Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mushroom for improvement, and fireworks

Friday night is the night the two Bs cook – that’s Ben and Boy. This week’s menu choice was Delia’s oven-baked wild mushroom risotto, an eye rollingly delicious concoction of chestnut and porcini mushrooms, a glass of port (the menu said Madeira, but ...), three cloves of garlic (the menu didn’t call for any, but ...) and Italian Arborio rice.

Which Tesco didn’t have. Ah well, I thought. This is posh, proper cooking so I’ll eschew the easy cook stuff and get some of the decent long grain brown type.

Turned out easy cook would have been wiser ... you live and learn. Come the magic hour, everything was simmered and cooked to perfection and the rice was a mass of small, hard, floaty things bobbing up here and there out of the sauce. Best Beloved took a couple of bites and decreed it would make us ill. Thus our invention of the two stage risotto, in which rice and main ingredients are actually eaten separately. We picked out the mushrooms, ate them, and put the rice + mushroom stock into a saucepan and cooked it for longer. In the meantime we fought off the hunger pangs with mini Pringles and olives. I think it ended up an even nicer meal than it would have if everything had been eaten at once.

Then to the Didcot fireworks last night – a quite impressive display more or less choreographed to music including Queen’s ‘Don’t stop me now’, Carmina Burana, the can-can, and some interchangeable Celtic droning by Enya. Actually that’s not quite fair to Enya, who does at least two types of interchangeable Celtic droning – fast and slow. This was ICD (fast), with lots of twiddly electric guitar and synth chords and was actually the piece that worked best. I hadn’t realised, until hearing it on industrial scale speakers, that she likes to put in lots of blanket bass chords which makes it pretty good Music to Accompany Fireworks With.

After that, back to my Best Man’s house, where our Boy (14) could show his boys (11 and 7) how to get past a particularly vexing level in Lego Star Wars on the PS2, and we could sit in the kitchen and catch up over a couple of glasses of Old Pulteney Liqueur. I’ve not met this before but will pursue the acquaintance now it’s been made. It seems to be to Drambuie what Pepsi is to Coke – i.e. there’s probably a difference between the two that is discernible by those with a more than passing familiarity. Very nice, anyway – single malt scotch with herbs and other ingredients to soften the impact. Highly recommended.

And finally, to celebrate the new availability of Wingèd Chariot I did some redesigning to the web site. Which reminds me I haven’t recorded another chapter of New World Order since Thursday, so will proceed to that now.


  1. Ah, so you've discovered the highly irritating fact about Brown Rice too...

    At least it wasn't barley - you would have been there for days.

  2. I have a very nice pearl barley and chicken recipe ... butunlike the oven-baked risotto, the recipe includes a decent length of cooking time.

  3. Anonymous10:19 pm

    Read Blog, Cook Risotto, Find Happiness...

    With your mushroom blog entry obviously at the forefront of my subconscious, I picked up my first ever packet of arborio rice at Sainsbury's on the way home. [Brief cooking interlude]... delicious! Thanks Ben,

    Another Happy Customer (Alex)

  4. So Sainsburys have it, Tesco don't. That was obviously my mistake.

  5. Claire9:17 am

    Tesco do y'know. ;-)

    But there seems to have been a worldwide rice shortage over the last few weeks which has hit Tesco hard. The last few times we've been in, the shelves have been as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard.

    Oh, and going back to a previous blog post of yours on carefully printed and laminated (but not spellchecked) signs at Tesco, did you spot the sign that helpfully told you 'Pot Noodls have moved to aisle X'?



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