Crown Prince and Pea Risotto.

Mr Betts from Coventry Market delivers a veg box to me, the price and freshness of Coventry Market without the heavy lugging of the vegetables home, its a wonderful idea and works well. Last week I asked for a good sized Crown Prince (as well as a marrow) and found this beauty arriving on my doorstep. Isn’t it splendid.  As I used the more delicate items first this sat in my veg trolly and I pondered the possibilities of which there were many, maybe a pasta dish, maybe ravioli, the base of a curry or a pastie or a pie?  But then I noticed a nub of parmesan that needed using up so the idea of a risotto was born. Cutting it open reveals a glorious orange flesh.  I love the flavour of Crown Prince and years ago  grew them on my allotment with them keeping well in storage all winter. Half of the pumpkin sliced up and drizzled with a little oil to go into a hot oven for three quarters of an hour until the slices were burnished with gold and sticky bits and tender in the centre. In the meantime I prepared the risotto. Slicing the shallots which were also in the box and sweating them gently until darkly golden, then adding the chopped garlic and rice and allowing the rice to toast for a few minutes. Next I added a small bottle of Babycham giving me a blast of an alcoholic perry sauna. I boiled the alcohol off and then started to add the stock one hot ladleful at a time whilst stirring the risotto almost continuously. By this time it was the moment to rescue the pumpkin from the oven. I continued with the risotto until it was almost done, adding the peas and parmesan – saving a little cheese for garnish and then removed the flesh from the skin by the spoonful and adding it to the pan, one big mix and it was done. Serving with purple sprouting another delicious vegetable from Mr Betts which had been boiled and then the colour set with cold water so was more of a salad vegetable and then spritzed with balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil.   I must tell you it was the best risotto I have ever eaten, and one I will be making again and again.

And she is back in the room.

Its nice to be back, I’ve missed writing and putting my thoughts and deeds to paper, but things got a bit crazy busy and then I had a big bout of illness which was a little bit too close to a serious lung infection for my liking.  I’m much better now, just in the recovery section of the illness, not really getting around as much as I should as I still feel a little rough and am clearing my airways, but it is all going in the right direction and that is all any of us can ever hope for.

What has been going on?, just domesticity really.  Getting things ready for winter, the chimney has been swept and I have a full bunker of smokeless coal and a collection of scented candles.  I have finally finished putting a full bar together as the boys slowly but surely over the years managed to drink all of the malt whisky and anything else they could get their hands on.  It is good to have a fully stocked bar again, one to dip into on a cold winters night when a nip of rum or brandy is just what is needed to ease the joints as they gently toast before glowing embers. I quite like having lots of choice on what to drink, my tea cabinet has been added to over the last few months, it now varies from the most delicate of white teas to the sultry darkness of flavourful assams.

Photographically I haven’t done so well.  Mid summer was just hell trying to shoot wildlife, I just couldn’t take any more horsefly or mosquito bites, so I gave it a rest for a month or so while I recovered.  As the temperature drops and the leaves change colour I can feel the call of the wild, it won’t be long before I am back fully togged up in hand knitted jumpers enjoying bright autumn and winter days again.

Knitting wise I am still battling against a frozen shoulder, but a jumper is slowly appearing from the needles and might just be finished before the end of October.  And then I have a big request to finish hubbys jumper which I must do, as well as turn up three pairs of wool trousers for him. One should never marry a seamstress or tailor, it is very similar to the saying ‘the cobblers children are worst shod’, one never quite gets around to doing those necessary sewing jobs.

So, let the domesticity, photography, mini adventures and cookery commence.