Dinner party recipes

Pea and herb risotto cakes with broccoli sauce

Pea and herb risotto cakes with broccoli sauce This recipe uses spring time vegetables and could be further enhanced by using wild garlic and nettles in the risotto and by substituting asparagus for the broccoli or serving it with lightly cooked asparagus instead of green salad.

For the risotto and cakes

100g (4oz) butter or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig rosemary
200g (8oz) arborio rice
10 sage leaves
1 glass white wine
900ml (nearly two pints) water with two stock cubes
150g (5oz) frozen broad beans
150g (5oz) frozen peas
Handful fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

100g (4oz) flour
2 eggs whisked with a little milk
Fresh breadcrumbs

First of all bring a small pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for two minutes. Cool under a cold running tap, drain and squeeze out the bright green insides and discard the shells.

In a large pan heat the butter until melted and add the onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add the thyme, sage and rosemary. Saute for slowly for about ten minutes and then add the rice. Cook the rice over a low heat for a couple of minutes until the grains are well coated and then add the wine. Dissolve the stock cubes in the water and start to add the stock a bit at a time stirring as you go. When the stock has nearly been used up add the peas and the beans and continue until the stock has been used up.

Take the risotto off the heat and allow it to cool. Whilst it is still warm roll the risotto into patties and allow them to cool to room temperature. Dip each one into a small bowl of the flour, a bowl of the egg mixture and finally the breadcrumbs. These rice cakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the fridge.

To serve pan fry the cakes over a medium heat in vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides. If you have many to cook but only a small frying pan cook them in batches and hold them in a hot oven while you finish the rest. Serve on the broccoli sauce with a green salad.

For the broccoli sauce

50g (2oz) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 glass white wine
500ml (1 pint) whipping cream
1 small head of broccoli
1 teaspoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a medium sized pan and pan fry the onions and garlic quite slowly. Meanwhile bring another medium sized pan of water to the boil. When the onions are staring to brown add the white wine. Reduce out the liquid and then add the cream and bring the contents of the pan to a slow simmer. When the cream starts simmering add the trimmed broccoli to the pan of boiling water. After no more than 5 minutes drain the broccoli and add it to the cream sauce. Slow simmer for ten more minutes. Add the vinegar and then season with the salt and pepper. Take the sauce off the heat and whizz it up to a fine puree when it has cooled a little.


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