Squid ink risotto and the beach

During the week, we stole a moment when the sun is up and head down to the beach- just a quick getaway. You know, there are some moments when you seem bugged by something but actually there's none. Then you get really snappy at little things turning you into an evil witch disguised under the skin. This was for the both of us. Everyday we will come home going to our individual worlds. After dinner, me with the latest season of drama and he escaping in the world wide web until it is time for bed. Not much of a conversation besides the usual How's your day? and good night exchanges. There are not much of any activities going on. 
Is that how a relationship will be after awhile? Slipping to the category of mundaneness routines? I guess many of us do ponder on this. Now, that I'm much older, I think I understand somethings a little better and I am not worried at all. This is one of those phrases that gonna test the patience and sometimes it will mysteriously go away with a click before you know. The one thing that is actually bothering me is because I missed those silly adventures we do together that makes us laugh and crack up. I miss laughing with him.
It's day off for him and that morning, I woke up earlier than usual. I put on my beach wear and woke him up. Over breakfast, I tease him about to take out his mobile and help me give Mr. Sunshine a call. And he responded pretending to be on a conversation with Mr. Sunshine and promise to put peeing on the hold. Cracking up with a laugh, I know we are okay for the day's adventure. 

Going to the beach, getting away from city, clears the mind and always put the sanity back in place. Doing nothing besides being together feeling the soft breeze and hearing the gentle waves washing away life’s everyday intoxicating subtleties. Everything seems to be lifted for a moment. we came home that evening feeling calm and that night when I went home, I receive the I love you on text. Now after a few days, I see the aftereffects of more laughters and joy of being together. 

I made this squid ink risotto for dinner that night. I wanted to make something from the sea since we had spent a great day at the beach. A little celebration to our getaway. A dish that you'll get at high end Italian restaurant. This recipe requires quite a number of steps but sure it's worth the effort to impress.

Serves 2 as main course
1 medium squid
8 medium prawns
8 scallops
1 can chicken stock
1 cup water
1 stalk celery, chopped into chunks 
1 shallot (about the size of tennis ball), 1/2 finely mince, the other half roughly chopped
4 clove garlic, 2 clove finely mince and 2 clove roughly chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
11/2 teaspoon capers
1/2 kaffir lime leave
A pinch of saffron
1/2 lemon juice
1 chili, finely minced
1 cup risotto
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
1 glass dry white wine
2 packets of squid ink
2 tablespoon butter
Olive oil

1 chili, finely minced
A handful of chopped parsley
Zest of half a lime
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Prepping the seafood
1. Clean squid and score diagonal lines
2. Shell and devein the prawns, keeping the shells for stock
3. Score both sides with diagonal lines on scallops
4. Pat dry the seafood with kitchen towel and season with salt and pepper

On a medium size sauce pan and high heat, heat olive oil and fry the prawn shells for a minute until the shells turn pink with some parts whitish, then add the chopped shallots and roughly chopped garlic. Stir around for a minute more and deglaze pan with half cup of white wine. Then with the back of a rolling pin, pound the shells especially the prawn head to release the most flavor. Add the celery, kaffir lime leaf, chicken stock, water and a pinch of saffron and boil on high heat for half hour, adding more water if necessary. Run the stock over a sieve and pour the stock back to the pan. Add the squid ink and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer to keep the stock warm over the stove. Discard the shells.

Cooking the seafood
Heat skillet with olive oil. Pan fry the seafood browning the sides. make sure the pan is not overcrowded. Set seafood aside. Deglaze pan with a little stock and pour the sauce back into the stock.

Heat pan with butter, sauté the onions, garlic, capers and anchovy paste, add in the risotto rice and cook for 1/2 minute. pour in the wine. When wine is absorb into the rice., add your first ladle of hot stock. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.  Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.  If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. 

Scoop the risotto on the bottom of the plate and place the seafood on top. Sprinkle with chopped chili, lime zest and parsley and give a good squeeze of lemon juice. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.
- till next post, ss.

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