Wednesday, July 02, 2008
another rose..polenta, basket
..and why not?
From time to time I cook polenta, that golden corn meal from northern Italy, which is made initially into a kind of porridge. It has little taste of its own but borrows it elegantly from other ingredients such as cheese and butter. I love the routines associated with it: letting the meal run through your fingers into a pan of boiling water, stirring it steadily and then simmering it until, as it thickens, you can stand a spoon up in it. It is a beautiful thing, though I didn't think so when I first encountered it. I remember a dish of polenta and salt cod in Padua some years ago, which I found rather strange, but would have liked now. What is left over from the original porridge is almost better. I enjoy the process of cutting into strips the flat cake, which results from the warm polenta being poured on to a dish and allowed to cool. I like the strips grilled or fried as an alternative to potatoes as much for their texture as for the tastes which accrue..
You don't see many laundry baskets nowadays - sturdy trunk like containers constructed from heavy duty wicker, with leather straps and rope handles. Today, I notice one in the dry cleaners, with its lid open, under a hatch through which out-of -hours customers can push their clothes for cleaning. There was something about their smell, which I liked when they were delivered full of clean linen.
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Polenta is an excellent basis for a cake if you have guests with a cereals allergy. And it's good enough to be enjoyed by those who are allergy-less
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