2017 – Week 2: Rice – Three Cheese Risotto, Grilled Pork and Oven-baked Grapes.

52 Week Cooking Challenge

Week 2 – Rice

Three Cheese Risotto, Grilled Pork and Oven Baked Grapes with Thyme and Red Wine

Week two of the 52 week cooking challenge and the theme is ‘Rice’.

When you initially think of it, rice doesn’t fill you with excitement as a theme. However, when you actually put pen to paper on all the great dishes that are centred around rice…it is incredible.

It’s the basis of every meal for some communities, getting many populations through the dry seasons. At the same time it can be the focal part of a ‘gourmet’ dish. It absorbs flavours and can be used in deserts, mains, starters, you can make alcohol with it and so much more.

We were unsure what to cook. Rice pudding was a possibility, Biryani was another. However we settled on three cheese risotto. The tangy and creamy cheese flavours will smack you in the face and keep you coming back for another spoonful. We’ve matched the cheese with some pork and grapes, maybe not the first thing you would think of but then again it works on a cheeseboard and it works amazingly in this dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

For the Risotto: 

  • 1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock , hot – we had some we made left over from Christmas.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions , peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery , trimmed and finely chopped
  • 400 g risotto rice
  • 2 glasses dry white wine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 g Gruyere cheese , roughly chopped
  • 75 g Taleggio cheese , roughly chopped
  • 1 knob butter
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese , freshly grated

For the Pork:

  • 6 meaty Pork Chops
  • 1 knob of butter

For the Oven-baked Grapes:

  • 1 punnet of seedless red grapes (or black)
  • small handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of Red wine…or maybe two splashes. Is that a sploosh?


For the Risotto – Prep: 5mins…Cooking time: 1 hour

  1. Heat the stock in a pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until the rice looks slightly translucent.
  2. Add the wine and keep stirring – any alcohol flavours will evaporate.
  3. Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.
  4. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked but still holds its shape – this takes about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Appenzeller and Taleggio. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste, then beat in the butter and Parmesan.
  6. Place a lid on the pan and leave to rest for 2 to 3 minutes – your risotto will get nice and oozy. Enjoy!

For the Pork – Prep: 0mins…Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Get a griddle pan nice and hot, with a knob of butter melter in the pan.
  • Place your chops in, and don’t play with them! Wait around 4 minutes until they release themselves from the pan.
  • Turn over, and do another 3 minutes on the other side.
  • Let them rest for a minute out of the pan. Slice nice and fancy to make them taste better…obviously…

For the grapes – Prep: 0mins…Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • These are nice and simple. Get your oven nice at hot at around 180-190’C.
  • Whack all your grapes, seasoning, wine, thyme and oil in a small dish (we used a pie dish) and put it straight in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Half way through your 30 minutes – squish the grapes with a fork and get all that lovely sweetness out that is going to go so well with the cheese and pork.


InstaScranUK Tip… For a bit of decoration we added a parmesan swirl – just grated the side of a block or parmesan and placed it all fancy. Then sprinkled some thyme over the top. It’s nice to look at, but it also tells the person who is eating it what is in what they are eating.

Enjoy, but only once in a while! The cheese is addictive…


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