I am still buzzing and overwhelmed by the most mind blowing experience.
I was picked as a volunteer for the UK CEO CookOff where 30 top chefs, 60 CEOs and 600 everyday heroes from schools and hospitals teamed up for the most amazing banquet, raising money to tackle food waste, obesity and malnutrition. A lifetime evening of cooking, fundraising and feasting. The money raised ( over £500.000) will be divided equally between the food education programmes of Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and UKHarvest’s food waste reduction initiatives. It was just incredible!
If you know me in person you can just imagine how excited I was (and I still am) to be part of this lifetime experience and to have the honour to meet and work with my fellow Food Revolution Ambassadors!
Alex from Cheltenham, Thomas from Germany, Jaroslav from Switzerland and myself from Essex ( well, with my Italian /Essex accent!!). We all helped and worked together in teams with the chefs and CEOs to create some of the most amazing dishes, using the freshest and the finest produce and saving the leftovers…. yes, we did get to taste the most delicious food too.
Being in the heart of London amongst the biggest names in the British culinary world, the UK’s top business leaders, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall who attended the CEO CookOff as a Patron of UKHarvest and Jamie, of course! My dream came true, I always wanted to meet him and tell him I am fighting against child obesity and that I’m bringing Nonna Back to the modern families’ tables…and yes I also had to tell him I come from Essex!! well, Sort of 😉
When I saw him in the flesh I realised it was not a dream ……
I have been following Jamie Oliver since I moved to the UK in 1999, he inspired my cooking and I learnt from him that I need to be myself even when I am cooking. This is how I started sharing a few recipes on social media among my friends and writing a food blog was the beginning….. When I joined his Food Revolution 2 years ago and I become an Ambassador for my area I did not know that I would have received all the support from the community and the local school. The concept of Food Revolution really works and it brings people together.
As I walked into Old Billingsgate on Tuesday I felt more energised and inspired than ever, everyone was there for the same reason: the love and passion for food! I am not a chef by all means, but that day I felt like one, the solidarity and the support that everyone showed was indescribable. When you see people smiling, laughing, having a good time you know there is something pretty special about an event like this. I am grateful I experienced such an amazing day, I met some awesome people and I will never forget how it made me feel.
It brought something into my life, that extra boost …
I am just a girl with dreams and I am a believer in dreams do come true….
Please support the CEOCookOff cause http://www.ceocookoff.co.uk
My recipe today is inspired by the colour yellow (just like the #UKHarvest van)
Risotto allo Zafferano Facile Facile
Serving 4 people
300g Arborio rice
500ml chicken stock or 500ml hot water (1 gelatine type chicken cube to mix in the water)
white onion, half, finely chopped
saffron, 1 bag
fresh parmesan, as much as you like!!!!!
Place the butter on a no-stick pan and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Have your stock ready and make sure it’s hot, alternatively melt the gelatine cube in the hot water and mix it thoroughly. Gradually add the stock in the pan and keep stirring the rice, repeat this until you have used all the stock. Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. Pronto!
P.S. Rice takes 14/15 minutes to cook, should you have used all of your stock and the rice feels still quite hard, I would recommend to add a little water but don’t over cook it! Never cook your rice for longer than 15 minutes !
P.S.2. I like to use the same basic recipe with other flavour combinations: Asparagus and Mushrooms, Broccoli and Sweet corn, Asparagus and Salmon, Prawns and Courgette……and so many more……..