I have some good news. Firstly, Cosmopolitan Cyprus wrote a little feature on Afrodite’s Kitchen in their January issue and I’d like to say a belated heartfelt thank you to them. I didn’t actually find out about it until February!
In addition, Evian Water re-grammed an Instagram photo of mine – my carob-chocolate brownies. Thank you Evian Water, I am thrilled! It is really wonderful to be featured in this way.
Although I take great satisfaction from what I do here, because it is just something I like doing, it is also nice to know that my stuff is appreciated by others as well. Yay! Thank – you !!
Secondly, this week was also exciting because I met with a Cypriot pottery maker who I was introduced to me by my photographer teacher. As it usually goes in Cyprus, you will find a connection with just about anyone you meet. In this particular circumstance, it turned out that Mr Pottery Man is related to my Uncle! As a Canadian, discovering connections like this just blows my mind.
But locals don’t really seemed phased by discovering that you have a common friend or relative. They just take it as the norm. I am excited about this new project and will share details with you in due course.
Thirdly, I was dragging my feet about a photography project I was working on. It’s not exactly the happiest of topics, but I am trying to do it in a happy way – I call it “waiting” and it takes a look at old peoples’ homes in Cyprus, with a positive spin. My grandma passed away in an old peoples’ home and I am struck at how little attention is given to older generations. I am not sure what old peoples’ homes are like in other countries, but I always have the sense that when you visit these places in Cyprus, people are literally waiting around to die. So I am working on a photo-story that I hope I might be able to share here with you (though I am not entirely sure that old people and pretty pictures of food is a normal combination, but ah well).
Anyway, today’s recipe is a spring-time wild greens risotto. Spring time is in full swing in Cyprus and I went to the market the other day and picked up some wild fennel, wild asparagus, mushrooms, sweet peas and lemons. I always think “risotto” is difficult to make, but it couldn’t be any easier – if you have homemade chicken broth in the freezer. This risotto is really light and it’s really easy to make. It’s not heavy and the fennel flavour is subtle. If I were to make it again, I think I’d add more fennel to give it that extra punch.
It’s the lemon flavour that really shines through in this recipe, which is what makes it light. It’s best enjoyed as soon as you have made it. I used pecorino romano to sprinkle on top, because it is one of my favourite Italian cheeses, but parmigiano reggiano would be wonderful too. OK, that’s about it for me today. My wrists are hurting a bit because I used my camera a lot in the last few days. … I have to buy a tripod! Happy Cyprus Cooking, as always!
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbs salted butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 finely chopped garlic clove
4-5 finely chopped shallots (or 1/2 an onion)
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh sweet peas
1/2 cup chopped wild asparagus (1 inch pieces)
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
1 tbs finely chopped wild fennel shoots
4 chopped mushrooms
salt & pepper to taste
3-4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbs grated pecorino romano
roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
1. Melt the butter and 1 tbs olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chopped fennel bulb and a little salt. Cook for about 4 minutes until soft.
2. Add rice and stir to coat for about 1 minute.
4. Begin to add your vegetable or homemade chicken broth. Add one ladle at a time, adding a ladle after the liquid of the previous ladle is absorbed. This process should take about 18 to 20 minutes.
5. During the last few minutes (about 15 minutes in), add your asparagus, sweet peas, wild fennel, mushrooms, remaining lemon juice, lemon zest (leave some for garnish) and 1 tbs grated pecorino romano. Add salt & pepper to taste.
6. Garnish with lemon zest, grated pecorino romano and roasted pumpkin seeds.