Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Mita's Rourou soup

I’m a bit embarrassed to be asking Mita for such basic recipes, but her basics are always so delicious, I keep thinking there must be a secret ingredient or a special method. I think the combination of love and experience shows through in her food. Mita spent years onboard the Na'ia as their cook, her food is some of the best in Fiji. Now semi-retired to Rakiraki, she works as a private chef in homes on Volivoli and around Ra. Mita is awaiting her second Covid jab and is available for in home catering, call her at 276-5602. 

Mita’s Rourou Soup


  • 1 pot boiling water for blanching 
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 bundle fresh Rourou (if purchasing frozen, about 500g cleaned and trimmed taro leaves)
  • 2 coconuts, grated and milked (or 1 can coconut cream)
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp ginger, grated
  • Salt to taste

  1. Blanch cleaned and trimmed rourou leaves, about 10 minutes in boiling water and baking soda, drain well in a colander, roughly chop before returning to pot.
  2. In heated cooking oil, cook onions until translucent, add ginger, garlic, fry for two more minutes.
  3. Add drained rourou and coconut cream. Let cook until soft. Salt to taste and blend. 
  4. Serve hot, add additional coconut cream as a garnish if desired.

Mita's Lentil Soup

Mita spent years onboard the Na'ia as their cook, her food is some of the best in Fiji. Now semi-retired to Rakiraki, she works as a private chef in homes on Volivoli and around Ra. We call her a conversation killer because no matter how animated the discussion at the table is, her food is so delicious that we all fall silent when her food comes out. Mita is awaiting her second Covid jab and is available for in home catering, call her at 276-5602. 

Mita generously shared her recipe for Lentil Soup after one meal that met with rave reviews, unlike some of her other dishes this one is easily within my abilities as a home cook. 

Mita’s Lentil Soup


  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 500 g Red Lentils
  • 1 liter water, hot
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
    Cilantro to garnish


  1. Heat oil in low consistency
  2. Add onion, cook until translucent, then garlic and ginger. Sauté until aroma develops.
  3. Add turmeric, cumin, chili, coriander. Stir for one minute, add lentils and carrots, stir well to combine.
  4. Add the water and boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes, reduce to a simmer until the lentils are soft and break up. You may need to add additional water.
  5. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot.  

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Baked Gluten Free Yogurt Cheesecake

Finding ingredients here can be interesting, a couple of days ago a friend sent me a recipe for a yogurt cheesecake, I decided to give the concept a try today. The recipe I saw had no eggs, and I had eggs to use up, so after poking around a bit I came up with this. 

Baked Gluten-Free Yogurt Cheesecake


  • 1.5 cups quick oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup Fiji sugar
  • 76 g Rewa butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Punjas chai spice blend 

might add some powdered ginger next time


  • 6 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 200 g Rewa butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (corn starch)
  • 1 cup gluten free flour*
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Liter Rewa Yogurt

Add ¼ teaspoon salt if not using Rewa butter

THIS MAKES A LOT! If you're not using a 9" springform pan be prepared for the extra


(haven't yet decided on one yet) 


  1. For crust: Preheat oven to 350F/175C; pulse sunflower seeds and oatmeal in blender until roughly ground, combine all crust ingredients in large bowl, and mix well. Firmly press onto bottom and about 4 cm/1.5 inches up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch springform pan. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown; let cool.
  2. Filling: Separate eggs, whisk the egg whites with a mixer until they form stiff peaks. Set aside. (Do this first so you don't have to clean the beaters, if you do it last your beaters need to be clean and dry) 
  3. Use a large bowl (same one the crust was in if you want) and combine the granulated sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and the melted butter and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add salt here if not using Rewa butter.
  4. Add corn starch, flour, and baking soda and continue to blend on medium-high speed until the mixture is very creamy. Slowly add the yogurt to the mixture. Reduce the speed to medium low and blend well.
  5. Fold the whisked egg whites into the mixture.
  6. Pour the filling into the prepared springform and put the pan into a water bath.
  7. Bake for 75 to 90 minutes until set and golden brown. The top might move a little bit but shouldn't jiggle a lot. Turn off oven and crack the door slightly for 30 minutes. Remove cake to counter and let cool until the cake is at room temperature. Remove the sides of your pan and continue to cool in the refrigerator for several hours until completely set. 
NOTE: Gluten free flours tend to be very thirsty. If you're using regular flour you may want to consider using Greek Yogurt or draining your yogurt and/or decreasing the eggs. Today my gluten free flour was 1/3 besan gram flour, 1/3 rice flour, 1/3 tavioka starch. 

