YUM: Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto!

Get in the kitchen this weekend and treat your insides to a yummy, healthy and hearty meal.

Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto


Portions: Serves 4


250g Risotto Rice

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 finely chopped onion

25ml Olive Oil

25g Unsalted Butter

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons dried thyme

175g Quartered Chestnut Mushrooms

1L water

150g Chorizo (diced thumbnail size)

½ Bunch Finely chopped chives

30g grated Parmesan cheese

Place a saucepan onto medium heat and add the Olive Oil

Add the garlic, onion and thyme and fry for 2 minutes until soft but not coloured

Add the butter and melt.

Add the chorizo and mushrooms and fry for a further 3 minutes.

Add the rice and bay leaf – then stir.

Gradually add the liquid and keep stirring as the risotto simmers (approx. 20 minutes)

Once the rice is tender stir in the chives and cheese and serve.

Copyright Rob Rees MBE DL.

Get baking some buns this weekend!

Have a great time together in the kitchen this weekend baking these gorgeous Chelsea buns.



500g strong white flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 x 7g sachet fast-acting yeast

300ml milk

40g unsalted butter

1 free-range egg


For the filling

25g unsalted butter, melted

1 orange, zest only, grated

75g soft brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

100g dried cranberries

100g sultanas

100g dried apricots


To finish

1 heaped tablespoon apricot jam

200g icing sugar, sifted



Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

  1. Place the flour and salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Warm the milk and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Pour into the flour, add the egg and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for

five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered, until doubled in size.(approx. 1 hour)

  1. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 30x20cm.
  2. Brush all over with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the orange zest over the buttered surface, followed by the sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit.
  3. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. With a sharp knife cut into 10 pieces approx. 4cm thick rounds.
  4. Grease a baking tin thoroughly with butter. Place the buns, cut side up, leaving about 1cm gap between each one.
  5. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
  6. When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Check after 15 minutes or so and cover with foil if they are getting too brown.
  7. Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly, before transferring onto a cooling rack.
  8. Melt the jam in a small saucepan with a splash of water until smooth. Brush the jam over the buns to glaze and allow to cool.
  9. Mix together the icing sugar and two tablespoons water. Drizzle the icing over the cooled buns and allow to set before serving.

Recipe based on one by Paul Hollywood

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Williams-Sonoma demonstration.


Includes: 3 main meal and 2 Desert recipes.
Fancy some Salmon with Couscous and Capernut Butter or Duck Confit with Red Jam?
How about Mixed Berries in Lavender and Tarragon Custard?
Fill-in the sign up form on the right to go in the running.

Winners announced in a week time.

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Foodie Friday: Jam Roly Poly

Warm up this weekend with a home-baked
Jam Roly Poly

Jam roly-poly also known as shirt-sleeve pudding, dead man’s arm or dead man’s leg is a traditional British pudding probably first created in the early 19th century. In days past, Jam Roly-Poly was also known as shirt-sleeve pudding, because it was often steamed and served in an old shirt-sleeve, leading to the nicknames of dead-man’s arm and dead man’s leg.

Go on bake a dead man’s leg yourself using Rob’s recipe below:

Serves 6


250g Self-Raising Flour

50g Caster Sugar or soft light brown sugar

125g Shredded Suet

Zest of 1 Orange

1 Free Range Egg

Cold Water

1 Jar of Raspberry Jam


  1. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, suet and orange zest.
  2. Whisk the egg and then stir into the dry ingredients. Add extra cold water (about 3 tablespoons) bit by bit until you have a soft pastry dough.
  3. Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle shape.
  4. Generously cover the pastry with raspberry jam.
  5. With one of the short sides facing you, roll up the pastry.
  6. Wrap the pasty roll loosely in grease-proof paper and twist the ends together lightly.
  7. Place in a steamer with the lid on and cook for about 1 hour. The pudding will expand with cooking and be firm to the touch when cooked.
  8. Serve with vanilla custard.
Jam roly poly with custard

Jam roly poly with custard

Snuggle up and ENJOY

Wellness Wednesday: Keep it Lean!

Keep It Lean



So many of the prepacked meats both raw for cooking or things like Ham and Charcuterie can often be extremely fatty with quite thick coverings.


It’s always a good idea to shop at a local butchers or market or even buy loose from a deli counter where you are able to ask the staff member serving you to trim the excess off.

Saves you money if paying by weight but also reduces your intake of saturated fats.


Think clean and keep it Lean!

Foodie Friday: Delicious Berry and Wheat Germ Smoothie


Portions: Serves 1


250g frozen raspberries/strawberries/blueberries

275ml semi-skimmed milk

570ml natural yoghurt

75g wheat germ

140ml natural orange juice


  1. Place the berries in a blender or Smoothie maker and blend.
  2. Next add the entire remaining ingredients except the Wheat Germ.
  3. Once smooth remove from the blender into a bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
  4. Serve over ice cubes in tall glasses

Alternative combinations:

– Mango, banana, yogurt, lime-juice

– Beetroot, root ginger, banana

The addition of wheat germ adds an extra energy boost at breakfast time to the Smoothie recipe. Experiment with different fruits to find your favourite combination!


