In her ongoing monthly reports, Centotre and the Scottish Cafe owner Carina Contini updates us on her efforts to create a kitchen garden.
Gardeners may be driven by the perfect herbaceous border, award-winning roses or champion turnips. We’ve been driven by our appetite. Despite the weather, the green fingers tending the garden have produced treats such as Red Orache, Beet leaf, Mustard Frills, Calendula and courgettes with their stunning yellow flowers.
Nothing goes to waste, so we sautee a small shallot in butter until translucent, toast two handfuls of the best Vialone Nano rice in the shallot then add a splash of white wine and cook off. Add a coarsely grated courgette and sweat briskly. Lower the heat. Gently ladle homemade chicken stock, stirring constantly, allowing the stock to evaporate. Be patient for 30 mins as the best risotto is always the slowest. While the rice has a slight bite, add another grated courgette and simmer for a few minutes then add ¼ lb. of Lanark White and a little Parmigianno Reggiano. Stir, cover, then remove from the heat. After five mins finely slice the flowers and fold into the risotto with a knob of butter. Heaven!
Before it was just a love of good food, now I’m driven by an understanding of how much love and effort is required to nurture seeds into fruits and vegetables. This applies all through our food choices. In making these choices we all need to be aware of the environment, support local communities by buying locally grown food, celebrate artisan producers and hold onto our heritage along the way.
Sustained by a wonderful risotto, I’ve been motivated to finish the ground works. We’ll make way for the polytunnel and get the garden producing enough vegetables for pumpkin and kale versions of my favourite dish. The end result will be happy, full tummies and something to look forward to next season.
Casa San Lorenzo (www.centotre.com/casa-san-lorenzo-garden/)
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east