Spring Green, Shiitake Mushroom and Wild Garlic Risotto
Hello! It feels like forever since I sat down at my computer and wrote a blog post. If you didn't know I have been away, enjoying the life or Riley, kicking back and relaxing, in what I think is the most relaxing place in the world; Dartmoor. But it wasn't all play and no work. Well to me cooking is play so I guess I'm sorta lying there, anyway another blog post was formed in the heart of the Devonshire countryside.
This recipe was inspired by my wonderful cousin Cedar, who almost exactly a year ago, cooked me and Jamie a risotto also using wild garlic. On my return to Dartmoor I knew I wanted to create a risotto to rival Cedar's. I'm not sure who won in the battle of Risottos, they were both very delicious and creamy, but I'm certainly pleased with mine. Totally seasonal, and in the case of the wild garlic totally stolen from my aunt and uncle's incredible garden, this dish is spring in a bowl! Wild garlic, also known as Bear's garlic and a whole host of other names, grows in woodland, in moist soil conditions. The leaves and flowers are edible (I used the leaves in this recipe). If you are into foraging you can go out into the woods and pick some for yourself, however please be careful to make sure you know it definitely is wild garlic you are picking and not something poisonous! You may also find it at farmer's markets right now, so get hunting while this little plant is still in season. You could also use 3 cloves of normal garlic, make sure to add it in earlier in the recipe along with the spring greens and mushrooms. Wild garlic has long been used for medicinal health, known for its many "anti" qualities, including antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant! Wild garlic also reduces blood pressure as it is a vasodilator! Check out a cheeky Fifer and Sky in the background of the pic below!
I paired my risotto rice with spring greens and shiitake mushrooms, both of which are in season now. Fun fact, the tops of my spring greens were purple. This is because the weather in the UK has been very cold this Spring (we are now starting to get some sunshine, it's taken long enough!) and this cold causes some green plants to produce a purple pigment.
For those of us with mental health problems, I really feel like taking a break from social media is important. When I'm feeling low I find myself aimlessly scrolling, looking at other people's lives. And as much as I know that people don't show a full depiction of their life on social media, no one wants to post selfies with mascara streaked tears on their cheeks, and eyes so puffy they have practically retreated behind folds of flesh, I still feel rubbish in comparison. I can't help it. Because I know everyone struggles and feels sad, but in my dark moments, I think well it would be a lot easier if I was sat on a beach/ skinnier/ richer/ prettier. However I am not very good at keeping myself off social media, I am trying to teach myself, but old habits die hard. And sometimes I even feel like I should punish myself by looking at what I'm not, rather than focusing on what I have achieved. Being on Dartmoor takes away that temptation to scroll, there is no wifi and no signal in the cottage. I am incredibly lucky and grateful to be able to have this place to retreat to. In the last few weeks before leaving I had put a huge amount of pressure on myself and was feeling incredibly stressed. I also find travelling totally stressful, the two days before I left included a lot of tears and despair. But as soon as I got there I felt that stress melt away with each breath of fresh Moor air. I spent one week with Jamie and some of our friends, a lovely group of lads who made the week incredibly special. I then came home for four days, before returning for another week with my sister, our friend Laura and her three beautiful children, Aiden, Alex and Ophelia. We spent the week exploring fairy forests, hunting for chocolate with the Easter bunny, and getting stuck in the mud!
While I was away I occasionally worried that people would get bored waiting for a new blog post, that instagram followers might unfollow me because of my inactivity. But I know that I deserve a holiday from time to time, more than that I need one. A holiday doesn't have to be a tropical beach somewhere, it can be a tent (or in my case a family) in a quiet corner of England, or a city break, or just giving yourself a few days to catch up on all your netflix shows. We all deserve and need rest, a chance to wipe the slate clean, to get a fresh pair of eyes, to enjoy quiet.
And so to the recipe that was made on my holiday, cos I can never truly stop when it comes to food!
200g risotto rice
700ml vegetable stock
50g vegan butter
150g spring greens
120g shiitake mushrooms (or any other type of mushrooms you have to hand)
25g wild garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1) In a large pan melt the vegan butter. Add the rice and fry for one minute.
2) Slice the the spring greens and shiitake mushrooms and then add to the pan, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes.
3) Add the stock to the pan one ladle at a time. After adding each ladle stir continuously until all the stock has been absorbed before adding the next one.
4) Once you have added all the stock, remove from the heat. Finely dice the wild garlic and stir it in along with the nutritional yeast.
5) Dish up this creamy spring time dish!