I desperately want to get out of here. I feel so trapped in this isolated metropolis filled with dying trees. It is often mistaken as the nation's capital with its bustling central business district, downtown market places, abundance of entertainment centres, harbours and token bridges. I've lived here for my whole life, in this city, and I can feel what little fire and excitement I have left for this place slowly begin to extinguish.
I suppose I was bred to have itchy feet. We lived in 5 different apartment units and houses while I was growing up which led me to change schools 6 times up until the year I the started seventh grade. I was pretty good like that as a kid. I remember having to become really adaptable to all sorts of new places and people but in the end it was easy. I simply gave and parted with less of myself each time.
It hasn't even been a year to date since I returned from a 3 month-long expedition around central Spain. It worries me that I'm already becoming so.. so.. agitated and increasingly restless about everything I'm involved in.
Food is such a wonderful tool for escapism. A single spoonful or whiff even of seemingly incongruous matter can easily take us to a place we all like to think of as Hell. On the other hand, a well balanced combination of flavours, of rich scents and harmonious textures can just as easily reawaken us to an old place once forgotten in our olfactory memory and if we're lucky, to somewhere completely new.
Personally, I like food that to me tastes like home (wherever that's supposed to be). Food that washes over me with a familiar sense of comfort and being with every mouthful. The taste of which doesn't find me wanting to be in any other place. So without further ado, I pass unto you a recipe for truffled vongole and bean stew, once entrusted to me and one which holds claim to having a customer embarrassingly close to licking the bowl.
Truffled Vongole and Bean Stew
20 vongole clamsPlace vongole in a large bowl full of cold water with a handful of oats or flour to leech out any sand and grit. Rinse and refrigerate.
1 medium waxy potato
250 ml chicken stock
50 g unsalted butter
minuscule pinch of truffle salt
a few drops of white truffle oil
1 sprig fresh thyme
3/4 C cooked cannellini beans
1/2 C broad beans
a few slices of freshly shaved black truffle
Dice the potato into 1cm cubes and simmer in salted water until cooked. Drain.
Blanch broad beans in salted water, refresh in ice water and peel.
In a small pot, bring chicken stock to the boil with butter, truffle salt, oil and thyme leaves.
Throw the clams in and boil.
Remove each clam to a small bowl as they open and keep aside.
Add the cannellini beans, potato and broad beans to the stock and simmer to reduce for a few minutes.
Taste for seasoning, throw the clams back in.
Toss and pour into a wide bowl with shaved truffle on top.
Best served with thick slices of bread.