Tuesday 3 August 2004

a plague of insects and nigella's sin

So first of all, what is up with all these hoverflies? I know that they don't sting or bite and they eat aphids, which is all well and good, but do we need a kajillion of them in our back garden? They make me nervous because they look a bit like wasps (what with all that stripey yellow and black happening), and I hate wasps. Why do wasps exist? They don't produce honey or spread pollen, and they will sting you for no good reason - repeatedly, without dropping dead. They are angry little buggers and they are only after your beer and Coke. Anyway, about these hoverflies. They keep coming into the house, our dog keeps trying to eat them, and they annoy us when we eat outdoors. I've never noticed so many of them before; what is the reason for this year's infestation?

[Update: An explanation regarding The Swarm!]

On a totally unrelated subject, I was watching "Nigella Bites" this morning and she was making something resembling a risotto. It was all going merrily along; she fried some onions and garlic, added the rice, ladlefuls of stock, and so on. Then, at the very end, she dumped in an egg yolk mixed with a 1/2 pint of cream and parmesan. It turned into a very yellow, runny, savoury rice pudding. It wasn't pretty. To me, the secret to a great risotto is adding as few extra ingredients as possible. Mine usually involves the obligatory onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, arborio rice, white wine, stock, seasoning, and another main flavour or two. I tend to favour porcini mushrooms and basil, with a healthy handful of parmesan thrown in at the end. It's a bit like pasta, I think people tend to add so much sauce that it goes completely overboard. One of my favourite pasta dishes is so simple: sautee garlic in some olive oil, add a chilli or two, a splash of white wine, seasoning, chopped fresh tomatoes (peeled and deseeded), and fresh basil. I also add some seafood (grilled prawns and scallops are lovely) and a squeeze of lemon. Chuck in some spaghetti or linguine and grate some parmesan on top. Fantastico.

Damn. Hungry now. I'd venture out for some food, but the hoverflies will get me.

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