Cool Down Tzatziki

One of my favorite dips on a hot day is Tzatziki. The dill and cucumbers grow well here in Fiji and yogurt is usually readily available in the stores. This comes together quickly, although the flavors are best if you let it sit for a few hours. 


  • 250 g cucumber, grated (1 large)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • *250g greek yogurt yogurt (~1 heaping cup)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste (often not needed because of the salt in the cucumber) 
  • 5 g fresh dill, finely chopped (about 1.5 Tbsp) 

* I like the flavors of the dill and cucumber to come through, for a less intense flavor you may want to add more yogurt. 

  1. Grate the cucumber and spread around a colander, salt it heavily, and let drain for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes squeeze out the grated cucumber, chop again if smaller pieces are desired. 
  3. Stir together the yogurt, squeezed grated cucumber, minced garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl. 
  4. Add lemon zest, dill, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth. 
  5. Pour into a serving dish, cover tightly, and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Smooth out the day

Some days are jam packed and I find myself at my computer instead of taking a meal break. Today was one of them and I was flagging by midafternoon, this guilty pleasure smoothie helped with some of the rough edges -- although it doesn't have anything in it to be guilty about, it just feels so decadent. Bonus - after I had this midafternoon I was pumped enough to hike up and visit the neigh-bors. 

Guilty Pleasure Afternoon Pick Me Up


  • 1 cup cold coffee (or 1 cup cold water + instant coffee)
  • 1 cup frozen bananas
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter


  1. Blend
  2. Serve cold. 

Here's another favorite - Spice blends are so much fun, I like the Tea Masala paired with pumpkin. 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dates (soaked in milk if I planned ahead) 
  • 1 Tbsp Punjas Tea Masala 


  1. Blend
  2. Serve cold. 

I like this guide from Prevention Magazine for mixing and matching, although my smoothies tend to stray from its suggestions.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Frangelico Nutella Brownies

It's winter in the South Pacific, today we started talking about Christmas and the desserts and treats we enjoy in the winter. Fudge and brownies and rugelach and divinity and peanut brittle were all on the list. This was a favorite back when we could shop at duty free and I had a pantry with nutella in it. 

Frangelico Nutella Brownies

Prep 15 m Cook 25 m Ready In 2 h 40 m


  • 115 g / 1/2 cup butter 
  • 60 ml / 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur (such as Frangelico)
  • 60 g / 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), or more to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch / 20 cm square baking pan or line with parchment paper. Parchment paper helps dense batters come out of the pan easily.
  2. Melt butter, Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), cocoa powder, and Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) together in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to bubble, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and cool slightly. This step cooks the cocoa, giving the dessert a richer flavor. If the Frangelico is added at the very end there will be a stronger alcohol flavor in the finished product. 
  3. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Beat white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy; slowly mix in butter mixture until smooth. Creamed butter and sugar make air bubbles that make the dessert lighter and less dense
  5.  Stir flour mixture into butter-sugar mixture just until batter is combined; fold in (optional) chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Don’t mix the flour too much, a barely mixed dough is fluffier and lighter
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool brownies in pan for at least 2 hours before cutting. The brownies should cook through, but just barely. Letting the brownies cool before serving will let them finish baking from within.  

Baked Mac & Cheese

Originally posted 17 July 2021

My quest to use up all the eggs continues. It was also rainy this morning so I felt the need for some comfort food in the Fiji cold weather. I thought about lasagna but didn't have the noodles, went with mac and cheese instead.

Baked Mac & Cheese

  • 250g/8 oz pasta
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g shredded cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter (28g)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard (14g)
  • 200g cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • black pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter (28g)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. In a large pot of salted water, lightly boil the macaroni for about 5 minutes until half-cooked. Drain and toss with butter. 
  3. Brown the onions and garlic. 
  4. Whisk the egg, yogurt, milk, and mustard together. 
  5. Place the lightly cooked macaroni, shredded cheese, and vegetables in the prepared baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the macaroni, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir well. Press the mixture evenly around the baking dish.
  6. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and add the buttered herbed bread crumbs for the last 20 minutes, or until the top is brown. Remove and let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Eggy Potato & Onion Soup

 16 July 2021

An old favorite recipe that's been updated with eggs, perfect for a rainy winter night. 

