risotto primavera

I love risotto and have tried many many different kinds including with stinging nettles and even strawberries and gold leaf once which was a real eye opener and delicious too.

Contrary to popular belief risotto is really simple to make and the traditional Italian method needs a constant eye during the 20 minute cooking time which is why restaurants in Italy often only offer risotto for a minimum of two people.


Risotto is also extremely versatile, you can add practically anything in and come up with an excellent tasty meal. One of my friends from Bologna taught me that with any leftover sauce and meat from the Sunday roast could be the perfect ingredients for a Monday risotto, a tip I have used many a time with leftover gravy and bits of meat chopped up fine.

vegetables diced

One of my all time favourite risottos has to be the risotto primavera which uses a collection of fresh vegetables. You will find many different recipes on the net but basically primavera means Spring so a mix of any vegetables that are in season would be perfect. For this particular risotto primavera I used onion, carrot, courgette, squash and peas but once you gain confidence you will see there are endless combinations of risottos to dream up

risotto primavera

As you know I have been sent a fabulous Sage Multi Cooker and one of the settings is for risotto, having learnt the traditional method I will admit to being sceptical as to what kind of risotto it would produce, a risotto needs to absorb the liquid slowly and it needs adding ladle by ladle to ensure the perfect ‘chicco di riso’ how could this work?

Well the only way was to try it out and I am a changed woman, it produced the fluffiest, tastiest risotto that didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan either!

There again Heston Blumenthal wouldn’t put his name to it would he unless it was a serious piece of kit.

In fact reading on the site you learn that the Sage Multi Cooker risotto setting has a unique cooking system…

It produces risotto by agitating the rice grains with bubbles to release the starch and create a creamy texture, turning itself off once ready. Simple, delicious, home made risotto, without even stirring.

As for timings I had to use the risotto setting twice to cook it to perfection but I am a learner and time will help me get the quantities and timings right I’m sure. Fact is my risotto was spot on Sage Appliances, spot on.

Risotto Primavera
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A quick and easy risotto to prepare that's full of vegetables
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 1 leek finely diced
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sized courgette, diced
  • 350g Arborio rice
  • 100ml dry white wine - like Lindeman's Chardonnay
  • 1.3l chicken stock
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a few basil leaves for decoration
  • 100g grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the oil and saute the onion, leek and garlic until soft and golden.
  2. Add the remaining diced vegetables and continue to saute.
  3. Add the rice and saute, mixing so all of the rice is 'toasted'.
  4. Add the wine and allow the rice to absorb the flavour.
  5. Sage Multicooker method (see below for on the gas method)
  6. Add the stock and switch the Sage Multicooker to risotto setting. The Multicooker will cook the rice, once it beeps at the end add the frozen peas and stir through. On the arm setting for a couple of minutes will be sufficient to thaw the peas to a delicious crunchy consistency.
  7. Serve into bowls and garnish with a sprig of basil, offer grated Parmesan.
  8. Risotto on the stove method
  9. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add the stock a couple of ladles at a time and allow the rice to slowly soak it in. Risotto on the stove needs constant attention, stirring frequently to avoid it not sticking and adding ladles of stock when it gets low. Your risotto is cooked when the rice is soft but not soaked.
  10. Serve and garnish as method above.

sage multi cooker

I have been trying out my Sage Multi cooker now for about a month and I LOVE it. I already loved my slow cooker and you can find tons of recipes on this blog including some of our favourites here

Beef slow cooker recipes

Hungarian Goulash

Beef in Guinness

Cowboy Stew

Lamb shank slow cooker recipes

Lamb shanks with chorizo and garlic

Lamb shanks with red wine and rosemary 

Chicken slow cooker recipe

Hot chilli, tomato and basil flavoured roast chicken

Fish slow cooker recipes

Italian fish stew

Tomato fish curry

Smoked fish chowder

But this multi cooker really takes the biscuit. It has different settings which allow you to do so much more.

SAGE multi cooker

Any seasoned slow cooker user will know that for an even better taste it pays to brown your meat, to cook your onions and to prepare certain parts in a frying pan before placing in the slow cooker for cooking. Well the Sage Multi cooker can do that for you!

It has an incredibly genius button called sautè/sear …  I have no frying pans to wash up now as I sautè my onions, celery, garlic, add my meat and brown that get everything ready and THEN click on to slow cook low or high depending on the time I have and the recipe I’m using.


