Have you ever had that spooky experience in your life, when once you start thinking of one thing it comes to you in bunches? Let me elaborate…
In my last post I mentioned Hemingway. Around the same time I started reading a book by Naomi Woods ‘Mrs Hemingway’. It is a marvelous book taking you through all Hemingway’s marriages from his wives’ perspective. I loved it, it’s beautifully written, I really enjoyed reading it and I don’t even like Hemingway.
The other thing I never had an interest in was Florida. Never desired to go there, see it, couldn’t understand people’s fascination with it. In my mind it was the area ridden by hurricanes, alligators and pensioners.
After reading Naomi Woods book I sort of had and urge to go there. The way she described Hemingway and Fife’s (wife no 2) house in Key West, relaxed life in the sun with the occasional storm (especially when Hemingway brought Martha Gellhorn to dinner) made me want to have a daiquiri on a balcony of a house like that.
And then Netflix released a new series called Bloodline.
It’s also located in Key West. It’s dark, moody, packed with brilliant cast.In one series you have Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Chloe Sevigny, Linda Cardellini. About Linda, here’s another spooky coincidence – a few days ago Boyfriend and me watched ‘Freaks and Geeks’ after Boyfriend admitted he had never watched it, and there was Linda Cardellini. I started wondering what she’s been doing as I haven’t seen her in anything, and then – bang!- she’s on Bloodline…
But the person who steals the show to me is Ben Mendelsohn as a black sheep in a family. He is so believable, so natural. At the beginning you see him as a loser, but as the plot progresses you start to see the vulnerability and how much more to him there is. I am in awe of his performance and I hope there is an Emmy waiting for him this year.
As I said, it is located in Key West, and the way it is shot, the beautiful light, sandy beaches, even rain and storm makes you want to jump on the plain and go there. Weird.
I can never refuse to watch anything about dysfunctional families because it feels so close to home, but also gives me comfort in a ‘you’re not alone in this’ kind of way. After all as Lev Tolstoy said: ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
To match it all with a perfect dish I had to make something sunny and sort of mediterranean.
Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup grated vegetarian parmesan (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp hopped chilli
300g chestnut mushrooms
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tsp marsala wine or port (optional, can be replaced with a dash of balsamic vinegar)
1. Start with heating up vegetable stock. When it’s boiling, turn the heat down and add polenta stirring vigorously so it will stay smooth without lumps. Wait till it starts to thicken, add parmesan (if using).
2. Transfer cooked polenta into a square dish. Leave to cool.
3. When polenta is cool, transfer it onto a chopping board and cut into squares.
4. Heat the grill pan. Add a bit of rice oil and fry polenta in batches.
5. In the meantime heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add chopped garlic and chilli. Fry until softened.
6. Add chopped leek and fry on a low heat till soft. Add mushrooms and turn the heat up a bit. Fry until mushrooms are golden. Add wine if using, thyme, salt and pepper.
7. Serve polenta with the mushrooms on top and a sprinkle of parsley.