Category Archives: rice

Pernod & Herb Risotto

Now, in the beginning of summer, there is not much I can harvest in the garden. But there are a few things like rhubarb, mint, black currant leaves, thyme, sage, oregano, tarragon and parsley etc. The sage and the tarragon are  doing well, so the other day they were successfully used in a simple risotto together with some Pernod that I found in my liquor cabinet. The risotto was served with just an apple and carrot salad, however I can imagine it will work as a side dish with  many other things.

This is pretty much how I put it together: Start by sauteing some chopped onion at low heat with a generous amount of butter until soft and golden in color. Raise the heat and brown the rice for a bit before adding a little Pernod. When it starts to caramelize pour in enough vegetable stock (homemade) to cover the rice. Add fresh sage and thyme. Stir and feed with more stock whenever you need to until the rice is tender but still a little al dente. The risotto should feel thick and creamy. Add a lump of butter and freshly grated Parmesan. Stir carefully. Remove from heat and let the risotto rest covered for a couple of minutes. Decorate with fresh tarragon before serving.

Later on I will have lettuce, mustard greens, kale, spinach,beans, zucchini, carrots, beets, coriander, dill, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, elderflower, black & red currants and many other things in my garden. Down the road there will be wild apples and black cherries. But until then I’m pleased with what I have already.

More Risotto links

My Mushroom Risotto
Squid Ink Risotto by Hank Shaw
Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns from theKitchn
Cheddar Risotto Cakes from Vintage Kitchen

Mushroom Risotto


For Mushroom Risotto I take whatever mushrooms I have at hand, fresh or dried.
Fresh mushrooms I cook as follows: Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces. Heat up a pan without any oil or butter. Place the mushrooms into the pan and let their own liquid slowly cook into the mushrooms. When dry add plenty of butter. Cook until mushrooms have got some color and season with salt, thyme and just a touch of pepper.
Dried Mushrooms: Soak dried mushrooms for at least 30 minutes until soft. Drain and reserve the mushroom water for the stock. Sauté the soaked mushrooms in butter on medium heat until done. Season w/ salt, thyme and just a touch of pepper.

To make Risotto you will need plenty of stock, I suggest you make your own vegetable or chicken stock. For rice I use arborio rice or a brown, short grain rice (excellent but takes longer time to cook).

Above you can see a flowchart of  two of my favorite feeding options for Mushroom Risotto. I serve it w/ extra Parmesan and toasted walnuts… Enjoy!

If you never done a risotto I suggest you check out a basic recipe such as this one before you start.

Kale with Goat Cheese

getting stronger

We never had spinach when I was a child. Sometimes they served it in school but as a thin and tasteless soup or as a thick compact side dish for fried fish. In my later youth I was told to eat more spinach, as the iron would make me strong and less pale. It’s true that spinach contains more iron than many other green vegetables. But according to Wikipedia my body can’t really absorb it because spinach also contains a small amount of oxalate. And oxalate actually stops the body to absorb the iron! Hm!

True or not, spinach is still a great and healthy vegetable. I am eating it more now then ever before, (at least 4 times a month). The myth has also given me the taste for other green leaf vegetables such as Chard (mangold), Kale (cabbage), Collard Greens, Dandelion, Mustard Greens and a love-hate feeling for the bitter Broccoli Rabe.

Well this recipe is simple and works with many of the green leaf vegetables.

kale with goat cheese

one bunch of kale
olive oil
two cloves of garlic
chopped dried chili (what kind and how much depends on how spicy you want it)
60 ml (1/4 cup) tamari sauce
60 ml (1/4 cup) of water
one – three tablespoons of sour cream
goat cheese (you can use feta as well)

(serves two or three people)

Clean the kale carefully, trim the stems and chop the leaves into one-inch (25.4 mm) pieces. Peel and chop the garlic into tiny slices. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and the chopped chili. When the garlic starts to get golden brown, add kale and sauté until the kale starts to get a little soft. Lower the heat, add water and tamari, cover the pan and let it cook for about three to five minutes. Add some spoons of sour cream and some goat cheese. Stir without boiling for one minute (season with salt and pepper.)

