The other day I was asking myself if I really should blog. Later on that same afternoon the answer arrived in the form of beautifully encrypted messages I received from some of my blogging friends (without me asking), which without doubt the answer was: certainly I should. The greatest pleasure is getting to know them and realise that we have made, even if just small, some impact in our lives.
One of the encrypted answers of the last few days was from my blogging buddy piano learner. He posted a video of himself playing Träumerei by Schumann. Please pop over to his blog and have a listen. It’s so beautiful, I’m so proud! I’m delighted about it because I had suggested him this piece. Yes, I’m smiling from ear to ear.
Träumerei, by Robert Schumann, is the most famous piece from his Opus 15, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood). This series is not to be confused with his pieces Opus 68, Album für die Jugend (Album for the Young). While Album für die Jugend are pieces for children to learn piano, there is still confusion if Kinderszenen was meant as pieces for adults to play in reminiscence of childhood or if they are for children as there were some statements from Schumann that suggest that initially he had intended for his children, who would like to play them.
Kinderszenen comprises of 13 pieces which are originally from a larger version with 30 pieces. When his then fiancée, Clara Wieck (later his wife Clara Schumann), finally heard the piece, she was utterly enraptured. Her words were:
It’s true isn’t it, that they belong only to the two of us? I simply can’t put them out of my mind, they are so simple, so heart-warming, so very you.
I too play Träumerei, and I absolutely adore it. It’s a classic in my piano repertoire.
With regards to my food repertoire, risotto with porcini mushrooms is also a classic. I learnt to make it many years ago when I lived in the UK, through a dear Italian friend of mine, my housemate in those days.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 big handful dried porcini mushrooms
1 medium sized onion
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 beef stock cube
Prepare by rehydrating the porcini mushrooms in a bowl with warm water.
Put about 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the beef stock cube.
Peel and cut the onion. Heat the olive oil in another large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over very low heat until the onion pieces are soft.
Add the porcini mushrooms to the onions, along with some of the porcini infused water (from rehydrating the mushrooms). Add the rice. Add some salt and black pepper. Stir. Add a small quantity of the beef broth. Stir. Add some more. Stir. Repeat continuously until the rice is cooked. This process of adding broth and stirring helps bring out the starch from the rice, giving the risotto a creamy texture without having to add any cream.
Grate some parmesan cheese. The quantity is optional, as much as you like. Add the Parmesan cheese to the risotto just before taking it off the stove. Stir. Serve and enjoy your meal.
Thank you for reading!