Red Wine Risotto with Beef & Bok Choy

I made this meal tonight. It’s the first heavily savoury risotto i’ve made, and a bloody ripper, even if i do say so myself.

– Good quality fillet steak (i used rib eye, something nice and juicy preferably)
– Carnaroli rice – higher starch content than arborio rice means creamier risotto.
– Red wine (mine was the 2002 Riverbank Estate Cabernets, my nana bought it for my birthday… what a great nana :) )
– Tomatos (both real and pureed)
– Quality beef stock
– Bok Choy (this is for a change in texture from the rest of the risotto to add some bite)
– Rosemary
– Risotto stuff ( ive made a lot of risotto lately, so i seem to be repeating the same ingredients and steps, basically this means, chopped onion, garlic, and leek, combined in either butter or olive oil, used to coat the rice before adding stock)

So basically you cook it like you’d cook any risotto, except that before you cook the rice, you cut the beef into strips (or chunks should you so desire) and braise it in a combination of red wine, rosemary, garlic and a little beef stock. Then set it aside just as its medium rare.

Continue with the rest of the risotto, creating the base stock out of beef stock, red wine, and rosemary.

When your rice is ready to go, begin adding the stock, stirring when you need to, and towards the end add in the chopped and pureed tomatoes (as many as you like depending on how ‘tomatoey’ you want it). Then when the rice is almost done, add your beef back in, stir it through, and then add the bok choy and let it soften slighty before serving.

What you get is big juicy pieces of steak combined beautifully with succulent and crisp bok choy and tender carnaroli rice.

And yes, my photography skills are not improving… but fortunately my cooking skills are… so whilst it looks kinda ugly, it tasted really good …

Wine Heaven

I think i’ve found the promised land…

Living in Perth, you often come across an undercurrent of resentment towards our fair city. Specifically about what is available and when, how late the restaurants and clubs stay open, how late the grocery stores stay open (if they open at all), and generally how behind the times we are compared to the larger metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne.

I like to think however, that what Perth lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quantity. There are not as many restaurants as there are in Melbourne, but when you find those few special ones… you know you’re onto a good thing. You only have to look as far as Jackson’s and The Loose Box to realise that we have some of the finest food in the world served up for us every day.

Fine wine on the other hand, is a little harder to come by.

Of course everyone knows about the wealth of quality Western Australian wines from Margaret River, Pemberton, The Swan Valley, (just about anywhere else you can find a square of land big enough to plant some vines in)… But to find quality wines from interstate and overseas can be tricky.

Enter my new favourite place in Perth…Steve’s Bottle Shop

Yes anyone who knows Perth will probably remember Steve’s as the place where preppy university students from the nearby University of Western Australia go to get ridiculously drunk on cheap beer… Not that there’s anything wrong with that (!), i know when i was at uni i wasn’t looking for a rewarding experience when i went out drinking. My first favourite wine was the terribly sweet, and altogether embarrassing Brown Brothers – Crouchon/Reisling

But now that my palate is becoming a little more refined i have come to appreciate the finer points of wine… And now i have found my home.

Steve’s recently announced that they had completely restocked their bottleshop with all kinds of wines, but i had no idea the extent to which they’ve gone. Walking into the relatively dingy bottleshop, past the racks of beef jerky and cartons of VB, you get into a cave of bottles stacked from floor almost to the ceiling. Every known quality wine producing region in Australia/NZ/Spain/Italy/France/USA gets a run, and this is only the main room.

Venturing downstairs into the cellar is a whole new world for any wine lover.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Haut Brion, Chateau Margaux, vintages from many years, with significant price tags to go with them. I walked along just reading the labels, picking up the bottles and looking at the colour and style of the wines… I was only wishing i’d brought my corkscrew with me…

I settled on buying a few wines that were more in my price range, although look extremely good. I picked up a Chateauneuf du pape by E. Guigal, a Pinot Noir by NZ winery Rippon, and for a change (i seem to only ever buy reds), a bottle of Le Tertre, Du Lys D’or. Jack – the guy who runs the place, and who sourced the majority of the wines, let me know that this was actually declassified Chateau YQuem (one of the best dessert wine producers in the world).

Needless to say i’m very keen to try them all out, and will no doubt let you know how they went well. One is certain however, i have found my wine mecca… I will never slither through the depths of a Liquor Land or Liquor Barons again.