16 November 2007

YUM = ???

Risotto!! And it's yummy!

I like wine. I like wine a whole lot. A way to ceremoniously offer some wine to the little liver god is to make risotto. Risotto is a good guest to have for dinner, as he only wants one glass of white wine. Cheap date, even cheaper dinner.

Risotto takes about 30 minutes. I know some people can do it quicker, but this is how long it takes me. And this recipe is for 2.

Best to start with some unsalted butter. You're wanting to slowly fry up some thinly chopped onions, and the unsalted butter means:

  1. You can raise it to a higher temp w/o burning
  2. You have more control over the salt content, which will become important in a minute
Once the onions are soft [5 min] add a coffee mug's worth of Risotto Rice. [This rice tends to have a high starch content, hence the creamy texture at the end.] Stir all this together to coat the rice with butter [another 3 min]

Okay, if you haven't popped the cork yet, now's the time. You want a glass of white wine in with the rice. You can pour it in slowly, or all at once. Whatever way you want to make the offering. Once this starts to cook and soak into the rice, you'll recognise that smell which gives Risotto it's distinct flavour.

Alternate letting this simmer and stirring until it both evaporates and soaks into the rice. Then you'll want about 2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock. Here's where the salt bit comes in. Most stock has lots of sodium in it. Unless you've just boiled a chicken yourself, or even if you had, salt will be in there somewhere. So just watch out. You can always add more.

This continues for another 20 minutes or so, until all the stock is gone. Then add whatever you want. Chopped tommies, peppers, broccoli, frozen veg, PEAS PEAS PEAS are a must. Little Parmesan to finish [again, salty!!] and season to taste.

Good winter fair. Good hangover food. Good with a salad when you wanna stuff your face.


14 November 2007


Root Beer, or Sasparilla to the rest of you, is an amazing substance. It kind of tastes like EUTHYMOL. But I wouldn't put Euthymol on my ice cream, which one can do with Root Beer!

I hear one can acquire A&W brand Root Beer from one of the China Town convenient stores in Soho for the normal price of a canned beverage. Other than this, I'm not sure where to get it. It seems a taste unfamiliar to the British tongue, and when offered in a way similar to Marmite pushers, can be met with considerable hostility.

It is an old flavor. Spicy, but not reedy. There is a nasal component to the drink which perhaps only Americans can appreciate, being the nasal speakers that we are. The Root Beer Float is yet another step away from the European sensibility. It's an honest, messy and unrefined treat. It comes in a large glass mug. Root Beer poured from a fountain yields the best results; there being too many bubbles in the canned and bottled variety. A heaping spoonful of Vanilla ice cream is then lowered into the mug, bubbling and frothing up around the rim and overflowing the sticky contents onto the expecting napkins.

The Root Beer Float is a quick pint on the way home. It's full of empty calories and requires a minimum 7-10 minutes of my time. I must stop and reflect. My busy day compartmentalized into little freezing bites and slurps. Towards the end, I can down the last bits of melted ice cream and foam in the same continuous movement I finish a Guinness. And with my cheeks full I pause, take in the room, place my glass down on the bar and stand. Bag in hand I walk out the door feeling neutral and smooth, like a hinge recently greased.