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Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe

“W” in our Vegetarian Alphabet… OK we’ve had to bend the rules a little as our Mushrooms weren’t actually foraged as it the wrong time of year for most of them. But you get the idea I hope?

Today’s bit of useless information. Auricularia auricula-judae go by many common names. As you can see by their Latin name “Wood Ears” is one of the more polite versions. “Jews Ears” is the older and now generally redundant version. Legend has it that Judas Iscariot hung himself from an Elder Tree after betraying Jesus. The Elder is the favoured host species, so the similarity to ears and legend combined to give this interesting like Fungus it’s name. In fact there’s likely to be very little truth in this particular legend as Elder prefer colder and wetter conditions, also the wood if very brittle and doesn’t support much weight before snapping. But who am I to question an good myth?!


Wild Mushrooms (We had a pack of dried Auricularia auricula-judae from the local Chinese Supermarket and a pick of Woodland Mushrooms from the Supermarket)
Vegetable Stock
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
Risotto Rice
A Small (125ml) bottle of White Wine
Butter (Or Margarine)
Fresh Parsley to garnish
Grated Italian style Cheese
Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to season
Olive Oil
Dried Thyme


(1) If you are using dried Mushrooms rehydrate them according to the instructions.
(2) Fry the Mushrooms in Butter or Margarine and set aside.
(3) Add more Butter (Margarine) and Olive Oil to the frying pan.
(4) Gently fry the Onions until they are translucent.
(5) Add the Rice dry and stir it to coat.
(6) Add the Wine and simmer to reduce whilst stirring regularly.
(7) Add the Garlic and Thyme.
(8) Add the Stock little by little stirring continuously.
(9) Once to liquid has been absorbed add the Mushrooms and stir well.
(10) Just before serving stir in the Italian Style grated Cheese.
(11) Season with Salt & Pepper to taste.
(12) Plate up and squeeze a little Lemon juice over and garnish with fresh Parsley.


Vegetarian Aubergine Vindaloo

The later letters in any of the ‘Alphabet’ gigs can be a bit tricky recipe wise. But this worked well for ‘V’ in our Vegetarian Alphabet.

Ingredients for the curry:-

1 Aubergine, chopped
1 Red Onion, finely diced
200g of Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 Tin of chopped Tomatoes
A handful of fresh Coriander Leaves, roughly chopped
2 Spring Onions, sliced across
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Tbsp of Tomato Puree
Oil to fry

Vindaloo Paste Ingredients:-

2 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Thumb of Ginger, minced
2 Tsp of Garam Masala
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 hot Red Chilli, chopped
1 Tsp of Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp of Caster Sugar
1 Tsp of Salt
1 Tsp of hot Chilli Sauce


For the Vindaloo Paste:-

(1) Grind the seeds in a pastel and mortar.
(2) Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix.

For the Curry:-

(1) Fry the Onions in a little Oil until translucent.
(2) Stir in the Tomato Puree.
(3) Add in the Vindaloo Paste.
(4) Add the tin of Tomatoes and Cinnamon Stick and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
(5) Add all the other ingredients, excluding the  Coriander Leaves and again allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
(6) About 5 minutes before serving and most of the  Coriander Leaves, keeping enough back to garnish.

We served ours with boiled Rice, Vada ( Recipe here )and Pappadums. Garnished with the remaining  Coriander Leaves just to add a bit of colour. Nom!

Our DIY Hot Chilli Sauce recipe is here


Battered Stuffed Squid

This was supposed to be another version of “Surf & Turf” but it ended up with the Squid being a cross between Stuffed Squid and battered Calamari. The prepared Squid were 0.64p with a yellow sticker when they should have been over £6 – They had very little chance of staying at the supermarket at that price!

