But a man must eat, and our foray into the Bull's menu had to be postponed as Anthony's mother had already cooked for him. Me, I had Dad breathing down my neck to eat whatever was in the fridge (he and Mum were going out for supper) - two barbecued partridges which had been in there for God knows how long, and a huge bag of fresh peas from the garden. The partridges, I decided, could wait for the dogs. I set about shelling the peas, a job made less tiresome by the fact that you could pop them in your mouth as you went, but more so because you had to shell double as a result of this practice. The peas are slung in a risotto with some bacon and fresh mint, and although I burn my tongue in my over-zealousness to gobble it down (it would be soothed by Theakstons later) it is comforting yet inherently summery. These quantities serve 1 but can all be multiplied within reason.
I took a photo but it was crap - you know what a risotto looks like.
Pea, bacon and mint risotto
3 rashers streaky bacon
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot or onion
75g Arborio risotto rice
A splash of white wine or vermouth
650ml hot chicken stock (cubed is fine)
a handful of freshly shelled peas - frozen are perfectly good too though
25g Parmesan cheese
A few mint leaves, sliced
In a saute pan (like a large saucepan that never grew tall) fry the bacon over a medium heat till lightly crispy and pop on kitchen paper to drain a little. Reduce the heat and add the shallot to the pan with a little olive oil and a crunch of pepper (don't add salt at this point - the bacon, Parmesan and, I find, stock cubes all have a fair amount of salt so only add salt at the end if you feel it is necessary). Soften the shallot, increase the heat and add the rice, stirring for a minute or two. Add the white wine and stir till the rice has absorbed it. Then add a ladle of stock. Once this has been absorbed, add another. Continue in this fashion for 15 minutes, stirring regularly but not constantly - there's really no need. Chop the bacon into bits. When the rice is almost cooked but still has a little bite to it, add the bacon, peas, cheese and mint, and a final ladle of stock and stir for another 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt and/or pepper if necessary. Eat. Don't burn your tongue.