Lavender Honey Risotto with Vanilla Roasted Stone Fruit

Lavender Honey Risotto (0017) by Meeta K. Wolff

Close your eyes. Imagine the one place you would love to be in at this moment.

Where are you?

Me … I am in Norway – winding up around the narrow roads of the magnificent mountains, floating on the stunning clear fjords or lying on a lush green grassy hill under cherry trees. Roma … sitting in a lively coffee bar in Trastevere. Terracotta, maize and wine colored buildings cast a glow almost like a daylong sunset. In Gozo, watching the big fiery sun dip into the turquoise sea just behind the Azure Window. In a vibrant, psychedelic market in Istanbul.

I have restless itchy traveling feet. I enjoy discovering the treasures of new or even old and previously visited places. For me, travelling has a way of changing you and taking you out of your comfort zone, making you experience new and exciting adventures. No matter where you go or even for how long you are gone, you come back home different than you were when you left. Travelling creates milestones and memories.

Stone Fruit by Meeta K. Wolff

The first time I travelled, all on my own, was at the age of two. My grandparents gave me in the hands of a stewardess and under her watchful eyes I crossed the Atlantic for the first time. Ever since then I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to visit and to live in some stunning, riveting, and even some irksome places. It’s easy to reminisce those delightful encounters but even the unpleasant experiences have left me with valuable impressions.

It’s not always about beautiful sunsets.

Lavender Honey Risotto (0019) by Meeta K. Wolff

Travelling for me, has often been about letting go and embracing the cultures and the people. I’ll walk off the main tourist path into an alley and sit with the elderly signora with dyed hair in Trastevere, snapping peas and taking in the morning sun on a chair just outside her doorway. We’ll talk with our hands and feet as my Italian is as rusty as the bowl she carries in her lap. With refreshing new stories and the valuable tip of where the best Coda alla Vaccinara is served and the only bakery to go to for heavenly maritozzi, I’ll return to the busy tourist attraction feeling exhilarated.

I learnt to travel like this from my dad. I remember once when he took me to into the heart of Queens, because he had heard that’s where he’d find the best Persian food. As we sat on the corner pavement scooping up our Khoresht Fesenjaan, a dubious looking man placed himself next to my father. While my heart took a dip, my dad smiled and offered him his bowl and said “This is the good life, my friend!” The tension was broken instantly and as the man produced a brown bag with a bottle of something, my dad took a swig without a flinch. A few stories were exchanged that evening and as we returned to Manhattan, the pictures of the day were branded in my mind forever.

As easy going as my father was on that day, I do have to admit that I still have a bit of unwinding to do before I get to his equable temperament. But I am following his awesome footsteps.

Vanilla Roasted Stone Fruit by Meeta K. Wolff

Close your eyes and imagine …

it is sunny, but there is a gentle breeze blowing off the water. You are lying in a hammock under a palm shade shelter, sipping an ice cold mango cocktail. The turquoise waters gently break on a white sandy beach, just footsteps away.
Where in the world are you?

I do not know where your imagination just flew you off to, but I will be in Koh Samui this August for a few weeks enjoying this very scenery. While I have fed you with the clichéd picture, trust me I will once again make my way through some dark street finding a special treasure and digging into good, spicy curries off the tourist path. And maybe … just maybe I’ll come a step closer to being as easy-going as my dad.

StoneFruit-0013-WMLavender Honey Risotto (0013) by Meeta K. Wolff

As summer plays hide and seek with us I have created a small island of a dessert that boasts big flavors of summer. With lavender, vanilla, sweet roasted stone fruit, this risotto will fly you off to far-away places within seconds.

Recipe: Lavender Honey Risotto with Vanilla Roasted Stone Fruit

Printable version of recipe here

Lavender Honey Risotto (0017) by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 600ml milk
  • 3 tablespoons lavender honey
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 50g butter
  • 100g cherries
  • 4-5 apricots, halved
  • 3 peaches, sliced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
  • 2-3 tablespoons muscovado sugar
  • 50g pistachios, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Pour milk in a saucepan and stir in the honey. Gently heat milk bringing it to a simmer. Turn off and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes. For the sweet risotto, melt butter in a large pot. Add the rice and stir while it cooks until the rice turns translucent - approx. 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the the cinnamon. Pour in a ladle full of the honey-milk and stir until the milk has incorporated into the rice.
  2. Once the rice starts to get dry add more of the milk, repeating the procedure, stirring at regular intervals. This "massages" the rice, releasing the creamy starch for a perfect consistency. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Toss the fruit in the sugar and place in an ovenproof dish and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes till the juices of the fruit begin to release. Add the vanilla seeds and toss again. Spread the thyme over the top, add the vanilla pod and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the fruit is soft but not mushy.
  4. Spoon some of the fruit into individual glasses or bowls then divide the risotto over the top. Pour a few teaspoons of the syrupy fruit juice over the risotto and top off with some more of the roasted fruit.
  5. Sprinkle some of the chopped pistachios and serve with the fruit still warm.

