Rachel Allen’s Baked Mushroom Risotto

rach mush ris mar 16


In a heatproof bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes or until soft.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 3. Place the chicken or vegetable stock, whichever you are using, in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and bring to just under a simmer.

Add the butter to a large saucepan or casserole dish with a lid, and place on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and the chopped garlic and cook for 6-8 minutes until soft.

As the onion is cooking, drain the porcinis but reserve the soaking liquid. Roughly chop the porcinis and set aside, then strain the soaking liquid and add to the simmering stock. Season this liquid with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped porcinis to the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Next, stir in the risotto rice and cook for two minutes, stirring gently. Add in the white wine, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until it has evaporated. Pour in the simmering stock, stir to combine, place a lid on top and put it into the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes until just al dente.

Remove the risotto from the oven, add the grated Parmesan and cubes of butter, then use a wooden spoon to beat everything together. Stir in the marjoram or parsley, whichever you are using, lemon juice and mascarpone, if using.

Serve immediately with grated Parmesan on top.



Rachel Allen’s Divine Rich Chocolate Cake recipe

Happy Sunday!
This Divine Rich Chocolate Cake recipe is from my 2nd cookbook, Rachel’s Favourite Food For Friends (published in 2005), that I come back to time & time again. This is a super quick to make and completely delicious cake that’s a bit brownie-like, a bit moussey-like, and can be made using ground almonds or flour, so super versatile. And, it keeps for ages, if you can keep it!
I made 2 this morning, one for home and one for a friend’s (belated) birthday!
Here’s the recipe below!
Serves 6-8
A little soft butter, for greasing the tin
150g dark chocolate, chopped
125g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs, whisked to break up
50g ground almonds or plain flour

For the Chocolate Glaze:
110g dark chocolate , chopped
2 tbsp milk or cream
50g butter

Preheat the oven to 160’C/Fan 145.
Butter the sides of a 20cm round cake tin (or spring form tin ) and line the bottom with grease proof or parchment paper.
Place the chocolate, butter and sugar in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water, and melt. Stir until smooth then beat in the eggs and fold in the ground almonds or sifted flour. Feel free to add orange zest, vanilla, sea salt, cardamom, ginger etc!
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 35-45 minutes until the centre feels just set in the centre, but it will still be gorgeously moist. Allow to cool in the tin .
To make the chocolate glaze , melt all the ingredients together and stir until smooth, allow to cool a little until it has thickened slightly ( about 10 minutes) but do not place in the fridge as it will lose it’s glossy sheen .
Take the cooled cake out of the tin and place on a plate or cake stand , and pour the glaze over the top , letting it drizzle down the sides.
#baking #rachelallencooks #chocolatecake #glutenfree1d

A Pancake Extravaganza by Rachel Allen

rachel pancakes

Tuesday is pancake time. In all their shapes and forms, they are a real favourite in our household. It isn’t just our children who get excited – I adore pancakes and love an excuse to make a real feast of them. There’s something so pleasingly simple, so supremely comforting about a perfectly browned pancake, unchallenging and uncomplicated, but always delicious.
We’ll make all different sorts of pancakes on different years, and often on the same day. I love thin pancakes – they’re called crepes in France, where they’re usually made with some buckwheat flour. I like to eat them rolled up with lemon and sugar, or the perennial favourite, Nutella! We like to make thin pancakes as a savoury treat too, omitting the sugar and making a creamy mushroom filling with bacon and perhaps some Gruyere cheese.
If you’d like to make your pancakes a little more elaborate than just a squeeze of lemon and sugar, you can try this divine orange butter recipe, opposite, that we often make at the cookery school.
At other times, we like to make big, fluffy American pancakes, served with rashers and plenty of maple syrup. I’ve written recipes for blueberry and lemon pancakes in these pages before, as well as in a number of my cookbooks.
The Italian recipe here is a totally different take on pancakes that I’ve made on Pancake Tuesday in previous years. It was inspired by a conversation I had with the great Italian chef, Aldo Zilli. He told me a wonderful story about his mother using light pancakes as an alternative to pasta in certain dishes, and I’ve discovered that they work wonderfully with rich tomato sauces. The Italian baked pancakes with tomato sauce recipe, opposite, uses the pancakes in place of lasagne sheets, which adds a fluffiness to the dish. It’s a perfect family dish and would make a great centrepiece to a Shrove Tuesday dinner table.
Adding melted butter to the pancake batter will make a real difference to the pancakes’ flavour and texture. It also makes it possible to cook them without having to grease the pan every time.

Pancake Recipes:


Darina Allen’s Carrot and Mint Soup


Carrot and Mint Soup

Most people will have carrots, onions and potatoes in their pantry – I’m using the first little shoots of fresh mint to flavour my batch of carrot soup today.


