We are currently away, house and gerbil sitting in Cheltenham. The last time I looked after gerbils was when I was 7 and had my school gerbils for the weekend. Much to my disappointment one of them barely moved and slept for the entire time. Very boring. Then the following weekend, much to my mother’s relief that it was on someone else’s watch, it died.
These gerbils are younger and full of life, they belong to E’s seven year old niece H. They are much loved and desperately wanted first pets. It is an amusement to give them the cardboard inner of a loo roll and watch them frenziedly chew through it in about 30 seconds.
Having had the gerbils for a couple of months H put them into the (empty) bath to run around so their cage could be cleaned out. H’s five year old brother (who is several inches taller than his sister) decided to climb into the bath to play with them. You can probably guess what happened. One of the poor unfortunate creatures was accidentally stepped on and squashed, and cue two hysterical children. Fortunately a replacement gerbil was successfully introduced as a companion to the survivor.
Consequently the burden of gerbil responsibility weighs heavily upon me, and as much as I would like to put them into the exercise ball and watch them run around, the thought it bouncing down the stairs and the gerbils escaping fills me with horror and instead I treble check the cage is secure every time I walk past.
Adapted from a book I found on Ed’s sister’s bookcase.
Risi and Bisi
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 400 g scant 3 cups risotto rice
- 400 ml (1 2/3 cups) good chicken stock, more or less
- 1 kg generous 2lbs fresh young peas (weigh before shelling) shelled
- 1 slice Parma ham (cut into small pieces)
- Salt & Pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan to serve
- Soften the onion in the butter and oil. Stir in the rice. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Add the peas and Parma ham, bring to the boil again, and simmer until done, adding more stock if it seems to be getting dry.
- Season with salt & pepper if necessary. Take off the lid and let some of the liquid evaporate if it seems too runny. Dot with a little butter just before serving with the Parmesan.
This was OK, but I feel could have been greatly improved following the usual method of making a risotto, adding the stock slowly, stirring as you go, rather than boiling with the lid on. I also added garlic when frying the onion, and a good glug of wine.
Ren Behan - Fabulicious Food!
Hi Helen, oh dear, what a sad gerbil story (the one in the bath) I am glad that they are being well looked after by your good self. This is indeed, a very random book, though a lovely recipe! Thanks for sharing!
The gerbils are currently chewing an egg box. Making far more of a noise than creatures of their size should.
I love it!! That gerbil has no idea of the magnitude of its sitter! I love the risi bisi too and what a fabulous cook book too. How lucky it was there for you and thanks so much for taking part this month. It’s lovely to have you on board. Xx
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
I love the name risi e bisi! Will you be treating us to gerbil en croute next?
the caked crusader
Good pick for a random selection! Looks great.
Hope the gerbils remain in hearty good health!
Such a classic comfort food dish! And so easy to veganize, too. If it weren’t so darned hot out, I would want a heaping bowlful of this asap! It looks so creamy and delicious.
Thanks Hannah. It would be lovely with some tempeh bacon or crunchy tofu. Please send some of your summer this way, it is miserable in the UK at the moment.
I make very similar dish with smoked bacon. It’s one of my fav dishes, might try risi and bisi next time.
This sounds lovely – a perfect combination of two of my favourite foods(rice & peas, not gerbils ;)) x