Monday 17 August 2015

Weekend...All creatures great and small and accidentally Vegan and Gluten/Dairy Free Leek and Portobello Mushroom Risotto.

Tap, tap, tap..."It sounds like someone's playing with the old typewriter on the landing upstairs," I said.  "There's nobody upstairs," he replied. 

"Mmm...Curious," we muttered in unison. Then went upstairs to investigate...There was the typewriter on the landing floor but no ghostly fingers striking the keys. The tapping sound was coming from the opposite corner, by the window. We soon spied the secret intruder. It was one of the little swifts that live in the eaves. He'd somehow flown inside and trapped himself between the window pane and some tools.'s tiny head caught between the glass and a small saw blade. His little wings drumming on the glass in an attempt to escape. Thankfully it wasn't the blade side of the saw, but still...EEK...he was so delicate. Ahmad carefully eased him out and lifted him up from the tools to fly away through the open and sound...

That may not have been the last we saw of our tiny house guest.  Later, we were driving back from a farm down a narrow hedged lane a few miles away. We'd been collecting cherries kindly given by the generous local farmer. Big dark juicy ones to make wine and all ready picked. I spied a bird in front of us...He was flying unusually low along the tunnel of the narrow lane. He turned off to the side for a second to land on a branch as if he was waiting for us. But then he took flight again. Flying low in front of the car...As if he was leading us along the road as I drove, swooping up and down in a kind of salute...Honestly cross my heart...

...I think it might have been our little swift just saying thank you...

...don't you? 

I like to think so...

This is some scrumptious comfort food that I made at the weekend...creamy and unctuous without even a hint of gluten or dairy...

Leek and Portobello mushroom risotto (accidentally vegan)

Ingredients for two large portions or four small:

  • Four medium sized Portobello mushrooms
  • One cup measurement of arborio (risotto rice)
  • One leek
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A pint of hot vegetable stock
  • Garlic - lots, about five of six cloves
  • A heavy based sauce or frying pan
  1. Remove the outer skin from the leek, top and tail and then cut down the centre. Cut each half into small slices and wash thoroughly.
  2. Poor a little olive oil into the pan and warm on the hob. Add the leeks and begin to sauté. 
  3. Season and add the mushrooms, mix well and continue to cook. 
  4. Peel and crush the garlic and add. Mixing again. Mixing well so that all the flavours amalgomate. Add the seasoning and the cup of rice.
  5. Allow the rice to cook a little combining all the ingredients. 
  6. Add the vegetable stock little buy little stirring. Continue to do this until the vegetables are tender and the rice has absorbed all the stock, is tender but still has a little bit to it.
Serve while still nice and warm. This accidentally vegan supper is comforting and delicious served just as it comes. But you may like to add a nob of butter or grating of parmesan if you like dairy. 

nb arborio is naturally gluten free but if you have an allergy remember to check that the rice is produced in an environment where products containing gluten may be...


  1. we had a similar rescue a couple winters ago....a bitty bird got caught between our storm window and window (oops, the storm window had slipped a bit to allow this entry!!!) Just a couple inches of space...not enough to even stretch those wings to escape. Freddy found him. (what a dog!) We didn't get a thank you, though. I believe you did!!!

    1. Oh another lucky escape. Good old Freddy for finding him and not scaring him to death.
      Me too Steph...

  2. Such a sweet rescue and I do believe he was saying thank you.
    Just look at those amazing cherries! I would love to have a cherry tree in my yard
    as they are a favorite, but my climate is just too hot so they are one of the few
    fruits I will buy.
    Enjoy a great Monday!

    1. We just planted a tiny one Tracey. It'll be a few years before we get any fruits and I doubt that they will ever be this good. It's a shame that you can't grow them...but I drool over your fig tree! We have to hard little fruits on a pot one bought as a house warming present. I doubt they will ever ripen fully but may be added to a chutney.

  3. I believe you are right about the bird, they are funny creatures. We used to have a dove that tapped on our window every morning at 7 AM. He was like clockwork.

    How fortunate to receive so many cherries! I'm sure it will make a wonderful wine. The birds got every one of our cherries this year. Have yet to hear a thank you from them. But they were crows and we all know that crows are greedy.

    That risotto looks wonderful. Will have to have a go at it, once the tomato season is over. Thanks for the recipe!


    1. How lovely to have such a sweet morning visitor Jane. A dove has such lovely symbolism of peace and positivity.

      The wine is amazing. It tastes almost like fruit juice with just a lovely deep mellow note to it. It's a shame about your cherries. I hope that you have better luck next year. Maybe you could net them?


  4. he was definitely thanking you, what a wonderful story to tell us. Sometimes we get birds that fly into the garage and cannot figure how to get out (both doors opened...). Sometimes just leaving them be does the trick but sometimes we have to guide them to the doors.

    1. I'm sure too Karen. It's such a good feeling when can aid their rescue.

  5. So happy to hear that you and Ahmad were able to rescue the little birdie...such a sweet story. I know he was saying thanks. :) Your story would actually make a very sweet children's book...don't you think?

  6. So happy to hear that you and Ahmad were able to rescue the little birdie...such a sweet story. I know he was saying thanks. :) Your story would actually make a very sweet children's book...don't you think?

    1. Thank you Emily. I've just re-read my blog post and it could make a story. I'd love to illustrate that one.