Friday, 24 October 2008

A Fish Story

You've all probably heard them I am sure. You know the tale . . . the story of the one that got away. Anglers quite often exaggerate the size of their catches, and their stories are often met with disbelief. It's ever been so since fishing began. I found an anglers prayer that reads:

"Give me, O Lord, to catch a fish
So large that even I
In boasting of it afterwards
Shall have no need to lie."

It reminds me of another type of angler's prayer found in a village churchyard grave down in Devon which reads:

"God grant that I may fish until my dying day,
And when it comes to my last cast, I humbly pray,
When in the Lord's safe landing net I'm peacefully asleep,
That in His mercy I be judged good enough to keep."

Now, that's food for thought on a Friday morning.

Many thanks to those of you who have expressed interest in my cards. Todd was taking a bunch down to the Village Post Office the other day to see how much it would cost to mail some off and the Post Mistress expressed great interest in them and would like to have an assortment of them in to sell from there after Christmas, so that was quite pleasant news, to say the least! I did work on another one the other day and came up with this:

Something different yet again. I just can't keep up with the pictures and words that roll around in my brain and scramble to get out! It's a pity that I can't just sit all day and play with them, but alas . . . we like to eat and so I must work. But hasn't that always been the way with writers and artists? I dare say it has!

I did the Oven Bakes Mushroom Risotto yesterday for our tea and it was lovely. Risotto can be quite time consuming when done on top of the stove. This version bake in the oven and so leaves your hands free to do something else while it is cooking. This was nice and comforting on a cold and windy day . . .

*Oven Baked Wild Mushroom Risotto*
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

Creamy al dente rice redolent with the earthy flavours of wild mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, this is a real pleaser.

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
8 ounces fresh, dark gilled mushrooms (I used Chestnut)
2 1/2 ounces butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
7 ounces Italian Carnoli rice
5 ounces chicken stock
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
To finish:
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved into flakes
1 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl with 2 cups of boiling water poured over them. Set it aside to soak for half an hour. Slice the remaining mushrooms about 1/4 inch thick.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Cook it over gentle heat for about 5 minutes to soften, then add the sliced mushrooms, stir well and leave to the side for the time being.

When the dried mushrooms have had their half hour soak place a sieve over a bowl. Line with a double sheet of paper towels and strain the mushrooms through this, reserving the liquid in the bowl beneath. Chop the mushrooms finely and then add them to the mushroom mixture in the pan. Keep the heat low and let the onions and mushrooms sweat gently for about 20 minutes, in order to release all their juices and flavour. Do not colour.

Put a shallow casserole dish into the oven to warm.

Add the rice to the mushroom mixture and give it a good stir to coat it with butter. Add the chicken stock along with the strained mushroom liquid. Season to taste with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring up to the simmering point, then pour the whole mixture into the warmed casserole dish. Stir once and then place it on shelf in the middle of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes exactly.

Remove from the oven and gently stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, turning the rice grains over. Put back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes further. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, spooned out onto warm plates and garnished with the shavings of parsley and a sprinkling of parsley.

PS - those white flowers in the post the other day are white peonies, pictures taken from the Herbaceous border.
PPS - I apologize for not getting around to visit everyone yesterday, but I was sleeping and recovering from work! I'll pop in today!


  1. Your risotto looks delish!
    My problem is Paul wont eat mushrooms - Strange person not liking mushrooms! Looks lovely though Marie.

  2. I am sending this on my I phone on a train. Does the rissoto get a crust on it? It sounds like a paella I had in Spain. Luverpy. Gas x

  3. The risotto looks delicious and comforting. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Hi Marie
    I am having a giveaway. Make sure you stop by.
    Hugs, rhondi

  5. That risotto looks great Marie...and good news too about your cards. It's a great feeling isn't it when someone thinks that your stuff is good enough to buy or sell....especially when that person isn't a member of your family or a close friend!! :o)

  6. Hi, Marie! Such fantastic news about the cards!! HOORAY!! So very glad for you that things are happening with you illustration work...and love this new one you share today--sooo cute! Your drawings have such LIFE! And I love this recipe risottos! Pretty soon you'll need to develop ultra-quick recipes as your illustration work expands with demand! :o) Happy weekend, my dear friend. Hope we get to chat Sunday ((BIG HUGS))

  7. Hello Dear,
    I must rush to finish packing and be off to the airport but I wanted to say hello before I run off.

    I'll be back when I can. Until then I hope all is well with you.

    Love, Lura

  8. Congratulations on your cards Marie -- I am sure everyone will want one! Your risotto looks amazing. Risotto is probably my husband's favorite dish. I never make it because I can't find the time but I will have to try your recipe. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

  9. You shouldn't feel bad at all! Sleep is important.

    I love the drawing. She's so precious. You're so much better than Mary Englebright.

    The risotto looks wonderful! Is there anything you can't whip up?

  10. Dear Marie, I look the time here is 5:00 oclok and think, I hope may is rest a little at home with Todd. You have 5 hours more than here, so yu have 10;00 PM probably
    I hopoe you have agood weekend dera Marie.
    Love your new Christmas draw is lovely, I will mail you about the cards.
    Anthis dish i ssooo yummy, I love it.
    I hope you are so OK this wekeend huggs to you and Todd!!!! Gloria

  11. I've never made risoto Marie, I've wanted to try it though. This looks so creamy and good.


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