Serve the kale with M:s lovely rice, brown pasta or even kasha (buckwheat).

m:s mixed Rice
(serves two hungry people)

one cup (ca 235 ml) of rice, a mix of Brown Basmati and a small amount of black wild rice
two cups (ca 470 ml) of water
one clove of garlic
one big bay leaf

Sort through for the rice for any odd bits and rinse lightly in water. Put the rice and water into a pressure cooker and turn the heat on high. When the water starts to boil add salt, the whole clove of garlic and bay leaf. Stir and close the pressure cooker. Turn heat to medium and when it starts to steam/hiss turn the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes. When it’s finished take the pressure cooker from the heat and wait for the pressure to go (about five minutes). Open the pressure cooker and discard the garlic and the bay leaf. Ready to serve!

Maria’s Shrimp Stew

waterpipe in the garden

My friend Maria and I used to spend long evenings out in her garden, playing backgammon and smoking water pipe. At that time, we often start the evening by cooking something together, while listening to Middle East pop music and drinking some exotic tea. Well Maria spent over a year in the Middle East working at a rehabilitation center. In her free time she learnt scuba diving or went for long overnight walks in the desert all by her self. She must be one of the bravest persons I know.

This shrimp stew has nothing to do with Maria’s adventure in the Middle East. This stew is inspired by one of her original recipes. However I have changed it a bit. She made it as a creamy soup and it was perfectly suitable for our long early summer backgammon session in the garden.

half kg raw shrimps
two or three cloves of garlic
chili flakes
mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
three fresh tomatoes
one yellow onion
150-200 ml (0.6-0.85 cups) cream or heavy milk
paprika powder
fresh dill
one red pepper
salt and pepper
fresh cilantro

Heat up some olive oil and sauté one clove of chopped garlic together with some chili seeds. When the garlic starts to get a little yellow add the shrimps. Sauté on high temperature until they are done. Put the shrimps on the side and pour 150ml (0.6 cups) water in the sauté pan and let it boil for a minute. The liquid is going to be used later. Peel the shrimps when they become cooler.

Heat up new olive oil and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. When the seeds starts to pop add cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili flakes. Sauté for ½ a minute before adding the chopped onion and one or two cloves of chopped garlic. Slice the fresh tomatoes and add them to the onions as they are getting soft. Sauté for a short moment before adding the shrimp water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the cream and bring it to the boil. Lower the heat and season with paprika powder, thyme, salt and pepper. The stew should have a nice balance of sweet and spiciness. Just before serving add the shrimps, chopped cilantro, dill and the red pepper. The red pepper should be crispy.

Serve with rice and a simple salad (I often do arugula with apples and walnuts).

See also recipe for Grilled Spicy Shrimps



One friend of mine was on a train and overheard a conversation between to guys. The conversation was about how to make the best curry. One of the guys was bragging about his curry and he even stated that it was the best. My friend thought the conversation was inspiring and decided to listen carefully and memorized the whole recipe. Excited about his new discovery my friend went home to give the curry a try. He managed to get all the ingredients and everything seemed to be great. But the bragging guy on the train had talked a little too much. The curry dish didn’t stand out at all. In fact the curry was a big disappointment for my friend.

M:s curry is probably not the best curry either, but it is tasty, quick and simple to make.

serves 3-4 people

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2-3 cloves of garlic
½ yellow onion
more or less chili
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4-5 whole cardamoms
235 ml (1 cup) chickpeas
handfull raisins
handfull cashew nuts
½ cauliflower
one zucchini
two carrots

Heat up some olive oil and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds are popping in the pan, add chopped garlic, onion and the chili together with the coriander, cumin and turmeric. When the onions starts to get soft, about 3 minutes, add the vegetables. Mix and sauté for another 2 minutes before adding some water, cardamom, raisins and chickpeas. Cover and cook until vegetables are done. Add the cashew nuts at the end of the cooking. Serve with couscous or rice, simple dill cucumber salad and some nice yogurt on the side.

If you are using dried chickpeas I suggest the following: soak the chickpeas over night. Boil them in salted water together with one bay leaf and one clove of garlic for 30 minutes. Prepare some extra and you can make humus as well.