More a labour of love than a quick meal, risotto is simple in design, and yet without the requisite constant attention you can bargain that it will almost certainly fail to evolve into the silky, almost perfect dining experience it offers, while this recipe exemplifies how just one simple ingredient can lift a risotto to almost heavenly standards, which means you absolutely owe it to yourself to prepare and cook this beautiful meal and share with those you really care about and love in the knowledge that your gesture will not go unnoticed.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
6 Tbsps Olive Oil
250g Mushrooms (sliced)
Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
300g Risotto Rice
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Small Bottle of White Wine
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
25g Pack of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
150g Parmesan (grated)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
How to Cook
1. Heat half of the olive oil in a26cm non-stick chef pan, add the mushrooms, stir-fry them until well cooked, and then remove and set them aside, adding any remaining mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.
2. Melt half of the butter in the same pan, add the onions and garlic, and stir-fry both until the onions are soft, but not browned.
3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to an 18cm non-stick saucepan, and keep it warm on a low heat while you prep the risotto.
4. Add the white wine to the onions, and reduce by half over a medium heat while stirring.
5. Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat everything, and add a ladleful of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.
6. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added, and the rice is now looking thick and glutenous
7. Gently fold the mushrooms, remaining butter, chopped basil, lemon juice and most of the parmesan into the rice, season with salt and pepper, stirring well to combine the ingredients.
8. Finally cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required with a sprinkling of parmesan on each portion.
When I cook this (and many other types of risotto) for my family, I typically serve it with either a crisp salad, crusty buttered rolls, or both if the appetite is wanting, however it’s just as good served as is, with a nice bottle of white wine to suit your palate.
I’m happy to report that this chapter of the ‘Our Favourite Recipes: A Cookbook for Food Lovers’ is now ready, and so now its time for me to start working on the ‘vegetables’ section (far and away the biggest part of the book), therefore it will no doubt take me a while to complete it, but as with food itself, ‘all good things come to those who wait’, and so in the interim, below is a list of the delicious pork recipes that will be included in the finished product. I hope that you will ultimately enjoy cooking and eating them as much as I have writing them up.
The staple meal in any Italian household, only made to our particular tastes, this is a dinner that is well worth the wait, and I would recommend you wear some kind of napkins or kitchen paper over your clothes to avoid any mess. There is no doubt that this is a lip-smacking dinner which wins with children and adults alike, and any leftovers (and there rarely is) can be easily frozen for later use.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Large Slug of Olive Oil
2 400g Packs of Beef Meatballs
240-300g Pack of Bacon
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped
2 Garlic cloves (Peeled and Grated)
Beef Stock Cube
2 Tsps Tomato Purée
2 Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Finely Chopped)
500g Tomato Passata
3 Whole Tomatoes (Quartered)
Tsp Dried Oregano
Tsp Dried Basil
Tsp Dried Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Small 187ml Bottle Red Wine
25g Pack Fresh Basil (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
How to Cook
Finely dice the bacon after removing any unwanted fat and then after heating the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly brown.
Add both the meatballs and bacon and brown both meats slowly on a gently heat, stirring occasionally.
Add the oregano, basil, parsley, beef stock cube, salt and pepper, sound-dried tomatoes, tomato purée and sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the red wine and tomato passata, stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutesbefore adding the quartered tomatoes, covering the pan and simmering gently for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Just before serving, add the chopped basil and mix well.
It goes without saying that meatballs are best served with spaghetti or linguini, however you can also use penne or fusilli if preferred. In fact, most shaped pastas work equally well, while remembering to grate plenty of freshly grated parmesan or romano (pecorino) cheese over the top (as long as your diners are in agreement) along with extra salt and pepper where required.
