I’ve always been fond of risotto and during a work trip in Rotterdam, Netherlands this was reconfirmed when I had what was the most incredibly delicious mushroom risotto. Since then I have been just dying to cook it. But to cook it like the dish I had in the Netherlands I’ve had to source some special ingredients that I’ve never cooked with before. Not only is this an absolutely delicious risotto it was fun to research and cook. The trick though to any risotto is to keep stirring and use a hot stock so the risotto rice releases its starch which creates the beautiful creaminess that the best risottos have. If you don’t have any speciality mushrooms use what you already have at home.
Delicate mushroom risotto
Recipe: Delicate mushroom risotto Serves: 2 Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 25 mins Ready in 60 min Category: Main
3-4tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
White truffle oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed over salt
2 shallots, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
Fresh parsley, chopped
700ml chicken stock
50g dried porcini mushrooms
400g shiitake or wild speciality mushrooms carefully, chopped
Slice of black truffle
50g block of parmesan
300g arborio rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Warm 700ml of chicken stock. Using hot stock and hot rice before adding the stock will allow the rice to cook evenly.
Carefully chop the larger mushrooms while keeping the texture.
Place the dried porcini mushrooms into 200ml of chicken stock and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
While the porcini mushrooms soak, finely chop the fresh parsley, garlic and shallots.
Grate the Parmesan but keep some back to slice grate over the risotto when serving.
Drain the porcini mushrooms but make sure you keep the stock back for later.
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil and a knob of butter over medium heat and cook of the mushrooms for about 5 minutes to reduce their water and intensify the flavour.
Add the porcini mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add a nice generous glug the truffle oil, seasoning and a sprig of thyme.
Transfer the cooked mushrooms into a bowl.
Then in the frying pan with medium to high heat add 1 tsp of olive oil and a knob of butter and sweat off the chopped garlic and shallots for 2 minutes until they’re sauteed.
Add the rice and keep stirring until the is evenly coated in the oil until the rice is translucent (4-5 minutes).
Add the good splash of white wine to deglaze the rice and stir until it has all been absorbed (2-3 minutes).
Add a small amount of chicken stock (100ml). Stir and allow the stock to be absorbed.
Keep adding stock in small amounts (100ml) while continuing to stir until it is absorbed. This allows the stock to mix with the starch from the rice and create a creamy risotto.
Once the rice is almost al dente pour in the stock used to soak the porcini mushrooms.
Carefully introduce a few shavings of black truffle.
Add the thyme, parsley and mushrooms.
Continue to add the last of the stock while stirring for a further 15 minutes.
Finally, add the parmesan, seasoning to taste and the final two knobs of butter and stir until melted then cover and rest for a few minutes.
Stir before plating the risotto and serve with a topping of rocket leaves, parmesan and a small shaving of truffle.
Use my mushroom risotto recipe Pinterest board of inspiration
I’ve created a Pinterest board with samples of ingredients, recipes for inspiration, presentation tips, videos and photos of my own dish.
I normally keep this stuff to myself and don’t share it but I thought I’d break that rule as I work towards a healthier happier mind and lifestyle.
Just over a week ago I decided to try out fasting. A week prior to that I decided to cut down on my drinking. I was drinking a little too much a little too often. Add the new mountain bike I got back in August and the long walk each weekend and I’m sure you can see what I am trying to do. You know the bid D-work. Diet. Diet, cut out the bad stuff and get back into shape! I’m just having a drink when there is an occasion now such as going out for a meal or friends coming over for dinner rather than the beer or wine routine that I had fallen into most evenings. It’s too easy to fall into this routine.
I really was not enjoying the person I was seeing in the mirror.
In September 2018 I weighed 14 stone and was fairly active but that was changing for the worst to inactive. A comfortable weight if a little more than it should be for a 6.2ft chap. Come Christmas I was sat at the 16st mark. Then around my accident late January I was 15.5st and then shockingly by June 2019 I was 18.5st. Now I know I was immobilised but that’s a big gain and sadly it continued and at my worst some two weeks ago I weighed in at 18.7st. I could also blame hotel life working away, the stress of work and personal changes but I won’t. They all still point to me. With the strongest determination and drive, I said to myself this had to change and by change I meant action. In no circumstances was I going to allow my weight to keep increasing and get any nearer to reaching 19 stone.
One meal a day diet (OMAD)
Those of you that know me will know I am a gadget man and I love my food and drink. With that in mind, I decided to find a diet that would work for my lifestyle. After lots of reading and research, I found one meal a day diet also known as OMAD. This seemed pretty easy to manage and something I know I could manage as I’ve often got by with just the one meal. The one meal a day diet involves just that. It is that simple. Eat one meal a day. So in effect fasting for two meals or 23 hours of the day. And better still you have the freedom to eat what you like (within reason) and it is absent of any need to create meal plans etc although I do plan to track my nutrition. Just because the diet permits you to eat whatever you like doesn’t mean you should. You should make sure your one meal is balanced and giving you sufficient nutrition. My plan is to stay on the OMAD diet until I reach my weight goal, to be more aware of my weight and create a structured exercise routine.