Potato & Onion Soup


  • 1 Tbsp Rewa butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 potatoes, large dice
  • 250 g mushrooms, roughly chopped 
  • 1/3 cup freekeh 
  • 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Stock powder 
  • 1.5 L water
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • Roughly chopped spinach or other tender greens 


  1. In a pressure cooker brown the onions in Rewa butter for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the potatoes and mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are tender but not soft, 2 or.3 minutes. 
  3. Add the freekeh, white beans, and stock powder along with hot water to cover the ingredients and then some, about 1.5 L.
  4. Securely close the lid and bring the pressure up, cook for 10 minutes at pressure. Quick release the pressure. 
  5. Use some of the hot broth to temper the yolks by whisking a little of the hot broth into the eggs. Whisk constantly and vigorously as the hot broth is added. By keeping the eggs moving constantly, you raise the temperature of the eggs gradually, keeping them from cooking. Raising the temperature of the eggs protects them so that when the yolks are added to the pot or pan with the hot ingredient, they won’t cook or curdle.
  6. Either stir the cut greens into the soup or serve the soup over the greens for the freshest flavor.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Originally posted 13 July 2021 

No feta in Rakiraki stores, but if there was I would love to make this. The salt in the feta against the sweet watermelon is just too good, and the watermelons in the market are amazing right now. 


  • ~1 kg watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks 
  • 1 Tbsp/15ml juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 (2"/5cm) strips zest, removed with a sharp vegetable peeler
  • 3 Tbsp/45ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup/10g roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Up to 4 ounces (1 quart) arugula leaves (optional; see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces/110g feta cheese


  1. Place watermelon chunks in a large bowl. 
  2. Finely chop lemon zest. 
  3. Add lemon juice and half of zest to bowl with watermelon. 
  4. Add oil, mint, and arugula (if using) and toss until watermelon is evenly dressed. 
  5. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. (The cheese will add saltiness, so go light on the salt at this stage.)
  6. Transfer salad to a wide, shallow bowl or a large plate and spread out evenly. Crumble feta over the top. Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest. Drizzle with more olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately

Shredded Red Cabbage, Carrot and Mint Salad

Originally posted 12 July 2021 

This was a surprise success recipe. We needed something high in vitamin A&C and I looked up a recipe with what we had on hand. This was fast and easy and we had all the ingredients  and it was delicious! BTW, Supercook is an amazing app/site, I've enjoyed the suggestions it's made using ingredients we already have. 

Shredded Red Cabbage, Carrot and Mint Salad



  • 4 cups finely shredded red/purple cabbage
  • 1 carrot , julienned
  • Handful of mint leaves , roughly chopped


  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Combine Salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add Dressing ingredients, then toss to combine.

Green Papaya Lockdown Salad

Originally Posted 10 July 2021 

When I first got out to the farm and things were shutting down left and right around us because of Covid precautions I had trouble getting some basic items in Rakiraki. Eggs were from Volivoli peninsula, which was a containment zone, so there were none in the market. Things like yogurt and cheese came from Suva and in the first few days after the containment area was established cargo didn't always make it through the borders. I remember walking the farm looking at every tree and plant to see if it could provide our necessary calories. I had such a feeling of relief looking at the papaya trees, even though the fruits were green, I knew this was one option open to us in the days ahead. I like it all the time, it's not a lockdown-only option at our table.   

Green Papaya Salad 


  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry-roasted salted peanuts, more for garnish
  • 2 fresh bird chilies or serrano chilies, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon raw sugar or white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla), to taste
  • 2 plum tomatoes, 1 large round tomato, or 8 grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pound long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (optional)
  • 1 small to medium green (unripe) papaya (see Note)
  • Lettuce for serving (optional)


  1. In a blender or mortar, blend or pound garlic, salt, peanuts, chilies, sugar and shrimp (if using) into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in lime juice and fish sauce. Use a spoon (or the mortar) to lightly crush tomatoes and beans (if using), then add to bowl and mix lightly.
  2. Peel and coarsely grate or shred papaya, discarding seeds and inner membrane. There should be 4 to 6 cups.
  3. Add papaya to bowl and lightly but thoroughly toss together. Taste for seasoning. Mound in a bowl (if desired, line bowl with lettuce leaves beforehand). Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Tip - If green papaya is unavailable, use an equivalent amount of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).

