Just Married

I’ve been away from the web for a while because I was in Olivone, Ticino, Switzerland getting married!

Thanks to friends and family who came from so far away to witness such a special day.

And thanks also to our wonderful vendors, who made the day go so well. If you are thinking of putting on a wedding in Blenio, give these guys a call:

It feels different to be married. It seems like it shouldn’t… the house is the same, we still sleep on the same sides of the bed. But it’s different. Good. And safe. And happy. And… different.

Viva gli sposi, all of them, whereever they are in the world. This is why getting married is special! Now I know!

Lemon Custard, or Curd, depending on your skill

I used this recipe to make lemon custard. But I let it get too hot, so it curdled. So Mari got to sample Lemon Curd instead of Lemon Custard as intended. We liked it anyway!

Hint to the reader (i.e. me if I come back to this next time I try it)… you could reasonably start cooking the custard with direct heat, but you should finish it up over a bain marie, to prevent curdification.

Consider serving it with a sprinkling of cacao on top, for color, and for a bit of bitterness to cut the sweet.

Also: that recipe leaves you with 4 egg whites. Nothing to do but make meringues!

Two things I like about England

I’ve been known to complain a bit, now and then, about my current hosts, the English. I reserve the right to continue complaining, to be sure, but I’d like to take a moment to point out two things I like about England:

  • ICICI Bank UK: This is one of the largest banks in India. In England, they are a very little fish in a very big nasty pond. English banks are incredibly expensive, arrogant, rude, and customer unfriendly. But because ICICI is tiny, and because it is focused on a small niche (immigrants who are sending remittances home), it gives excellent service. Go ICICI! I love you!
  • Muffins: The English make very nice muffins. The chocolate/chocolate-chip ones are totally decadent, so when you want to take it easy, go for the ones which merely have lemon curd inside and crystalized sugar on top.

PS: The English also display enormous muffin tops, but they are not really something you want to have…

Veg Box Blues (and Blacks)

Marina and I are experimenting with what the Brits call a “veg box scheme”. Everything here is a scheme, but that’s a post for another day.

One of the benefits/problems with veg boxes is that you never know what you are going to get. And you get stuff you might not have bought yourself. If you didn’t want it because you hate it, that’s a problem. But if you didn’t want it because you didn’t know what to do with it, that’s an opportunity!

Our first veg box, from a provider who shall not be named (because we’re not completely satisfied yet but still giving them another chance), came with a mysterious dark rough leafy thing. It reminded me of the kale we used to use to decorate the salad bar at Wendy’s when I had my first ever job. I went to where all answers to mysterious vegetables come from (the Internet, duh) and found Veg Box Recipes which explained that what I had in my hand was Cavolo Nero. I’m going to sauté it in olive oil and garlic and we’ll eat it with rewarmed homemade bread. You can also use it in a soup, but I made potato-carrot-turnip soup on Monday, so no more soup for a few days.

Marina is working hard studying, but at least I know she’s eating well!

Update: I thought it turned out OK, but Marina said she felt like a cow, chewing on grass. I promised to make soup next time, which should make it softer.

Indian Risotto

Here’s a tiny blurb about life in my new environment:

Tesco is down the street. They are the UK’s largest supermarket chain, think Safeway in the US. Generic, filled with irritating British mothers and their unruly children, with prepared food as far as the eye can see and bad produce. (Good arugula though, I have to admit). Tonight Marina and I had our hearts set on risotto. And Tesco, with 500 types of frozen pastys, has only one brand of arborio rice. And it is out of stock.

No problem, we’ll just stop at one of the other shops on the way home, there are loads.

But they are all SE-asian shops, with one Polish shop thrown in for good measure. Turns out that Poles apparently don’t eat risotto. But South Indians do!

In the south of India, they make something called idli, which near as I can tell is a fermented rice ball. Not something I’d order off the menu normally, but in the supermarket you can’t see the final product… just the ingredient. And I’d recognize arborio anywhere, even in an Indian grocery store. I bought it because I was 90% sure that idli rice is the same as arborio, and when I got home I Googled it: sure enough, if you are trying to make idli and you can’t find the right rice you can substitute arborio!

Or vice versa, in my case.

Excuse me, I have some risotto to stir.