Broadly speaking, I am a terribly disorganised person with little interest in time managment (I don’t think it’s really possible & think ‘time’ is more of an experience than a thing that can be managed). That is probably why blogging is so infrequent around here. And also why we have late dinners, and why I can’t seem to go for more than a three day success streak of not burning my porridge. Porridge is one of those things you should not burn!
It is never recoverable. In fact, if you burn porridge as frequently as I do, nearly all porridge starts to taste a bit burnt. I’m hoping this isn’t a permanent taste alteration.
Secondary to being disorganised is being chronically sleep deprived. I read today (on a not very reliable inferno graphic on Facebook) that a lack of meaningful sleep can cause symptoms similar to ADHD. Go figure. It also causes impaired moral judgement. Huh. Well, I’m approaching 2.5 years of nights of well broken sleep, I think I’m fairing well!
But where was I? Distraction. Yes. Then there are external sources of distraction: desperate pleads from a toddler who can’t possibly take a break from our bonded play; a phone call that can’t wait; trying to shake off the unwanted door-knocker who are really just rude telemarketers that you can’t hang up on; the ‘just pop out to the garden for some herbs’ & realise if you don’t water those seedlings now, it might just be too late for them. Yep. All on those happen here weekly (just ask my seedling graveyard). The combination of internal and external distractions create the perfect storm.
And this is the predicament I found myself in a couple of weeks ago while trying to make risotto for Arancini. I was sweating off the leeks & garlic, then distraction wrapped its silent tentacles around my pocket watch* and that was it. Dinner was ruined, I tantrumed. Complete with expletives and a theatrical (toddler-esk theatrics) flinging of the wooden spoon into the sink. And tears. Yep. I’ll put my hand up to that. I cried over almost-charcoal leeks. I think the tears were born from the fact I used home-grown leeks (that take possibly 2-3 years to mature!) and even if I had the time to recook (HA! Time!!), nothing would taste even close to the blood, sweat, & (more) tears of organic, home-grown produce. After rinsing off the wooden spoon and piling composted layers of guilt, anger, and shoulda-coulda-woulda’s on myself, I poked at the near-ashes of the leeks and found it to be… not so bad. Dark, yes. But still usable, if adding an unintended background to the risotto. The rest of the meal worked out quite well, so I won’t bore you will that.
I believe traditional Arancini call for variously plain risotto, maybe heavy on the cheese to add richness. I don’t roll that way. I am always looking for more avenues to exploit to bulk out my meals with vegetables. To this one, I added finely chopped broccoli (also from my garden), and a handful of whatever was going. And left over roast chicken never fails in risotto. Ever.
If you’d like to try Arancini, start with your favourite risotto, but any ‘extras’ need to be cut smallish to form the Arancini. One of my favourites is mushroom, but maybe with some dried porcini cooked down to really add impact. Then with wet hands (unless you like rice stuck to your hands), shape two tablespoons of cold risotto into a ball, roll in plain flour, then dip/brush in beaten egg wash, then roll in breadcrumbs. For added fancy, you could conceal a cube of mozzarella in the centre of the rice. Chill in the fridge for 30mins before shallow frying (~5cm deep oil) until golden brown. I’ve had success putting them back in the fridge & then reheating them in the oven as party-finger-food.