Thursday, February 18, 2010

Learn from the best.

So tonight, with family in from out of the country, I was chef for the night. I usually create my own recipes – a habit from when I had a catering and party planning business, but occasionally lately I have gone to Nigella Lawson for inspiration. Today I wasn’t feeling too well, so I bowed to her genius rather than pulling something out of my own hat. She is a goddess on so many levels, but her cooking is insane.

I decided on a Cheddar Risotto. Sounds weird, I know, but just keep reading! Because I was under the weather a bit, Mum was gracious enough to do the shopping for me. But she only found boxes of porcini risotto. So the scramble began. Hey, this is ALWAYS where I shine. So I filtered most of the mushroom bits out, but a couple of the boxes had some flavoring already mixed in. Then I became my usual creative self and added little bits of fresh broccoli and chicken at just the right times to balance it all.

May I say, amazing! It’s incredibly rich, but the flavors were so fantastic together. As more of a purist when it comes to Italian cooking, having lived there, I’d NEVER have thought to try a risotto with cheddar – sharp at that. However, this was delectable.

I followed it up with – I say with all modesty – the best mousse I’ve ever had, much less made! I was doubting my beloved Nigella on this one when it was done as it seemed runny, and I’d already decided I was going to write further instructions in the book, but I should have trusted one of my favorite sirens. I let it chill (as I made it before the risotto). It was PERFECTION. The most chocolaty, rich, flavorful, smooth thing imaginable. Absolute heaven for any chocolate lover. Best of all, one of the easiest things I’ve ever made for dessert!

As I said, I’m not a big recipe person. I’m an artist, and I carry that into the kitchen. I use flavors like colors on a canvas – one must always be sparing and they must compliment and flow into something beautiful. But again, Nigella is my go-to for inspiration and elevation.

And she IS a goddess, I promise. Yes, part of her allure for me is that she is a curvaceous woman who is considered one of England’s top beauties. HELLO! We have very similar shapes, and to me that’s just fabulous. (If you were a fan of the Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory had a discussion about how amazing she is in an episode.) She is sexy, sultry, yet also practical and friendly. It’s very endearing. But she makes simple, quick, and easy dishes also be off-the-charts delicious and somehow also elegant.

I actually bought her biography and am looking forward to reading it. Truth be told, I had to buy it twice because my friend’s dog quite literally ate my first copy. He must have known she was a chef. Well, that and he missed me and wanted to be sure I knew he wasn’t happy I’d left him. At any rate, shows my excitement at reading it!

So I highly recommend Nigella’s Cheddar Cheese Risotto and Instant Chocolate Mousse, as well as about anything else from her cookbook entitled Nigella Express. If you like to cook, and want great things that are quick and easy, that is the best possible book out there!

As a post script, may I say that I began the meal while completely entranced by the Canada – Switzerland hockey game. Can you believe that they went to a shootout?? How great is that potentially for USA? How much greater for the Swiss, of course. I confess I was mesmerized and had to put the risotto on hold for a while. Hockey first, peeps! :)

1 comment:

Miss Eliza said...

But can't Nigella just come round and fix the food for me... same with Gordon Ramsy...