I love my tea and coffee and this is still permitted however I have decided to drink more black tea and coffee and more green and peppermint tea to avoid the milk. I’ve also massively increased my water intake and very conscious of it. The one meal I eat I am keeping under 1250 calories and ensuring is healthy and balanced but also things I enjoy. I have a treat day each Saturday where I am allowing myself to eat more of my allowance and enjoy a drink with friends if I choose to. A key part to the one meal a day diet is strong self-discipline and willpower of which I surprisingly have found I have. Early into the diet I found myself reaching for chocolate and then deciding against it. So that is the food side nailed.
Now for the gadget side. Each morning I record my weight on my Withings body+ scales. This has mostly been rewarding with the scales reporting in the right direction apart from one day where there was a small gain. These scales give you a little graph on the scales to show you your progress and it shares the data with Apple Health over WiFi. It uses bluetooth and a weight profile to know who is on the scales to avoid sharing the wrong weight if someone else uses the scales.
Throughout the day I track my food and drink intake using MyFitnessPal. This allows me to search for food to get their nutritional information and scan for products using their barcodes. MyFitnessPal then calculates my daily allowance and takes into account my fitness and activities. For example, if I go on a long walk, swim or cycle it adds calories I burn from these activities to my daily allowance. Alongside MyFitnessPal I also use WaterMinder to give me a little nudge throughout the day to drink water. I’m a big tea drinker and the app allows me to record other drinks such as tea, coffee, beer and wine. I’m working in the Netherlands at the moment and they really like their tea black. This has led to me drinking more black tea but also more green and peppermint tea. So far I haven’t had any problems holding out for my one meal. As I’m not restricting myself on what I eat I am still able to enjoy all the lovely food I was used too. I’m avoiding some foods such as bread and those high in fat and sugar to help my progress.
In terms of exercise, I am trying to walk for an hour each day which I typically do at lunch or in the evening depending on work. At the weekends my daughter and I go on a nice long walk which usually involves a National Trust property or estate. I record these using the Apple Health app or Strava. My exercise plan involves me swimming every other day and cycling every other. When swimming or walking I use my Apple Watch to track my exercise. I also try to close all the health rings throughout the day. When I’m out cycling I use my Wahoo Elemnt with their ANT+ sensors of my bike for cadence, speed and I also have a heart rate monitor. Once I’m back Wahoo shares the data with Apple Health and Strava. I also track my sleep with Withings Sleep Sensor which is placed discreetly under the mattress. It means you can just forget about tracking your sleep when your home without having to rely on wearables and is very accurate. Strava, Apple Health and MyFitnessPal are at the heart of my tracking. I really enjoy the kudos my friends give me on Strava.
I’m just coming up to a full week and I’m sat at 17st 12lb (8lb loss) and feel so much better in myself. I don’t feel sluggish. I feel more flexible and committed to my plan. My sleep has improved slightly but my ankle and leg give me so much pain I don’t sleep very well as a result. Within two weeks I suspect I will reach my first goal losing a stone and quickly homing in on the sub-seventeen mark. I suspect later in the month I might have a little blip as I have a bucket list trip to New York for my birthday. I’m under decided whether I will keep up my OMAD diet or not but the plan is to try and get my weight down to 13 or 14 stone and keep it there.
Wish me luck!
A diet like this is not for everyone. I’ve shared some interesting articles on the one meal a day diet that both praise it and caution of it. Please seek professional and medical advice if you plan to diet.
Gist is a big part of my workflow. I’ve always been on the lookout for a desktop tool. Well, it turns out I was looking in the wrong place. A few days I discovered two VS Code extensions Gist and GitHub Gist Explorer. They both really great extensions and so far I’m really enjoying having Gist at my fingertips in VS Code.
Once you have installed the extension you will need to grab yourself an access token for GitHub – you can get a personal access token by going to settings and then accessing Developer Settings. Make sure you just give the token access to Gists.
GitHub Gist Explorer seems to be my favourite so far. Having the explorer available in the side pain really helps and the command bar paste and save from clipboard features are really great!
How do I use Gist
The majority of my use if private where I have created secret Gists. I have a number of markdown Gists which I have named Gistsmarks which I use as bookmarks to jump to a collection of Gists like boilerplates for my blog articles.
Any code I share on my blog is shared as a Gist. This allows me to embed the code in the article with a nice editor and provides me with version control too. When I started using Gists I painstakingly went through all my posts and converted any previous code blocks into Gists. Oh, and when I reference code I use the highlighted line(s) URL which is a cool trick too.
I also use Gist to share code and snippets with friends and customers (when it is appropriate of course). I also have runbook like Gists to quickly reference which provide basic lines of PowerShell to perform tasks and run common commands against Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for example. I also have a markdown file for each of my demo environments where I hold information about different personas I have created, areas where I have built out certain functionality and a basic changelog.
While I’m on the topic of VS Code extensions I think I will write another post and share my favourites VS Code extensions.
Hopefully, you got the Gist of things! See what I did there….I’ll get my coat.
I recently visited Tatton Park in Knutsford where the deer were rutting. This is a beautiful park to walk and plenty to do for kids too! This was my first time photographing deer this close and they gave me plenty of opportunities. I have shared a few more photos that are available on 500px. This trip might just cause me to go an buy a new lens. A really big long new lens!
You can browse my published portfolio over at 500px. Be sure to share your feedback.