Fox is making dinner.. she's been up to the supermarket and now she's back home cutting asparagus into 4 cm long bits. She's cooking risotto for dinner and I'm watching - that, my friends, is what we call in the trade "team work".
The blinds are closed, the lights are on and there is music playing - it's the evening after a long day where Fox worked really hard and I did hardly anything - it's just the way things are, nature's way, the way of the wild, the stuff of the universe etc.
I went for a walk earlier. It's a grey, cold, wet day in Melbourne and it's wonderful. You know, if you dress right you can be happy doing most things (words to live by) rug up properly and go out into Winter and it's just glorious. Dress in a bikini and go to paint-balling and it's gonna be a nightmare. See? the correct outfit is 80% of the battle.
It was a great walk in the rain and wind, powering up Melbourne's only hill and being passed by cyclists in mining helmets (that's what the lights on their heads remind me of). By the time I got home I was all wet on the outside and dry on the inside - perfect.
So now Fox is undressing an onion. It's one of those nice brown onions. She's really bad at onions and says she will probably be inconsolable shortly. I am consulting Fox as to how many layers to peel from the onion before she begins dissecting it. Before I became completely zen with onion dicing, I used to wear a my father's old diver's mask to avoid the copious tears that would stream down my face so instead of having swollen red eyes at dinner, I would have the large oval suction crease from the mask - swings and round-abouts.
****News Flash: we have marshmallow biscuits for dessert!!*****
Okay, Fox is sniffling, and tearing up, the onion is being diced finely - this is gonna be a goooood risotto!
She's now putting the asparagus aside because, she says, "it needs to think about what it's done. " The onion has turned her into some kind of emo cook and she's considering taking her MySpace photo as she's misty as all get out.
So she's frying stuff - she told me but I was "live blogging" (that's a SXSW thing, apparently) and missed a few steps. There's magic in our kitchen as Fox makes the onion turn transparent.
Sizzle, sizzle, the smells of dinner are filling the room. [scratch/sniff here to experience]
It's time to strain the asparagus - she really is quite the housewife - if she poured me a wine about now I'd totally tell her she was as close to The Perfect Roommate™ as any one's ever been but.. nope.. Jedi Mind tricks aren't working, she's not weak minded.
Now she has to add a cup of aborio rice to the buttery, transparent onion and garlic. She's stirring the mixture thoroughly for about a minute. Oh my goodness, the garlic's getting warm and wafting this way. Now she has to make everything drunk - she's slopping white wine and vegetable stock into the pan and the softly sizzling rice is getting really happy.
And now is the time that Fox wins The Perfect Roommate™ award 2007 because she's pouring me wine!
I am quietly blogging and not interacting with Fox and her important work - that's not because I'm sensitive or aware of the concentration needed, but because she told me not to distract her from her important tasks.
Fox: do you know why arborio rice gets sticky and ordinary rice doesn't?
Michelle: no, I don't know why arborio rice gets sticky and ordinary rice doesn't.
Fox: *stir* *stir*
Michelle: do you?
Fox: no, no I don't.
Michelle: *wikipedias* "Arborio rice is an Italian medium-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio, Italy (in the Po Valley) where it is grown. Cooked, the rounded grains are firm and creamy due to the high starch content of this rice variety. They are often used in the dish Risotto."
The risotto is starting to get creamy like rice pudding with onion in it. It's only been introduced to about a cup of the liquid but things are going swimmingly. It's the mushrooms turn to get it's groove on as they're sauteed in a dab of butter in preparation of being introduced to the risotto.
We're using Danish butter which, despite it's horrific food miles, is simply the most delicious butter on the Planet. We don't have a Hummer to drive to Passionfoods to buy our Danish butter so we minimise our* carbon footprint when purchasing it by walking to Safeways.
Fox loves when she cuts open a packet only to discover the other end has an "easy open" flap - cheddar, extra tasty cheese has now been slit open with an Ikea knife instead of being gently eased into the world via "easy open" flap - ah well, the end justifies the means sometimes.
Note: would get up and help by setting the table but she's standing right in front of the cutlery drawer and i don't want to break her cooking feng shui by making her move.
Now she's turning the heat down on the rice, adding the asparagus and mushrooms, and gently folding it all together.
ALERT: rice is still hard.
SOLUTION: more stock, cook a bit longer.
We're** all about solutions, people!
Quiet cooking sounds - soft sizzles, stirrings and the romantic hum of the extractor fan over the stove makes for a cosy flat. Fox is setting the table - cutlery and napkins - so I don't even have to do that anymore. This is the life!
Dinner smells amazingly good. She's putting a small loaf of garlic bread into the oven - this is gonna be really good comforting hearty food for such a lovely winter's day.
* my footprint - Fox'd never be so selfish and fussy as to not buy locally grown produce.
** Fox, cos Lord knows I'm not helping by asking so many questions.
(I think this is so much better than blogging about the Melbourne Animation Festival, although I will blog about that, in all my typical overwordage)
[UPDATE] That was one damn fine risotto! I ate about four times as much as I needed but it was so tasty I couldn't stop! What a very nice evening. Thanks Fox!