Reigniting My Love of Cooking

It’s been over a year since I wrote a blog post, and so much has happened in that time. I can’t begin to explain what’s happened, but I will tell you that it’s about time I got back into cooking properly.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with eating and weight, and I’m ashamed to say that the weight has crept back up. I’m trying to follow Weight Watchers, but I have good and bad days. At the moment, probably more bad than good. However, I know that as I focus more and more on home-cooking, I know I will be better and sticking to healthy eating.

Time is something I need to utilise more. I have a habit of wanting to “relax” when I get home from work. This usually means sitting on the sofa, watching something on Netflix or a movie, and then going to bed fairly early. Sometimes I cook. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t eat. Sometimes I eat dessert only.

Last night I watched a cooking show and realised how much I miss really cooking. So today I indulged myself and made mushroom risotto with harissa-spiced chicken thighs. It felt therapeutic to be making a dish that reminded me of my mum’s cooking, that I enjoy eating, working from scratch. And while I sat down to my nostalgic dinner, I thought about all the folders that Mum gave to me when she left Hong Kong. The folders filled with pages and pages of magazine recipes – some of which she had tried, and others she may have never got around to.

I spent the evening looking through these folders when a thought came to me. Similar in vein to Julie Powell’s year of making Julia Child’s recipes, I thought that maybe I could slowly work my way through the recipes that my mum had collated over the years. I won’t be able to do it every day, and I may not be able to carry out some of the recipes purely because of the availability (or cost) of some of the ingredients in Hong Kong.

However, I want to make this a new project. Something I can work on over the course of the next several months. Reignite my love of cooking, treat myself to some interesting looking recipes and enjoy good, home-cooked meals. Sometimes I may cook for friends – that’ll be dependent on if anyone comes to visit on a night when I am cooking.

I don’t know what I will make first, or when I will make it. But for now, here is my mushroom risotto recipe.

mushroom risotto

Ingredients

200g arborio rice
150ml white wine
750ml vegetable stock
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
200g mushrooms (I used white mushrooms), chopped
2 tbsp butter
50g Parmesan, grated
4 chicken thighs, skin on
Harissa spice blend
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 60 minutes

  1. Preheat oven to 180C, line an oven tray with aluminium foil (I use reusable foil from Parchminium). Cover chicken thighs with the harissa, rubbing it all over the chicken, place in the oven tray. Place chicken in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes, until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, add a teaspoon of olive oil to a wok or deep frying pan. Add the onions, stirring constantly, for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms. Cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the pan, stirring often, until the ends of the grains start to become translucent.
  4. Add the white wine, stirring until fully absorbed. Then, a cup at a time, add the vegetable stock. Make sure each cup of stock is fully absorbed before adding the next one. Remember to stir constantly.
  5. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add the butter. Stir in the butter until fully melted. Then stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove chicken from the oven, and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  7. Serve risotto and chicken hot.

Feel free to drink a glass of the white wine, while you are cooking, like I did.

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