With a lot of butter, to paraphrase the old TV ads. Tim still isn’t back, which makes cooking a little interesting, not because I can’t eat without him (quite the opposite, unfortunately) but because I can’t do a big grocery shop. I’ve moved on from bags of twisties for dinner but am still requiring comfort food it would seem, to wit – starch. Ange and I went to the vege market this morning, and came back via New World Metro, where I purchased about 12 different varieties of carbohydrate (tortillas, egg noodles, arborio rice…okay that’s it really.) I’ll just deviate briefly here to rant about how unbelievably expensive dairy is at the moment! $15 for a kilo of cheese! You could get a kilo of ground almonds for that price (trust me, you can!) In this land of milk and honey, it’s no wonder parents are giving their children coca cola to drink, because the milk is too expensive. Dairy me! (but really.) Don’t even get me started on the insultingly non-summery Wellington weather.
I have finished reading Nigella Express, and despite being a trifle apprehensive at first (it has recieved a mixed reception) I am in love. What a fantastic, practical book, positively brimming with recipe after recipe, perfect for midweek dinner. Everything looks so inspiring and fresh and delicious. There has been a bit of brouhaha (or fooforah?) over her use of canned foods and prepackaged things; I think this is rediculous. Firstly, she explains that she does this because it saves time, secondly she stipulates that you use excellent quality canned stuff, thirdly, she does it so self-deprecatingly that you know she hasn’t completely turned into some kind of person shilling for microwaved meals. Again, this book is so practical I could see myself using it every day of the week. I still haven’t cooked anything from it though – I’m waiting till Tim gets back, whenever that may be.
For dinner tonight I made myself Nigella’s Restrained Mushroom Risotto from How To Eat. I had some button mushrooms from the market, some dried porcini and Knorr porcini stock cubes from my aunty Lynn, and some Porcini powder from the lovely Linda. A ‘shroom extravaganza, you could say. I decided in the end to leave out the whole porcini, I thought it might be a little strong, and opted for a more mellow triple-shroom combo of buttons, stock, and powder. Indeed, this risotto would have been titularly restrained, healthful even, were it not for…the mountains of butter I kept stirring through it. I can’t even blame this on Tim’s absense, I am just pathologically drawn towards the stuff it would seem. The risotto tasted incredible though – definitely something I will make again. It was rich, creamy, and intensely flavoursome, and the porcini powder – although essentially glorified dust – gave it a genuine, woodsy kick.
I made a cake yesterday: The Damp Apple and Almond cake from Feast, which is presented as a pudding option for a Passover feast. There were no such celebrations at Casa Hadfield, but the cake was enjoyed all the same. It is gluten-free, incredibly moist, and very easy to make. Not a cheap cake – 8 eggs and 300g ground almonds – but as I’d bought a kilo of them from Moore Wilsons before Christmas (telling myself it was cheaper in the long run) I figured I was halfway there.
Above: Told you it was eggy…Wooden spoon courtesy of my younger brother who got me a bunch for Christmas – I can never have enough wooden spoons. Like I said, this is a very easy cake to make – all you do is cook some apples to mush, then the rest is light stirring. The mixture is very dense, as you could imagine with all those almonds.
In other news, Ange and I watched Rent the other day and…she loved it. I could not be happier with this turn of events, indeed it gives me hope that one day Tim will like it too. I also like this movie better than ever – some movies grow worse for repeat viewings but this one actually gets better every time.