Until this past week I must confess I never really realised just how much hard work it is to be a full-time carer. I’m exhausted after a week of looking after my other half and some of you do this week-in week-out, year-in year-out – you have my total admiration … you are amazing! That said, ‘him indoors’ is recovering well and I’ve been trying to make him some lovely dinners to take his mind off the soreness he is experiencing. I tweeted about a risotto I made during the week and had a couple of requests for the recipe so here it is;
Butternut squash, sage and pine-nut risotto (serves four)
- 300g of Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 800ml vegetable stock (boiling water with 1 stock cube)
- One generous glass white wine
- Half a medium butternut squash
- 50g pine nuts
- 50g finely grated parmesan cheese
- One onion
- One clove garlic
- Bunch of fresh sage (approx. 20 leaves)
- 50g marg
- Olive oil
Peel and deseed the butternut squash and cut into 1cm chunks. Place in ovenproof dish with a drizzle of olive oil and half the sage leaves, finely chopped. Mix to coat the squash with oil. Place in oven at 200c for 30 mins.
Chop the onion and press the garlic. Put the marg and a tablespoon of olive oil in a wok or deep-sided pan. Over a fairly low heat, melt then gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated.
Keeping the vegetable stock at a simmer add a ladle to the rice mixture, when absorbed add the glass of wine. When that has been absorbed add another ladle of stock. Add the roasted butternut squash and stir well then continue adding stock as each ladleful is absorbed.
In a small frying pan dry fry the pine nuts over a low heat to toast them. When there is only one ladle of stock remaining, add the toasted pine nuts and the rest of the finely chopped sage to the risotto then the remaining liquid. When that is absorbed, stir in half of the parmesan cheese and cook for a further 2 to 3 mins. The whole process should take around 25 to 30 mins.
Serve with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled on top
I also got mildly reprimanded for forgetting to put my luscious lemon cake recipe on here a few weeks back so here goes, two for the price of one!
Luscious Lemon Cake
- 4 oz self raising flour
- 4oz golden caster sugar
- 4oz margarine
- One egg
- Rind of one lemon
- 1 oz caster sugar
- Juice of one lemon
Grease and line the bottom of a 7-inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper
Melt the margarine over a low heat with the sugar and lemon rind – cool slightly
In a medium size bowl whisk the egg then add the melted marg mixture whilst still whisking.
Add the flour, still whisking gently ( don’t beat out the air bubbles), then pour into prepared tin and place in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately make syrup by adding the sugar to the lemon juice and bringing to boil over a high heat in a small saucepan. Prick the entire surface of the cake with a fork and spoon syrup over.
That’s it! Simples! Leave at least a couple of hours before eating to allow syrup to really soak in.
As well as caring for Chris, cooking, doing all the cleaning (Chris normally helps) and all the supermarket shopping (Chris normally does that), and gardening, I have been working on my new book, the sequel to ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ and publicising the aforementioned LABAT… on Twitter and my Julia Roberts TV Facebook page, where you can go for all the latest news on it. I was really chuffed that West Bridgford Wire, an online magazine in my home town, did a piece about me.
I’m still getting some lovely feedback from people who have read the book – Alana, whose feet I shared with you last week gave me a 5-star review on Amazon – and if you fancy giving it a read please know that a donation from each book sold will be going to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, so you will be helping to support a wonderful charity.
Talking of Facebook, I popped on to Debbie’s Back To You page yesterday to leave a comment about Beauty Day. I was really sad to be missing it but unfortunately circumstances dictated that I had this time off. I commented about my top five summer must-have beauty products and I was really pleased, but not surprised, that so many people share my love of Liz Earle’s Instant Boost Skin Tonic. What would your ‘summer five’ be?
At least spending more time at home has given me more time to be with the cats – that’s a mission in itself looking after three of them as Wilfie is still living with us at the moment. He still loves to have his cuddles in the morning, draping himself across the top of my shoulders and purring away. He really is handsome but I must get his claws trimmed as he is ripping my skin to shreds! He was a little scared last night though, during the massive thunder storm we had – I wonder if you had one where you are?
So I’m back at work next Thursday. My first show back is at 4pm with Lola Rose jewellery, followed by Amanda Lamb luggage at 5pm. If you are packing a suitcase for your holiday, remember to take a book to read…
Oh, and if you’re in the Woodley area, near Reading, tomorrow morning at 11am please do pop into Chapter One book shop where I am doing a book signing.
Have a lovely weekend – I’m hoping to pop down to Wales to see Daniel