What's your go-to food when options are limited?

Broiled Carambola (Star Fruit) and Date Salad

Originally posted 9 July 2021 

Friday. Today's recipe is from RPCV Judy, she and John grow the most amazing star fruit. I love the way they look and taste in green papaya salad or sangria or eaten out of hand, but today my love rose to new levels when I tasted a broiled starfruit. If you have to substitute for the starfruit you could try white seedless grapes sliced in half. 

Broiled Carambola (Star Fruit) and Date Salad


  • 4 ripe sweet carambola (starfruit), cut into 1/8 inch slices and deseeded, about 500g
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 8 dates, whole, pitted, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • pinch of saffron, snip and mix with lime juice
  • 1 bunch arugula (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to broil on 500 F/260C
  2. Toss together carambola, lime juice and saffron, honey, dates, and cashews.  Place mixture in a shallow ceramic baking dish.  
  3. Place on top rack of oven for 5 minutes or until the carambola edges and cashews just become golden brown.  You should see some juices on the bottom of the pan.  
  4. Remove from oven and let cool.  
  5. Portion out arugula onto 4 salad plates and top with cooled carambola salad.

My oh-crap-we-need-to-feed-people go to salad

 My oh-crap-we-need-to-feed-people go to salad

  • 2 cans different beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil Vinaigrette 

  1. Mix and serve

Planned Version of the Same Salad 

  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced 
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped. 

  1. Add the solid ingredients in a large bowl, gently toss to mix. 
  2. In a separate container mix the vinegar, oil, and herbs. 
  3. Mix thoroughly and then pour over the salad, toss gently to mix.  

I'd love to hear how this turns out for you!

Gluten Free Chocolate Quinoa Cake

Originally posted 7 July 2021 

Definitely needing a distraction from the 791 new Covid cases today. Instead of what's happening in Fiji, let me tell you about this flourless chocolate cake we made with quinoa. Baking is a dark art, while I don't mess with the recipes the way I do with the stove top stuff, I did add a teaspoon of instant coffee to this. It came out oh so good, and I think I need to make it again soon. 

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 mins Additional: 30 mins Total: 1 hr 25 mins


  • 2 cups cold cooked quinoa (1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water)
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (Optional)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a rectangular 9x13 cake pan.
  2. Blend quinoa, butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a blender until smooth. Seriously, blend that quinoa until it's smooth as can be. 
  3. Combine dry ingredients sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir blended quinoa mixture into sugar mixture until batter is well combined. Fold chocolate chips and pecans into batter; pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake on a wire rack.

One Pot Chickpea and Pumpkin Pasta

Another vegan recipe until the end where we topped it with cheese. Dessert was banana pudding from Judy's 4th of July care package, thank you Judy for sharing this taste of home with us 

One Pot Chickpea and Pumpkin Pasta

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 30 mins Total Time: 45 mins Yield: 6


  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (soak the night before)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 chili pepper, finely diced
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • Stock powder 
  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 cups pumpkin, diced
  • Salt to taste
  • 250g pasta 
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


  1. Toast spices, saute onions, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes, water, and stock powder and pressure cook chickpeas for 20 minutes.
  3. Bring pressure down, add salt, pasta and pumpkin, water if needed, boil for 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the pumpkin is soft.
  4. Remove from heat and add the spinach, toss to wilt the greens and serve with a garnish of parsley and parmesan cheese.

Amy's Peanut Soup Recipe

Monday's vegan dinner hit the spot. It's adapted from a recipe my friend Amy sent me. Most of the adaptations are marked with *s, but I might have missed marking some of the changes I made between her original and my bastardized version. We followed it with starfruit bread from Mango Hill farm that was packed full of butter and eggs and yogurt and decidedly not vegan. 