With thirty dishes to enjoy, I am very pleased to announce that this third chapter of the book is now complete, and so here below is a list of the recipes just waiting to be cooked and hopefully digested with gleeful satisfaction:
(1) Bengali Mustard Salmon
(2) Chickpea and Cod Stew
(3) Creamy Pasta with Basil and Salmon
(4) Fish Pie
(5) Grilled Cod with Spring Onion Mash
(6) Haddock with Creamed Leeks, Beans and Parsley
(7) Linguini with Salmon and Fresh Dill
(8) Linguini with Tuna Fish Sauce
(9) Macaroni with Sardines and Fennel
(10) Mackerel and Potato Curry
(11) Mackerel, Potato and Thyme Bake
(12) Monkfish with Garlic and Sage
(13) Omelette Arnold Bennett
(14) Pasta with Broccoli and Anchovies
(15) Pasta with Mackerel and Pine Nuts
(16) Pearl Barley and Mackerel Kedgeree
(17) Roasted Haddock with Fennel, Mustard and Ginger
Having now written up the first two sections of the cookbook, I thought I would share the contents here should anybody be curious to know which dishes will be covered. I admit that I’m not a big beef eater, so there are naturally more chicken-based recipes, and as you will also see I am an ardent lover of curries too. I can also assure you that all of these recipes have been thoroughly road-tested, and will not disappoint once cooked and served up, and the theme here is about quality and not quantity, therefore each of these dishes easily speak for themselves.
On a personal level I’m very excited about this cookbook, and will stress that it’s been a genuine labour of love both cooking and adapting them ahead of my putting everything in one convenient point of reference.
Content-wise, my current estimations indicate there will be a total of 245+ recipes when the book is finished next spring/summer, and rest assured, there will plenty of dishes to sink your teeth into when it’s finally published (if you’ll excuse the pun) and as each section is completed I will list their contents here first.
In a heart-rending case concerning the right to life and right to choice of venue with regard to palliative care, the parents of an almost two-year old boy become torn between the stark truth of their son’s condition, and the parental struggle to override the needs of the State, where the only voice missing is that of the child.
Born in spring of 2016, the respondents’ son Alfie James Evans was admitted to the Alder Hey Hospital in December of that year, after their son displayed a number of concerning behaviours that in turn led to various forms of treatment, albeit none of which showed any long-term success, until he was later diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder, producing a degenerative condition that itself was causing the functional erosion of his brain to the point of almost exhaustion, while also proving elusive as to the exact cause and identifiable epistemology.
As time progressed, their son eventually lapsed into a coma, and thus the decision was broached as to what possible steps were available to both the respondents and the hospital, regards how best to care for their son during the time remaining between the diagnosis, gradual and distressing deterioration, and his eventual passing.
The hospital had initially suggested that a long-term palliative plan might offer a prolonged lifespan, although the ultimate prognosis was that Alfie was now in a semi-vegetative state, and would remain so indefinitely, however the respondents were reluctant to accept the suggested prognosis, and so in December 2017 the applicant NHS Trust sought a judicial declaration in the High Court, to support their conclusion that there was little merit in continuing to keep Alfie under ventilatory support, whereupon the respondents moved to adjourn the hearing.
Having undertaken extensive research around the diagnosis, the respondents argued that previous symptoms were traceable to hydrocephalus, however the brain tissue had continued to degenerate, and whatever now remained was merely water and cerebral spinal fluid, as anticipated by the medical team and relevantexpert testimonies. In addition to this, the respondents had advised that Alfie be transferred to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, where should no treatment prove conclusive, he would again be admitted to a third hospital in Much, Germany, albeit at significant risk to his already fragile health.
While the court extended tremendous sympathy to the plight faced by the respondents, it relied in this instance upon the expert opinion of a Professor Nikolaus Haas of the University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians university, Munich, who had previously remarked that:
“Based on the extensive testing already performed, I do agree with the medical teams involved that there are no useful tests that may be performed to improve Alfie’s condition. The genetic testing (i.e. whole genome sequencing) is performed by blood sampling and without any risks for Alfie. These tests may in certain cases be beneficial to delineate a new rare disease as pointed out by the doctors of the Bambino Gesu Hospital. To the best of my knowledge these tests have, even if a new disease is found, never been able to cure a patient with a similar disease pattern as Alfie shows.”
