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Plans, polenta and perseverance

February 19, 2011

The house renovation goes on, the budget increases, my hairdresser has stopped describing my grey hairs as ‘only a few’…

Inbetween getting a PhD in joinery plans, trying to give a damn about the exact position of tens of electrical sockets, and endless chat about shades of brick pointing, I’m writing and cooking. The two aren’t related, sadly – but they would be in my ideal life. Oh and I’d probably live in Manhattan. Loft-style apartment and all that.

Anyway, I’ve decided to cook my way through the River Cafe book. You know, the really old blue one that most people seem to have a copy of?

When it came out I remember thinking ‘Ooh, terribly fancy ingredients, I can’t get those in Sainsburys but the book looks good on the shelf,’ and promptly putting it just there. But it just shows how cookery books and cooking has changed since then. Looking now at the simple lists of ingredients – rarely more than 8, and all available in Sainsburys – and the short methods, I’ve been filled with confidence. And I would encourage anyone who loves cooking to give a recipe from this book a go!

First up was Pollo Ripieno con Mascarpone. That’s chicken with mascarpone and rosemary to those of us that don’t speak Italian. And this recipe even got me to bone a chicken – it was easy, satisfying, and the chicken was much more moist than when you buy those scrawny wings and fatty thighs in plastic trays.  

I then served up Torta di Polenta, Mandorle e Limone – or Polenta, Almond and Lemon Cake. So easy to make (magimix moment), and so delicious! And it lasted for days. One very happy husband ate most of that.

Then I blew it slightly by getting cocky with polenta. And I made their grilled polenta with prosciutto. There’s no getting away from the fact that a slice of polenta grilled with olive oil is STILL a rubbery lump of nothingness. No matter what pillows of deliciousness you try and smother it with.

But I won’t be put off. I’ll give the savoury polenta chapter a wide berth, but I’ll cook on with the rest. And I’ll try and take some photos next time as blog posts without them are numbingly dull, and as a result I should think you stopped reading this post several paragraphs ago….

Writing update: 1000 words yesterday. Large glass of wine to celebrate.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2011 1:52 pm

    Excellent idea to cook your way through the book. We’re currently cooking our way through a Sechuan cookery book and almost everything we’ve made so far has had way too much Sechuan pepper in it to be enjoyable.

    I’ve never understood polenta either. It looks like my kind of carb-fest, but “rubbery lump of nothingness” hits the nail on the head.



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