After 14 months I can’t believe this is going to be our last CookAlong
It all started at the beginning of the lockdown to keep people connected and focused on something positive and uplifting. I remember the very first one I felt extremely nervous trying to set up my phone on top of a pile of books to keep it still while I was getting the few ingredients available in the shops at the time, will people watch? Is it going to work? So many questions?
Yes It worked
The 2/3 people in the first class doubled up very quickly and more people were tuning in week after week.
I wasn’t just talking to my phone, I was talking to everyone behind my camera and I was pretending I could hear everyone interacting (well in my head “seeing” faces behind the camera was the best way to hold a 60 minute class talking away about recipes and food stories).
I did try to avoid dishes using “dangerous” vocabulary like sheets …. but the temptation was too strong I gave in a few times (I guess that was part of the show )
The truth is that the CookAlongs were supporting you as much as they supported me, they were the highlight of my week, something to look forward to and to get excited about.
As the lockdown was bringing more isolation and lack of connection, I loved getting ready to cook and to see everyone, family from overseas, family here, friends, neighbours, people that I didn’t even know that became virtual friends ….. every single weekend …. for the past 13 months
My dear friend Lesley was my number one supporter from the very beginning (from the start of my cookery journey when I was working as a volunteer for MrJO ).
Lesley was not just a lovely friend, she was also an Italian student and her love for Italy and Italian food was exceptionally profound
Sadly she passed away before I got to see her again and give her a big hug
I am/ we are going to miss her, I know she’ll be looking down with a big smile telling me how to chop the garlic or telling me off for my silly jokes I hope you can join me to celebrate her life
Please if you cannot make the CookAlong can I ask if you could make a small donation to our just giving page in honour of Lesley and everyone else who has been touched by this dreadful illness
Grazie di cuore ❤️
500g mussels or clams ( can be fresh or frozen, need to be cleaned)
250g prawns ( with shell or without), or any shellfish available
350g risotto ( arborio rice)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 litre vegetable stock
Garlic one clove, halved
1 small dried chilli or half of a small fresh chilli, chopped (without the seeds for less heat)
Handful parsley flat leaves
Olive oil, 2 tbs
Salt , 2tsp
A large non stick pan with lid
A chopping knife
A chopping board
Thank you for holding the horses and cooking with us
Pour the oil in the pan and put on a medium heat, add the garlic and the chilli. Gently simmer.
Add the mussels (or calms) and cook until they are fully opened. Add the prawns (with or without the shell) and cook for 4/5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the mussels (clams), the prawns, the garlic, the chilli and some of the juice from the pan, and place inside a bowl to rest.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer in a little juice. add the rice and stir it in. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Season with a teaspoon of salt. Have you stock ready and gradually add it in the pan, keep stirring the rice. Repeat until the rice doubles in size. Add the seafood and all the juice back in the pan, stir everything in, keep cooking on a low heat and let it rest with the lid on for another 4/5 minutes.
Sprinkle some finely chopped parsley 🌿 before serving, Pronto! ☺️
P.S. You can use calamari instead of prawns and you can add half glass of white wine whilst the rice is roasting.