Home and Choice

IMG_06082015 has definitely been the year of home and choices. One evening after coming back from a camping holiday I chose to make a call to the what was then the owner of our new house.  It was a tentative early evening call, in response to an email my wife had sent me to check that the house was indeed still up for sale given that it was fixed price (an unusual state for the neighbourhood we wanted to move into).

Within 15 minutes my son, freshly swapped out of his pyjamas and I were knocking on the door.  I’d not been able to get hold of my wife as she was visiting an aunt at the hospital….she’d also forgotten her phone.  30 minutes later though I was outside on the street about to turn the corner when she drove by, she’d also made a chance choice to drive a different route home than normal and there we were both outside the street.

At that moment there was another choice to make, do we rudely chap on the door again, or do we come back later.  The couple had just sat down for their evening supper, the decision, the choice had been made though and they’d seen us walk down the path.  I’m not sure they believed our coincidence story of a chance meet on the street.  They didn’t mind they wanted to sell there house.

The move was set in motion, a call, a choice, a chance for a new home and a new agenda.

This was written as part of the day 3 writing 101 challenge

November 2015

 I commented recently on cravelife, how November for me is the calm before the storm and a month of comfort food.  Having sat down and thought about the month ahead, there is a lot going on and for me the storm started way back in May when we kicked off a house move.

I’ve learned that:

  • Everything they say about moving house is every bit as stressful as they say it is
  • Having the re-wiring done whilst living in the same building is just like moving house, except you don’t know where your stuff is
  • If you know where your stuff is, then it’s covered in dust

The things I’m looking forward to:

  • Finishing the decorating
  • Getting a couple of new carpets down
  • Closing the door on the workmen
  • Getting back to my cook books

Tick Tock Writing 101

The clock starts, I’ve been here before and I start to stumble. I stumble at the reasons why and then I wonder if I’ll stall a few days later. I keep coming back for more and I try again. I’m a persistent offender, a yo yo writer. Still I come back for more.

Blogging 101 is my friend, an implicit accessory to my crimes. I get all excited that I can do it this time, that I’ll go the distance, the habit will form and I’ll crack the hidden formula of what it takes to be a writer.

Maybe this time I’ve found the secret sauce that’s within me and that this time I’ve discovered that I need to define my own success.

I’m writing to track the progress of time, my journey with food, the family, the environment we live in. I write to beat the teachers who back in the day said I couldn’t and I write to prove the teachers who said I could that they were right.

The minutes are coming to a close and I’ve made it through today’s task. The minutes went by quickly and I’m excited, I’m back.

Roasted Squash, Bacon and Spinach Risotto

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#squash #spinach #bacon #risotto

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Week 5 of the re-wire and at last the sparkies have finished.  They were a great couple of guys but the house has been turned up side down.  It feels like we’ve moved house and this time we don’t know where anything is.  Throughout though we’ve managed to keep the veggie box going and this week we were topically (Halloween) re-warded with a small squash.

When I saw it I knew immediately what I wanted to make and my mind sprung to getting my eldest in on the act, away from his screen with a lesson in the dark art of absorption.

Roasting a squash might feel like a faff.  Once in the oven though, you crack on with the risotto and the squash takes care of itself.

  • Small Squash
  • 225g Smoked Bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • Onion diced
  • Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 1.2 Litre of stock (we used bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Olive or Rapeseed Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
  • Spinach 200g or so

Peel the squash, half it and scoop out the seeds.   Dice both halves into good bite sized cubes.  Place on a roasting tray drizzle with some oil and place into the oven for 30 mins or so on 180°C.

Once your squash is in the oven, crack on with Risotto.

A good sized pan is needed for this as basically everything is going to end-up in it!

Fry the bacon in some oil, scoop out once cooked and put to one side, try to leave as much as the oil as possible.

Then soften the onion, crushed garlic in the oil on a gentle heat.  Add the spices at this point and cook for another minute.

Add the Arborio rice at this point.  I joke with my son here that the rice will start to talk to you when it’s ready for some liquid.

Add a ladle of stock.  Simmer and stir until absorbed and keep doing this until all the stock has gone.   The rice should be soft to the bite, you might need a little less liquid or a little more.  Use your judgement.  Stir in the creme fraiche and the bacon.  Add the spinach, this will wilt down which is a surprise in itself.

Finally fold in the roasted squash.