February 9, 2018

Friday Flavours: Wild Mushroom Risotto @Monthly Mystery Munchies #32 with Gen

Got a thing for something wild, something earthy and something mushroomy?

No, I didn’t mean those kind of shrooms. Not the slightest insinuation to magic mushrooms! What were you thinking?! 

Rather the shiitake and the oyster mushroom kind. The organic, healthy, non-hallucinating kind. The kind that  I would usually pass; only because I am not the biggest fans of mushrooms. But! There’s always a but! I might just change my mind about mushrooms because. THIS:

Credit: Eat, Play, Clove


That looks oh-so-good, isn’t it? I thought so too! 

That my friends is the Wild Mushroom Risotto dish baked…yes BAKED! by our Cheftress over in South Africa in respond to this month’s challenge of our Monthly Mystery Munchies #32. See how she works it all up with risotto as the theme?  

According to Gen:

It just works. I use shiitake and oyster mushrooms because they have a cool earthy flavour. Parmesan brings the extra, and remember to save some of the white wine for cooking. And there is butter. Need I say it again? It gives me life. Reserve the liquid you use for soaking the mushrooms. It has lots of flavour, and it’s such a waste to toss it. In this recipe, I use 600ml liquid – please note that this is the combined total. It includes the mushroom-soaking liquid, wine and stock.

Just looking at her plate filled with risotto makes me hungry.  Plus, I love that she used leeks in her risotto as well and all the no-fuss ingredients with all no-fuss cooking makes this such a delightful dish. It’ll be a sin if I don’t give this a go.

What are you waiting for? Come and click away from my site for a little while and mosey over to Gen’s kitchen with her fab  Wild Mushroom Risotto 


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February 2, 2018

Monthly Mystery Munchies #32:Artichoke and Goat Cheese Risotto

Who is up for some creamy, flavourful and oh-so-good risotto that would make you go weak in the knees? Luckily for you readers, that’s exactly the theme we have for this month’s mystery munchies: a good-great risotto dish. 

Now, I’ve always thought that risotto is a bit of a pain to make – but turns out that this recipe which Silver Bullet concocted is pretty easy to do. He has combined the basic “risotto bianco” recipe from Jamie Oliver with some ingredients from another risotto recipe he found on Jul’s Kitchen.

It’s also a pretty dynamic dish since it can be served in various ways. Who’d have thought mixing artichoke and goat cheese to a celery-based base can be so good?

So so good such that this now become our family’s favourite!

Add broth and keep on stirring
Let’s throw some turkey bacon as well
Done! Let’s plate it up. 
I’ll have another plate with a piece if fried chicken too, please Mama!

The only thing about making risotto is that you have to pay attention to the stirring and mixing of the broth which has to be done continuously. That means you’ll be on your feet for a good half an hour (at least!). 

Then you decide it if you want to serve this as it is, or add some other stuff to it on the side. You know..like a piece of fried chicken or turkey bacon…or pieces of veal, perhaps?

Here’s the secret recipe (I have to kill you if you ever share this with anyone else! :p):

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Risotto
Serves 4
Elegant comfort food that's classic, creamy and rich guaranteed to lift your spirits.Vegetarian friendly recipe.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1.1 litres organic stock , such as chicken, fish, vegetable
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 cloves of garlic
  4. 2 to 3 sticks of celery
  5. 90 g Parmesan cheese
  6. 50 g Goat cheese
  7. 4 to 5 artichoke hearts
  8. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  9. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  10. 400 g risotto rice
  11. 2 wine glasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
  1. Heat up the stock (you can use basic stock cubes) and leave this on a low heat to keep it warm
  2. Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery. Chop the artichokes and keep separate. Finely grate the parmesan cheese.
  3. In a separate pan, heat up the oil and butter. Fry the onions, garlic and celery over a low heat for about 5 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent (make sure they don’t color. Add the artichokes and keep frying over a low heat until the artichokes are softened.
  4. Increase the heat and add the rice. Keep stirring until the rice turns slightly translucent (1 or 2 minutes). At this point add the wine or vermouth to the pan. Keep stirring until the wine has been cooked into the rice.
  5. Add your first ladle of stock and a good pinch of salt, then turn down the heat. Keep stirring until the stock is absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring and adding the stock one ladle at a time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. You can’t really walk away at this point, you have to keep stirring to ensure the rice is cooked slowly and evenly in the stock, allowing the starch to come out and create this creamy texture.
  6. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked al dente (it should still have a slight bite to it). This can take anywhere from 15 to about 30 minutes depending on the heat and the type of rice. If you run out of stock, add some boiling water. Make sure it’s properly seasoned.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining butter, parmesan cheese, and crumble the goat cheese on top. Give it a good stir to allow the butter and cheese to melt into the rice. Now place a lid on the pan and leave for a few minutes to get the really creamy texture that makes a risotto so wonderful. Serve immediately while it’s still hot and creamy.
  8. If you like you can sprinkle on some sliced chicken ham, turkey bacon, or some other sliced meat, just before serving
  1. For a vegetarian-friendly risotto, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock instead and leave out all the meat. Do not leave out the celery, for it is one of the key ingredients that brings out the taste of the risotto.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver and Jul's Kitchen
Grubbs n Critters https://grubbsncritters.com/

The only problem with this risotto was that it was gone too soon. I mean the whole pan of risotto was gone at one sitting. ONE sitting! No left-over or whatsoever. We had seconds and third helping. The kids loved it!

