Friday, January 08, 2010


I itch for change. I sometimes actually crave it. Despite all my risk averse tendencies, I itch for change. This itch has led to moves across countries. It's led to the sudden and very determined bid to take up a new sport or skill. I once spent a weekend painting the entire studio flat I was then residing in a cathartic bid to scratch that itch and to rid myself of some boy-related angst. There was also that time I tried to learn how to play the saxophone. I'm not sure what it is, whether that itch emanates from some subconscious need to run away from reality, or a physical response to deal with underlying emotional tension. Or perhaps the itch is simply just an itch, the curiosity as to what lies in the land-of-different-from-right-now.

I don't always need a big change. Sometimes a small change will do. Like making pasta from scratch. Like getting a haircut. Though there was that time I came home with punky spiky hair dyed red much to the amusement of my very understanding mother. I still have to masquerade as a professional of sorts in my day job, so I didn't go down the punky spiky hair route, but I did give the lovely Jorych a very wide brief and trusted him to do as he wanted with my hair. I wanted something different, and he gave me something very different. Jorych gave my hair a final artistic tousle as hairdressers do and asked for my thoughts – i told him I looked like a boy. He disagrees. I am pleased though – the haircut's grown on me quite quickly.

The haircut deserved to be taken out to dinner and I wanted to catch up with the fantabulous LG. A last minute ring round on a Wednesday afternoon in a bid to get a Thursday evening dinner reservation proved a little challenging. I was more than pleasantly surprised to bag a table at Murano – Angela Hartnett's Italian venture out in Mayfair. Decked out in my favourite LBD, FMBs (don't you love these clothing acronyms) and my new haircut – dinner at Murano beckoned. But then I read Giles Coren's review of
Semplice and I changed my mind. I'm an indecisive woman. But I was curious about a place which converted Giles Coren to risotto. Murano would have to wait.

Perhaps I was v hungry. I wanted to eat most of the offerings on the menu (save for the cod – bad to eat cod). I started with the Giles Coren coverting risotto – Milanese risotto with saffron and bone marrow. I can't say that I had the conversion experience that Giles Coren had. Maybe it's because I am already a risotto convert. It wasn't the best I've ever had (that accolade will have to go to the brown crab risotto at the sportsman in kent), but it was pretty good. A deep rich yellow with heaps of saffron, studded with oozy bone marrow. It was a touch more al dente than I had first expected, but like my haircut, it grew on me quite quickly and I was sad to eat the last spoonful.

The risotto was followed by a tagliata of Fassone beef with French beans and a mixed salad. I chuckled when I read the footnote accompanying the description of the Fassone beef explaining that the Fassone beef comes from piedmontese cows and only the females are used because they are more tender. Slices of sirloin, cooked medium rare, still lovely and pink in the middle and extremely tasty with almost a hint of gameyness.

LG started with the Ravioli with braised Fassone beef, spinach sauce and aged ricotta cheese. She also had the milk fed veal with broad beans, carrot and a herb sauce. I have to admit a twinge of plate envy when LG let me steal a bit of the ravioli – it was blousy as ravioli should be. The veal was very tender and the carrot puree a nice touch.

We shared a pudding – a pairing of rum baba with an almond and chocolate tart with Chantilly cream and pistachio ice-cream. It came with a rather large chocolate pistachio crisp. I was secretly pleased LG didn't really take to the rum baba because I love rum baba – I love the texture, the sponginess in my mouth, oozing with rum as your jaws clamp down on it– the sweetness of the sponge against the hint of spicy heat of the rum, the richness of the cream. It makes a perfect bite.
I'm not sure the itch will ever be sufficiently scratched. It's been somewhat soothed by my haircut, dinner and an evening spent with a loved friend and remembering that I have much to be content about and thankful for right now in my present reality. Though admittedly as I write, Google is scouring the net for drumming lessons…
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