Allergies: A matter of life and death!

For nearly 16 years I have shown an interest in improving choices for people who suffer with serious food allergies.

I first met an amazing lady called Hazel Gowland from the Anaphylaxis Campaign. It is just too vague for someone who suffers to be told that something “may contain” a key allergen. Either it does or it doesn’t.

UK law last year brought about changes in eating out that meant the required listing of the 14 key allergens and a daily check list for menus (as well as wider storage and labelling laws) so that staff were empowered with the information to pass on to the customers. With this law passed it meant that someone who suffers could eat out with a much strong sense that any risk is being better managed.

I have seen Chefs that just don’t take it seriously. Chefs who think they are above the law because of their creative style. Well perhaps it takes a tragic story like the one in the news recently about the Curry House and its use of peanuts to get all chefs, caterers and food processors in the world to realise the consequences of not knowing or deliberately not telling what is in your food! It is a life and death matter.

I encourage you, when eating out, to question the restaurant on allergens in a movement to have transparency in the food industry!


Bread and Butter Pudding

Warm up this weekend with some deliciously home-made


Portions: Serves 6



8 Slices of Fruit Bread or Plain White Bread

75g Soft butter

150g Raisins

1 Split Vanilla Pod

Grated Nutmeg

Zest of 1 Orange

570ml Milk

75g Sugar

2 Eggs

3 Egg Yolks


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C then butter the bread, remove the crusts and cut into triangles.
  2. Sprinkle the bottom of your baking tray with the soaked raisins then neatly arrange the triangles of bread on top.
  3. Now make the custard: Place the vanilla pod, nutmeg and grated orange zest into a large saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil.
  4. While the milk is coming to the boil, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.
  5. When the milk has come to the boil remove from the heat and pour over the egg and sugar mixture and stir together. Strain this mixture through a sieve over the top of the bread allowing the bread to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Add enough liquid to almost completely fill the dish.
  6. Now place the baking tray into a “Bain Marie” (water bath) and then place in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
  7. When cooked the liquid will be just set and the bread will be golden in colour. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a spoonful of caster sugar then serve.





To Fat or Not To Fat? That is the question.

Fat or not to fat? Who is in charge?

Well if you ever wanted confusion the Obesity Forum in the UK created it this week – even going global!

The UK National Obesity Forum have suggested that ‘eating fat does not make you fat’ and ‘low-fat diets’ are having ‘disastrous health consequences.’ Then Public Health England reaffirmed their stance – a complete contradiction to the forum.

Read about it here

I am sure there will be fans of the advice and there will be those spitting out every element of saturated fat they possibly can. What I know is that balance is the most important thing.

Here are some balanced examples:

I LOVE butter but on my toast in the morning I spread it thinly and have some thick cut bread.

My wife makes a cheese sauce using a little of a strong tasty cheese rather than a lot of a mild cheese –  this means her sat fat additions are less and well measured.



The most disturbing thing that has resulted from this news is that as consumers we have no idea where to go for advice that we can really trust.

I certainly learnt during my time as a Board Member at Food Standards Agency UK  that being open, transparent and evidence based is key in ensuring that consumers can make well informed decisions.

It is time for someone to stand up as the voice of the consumer, become the statesman, the leader and talk about food in a way that is sensible, practical, independent and trustworthy.

Any takers?


Global Food Poverty Can Be Eradicated!

Credit Suisse confirmed it with the simple sums.
If you just took some funds from 1% of the world’s richest you could end global food poverty.

money world

It’s calculated like this:
The richest 1% earn $125US trillion or 50% of the world’s wealth.
Let’s assume we start to pay the world’s poorest a living wage. That’s not a harsh ask is it?

Well if global Governments agreed to paying living wages for their poorest that could cost $80US billion a year. That is just 0.064% of the top 1% incomes per year.

That’s the sad power and influence they have.

It would read incredibly on a gravestone:
“As one of the worlds richest I gave 0.064%of my income and it cured world poverty”

It’s not about taxes or politics but just simple respect, decency for fellow humans.

It is a basic human right to access good food. As many are saying we are institutionalising food poverty instead of addressing route causes such as: education,  employment, meaningful living wages and localised solutions rather than country wide poverty schemes.

Here in Melbourne like The Cotswolds of course food poverty is relative to those in the poorest countries. Actually it makes it even more shameful.

190,000 children go hungry daily in Melbourne.

In addition Australian children are the most obese they have ever been.

You’ve got to ask yourself about whatever is in place currently. Perhaps it isn’t working as well as it could be.

Maybe it’s time for change?

 – Rob Rees MBE DL

Copyright Rob Rees MBE DL – www.robrees.com.au