Stir crazy

I’ve never had much time for risotto. It takes patience and I don’t have it. I’ve tried to practise mindfulness but it’s no good; I’ll always be thinking about something else. Before you mistake me for some type A person (and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m definitely not in this camp), the reason I’m not very good at relaxing is because I’m quite easily distracted.

Risotto has its uses though. For a start, it’s pretty good comfort food and we’re certainly in need of that at the moment. Just as we sloped back to work after a long Easter weekend, Theresa May (who, in some circles, is nicknamed Tresemmé) called a general election. Some called it a snap election; I’d liken it to Mayday. My first reaction can’t be repeated in polite company so I’ll leave the politics there but you get my drift. To paraphrase Whitney, it is right (wing), but it’s not OK.

So back to risotto. It’s actually pretty easy to make but does require a fair bit of stirring which, I discovered, is rather soothing – meditative, almost. I’m not promising that risotto will make you feel any better about Britain’s future but it might help a little. This recipe is also a good way to use spring greens and in-season asparagus and peas – and getting your vitamins will give you more strength to fight the system, right?

One last thing: what exactly is a ‘clean’ Brexit anyway? If it’s anything like clean eating, I’m sure that most of us will agree that it’s a load of bull…


Easy peas-y risotto

Serves 4



300g risotto rice

200g frozen or fresh peas

2 shallots, diced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 litre of vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

300g frozen or fresh spinach leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

A few leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)

Freshly ground pepper



Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Using a sieve, rinse and drain the rice, then add to the pan. Mix well, coating each grain in oil – add a little extra if necessary.  Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice and stir well. Bring to a simmer as the liquid is absorbed by the rice.  Continue adding more stock, a ladleful at a time, letting the rice absorb it gradually; do this for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice is soft. Add the peas and stir through. After 2 minutes, add the spinach, lemon juice and black pepper until the spinach is just wilting.

Stir through the mint leaves (if using) and serve with steamed asparagus, green vegetables or on its own.


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