Posts Tagged 'cooking'

Very Simple Vegetarian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

One of the best things about Risotto is that you can experiment.  Almost anything makes a good risotto, and part of the fun is trying new things.  In an attempt to try something different, I carried out one such experiment for tea tonight.  I made Sausage and Mushroom Risotto, using Quorn sausages, but you could use meat ones, and it was delicious.  Because of the density of the sausages, which were cut into pieces, and the rice, it was extremely filling, and satisfying, but actually very healthy, with very little fat or calories.  It’s very pleasing to eat something which makes you feel full and sated, but which also gives you the piece of mind of knowing that you won’t pile on the pounds.

INGREDIENTS:  (Serves Two)

  • Three Sausages (I used Quorn, but you can use whatever you like)
  • A mug full of Arborio Rice
  • Tablespoon Mustard
  • Two Tablespoons Olive Oil (Any vegetable oil, or even butter, works fine)
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Two Stock Cubes and Boiling Water


  • Pour two tablespoons of Olive Oil (or whatever oil you have) into a hot pan, stir in salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of mustard.
  • Chop the Sausages into small pieces, stir them into the oil.
  • Peel and half the mushrooms, add them to the pan.

  • When the mushrooms and sausages have browned, add the Arborio rice to the pan.  Stir it in well, ensuring that the rice is thoroughly coated with oil and well mixed in.
  • Cover the pan with stock, and stir well.

  • Keep stirring, and simmering.  When all the stock is absorbed, cover again with stock.
  • Carry on simmering, but every couple of minutes, allow the mixture to bubble by itself for a few seconds, then carry on stirring.

  • When all the stock has been absorbed, and the rice is soft and fluffy, it’s ready to serve.

The only way to be sure it’s done is to keep trying it.  Taste a bit of rice, and keep simmering until it’s soft.

Then, put it out, and enjoy.

My Mum, enjoying the Risotto.

If you do try this, please let me know how you get on.  Also, if you have any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them.

Happy Cooking, and HAPPY EATING!

Vegetarian Bangers, Mash & Mushrooms. 3 Simple Steps.

This Bangers, Mash and Mushrooms is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted, and so simple and quick.  In less than thirty minutes you can have an indulgent, comforting, but quite healthy feast on your plate.  I’ve included a few notes on how the recipe can easily be adapted to become vegan.  Equally, while I’ve used vegetarian sausages, you could use meat ones, whatever you like.  I make this all the time because it’s just a thing of beauty (though perhaps more in taste than to look at).


  • Sausages (Vegetarian or meat) – two per person.
  • Mashed Potato *see notes below
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese
  • Tablespoon mustard
  • Half Tablespoon Garlic Purée
  • Olive Oil


The sausages.  I’ve used Quorn this time, but I usually prefer Cauldron.  The vegetarian Lincolnshire, or Cumberland, are really delicious and full of so much flavour, quite spicy in fact.  This is the first time I’ve used these particular ones, which are the new and improved Quorn recipe, and I have to say that they are really tasty.  I’m sure normal meat sausages will work much the same.

I used the sausages straight from the freezer, but defrosted them slightly.  This allows you to slice them neatly.  If they are completely thawed out then they break up and crumble, and you end up with a mess.

Slice the sausages into hefty chunks.

Into a hot pan stir;  Olive Oil (or whatever oil you have, all vegetable oils work the same. You could even use butter), garlic purée (garlic salt works just the same), Mustard, salt and pepper.

Once all those things are mixed together, throw the sausages in.  Stir them into the mixture and make sure they’re coated, so they get all the flavour.

It doesn't look pretty, but the smell is heavenly, and it tastes GOOD!

Once the mixture has soaked into the sausages (you have to keep stirring), they will begin to cook.  While this is happening, peel the mushrooms and cut them in half.

Once the sausages are starting to brown all over, throw the mushrooms in.  Give it a good stir, and get everything mixed in together.  Allow them to simmer, with the lid on, but stirring every couple of minutes, for about ten minutes, until everything looks brown and cooked.


Which is basically just the potatoes.  Once the sausages and mushrooms are browned, you need to stir in the mashed potato.  Either have the potatoes ready and mashed at the beginning of the recipe, OR, if you’re short of time and would like an easy option, I’ve found one.  I recently discovered microwavable mash.  Now, it’s not as healthy as the real thing, but it’s pretty good. I’m not usually in favour of this kind of thing, I hate it, but it doesn’t taste like Smash, it tastes like delicious, fluffy mash, that you’d make yourself.  I promise you, it tastes really good.  Just follow the instructions on the packet.

