So Valentines Day was the weekend after one of the coldest weeks of winter, and as the Mothership was coming into town that weekend, we decided to just give ourselves a cosy evening in on the Thursday. I decided to cook us a red wine and sausage risotto as a) I’ve been cooking a lot of meals revolving around fish, so wanted to mix it up a little bit, b) despite needing that extra bit of care and attention, it’s such a warming dish and c) as it’s so rich, it also lasts for days to come.

Side note: Have you seen a show called ‘Penny Dreadful’? Put your Netflix account to even better use and start watching it. It’s about a team lead by Timothy Dalton and Eva Green, to combat supernatural threats which have also taken possession of Dalton’s daughter in Victorian London (so the costumes and gore are incredible), and Josh Hartnett and Billie Piper (babes) also star in it. Naturally this was our viewing for after the meal.

I recently found a great chain bio food store near us called ‘Queues de Cerises’, and one of the main things I like about it, is that it has all manner of grains, lentils, rice in tall drop containers so you can take as much as you need. They also encourage you to bring your own container, this goes for all fruit and vegetables, and if you forget it’s no trouble as they provide brown paper bags. So after stocking up on my staples, I also added arborio rice for the evening’s dinner. As for the sausages, I bought 6, organic and gluten-free British Outdoor Bred Pork And Bramley Apple Sausages from M&S, which were 80% pork, 7% apples, and also contained, water, chickpea flour, rice flour, black pepper, sea salt, green peppercorns, it did contain sulphites which I wasn’t thrilled nor surprised at, but encouraged that it was the last ingredient on the list next to absorbic acid.

I find that everybody has their own way of cooking risotto rice, some of which may be easier or more straightforward than mine, however the method I describe below is how I was taught, and has never left me with rice which has been too al dente or overcooked. So, after getting my rosemary out of the freezer, something which I wrote about in A Herby, I Mean Handy, Little Tip, I set about making a meal that would hopefully take us out of the cold and into the present:

125g arborio rice
3 organic and gluten-free sausages, skinned and cut into chunks(details the the ones I used above)
625ml homemade vegetable stock
85ml red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
100g brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
Freshly cracked black pepper

– Heat oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the sausages until they start to brown, transfer onto a plate.
– Add the garlic and the shallots and gently cook until they start to become golden.
– Stir in the mushrooms, giving them space to brown.
– Turn in the arborio rice and don’t stop until they have started to become translucent.
– Stir in the wine and continue the until most of it has evaporated, return the sausages to the pan.
– Add half of the stock and stir frequently until the majority of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
– Throw in the rosemary and slowly add the stock to the pan while stirring, leave for about 5 minutes, you may not need that long so keep an eye on it.
– Add the black pepper to season.
– Turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Enjoy curled up in a blanket.