Whiskey & Fish

The first time I made my parents a risotto at home, they ate some, looked at each other, looked at me, ate some more, looked at me again, the suspense was killing me- judge me- tell me its perfect… finally they spoke

“It’s too wet?  I think you put too much liquid in it?”

“Its creamy, did you put cream in it?”

“It’s nothing like the packet”

… Penny dropped…

My beautiful home made risotto was being compared to ‘Rice risotto’ which is a packet bought from the supermarket, just add water- its crunchy, its dry, its nothing like a real risotto. And NO I didn’t put cream in it- that was achieved from painstakingly slaving over the stove stirring constantly to break down the starch in the traditional aborio rice…

I don’t make risottos often- I don’t know why, I should, they are quick, tasty a great way of using up things in the fridge, they look fancy and in this weather they are a bowl of warmth.

Mr Lid has been a busy boy today, cleaning, gardening, sorting- he deserved a bowl of love…

Smoked Kahawai and Whisky Risotto



Aborio rice

Vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

Smoked Fish (we had some beautiful fresh smoked Kahawai from our local Farmers market)

Bay leaf




(ratio of rice to liquid is about 1 cup to 3 1/2 cups total- you can always add morel)

Finely dice the onion and fry in some butter til soft but not brown.

Meanwhile put your smoked fish in a pot and cover with milk, add a couple of bay leaves and gently heat until a skin forms then turn off and let sit to infuse.

Add risotto rice to the onions and cook stirring till slightly translucent. Add Hot stock about 1-2 ladlefuls at a time stirring well, allowing each ladleful of liquid to be absorbed between additions.

Heat about a cup of whiskey in a pan to burn off some of the harsh alcohol- reduce by about 1/4, add the strained milk off the fish and reduce further (by about 1/2)

Add the milk mix again a ladle at a time to the risotto, carry on adding stock/milk until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock/milk before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water (before making risotto I like to boil a full kettle just in case I need it- and to make myself a cup of tea)

Just before serving gently stir in flaked smoked fish and some fresh parsley and a small knob of butter.

Do not worry if you have left overs- in fact I make sure of it.. tomorrow- Risotto cakes!!

from market to plate- smoked kahawai and whiskey risotto


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