Remember that a good risotto is a labor of love, and while not difficult, does take some care and attention to cook properly. Once you have started to cook the rice you do have to keep a close eye on the dish and keep stirring in that lovely stock until the rice is properly cooked. But I promise you, it’s worth the effort!

This has once again been a wonderful discovery in the world of risotto. I bet you that Gen would double the pleasure with her creation for this month. Let’s pop over to check what’s risotto-ing at Gen’s #32 Monthly Mystery Munchies  that’s made with this crazy, little twist. 

Monthly Mystery Munchies features every first Friday of the month in collaboration with Gen, Author of Eat, Play, Clove. Stay tuned with next month’s edition from the Grubbs ‘n Critters’ Kitchen!

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January 28, 2018

Sunday Humour: Pearls of Wisdom

Category: Entertainment

Here’s a little something we all *could* ponder on: 

Credit:Google Image


On Wisdom #1, my reality of us living in the Netherlands means that we’d better get used to crying on a bicycle in.the.rain. because that’s pretty much the main means of transportation to just about anywhere. Forget Porsche!

As for the rest, well…they are kind of funny. I hope this ushers you into the week with a smile on your face.


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January 22, 2018

Kids’ Chatter

Category: Critter Stories

You know what they say about the most honest people in the world, don’t you? Brutal-straight-to-the-point honesty where you don’t get any chance at all to inflate your ego.  

Let me share a little snippet of a conversation at dinner between my 2 little critters once upon an evening:

Spud: Mama you are the best cook in the world!

Squirt, quickly interjecting: You don’t know that!

Spud: I know that. Mama cooks the nicest food.

Squirt: No, no. You really don’t know that for sure.

Me, feeling amused: Oh? Why do you say that Squirt? Why do you say that your sister don’t know for sure? 

Squirt: Because…(letting out a big sigh)…because Mama, there is everyone else who cooks. There are aaaallll these OTHER (hands in the air gesture, eyes wider than his mouth expression) people she has not tried. There could be OTHER best cooks. 

Spud, pouting: Hmmmph! I like Mama’s cooking. It’s good enough for me. (pout-don’t-you-dare-defy-pout)

Me? I had to laugh; leaving the kids confused as to why I found the whole conversation hilarious. While Spud’s reaction was endearing, I had not expected such a logical, matter-of-fact response from a 5-year-old which I could not disagree with.

What can I say. He was absolutely spot-on. 

Was I disappointed? Of course not! OK, OK. Just a tiny little bit hurt. I mean, I really thought I was the best cook in the world.What gives?! My stomach hurt from the laughter and of course “there are aaaaaalllll these OTHER people”. 

Oh boy. 

It wasn’t long before I had to prevent the fight from escalating further between the two. In a matter of seconds, restoring peace and quiet we had at the start of the dinner earlier with some lovely, nicest home-made food then became mission critical.

Then again, we wouldn’t know that for sure too, would we? Because… there are aaaaaalllll these OTHER things!

Credit: Google Image
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January 19, 2018

Friday Flavours: Pasta Primavera @Monthly Mystery Munchies #31 with Gen

Almost 3/4 into January and how is your new beginning into 2018 looking so far?

Back in the sweltering, blazing summer of South Africa, Gen, my long-distance and long-standing partner in food grime crime has decided upon a spring dish to usher us into the theme of a new beginning for this month. Now I should have featured this a day right after we post 2 weeks ago like I always would, but this time I couldn’t. 

But just because I couldn’t (at that time), does not mean I wouldn’t! Besides, new beginnings could happen at ANY time of the year, right? So there is still hope – any excuse to stretch this one out. 

Like me, Gen too had a little of  rough time figuring this one out. Who’d have thought this theme would be so difficult to crack! So, after her attempt of  dumplings as weapons of mass destruction,  Gen made this:

Credit: Eat, Play, Clove


Veggies, veggies and lots of veggies! In her worlds:

Now, it’s not spring in South Africa. It is summer. Sweltering, blazing summer, but all of these veggies are available here and I do love spring, and the idea of using these veggies that represent a new season. Plan B worked out well. Hallelujah! I really loved the idea of roasting a wide array of delicious, colourful vegetables, mixing them with butter and cream, topping with parmesan. It’s a creamy dish, but because it also uses a variety of vegetables, it’s bursting with flavour too. 

I think it’s a nice interpretation of theme, don’t you think? That’s quite a clever way to spin this with spring vegetables currently in season. The best part of this is you’ll only need 15 minutes to cook everything. Voila!

If you haven’t check out her recipe yet, I dare you to. So please,  pop over to one of my favourite cooks around for Gen’s Pasta Primavera’s recipe. It comes with a nice little story, too! 

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