Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Water, James Bond,

Apologies for the shortness of yesterday’s blog. Not only was I late for an appointment, but I have been having all kinds of problems with my desktop, partly due to Microsoft and their flipping add ons and updates. I got to the point where I was totally sick of computers and for me that is not usual. My desktop is working as fast as frozen molasses oozing through an iceberg. Well I like that description.

A neighbour gives us her copy of National Geographic Waterand the latest one is all about water. There are statistics giving incredible figures about how much water it takes to do something. For instance 1,857 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of beef. That is both incredible and inconceivable. There is also a lot about impoverished countries where not only do people have to walk 5 hours each day to get any water, but when they get there, the water is pretty filthy anyway. There are links to a lot of these stories here on the website by following this link According the theiguacu-falls magazine by 2050 a third of the people of the world may lack access to clean water. This subject goes back to Glenda Larke’s latest trilogy in which she writes about a world with little or no water harking back to her childhood in Australia and her experience of their devastating droughts.

Here in the west we tend to take water for granted. These days I try not to run taps too long, but its not something I spend much time worrying about like we should. We jump into our showers or baths and never think about the source of the water we are using.

Last night I watched “From Russia with Love” with Sean Connery, one of the earliest James Bond Bond Russiafilms. Really they are so outdated these days and they never did stick to the original books which were serious spy stories; the movies were always spoofs. I quite enjoyed it but Matt disappeared in disgust *g*. Its incredible the movie was actually made in 1963 – 47 years ago.

Yesterday for supper I decided to throw together a risotto and finish up the rest of the lamb roast. It turned out very well. I used a basic risotto recipe as follows then added a few peas and the lamb cut into pieces. I always end up needing more liquid than the recipe calls for, I don’t know why. It was very good.

Basic Risotto Recipe

•1 ½ cups arborio rice •1 qt chicken stockBasic Risotto • ½ cup white wine •1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup) •3 Tbsp unsalted butter •1 Tbsp vegetable oil • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese •1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley •Kosher salt, to taste

1. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

3. Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don't let the rice turn brown.

4. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.

5. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

6. Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

7. Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.

8. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.

9. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the Parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt.

10. Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long, you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It shouldn't run across the plate, nor should it be stiff or gluey.

Servings: 6

Source Author: Danilo Alfaro, Guide

Author Notes This basic risotto recipe is made with butter and Parmesan cheese. A classic Italian rice dish, risotto is traditionally prepared with a variety of starchy, short-grained rice called arborio rice.

The procedure for making it involves stirring hot stock into the uncooked rice a ladleful at a time and cooking slowly as the stock is absorbed. This technique, known as the risotto method, releases the arborio's starches, making a creamy, velvety dish.

Have a great day


  1. I'm happy you found my risotto recipe and my photo useful. I would ask, though, that if you want to reproduce them here on your blog, would you kindly add a link back to the original recipe? Many thanks!

  2. I do ready-in-5-minutes risottos from a packet.

  3. Sure, no problem Danilo.

    A packet Marilyn? I didn't know such things existed, never seen them over here.