Plaques and Pumpkins…

shoestring plaqueMr Shoestring bought me a name plaque for the house, and today he attached it to the wall by the front door. It looks great!

Lovely Sunday today. We had a very rare lie in, with DD1 knocking on my bedroom door at 10.30 to express her disapproval (and to make sure I was still alive). This is funny as she generally spends most of the weekend in bed, but I hardly ever lie in; there is always too much to do. We then made up for lost time by getting out in the garden to clear some dead plants and old leaves, and prune a few shrubs and trees back. It was surprisingly mild and dry, considering the forecast had been for driving rain.

pumpkin risottoI am still trying to use up the pumpkins we grew – they are not storing well in the shed and I have had to throw two away. Last night we had pumpkin and pepper risotto. I used up the last of the paella rice I found lurking at the back of the cupboard last week and it tastes just the same as risotto rice in my view.  It was dead easy. We had it with some roasted chicken.

pumpkin seedsI also scooped out the seeds and roasted them for 20 minutes with a little olive oil and some salt. I am munching on them as I type. I don’t like to waste anything!

You could easily make the risotto with a butternut squash if you don’t happen to have pumpkins in your shed. Here is the recipe:

About 400g of pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, chopped
200g risotto or paella rice
25g butter
2 tsp cumin
Dash of Tabasco
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock (or you could use a glass of white wine and top up to a litre)
50g grated parmesan (I didn’t have any so used cheddar)
Handful of chopped fresh herbs – I used parsley, but coriander would be nice with the cumin). If you don’t have fresh use 2 tsp of dried

Toss the pumpkin in some olive oil and roast for about half an hour at 180 degrees. Whilst that is cooking, fry the onion, pepper and garlic in the butter until soft, then add the cumin for a minute or two. Add the risotto rice and stir it in, then start to add the liquid, starting with the wine if you are using it and letting it bubble for a few minutes. As the liquid is absorbed by the rice, keep adding a ladleful more, stirring frequently. This can take quite a long time. If you find you use all the stock and the rice is not fully cooked, you may need to add more. When you are happy that the rice is ready, season to taste with a splash of Tabasco and salt and pepper and add your roasted pumpkin. Grate on your cheese and stir through.

I really enjoy a risotto. Proper comfort food, creamy and delicious.

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