A tribute to Camille

By Sarah Levannier - July 11, 2013

Today it's Friday. And God knows how I love fridays. We always have loved Fridays in the family. Friday is a very special day since it seals the end of a week of labour and opens a week-end full of activities and moments spent together. I love Fridays because it's the only day when everyone gathers around the table and is not stressed. On Friday nights we always eat something simple, something that makes the whole family happy about it. Usually it's a quite caloric dish. But sometimes, I remember my Mom (or my aunt more recently) cooking something lighter like pumpkin soup with delicious bacon bits. 

I have spent a year at my Aunt and Uncle now and I'm so thankful for all the good memories they brought me. Especially my cousin. Her name is Camille and well, she's like my twin sister. So closed, so confident. I love her and even though there are not many tastes we share, we never managed to argue or whatsoever. Leaving her for a day is always horrible. And as the summer holidays are getting closer, I'm going to have to leave her again to spend time with my parents. 1 month with Dad and 1 month with Mom. This is how it works when you have divorced parents. 

But I wanted to talk to you about that dish. It's not a cookie, but it's cooking. And it's delicious. 

How it came up to me.

On Wednesday night, Camille and I were making plans (mostly food plans) for the week-end. When I told her I wouldn't be here for our traditional "plateau télé du samedi soir" (saturday night TV diner), she was very disappointed. So she proposed that we made two instead of one so that I could be here for at least one of them. On saturday night, it's impossible to try to argue on cooking something. She needs her Picolinis, some french small pizzas. 

But as for friday nights, she's opened to suggestions. Lea, her younger sister who is also my cousin, said she'd make a lemon pie. Camille said she wanted risotto. Lea didn't want to cook it so I said that I would do it. 

The dish.

I wanted this dish to be like my cousin. I wanted this risotto to feel exactly like her and all the good things she means to me. Of course, I couldn't just cook a risotto and add all of my cousin's favorite foods. It would have given something horrible (chips, chorizo, Lerdamer, peanuts and ham). The only thing I know she always wants is chorizo. So here was my basis : a risotto and chorizo pieces. I just had to imagine the rest. 

Since her favorite color is red, I had to make the dish red. So I immediately added some tomatoes to my basis. Then, I wanted some exotic taste. So I added the sweet of ewe cheese (etoky, ossau iraty, petit basque…). I also considered grilling a few nuts to put on top of it. So that it would give it a crispy taste to surprise. Like Camille. She will always find a way to surprise and show me how little I know her, even after all those years spent together.

So I cooked my dish for her. And she loved it. When I styled the food, I wanted to add a touch of green. For life. Because Camille is like a tiny arrow pointing towards life. Because Camille is full of life. Because she is pretty even though she believes she is neutral. She has that tiny spark in her gaze which conveys so much feelings. She has this way of behaving which make her so sweet and special. She doesn't realize how wonderful she is. I never want to live another minute far away from her. This dish is just a tiny tribute to what she is deep inside, buried under her shyness and her silence. 

When I told my Mom about this risotto dish and told her what ingredients I wanted to put in, she couldn't help saying it sounded delicious but that to her, it sounded like a south risotto. But to me, it still sounds like Camille. I guess Calmille is like the sun that shines bright and hot in the south; the little sun shine which warms my life.

Camille Risotto.

  • 350g raw Arborio rice
  • 100g Saint agaulne chorizo
  • 1,5 L chicken broth
  • 100g Grated Etorky
  • 1 tea spoon Honey
  • 100g Tomato sauce 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 big red onion
  • 0,1g saffron
  • Thyme and Coriander 
  • Salt and pepper
  • A tea spoon of crème fraiche

Boil some water and get the chicken broth ready.

Cut the garlic clove in tiny cubes
In a stew, stir together the Honey, the tomato sauce and the garlic over medium heat. Reserve for later use.

Cut the red onion in tiny pieces. In a frying pan, pour a table spoon of olive oil. When it's boiling hot, add the onion and the rice. Stir until the rice takes a pearly color. 
Add about a glass of chicken broth, the Thyme and the coriander and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Keep adding some chicken broth little by little until you get a smoothy rice. 

Add the saffron, the tomato sauce prepared earlier, some salt and some pepper according to your taste. Then, add the cheese and a tea spoon of crème fraiche. Stir together and finish the dish adding some small pieces of chorizo.

Serve and savor as soon as the dish is ready. the longer you'll wait, the less good your risotto will be. 

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