Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chilli and rice


ABSOLUTELY shattered, but at least it's a good day for sport on TV.
First the bad news, though. Rang the Fat Kid this morning - her car is not very well. I bought her a Ford Fiesta a few years ago, a tidy little runner, but we have given it a fair old tonking. Last year I drove the Fat Kid and Vin man to the South of France from Southend, and on the way back we managed to take the Fiesta around the clock. What a trip that was - I did about 5,000 miles in a week, rather than the 5,000 miles in a year we told the insurance company she was likely to do pottering around Essex.
Anyway, it's not been a good week for the Fat Kid's car. She returned from shopping the other day to find someone had nicked the passenger door handles, then driving back from her sister's it finally crashed and burned. On Saturday the mechanic finally got around to having a look at it - and the clutch has gone - £230 smackers, please.
Now I know I shouldn't do it because the Fat Kid always said she wanted to "stand on my own two feet", but I am going to have to dip into my savings for the Ashes to finance the deal. With two young kids and a useless ex-boyfriend or ten, it's the least I can do for her.
Watched Man United beat Liverpool 2-0 with a pretty impressive performance, then stayed in for the last-ever episode of Prime Suspect. It didn't let me down.
What a fantastic drama series it was, even if they only produced one about every three years. Helen Mirren was outstanding once again as Jayne Tennison, now having turned into a hard-bitten alcoholic who cannot remember what she did the night before (oh dear, alarm bells were ringing).
Now this may be a non-sequiter but Tennison reminds me of my mate Janey. No particular reason apart from the fact they look alike (although Jane's much younger and not so haggard, of course) and have both had to battle against male chauvinism at work.
On the other hand, perhaps it's just because they are both called Jane.
Tea, by the way, was paella, but you've already had the recipe for that.

MET Ballsy, Lyds and The Genius for lunch in the City Arms yesterday. It was all free, courtesy of the Echo, so it was gratefully received.
The three girls, mentioned above, are now all former WoS'ers and all greatly missed in their own way. In fact, it hasn't gone unnoticed that it's been turning into a bit of a boys' club lately.
I love Lyds, the party girl from Penarth, who likes nothing more than dressing up and boogying down. She's the classic 3am girl, apart from the fact she normally finishes up later than 3am! That's not fair, really, but she knows all the movers and shakers in the area - Queen of the Freebies.
You know all about The Genius, who related the story of how she lost her mobile phone on Friday night - no big surprise seeing that she, too, partied into the early hours. Never mind, she will probably need a new one for Dubai, anyway.
Finally, there is Ballsy. I have a confession to make, she's a favourite of mine. I think it's because when she joined WoS she was thrust into the deep end with some pretty hard-nosed news stories. And she never floundered. It's fair to say she lives up to her nickname.
She's also from Loughton, just a few miles from my London "townhouse", which gives us plenty of similar reference points in conversation.
Ballsy is now lording it on the Daily Mail, and if they don't give her a full contract at some stage they should be shot. She's doing the graveyard shift at the mo, 7-3, and I don't envy her one bit.
Poor old Ballsy was supposed to join The Genius' leaving party on Friday night - but the good old M4 did for that. She ran into incomprehensible delays at Hungerford and though her ETA was 10pm, she finally arrived at 1am, by which time the Genius had lost her phone and everyone else had gone home.
Ah well, it was good to see her on Monday, smiling through such adversities.

Last night I had little in so made a quick trip to Sainsbury's for some mince and rustled up a quick chilli.

splash of olive oil
1/2lbs mince
half a sliced onion
two crushed garlic cloves
Chopped stick of celery
As much chilli powder as you like
A tbsp cumin powder
two small chopped red chillis
Beef stock cube
Chopped mushrooms
Chopped peppers
small tin of red kidney beans


Soak the washed rice in warm water for 30 mins

Heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic in it, then add the celery and stir fry for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the beef and brown all over, breaking it up.
Then add the chilli and cumin powder, mix in well and continue cooking
Add stock to cover the meat, leave simmering

Meanwhile, wash the rice again until it runs clear, add to saucepan and cover with about one inch of water, add salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, bring to the boil and let boil until the water has almost boiled away. Keep stirring. Reduce heat to lowest setting and put lid on saucepan.

Add the mushrooms, peppers and kidney beans to the chilli, then leave simmering.

After 10 mins of steaming the rice, turn off the heat and let stand. Then serve up on a plate and spoon the hot chilli on top. If it is too runny towards the end of cooking then mix a heaped spoon of cornflower with a splash of water and add to pan.

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