Bon appétit! Here, gourmet fare that strikes a balance between gastronomy and well-being.

Paul Tremain (pictured right), executive chef for Palisades on the Glen Retirement Community, makes healthy cuisine a priority for residents, but that doesn't stop him from innovating and creating a restaurant-style atmosphere and menu.

Perhaps surprisingly, Tremain takes inspiration from his experiences with street food, makeshift kitchens and ethnic cuisine during his time living and backpacking across South East Asia for his current post.

Of course, he's also worked in the kitchen of two boutique hotels and is no stranger to gourmet fare. He and his culinary team consult with the community's director of care to ensure a balance is reached between gastronomy and well-being.

His diabetic-friendly and low-sodium dishes, like the ones featured here, never compromise on taste. Bon appétit!

MUSHROOM RISOTTO WITH FRIED LEEKS

Ingredients

4-5 cups (1 - 1.25 l) low-sodium chicken stock

Olive oil

½ cup (125 ml) arborio rice

½ white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 cup (250 ml) sliced crimini mushrooms

1 cup (250 ml) sliced oyster mushrooms

Salt and pepper

1 medium-sized leek

½ cup (125 ml) chopped Italian parsley

¼ cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour

Directions

1. In a small pot, bring the stock to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a straight-sided sauté pan and add the rice. Gently stir the rice to toast it, but do not allow it to burn.

2. Add the diced onion and continue to stir, adding the garlic once the onion is softened. Begin by ladling the stock over the rice gradually, stirring constantly.  Allow each ladle of stock to be fully absorbed before adding another.

3. Meanwhile, in another sauté pan, sweat the mushrooms gently, seasoning with salt and pepper, until their moisture comes out and they start to colour slightly. Slice the white of the leek very finely and add it to the mushrooms until softened.

4. Take the light green part of the leek and slice it into long strips. Heat some more olive oil in a wide pan. Toss the leeks in a little of the flour to just coat them, then drop them carefully into the hot oil.  Stir them to avoid sticking and burning. Once they are crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

5. Once your rice is al dente (cooked but still a little firm to the bite), adjust the seasoning and add the mushrooms with any accumulated liquid. Stir together briefly. Turn the risotto out into a bowl and top with the crispy fried leeks.

NEXT: CHICKEN BROCHETTE WITH ROASTED VEGETABLE COUSCOUS

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