Friday, 8 April 2011

Risotto with Broad Beans, Peas, Pecorino and White Truffle Oil

When I travel I always use food as reminders of the good times I had. Then at home, I try to recreate the dish to reminisce the wonderful times. Whilst the memory is still fresh, I'm gonna try to recreate some of the dishes I had in London.

On our first night in London last weekend, Michelle and I went to Skylon Restaurant, Grill and Bar at Royal Festival Hall for dinner. I'm not good at writing reviews, terrible actually, but I can tell you, dinner was good, but not the best. We were seated at the table by the window and had a spectacular view of London's skyline and the River Thames which was nice.

To start, Michelle had the chicken and ham hock terrine with some sort of creamy sauce and pumpernickel bread; and for me, lentil salad with spinach, roasted tomatoes, olives and feta with a dressing I just can't remember. This is probably why I am bad at writing reviews... I don't take notes. Michelle is allergic to gluten, so I had the pleasure of eating her pumpernickel bread :)

For our mains, Michelle ordered the confit duck leg with puy lentils and red wine jus. I am quite shocked that I managed to recall this. And I had the risotto with broad beans, peas, pecorino and black truffle which then became the inspiration for tonight's dinner. The risotto was wonderfully creamy and I love truffles, full stop. I'll talk more about the risotto later.

I really enjoyed my dessert of banana sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. I could easily be bribed with sticky toffee pudding, just so you know; Michelle's vanilla rice pudding was good, but not as nice as my sticky toffee pudding.

Now, to business, the risotto with broad beans, peas, pecorino and white truffle oil... I kept most of the components from the original dish, but swapped the black truffle to white truffle oil. I can't afford to buy the real black truffles and I don't even know where to find them in Sunderland.

The risotto is pretty basic. I start by cooking finely chopped onions and garlic in olive oil and a little butter until softened, before adding the rice and lightly fry until slightly translucent. I then add a healthy amount of white wine, and when the wine has cooked into the rice, start adding, a ladleful at a time, the simmering stock and keep stirring to the desired consistency and keep tasting. I like my risotto to be creamy and oozy.

I then add the blanched peas and broad beans to the risotto, the grated pecorino cheese and the white truffle oil to taste. A little bit goes a long way, so use it sparingly. Taste again to correct the seasoning and then serve with shavings of pecorino and tiny drizzle of the truffle oil. May as well drink that wine that's already open.... right?  

Oh, after dinner at Skylon, we went to the OXO Tower for cocktails and I had the 'oriental chill', that is a cocktail made with crushed lychees, fresh lime juice, coconut syrup and ginger beer. yum. My at home version is not as fancy, but equally delicious, you can find it here.

Today has been the hottest and brightest day so far this year and it's was beautiful. Might be going to the beach tomorrow if the weather stays like this.

It's time to to-up my glass, have a nice weekend!


  1. Lovely!
    It's a great life!

  2. I had never had sticky toffee pudding until about a year ago.. OMG was it good!!! Would love to find a really good recipe for that!
    The risotto looks lovely, Michael. I love the use of white truffle oil. I keep saying I'm going to buy truffle oil and then never do.. maybe this will be my inspiration to do so!!
    I hope the weather holds out for you.. it's supposed to rain all day and only get up to about 60 here tomorrow... which is strange because last Saturday it was 99 degrees!!!!

  3. stunning risotto Michael... and you know how much I love a risotto!... so glad you had a good time in London, it can be a fun place to visit but a bit of a drag to live there everyday, so it's nice to make a special occasion of it... v jealous of your visit to SKYLON... I really want to dine there, great post and review!

  4. Thanks for the report. It doesn't matter if you aren't the greatest restaurant reviewer in the world. It's the sharing that matters. And your recreation at home is the very essence of my belief in cooking - Just Do It!

  5. Michael I thoroughly enjoyed your review and this risotto looks so very lovely. I hope you did get to go to the beach after all :)

  6. I have trouble writing reviews for that same reason! Horrible memory...unless the meal blew me away.

    This risotto is beautiful. I love the different textures and bright colors. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I'm with you on the ticky toffee pudding subject. I adore it. I have it every chance I get, especially if I'm in GB.
    Your risotto looks excellent, Michael. I like the broad beans along with the peas!

  8. I meant to ask the other day what sort of broad beans were involved. I'm familiar with a number of them, including "giant beans". I won't see your answer unless you are willing to reply to Regards, StephenC

  9. Why I can't find fresh broad beans here???? Plenty of can products here, but no sight of fresh one...Truffle oil :-)) That makes me smile.

  10. What a great risotto dish, creamy and delightful...I think you did a fine job with your review :)

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