Throw the potatoes into the pan, and give everything a really good stir.  You want to get all the flavours mixed in.

You’re now basically just waiting for the mash to be hot.  Keep stirring it all together until it’s piping hot, then crumble as much cheese in as you’d like.  In my opinion, the more the better.  I used cheddar, because I like the flavour and it melts, but use whatever you’d like.



Once the cheese has melted, get a plate and serve it.  Eat it while it’s hot!

That’s it! What could be easier?  I promise you, it is DELICIOUS! Mushrooms, cheese, potatoes, sausages full of flavour, what’s not to like?

I hope you give this a go, and I’d really love to know how you get on, so let me know.

I’ll leave you with my lovely Mum, who enjoyed it immensely, and told everyone in the pub about it.

15 Minute Green Bean Risotto In Three Easy Steps.

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, knowing how challenging  it can be for vegetarians to find diverse and tasty food to cook at home, that’s ready in fifteen minutes, I’ve decided to share some recipes.  Most of the things I cook are tried and tested favourites, that I make week in, week out, but some of them, like tonight’s, are spur of the moment experiments. First up, a delicious green bean risotto that’s ready in three steps, in fifteen minutes tops.

I normally make mushroom risotto, and I have to say, I’m pretty bloody good at it.  The reason I make it well is that I love it so much, cooking mushroom risotto is a passionate experience for me.  When you cook something you love, you add that little bit of a special spark.  However, I didn’t have any mushrooms in the house tonight (which very rarely happens), so I decided to use what I had in, which turned out to be green beans and Arborio rice.


  • Arborio Rice (About two handfuls per person/serving).
  • Green Beans
  • Tablespoon of Butter
  • Garlic (I used garlic purée)
  • Mustard (Dijon has a nice tang)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Stock Cubes (Two per person)
  • Boiling Water
  • Cheese (I favour cheddar)
  • Three glasses of white wine (optional, but it makes a big difference).
Into a hot pan, stir the following: Tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of garlic purée, tablespoon of mustard, salt and pepper.
Stir the green beans into the mixture, which will come together into a paste.  Sizzle the beans until they are soft. I used them straight from the freezer, but thawed out a little bit, for maybe half an hour.
Tip: The rice you need is called Arborio, it’s an Italian risotto rice.  Don’t try and use Basmati or pillau, it won’t work.
Once the beans are cooked and soft, stir the rice into the mixture.  It’s vitally important that every grain of rice is coated in the butter, otherwise it won’t cook properly.
Once you’ve coated the rice, you can pour the wine in, but this is optional.  While it isn’t vital, it does give the risotto a more delicate, shaper flavour.  After the wine, or missing it out, it’s time to add the stock.
Put the stock cubes in a jug or pan and pour the boiling water over. I find OXO vegetable, or Knorr are great, but the best is Bouillon.
Make sure the stock cubes are dissolved by giving it a good stir.  Once it’s ready, cover the rice and beans with stock.
Allow the rice to absorb the stock, while simmering.  Keep stirring, but stop and allow it to bubble up by itself every couple of minutes.  Once the stock has been absorbed, pour some more in.
You’re waiting for the rice to be completely soft.  Keep testing a piece, if there’s still a little bite in the middle, it isn’t ready.
This should take about ten minutes, perhaps a little more.  The main thing is to do it right.  Just keep stirring and keep having a little taste of the rice, until it’s soft.
Once the rice is cooked, add the cheese.  You can either add it into the pan, so that it melts into the rice and becomes gooey and golden, or you can just add it into the bowl when you serve, so that it keeps a bite to it.  Either way is good.
I favour a trusty Cheddar, possibly because I’m not very adventurous when it comes to cheese.  You can use whatever you like.
I don’t grate it, just crumble it in, so that it stays in lovely, delicious, oozing blobs.
And that’s it! All you have to do now is dish it up and enjoy the fruits of your hard work (well, not very hard).
You can serve it with salad, roast potatoes, bread, garlic bread, anything you like.  Even just on its own, it’s delicious.  I enjoy mine best in the garden, in the sun.
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this dish.  If you give it a go, please do let me know how you get on.

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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up ( with your thoughts.

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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Pete Doherty,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day

Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road

Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

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