Amy's Peanut Soup Recipe

45 minutes plus prep


  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum) chopped (125 grams)
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • neutral oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • *250 g mushrooms, roughly diced
  • *Eggplant, roughly diced
  • 1/2 pumpkin peeled & cubed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 4 tsp stock powder
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, any variety (180g) 
  • 500 g greens (seijan, bhaji, moringa, malabar)
  • Chilies, jalapenos, sambal or sriracha sauce to your heat preference
  • *1/3 cup Cilantro
  • *2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • * Cooked rice or quinoa for serving


  1. Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot and sauté the red bell pepper (capsicum) and onions with a pinch of salt until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add ginger, garlic and cumin/jeera, eggplant and mushrooms and sauté for another 2 minutes or until fragrant. 
  3. Add pumpkin cubes and stir to combine, then add the tomatoes with their juices and the stock powder + water. Simmer gently until the pumpkin pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladles of hot soup and stir until emulsified, then pour the mixture back into the soup. Reduce heat to low and stir gently to combine.
  5. Toss in the greens and the chilies. Cook on low to wilt the greens, maybe 5 minutes, stir frequently to prevent scorching. 
  6. Turn off heat and stir in the lemon juice, garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts. Serve over rice or quinoa. 

Serves 4 to 6.

Serving suggestions - over rice, with sourdough bread

Eggy Risotto

My mushroom needs are usually well met between Majestic Mushrooms in Pacific Harbor and Mama's Mushrooms in Ba, but I hit a dry spot for a long while. Thankfully I got topped up in June, was able to use those amazing mushrooms in this dish a little while back

Eggy Mushroom Risotto


  • 4 cups hot stock (I use boiling water from the kettle and bouillon powder)
  • *I'm able to cook in nonstick pans, so I use way less oil/butter than this, but I'm not sure how much I use
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely fixed
  • *1 cup chopped bell pepper 
  • *2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Red pepper flakes (I used chili peppers instead)
  • Leaves from 5 to 6 sprigs of thyme (didn't use)
  • *chopped basil, parsley
  • salt
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or nutritional yeast if you've got it)
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten (I used 4, shh!)

add in ideas for risottos in general: beans, mushrooms, herbs, bacon, sliced meats, cook an egg on top at the end, add egg yolks at end, cheese, tomato, corn, basil, bell peppers, spinach, cooked pumpkin, eggplant


  1. Heat the stock in a large pot with an 8-ounce ladle. (Turn the kettle on)
  2. In a 4-quart pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter (I didn't use anywhere near this much oil) over medium heat. Add the capsicum and onion and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute.  Add garlic, chilis to taste, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender, about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat if the garlic starts to brown. Remove veggies to a bowl and keep warm. 
  3. Add the rice and 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot, stirring for about 3 minutes to toast the rice lightly. Increase the heat to medium, add the wine and cook until most of the wine is gone but the bottom of the pot is not dry. Add the cooked veggies back to the pot. Add sufficient bouillon powder for four cups of liquid, then add 1 cup of the hot water from the kettle and cook, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated. Add another cup water and increase the heat so that there is a fair amount of bubbles on the surface and cook until the liquid is once again absorbed (this agitation helps release the starch as the rice cooks). Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and another cup or so of water and continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed into the rice, adding more water as needed and stirring. To see if it's time to add more liquid, drag the spoon through the rice; if the liquid doesn't immediately fill in the space, it's time to add more. Continue to cook, adding liquid as necessary, until the risotto looks creamy but the rice is still al dente, about 18 minutes. If using fresh chopped spinach, add at this point and stir in just until wilted.
  4. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the cheese and stir well. At this point, you can add the egg yolks and stir them in until well combined. Serve immediately.

Basic Gluten Free Quickbread recipe

I'm going to do something different for a little while. We're eating a lot more eggs these days, I'm also cooking more gluten free meals. Instead of a run down of my day I'm going to post some of the new to me recipes.
Ever since I met Dr. Pate my kitchen mantra for meals has been a grain, a green, a bean (or protein), so some of these will skew plant based other than the eggs.
So here's what we had today, it's based off a recipe my friend Crystal gave me.
Basic Gluten Free Quickbread recipe
350F/175C Cook for one hour 2 - 9" loaf pan
1 cup fruit/vegetables (ripe bananas, cooked pumpkin, shredded carrot, etc) measure by volume
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup neutral oil
1/3 cup yogurt
2/3 cup besan flour
2/3 cup finely ground corn meal
2/3 cup cassava starch
2/3 cup sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup add ins (nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, seeds, raisins, etc)
Spice mixes - choose one, about 1/4 cup total
Pumpkin pie - 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger
Chai spice - cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger
Apple pie spice - vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice
1) Preheat oven to 350F/175C
2) combine dry ingredients
3) separately mix wet ingredients well, add the combined dry ingredients, gently fold together just until moist, turn into oiled and floured (or paper lined) loaf pans. Cook for 60 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.