This is a diary of what I cook and what I eat.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival 2010

I have just returned from the Liverpool Food Festival at Sefton Park after a fabulous, foodie filled day.  This the first leg of the tour,if you like, as this is running all week in a variety of restaurants across Liverpool.  We are going to 'Gusto' tomorrow on the half price day.  Basically each day this week there is a new promotion going on and this is part of the ongoing efforts of a variety of people to show off the culinary talents that Merseyside has to offer, for a reduced or discounted price so that everyone can try.

Currently I am saving for a house and do not have the spare funds to be flashing about but I did, as usual, treat myself to a few buys whilst wandering around today.  I purchased some extra virgin greek oil from the 'Delifonseca' stall, some vegetables and some free range, British, rose veal escalopes. I then made a veal dish with these ingredients for my dinner this evening and the recipe will follow as it was quite delicious.  I also ended up signing up for an organic vegetable box to be delivered to my house weekly.  So I am so excited about this and the price was quite reasonable.  So that means there will be plenty of seasonal recipes coming up as they choose the vegetables according to seasonality.

I waited for an hour in a queue to see James Martin in the demonstration tent and I thoroughly enjoyed it and intend on trying his recipes out very soon.  I did the very embarrassing thing and asked for a picture with him but I was pleased that I did as Mum will be very jealous!

Me and James Martin

I did get some time last night to actually make something for a change and that was corn fed chicken breast, chestnut and portabello mushroom risotto, wilted spinach with fondant parsnips, recipe below.

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts with skin on (preferably free range)
3 chestnut mushrooms and 1 portabello mushroom finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
chicken stock
1 glass of white wine
a handful of grated parmesan
120g arborio risotto rice
double cream
150 g baby spinach
1 large parsnip

1. Peel the parsnip and take out the centre hard section and then make even chunks of the remaining parsnip.  Place these in a saucepan and pan fry in butter over a medium heat until turning golden brown and then pour a little chicken stock in the pan and reduce the heat.  The stock should come up to halfway on the chunks.  This water needs to be topped up throughout cooking.

2. Pan fry the chicken breasts, skin down, for around five minutes on a moderate heat or until slightly golden brown.  Then place into a hot oven.  You can now start the risotto.

3.  Start by frying the shallot in a little olive oil, then after two minutes add the finely diced mushroom and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add the risotto rice and cook for forty seconds then add the glass of white wine.  When this has evaporated a little start to add a little stock, little by little.  This process is stated in my earlier recipe for red wine risotto and this is repeated here.

4.  when the rice is slightly al dente in the centre it is cooked perfectly.  Add the parmesan and stir.  Place the lid on and remove from the heat, allowing to rest and really get the starchy creaminess out of the rice.

5. quickly heat some butter in a pan and throw in the spinach with plenty of salt and pepper.  Cook for a minute or even less.

6.  Check on the chicken, which should be done.  To assemble, half the chicken breasts and place on top of good dollops of risotto.  Add the spinach to the top, the parsnips can go round the edge.  Lovely. 


  1. This looks so great :-)

    I was born in Liverpool and have always wanted to get back there for a propper visit, Jeeze if only i had known there was a food festival- usually I can sniff these things out! lol

    I have to admit to being a bit of a James Martin fan- In addition to having a funny accent, I really like his baking stuff. And Saturday Kitchen, I would have been brazen enough to ask for a photo too !! :-D

  2. Thats juicy piece of breast you've got there Helen! ;D