Archive | May 2012

OLE! AND WOT IS ZEEZ?

Lo que estás hablando? What are you talking about? What do you mean there is no such dish?

I’d been ordering as a side dish with fish or prawns all my life. In my teens, my mom would say ‘I am making chicken peri-peri, can you get the Spanish rice going for me, please?’ and I’d get down to finely chopping the onion while the white rice boiled.

According to Wikipedia:

Mexican rice, occasionally known in US as Spanish rice, is a side dish made from white rice, tomatoes, garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro (coriander) and other ingredients.[1] One common preparation is to sauté the rice in a skillet until golden brown, then simmer it in chicken broth or stock. Vegetables such as peas, carrots, or corn may also be used depending on the recipe.

Although it is called “Spanish rice” this side dish is unknown in Spain. The term “Spanish rice” is not used by Mexicans or Mexican food enthusiasts, and its use probably stems from the fact that the Spanish language is spoken in Mexico, and the dish is usually simply referred to as arroz (“rice”) in Mexico.

It is a popular dish in the American Southwest, where it often features generous chunks of grilled and stewed vegetables in a Tex-Mex style. The version of the dish cooked throughout South America tends to be a more homogeneous character, often with just enough tomato and chili pepper to give the distinctive red-orange color and a smoky, garlic and onion-laden flavor. It is usually served as a side dish alongside other Mexican cuisine.

As a staple in the fodder of the single person, it is invaluable; all one needs is a couple of tablespoons of leftover rice and the possibilities are endless. A bloke I know left me two beautifully made smoked sausages yesterday, when he popped in to help me with a bit of drilling to hang a shelf in my miniature kitchen. Lulubelle shamelessly pilfered one of the sausages whilst I sat too long on the teelephone, but her obvious approval left me helpless to scolding.

Oh well, a bit of this, a bit of that, and I was quite satisfied with my stir fry of sausage-savoury rice. I do believe I’ll do it again’ it’s good whatever you choose to call it.

I’ve long been absent from making contributions to Celia’s ‘This month in my kitchen’ offerings. Getting settled in my cottage, another tedious spell in hospital and other things took me away from blogging; but I am thrilled to be firmly back in the saddle at my little home office again and will be making my way around to visiting old friends soon.

My new kitchen leaves little to boast about, measuring – as it does – a mere 4 x 2 meters in size, but I have even managed to fit in a nook where I can sit and read over breakfast or a cup of tea, if I wish. It once formed the portico to the gazebo of our swimming pool area and needs a coat of paint, but I have found myself to be remarkably resourceful in adapting.

The doll-house stove is my only bug-bear as few of my pots fit into its oven. I remember one exchange of comments I had with Celia, where we agreed that the desire to own a collection of Le Creuset pots was not that wise given that we’d be unlikely to lift the heavy things one day in our dotage. I’ve found a very affordable, lightweight and just-the-right-size cookware at Checkers and have invested in my first pot-for-one:

So, back to my meal for one of sausage and Spanish rice, it proved jolly good in any lingo. Viva Espana!

 

CONTEMPLATING MY NADIR

The nadir (from Arabic: نظير / ALA-LC: naẓīr; meaning “opposite”) is the direction pointing directly below a particular location; that is, it is one of two vertical directions at a specified location, orthogonal to a horizontal flat surface there. Since the concept of being below is itself somewhat vague, scientists define the nadir in more rigorous terms. Specifically, in astronomy, geophysics and related sciences (e.g., meteorology), the nadir at a given point is the local vertical direction pointing in the direction of the force of gravity at that location. The direction opposite of the nadir is the zenith.
The word is also used figuratively to mean the lowest point of a person’s spirits or the quality of an activity or profession.
And there I was in my own nadir. That’s it. I succumbed to self-pity. No amount of big-girl-pants were going to the trick. Long weekends alone suck, they just do. I’d had invitations from friends, but (as Joe Jackson puts it ‘Happy couples aren’t no friends of mine’) declined. I was in a strip mall the other day and passed by an elderly couple holding hands; the sight sent me into a deluge of weeping. A paroxysm I think it’s called; I’ve always wanted to use the word, but never thought it would be in this context. My MIL said to me the other day “Take them up on the invites, Girlie, believe me; after a while they stop asking you”.
In any event, my good old doc put me in bed in the hospital with a drip and eventually the crying stopped for long enough that he let me come home. (I expect the shock of the hospital food had much to do with my swift recovery).

What is known colloquially as pap en vleis would probably get more approval if Georgio Locatelli served it up as chargrilled beef sirloin fricassee with trevisano and polenta.
It’s frightfully cold here; I own seven blankets and had them all piled on top of me last night. In the early hours I awoke and – through the gloom – I imagined I heard my husband chatting to our friend JB in the kitchen, as they often used to when he and his wife, Annie, visited from Australia. It gets to me; those moments when I become suddenly aware that I am no longer part of a couple. Sort of like waking from a dream where you’d dreamed you were in the midst of a riotous party and then there was no detritus; just a pristine kitchen.
Some things I still do as a single person that I did when my status was otherwise:
1. Close the bathroom door when I use the toilet, even though there is nobody around.
2. Check my email at 2.45am if I am awake.
3. Wake Lulubelle when she is in deep sleep to check she is alive and hasn’t stopped breathing.
4. Eat all my meals with a knife and fork.
5. Wear far too much junk jewelry.
6. Let my new rabbit on the bed with me. Say hello to Big Red Betsy, my new housemate:

The food posts will commence soon; at the moment my appetite goes something like the children’s song:
Ooh, ooh I’m a lonely croc
Lying all day on my lonely rock
I want friends with all my might
But non-one likes me appletite …