Monday, February 21, 2011


Via femalefirst

Prep: 20mins plus cooling

Cook: 50-55mins

Serves 4


15g/1/2oz mixed dried mushrooms

1lt/13/4pt boiling vegetable stock

50g/2oz butter

150g/5oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced

225g/8oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

350g/12oz arborio risotto rice

150ml/1/4pt dry white wine

25g/1oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

100g/4oz ripe brie

rocket leaves to serve


1. Place the dried mushrooms in a measuring jug, add 300ml ½ pt hot stock and leave the mushrooms to soak for 15mins.

2. Melt half the butter in a large pan, add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 3mins until the mushrooms are golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the remaining butter to the pan, add the onion and sauté for 4mins until soft. Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further 30seconds, stirring so the grains become coated in butter. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the liquid has evaporated.

4. Drain the liquid from the soaked mushrooms and add to the stock. Chop the mushrooms. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice, and cook gently, stirring occasionally until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock and cooking the rice until it becomes creamy and tender - this takes about 20-25mins.

5. Stir in half the cooked mushrooms, the chopped dried mushrooms and half the parmesan. Season to taste. Now transfer to a shallow dish and leave to cool completely.

6. When cold, divide the mixture into 4 then use wet hands to shape each quarter into a round, place a piece of cheese in the centre of the round, then shape the rice around it so that it is buried in the centre of the cake. Place on a baking parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat to make four cakes in the same way.

7. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190C/Fan170C/Gas Mark 5. Divide the remaining mushrooms between the cakes, heaping them on top. Scatter over the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 20mins, until piping hot. Serve garnished with rocket.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Brie En Croute

Via kitchenhacker

It's that time of year when minds turn to seduction via food. The question is, which old standby do you turn to, cheese or chocolate?

Just to be safe, I humbly suggest both.

This is how I made a chocolate brie en croute (the one pictured, in fact). I almost never follow recipes, so it feels a bit odd to write one. Feel free to deviate from it at will. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out... the food, that is. I'm not responsible for anything that happens afterward.

That's all you.

Chocolate Brie En Croute

1 sheet puff pastry
1 baby brie wheel
1.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)
2 Tablespoons red wine (I used a Merlot, because that's what I had)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
Some crushed hazelnuts, unless your grocery store is out of them like mine was.

Thaw your puff pastry, if it is frozen. This will take most of an hour. I love frozen sheets of puff pastry. They're expensive, but incredibly versatile.

Preheat your oven to 400º F.

Reduce your wine by about half in a small saucepan over a low heat. It should thicken up nicely.

Lay your puff pastry sheet flat.

Slice the top off of your wheel of brie and put it (rind side down) in the center of the puff pastry sheet. Most baked brie recipes of this sort just put things on top of the brie. We're going to put stuff inside.

Sprinkle your chocolate and, if you have them, your nuts on top of the piece of brie that you just put in the middle of the pastry sheet. Drizzle the chocolate with the wine. In case you were wondering why the wine is in there, it is an attempt to balance the flavors a bit. I wanted to add a wee bit of tanginess.

Put the brie wheel back together, and wrap the puff pastry around it. You may want to trim some of the pastry off. That's fine. You can use it for something else.

Turn the brie en croute over so that the pretty side is up. Put it on something oven safe. I just use a ceramic plate.

Now make an egg wash by taking the egg and mixing it with the water. Brush this on top of the pastry.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve with warmed bread.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wine & Wishes: Our 5th Year!

Another exciting and delicious Wine & Wishes has come and gone. This was our fifth year supporting the Make A Wish Foundation and this time we were able to taste some of the awesome wines and delicious food from the Bay Areas' most celebrated chefs. The chefs were there at their stations serving their favorite hors d’ oeuvres. Imagine meeting the chefs in their own kitchen preparing food directly in front of you. Time for autographs!

The wine was flowing including favorites: Patz and Hall and their gorgeous Pinots, Gunlach Bundschu, ZD Wines, Heitz Wine Cellars – awesome Cab as well as Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Far Niente and Duckhorn.

It was a wonderful party with delightful and interesting guests from San Francisco and all around the bay. Don’t miss it next year! It is a grand event for a very, very deserving cause.