Friday, 12 September 2008

The water knows

It’s been a busy few weeks since the last post. I am within a couple of pages of finishing Ovid and finally after wading through all the incest and homosexuality his final flourish appears to be to promote vegetarianism. Odd. Yet rewarding.

We had a fantastic weekend in Tallinn. The old town is as impressive as it’s reputation. It is full of old buildings and narrow streets that provide a real contrast to Helsinki. It was slightly interesting in that I was lucky enough to be in Tallinn as the only boy on a girls knitting (& drinking) weekend. The price I paid for such a blessing was to accompany the girls to every knitting shop in town. The most bizarre was the one out from the centre which was two floors up a dingy staircase and guarded by a thick metal door that was accessible only by buzzing and being OK’d by the CCTV. Needless to say I am now an expert on the best bars beside the best yarn shops in Tallinn!! My facebook friends can see the moment I snapped in a Greek restaurant full of burly Russians here.

Then this week we were lucky enough to see REM. I love this band and they did not disappoint. I first heard their music while I was still at school (sometime after 1985). I finally got my first ticket to see them on the Monster tour and after queuing for hours on a Sunday morning to get the best seats in the house. That concert was cancelled and then fate has conspired against me until this week. As I said they were excellent. The weather did us no favours as it rained incessantly all day and all the way through the concert. I was dressed for a day on the Brecon Beacons in January than a gig but they played some great songs that were treated to my very special form of dancing. I was asked before the concert by Cecilie which songs I hoped they played and I duly managed a list but I cannot believe I didn’t mention “Find the River” which is my all time favourite REM song. Thankfully the band saved me and performed a cracking version.

The support bands were good: I had heard good things about the Editors and while I enjoyed their set I worried at times that they were veering dangerously close to Coldplay territory. Their lead guitarist has appaling taste in knitwear but there is something there that warrants closer examination. The Disciplines were excellent, lunatics and very "rawk". I loved them.

Due to the demands of work I have been slacking in the kitchen and the boss has been doing sterling work providing fantastic food. However I hope I made amends tonight by creating out of nothing a lovely little Spanish dish – perfect for a weekday.

1 chicken breast cubed
1/3 of chorizo sarta sliced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
A pinch of pimenton
A couple of large mushrooms chopped
A couple of small onion sliced
Some peas
A glass of red wine
A glass of peas
Olive oil

Heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan
Cook the onions slowly
Add the garlic, the chorizo and the chicken
It may get a little dry depending on the chorizo so don’t be afraid to add a splash of red wine here if needed.
Add the mushrooms and the rest of the red wine
Continue to cook gently
Add the peas

When it’s all done serve. I used a few boiled potatoes as an side this evening and was pleased with the results.

I also managed quite a nice Asian style noodle dish using some left over duck this week. As with all Asian dishes you have to pay attention to how you cut up the ingredients so the final dish looks as appealing as it is tasty. I am struggling to remember what I did but I know I used an unashamedly strong combination of ginger, garlic and chilli. Then I had some left over duck that I shredded, sauted it all up with some courgette and mushrooms towards the end I added in some roast beetroot, which worked really well together. I made some scrambled egg and cut it into the noodles. The best thing it was all made from left overs from other dishes we’ve been making.

Tomorrow we're going to take on Coq au Vin in a serious way and on Sunday we should be out collecting mushrooms in the woods weather permitting.

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