Pumpkin Risotto recipe

Pumpkin Risotto
 
Prep time 20 minutes, Cooking Time: 50 minutes, Serves 4
 
Ingredients
 
1/2 of a medium size organic pumpkin (about 1kg) cubed, removing the pulp and seeds from the
 
inside
 
1 small red onion finely chopped
 
2 cups Arborio rice
 
1.2 litres vegetable stock – make up according to instructions
 
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
 
1 Tbsp Olive oil
 
Salt and pepper
 
Optional: Chard, spinach, kale.
 
Method
 
1) Gently fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes and then add the cubed pumpkin and thyme.
 
Add enough stock to cover the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn and gently cook until pumpkin is
 
nice and soft. About 15mins
 
2) Once soft, add the rice and stir in well.
 
3) Start to add the stock little by little (about two small ladles). Stir and stir and keep stirring.
 
4) As the broth gets absorbed slowly add more stock, stir well and continue to simmer on medium
 
flame.  The texture should be creamy if it is too thick or the rice isn’t fully cooked add another ladle
 
of stock, just make sure it doesn’t become too liquidy.  Stir well. Cook rice until tender but firm to the
 
bite.
 
5) Add spinach or other green leafy veg, stir until wilted.
 
6) Add salt, pepper as required.

Musings on vegan eating in Cambridge..

