Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Don't talk to me about climate change.


Yesterday it was 36 celsius. The sun was a fireball. During the afternoon I found refuge beneath the loquat tree wearing only my running shorts and a layer of sweat.

At the same time today it was barely 12 degrees assisted by a cold south-westerly and incessant rain. We had more rain until midday today than for the whole of January. It is already a February record for one day of rain. Today I shivered and wore winter clothes. Yesterday I was sponging the dogs to keep them cool. Today the foster greyhound sported a very attractive fake Burberry polar fleece coat.

36 to 12 degrees. That's a 24 degrees turnaround. Many climates don't vary that much between seasons.

Getting to the point - the food.

The point is it's difficult to plan.

I made some stuffed calamari. I've done this before and vary it every time. It's the kind of robust dish that is fail-safe. Last night I stuffed it with a tomato risotto.

I used some organic brown arborio rice - it has a rich, nutty taste and a great texture. Makes a change from ordinary rice.

Cooked it just like ordinary arborio rice - a dash of olive oil in a heavy pot, warmed with a large scored garlic clove, introduce the rice and coat it and then add hot stock and white wine progressively. The brown rice takes it up slower than regular rice. After twenty minutes or so I added some tomato sauce (which I had made by adding a bottle of tomato puree to some finely chopped onions cooked in olive oil, then a chopped bunch of basil from the garden, a pinch of salt and pepper and a half teaspoon of sugar; simmering it for twenty minutes).

When it was done, I threw in a handful of toasted pine nuts and half a dozen chopped button mushrooms, just because I had some.

I stuffed the calamari with the risotto, placed them in a close-fitting baking dish, half-covered them with tomato puree and a cup of white wine and baked them twenty-five minutes.

Originally it was going to be a cold dish - let them cool and then slice carefully. Serve them on a platter with greek salad and bread. Eat outdoors.

But the change arrived at 4pm so instead, we had them hot - indoors, as the rain pelted down - on a delicious bed of potatoes mashed to total unctuosity with garlic and olive oil.

If there is such a word.


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