Verdict

Lavender Honey Risotto (0020) by Meeta K. Wolff

As you spoon the creamy lavender-honey flavored rice and the vanilla infused fruit into your mouth … close your eyes.

Are you in a sea of vivid purple as the lavender fields of the Provence embrace you? Are you on a perfumed orchid plot in Tahiti engulfed in the evocative smell of sticky vanilla? Are you sitting in an orchard under a cherry tree staring at a stunning crystal fjord on a nightless day in Norway?

I wish you safe, happy and adventurous travels! See you all next week.

You might like these summer inspired ideas from WFLH:

BerryPeachCobbler_0027-WM_thumb PlumBlueberryGranolCrunch_0041CR2 Strawberry Panna Cotta 01 framed
Berry Peach Cobbler with a Lemon and Vanilla Crust
Vanilla Poached Plums and Blueberry Granola Goat Cheese Cream Verrines
Strawberry Panna Cotta with Balsamic Red Wine Syrup


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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32 comments:

  1. A delightful treat! So summery and wonderfully fruity. Stone fruits are fabulous and so versatile.

    I'd definitely love to visit Norway. As I don't have the possibility to travel, I daydream a lot...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. MAybe one day Rosa you will travel to all your dream places. But day dreaming is a great way to get away too. I day dream often too!

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  2. Meeta, I want to live in the white tray of fruits and vanilla! Stunning photos and a very interesting recipe :)

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    1. HAHA! It does colorful and appetizing enough doesn't it! The recipe is great - hope you make it!

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  3. What a stunning risotto! It is that first photo that drew me immediately here and, like your tales of travels, has me wanting to go where you went and create a similar dessert, both homey and exotic. We adore traveling and wherever we go, we also try to delve into the local culture. We hope that we have also instilled this passion in our sons - Clem who first traveled alone at 4 is off to Vietnam this summer! You will have a dreamy, wonderful time and bring back photos and food memories and inspiration with you!

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    1. Travelling opens the minds for more creativity and Clem is such a creative boy! I am really looking forward to getting away far for a few days. I will return with tales and food inspiration!

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  4. A wonderful! I'll nominate you for the Pulitzer - don't be doubtful - you know what I mean ;-)

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    1. HA! Not sure I am ready for the Pulitzer but it's good to know my friend enjoys it. Love you!

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  5. Oh, I have the same itchy feet, with a passport always ready to go. First I want to dive into this luscious recipe. Loving stone-fruit this year!!

    Hope the leg is healing ....

    xo

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    1. Thanks Denise - the leg is doing good. Hard work but motivated as I am seeing the results. Hope you enjoy the dessert!

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  6. Such wonderful memories!! We love traveling too and can definitely relate to your travel and food adventures -- it goes hand in hand :)

    Decadent risotto and love the roasted stone fruits with vanilla. Yum!

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    1. The stone fruit is a dream alone but I loved pairing this with the risotto. The warm sweet fruit on the cool rice was incredible!

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  7. Oh Meeta, again you made me drool with your delious photos and your thoughts about travelling :))
    Hugs, Eva

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    Replies
    1. I know you have crazy itchy feet too and I know we both ride the same wave when it comes to travelling. I would love to travel with you. I think we'd have such a ball!

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  8. These pictures are GORGEOUS! Love from SA...

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  9. Ah the sun and the seas of the Mediterranean is where I would be!

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    1. ;o) I know you are a South of France freak! Love it!

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  10. Delicious recipe Meeta.Is there a substitue for the rice you have mentioned.Is it some kind of sticky rice?

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    1. SOrry for the late reply Harini. I make my rice pudding often with risotto rice but I know you can use other sticky rice especially for rice pudding. YOu can use the same rice you would for kheer. Try it and let me know!

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  11. Hi Meeta,

    I congratulate you to write such a lovely post and sharing an all inviting recipe with the world. Vanilla is my favourite flavor, be it bakery item, alcohol or not to forget ice cream, I love cinnamom flavor for its freshness. ALthough its my first time on your blog, but I find it quite amusing to have found the blog.

    Happy travelling
    Mahek

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    1. Thank you Mahek! Hope you enoy travelling through my blog!

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  12. Love reading your posts as well as learning this new recipe for this delightful looking treat. Thanks for sharing

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  13. This recipe looks really good. I can't wait it give it a try.

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    1. Thanks! Let me know what you thought of it!

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  14. What a lovely little travel experience I just had and I didn't even leave my seat. Your dad sounds like a wonderful role model and this risotto has me dreaming of lavender fields...not the ones in France but the one in Washington State...

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  15. Your pictures are mesmerizing ! Charming ! Love the way you let the frames breathe and ingredients inside speak gently :) I'm learning to create that 'high-key' effect as you did but still feel like my frames are a little too tight :(

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta