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Sick, oh sick...

3 January 2005

There’s a bug about among my friends, and it is pleased to report that it has found me.

Actually there’s a choice, a variety of bugs; we wait to see how this one turns out. Maybe just a cold, maybe flu. Gail’s had bronchitis, so she’s winning.

Shan’t let it slow me down, though. I have never yet been defeated by a single-celled organism; they may be sneaky, but they are stupid (quote, from ‘Third Rock from the Sun’, which has just started reruns, hurrah! I’d forgotten how funny the early series were, back when the aliens were still truly alien. Later they just became another eccentric/comic family, which was tedious). Tomorrow I shall not work, its being my birthday and all; Wednesday, though, I shall be back at it. Unless I can cap Gail’s bronchitis. Pneumonia, anyone...?

Meantime, here’s my basic recipe for chicken pilaff:

Bone out one chicken thigh per person. Keep the bones in the freezer, for making stock later. Chunk the chicken, and brown the chunks in your favourite pan. Take ’em out, and add half a sliced onion per person. Softly, softly sizzle, sweet and low, until they soften and take on colour. Don’t rush this stage. Put in a chopped chilli also, if you like (I like). Then add garlic to taste, and mushrooms if you want to. Mix in a teaspoon of ground coriander and another of turmeric. A handful of cherry tomatoes doesn’t go amiss, nor do a couple of segments of lemon. Sizzle hotly for a few minutes, then pour in chicken stock, to the tune of two measures for each of the measures of rice that you’ll be adding shortly. (NB - these proportions work for my pan on my cooker with my preferred variety of basmati rice; vary at need, as all these things are variables, but try it this way first.)

Simmer covered until the chicken is tender - around fifteen minutes, give or take, depending on the size of your chunks and how well you browned them earlier. Now add the rice, bring to the boil, put the lid back on and simmer on the lowest possible flame until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in chopped fresh coriander or parsley, turn the heat off and let it sit for five minutes before serving. Yoghurt on the side is good; so are chutneys.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.