Day 111- December 10, 2009

Oh dear. Another day of food photography. I would have liked less food-related photos, but nothing eventuated. I mean, I can’t very well take photos during my Pilates class (the final step of the transverse abdominals stretch is to take a photo of the whole thing, clearly). Oh well, food photos seem to get a decent amount of views on Flickr. And photos with girls. Photos with girls and food do particularly well (if you can think of it, there’s an internet site for it). And I’m nothing if not a sell-out. So food it is.

The food in question was a mushroom risotto I made today with paprika seasoned chicken in it. It was pretty fun to make, and also pretty easy (didn’t involve too much stirring), although it was more time consuming than I thought. I sort of pieced it together from a few Google recipe searches, so I think I’ll include the recipe at the end of the post, if anybody is interested. If nobody is interested, it still looks like I’ve written a longer post than I actually have. Huzzah! In fact, I wouldn’t be able to give an exact recipe, seeing as I don’t really measure out things that often, and just use the Jamie Oliver method of adding stuff until it looks/tastes/”feels” right (Application of The Force #4325: Cooking Without Measurements). I was making dinner for myself and Maxim, my parents having gone out to a work function of Dad’s, so I was free to take photos at various stages of the process without Mum telling me that I’m absolutely bonkers and why can’t I ever make/eat food without taking ten million photos first.

Pilates was also good today, although I wasn’t able to finish at the gym beforehand since I hadn’t had breakfast and felt sick during. Not a good idea. But it’s sometimes hard to eat in the morning, especially if you’ve eaten too much the evening previous. Goddamn Paddle Pops! Oh well, I did part of my gym routine (I can do the mile run in seven and a half minutes now… whoo!) and then went to the “Mind/Body Studio” for an hour of attempting to balance on exercise balls (try kneeling up on them, keeping your balance and then going up on your knees with your arms up… maybe later), not being able to reach my toes (one day, one day…) and just generally being in pain. But it’s good pain, and I think I’ll keep going with it. One day, I might even be able to do the splits.

And we had the penultimate (why use two words when one pretentious one would do?) Syezd meeting, which consisted of me, Sasha and Sonia. Admittedly, most of the meeting was spent coming up with words that started with V so that we could rap about the bishop (V for vladika, which is Russian for “bishop”), but we got some things sorted, and it’s good to know that registrations are coming in fairly well, so we shouldn’t be in too much debt once this is all over. Also, the guys working on building and beautifying a room in the basement of the hall for the youth have been doing a good job, and have installed a bar, ordered some bar stools and are organising some bar fridges. Hooray for priorities!

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto Recipe

  • 500g chicken breast fillets, chopped into smallish pieces (see, I told you I wasn’t precise)
  • 1 1/2 tbps paprika
  • A healthy dash of lime juice (the Jamie Oliver method)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5L boiling water
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 2tbps vegetable oil
  • 1 leek, pale section only, thinly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (forget arborio… the regular kind works well)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (goon will do the trick… heh)
  • 40g butter
  • Some number of mushrooms… I used about 6-7 small button mushrooms, chopped up
  • Whatever kind of greens you want… I used some dill and parsley, quantities don’t really matter
  • About a handful of grated cheese (when you can’t be bothered, substitute pizza cheese for Parmesan)

Place the chopped chicken in a bowl, mix with lime juice, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and paprika, salt and pepper (not to taste, because we’re dealing with raw chicken here). Cover and stand in fridge for about half an hour (the chicken, not you, silly!). Heat half the oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and add leek and garlic. Stir until you’re slightly afraid of the garlic burning and setting off the alarm. Add the rice and stir for a bit, then the wine and stir for about 2 minutes. Dissolve stock cubes in boiling water and add stock mixture (you can actually do this all at once… great time saver!). Bring to boil while stirring and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed or you are late for your Syezd meeting.

Heat remaining oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and plop in the chicken. If it doesn’t plop, you’ve done something wrong. At this point check whether you are wearing an apron, especially if you are wearing a white tshirt. Just think how much your mother will go on if you stain your clothes with paprika through carelessness! Cook the chicken until completely cooked through, because salmonella is not fun.

Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a bowl and heat half the butter in the pan. Cook the mushrooms over medium heat until they smell nice or until your brother informs you that he is hungry and would like to eat soon if possible. If the risotto is still somewhat submerged in stock, lift the lid and allow the remaining liquid to evaporate. It will still be good. Add mushrooms, whatever greens you wish, cheese and chicken; and stir until mixed, making sure the cheese has melted (especially if you use frozen grated cheese and there’s large chunks… nobody wants chunks of icy cheese in their dinner). Spoon into bowls, take a few photos, serve and inform your brother he will be doing the washing up.

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