While in Aintree University Hospital NHS Trust v James, Baroness Hale had explained that:
“[T]he focus is on whether it is in the patient’s best interests to give the treatment rather than whether it is in his best interests to withhold or withdraw it. If the treatment is not in his best interests, the court will not be able to give its consent on his behalf and it will follow that it will be lawful to withhold or withdraw it. Indeed, it will follow that it will not be lawful to give it. It also follows that (provided of course they have acted reasonably and without negligence) the clinical team will not be in breach of any duty toward the patient if they withhold or withdraw it.”
And so with full cognisance that Alfie had now lost all sense of vision, hearing, smell and touch response, the court was appointed the painful task of holding that the continued use of ventilation was now an exercise in futility, and that in the best interests of the child, the applicants were free to determine an end date for the treatment.
Relentlessly pursued in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights, the previous judgment was consistently upheld, before being heard again in the High Court in order for a decision to be made as to exactly when the palliative care was to cease; however under new representation, the respondents sought a writ of habeas corpus on grounds that Alfie was now being unlawfully detained in Alder Hay hospital against the wishes of the respondents, a contention that was given little credence, and upon which the court relied upon the words of Lady Hale in the Supreme Court hearing, who stressed that:
“A child, unlike most adults, lacks the capacity to make decisions about future arrangements for themselves. Where there is a dispute, it is for the court to make a decision, as it would in respect of an adult without capacity. This is the gold standard by which most of these decisions are reached. It is an assessment of best interests that has been concluded to be perfectly clear.”
Which again concluded that the care plan now in effect was in every respect, in the best interests of their son, and that it was the express desire of the court that the respondents at least help support the medical team assigned his care.
Appealing against the decision under Rule 52.3(1)(a)(iii) of the Civil Procedure Rules, the respondents argued before the Court of Appeal that the High Court had merely continued in its support of the cessation of medical ventilation, instead of clarifying as to the lawfulness of Alfie’s alleged detention at Alder Hay hospital, upon which the Court turned to Gard v United Kingdom, wherin McFarlane J had held that:
“It goes without saying that in many cases, all other things being equal, the views of the parents will be respected and are likely to be determinative. Very many cases involving children with these tragic conditions never come to court because a way forward is agreed as a result of mutual respect between the family members and the hospital, but it is well recognised that parents in the appalling position that these and other parents can find themselves may lose their objectivity and be willing to “try anything”, even if, when viewed objectively, their preferred option is not in a child’s best interests. As the authorities to which I have already made reference underline again and again, the sole principle is that the best interests of the child must prevail and that must apply even to cases where parents, for the best of motives, hold on to some alternative view.”
Thus the Court held again that:
“The application of a different legal label, namely habeas corpus, does not change the fact that the court has already determined the issues which the parents now seek, again, to advance. Their views, their rights do not take precedence and do not give them an “unfettered right” to make choices and exercise rights on behalf of Alfie.”
Before dismissing the appeal on grounds similar to those taken by the High Court; after which an application for the return of Alfie to Italy was presented to the High Court, based upon the granting of Italian citizenship by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, an act that was immediately refuted both on grounds of lineage and self-evident jurisdiction of the court, the latter of which was shown in Re B (A Child) (Habitual Residence: Inherent Jurisdiction) in which Lord Wilson had explained how:
“A child’s habitual residence in a state is the internationally recognised threshold to the vesting in the courts of that state of jurisdiction to determine issues in relation to him (or her).”
“Article 8 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (“Regulation B2R”) provides that the courts of an EU State shall have jurisdiction in matters of parental responsibility over a child habitually resident there at the time when the court is seised.”
However the Court also noted that since the last hearing, Alfie had been successfully extubated from the ventilation unit, and was now breathing of his own accord, a change that moved the court to conclude that:
“[T]here arises an opportunity to explore creatively, ambitiously and even though it may be a forlorn hope, cooperatively, the options that may now emerge in a palliative care plan which could encompass, at least theoretically, Alfie being cared for, in his final hours or days, at home or in a hospice, or even on the ward and not in the PICU.”
Upon which the application was dismissed, and the matter now left for the respondents and Alder Hay Hospital to hopefully negotiate as best as possible with the time remaining.
The idea of a ratified ‘global law’ is a concept that once seemed fantastical, and yet by all accounts, appears now like the primary ingredient to social, industrial and civil equilibrium.
