I still have a lot of silver beet going to seed in my garden, and I harvested a bucket load for this. It’s amazing how it can squash down once you’ve steamed it. It’s also amazing how many bugs float to the surface if you soak it in the sink. To undercut the tanins – or is the iron? – I ground up some garden mint and frozen peas to sweeten it up.
I normally make a leek stock for risotto (I throw all my leek and celerly tops into the freezer for this purpose) but since we had chicken the other night, I thought I’d boil up its carcass.
I go a little crazy stirring the stock into risotto – it’s a very long twenty minutes – so I entertained myself by listening to a This American Life podcast all about the depression, and the people who ate from soup kitchens. My grandmother was a very frugal cook, thanks to the war, but my mother tells me that every morning there were instructions on the radio to housewives as to how to make that pat of butter spread across a week. Of course, I threw a liberal knob of butter into my risotto, as well as a cup of parmesan cheese, since the depression hasn’t hit yet…it’s just gathering tsunami-strength!
There was a packet of mini peppers going wrinkly on special at the local superette, but I figure you can’t tell if you roast them. They are super-sweet. I bought a packet of goat’s feta and sprinkled a few crumbs over top – it makes the dish far more exciting (but then I am a cheese fanatic). Basil is in my mind another excitement-adder, but my little pot is looking a bit pathetic and I am hanging out for my seeds to sprout in the garden. This is my second attempt; the first time round they sunk into the soil or were eaten by the birds.