These cakes will be appearing on the menu at the next supper club on 3rd August. We will be serving it as a starter, but these cakes can be served as a main course if accompanied by a few side salads, or as canapes if you make them into smaller bite-size shapes. This recipe contains peas and dill to make the most of fresh, vibrant, seasonal flavours. At other times of year, you can adapt the ingredients, you could use porcini mushrooms or butternut squash and dried oregano and serve with a vegan aioli. This does take a little time to prepare, so you may want to make a double batch and use the other half for a risotto, using the rest of the mixture for the risotto cakes the following day.
Makes 8-10 cakes – serves 4-5 people if serving 2 each as a substantial starter.
For the risotto cakes:
Half an onion, chopped finely
Two cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme
glug of white wine
150g Arborio rice
Half an unwaxed lemon
Handful of chopped dill
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (available from health food shops)
40g cooked peas (fresh are best but frozen are fine)
40g tofu (make sure it’s a firm one, not silken, such as Cauldron – found in the fridge section)
400 ml vegetable stock
Optional: 1 chia or flax ‘egg’ (1tbsp chia or flax seeds in 3 tbsp water and left to stand for 10 minutes, then blended to make a thick liquid)
2 tbsp cornflour
For cashew parmesan (optional):
2 tbsp chopped cashews
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
For the puree:
80g peas, cooked and drained
Salt and Pepper
Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Handful of dill
Salad leaves or pea shoots
To make the cakes:
Put the stock on the hob and keep at a simmer.
In a separate pan, heat the oil, then on a medium heat add the onion. After a couple of minutes, add the rice, coating it in the oil and allowing it to toast a little, but not burn. Add the garlic, again making sure it doesn’t burn – it only needs 30 seconds or so. Add the wine, then the thyme, salt and pepper, lemon zest and juice and stir well. Continue to add the stock a ladle at a time and continue to stir. When each addition of stock has been almost fully absorbed by the risotto, add the next. This process should take around 15 minutes, but keep checking to make sure the risotto is cooked through but still has a little bite to it.
Remove from the heat and spread the risotto out in a large dish, then put the dish somewhere cool. The aim here is to allow the heat to escape as quickly as possible until it is cool enough to handle. (30-45 minutes).
While the rice is cooling, prepare the puree:
Boil the peas, then drain. Add the dill – you can chop it first but you don’t need to – and the salt, pepper and oil. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
If you want to serve this with cashew parmesan, now is the time to do it too. (Though it is a good idea to keep a jar of this on the go as it will last months.) Put all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind together until them make a coarse crumb.
Once the rice has cooled, blot the tofu well with kitchen paper to remove as much moisture as possible. Then, place it in a bowl and mash it with a fork so that it crumbles into small bite-size pieces.
Put the risotto in a bowl, then add the tofu, nutritional yeast and peas (not the puree) and stir the mixture together.
Shape the mixture into 10 disc shapes. If the mixture doesn’t hold its shape, you can add a chia or flax ‘egg’ to the mixture to help bind it.
Heat 1tbsp of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Put the cornflour in a shallow dish, then coat each cake in the flour and place it in the pan when hot. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or when golden. It is easiest to do this in batches, with 3-4 in the pan at each time. Once they are golden on both sides, place on some kitchen paper to blot excess oil.
To serve, place two risotto cakes on a plate, then add the puree on the side, or in ramekins, with some green leaves or pea shoots. If serving with cashew parmesan, sprinkle on the top. Job done! Enjoy.