Then there’s a button for risotto, I ADORE risotto, husband doesn’t, so I’m waiting for him to go out so I can start cooking some delicious risotto recipes for you, one coming next week and I can’t wait to see if it works as well as the traditional watch and stir method I learnt in Italy and have used until now.

Then there’s a steam button, ever so handy for cooking vegetables, I tried with broccoli and beans and they cooked beautifully, just a nice bite to them and of course you retain all the nutrients by steaming so #winwin on the 5 a day.

I have cooked a ragù sauce for pasta using the slow cooking settings and it is superb. Ask any Italian how to cook a ragù sauce and they will tell you it needs to cook slowly for a long time, the Sage Multi cooker does that for you and in the 5 hours cooking all the different tastes are drawn out and mingled into a mind blowing taste bud ecstacy.

Convinced yet?

This baby is worth around £100 and it does not deserve to sit in a cupboard forgotten, you can use it daily and it is very economical to run.

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Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below and the very best of luck, it’s a dream

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tomato fish curry

Schwartz. Recognise that name?

I do, I’ve had their shots of flavour in-a-bottle in my cupboards since I first went shopping way back in my college days. Well, McCormick are celebrating 125 years of being in the spice trade and to mark the occasion they selected little old me along with other great food bloggers to come up with a recipe based on the Flavour Forecast trends 2014

  • Chillies Obsession
  • Modern Masala
  • Clever Compact Cooking
  • Mexican World Tour
  • Charmed by Brazil

Where to start? I am intrigued with Mexico but I need to research further, I love the idea of Brazil but again I don’t know enough so I plumped for Indian cuisine and a tomato fish curry slow cooker recipe to fit the Clever Compact Cooking remit.

schwartz spices

I used my Sage slow cooker which has the great function of allowing you to saute meaning saving of washing lots of pots and pans plus keeping all the flavours in one place.

tomato fish curry

My Indian tomato fish curry is a one pot meal served with naan breads to soak up the flavours, slurp.

In 2014, global leader McCormick, parent company of UK herbs and spices brand Schwartz is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary. The yearlong celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour forecast and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about the special role food and flavour plays in our lives, have a look on Schwartz Facebook for more details 

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smoked fish chowder

My first chowder ever was eaten sitting on Pier 39 in San Francisco after listening to a pod of seals making a tremendous racket on the rocks by the pier. I remember that day as clear as if it were yesterday.  (June 2006)

Funnily enough I hadn’t expected grey skies and cold, damp days in San Francisco. I had imagined it to be one ray of sunshine after another, however the town didn’t disappoint and when we spotted the clam chowder sold on the pier we had to have one.

clam chowder


The thing that caught my eye was that it was served in a sourdough bread bowl! It looked amazing and a bit of searching online I have found the restaurant Pier Market and totally nabbed a photo of theirs to show you. Isn’t it amazing?

My taste for chowder was born and since then I have tried quite a few, New England chowder, Smoked haddock chowder, I even made one for a starter for our New Year’s Eve dinner party many moons ago. Chuffed to pieces with myself at having been so clever only to discover at least three of my guests didn’t like seafood!

Moving on.

I have made it a few times since then and perfected my fish chowder recipe as I go and as I can’t see us returning to San Francisco in the near future I’m left with second best option of making it myself…. I must try that sourdough bread bowl too sometime.

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cowboy stew slow cooker recipe

Howdy partner!

When I was researching for my handy list of 10 things to make with a Bolognese sauce I mentioned my list to my brother who’s a chef and he said as quick as a flash ‘You’re missing Cowboy Stew.’

So I researched a little further and came across Corey’s recipe for Cheesy Crockpot Cowboy Casserole 

I love that it’s a slow cooker recipe, I love that it’s so economical and tasty but I love the name which appeals to kids and dads too – apart from my girls who quickly renamed it cowgirl stew because we don’t do boys in this house.

Corey’s recipe is American and uses cups so I’ve converted her measurements and I’ve made a few subtle changes as I have no Mrs Dash but I would LOVE to try it out, anybody seen it in the UK?

This is a one pot meal, including beans, meat, potatoes and vegetables, sprinkled with a healthy handful of grated cheese before serving I think the family will love it.

Yeee-ha! (Had to be done)

[yumprint-recipe id=’12’] Here’s a cowgirl’s portion

cowboy stew