Pre-occupied with hospitality workshops, I missed two important dates, (three if you count World Chocolate Day, which hardly needs a memory jolt).
Don't know how I could have missed last week's World Negroni Week.
I was led to the Negroni through Luca Turin's articles and books on the subject of scent (The Secret of Scent and Perfume: The A - Z Guide.) His writing is brilliant (but perhaps I say this because I agree wholeheartedly with his ratings). He gave up his "smellings" for a while due to the demands of his real job as a biophysicist, although occasional blogging suggest that the bug is still strong.
He extolled the allure of bitterness - in scents, in food and in life. A touch of bitter could be found in the perfumes of Bandit (Piguet), Knize 10 (Knize), Bois de Violette (Serge Lutens) for example. One could imagine a life of of bitter greens, dark chocolate (of course), wafts of Chanel's Cuir de Russie, a cello concerto by Shostakovich perhaps, and a Negroni, packed with ice.
Playing with variants (or deviants) - Negroni week, Wilmott's, Adelaide.
They say it was invented in Florence in 1919 when a certain Count Camillo Negroni asked his barman to up the ante on his usual Americano (Campari, sweet Vermouth and a large splash of soda) by replacing the soda with gin. This could be challenged by a General Pascal de Negroni in 1857 but you know how these tales escalate...
The concoction (equal parts Campari, sweet Vermouth, gin) is stirred, poured over plenty of ice and a large slice (or chunk) of orange. The orange, with its peel, is essential.
It's the perfect pre-prandial cocktail, with the bitterness sharpening the appetite (not that I've ever found appetite a problem).
It's been a year since the passing of Anthony Bourdain and not a week goes by without a reminder of his down-to-earth, sensible and sensitive ideas.
"Basic cooking skills are a virtue. The ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill. It's as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one's ass (sic), cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money."
BUT, in the kitchen and at the key-board this week, I've been all over cacio e pepe (like a pitbull on a poodle, to quote Seinfeld's Library Cop). This is a pasta dish that is creamy and saucy without the addition of butter, cream, (and sometimes even oil), relying simply on exploiting the starch in the pasta cooking water. Brilliant.
AND, how "spooky", as Dame Everage would say. Turns out this was Anthony Bourdain's favourite, all time, come what may, desert island pasta dish!
Recipe to come.
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