a rosy gin and tonic to chill and enjoy

sometimes it is good to revisit old friends and spice up the friendship with something new. a gin and tonic is always a good and safe choice and something to play around with …

a rosy gin & tonic

g&t with rose

ingredients (for one cocktail):

2cl hendrick’s gin

4-6cl doctor polidori’s cucumber tonic

1-2tsp rose water

2-3 ice cubes

put the ice cubes in a martini glass (as it just looks prettier!), add the gin and the rose water and stir. pour over the tonic water and decorate with a slice of cucumber. drink. chill. perfection!

one absolutely and under all circumstances MUST use hendrick’s gin for this recipe, as it already has a subtle aroma of rose and cucumber which will be magnified by the addition of the rose water (ensure that you use a natural, organic variety … and none that has added artificial rose flavouring – the difference in taste is immense!). the polidori’s cucumber tonic adds more earthiness of the cucumber and it all becomes a very rounded and rich taste on one’s palate – what more could one wish for in a cocktail? you’re welcome 🙂

PS. i discovered the polidori tonic by pure chance – if you cannot find it near you, you can get the details of the distributor here. if you need to substitute the cucumber tonic, fever tree elderflower tonic would work, but it will make the result slightly sweeter and less clean in taste – if you use it then add a couple of  cucumber slices to the glass.

a zesty dish: lemon risotto with tarragon

a new job means much less time to cook and less time to blog … but still a passion for food and culture!

i find making risottos very fulfilling – you only need one pot which gets filled with lots of different flavours and ends up as a heartwarming dish. plus one can get very creative in the cooking process, i used up small batches of left-overs from the fridge for this (like the chilli, tarragon and gorgonzola) and the result was amazing in its creamy richness! personally i have not found a good way to make vegan risotto, as i find it lacking in depth and butter plus cheese are just essential to get a perfect result. but if any of you have tips, i am always open to turn this from vegetarian to vegan 🙂

lemon risotto with tarragon (and gorgonzola)

lemon risotto

ingredients (about two to three servings, depending on appetite):

1 chopped shallot

1 chopped clove of garlic

1 deseeded and chopped red chili

ca. 400ml vegetable stock

ca. 200ml dry white wine (i used riesling)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

150g risotto rice (i used arborio)

ca. 75-100g diced gorgonzola (depending on taste)

2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

1 organic lemon (zested and juiced)

3 tbsp pine nuts, slightly toasted

fleur de sel & freshly ground white pepper (plus chili flakes for decoration)

the vegetable stock needs to be piping hot, so you need to heat that first.

in a big pot shallow fry the onion, garlic, chili and half of the lemon zest with a pinch of fleur de sel in the olive oil – they should not brown but only soften. add the risotto rice and stir. shallow fry for another minute, constantly stirring until the rice smells nutty. be careful not to burn it.

add about 100ml of the wine and let it cook on a moderate heat – it should constantly bubble. you need to stay near the pot as you need to stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. once the wine is absorbed, pour in a soup ladle of vegetable stock, keep stirring and cooking until that is absorbed as well. continue with the rest of the stock the same way until it is all used up. this will take about 20-25 minutes.

then add the rest of the wine and turn the heat to low and let it gently simmer so the rice can absorb the wine as well – it will by now be thick and creamy. the rice might still have a slightly hard centre but don’t worry, it will be perfect in the end. keep on stirring!

now add the lemon juice and the rest of the zest and stir it in, then immediately add the butter and the diced gorgonzola and stir it in as well. should the mixture be too thick, add a bit more wine – the texture of the risotto should be like a thick soupy stew. season with fleur de sel and freshly ground white pepper and stir in the chopped tarragon. take from the hob and let it stand (with the pot covered) for a minute or two before stirring in half of the toasted pine nuts.

serve in nice bowls or soup dishes and decorate with the rest of the pine nuts and chili flakes! you might even add another dollop of butter to give it a nice shine. the taste and smell is zesty and very fresh, with a green hint from the tarragon. it looks as colourful as it tastes…

serve with some green lettuce on the side and a glass of wine. it is mediterrania on a plate!