Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spanish-style chicken

THE confidence of Welsh rugby journos never ceases to amaze me. You would think they had won the World Cup as many times as Brazil in football rather than their pitiful record of one semi-final since the tournament was launched at the end of the 80's.
On Saturday morning they were all telling me about the tonking the Australians were about to get - even Roberts, who is more circumspect than most.
"This Aussie team is experimental and they were crap in the tri-nations, Wales will beat them easily." Somehow I wasn't convinced.
Roberts' words came tumbling back into my head when Australia nipped in for two tries and were leading 17-6 after 20 minutes. Wales had hardly touched the ball.
Back in mission control, Brammy has decided the usual culprit was to blame. "!@+@+*!@" He is muttering under his breath about the referee.
This normally placid bloke, who would offer Atilla the Hun and Adolf Hitler a roll up and a pint down the Old Scroat if they turned up in tandem on these shores, has a red mist descend whenever he sees a man with a whistle.
As it turned out, Wales managed to emerge with a draw and live to fight another day.
Then The Boss, who is on a day off, choses to text in from the nearest hostelry. "We (that's Wales in this instance, not the Scotland of his birth or his beloved Ireland of his one million cousins) were ROBBED!," he stormed. According to The Boss, the referee - yes, him again - should have let play go on after time was up because Wales were actually inside the Aussie half for once and might, just might, score the winning try. Oh Lordy!

It's a horrendous Saturday at work, mainly because the superduper, all-singing, all-dancing, full colour press decides to break down (again) - and I'm on lates. When they finally get it up and running its past midnight and I eventually get home at 2.15 on Sunday morning, washing out the next day completely.

Lazed around most of the day watching the footie, and in the evening decided to watch the first Lord of the Rings film on TV on the basis that when I went to see it in the cinema I fell asleep half way through. Boring? I thought so. There are only so many fights between Orks, Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits you can watch, particularly when you already know the result - the seven or eight good guys, four of them smaller than me, will always overcome the millions of venom-spitting, snarling, weapon-wielding Orks.
I did, however, manage to make a brilliant Spanish-style Roast Chicken dish which I shall pop on the bottom of this entry.

Australia is now just 13 days away and I've started to get a bit anxious. I'm heading off for two months, until January 9, to see all five Ashes Tests.
At least now I have all the details of the trip, the tickets, hotels, transfer passes etc are all set up and I have even been informed who I will be sharing hotel rooms with - one Glen Ryan. I have sent him an e mail to introduce myself, but I am saving the blog until later. Don't want to scare him off too soon.

If I am worried, the Fat Kid is desperate. She has been on the phone every day lately, trying to get me to buy her a new car, telling me about her broken washing machine, her broken relationships and everything else that is broken in her life. Poor old Fat Kid. Be interesting to see how she gets on having to stand on her own two feet for two months.
She tells me the Big Boy is now in clothes for ages 6-9 months, and he is only just five months old. At this rate the Vin Man will be wearing HIS cast-offs by the time they are in big school.

My doctor (yes, I have finally managed to get past the guards and the swinging axes, rolling rocks etc to get in to see her) tells me that my blood pressure is still high and has given me a useful article on how best to reduce it.
Not surprisingly it tells me that every single aspect of things I like most in my life are bad for me: Smoking, drinking, salt in food, red meat, blah, blah, blah, blah). I'm going to try to do something about it - right after our Tuesday afternoon boozing session.
Yesterday afternoon I followed up a tip from Nickers and ventured into the Valleys (well, on the way to the Valleys) to try and kit myself out for the Ashes trip. She told me they were selling great value luggage at TK Max in Talbot Green. What she didn't tell me was what it was like to shop in the Valleys.
Going into Boots for my prescription for high blood pressure I'm told: "We don't do prescriptions". No doubt scared the place would get broken into with all those drugs about. Then I look around and realise that every product in the store is NAILED DOWN. Bloody hell. I feel a long way from home - actually it's about three miles.

Anyway, the Spanish-style chicken was a recipe I spotted in this month's Sainsbury's magazine. WHAT YOU NEED:
1 free-range chicken
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch of Saffron or turmeric
50g margarine or butter
4 chorizo sausages, skinned but left whole
six chopped vine tomatoes
1/2 a leek/coins
Big beans like butter beans or borlotti beans
6 peeled garlic cloves
one chopped shallot
4 mushrooms, chopped
a small Scotch bonnet chilli

Heat oven to gas mark 5
Mix the paprika, saffron or turmeric into the marg or butter and add black pepper
Rub into the skin of the chicken
Put chicken in oven (cooking should be 40mins per kilogram plus 20 mins) Test by putting fork in. If juices run clear it is cooked.
Half way through cooking remove the chicken from the oven dish and put in all the veg. Mix up and then place chicken on top.
Cook until the chicken is done inside.
Carve up and eat with rice or pasta.
If on your own and don't want to be a greedy sod, keep some of the chicken for the next day when you can do it in a chow mein.

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