Tag Archive | asparagus

Risotto Primavera alla Cipriani

-Cipriani’s Spring Risotto-

With many of you starting to send out posts about the first signs of spring, which I sadly cannot do since I live in a tropical climate, I like to take you with me instead on a short journey ‘down memory lane’ to the beautiful city of Venice.

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One of the domes of the Basilica di San Marco, Venice

Many many years ago a number of our international friends and I had a very noisy, and I confess, slightly boozy, but, oh so enjoyable Lunch at the world famous Harry’s Bar in Venice.

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…..preparing our Bellinis

In fact it was one of those wonderful impromptu get-togethers one really cannot organise – they just happen!! And certainly nobody wants them to end quickly.

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(Andrea outside Harry’s Bar)

The original plan that day was for all of us to meet at “Harry’s”, have refreshments and take Cipriani’s own boat out to the Island of Torcello to their beautiful and romantic Locanda – one of those wonderful little honeymoon locations , where we all were going to have lunch. But, one way or the other, we never made it to Torcello that day but remained in Venice until closing time! I of course now cannot, by the best will in the world, remember what each and everyone had ordered that day, except I do remember, that I had “Risotto primavera” (Spring Risotto) making use of many of the vegetables grown near the Locanda on Torcello. This dish was created and recommended to me by Arrigo Cipriani himself – so how could I refuse? It was a dish so divine, that I never, with all my travels around the world, have forgotten the smell and taste of this exceptional Risotto. He very kindly gave me permission to use this recipe in my own blog or book. And before I forget let me tell you – this dish is really very easy to prepare, so do not be put off by the length of the ingredients list. I hope that you enjoy this risotto as much as I did then and in fact once again only two days ago when I tried to recreate this for my post here.

For: 6
For the spring vegetables you need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
250 g of shiitake mushrooms; thinly sliced (I used button mushrooms)
3 small artichokes, thinly sliced (were not available)
1 tsp onion, finely chopped
4 small zucchini, diced (I used green ones)
12 asparagus spears cut into short lengths
1 large slice of red capsicum, cut into pieces
1 small leek, white part only, cut into short lengths
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Risotto you need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
150 g risotto rice (I used Arborio)
1.5 l chicken stock
40 g butter
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper

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To prepare the vegetables: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then remove it from the pan and discard. Add the artichokes and cook for 8-10 minutes, then add the onion and cook for a further 2 minutes. Finally, add the Zucchinis (courgettes), asparagus, red pepper and leek, increase the heat to high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

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To prepare the Risotto: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. Stirring the rice, lower the heat, add about 120 ml of the stock and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Gradually add more stock as each addition is absorbed. After about 15 minutes, when the risotto is half-cooked, add the vegetables and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the rice is tender and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For a softer risotto stir in a few more tablespoons of stock.
Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

And the next time Jo and I are in Venice, maybe we find the time to once again enjoy Cipriani’s splendid hospitality.

Ciao Carina

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ASPARAGUS FEST, PART II

HALLO !  Yes, I am back again.

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She promised us a second recipe from Chef Pierre in Bangkok and what happened? Some of you may have asked. Nothing, nichts, niente, nada etc.

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But here is the little story – everything was ready in good time to be posted as promised first thing, before breakfast even, on Thursday morning. But then something else inevitably happened. We were both happily reading our books when suddenly around 10.30 pm an enormous “bang” was heard outside somewhere in the road – the lights went out, thankfully only for a short while, but……… the lines for TV and Internet disappeared completely. So, at this time, Friday afternoon, when I drafted this I have no idea when those lines will once again be restored; we will just have to wait and see. – The lines only came back now.

And nearly 10 days later here is Chef Pierre’s second Asparagus recipe, and this time he is using that lovely fat white Asparagus which is very much connected to my earlier memories. So absolutely simple, no fuss, no complicated cooking, this is the best way to enjoy that beautiful taste of this kind of Asparagus.

Although Chef Pierre has given this recipe with “Paris Ham”, it is also absolutely delicious with smoked salmon!

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White asparagus with Paris ham and hollandaise sauce

500 g white asparagus

120 g hollandaise sauce

Some tiny new boiled potatoes

100 g Paris ham

50 g lemon, cut in half

20 g lime

For the hollandaise for 5 pers.