But how does this happen, and what steps might be needed to preserve the needs of the many from the wants of the few? To date, the concept of a single law is more convincing than any suggestion that genuine efforts are being taken to construct a jurisdiction without physical bounds, however it fails to prevent visionaries from imagining such a world, or pondering what form that framework might take.
Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo, Full Professor of International Law at the University of Salerno Italy, discussed her idea of global law in 2015, and chose to use a web-like hierarchy to describe how each individual player would forge alliance with the next, because in her opinion:
“Global law is elastic enough to integrate the heterogeneous elements of the various and different legal orders into a unitary framework. It is up to the community of international legal scholars/lawyers to manage the complexity in the unit of the web of the global law system; the unitary framework retains the flexibility to allow for respecting the diversity of the plurality of embodied legal orders.”
Yet regardless of how one might perceive an ideology, the sheer scale of expectation asked of legal mega-firms and governmental bodies still seems disproportionate to the discipline required to undertake it. Having investigated current online debate, the results are discouraging to say the least, and when the world’s highest grossing law firm Latham & Watkins LLP offers no visible research, or even discussion of a unitary law, it suggests that perhaps the practice industry think-tanks are predisposed to monitoring investment strategies, over any notion that we may well be walking headlong into dispensation of justice from a centralised platform.
On a smaller scale, the benefits of a singular jurisdiction were recently implemented in October 2016 within Northern Ireland, and while not exactly a transcontinental shift, the objectives become evident, even if only from an administrative level, as was explained in a document published by the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service (NICTS), which said:
“There will no longer be County Court Divisions or Petty Sessions Districts and all relevant court documents have been amended to reflect this. The words “County Court Division of….” And “Petty Sessions District of……”will no longer appear on any court order or other documentation as court templates have been adapted.”
Whereas in the United Kingdom, we have a groundswell of opposition to the presence of Sharia laws, and if there was ever a reason for the unification of law, this concept would surely warrant a compelling body of evidence against the secular nature of unregulated doctrine.
Formed as part of this resistance, the website onelawforall.org.uk, is built upon a collective determination to remove the propagation of inequality through religious laws, in hope of the reestablishment of democratic values. This growing objection has been defined through a powerful rhetoric, claiming simply that:
“Sharia law is discriminatory and unjust, particularly against women and children.
Sharia courts in Britain are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion.”
It is suggested that the oppressive effects of this ancient law have been felt through gender specificity, which is not an ideology that could ever hope to find its way into the annals of any ‘new world’ law; and yet because there is no such codification, legal splinter factions are left free to flourish within the confines of domestic legislature.
In India, the application of a single industry law appears to provide huge benefits to small-scale factory owners, desperately trying to navigate the legal loopholes that strangle economic growth and preserve monopolisation.
With the design of improving manufacturing processes, the labor ministry created new legislation in order to overcome the problems faced by the nations entrepreneurs and workers alike, as explained by Mahendra Singhi, in her article for the Times of India:
“At present, small units have to comply with 44 Central labour laws and over 100 state laws…which discourages them to hire workers from the organized sector, and thus denying them basic rights…the government hopes that a single unified law will ensure less cost to the owner and better minimum wages, bonus and maternity benefits to the workers.”
It would seem for now at least, that while unitary rule and governance is constitutionally, commercially and quasi-socially acceptable, the thought of, or preclusion to, entrustment of a law written to serve a race of people, is both a bridge too far and paradoxically swept from the agenda; which while sounding trite in its definition, ought not mislead readers into believing a world law of some kind is not too far beyond our horizon.
This then raises the question of were a unitary law to become a reality, then how would those changes begin to materialise? Will a spark of legal renaissance ignite from within the people, or will the centralisation of power emanate from the core of contributory states?
Contrastingly, does commerce now helm the wheel of judicial evolution, or is politics driving that bus? In the latter event, it seems that the lines frequently blur, so recipients of information inevitably become less concerned with socio-political commentary than the motives underlying it, although whichever sector pushes first for answers, the time for such legal reimagining is overly ripe for discourse.