Taittinger’s Calling

Is it acceptable to open the Taittenger?

Both the boys are at camp and the big boy is in Fiji.  So its an empty house.  I note the clouds and acknowledge that the rain we have prayed for, to alieviate the monotony of hand watering, has finally arrived. Yet I have two little boys out in the midst of Kiwi country setting up camp.  Cold, wet and quite possibly miserable.  Fiji should be fine.  It’s always fine in Fiji!

But back to the Taittenger.  It has been a forlorn bottle, hanging out amongst stock standard groceries for way too long.  Husband’s birthday long past and the treat I purchased for the occasion was cast aside.  To be honest there was an ulterior motive, as I am quite well aware that I am the true champagne lover of the house – and Taittenger – well what can I say!  So I am in limbo.  I guess it would be OK?  Granted I am alone.  I could drink it all though if I started immediately.  It would be the perfect fortifier as I cook up a risotto.  I could even add a bubbly dash to the simmering rice.

But I have the guilts.  It is a Taittenger, and although purchased on special, it does kind of lend itself to a more auspicious occasion than – “Mum is home alone!”  Quite alone, I might add, and ready to solo celebrate my wedding anniversary tomorrow.  So surely that’s a serious excuse.  Kind of like a whimsy to advance the celebration.  A commemoration of unaccustomed solitude – and a perfect accompaniment to my healthy solitary serve of roasted pumpkin and sage risotto.  Cheers!


Roast Pumpkin and Sage Risotto


(Serves 1+)

1/2 butternut pumpkin
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thickly sliced
olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
100g butter
1 onion
2 anchovie fillets
1 cup risotto rice (I use Ferron Vialone)
splash of brandy
grated parmesan


– Heat the oven to 200C
– Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and cut the flesh into chunks – leaving the skin on.
– Line a baking tray with foil and place the pumkin on top, skin down.
– Drizzle the pumkin with olive oil and top with sage leaves and garlic


– Cover with foil and bake for 40 – 50 minutes – until soft and brown on the edges.
– Remove from the oven, cool and scrape the flesh and reserve.

– Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan – keep warm.
– Melt 50g butter and olive oil in a large pan.
– Fry the onion until soft – around 20 minutes
– Add the rice and toss in the oil to coat.
– Add a ladle full of stock and cook until the rice has absorbed it. (If you use Vialone you can add all the stock at once and allow it to absorb with a lid on – however I like the process of adding and stirring and it gives me a chance to sip champagne during the process)
– Continue to add stock and wait for it to be absorbed until nearly all the stock is used and the grains of rice are creamy but retaining their bite.
– Add diced remaining butter, smashed pumkin, a splash of brandy, and a handful of finely grated parmesan.  Top with some crispy sage leaves.

Eat and drink and enjoy!


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