Category: Food & Entertaining
I love spring veggies – broad beans, baby courgettes and spring petit pois. And try to find all kinds of ways of using them. We also have skinny little green asparagus spears around the moment. The weather turned nasty this weekend – so risotto seemed to tick all of the boxes. And here’s the result.
If making risotto scares the heck out of you – don’t let it. This recipe is simple – 15 easy steps – and if you follow it to the T – you’ll get a great result. The secret is really that you need to stay with your rice – giving it your undivided attention for about 17 minutes. But that love will pay off with a creamy, delectable result. Worth every second.
The latest issue of Los Angeles Magazine has landed in my mailbox. It’s the Food Issue. Last month’s was the Chef’s issue. You would think this city has no more pressing concerns than where to eat, what to eat or to find out who the latest chef on the rise is. Being a chef has been the trendy profession of the last dozen years or so and I am hoping this trend is on the wane.
In the next few weeks Pauli and Raymond will be coming for dinner. Pauli threw us a feast, a while ago, that would have made Heston Blumenthal proud. And it is time to respond. I am no molecular cook – so have promised a dinner from ‘la cucina povera’ as my riposte. Italian home cooking my favourite way of eating – simple, seasonal and (in my case) possible. Sofabrother will be making the foccaccia, cantuccini and dolce – which I hope will be a Piedmontese Hazelnut Meringue Cake.
Of course there has to be a cocktail – and I wanted something light that would possibly showcase Campari. The Bittercup was Created by Christopher Flett of Uva Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria in Vancouver.
New Year’s Eve parties seldom deliver on their promise of fun. Most of us want to be at home in bed before midnight these days, and the idea of manufacturing cheer, just because of the date, seems a lot of hard work after a long year. So arranging a shindig for the 31st December can be nerve-wracking.
Last year, my friends decided to bite the bullet and host an event. Their home was newly renovated and they wanted their pals to see it. Plus 2011 had been tough all round, and it’s passing needed to be marked. The New Year heralded a fresh start and new possibilities. Our health was intact: we had reason to celebrate.
So they sent out invitations, a follow-up prompt, and a reminder before the event. Their home was beautifully decorated, lit warmly against the chilly evening. Food was generous and delicious, every possible taste in cocktails was catered for, there was fabulous music and champagne in all hues.
20 of the 120 expected guests showed up.
No-one called to cancel.
During the worst of our salad days, sofagirl and I could often be found settling in for the evening on our uglier than thou green couch, under a blanket or two, watching our rented telly. Invariably, one of us would voice what the other was thinking “I want candy”. After a supper that hardly veered from either veggie stew or cereal, with curry from the local Indian once a week, it seemed like a reasonable craving; and a long philosophical discourse would ensue as to who and why should brave the cold and go. Eventually one of us would break down, bundle up and trudge in the rain to the corner store.
My nieces and nephew spend Tuesdays and Fridays with me each week and I like to come up with something interesting, nourishing and fun for them to eat for supper. They’re a tough crowd: if they don’t like something they will tell me straight: no bacon in hamburger mix – “why would you? Bacon is for breakfast, burgers are for burgers.”
Tracey of Bellowblogs introduced us to this Jamie Oliver recipe one holiday when we were staying in a cottage in the middle of the mountains in the Overberg. It was 28/82 windless degrees outside and, at first blush, it seemed a mad dish to be eating in the heat. But it worked so splendidly – I’ve been making it ever since. The kids love it – broth and all … though “none of that liquorice tasting vegetable please – liquorice is for sweets not soup.”