This soup may be served either hot or cold, don’t hesitate to put in a good pinch of sugar, it brings up the flavour.

560g(1 1/4lb/3 cups) carrots, preferably organic, chopped

45g(1 1/2oz/scant 1/2 stick) butter

110g(4oz) onion, chopped

150g(5oz) potatoes, chopped

salt,freshly ground pepper and sugar

sprig of spearmint

1.2litres (2 pints/5 cups) homemade light chicken or vegetable stock

62ml(2 1/2fl oz/generous 1/4 cup) creamy milk, (optional)

3 teaspoons freshly chopped spearmint


a little lightly whipped cream or crème fraiche

sprigs of spearmint

Melt the butter and when it foams add the chopped vegetables, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar. Add a sprig of mint, cover with a butter paper (to retain the steam) and a tight fitting lid.Leave to sweat gently on a low heat for about 10 minutes approx.Remove the lid, add the boiling stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Pour into the liquidiser, add 3 teaspoons of freshly chopped mint and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Adda little creamy milk if necessary.

Garnish with a swirl of lightly whipped cream or crème frâiche and a sprig of fresh mint.


Carrot and Lovage Soup

Substitute lovage for mint in the above recipe.

Carrot,Garlic Chive Flowers and Seeds

Add finely chopped garlic chives instead of mint in the master recipe. Garnish with a swirl of lightly whipped cream or crème fraiche,garlic chive flowers and seeds.  Society garlic flowers are also great.

Gratin of haddock with Imokilly cheddar and mustard by Rachel Allen


Rory’s blackberry and sweet geranium posset@Ballymaloe

Watch How to Cook Well with Rory O’Connell at 8:30pm on Tuesday evenings on RTÉ One.

By Rory O’Connell Celebrity Chef
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How to Cook Well, with Rory O’Connell

Watch How to Cook Well with Rory O’Connell at 8:30pm on Tuesday evenings on RTÉ One.
A classic lemon posset or set cream is a simple and lovely thing and my version here with blackberries and sweet geranium leaves is I believe a good and delicious variation on the theme. It is remarkable how easy this is and how without the aid of egg or gelatine, the mixture sets into a tender chilled pudding. I like the possets served straight from the fridge, so nice and chilly. 
I often make this during the winter months using wild blackberries that I have frozen in the late summer or early autumn. If you are using frozen berries, use them straight from the freezer. I never cease to be amazed by the value one gets from a few bags of frozen fruit when fresh local fruit is simply not an option due to the seasons.  
A little softly whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment along with a fresh organic or crystallised rose petal. The combination of rose and blackberry is a marriage made in heaven and I might be tempted to add a few drops of rose water to the cream when whipping. Be careful though as too much rose water will yield a flavour that is too strong and overpowering. The flavour of the rosewater cream should be akin to catching the scent of a rose while walking about the garden – there but almost illusive.
If you do not have the lemon or rose-scented geranium, you can just leave it out. The fragrant leaves do however bring a magical element to the dish. The plants are easily found at good garden centres and can be treated as a house plant living on a bright window-sill or if the weather is mild where you live, they can spend spring, summer and autumn out of doors in a sheltered sunny spot. I can’t imagine not having one of these plants for the ravishing flavour to bring to certain dishes. In fact, it is the sort of magic that one receives from this rather innocuous looking leaf that humbles and mesmerises me and reminds me every time I use it, how astonishing nature is and how fortunate that my career has brought me down this path where I handle these treasures all of the time. Oh, joy.
The possets can be served in little cups or glasses or the prettiest receptacle you like to use. The portions are quite small as this is quite a rich little dish but I always think it is better to be longing for one more spoonful rather than being faced with too much food.
 A thin lacy biscuit such as the Nougatine biscuits would also be good here and I might be tempted to add a few drops of rose water to the cream when whipping. 
400ml cream
90g caster sugar
5 leaves of rose or lemon scented geranium
100g blackberries
50ml lemon juice.
Place the cream, sugar, geranium leaves and blackberries in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
Stir the saucepan occasionally to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Maintain that bare simmer for 5 minutes. If the cream boils hard the texture and consistency of the posset will be spoiled. 
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. You will notice the colour of the cream improving dramatically as soon as the lemon juice goes in.
Now strain the cream through a sieve to remove the geranium leaves and at the same time push as much of the blackberries through as possible. 
Pour the strained cream into 8 little cups or glasses and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for 3 hours to set.
The posset will keep perfectly in your fridge for several days. I like to cover them to protect the delicate flavour.
Serve with a little softly whipped cream and if you have them, a fresh or crystallised rose petal and a nougatine biscuit.