogger recipe challenge. I can’t resist a challenge.
Ethel sent me this wonderful hamper full of some of her favourite ingredients, many from Somerset, and challenged me to come up with some delicious recipes. I’m no chef, I don’t pretend to be even a good cook, but this hamper full of gorgeous food did give me some ideas. Here we have pasta, rice, pizza bases, pastry, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cider, chutney, tomatoes, beetroot, peppers, pears, nuts, seeds, onion, thyme, and of course goats cheese.
The idea is that I come up with a recipe (or two, or three) using the cheese and other things from this hamper, post it here on Splodz Blogz, and let Ethel know. She’ll also give the recipe a go (well, she’ll ask the farmer’s wife to cook it up for her), and let me know what she thinks. So here goes… my first recipe idea:
Splodz’s Chicken and Goats Cheese Risotto
Risotto is a nice easy mid-week meal for us at home. I cook them quite regularly, usually choosing between chicken and prawns as the main ingredient, and adding veges either fresh or from the freezer. They take 20-30 minutes from boiling the kettle and making the stock to plating up, and are pretty healthy when you don’t bother with butter. There was a box of organic Arborio rice in the hamper and I was drawn to that straight away – it is well within my comfort zone and while I don’t create restaurant quality rice dishes, I am fairly confident I know what I’m doing with it.
This recipe will feed two but is easily doubled or tripled if you have guests (or are very hungry!).
- Glug of nice olive oil
- Red onion, sliced
- A couple of chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
- Knob of butter
- 160g Arborio (risotto) rice, rinsed
- 500ml stock – I used a combination of chicken and vegetable
- Good handful of frozen peas
- A third of one Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese, sliced
- Heat the oil in a non stick pan, fry the onion until soft, add the chicken and cook.
- Melt a knob of butter in the same pan, add the rice and fry for about 30 seconds before adding a good 100ml or so of the stock, stir through and bring to a simmer.
- Add the peas, thyme and the rest of the stock and simmer.
- Stir regularly but not constantly until the rice is cooked (about 12-15 minutes or so) and the stock has reduced but the pan isn’t dry.
- Add the slices of goats cheese and stir through – allow some to melt into the risotto but leave a few lumps for texture and flavour.
This recipe got the thumbs up in our house and was gone in not many minutes. We both agreed it was one of my best risottos yet. This recipe would make a good risotto even without the cheese but adding it gives a lovely smooth creamy texture and a rich cheesy flavour that is not over powering. Capricorn Goats Cheese is fairly strong tasting, I found, although it is considered a mild goats cheese – you could add more if you prefer a cheesier dish but I struck it lucky with the amount I added.
I will definitely be doing this one again. Let me know if you try it.