Filling Ingredients:-

40g of Rice, boiled until fluffy, drained and cooled
6 Anchovies
1 Tbsp of Capers, drained
6 Sliced of Chorizo, chopped

Batter Ingredients:-

2 Eggs, whisked
Plain Flour (Gluten free for us)
Hot Chilli Powder
Garlic Salt
Onion Salt
Soda Water


(1) Once the Rice is cool mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl
(2) Remove the ‘Head’ from the body and stuff the filling into the cavity.
(3) Shove the ‘Head’ part in with the ‘Legs’ hanging out.
(4) Mix the batter ingredients in a bowl.
(5) Heat a fryer to 160c.
(6) Dredge the stuff Squid in a little Flour.
(7) Dunk in the batter to evenly coat.
(7) Fry individually until the batter is golden brown.
(8) Drain on kitchen paper.

As always the small plate is for Smooh the Cat! She’s certainly extended her taste pallet over the last 9 months with us…….


Urad Dal - Vada (Medu)

We’re heading rapidly towards the end of our Vegetarian Alphabet experiment, so ‘U’ worked well with Urad Dal Vada. These are effectively savoury Doughnuts made from Black Lentils (Urad Dal). Very tasty as a side with a curry…..


140g of Urad Dal (Black Lentils)
¼ of an Onion, diced
A thumb nail sized piece of Ginger, minced
1 Green Chilli, finely diced
1 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
2 Curry Leaves, finely chopped
A pinch of Baking Powder
Water to make the dough
Salt & Pepper


(1) Soak the Urad Dal for at lease 5 hours and rinse.
(2) In a blender add the Urad Dal, Salt, Baking Powder and Water.
(3) Blend for 30 seconds and scrape the sides down.
(4) Add a little more Water and pulse repeatedly until you have a fluffy but think dough.
(5) Transfer to a bowl and mix the remaining ingredients by hand.
(6) Form into Doughnut shapes by hand.
(7) Heat a fryer to 170c.
(8) Fry individually until they float and drain on kitchen paper.


Asian Sticky Sesame King Prawns recipe

As we are reaching the end of our Vegetarian Alphabet, we decided we’d have a go at 100 Asain recipes for a bit of fun. Having rummaged through over 500 recipes we found we were on to a good start with 47! - We’re also fortunate to have quite a few Asian and Continental shops within easy reach. So the slightly odd and interesting ingredients allow us a much wider scope….

Stir Fry Ingredients:-

1 Carrot, finely sliced
¼ Cucumber, finely sliced
50g Mange Tout, sliced lengthways
100g Tender-stem Broccoli, halves lengthways
1 Lime
1 Tbsp of Sesame Seeds
200g of King Prawns
Chorizo, chopped
1 Spring Onion, sliced
1 Red Chilli, sliced and de-seeded
A handful of Coriander, chopped

Sauce Ingredients:-

A Thumb of Ginger, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Spring Onion, finely sliced
1 Tbsp of Hot Chilli Sauce (Recipe Here)
100Ml of Apple Juice
1 Tbsp of Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp of Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp of Oyster Sauce

Sauce Method:-     

(1) In a pan add the Garlic, Ginger and Spring Onions, with a little Oil and fry over a low heat.
(2) Next add the Chilli Sauce, Apple Juice, Brown Sugar, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce and Oyster Sauce.
(3) Bring to the boil and them simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir Fry Method:-

(1) Add the Noodles to boiling water and cook until just softened.
(2) With tongs plunge into cold water and set aside.
(3) In a Wok or large frying pan heat Oil.
(4) Add the Prawns, Chorizo, Carrot and Mange Tot.
(5) Stir over a high heat until the Prawns are pink all over.
(6) Add the Broccoli and lower the heat to soften while stirring.
(7) Reheat the noodles and add to bowls.
(8) Stir the sauce into the stir-fry.
(9) Toast the Sesame Seeds in a little Oil.
(9) Add to the bowls and dress with Coriander, cucumber, Spring Onion, Chilli and Toasted Sesame Seeds.

We deep fried a few extra Rice Noodles to add as an additional garnish.


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