Courgette risotto

This is a delicious vegetarian risotto, although it can also be made with a chicken stock. It is adapted from a basic recipe with a few ideas stolen from elsewhere. 


  • 1 small onion, or shallots, finely chopped (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 stick of celery, stringed and finely chopped
  • 40g unsalted butter, plus an extra 20g butter for the end
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock, simmering and hot (or chicken stock for a non-vegetarian version)
  • 300g risotto rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large or 3 medium courgettes, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • A splash of olive oi
  • 1-2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint


  • Start frying the courgettes in a pan with a little olive oil and the garlic. Keep the heat quite high and stir frequently. You are looking to see bits of the courgette starting to brown. When they are cooked, season with a little salt and pepper.
  • In a small pan, cook the onion and celery very slowly in melted butter, until soft and translucent. 
  •  Put the fried onion into the risotto pan, and continue to cook over a low heat. Add the rice and stir it all together, until the rice starts to get a bit shiny and translucent around the edges. 
  • Add a glass of wine, and once it is simmering, add the courgettes, and stir together, along with the chopped mint. 
  • When the mixture is simmering and looking a little dry, start adding the hot stock. Add this a ladleful at a time, and simmering and stirring until it is all hot and incorporated, before adding the next bit. Towards the end of cooking, check the flavour, and add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the cheese will be salty. 
  • Once the rice is cooked, tender but still firm, take the risotto off the heat, and stir in the parmesan. When that has all melted, stir in the butter, cover and let the risotto sit for a few minutes before stirring and serving. 

Gin Julep

Another Saturday evening cocktail with gin. Still working through the gin gifts from last Christmas. This time I used the Ramsbury gin from my brother. 


  • 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves plus a separate wee sprig for a garnish
  • 1/4 floz (1 tsp+) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 floz (1 tsp+) fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 floz (50ml) gin


  • Put the mint, lemon, lime and sugar in the bottom of a tumbler and crush them together
  • Add ice, and then the gin. 
  • Add a garnish of mint

Lamb and Rhubarb Stew

This is just too good to be true, and too good not to share. The Hebrides produces the main ingredients so well. Mint and rhubarb grow in my garden, and there are sheep all around. The recipe is Persian, and this version comes from ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. 


  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil, or 50/50 oil and butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 400g lamb, off the bone and cut into large cubes
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 120g parsley, finely chopped
  • 50g fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 stalks of rhubarb sliced into 2cm lengths
  • 2 tsp date syrup, or brown sugar


  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a casserole dish, and lightly brown the onions. 
  • Turn up the heat a little and add the lamb, turmeric, salt and pepper, and fry until the meat is browned on all sides
  • Pour over boiling water, so that the meat is covered by around 2 cm of water. Simmer for an hour and a half. 
  • Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, and cook the herbs for four to five minutes, until they start to darken. 
  • Add the flour, and continue to stir and cook for another three minutes or so. 
  • Add the herbs to the lamb stew and simmer for another half an hour, to make a thick minty stew. At this point, the stew can be set aside and can be finished another day. Just add the herbs, and then stir and freeze, and then do the half hour simmer on defrosting. 
  • Add the rhubarb and date syrup, stir it in and then cook the stew on a low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t stir, as this will break up the rhubarb

Serve with rice. 

Chicken curry with mint


We had some bits of chicken in the freezer, all boned, and I made this from ‘Curry Easy’ which has to be one of my favourite recipe books.

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 500g boned skinned chicken pieces, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Put all the ingredients in a sealed plastic box overnight (or minimum 30 mins if you forgot) in the fridge. Give the box the occasional shake to keep things all mixed together.

Ingredients for cooking:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint


  • Use a wok, karhai or large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium/high heat, then add the chopped onions and stir-fry for a minute
  • Add the marinade and the chicken, and stir-fry for 3 minutes
  • Add the mint, stir through, then take off the heat and serve with rice.