In Blog, Books, Food, The BL Minute

Gatherings: Recipes for Feasts Great and Small

Feasts for all. Flora Shedden, 20 years old and the youngest ever Great British-Bake-off semi-finalist, has come out with Gatherings: Recipes for Feasts Great and Small.

This collection of 120 recipes mix together modern dishes, salads, and staples that are perfect for entertaining. Nothing overly fussy or complicated, just tasty pretty plates of food. Shedden really focuses on food being a place for people to gather and have a great time.

In Food to Fling Together, the Asparagus Rissoto is is perfect for weeknight gatherings and goes great with a glass of white wine. Try it yourself:

Asparagus Risotto (Serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • small knob of butter
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 250g (9oz) risotto or Arborio rice
  • 125ml (4fl oz) white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 00ml (11⁄4 pints) hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 300g (101⁄2oz) asparagus, woody ends snapped off, diagonally sliced into 1cm (1⁄2 inch) lengths
  • 25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese
  • grated small bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter over a high heat. Add the shallots and rice and fry for 5 minutes until the shallots are cooked and the rice is just beginning to colour. Pour in the wine, add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 2–3 minutes.

Now you simply have to feed the risotto a ladleful of stock at a time. Stir in a ladleful, then keep stirring the mixture and only add the next ladleful when the previous one has been almost completely absorbed – it is this process that results in a creamy risotto. When you’ve added three-quarters of the stock, add the asparagus and stir it through.

Once you’ve added all the stock (which should take about 25 minutes) and the risotto is cooked, take the pan off the heat. Add the Parmesan and mint and beat the risotto to ensure they are well mixed in. Season to taste, then serve.

Entertaining doesn’t always have to be difficult. Get Gatherings, available now at $35.

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