Thursday, July 26, 2007

Paella rice

OH the shame of it! During Tuesday's rather expansive Boozeday session I briefly recall a conversation with my bank manager to arrange a meeting. Of course, by Wednesday morning the date and time of that meeting had completely slipped my mind. That put me in a quandary. How do I broach the subject with her without letting on that my temporary amnesia was due to a rather large amount of Carling lager?
The simple way was to put in a call and say: "Is it right that we agreed to meet on Thursday at 1?" hoping that she would then correct me and spare me any embarrassment. Um, it didn't work quite like that.
First I had to leave a message on her answer phone. This morning she rang me back. "Hi," I said cheerfully. "I was just calling because I didn't write down the date of our meeting."
"I'm not surprised," she said. "You sounded a bit worse for wear. Were you in the pub?"
Guilty as charged.
It reminds me of the day I was offered the job on Wales on Sunday way back in 1988. The interview just happened to take place on the morning of the South Wales Evening Post's Christmas Party in Swansea.
Racing back from the interview, which had seemed to go pretty well, I headed straight for the No Sign wine bar in Wind Street to meet up with my already-celebrating colleagues. Four hours into the frivolities I realised that I was supposed to ring to find out whether I had the job. A brief conversation ensued with the sports editor. Yes, indeed, they wanted me. He gave me a start date.
Next day I couldn't remember for the life of me when I was supposed to begin my new job and I had to come up with an ingenious way of uncovering the information without letting my new employers know the reason for my forgetfulness. It involved a call to one of my colleagues, who had been offered a rugby writer's job on the same newspaper. I explained to him my predicament and begged him: "Can you ring my new sports editor, strike up a conversation and throw in the fact you know I am starting and inquire to what date I will be taking up the new post."
Thankfully, he obliged and on that occasion I spared myself huge embarrassment.
What is it about booze that makes you forget nearly everything - baseball caps, wallets, credit cards... even your name? I know your supposed to lose a vast quantity of brain cells every time you have a drink, but this really is quite an alarming side effect.
Last night I made a paella, aided brilliantly by some paella rice I found hidden away on the shelves at Tesco. I bought three packs because a label on it announced that it was a "discontinued line". Honestly, it makes a whole world of difference to both paellas and risottos.
You just have to follow the usual paella recipe, contained way back in a past blog entry, but substitute the paella rice for the normal basmati variety. After cooking it in the olive oil for a minute you then gradually add stock and stir it in, then repeat the process regularly.
What you get is a tasty, nutty rice, and the effect on the paella is creamy and tasty. I won't be able to go back to ordinary rice again, so hopefully I can find somewhere else that stocks the same product.

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