Sensationality – Woodland housework risotto

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What’s sensational about this? You’ll see!  It’s all about your senses – particularly smell and taste and texture, and a little bit of housework thrown in for good measure (but not in the food!)

I saw a pack of mini portabella mushrooms and it gave me an idea!  Mushroom risotto with a few other things added in.  These mushrooms remind me of walking in woods and seeing nature’s bounty.  I’ve just got back from a few days away in the Lake District and in some of the woods on the shores of Ullswater I saw all kinds of mushrooms (which I wouldn’t pick as I don’t yet know the friendly from the not – my sister does, I’ll have to ask her).

Back to the risotto: it’s good for carb-loading, and so its great for runners – like me!  The only thing is that you have to have strong flavours to add, as the rice tends to ‘milk’ all the flavours.  That’s where the portabella mushrooms come in: they have a strong flavour, a good woody/meaty kind of flavour.  I sauted them with the onions then stirred in the risotto rice and veggie stock.  I knew I would also add spinach as it has a great taste, but that gets stirred in right at the end as it wilts away to nothing, so can’t be over cooked.  That gives a really good earthy flavour.  And I had been flicking through a recipe book which added roast tomatoes.  I’ll give it a go! I had never done that before thinking it too much effort.  But I had all the time in the world, so I thought I would give it a try.  I had cherry tomatoes; put them in a shallow roasting dish with a touch of oil, slivers of garlic and plenty of pepper and salt – in the top oven for 30 minutes.

And here’s where the housework comes into it!  As the tomatoes were roasting and in between stirring the risotto and adding more stock, I washed the kitchen floor!  When housework is a separate job, I don’t much like doing it, but if it’s something I can sneak in between other things, it’s like I’m not doing it at all!  Clean floor, and tasty dinner – a great combination!

I had some mushrooms left over so I thought I would put some in with the roasting tomatoes for the last 15 minutes.  That was a stroke of genius!  When I dished up the risotto, I put the tomatoes on top and some of the roasted mushrooms next to them.  And then I sat and ate and savoured the flavour.  One aspect of ‘mindfulness’ is about being really present; focussing on the moment and what it brings.  This was a great thing to do while eating.  The tomatoes were a burst of juicy sweetness, the spinach was wholesome earthiness and the mushrooms were dense woodland.  How to put any flavour into words?

And then it was gone, like the Buddhist mandala art that takes ages to compose but then is blown away in the wind to help us remember it’s not good to cling to things.  When we cling to things I suppose it stops us from being present to the moment, to the here and now, and to all the wonderful things the Living Earth wants to give us and show us.

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