wild mushroom risotto

A few years ago, when my mom and I had just moved to Durban, my mom was making new friends and having them over for one of her famous dinner parties. From the decked out table to the flowers, my mom is a master at hosting and cooking. The new friends coming over were a delight and she couldn't wait to impress them. Hours before she was in the kitchen cooking away and making sure everything was perfect. We were having prawn risotto. She tucked the completed meal into the warming draw, washed up and got ready for her guests to arrive. After the welcome drinks it was time for dinner. My mom’s new friends were offered to dish up first. Much to my mother shock as she was dishing, she realized that the risotto had gone stogy and was now like porridge, which you couldn't flick of the spoon if you tried. After dinner it came out. Jackie, my mom’s new friend was a chef (which she politely let out during dinner) the laughter that preceded the porridge like risotto has now resulted in a best friendship that has been going for 14 years! 

Risotto has that reputation of being difficult to make and even harder to not over cook. With this recipe I believe we will break boundaries. The biggest trick is to finish it off, as you are about to serve. But who knows, if it bombs there might be a best friendship in the mix for you. 


  • 1 cup wild mushrooms
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 500ml warm water
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml light chicken stock
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 80g parmesan cheese
  • 30g butter
  • Salt and pepper


Remove porcini mushrooms from soaking liquid and gently squeeze. Mix the porcini stock with the chicken stock and reserve for cooking. Chop up the porcini and fresh wild mushrooms. Fry in small batches until nice and caramelised set aside for later. Don’t add to much oil when you are frying, as you don't want them to go soggy. 

Sauté onions gently in olive oil until light golden in colour over a medium heat. 

Add Arborio rice and stir until is completely coated in oil. You will see the rice go slightly translucent while you are frying it with the onions. at this stage you can begin to add the stock. 

Add 100ml hot stock and stir continuously until it has been almost completely absorbed, then add another 100ml. repeat the process with the remaining stock. If you wish to wait until your guests arrive then you will stop the cooking half way through the stock. When your guests arrive put the pan back on your medium heat and continue the process of adding the stock and stirring in until it is absorbed. Remember your stock must be hot! 

Test to see if the rice is cooked when you add the last addition of stock.

The rice should be creamy, tender but with a slight bite. if not quite tender enough continue adding spoonful’s of water until cooked through.

To serve, stir through mushrooms, Parmesan and butter season to taste and serve immediately.



wild mushroom soup

They say time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time. I have to agree.

Winter is starting to come around for its yearly visit and I can't say I am much impressed. I truly could of done with another month of summer. I suppose the best I can do in light of my disgruntled view of winter is embrace in my cooking and all that comes with it.

I must admit no one is grumpy at the thought of a piping hot chocolate or soup in front of a fireplace, wrapped in a blanket and playing board games with a loved one.

If the thought of lazy days cuddled under a blanket and a good book appeal to you, then so will this recipe. Nothing as good as the earthiness of mushrooms coupled with the taste explosion that is truffle oil.

Take your time building the flavours of this wholesome soup. Have a glass of wine while staying warm in front of your stovetop and definitely above all else, share it with loved ones.

serves: 4


  • 2 brown onions
  • olive oil
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 5 twigs thyme
  • 350g wild mushrooms (variety)
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 vegetable stock concentrate sachets or roast chicken stock sachets
  • boiling water to top up
  • salt pepper
  • 2 Tbsp truffle oil
  • 250ml cream


To start boil the kettle.

Dice your onions and put them in a pot with your olive oil over a medium heat.

Sweat your onions down and add your garlic. Make sure to stir continuously as you don't want it to burn and give a bitter taste in your soup

Wipe down our mushrooms and chop them into chunky large pieces. Don’t make them too small or else when you cook them they will shrink into nothing.

Add them to your onions and turn up the heat slightly. Keep stirring.

At this stage take your thyme off the twigs and add it to the pot. I enjoy fresh herbs so you can even add extra to taste-depending on what you love.

Peel and dice the potatoes. I dice them small, as I want them to cook into the soup and not remain chunky.

Add the potatoes to the pot.

Add the vegetable stock to the soup. If you want you can use roast chicken stock concentrate depending on if you are serving to vegetarians.

Add your boiling water until you fill the pot to the top. Bring to boil and leave to boil checking every 20 minutes. As it reduces top up again with more boiling water.

Never add cold water to something that is boiling. i repeat for about two hours letting all the flavours develop.

Once you have reached the two-hour mark and the pot is 3/4 full with the mushroom soup add 250ml of cream and your salt and pepper to taste.

Let simmer for a further 20 minutes.

Just before serving fold in the truffle oil. 2 Tbsp. is usually a great starting point but again, do this to your palette, as you taste your soup along the way.

Serve with croutons and while its hot.