Faster than the librarycook thought possible, September arrived. And with it, or in fact, a few weeks early, the September issue of Delicious. Boasting the usual range of cuisines – everything from a Middle Eastern brunch, to vegetarian Italian, Rick Stein’s Greek feast, and a mixed grill, the librarycook had a difficult decision ahead of her.
So, how was the librarycook to choose? For once, the librarycook turned the professional beliefs of a lifetime on their head and judged a book by its cover – or, in this case, a recipe by its photo. The Prawn, Zucchini Flowers and Saffron Risotto spoke to the librarycook’s depths, and seemed appropriately festive and luxurious, just right for that birthday she was celebrating. What’s more, it had an excellent C:R ratio* – the stock alone took almost an hour, if you count cooling time, which of course the librarycook does, if it means another chapter or two of one of Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series of police procedurals, with their cold and rainy Galway backdrop. Highly recommended by the way, and despite their Irish setting, we can claim Dervla as one of our own, as she now calls Perth home.
And the risotto? Well, it was good, thought the librarycook, even if not quite up to the level set by Australian supercook Christine Manfield’s recipe, which is the sine qua non of the prawn risotto recipe world.
The librarycook’s second September pick was also Italian-inspired – in this case, Silvia Colocca’s Roasted Puttanesca Sauce with Polenta. Not quite the reading time bonanza that the risotto was, this recipe more than made up for its lack of book-friendliness with its deliciousness. A hearty sauce of roasted tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano, served atop the soothing stodginess of polenta, and topped with some rocket and a torn ball of buffalo mozzarella. Really only enough time for a page or two, given the attention that polenta requires, but more than worth this disadvantage by its depth of flavour. It’s reappeared on the librarycook’s menu since, an honour not granted lightly!
*C:R ratio – Cooking time : Reading time – the higher the latter figure, the happier the librarycook is.