Thursday, 9 May 2013

Broccoli and leek arancini (Rissotto) balls

Eating broccoli in season is so different to when it's not! The heads of the broccoli are usually much darker green, the florets are usually firmer and crisper. Broccoli is traditionally a winter food, this is when the price comes down and all things broccoli begin to appear on dinner tables everywhere.  It's such a wonderful versatile food. Some of my favourite dishes are broccoli soup, broccoli, roasted garlic & black olive risotto and I love putting it in any dish that is filled with vegetables, like
stir-fry's, thai food, Italian pasta's, blanched in salads or simply steamed, it's something I eat every day when in season and I make it a feature of any dish I cook in the winter time.

There's something very wholesome about eating food when it is natural for that food to be growing in it's season. Eating seasonally is one way to stay in tune with your body and nature and it can also reduce your carbon foot print. A triple bonus! Often seasonal foods are what you find at your locals farmers market or small vegetable fruitier, at your local community garden or in your backyard veggie patch! All great things to support and be a part of, rating high on the 'feel-good' factor scale.

It's so good for you and really is a super-food. It is not only rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, but it is also loaded with antioxidant and protective phyto-chemicals as well. Broccoli also contains some of the highest levels of vitamins A and C of any food. A half a cup of broccoli provided 60% of daily dietary Vitamin C which is an excellent antioxidant that cleans out free radicals which can cause damage to our DNA and can lead to cancer.  It also provides 20% of vitamin A daily requirements.  Broccoli contains 4% of daily fiber levels, and good sources of fiber helps to clean out the intestines. It also contains 2 % of calcium, iron and 6% of our daily recommended folate requirements. Folic acid, may prevent some birth defects and be beneficial in warding off heart disease, strokes and some cancers.

I never liked it as a kid but thankfully I've come to love it as an adult. Not overcooking it helps! Leaving some of the crisp, freshness and vitally intact and naturally it's flavour too, it makes it so good for you!

Makes approximately 14 small balls

180gm Brown Rice
100gm gluten free crumbs – plus extra crumbs for rolling the balls in
1 leek or small purple onions, finely diced
¼ - ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped (or any other fresh italian herb)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1-2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (to taste)
½ broccoli head, roughly chopped into small pieces
½  cups tahini (wiz with ¼ cup water, salt)
1 tsp Himalayan salt (add to tahini)
¼  cup pine-nuts, lightly toasted

Cook the rice until soft, strain & place under running water until cool.

Saute the leek (or purple onion) until soft, and then add the nutmeg and broccoli. Saute for a further 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is bright green in colour, and al dente!

Mix the tahini, water & salt together, using a whisk until the tahini and water emulsify.

Add rest of the ingredients including the tahini mix and combine thoroughly.

Form into balls 90gms or the size of a small lime. Roll in bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven – 190C or lightly fry in shallow pan with frying oil.
You can eat these little arancini balls hot or cold. Serve with side salad and your favourite dressing or some steamed vegetables & mashed sweet potato. Delicious!

Note: If your balls are too wet - add more bread crumbs, taste and re-season if necessary.
If to dried and crumbly, a little a little more lemon juice or water, taste and re-season if necessary.

Parsley and Cashew Pesto
1 bunch parsley
1 cup olive oil
½ cup cashews
pinch of good salt, to taste
1x lemon, zest

Blend parsley and oil in a blender.
Once parsley is 'chopped' add the cashews and pulse for 10-20 seconds, leaving some slightly chunky cashew nuts to add a bit of texture.

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