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A Cheating Way of Cooking Risotto

A Cheating Way of Cooking Risotto

    I love eating rice and would cook and eat rice nearly everyday. Risotto is a classic Italian cuisine, well accepted by people with different cultural backgrounds around the world. Not to mention, I love its rich and creamy texture going extremely well with a variety of vegetables or meats. The traditional way of cooking risotto is to add stock into the grains gradually and stir constantly. Generally speaking, the whole process of cooking the grains from raw to being cooked with constant stirring requires me standing near the stove at least 25 to 30 minutes or so. I happily invest all the efforts and time in cooking this fantastic cuisine as “labour of love” for my family and the end results prove the labour is well worth.

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    But there are often times, when I am tired, or have some urgent or important things interrupted or for any other reasons, yet I still want a bowl of creamy risotto, I might go for a short cut in cooking. I found a cheating way to cook risotto with similar outcome that I want. The trick is simple, just use a steamer or a wok to replace the constant stirring near the hot stove and skip the hardest part of making this dish. But I have to insert a disclaimer here. The cheating way of my approach and cooking time taken in the following recipe is to produce the well cooked rice in order to suit our Asian rice-eating buds. As for those people who love a bit chewy inside, you have to adjust the cooking time and quantity of stock. Do one or two experiments yourself to find the optimal way to suit your taste if you want to cheat in cooking risotto. Follow my first cooking hack, A Quick Way to Make Crème Brulee Without an Oven, this is my second one posted on this website. Hope you all like it and enjoy.

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    Serves 3 to 4 (Adapted from Australian Good Food, May 2010 edition)

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    Ingredients:

    • 600g (21oz) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp thyme leaves
    • 150g (5oz) Arborio rice, about 3/4cup
    • 70ml dry white wine
    • 550ml salt-reduced vegetable stock
    • 35g (1.5oz) parmesan cheese, grated
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
      Cooking Pumpkin Risotto in a cheating way

      Method:

      1. Preheat oven to 200C (390F). Add 1 tablespoon of oil to two thirds of the diced pumpkin and toss to coat. Transfer them onto a baking pan, lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender and golden.
      2. Bring water to boil in a steamer or wok. Prepare a large deep dish and its size fits in the wok. Use a saucepan, heat stock and bring it to boil.
      3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until aromatic for 3 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Pour wine into the mixture, stir for 1 to 2 minutes until evaporated. Add stock with the rest of the diced pumpkin and bring to boil. Carefully transfer the mixture to the large deep dish in the wok. Steam over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste a few grains by yourself until the texture is cooked to your preference.
      4. Remove dish from steamer. Stir in parmesan, season with salt if necessary, and let it stand for 3 minutes. Divide into separate serving bowls, then top with baked pumpkin and extra grated parmesan. Serve hot.

      I have passions of cooking all kinds of good foods and different cuisines for my family. Check out my food blog, Christine’s Recipes for all the dishes I have cooked, with full recipes and step-by-step instructions and photos.

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      Last Updated on November 18, 2020

      15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

      15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

      It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
      Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

      1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
      2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
      3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
      4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
      5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
      6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
      7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
      8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
      9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
      10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
      11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
      12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
      13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
      14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
      15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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