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Posted by on Oct 11, 2011 in My thoughts | 4 comments

Quick dinner for friends

Quick dinner for friends

Last week Adam and I managed to arrange two dinners which clashed with each other, so I was going to be out for dinner on the night he had invited friend around. He was also going to be working late that night, so wouldn’t have time to cook without stressing for the guests he was getting at our place. 

So, I earned myself a few brownie points by cooking his dinner for him before leaving for mine! It really wasn’t that hectic as I chose my fool proof mushroom risotto and a light and colorful summer salad to go with it. I had some of my oat and nut bars left over which they had for dessert. I had a happy husband and he had happy guests! 

My dinner out was fabulous, but I sadly didn’t take any photos. The recipes were all first attempts of mine and will most certainly be recreated for your benefit!   

Mushroom (and Bacon) Risotto

Serves four main course portions

30 g of dried chantarelle, porcini or shitake mushrooms, soaked in a cup of boiling water
3 Tbsp olive oil
500g button or portobello mushrooms
250g of streaky back bacon, chopped (totally optional)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp of cumin
½ tsp of coriander
½ tsp of mixed spice
1 Tbsp of soya sauce
½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp of salt
750ml of vegetable stock
1 ½ cup of Arborio rice
1 tsp of freshly chopped herbs, like thyme, sage, oregano, basil etc. 
125ml of cream
1 cup of grated parmesan

Get your dried mushrooms soaking in boiling water. Heat the oil in a medium size heavy bottomed pot and add the mushrooms and bacon allow them to fry for 5 minutes before adding the onions and garlic. Fry this on medium heat until the mushrooms have reduced to half their size. Add the spices and soya sauce and fry until the mushrooms start to colour in the pan a little.

Add the stock, porcini and the water it was soaking in and stir until the flavours from the mushrooms have combined nicely with the stock. Add the rice and allow it to cook on a light simmer for about 7 – 10 minutes. Only stirring every now and again so as to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

The dish is ready to remove from the heat when the rice is about 90% cooked. It must still have a little bite in it, as it will carry on cooking with the retained heat of the pot and rice. Add the herbs, cheese and cream, stir lightly to combine and allow this to stand with the lid on for a further 10 minutes before serving.

Seasonal salad with lemon pesto dressing
Side salad for 4 people

For the dressing
½ clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp of sugar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp basil pesto
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
½ salad pack of your favourite salad

½ a bell pepper, julienne and/or 
¼ cucumber, shaved into ribbons and/or
1 large carrot, shaved into ribbons and/or
12 blanched green asparagus spears and/or
½ a cup of edamame beans, blanched and/or
250g of exotic mushrooms, pan fried and/or
8 baby corn, quartered lengthways and/or
125g of baby tomatoes, quartered and/or
125g of broccoli stems, blanched and/or
1 avo, peeled and cut into slices and/or

½ a cup of toasted seeds and or raw almonds, lightly roasted with spices and a drop of oil

Shavings of Parmesan

Combine dressing ingredients and chill until ready for use.

Assemble salad ingredients on a platter and drizzle with dressing just before serving. 


  1. What did you drink with you yummy dinner?? (Johke…)

  2. Pink bubbles, then pinot noir followed by a wee drop of bourbon! Yum.

  3. You had bourbon when you got home?? Or was there bourbon in our tiramisu??

  4. There was indeed bourbon in the tiramisu and there was some left in the bottle which I quietly finished in the kitchen 😉

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