A LIST OF RESTAURANTS WE’VE HAD NICE VEGAN EXPERIENCES IN, PROBABLY BIASED TOWARDS MILL ROAD COS WE LIVE THERE!
Empress
Pool table, jukebox, family-friendly, phone or facebook ahead for vegan sunday lunches from Enas the landlady who is very nice and up for cooking veggie/vegan stuff. We’ve had green bean and butternut squash pasties, stuffing balls, all the trimming, and ROAST POTATOES galore.Vegan options on new menu but we’ve not tried em yet. Often contains characters. Or maybe we attract them.
Tradizione
 BYO, chance to sit on Mill Road and spectate in the sunshine. Amazing vegan antipasti Two types of vegan pizza and can make whatever you want to order. Gnocchi arrabbiata, and other nice pastas. Lovely owner! Socially validated street drinking in an Italian style.
Urban Larder
Vegan cakes, great carrot cake!
THE SWAN
If you’re in here at the correct 12 o’clock, you might be able to cure a hangover rather than commit to one! Great vegan breakfasts if you ask for no butter, and get the tabasco from behind the bar to perk it up a bit. You’ve might have to be up for deep fried mushrooms. We are, so this is not a problem. Also very reasonably priced veggie burgers and chips. Simple decent pub grub, and the chef is obviously bothered about it being Alright. And you can have tea rather than a pint if you’re not feeling it, EVEN THOUGH THIS IS FOR QUITTERS. Only issue is that it doesn’t open until midday so sometimes we’re hanging around outside at five to looking a bit desperate. We’re not mad keen sports fans and there’s a bit of that about, however the beer garden is nice on a fair day. Comfy sofas that you can get lost in. If you stay until 2am you get a free Mill Road Zoo experience! Seem to remember some decent banging tunes on the jukebox and making friends with someone there. Can be messy.
THE DEV
…will do pretty decent vegan pizza, and very reasonably priced vegan chilli on chips! Locally owned, with local and international beers, and the dark ales from Milton Brewery are even unfiltered & so vegan. The staff are great. Fascists aren’t welcome. Actually, Milton Brewery will do you a keg of unfiltered vegan beer of any variety if you give them some notice.
Cambridge Blue
Have got some vegan stuff on their menu, burger, falafel, veg pasty thing. Quite a lot of fried & beige foods, can leave you gagging for a bit of fresh salad even if you don’t associate that with drinking, however the pub is basically Nice and has a big selection of booze from around the UK and the world. And a beer garden for summer and good fire in winter. Popular place.
Backstreet Bistro
Have now got a vegan menu after several requests! This is a good thing. The main meals are mostly great, good Thai options if Nuk, their Thai chef is working (have had less good experiences when he isn’t!) and vegan nut roast for Sunday lunch. Only one we’re not sure about is the falafel burger, too much beige. Bit more upmarket restaurant thing, good to take your parents to or as a treat if you’re feeling flush. Service can take a while if busy so don’t take hungry kids on a Friday night.
CB1
Not been in recently but don’t know why because they do vegan cake, sausage sarnies, and lentil burgers!
Jack’s Gelato
It’s a sign of humanity’s basic insanity that the amazing food enjoyed in Italy isn’t more widely available in this country. Jack bucks the trend. His fantastic and imaginative gelato concoctions are sold in a bunch of places around town, often multiple delicious vegan options! Red wine and chocolate ice cream. Yum. 
Alex Arms
Curly Kale Cafe pop-up vegan delights one Monday and Tuesday every month! See website for details.
Ohayo sushi
Small friendly place on Mill Road, take away or eat in, BYO
Kymmoy
Cheap and cheerful noodle and rice bar. Go when hungry! Kym, the owner, is great.
Free Press
Has vegan raw food pop ups on Sunday evening run by the amazing Barbara.
Thanh Binh
Vietnamese restaurant on Bridge Street, BYO, portions not huge, nice for an occasional change.
The Architect
Another newly and nicely done-up pub owned by Ed who owns the Alex. Curly Kale pop-up one Tuesday and Wednesday every month.
Japas
Sit down sushi. The aubergine is good! Not cheap, I’m sure you get generally better sushi in London or elsewhere, and for Cambridge it’s fine and sometimes really good.
Urban Shed
Sam had the best sandwich of her life here! Harissa, hummus, artichoke and grated carrot. 
Fagito
No-nonsense fast food. Vegan pie, burger, falafel, and often good chips which can be had with hummus and unusual chilli-mint sauce.
Botanics / Garden Kitchen
Same owner, same food. Vegan options, not cheap, good quality.
Rainbow Cafe
Officially Cambridge’s only permanent vegetarian restaurant. It’s ok to take visiting family to for a quaint underground adventure, soup, garlic bread and puddings are worth a look, however the mains are very hit and miss and often feel like students could cook similar. As recommended by pill-pushing mentalist Gillian McKeith! The fact that the only specialist veggie restaurant is so-so is probably a sign of the effects of property prices in the local area. SORT IT OUT CAMBRIDGE!
Wrestlers
Basically a Thai restaurant disguised as a pub. Tell them you’re vegan and ask for no fish sauce, or egg. Pad Thai with no egg is the noodle choice. Tom Kha is the vegan curry-ish option, no shrimp paste in that one, or the stir fries or Thai salad with no fish sauce. No tofu sadly, but cashews can be added. Filling!
Haymakers
Good pizza, and a substantial vegan burger option. Open on Mondays, which can be a life saver when several places are shut. Milton Brewery like the Dev, so dark ales are vegan. Nice staff. Can get busy, especially on a Friday night, as Chesterton contains a lot of earners from the science park, and limited night spots! Might be worth booking a table if going at peak times. On Sundays they do non-vegan sunday lunches only at lunchtime AND we’ve happily taken our own sausages and bisto and they’ve charged us a fiver for a plate of roast veg – smashing!
Pipasha
Good quality Indian restaurant, fairly standard dishes, menu clearly labeled with dietary information including dairy.
Tulip
Friendly Turkish place on Mill Road. The falafel meal and the Imam Bayildi (literally “the imam fainted” because roast aubergine is so good!) are the weapons of choice here. Crisp, hoppy Efes lager. Mmm. Might need to ask for extra rice / bread / whatever as what you get can vary a bit! Good bread, ask for the homemade hot sauce, and ask if they have any grilled onions with pomegranate sauce because they are GREAT, and not on the menu! And the Efes lager is refreshingly tasty.
Al Casbah 
Another friendly Mediterranean restaurant a few doors down from Tulip. You get free pickles! The lager isn’t Efes though. Tulip is more random and cheerful, Al Casbah probably does slightly better food. They did us a nice vegan starters plate and a main to share and it was quite enough.
Cambridge Farmers Market outlet / Sunday farmers market stall
Go there! Get local organically grown (if not always certified) veg! It’s like a secular church experience in the queue, lots of nice types gathered together for a shared purpose – affordable organic veg.
Arjuna
All-veggie wholefood shop! Many products and vegan takeaway meals in fridge.
Daily Bread
A bigger wholefood store a bit out of the centre in Kings Hedges, with options for buying lots of stuff in bulk.
Al Amin
Foods from all around the world, loads of good stuff, and a street-facing cafe setting up which has lots of promise. Abdul, the owner, is a true gent. Community focused and has donated hundreds and hundreds of pounds worth of food to Calais migrant solidarity kitchen projects.
Nazreem Dar
Another multi-ethnic mini-market, Other end of town from Al Amin, a treat if you’re up that way.
Bibimbap
Korean place on Mill Road, not huge portions, one or two vegan options, ok for a change now and again. BYO.
Thai restaurants
Cambridge has a few, things to check: NO FISH SAUCE. Egg glazed tofu (noooo! Why??!) and in tempura batter. Oyster sauce. Watch for egg rice and egg noodles. Curry sauces usually have shrimp paste in, so most curries are off the menu. Thai food is great, full-on flavours, so persevere with the list of things you don’t want.
Indian restaurants
Some dishes are made with butter or yoghurt, so ask. Naan breads are usually yoghurty or eggy. Paratha can be buttery. Roti, chappatti or puri are safer bread options. Paneer is soft cheese! Cambridge doesn’t have the best curry in the country; Tom thinks the Curry Queen has the richest flavours on Mill Road, or the Maharaja if you’re nearer Bridge Street (although the service has been hilariously brusque or random in the past which is either funny or off-putting depending on how you take it), and Cocum is a Southern Indian restaurant for variation, although they seem to have occasional run-ins with environmental health! Some people like Meghna Balti on Victoria Road.
Chinese restaurants
Cambridge has a few, and we’ve had hit and miss experiences, nothing special so wedon’t go often. Think the obvious dishes are normally safe though, and there are often tofu dishes on the menu. Tofu dishes often come with meat so feel free to check what you’re getting.
Turkish / Mediterranean
Just check that things aren’t made with milk – Anatolya in the centre makes hummus with milk, which is confusing / devastating!
Korean
Most Korean food is animal-based. Tofu is served in soft bits bobbing around in the dish, so negligible flavour or texture, which seems a bit pointless to us philistines.

