24 March, 2007

when life throws you risotto...

















Ah, you ask: why a film reel when I'm meant to be talking about risotto? Because I want to give you the links to my film friend's amazing blogs, all about the films and plays she manages to see in this glorious town of ours. Go on, you'll learn a lot about all the things you're not doing while you're stirring your risotto instead of going to the theatre. Oh, wait, that's my life.

But yes, about risotto. I am having a whole bunch of people over for Sunday lunch tomorrow, which would be a no-brainer, an ordinary enough event, except that Twiggy and Eddie are very dedicated vegetarians. So I've been asking all my friends what I should make. These lovely people have been here before and I admit to cooking two of my best vegetarian dishes then, a lovely creamy red pepper soup and an aubergine (that's eggplant to us Yanks) stew with tomatoes and tons of garlic. You can cook them too; here are the recipes. But alas, what now?

Well, my Italian friend Victoria said to me yesterday that "arancini" are the answer to a maiden's prayer. By typing "arancini" into my google search engine, I found a hilarious and very useful blog called "Amateur Gourmet" that I think you would enjoy. He's posted over 1000 posts. I can but admire, with my lowly 200-something efforts. But I admit to a certain nervousness, not to say trepidation, at cooking something I have never cooked before, for... Vincent. I know he'll try to be kind, but friendship will not get in the way of a genuine response to a misconceived or badly executed dish.

But how hard can it be to roll up some lovely risotto (mushroom, saffron and parsley? with white wine? fresh thyme, as my friend Susan made this summer?) in a ball, stuff it with mozzarella and tomato sauce, roll it in breadcrumbs and fry it? It can't really go too far wrong, can it? With cream of celeriac soup to start, perhaps? Except that, hmm, both dishes will be white? No, frying the risotto will make them crispy and brown. Sigh of relief. I know, I know, I've been watching too much "Masterchef." I find myself waking up in the middle of the night worrying that my presentation is tepid. Clearly I need to get a life. John just listened to my potential menu and said sternly, "What else will be on the plate?"

Avery has a life. Yesterday she achieved Level 10 in her skating lesson, and the world is her oyster. In a moment of maternal weakness I agreed, months ago, that when she got to Level 10 she could buy sparkly somethings to put on her skates, so last night found her glued to the computer looking up "crystals," and finding all sorts of ridiculously priced options that seemed, suddenly, unlivewithoutable. We shall see. As well, I can report that she achieved the coveted "Distinction" for her efforts with the English Speaking Board, talking about her stamp collection (thank you, Grandpa Paul!). A big improvement over last year's mere "Merit," how amazing that it's been a whole year. So some of us are thriving.

Well, we're off to take a nice long walk on this grey day, through the park. I'll still be thinking about side dishes...

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