Anna: We wanted something we could reheat for Peter, and that could feed six. And it needed to be easy enough to do on a Wednesday night.
Kirstin: And it was raining when we chose it, so we chose a risotto, something warming.
Lee (Kirstin’s mum): Comfort food!
Anna: It was a bit of a faff. It was delicious, but a bit of a faff. If you have two people cooking it, and you have guests…
Kirstin: My mother and her best friend from school, 60 years ago!
Anna: If I was cooking it I would not cook it on Wednesday.
Lee: If I were. And you didn’t always stir it in the same direction. The rice is shaped in a special way, so you have to stir it the same way.
Kirstin (through gritted teeth): See? This is the kind of stuff I have to deal with all the time. Yes, the rice has an internal magnetometer in each grain. It can tell which way it is being stirred, right mum?
Anna: We don’t know how it would have tasted if we’d stirred it in one direction.
Tom: I’m saying nothing.
Lee: That’s a first!
Kirstin: As expected, I cut the zucchini without Anna, I read the instructions several times, and I still got it wrong! There’s no picture! It’s not like new books with a picture on every page!
Anna: We don’t know if it was right or wrong, but it’s not clear. That’s a running theme with this book: gaps in the instructions. That made a monster amount, though.
Lee: It tasted good, but that was a lot of butter. And it was only green. There was no red or yellow.
Kirstin: It was primavera! That means spring! Remind me who is studying Italian again?
Lee: What about apricots?
Tom: I’d forgotten that Lee chooses her menus on the basis of the colours of the ingredients.
Anna: Anyway, you can make risotto creamy without a lot of butter. And Kirstin’s biceps are huge after grating all that cheese.
Kirstin: And we did the summer salad.
Lee: Pumpkin! Pumpkin! That’s summer! I bought nice pumpkin the other day. Anyhow, it tasted very primavera. I sprang out!
Anna: I think pumpkins are autumn. Anyway, the quantities were right, if you don’t mind putting that much butter into a saucepan of rice.
Janet (Lee’s friend): It tasted nice!
Anna: I went off-piste. I put some salt on the onions when they were sauteeing to stop them burning.
Lee: That’s a good little tip! You should share this knowledge! I think the vegetables should have been cut a bit smaller. And should it have been placed on a bed of salad, I ask myself? It would look like Ophelia, wouldn’t it?
Kirstin (rolling eyes): You know we are turning into our mothers.
Anna: I liked it the way it was. I’m not telling Peter how much butter there was in it, though, or he won’t eat it. He’ll have just burned 4,000 calories in his bike race, but I can’t tell him. Ooh, phone! Hello, dear. How did you do in the race? Did you have an accident? Second place! How much do you win for second?
Tom: Go on, tell us!
Anna: £9! Well, he’s not sure. But he got £7 for third the other day and £5 for fourth. So we think £9. He got a choice of energy bar: mango, banana or tropical. He went for mango.
Kirstin: Would I cook this again? No. It was too much of a faff.
Anna: I don’t think I’ll make it again. There’s only one risotto that I’ve cooked more than once: Nigel Slater’s purple sprouting broccoli and taleggio risotto.
Kirstin: Mum, would you eat it again? You’ll eat anything I cook for you. Especially if there’s wine with it.
Lee: If Kirstin cooks it, yes, as a guest I would. But I wouldn’t put all that butter in, and all that cheese. And I’d stir it in the right direction.
Verdict: Would we cook this again? No. 5/10.