100 g egg yolk

200 g good unsalted butter

20   g lemon juice

10   g salt

3   g white pepper.

Method

Prepare the potatoes and boil them slowly until tender.

Peel and clean the asparagus and boil them in very hot water for about 8 to 10 min according to size.

Prepare the hollandaise sauce.

Display the elements on the plate nicely and serve right away.

Just do remember three important words “the asparagus must be hot, the sauce warm and the Paris ham cold!

Make the hollandaise.

Melt the butter and keep warm, around 45 to 50* C.

Mix the egg yolk with 60 g of cold water in a stainless steel bowl and  whisk this over a bain marie (simmering water in a pot), whisk it constantly until warm, fluffy and has a thick consistency like a mousse.

Take it off the fire if necessary from time to time – the process should be slow and not exceed 65 to 68* C, or your egg will start to scramble.

Then take off the fire completely and add lemon juice, salt and pepper (according to taste) while stirring the butter.

Serve right away.

Bon appetite, mes amis!

Asparagus Fest at “The Verandah”

Last weekend I invited you, my dear blogging friends, onto an imaginary flight to Bangkok to join our table at “The Verandah”, the elegant restaurant overlooking the mighty Chao Phraya River at our favourite hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

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This is the domain of Chef Pierre (Rimoneau ) who, as part of “The Verandah’s” Asparagus Fest, has graciously parted with two of his most delicious Asparagus recipes, especially created and prepared in order to showcase the delicious flavour of the wonderfully white asparagus and the organically grown green asparagus and using ingredients from the Royal Projects.

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In fact I am off tomorrow “Asparagus hunting” in our new hypermarket. It will not be the wonderfully thick white kind of variety which was very much part of my German seasonal feast, when I still lived in the country of my birth, but just the very thin green variety which I got to like later in England – better than nothing at all, I say. Don’t you agree?

Asparagus Salad with waxy boiled quail eggs

 80 g Asparagus, green import

 90 g Asparagus, white import

120 g Asparagus, local (wherever you are)

  30 g mixed salad

 20 g sundried tomatoes

 10 g parmesan shaving

 65 g boiled quail egg

  1 g edible flower

 25 g lime and olive oil dressing

 ½ g chervil

Method           

Peel and boil the asparagus: 3-4 min for the green one’s and 8-10 min for the white one’s, according to their size. Test.

Pick and clean salad, dry and mix together.

Boil the quail eggs, 3 min. Cool them down and peel them.

Prepare an olive lime juice dressing with salt and pepper.

Set the salad in the plate, add the asparagus cut in length, the sundried tomato cut in strips, and add a flower on top.

Add some parmesan shaving and at the last minute cut the quail eggs and place them on top of the salad, the yolk should be running into the salad.

Serve right away – with the dressing separately.

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Enjoy!

So, for whatever your personal taste buds crave, I suggest you try both – and why not!? I am sure you will not be disappointed. Second recipe will follow in a couple of days.

I hope you all enjoyed your treat and of course I will pass on your comments together with my personal thanks to Chef Pierre and to Executive Chef Stefan for their kind help and support.

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See you again soon, Carina 

Orchids galore!

You my dear friends, who have been following me here since last year, know by now that without any doubt the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel in, yes of course, in Bangkok/Thailand is my most favourite hotel of all those beautiful hotels I have stayed in.

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You also know, that the floral genius Khun Ken, displays every few months one of his incredible creations for the guests to admire.

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This time, in order to herald in summer, Khun Ken has ‘decked the hall’ with this striking display of purple orchids.

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So, come and lets board an imaginary plane and fly out to Bangkok where we can sit in the lobby once again with our tea, coffee and/or drinks and those absolutely delicious Macaroons 🙂 and enjoy the view.

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And if you feel up to staying on for lunch or dinner later, join us on The Verandah for one of  Chef Pierre Rimoneau’s specially created dishes, showcasing fresh white asparagus imported daily from France alongside green asparagus from Thailand Royal Projects. This Asparagus Season lasts until 31st May.  Come back for recipe later!!

Carina