RECIPES

Feb ( Or, as we like to call it around here, March..)

Here’s a great recipe I’ve adapted from the most excellent book, and I’d recommend it, Divine Vegan Desserts by Lisa Fabry. This book is an absolute favourite of mine. It’s a collection of vegan desserts being produced around the world and the recipes are from cafes and restaurants all over.  Just ace….

So, many of you have eaten and enjoyed our key Lime pie? Here is the recipe. It’s Raw ( rarh! riot!) and vegan… how good is that?

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients

Base

2 cups nuts ( I use what I have, cashews, brazils, walnuts, hazelnuts)

1 cup dessicated coconut

1 cup pitted dates ( get the gooey, sticky ones. Arjuna do them)

Filling

1 and 1/2 cups cashews soaked overnight ( or cheat and soak in warm water for 2 – 3 hrs)

2 ripe haz avocados

2/3 cup agave syrup

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 and 1/3 cups lime juice

2/3 cup of coconut oil

Method

Right then, there’s no getting round it – unless you want to pound nuts like an Amazonian, you’re going to need a decent blender. Blend up all the base ingredients into a sticky mess. Yep! that’s it – stage one done. Press into a flan case ( 12″).

Next, Drain the water from the cashews and yep, blend all the other ingredients.

Spoon and smooth onto base. Decorate. Refrigerate til firm (Innuendo cook – title of my next album!)

Eat.

January

We’d like to start sharing our recipes, so here’s a recipe for a dish we did for a COFCO and Cambridge Sustainable Food City party back in November. Easy and yummy and possible to source all the ingredients locally. Let us know what you think and do post any findings or observations or new twists you may discover. ENJOY!

Winter veg smoked hotpot with black badger beans, sausage and dumplings

Ingredients
A little or a lot of yummy olive oil. I always start with the bottom of the pan generously covered but I do understand it’s not for everyone… not sure why cos it’s the best!!

1 onion

6 cloves garlic

1 thumb size piece of ginger

2 teaspoons of smoked sweet paprika

Herbs. I have a big rosemary branch that Liz brought to us earlier in the year which we dried and I unhook and sprinkle in, or a bunch of fresh thyme or dried herbe de province will do. A teaspoon or two of dried herbs is enough.

1 leek

2 carrots

750g – 1kg of winter veg ( I like to add some parsnips for their amazing sweetness, carrots, squash, potatoes, swede….)

100g of dried black badger peas, soaked over night and cooked as per instructions on packet. If not you can use a tin of any type of beans you fancy. You can get locally grown beans from Hodmedods.

3 sausages, or more if you like… I prefer the delicious viana real jumbos, mild smoked veggie hot dogs, bit expensive but yummy, or fry’s sausages, or any sausage type you prefer The jumbos don’t need cooking; the fry’s do. Slice into half inch rounds/ slices.

Stock (vegan bouillion is my favourite) – enough to just cover the veg.

Dumplings… add any type of herb including fresh parsley for herby dumplings

225g self raising flour

110g veg suet or 110g margarine

salt and pepper

What to do with all the ingredients..

  1. On a low heat gently fry the onion, finely chopped garlic and ginger, herbs and paprika, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the other veg. I like to cut the carrots in a chefly way! – but don’t worry, cut it all into chunks and chuck it in the pan. Pour in enough stock to cover and simmer on a slow heat until the veg is just starting to go soft.
  3. Add the beans and sausages
  4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top to taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste too.
  5. Mix the flour and suet with the salt and pepper and herbs if you are using them and add about 12 tbsp of water until you have a sticky dough. If using margarine, rub the marg into the flour as you would for pastry and then add the water.
  6. Drop spoonfuls or little balls of dough into the hotpot mix. You should get about 12 dumplings. Cook over a gentle heat for 12mins. If, like me, you like the dumplings slightly browned, put the pan under a grill or in the oven until the tops of the dumplings are golden. Obviously don’t do this if your pan has plastic handles cos that’d be daft!!

7.Serve with winter greens and mashed potato, or try with some yummy bread (have you tried Bread on a Bike? If you live in Cambridge Alison will deliver weekly amazing sourdoughs!)

Freezes well so make a load!