I've recently decided to start working in a library during the day. Originally I moved to London so that I would be less depressed stuck inside on my own all day long, but ironically I now spend most of my time locked in my bedroom and it's beginning to get me down (sad Duck = even less productive Duck). So I've joined the British Library, staked out a good desk in the top floor Science reading room and worked out the fastest ways to get there and back while avoiding the rush hour. The only downside to working in town, though, is the food. While the library offers some tasty fare from the good gentlemen of Peyton & Byrne, I just know I'm going to miss getting to cook my own lunches every day. Food is probably my biggest addiction after fashion and it does take up a large chunk of my life. Since lunch is now reduced to whatever I can forage in the café or bring with me in my Moomins tupperware box, I think I better step it up in the kitchen for my evening meal. And why not make a feature of it here too? I never said this blog was just about clothes.
For your delectation, tonight's meal consists of artichoke pseudo-trifolati, rocket salad and a red wine risotto. Recipes follow...
Remove the outer leaves and trim the stem, then cut the artichoke into 8ths and scoop the hairy choke (*gag*) out with a spoon. Fry in olive oil with thinly sliced garlic and a little bit of chilli until the garlic starts to caramelise, then add half a cup of vegetable stock and allow to simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Finish with salt, pepper, and lots of freshly chopped parsley.
Rocket and vinaigrette, it's hardly rocket science (which I've always thought a stupid saying - surely condensed matter theory is waaaay more complicated than the mechanics of a rocket?). For my dressing I usually shake mustard, white wine vinegar and a very light olive oil (definitely not extra virgin) in a glass jar (Mrs Elswood's is the best, natch).
Most risottos I make with white wine but once in a while I fancy something that bit different. Sauté chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil until translucent, then add the risotto rice (carnaroli). Once the rice is coated in oil add about a glass of red wine and cook while stirring until most of the wine has cooked down. Repeat. Repeat as much as you like, but the more wine you cook down, the sweeter the final risotto will be. Eventually you switch from wine to seasoned vegetable stock and continue to cook the risotto while stirring. You need to get the seasoning right at this point to balance out the winey flavour. Recipes always seem to say 20 minutes for this stage but I find cooking times vary greatly so as soon as the rice looks like it might be cooked, take a little out of the pan every 2 minutes and test the texture so you know when it's perfect. My Mother would die rather than eat risotto that hasn't been finished with parmesan but I'm dairy-free in the house :-(
Let me know if you try any of my recipes!