It’s interesting to consider that two things which are no good on their own can combine to make something worthy of recording.
In this case I had some tomatoes sitting on the bench for a long time, decidedly unwanted as it’s been a lousy season, but despite that I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. Eventually I gently fried some onion and garlic, added the tomatoes roughly chopped and let that stew away until I gave up on the process improving them. They were still no good.
Earlier in the week I’d made a complete hash of a roast lamb. My idea had been to slow roast it with garlic, rosemary, olive oil and lots of white wine, adding potatoes at some point which were going to soak up all the lovely liquids I envisaged their sitting in. In practice, I had the heat up way too high and I guess I also should have done all this with a cover over the pan, as the liquids kept evaporating at a devilish rate, the quicker I threw in more wine, the quicker it seemed to disappear. Nonetheless, at the end of proceedings there was a combination of fat and cooking liquids which I popped in the fridge.
Neither of these two things was worthy of being kept, but realising the fridge had to be cleared as we were going to Singapore the next day, I made our guests Thomas and Genia the subjects of an experiment.
While frying some risotto rice – about a coffee cup full – in olive oil, in a separate saucepan the tomatoes and lamb sauce were heating up; then the rice went into the pot. Stirring this on a low heat from time to time, I prepared baby leaf spinach – lots of it. When the rice was close to cooked (I winged this, and I didn’t need to add more stock/water, but was prepared to if necessary), the spinach went in, once it collapsed I put the lid on the pan and let it all sit for five minutes. Grated parmesan was stirred in just before serving. We had a rocket and parmesan salad on the side.
I loved it, but as you can see, it is a dish that will never be cooked again!
While not being vegetarian, I eat a lot less meat than I used to and dishes like this which have no more than a hint of meat in them are perfect for me.