Friday, April 24, 2009

Tommaso's Risotto

One of the many benefits of marrying an Italian (ok Italian American) is the fantastic food. Now, my mum's a great cook, but inevitably growing up in a country like England anesthetizes one to the finer arts of the palate. This was compounded by a stint in Finland; a number of my colleagues said they learnt from their days of military service that "food is fuel" and no more.

To me Italian food has always been pizza and pasta - from a box at Tescos. Now enter Uncle Joe, Anna, Mum Rodin and my fair wife, and I realize I've been missing a trick. We're learning a lot from the ancien Italians such as how to make fresh pasta with Uncle Joe, but the latest excitement came when our friends Tommaso and Francesca visited last week, and showed us how to cook risotto. We made it ourselves last night for my colleague Ed
Here's the recipe - in the Italian tradition, amounts are approximate. 

Heat about 1.5pints stock (water + stock cube) with half a glass of white wine and a crumbled pinch of saffron. In another saucepan, saute onions, then garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, then add a cup of arborio rice (don't use normal rice). Saute this for about 5mins, then add the stock, half a cupful at a time, stirring well at medium heat. Then let it simmer for about 15mins, and add portobello mushrooms (we use dried ones that you have to soak for a few mins beforehand). When it's done stir in a bunch of fine grated parmesan, and throw some italian parsley on as garnish.

We served it with grilled John Dory and asparagus, and a couple of bottles of Ed's fine vino - and it came out a treat. Now I just have to work on the air of insouciance that Tommaso has perfected to make it look easy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Slightly surreal email marketing

Had to do a double take on this email i just received:

"Dear Mr Johnston,

Apologies for the intrusion. According to our records we don't have permission to contact you by email. If you're happy with this arrangement, you need not do anything. To encourage you to reconsider, please take a look at Your Preferences (based on past purchases) - a new service designed to help us look after you better."

And signed off:
"Contact us if you want to contact us!" by the MD of the London based wine store that was sending this note.

While it certainly has chutzpah, its brazen flouting of my earlier stated preferences just looks dumbass. Bin.