Sunday, 11 September 2011

Risotto with Nettles

Gosh, I love foodie books.  NOT cookery books (though I do of course like 'em) but books that lovingly recall forgotten meals along with memorable friends and relatives.  Of course *ahem* I wrote one myself, so I would, wouldn't I?  But Anna Del Conte who wrote Risotto with Nettles raises the bar.  The first thing I learnt which really surprised me was that whole towns were built in Italy to capture the sea breezes, purely for drying out pasta.  So whole streets had massive fringes of fresh spaghetti drying in the sun.  Must have been a wonderful sight... Also, fresh home-made pasta was in such demand and held in such high regard that women in the war would gather together over the kitchen table, often pulled out in a sunny square and make ravioli or tagliatelle to sell - and then with the money buy dried pasta to feed their families.  The food is mouth watering in itself but her life story is amazing too.  Shot at, nearly thrown in prison, her first job as an au pair in England, her marriage, her career as a cook are spellbinding.  And then, there's the irresistible pull of the Italian food. This is dear to my heart too, so much so, that I am off an a Sicilian adventure very soon to a cookery school in that sun drenched island of lemons.  No doubt I shall be making pasta but I sincerely I hope I avoid being shot at.
Oh - the jar next to the book is that wonderful thing that I make this time every year: Damson vodka - perfect for a Winter Twinkle cocktail (one part damson vodka, two pats frosty prosecco)

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