The Good Life – Adrian Richardson

by Doc-G on December 1, 2011

A year of cooking and eating with family and friends

Images shot by John Laurie and are courtesy of Pan MacMillan

The Good Life

Adrian Richardson’s philosophy is simple: things taste better when they’re homemade.

Baking your own bread; making fresh cheese, pasta or tomato sauce from scratch; curing salami and other meats; flavouring your own oils and vinegars; making chutneys and preserves … In The Good Life Adrian shows you how to do all this, and more.
Adrian was born into a family passionate about food:

‘My family has strong Italian roots, and it’s no secret how important food is to Italians.‘
‘My most vivid childhood memories revolve around food in one way or another. As a boy, I loved to help my grandfather gather tomatoes and beans from the garden, help my mum pod peas, or to roll out pasta dough with my nonna to make her legendary ravioli.‘

Adrian’s first cookbook, the popular Meat, was a comprehensive compilation of all meat recipes. In The Good Life Adrian’s passion for seasonal produce and his back-to¬basics approach to preparation is brought to all varieties of food, from vegetables and seafood, sauces and marinades, desserts and more.

‘I want my children to understand that carrots grow in the ground; to know that bacon comes from a pig not a packet; that the pasta al forno they love so much doesn’t come from a factory, but has been lovingly cooked by me or their mum.’

Adrian Richardson

The Good Life is not about flash, fancy, show-off food that can only be replicated in a restaurant. They are dishes you can put together easily. They are about comfort and simple pleasures. And, above all, they are about flavour.
With beautiful photography from John Laurie,The Good Life contains delicious family dishes, classic roasts and warming winter puddings, with canapés, cakes and drinks for picnics and summer parties.
Also included are nine master-classes on the basics, with step-by-step intructions on how to make your own salami and other cured meats, fresh yoghurt, bread, sausages and more.
Peppered throughout are ideas for entertaining, hints on how to get kids into cooking, as well as tips on food shopping and how to get the most out of what’s in your fridge.
The result: a feelgood family cookbook that reconnects readers with food at its source.

Adrian Richardson
Mixed mushroom risotto with truffled pecorino

Serves 4

1–1.25 litres good-quality chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
300 g arborio rice
3 tablespoons white wine
60 g fresh peas (or frozen)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped
flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme
50 g butter
50 g truffled pecorino, grated
freshly ground black pepper
100g butter
500g wild and cultivated mushrooms,
wiped to remove any dirt, quartered
5 thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, crushed
375 ml water
freshly ground black pepper

To make a good risotto, you need to start with good stock, and this risotto begins by making a mushroom stock. This is combined with good-quality chicken stock which really intensifies the mushroom flavour. I love to serve this risotto with truffled pecorino instead of the more usual parmesan, as it adds another layer of pungent and rather mysterious earthy flavour.
To make the stock, combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30–40 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and released their liquid. Strain and reserve the mushrooms and stock separately.
To make the risotto, measure the volume of mushroom stock (there should be 400–500 ml) and add enough chicken stock to make up 1.5 litres. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and fry gently for 3–4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the rice and cook gently, stirring, for 3–4 minutes. Increase the heat and add the wine. Allow it to boil vigorously until most evaporates, then add the reserved mushrooms. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring, then add around half of the simmering stock. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the stock has been absorbed. Stir in the peas, then add the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before you add the next. Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked al dente — you may not need the full amount of stock. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, thyme, butter and pecorino.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Cover the pan and allow the risotto to rest for a minute before serving.

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