Whats left in the cupboard? I find it often lends itself to some of the most creative dishes with a good twist on taste. And today the mix of the below ingredients delivered a surprisingly good culinary nutty delight.
This Risotto made a perfect dish after a hearty walk up above the snow line to see an old sheiling settlement in Glen Lochay called Allt Dhuin Croisg. Highly recommended walk.
Recipe Serves: 4
You will need 4 courgettes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
A squeeze of lemon juice
Small glug of white wine vinegar
550-600ml vegetable/chicken stock
200g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arborio)
100ml dry white wine
200g wild mushrooms, cleaned and halved or sliced if large
2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1. Heat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6.
2. Halve the courgettes lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern. Arrange the cut side up on the tray. Season lightly and scatter over the garlic slices. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the courgettes are soft. Let them cool slightly, then roughly chop the flesh.
3. For the risotto, bring the stock to a simmer in a pan. Heat another medium saucepan and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute. Pour in the wine and small glut of white wine vinegar and let it bubble to reduce down until the pan is quite dry. Gradually add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Let the rice absorb most of the stock in the pan before adding another ladleful.
4. When the rice is al dente, stir in the chopped courgettes and turn off the heat. Leave the risotto to stand for a few minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat a wide frying pan and add one to two tablespoons of olive oil. Tip in the mushrooms, season and toss over a high heat for three to four minutes until they are golden brown and any moisture released has been cooked off. Add the mushrooms to the risotto, along with a little more boiling stock if you prefer a ‘wet risotto’. Stir in most of the Parmesan and adjust the seasoning.
6. Divide the risotto among warm plates and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and drizzle a little olive oil mixed with a few drops of truffle oil over each dish and serve with crusty bread.
The pure white circle represents, completeness and inner contentedness.
Happiness is an attitude we are born with, and when we first start making judgements and lose our innocence, we also lose this quality of happiness and we begin to seek it outside ourselves. Happiness is not the same as enjoyment. We can do many things we enjoy but they do not make us happy. Most people will continue to search for something else they enjoy, others will give up in belief that happiness lies somewhere or sometimes that in now out of reach. An adult will think that happiness was left behind in childhood, while the child can't wait to grow up so that they can be in control. It is never found until we find out that it is an attitude that lies within.
Happiness is, indeed, inherent in a child, but is lost as soon as innocence is lost.. When we first make judgements, we get caught in a role of competitiveness, never being good enough as we are. The qualities that can be obscured in a child that is still happy are that it is happy to be itself, with no need to be better, it can be honest with where it is at, it has simple trust, and can be proud of each little achievement. When it doesn,t judge, it has no need to blame others for its failures and hurts. Unlike many adults, if a child falls off its bike it doesn't immediately blame someone, or think that God struck it down, or that it is a karmic debt from several lifetimes ago etc. These judgements come with a loss of simplicity, and take away our ability to feel contented within ourselves.
Snow drop will restore the innocence that has been lost, and with it the simple happiness that comes from within, so that we do not have to seek it elsewhere. This does not mean that we no longer seek to enjoy ourselves. Enjoyment is a separate issue from happiness. When we are happy, we can also enjoy ourselves more fully, because that joy is not burdened by the need to bring happiness. If we are not happy within, we cannot bear rejection, because we have become dependant on outside love to replace that what is missing within. It is not enough to deal with the hurts of rejections. Many people spend a lifetime trying to do that, and it is never complete, until the happiness is found within that will make those rejections less important.
This is our next most important lesson on our spiritual path. We cannot grow further without encompassing the energy called happiness. To do this, we need to realise that it is attitude, not something that can be found outside, that it depends on innocence, and that we once had it, but have lost it. Snowdrop will restore the qualities of innocence and happiness, and thus make us immune to outside rejections. Its signature is the pure white flower, growing out of the harsh winter before any other flower, signifying new life, hope and pureness of a new born child, untainted as yet by the illusions of the world.
From the works of Peter Aziz Spiritual Allies from the plant kingdom.
Exploring life in the country, foraging free foods from field hedgerow and garden to plate.
Luxury B&B Lochearnhead in the Loch Lomand & Trossachs National Park