I truly admire the bloggers who have a writing routine. No matter how hard I try, I still can’t develop a process I actually stick to for more than seven days in a row – fancy deciding on the magic number of posts I should aim to publish each week. I always start with a positive, productive mood, manically typing for hours, until I get to the end of a ridiculously long first draft. I set about reviewing it the next day, and find myself adding even more words, instead of cutting the crap. Then I start another draft, on the whim of a new idea. I finish neither; I leave both posts aside for days, wondering what happened to my inspiration, or struggling to free myself from the spiderweb of chores and unexpected events that offline life always throws at me so eagerly.
When I published my last post, written in the unusually short space of 24 hours, I felt like a sort of super-efficient self-organising ninja. I revelled in this fulfilling sensation for a good couple of days, daydreaming about completing another blog post early in the week – and then, without warning, chaos unfolded again. I’ll tell you more about the past few days in my next post (I may even have some exciting news to share!); meanwhile, I thought I’d let you know about the latest culinary adventure I got involved in.
Italian Sausage Risotto – Guest Post at Gannet and Parrot
When I read about Gannet and Parrot’s Heirloom Recipes series, featuring recipes that guest writers inherited from the people they love, I felt compelled to get writing. Chloe’s blog, full of lovingly made food and heartfelt memories, is a pleasure to read; having met her in person, I can guarantee that she’s every bit as lovely as she is online.
I had been wanting to send Chloe a recipe for months. Most of the foods I love are connected to cherished memories, and most of my sweetest memories have food at their core. When it came to picking my favourite, though, I hit a brick wall. Out of fear of spoiling my childhood’s distinctive flavours, I’ve always hesitated to recreate the dishes that my mother and grandmother make so effortlessly, trusting their gut feeling more than any cookbook. I can count the family recipes that made it to my own table on one hand, and while I’m proud of my new experiments and discoveries, I sorely miss tucking into a double portion of lasagne al ragù from time to time!
Last Sunday, when I cooked my mother’s sausage risotto for lunch, I realised that I had the perfect heirloom dish right in front of me. Writing down a procedure I’ve always carried in my memory felt difficult, unnatural, but this deliciously simple main is worth the effort. If you’re a lover of quick one-pot recipes, you’ll instantly warm up to it; this is exactly why my mum, always and forever a lazy cook, enjoys it so much. Besides, it’s very fulfilling, and ideal as a winter warmer. Heaven knows how much we still need winter warmers, in a country where May often feels like November, and summer never lasts longer than two weeks.
You can find my sausage risotto recipe on Chloe’s blog; let me know if you like it, or get a chance to make it at home. You can follow the original recipe, or try my mum’s favourite tweak: adding finely cut sautéed Treviso red chicory when the risotto is almost ready. Red chicory is a fine complement to the taste of the rice and sausage; the rich flavour of mushrooms also works well in this dish, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even swap the white wine for beer (how about that?).