Imagination is everything, especially when reality is utterly questionable.

Archive for March, 2011

Let Your Ears

Imagine if all sound just stopped.

The wind would move the trees and in those trees birds would sing,
But not the faintest rustling nor note could be coaxed to the ear,
No bland nattering, jokes or philosophising,
Watch the road more carefully.

Television reduced to mute vessel of info-tainment ,
The charmless, liquid crystal rebirth of Lloyd or Chaplin,
In Saturday-night white teeth and pyrotechnics,
And ticker-tape news stories subtitling the anchors silent lips
With silent motion reaching for the switch,
It’s action suggesting the familiar click,
But none comes.
Plunged into a deeper silence now,
A background devoid of knocking pipes,
And talking, clattering neighbours,
The kettle boils but can’t be heard.
Look out at the silent, car-strewn city,
The wind-whipped, silent con-trail sky,
See further than before when noise leashed the mind to the common world.
The steady, soundless pressure of a heartbeat,
Coursing blood sings no song but it still brings life,
The noiseless
Rise and fall,
Rise and fall,
Of breathing lungs.

And this vast quiet, stretching further than the eye can see,
The mind free of the common world to find it’s own gentle pasture,
To dance to it’s own rhythm and
Focus more intently on the clear-sky, new-born path,
And listen like never before.

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Great performance of a Cage classic:

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Stew Time.

Being a modern sort of chap and single, I know my way around a kitchen. The catering course I did when I left school kinda helped too; although I’ve forgotten much of what I learned there I’ve retained many of the fundamentals and could still probably bone a shoulder of lamb given a couple of practice runs and a decent, sharp butchers knife (melee weapon of choice, zombie apocalypse fans!).
I don’t often go crazy in the kitchen, but I do sometimes like to push the boat out. A recent work of gourmet mastery is ready to roll out after a few weeks of R&D, but fine tuning should be left up to the individual’s palette I think, and therefore I now present – named for its colour and warmth – *cue elaborate fanfare (played on kazoo)*

RED VEGGIE STEW
The quantities are only rough and seasoning should be adjusted to your own taste. I personally like a reasonably amount of chilli for example but if you prefer something milder just add a little extra black pepper instead or use a less potent chilli. Similarly, if there’s anything else you don’t like just leave it out, or add that last bit of courgette or leek that you’ve got in the fridge. If you really want to add some flesh, ham or chicken (pre-seal small pieces in main pan with spices as the first step) is good, but if you use ham don’t add the salt at the end.

This recipe should give you enough for two good and hearty servings of a colourful and aromatic stew.

Veg oil/butter
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 level tsp cumin seeds
Half red scotch bonnet – chopped
Sprig of thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 good tsp lime pickle
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 level tblsp unrefined sugar
Cold water

1 lrg onion – halved and roughly sliced
3 cloves garlic – smashed
2 med/lrg potatoes – wash, do not peel, halved chunky slices
1 med red pepper – wash, med chop
1 med yellow pepper – wash, med chop
2 med/lrg carrots – wash, do not peel, slice
2 handfuls broccoli florets
1 can red kidney beans – rinse
2 good handfuls fresh spinach leaves – wash, hand-shred
A dozen-15 white mushrooms – wash, do not peel, rough chop
2 tins chopped plum tomatoes

– Warm 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan.
– Add potato and fry until brown.
– Heat 2 tbsp oil/melt knob of butter in large pan and add paprika and cumin, warming gently.
(Adding a little splash of cold water can prevent the spices from burning if the pan gets too hot)
– Add onion and garlic and stir, keeping on a low heat.
– When onion is translucent add fried potato. Stir gently.
– Add carrot, red and yellow peppers, and broccoli. Stir again.
– Turned heat up a little but be sure not to let anything burn.
– Cook 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs, scotch bonnet (or other chilli), sugar. Stir well.
– Add water to almost cover the contents of the pan.
– Bring to boil then simmer gently under a lid for ten minutes
– Add kidney beans, mushrooms and spinach, salt, pepper and lime pickle. Stir.
– Keeping lid off to allow reduction of the liquid, simmer for five minutes.
– Turn off heat and leave with lid on to mature for at leat two hours.

If the liquid is still too thin towards the end of the process, put a table-spoon of plain flour into a small bowl and stir in half a cup of the hot liquid from the pan, making sure all the flour is incorporated, then pour this back into the pan whilst stirring to ensure there are no lumps. This should be done before the final five-minutes of cooking to allow time for the flour to cook and thicken the liquid.

When hungry, reheat gently but do not boil, and serve with granary bread and butter.
I hope you get the chance to try it out, and please, let me know what you think!

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“…an absolute Britney!”