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Archive : March 2007


27/03/07 : Springtime and kids

After a false start a couple of weeks ago, spring seems to have arrived. I like the different seasons, but get fed up with winter once christmas is out of the way.

Kids in garden

The warmer weather makes me feel sort of "free" - perhaps due to not having to keep windows shut or wear protective gear just to leave the house. So to celebrate this feeling of freedom I thought I'd climb a tree (this primate-based habit hasn't left me yet) and take some pictures of the kids!

Kids in garden

I saw my dad for the first time in years recently and in our conversation he expressed concern about pictures of our kids being on the net, which wasn't something I had ever thought of as a problem. Then a few days ago there was a phone-in on Jeremy Vine's radio show about some woman who had tried to stop another parent taking photos at a school sports event in case pictures of her kids were on the photos and they "ended up on the internet".

I suppose the fear is that paedophiles are going to get hold of these photos and alter them for some perverted thrill. They're going to have their work cut out though - there are millions of people who have pictures of their kids on their blogs and things. And anyway, I'm sure that these warped people have better things to do (like find real kids to do stuff to, or at least proper kiddy porn sites to looks at). I think this is just a moral panic thing - where certain politicians and media groups play on fears that they themselves have created with the intention of promising to sort out exaggerated problems in the hope of getting support. The support in this case being to "police" the net.

Please people, don't let the internet die! There may be some dodgy content (I'm not just talking about child pornography here) but that's a small price to pay for the best media source ever invented (free speech and access to information on virtually anything from around the world). And anyway, surely it's better that this dodgy content is on display where people can at least keep an eye on it?

Posted by Tim at 18:09 [ permalink ]
Categories: Family and general life, Thoughts and rants
Comments [ 0 ]


14/03/07 : Chicken and mushroom risotto


This is the ultimate comfort food. Easy to eat (like porridge) but with the most amazing flavour (unlike porridge). Obviously risotto is an Italian dish, but the chicken and mushroom - and probably the peas too - make it seem strangely English.

You can use leftover cooked chicken, but for best results put one large chicken breast* (skin side up) in a flameproof casserole dish and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 190° (gas mark 5). Leave to cool then remove and discard the skin before chopping the chicken into whatever size pieces you fancy. Don't wash up the dish!

Ok, as well as the chicken you will need:

Olive oil
A small onion
2 cloves of garlic
A few mushrooms
A glass of dry white wine
250ml risotto rice (yes, that's volume not weight - use a measuring jug)
500ml chicken stock (powdered will do the job)
A handful of frozen peas

Finely chop the onions, crush the garlic and slice the mushrooms. Leave the mushroom slices with bits of stalk on as they are but finely chop the rest (i.e. the end bits).

Put the stock in a pan over a low heat so it stays simmering gently.

The dish that you cooked the chicken in will have some chicken fat and stuff in it - top it up with enough olive oil to cover the bottom and put on a fairly low heat. Fry the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and finely chopped mushrooms and cook for another few minutes. Add the rice and stir thoroughly before turning the heat up to just above medium. Chuck in the wine and stir continually until nearly absorbed. Add the sliced mushrooms.

The next stage will take about 20 minutes. You need to add about 100ml of the stock then stir continuously until it's almost absorbed. Add more stock and continue the process. About 5 minutes before the end add the frozen peas, and the chicken right near the end just to heat through. The finished risotto should be sticky and not too dry.

Serves two.

* UPDATE: Actually I'm not sure about this. I recently made it with left over roast chicken and used the carcass to make the stock, which gave the whole thing a sort of "completeness".

Posted by Tim at 18:05 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 0 ]


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