Thursday, 6 December 2012

Frugal Food: the bottomless pot

So, no-one fancied linking up to my Frugal Food idea last week but I LOVED reading your tips in the comments section so I'm carrying on regardless, sharing my frugal food ideas.

Did you ever read that children's book about the magic porridge pot that kept producing more and more porridge until it flooded the entire village?  Each time I make risotto, that story pops into my mind because no matter how little rice I seem to put into the pot - it grows to ridiculously large proportions making enough to feed an army!

frugal food: butternut squash and sage risotto


Risotto is a wonderful way to eat like a king on a small budget and it doesn't have to be babied in the pretentious manner that it's often shown on the telly.

You can make it meaty, make it cheesy (a great way to use up those bits of cheese in the fridge that look a bit dry and undesirable), make it vegelicious (using fresh, cooked or frozen vegetables).  You can throw in beans, lentils, leftovers.  You can go crazy with herbs and flavourings, you can add wine, cream, butter and fresh herbs when you're a bit more flush, you can make it savoury or sweet (think rice-pudding with extras).

You can cook it on the hob, in the oven, in the slow cooker - it's so versatile but at the same time it is filling, comforting and delicious.
Although you do get better results with arborio rice, risotto can be made with pretty much any kind of rice and a cupful will expand to generously feed four people making it super frugal.

Leftover risotto is often tasty cold for lunch the next day or can be made into little patties to stretch it into another meal (be sure to heat it through properly as re-heating rice incorrectly can make you ill).

My favourite at the moment is red onion, garlic, butternut squash and sage, made with chicken stock and sprinkled with lots of black pepper.  It's becoming a lunchtime staple on these cold days.

What's your favourite kind of risotto?

18 comments:

  1. It's not re-heating cooked rice that's a food poisoning risk it's incorrect cooling and storing after it is first cooked that is the problem or not keeping it hot enough while waiting to serve etc Baccilus cereus is the common cause of food poisoning associated with cooked rice. It is a spore forming bacteria. When stress is applied to it by heating or drying some of the bacteria forms spores that are heat proof and very hardy. As soon as rice gets to the temperature where bacteria can multiple it comes out of its spore and increases. It forms a toxin that is not destroyed by heat. So no matter how carefully you reheat the rice the toxin is still present. Baccillus cereus isn't always present, but it is best to assume it is. The cooked rice must be cooled as quickly as possible and stored at 5 deg or below in the fridge or put in the freezer.

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    1. Ah, very informative - thank you, Elaine :o)

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  2. Very useful info organisedpauper, thanks.
    Hannah this post made me laugh, sorry, because it reminded me of when very newly married and living in a bed-sit with a one ring baby-belling cooker inside a unit too high for me to see into the saucepan I needed to make all-in-one-pot cheap meals which all turned out like stew.......no-one had told me that barley swells up like rice! Stew was almost solid, lasted us for days and that's when I learned my new husband hated barley but ate it because we couldn't afford to throw it out!

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  3. I've been really busy and missed your frugal linky otherwise I would've joined in. I make risotto using pearl barley instead of rice sometimes as it is cheap and filling. We are having cups of soup quite a bit as an after school drink instead of hot cordial or hot chocolate to avoid too much sugar. I make a huge pot of root vege or tomato, mixed bean and vegetable soup and freeze it in smaller portions so I can quickly defrost it for an afterschool snack or for my lunch. It also stops the kids from trying to raid the fridge to much which makes it even more frugal :)

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    1. Pearl barley risotto is good, too. You are a fountain of frugal ideas, Michelle!

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  4. Oh my. I have somehow never fancied risotto before, I have to confess I've never cooked it, but the way you describe it Hannah, I'm definitely inspired and will be trying it. yum! x

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    1. It's very simple, Jessica - give it a go!

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  5. There's a great sun-dried tomato risotto recipe in Veganomicon that I love. Also a nice leeky one in Huge Furry Whipingstick's River Cottage Veg book. Would like to try my own though, not brave enough yet!

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  6. There's a great sun-dried tomato risotto recipe in Veganomicon that I love. Also a nice leeky one in Huge Furry Whipingstick's River Cottage Veg book. Would like to try my own though, not brave enough yet!

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  7. There's a lovely sun-dried tomato one in Veganomicon and an even more delicious leeky one in Huge Furry Whippingstick's River Cottage Veg that I make quite regularly. Would like to try my own, but not brave enough yet.

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    1. Ooh, that sounds really good. I have that book, I shall look up the recipe - thanks :o)

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  8. I do like a nice risotto and haven't had one in ages, thanks for the idea.

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  9. I love risotto! And I have the same magic risotto pot that just keeps tripling the amount of rice in there. I made a pumpkin risotto this week with grilled chicken - it was a bit gloopy in my opinion, but the other half loved it and that's what matters. x

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    1. Ooh, I love pumpkin risotto. I sometimes add some blue cheese to it.

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  10. Prawns with pea risotto is my fav, followed very closely by a chicken and mushroom risotto.

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    1. Those both sound great, Elizabeth :o)

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