The new prince’s name still hasn’t been revealed and I am still surrounded by speculation which is irritating me, though not as much as yesterday. I rushed into the gym today and rushed out again so didn’t even glimpse the tv in the reception area. I will be buying People magazine tomorrow for Hallie and I suppose I’ll have to skip the inevitable article about the birth, celebrations, when, how, speculation about name, weight – can’t win! I really am not bah humbug about the birth – I love the tradition, the continuing history and I am hugely supportive of the royal family. I admire the Queen very much – can’t think of many other 87-year olds who simply can’t retire, and who work as hard as she does. Not to mention all the money that the royal family brings from tourists. I am just astonished that the baby’s birth has knocked so many other things off the front pages world-wide.
So today is Tom and Daisy’s last full day in New York, and they have gone to the Museum of Modern Art. There is a special Le Corbusier exhibition which ties in with their university course and Daisy was very keen to see it. I am tidying around, doing some laundry, and then packing to go back to London tomorrow for a week. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I haven’t been in London since 5th January, and that is the longest stretch for me since we lived in Hong Kong. I am so looking forward to seeing everybody, to going Up North for Big Andrew’s party, and for being with Tom and George on their 20th birthday on Monday. I am particularly happy that this means I won’t have any more teenagers! (There is a slight bit of angst too – do I do one birthday blog for both of them? What recipe? If I do separate ones, who goes first? Which recipes? I do enjoy making life more stressful than it needs to be.)
Anyway, today’s recipe follows on logically from yesterday’s and uses the chicken stock that was the bonus. It is Risotto alla Milanese, saffron-flavoured risotto which is traditionally served with Osso Bucco in Italy. Osso Bucco isn’t one of my favourites, but I do like a good risotto. Honestly it isn’t worth using chicken stock cubes – if you haven’t made your own stock, buy the good quality stuff that comes in tubs. The stock is integral to this dish. I was always a bit nervous of making risotto because I knew that it involved a lot of stirring and watching. I was being ridiculous. Yes, it involves about 25 minutes of concentration but it is so worth it. The general rule of thumb is that you need twice the volume of the rice in stock, but I somehow always need more. Make sure that your stock is simmering in a separate pan – this is very important.
Risotto alla Milanese – Ingredients
- 750 ml – 950 ml / 23 fl oz – 32 fl oz chicken stock, simmering in separate pan
- 50 g / 2 oz butter, plus 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped
- 150 g / 5 oz arborio or canaroli rice. Don’t even think about using any other variety!
- 1 small glass white wine
- 2 large pinches of saffron
- 50 g / 2 oz grated parmesan
Melt the butter in a pan. I use a large frying pan because I can see exactly how the rice is absorbing the liquid. Add the onion and fry very gently until translucent. Add all the rice and stir well. Add the wine and stir. Let the wine evaporate.
Add the stock one or two ladles full at a time. Stir and watch – you do not want the rice to get too dry or to stick. Add more stock when necessary. The idea is for the rice to have a wee bit of bite (al dente) so after about 14 mins, you will need to taste and see where you are. Just before the last ladle full of stock, mix the saffron with a couple of tablespoons of stock in a glass and add with the last ladle of stock.
When risotto is ready, remove from heat and season to your taste. Add the extra butter and grated parmesan and mix.
I like to serve with ground black pepper and some shaved parmesan on top.