‘Singing Aida’ Risotto

This is one of my staple meals – although it really irritates me that my 2 eldest children don’t like risotto – after all, it’s delicious and warming and a hug in a bowl. Risotto is made with love, pure and simple. There is no walking away from it. It is probably the only thing I make that I stand over the whole time and unless one of the children’s heads falls off and it is making a mess on the floor off I ain’t moving! I’m such a sympathetic mother, they could be bashing sticks over each others heads but risotto comes first.

I don’t always team risotto up, if you want to make a nice plain risotto (and an Italian once told me you should always be sparing with your risotto ingredients), all you need is a good stock. Luckily that is not a problem. We are religious in freezing meat carcusses and bones and fish bits, and when we have enough the kitchen becomes like a production line. Although we do have the benefit of having a chest freezer so don’t have ‘space’ issues. With I make risotto I ALWAYS make too much, this is not accidental, I am happy to have it as leftovers or make it into Slimming World Arrancini balls (recipe another day).

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Chicken Breast, Parma Ham and Risotto – serves 3 – 0.5 syns if using parmesan as Hex A and syn wine if using it

  • 3 x chicken breasts – whole
  • 3 x parma ham slices – 0.5 syn per slice
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 x good glug wine if you have it
  • risotto rice
  • Good chicken stock, kept heated in pan
  • Peas
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Rocket

Gently fry onion and garlic until soft but not coloured

Add risotto rice and keep stirring but leave it on the heat until it is ‘singing Aida’ (what a great description)- this takes longer than you think, be brave but do not let it burn.

Add wine and stir until nearly all of wine is evaporated and turn down to a simmer, then start adding warm stock ladle by ladle, only adding another one when the last one has been soaked up by the rice. Mr K insists that you should only stir this clockwise (something to do with not breaking down the rice) but I have to say I have never done this, just be kind to it.

Keep doing the above for a good 20 minutes until all of the stock is used and the rice has a ‘slight bite’. If you have used all of the stock and the rice is still not cooked you can then add water.

Season the chicken breast and wrap the parma ham around it, fry with a little fry light in a pan, turning over halfway through until cooked).

Add the peas to the risotto and cook for further 5 minutes.

Here is a really good tip. Once the risotto is cooked turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and seasoning, add a little more water so that when you run a spoon across the pan the risotto falls back to make a flat surface, basically so it is not too dry. Put a lid on and leave for 5 minutes – this relaxes the risotto and all of the flavours merge to make a lovely, creamy risotto.

Once the chicken is ready stir the rocket through the risotto (if you wish) and slice the chicken breast and serve sprinkled with a little parmesan.

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Hot Chocolate for the Gods

 

This hot chocolate recipe has to be tasted to be believed although it’s another one of my ‘off Slimming World’ recipes – it’s just great so I had to share it.  When I first saw it I thought ‘that sounds like an awful lot of stuff for a hot chocolate even if you do just throw it altogether’, however, I was proved wrong. I first made a massive batch of it and sent it home as last minute party favour for one of the kids birthdays (I’m not keen on party favours so at least give them something that won’t break within 3 minutes or be discarded on the floor), a few marshmallows thrown on the top and a ribbon and the reviews that came back on the Monday from school were that this was THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE THEY HAD EVER TASTED. Wow, not bad eh.

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But to prove I can cater for the Slimming World folks have you tried banana, split in 2, put on 1 tsp choc shot, 10 mini marshmallows and pop in the microwave to melt – yum, all of that for just 2 syns.

This batch of chocolate mix is the size you have when you have 3 children and it’s winter so they want hot chocolate constantly, although it thickens so beautifully you can drizzle it over vanilla ice cream as a sauce so it’s well worth doing. And what’s more the kids love making it, it’s messy and easy as you can see – win win!

  • 4 tbsp Horlicks
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar
  • 8 tbsp cocoa
  • 200g dark chocolate pieces (I use buttons as I buy them at the wholesaler like that but you can just as easily use a bar broken up, or grated)
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • 2 pinches sea salt

Throw everything into a jar, get the kids to shake it and put in cupboard.

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When ready to use put milk into pan and for every mug of milk put in 3 heaped teaspoons chocolate mix. Whisk until thickened and hot, put into mug, spray on some squirty cream and dot with mini marshamallows and it is hot chocolate for the gods!

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