The French in their own words by Audrey Dawson – digested read

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

6tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp finely chopped shallots

4 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped

40g cumin seeds

4 bay leaves

3 black peppercorns

1 x 175g tin marinated mushrooms (tarragon or cremini work well, or any other white-wine-flavoured mushroom)

1 x 200g tin of chopped tomato

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500ml single cream

500ml cold water

200g parmesan, grated

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Heat the butter in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic and cumin, stirring, for a few minutes until soft. Add the bay, peppercorns and mushrooms and continue to cook for two minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir in the cream and water, then turn the heat to the lowest level possible and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the parmesan and stir to combine.

Place a medium saucepan on a medium heat and add enough cold water to bring it to the boil. Bring it to the boil and boil slowly for five minutes. Drain. Strain into the saucepan and slowly whisk in the cream and simmer for three minutes, stirring regularly. Add the pine nuts to taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve with pâté.

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