Our recipe of the month from chef Oscar Humphreys

This is a delicious and less bloating version of a classic Italian dish - the mushroom risotto. It takes no time at all to prepare - the coriander butter can be made well in advance as it can be frozen and then defrosted when needed. What makes this dish, in my opinion, is the pecorino, which gives such a comforting savouriness that you will be hooked from the first mouthful. Were you to omit the pistachio oil, it is very cheap to make. Not only is it delicious, it is also a visual feast - the earthy pecans, the crimson insides of the figs, the verdant rocket and the almost blood-red of the beetroot powder - together they create a spectacular plate of food.

Ingredients (serves 2-3 as a main)

For the coriander butter

200g Unsalted Butter

3 + 1/2 Tbsp Coriander seeds

1 bunch fresh coriander

1/2 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

For the risotto

1 + 1/2 Cauliflower

150g freshly grated Pecorino Romano

200g Mushrooms

2-3 cloves Garlic

Vegetable oil

Figs - 1+1/2 per person

Pecans - around 5 per plate (roasted in the oven - 180c for 8 mins)

Beetroot Powder (Wholefoods have this)


Pistachio Oil (can be bought online)

Sea Salt



Start with the coriander butter

Cube the butter and leave it to one side allowing it come to room temperature.
 In a wide skillet set on a medium heat toast the coriander seeds until you hear them start popping (it's very satisfying). Transfer them to either a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder.
 Finely chop the fresh coriander.
 When the butter is soft enough combine the coriander seeds with the butter, a generous pinch of salt, the freshly cracked black pepper and the fresh coriander. Mix well but do not overwork as the butter might split.
 Lay 2 layers of cling film on a flat surface and roll the butter into a sausage, securing it at both ends.
Transfer it to either the fridge to let it firm up, or to the freezer to use another day.

For the mushrooms

Any mushrooms can be used for this. If you are on a budget: field, button or portobellos work well, but if you are feeling flashy: trompette du mort, pied du mouton, girolles or even porcini. It really depends on how much you are willing to invest. A touch of truffle oil right at the end of cooking helps to emphasise the earthiness as well. A combination of any of these is absolutely fine - go with your instincts; the rules of cooking are not set in stone. Place a wide pan on a high heat and while it is getting smoking hot slice up the larger mushrooms you have selected and remove any dirt from the others.

Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan (not olive as it has a low smoking point and will burn giving the dish an acrid flavour) allow it to heat and throw in a third of the mushrooms. Allow them to colour before adding any salt. Salt releases the water from the mushrooms and they will poach rather than fry. Maximum caramelisation is what you are after. Repeat the same process with the rest of the mushrooms and when you are on the final batch crush the garlic and add it to the pan, taking care not to burn it. Mix all the mushroom together and set to one side.

For the cauliflower

Holding the cauliflower by the stem grate the florets and stop when you get to the stem - using the stem is fine but the texture of the final dish will be less 'risotto'-like the more of the stem that you use.
 In a wide rondeau pan melt around a tablespoon and a half of the coriander butter and add the grated cauliflower to it. Using a large metal kitchen spoon, cook and stir over a medium heat for 10 minutes, ensuring that you scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from catching and burning. When it is cooked remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated pecorino Romano while it is still warm. Mix well.

To finish

Combine the cauliflower and the mushrooms and spoon into a bowl. Quarter the figs and arrange on top (cut side up)
. Scatter some pecans on the surface.
 Gently roll a small handful of rocket into a loose ball and place in the centre. Drizzle some pistachio oil.

Using a fine mesh sieve dust the bowl with the beetroot powder in the same manner that you would ice a cake. But be careful as your hands will be stained red for some time.
Take a fork, sit down and enjoy your hard work.


Oscar Humpreys_JB_161215_024Oscar has worked for some of London’s top restaurants and pop-ups, including: River Café, Barrafina, Koya, Pollen Street Social, Pizza Pilgrims and Bocca di Lupo. He also runs his own catering business working with individuals and businesses. For more information about Oscar please click here