After a week relaxing in the Lake District the allotment had resumed its 'jungle' status. I spent quite a few hours tidying and weeding last night. Most of the grass is now cut, as it was beginning to take over. I've planted the sunflowers out, so hopefully they will survive. I can imagine my allotment neighbours talking about me in disgust when I'm not there, so it is embarrassment that drives me to be better, neater and more efficient in the world of allotmenting...
We made some interesting things in the Lakes that I still need to tell you about, a French Apple cake, an Orange, Lemon and Olive oil cake, a delicious Terrine and the Chicken, Bacon and Caper pie again, but this time with home grown leeks in it... I think it was the best one yet...
Last night I picked a few more of my leeks and made a little Leek and Goats' Cheese Risotto. The leeks smell amazing as soon as they come out of the ground. They are much more colourful and tasty than any I have had from a supermarket.
To start I chopped the leek into small rounds and cooked it slowly in some butter, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Leave it until all the leeks are soft and buttery, about 10 minutes I think. At the same time finely chop 3 or 4 baby onions, or one medium one and soften this in some olive oil on a low heat. Add a finely chopped clove of garlic when the onion is soft and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the risotto rice, I used 250g of arborio rice for two people, it was a bit much perhaps if you're not hugely hungry... Next time I'll go for 200g.
Add the rice to the onion and garlic, turn the heat up a little and cook for a minute or two. Then add a glass of white wine, anything old will do, you should save the ends of bottles or leftovers as it doesn’t really matter how old it is for these purposes. Or... open one and drink the rest with your lovely risotto?
The wine will bubble and hiss as soon as you add it to the hot pan, so just stir until it's absorbed. Then begin to add stock, a ladle at a time, stirring each until it is absorbed. I used chicken stock, you can use vegetable also. Keep adding until the rice is creamy and cooked, but still has a little bite to it. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to suit.
A minute before the end, stir through the leeks. I then added some hard goats' cheese, some soft goats' cheese and a handful of parmesan. About 60g of the goats' cheese, but you could easily add more if you wanted it quite cheesy. The buttery leeks go really well with the tangy, salty, hard goats' cheese.