Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chicken soup with Orzo

I had a bit of a Heineken moment yesterday. Not only did it refresh the parts others can't reach but it knocked some of them totally senseless. And you've guessed it - it just happened to occur on boozeday Tuesday.
The earlier scenario was fine. I swam 52 lengths of the Maindy Pool, went to the local solicitor's office to retrieve a lost baseball hat (as for my reasons for leaving it in the solicitor's, that story will follow at some stage), then wandered into town to buy some much-needed articles for the fancy dress party I am attending with Wren and the Fat Kid on Sunday. It is being held by Evans, who is about to hit the 30 mark, and should be fun. Full report will follow.
Having crammed so much into a busy morning I then found myself in Sh*tty O'Grim's where the rest of the WoS crowd have taken to drinking lately on account of the fact it is a lot cheaper.
I had built up a real thirst by then, both for alcohol and knowledge of the impending changes that are striking the fear of God into everyone at Thomson Towers including - now the reality has kicked in - me.
After one pint of Carling which didn't touch the sides it was time to get on to a drop of the H stuff. Now, I've sworn to avoid these strong lagers on the basis that they enduce total amnesia after a couple of pints. On this occasion I just wanted to drink for Britain.
People came and went, but I chugged along until at some stage managing to break out into a rather loud and out of tune Anarchy in the Western Mail (based on that song first made famous by those punk rocking roughnecks the Sex Pistols). The barmaid informed me we weren't the only people drinking in this den of degradation - there were two old deaf duffers at the other end of the bar - to which I replied, rather stupidly, with an uncooth insult. After a quick ciggy outside I finally saw the error of my ways, apologised for my actions, turned down the remaining half of my beer and hot-footed it outside to flag down a taxi.
Now the memory gets a bit hazy but I do seem to remember some road rage incident involving my driver and another car, and that I tried to leap out of my door to confront the other fellow, only for said driver to hold me back. And all this, my faithful reader, by 5pm.
By 5.30 I was in bed, by 5.31 I was asleep and no doubt snoring loudly, and at 10.30 I woke to phone Wren and engage her in a rambling, moaning conversation. Heineken is now on the banned list.

Meanwhile, the more seasoned boozeday crowd went on well into the night, taking advantage of 2 for 1 drinks in the Lava Lounge. The Prince of Darkness, rather than feasting on blood, was having to donate his own rich red stuff today on a trip to the doctors. I am unaware of any truth in the rumour that it contained 98 per cent Vodka. I'm sure we will find out when the results come back.

Spent two hours at Halford's on Sunday being entertained by their version of the Youth Opportunities Programme. Didn't want to spend two hours there, we just popped in to buy Wren a car stereo for Christmas. We saw one we liked then had to go through the whole rigmarole. First the computers were down, then the pimply youth who served us disappeared into a storeroom for half an hour only to emerge and tell us that they didn't have that model in stock. The only one they did have, shown off in all its glory, was the one on display - and we weren't allowed to buy that.
So then we had to look at some alternatives. Finally finding one, tweedle dum at the till took a good 15 minutes trying to show tweedle dee how to make the first sale null and void and replace it with the new purchase. Oh Lordy, what a tiring experience.
It was then into town for a stroll around in search of fancy dress, but because of the Halford's delay we got to the Joke Shop just as it was closing. Boo sucks.

The builder has arrived. Scooby has decided to make the whole upstairs flat - my flat - self sufficient with its own gas boiler etc. That's fine in my book but there will be a lot of disruption over the next few weeks. Dan, a mate of my pal Pete, is doing the job and seems a good sort, though, even if I feel like I am wading through a bomb site at the moment.
On Monday night I still managed to reach the cooker to do Chicken Soup and Orzo which I have adapted from my Sopranos Cookbook to make use of leftover cooked chicken.
What you need:
A pack of Orzo (Small pasta which resembles large rice, which you can get from continental delicatessens like the wonderful Whalley's in Cardiff)
Two sticks of celery (chopped)
two carrots (chopped)
Half an Onion
A bunch of flat leaf parsley
The remains of a cooked chicken (from Sunday lunch) - including bones
Six black peppercorns

What I did:
Bring a large pan of water to the boil
Add the veggies, peppercorns and parsley
Cook for around 25 minutes, then break up the chicken but add all, including bones
Bring to the boil again and scrape off any foam that rises to surface.
Cook for another 15 minutes, then remove the bones and take off any chicken from them, returning the chicken to the pan and casting aside the bones.
Add the Orzo and bring to boil again.
Simmer for about 15 minutes until the Orzo is cooked.
Leave to stand for another five minutes with the lid on so that Orzo soaks up the juice.
Serve, with salt and pepper to taste.

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