Chicken and Mushrooms Risotto & the Teacher

November 26, 2008

The Teacher arrived today. WHOOPEEE HOUSE GUEST! I love having visitors around – especially this one :). It also means that I’m getting closer to Prague and another class at L’atelier – where the recipe of the risotto is coming from. So, tonight’s menu is as follows:

Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes and Mixed Herbs

Chicken and Mushrooms Risotto

Coconut Macaroons (optional)

Thank goodness I was planning ahead and had all the ingredients back home, except fot the cherry tomatoes and ciabatta which the Canadian Cream Puff brought – thanks! I had realised that having macaroons was too ambitious for our appetite and I will revert on that at another time.

Here’s the list of ingredients that I needed for the meal (feeds 6):

Bruschetta: Ciabatta, cherry tomatoes, mixed herbs, lemon juice, o.s.p(olive oil.salt.pepper)

Risotto: 500g Arborio rice, 3 onions, half a bottle of white wine, a box of portobello and chestnut mushrooms each, 6 chicken drumsticks (or 2 chicken breasts), Parmegiano Regiano, thyme, mixed herbs, o.s.p

I set out first by butchering the drumsticks, cubed up the meat and dumped the bones into a pot of boiling water that would be my stock, then chopping up my onions and PastaMasta started slicing the mushrooms. Canadian Cream Puff had turned up by then, so we formed a process line for the tomatoes, I halved it and chop of the top, then CCP spooned the seeds out and PM cut them up in small bite sizes. After which we squeezed the lemon, added the mixed herbs and o.s.p in it and the Bruschetta was done!

Back to the risotto, first we sweat the onions in some olive oil and salt and then we poured the rice in it and made sure it was all well coated with the oil, then we chucked in the booze and waited for the alcohol to evaporate.

Risotto after adding the wine

Now it was time to add the chicken stock in, bit by bit.  After the first bit of stock was added, I added the mushrooms, thyme and mixed herbs in it. The key to a good plate of risotto is to just keep stirring. Right about then, ChickenKievSpecialist turned up and she was handed the spatula and just kept stirring as I added more and more stock. During which, I managed to burn CKS’s hand with some stock I was pouring into the pan – SORRY!!! This whole stirring process took about 20 minutes – it’s up to how al-dante you want the texture to be.

Risotto after mushrooms and chicken were added

 When it’s almost done, some butter was added to further thicken it up and it was ready to be served! With some Parmegiano Regiano on the top! Voila!

Bruschetta

One nice home-cooked dinner. I hope everyone liked it – or maybe they were lying to me when they said they were.

Glorious Risotto

Man, I really need to brush up my photography skills don’t I?

 

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Marrakech Adventures…

November 24, 2008

Over the summer, my friends and I decided to brave the heat and trotted along for a Moroccan holiday. We knew there would be lots of stories to tell upon our return, judging from the lack of competency at the visa office in London. Yes, don’t worry, for those of you whose passports are currently in the hands of a Moroccan man who wrote you a ‘confirmation slip’ – IN HAND on a piece of torn up A4 size paper, you will see your passports again.

Being the victims of a 6am flight, we immediately checked into our hotels, applied bottles of sunscreen and proceeded to find some food.

Djemaa el-Fna – The infamous market square filled with endless amounts of orange juices, leather goods, silverware…and SNAKES – yuck. I am TERRIFIED of snakes and till this day I still think that the cause of my gastric attack at our first meal wasn’t caused by the early morning flight but by the sight of those slithering black creatures. First up we took up the advice of the concierge at the hotel and went to this place that was set on the brink of the market. We were taken upstairs and sat by the windows and enjoyed the humidity.

View of the market square

As it was lunch, the menus were limited, so some of us ordered lamb tagines with tomatoes and caramelised onions, some of us had shish kebab with lamb. After the first half, my gastric had kicked in so I had to be put into a cab, sent home to the hotel along with some people who were glad to go back to an air-conditioned room.

Lamb Tagine

I was feeling a lot better by dinner time and because of the fact that lots of restaurants are closed in the summer, we had booked us a table at Dar Marjana. This is one of those places that gives you a proper taste of the Moroccan culture. We were first ushered to a table in the courtyard, and were promptly asked for drink orders. This is one of those times where curiosity got the best of me and so I ordered the ‘homemade rum’. Uh huh, homemade alright. I couldn’t quite figure what it tasted like but decided to not be rude and gulped down half a glass of the potion. At this point in time we were starving and were brought into a dimly lit room with about 4 tables in it. The tables had flower petals all over it and right in the middle, they had used red sequins to shape the initials of R – who booked the table for us.  I could go on with the rose water washing of hands, belly dancing, and mint tea. But here are some snapshots of the food. They basically served us about 12 starters, chicken tagine, pigeon pastilla (some sort of pigeon pie), couscous with vegetables, sweet pastilla etc.

Starters

Tagines
Sweet Pastilla
The pastilla was my favourite. It was served as pictured above, then some form of milk(not too sure I wanna know where the milk was from) was poured over it, broken down into smaller pieces, and served. Yummy! I promise to put down rough estimates of prices next time as a guideline – but I hope to be let of the hook as this was some time ago 🙂
Day2 – If memory serves me right, the morning was spent in the Marjorelle Gardens and then exploring the new part of town and then – lunch at Grande Cafe de la Poste. Food was ok-ish which explains the lack of photos except for this pineapple, mango and chocolate mousse! Just the right thing for the hot hot heat.
Dessert
After lunch, we went on to the Bahia Palace and baked in the open area of the El Badi Palace. At this point in time, we were pretty much ready to dive into the first pool we saw and thank goodness our hotel wasn’t too far away. Soon, it was dinner time! Due to very awesome planning, we got ourselves a table at Le Foundouk. However, the journery there wouldn’t be describe as ‘awesome’. We were a group of 7, hence always had to travel in 2 or 3 cabs and let me tell you, Moroccan cabbies are like vultures! They are conmen! Do not every get into a cab without first agreeing on the price. So we were driving through a meat market in the evening where all of a sudden, the cab stops right by the meat stall and says ‘you are here! This man will take you’. Of course at this point, a man in a suspicious white hooded robe is standing right outside the cab and we had no choice but to get out. This man had a lantern in his hand and he led us through the back lanes of the market. REALLY DODGY. Finally, we got to this big wooden door, and was led to the roof top of this massive riad. Up here, it was a completely different scene from the chaotic market below. If you’re coming to Marrakech for a night or 2, I would highly recommend this place, just to compare the vast differences of this city. Food in restaurants are generally french influenced and they usually serve both traditional Moroccan food and french food as well. Below are some pictures of what I remember to be a mixed grill kebab, a strawberry millfeuille and a pistachio Crème brulée.
Mixed grill kebab
Strawberry Millefeuille
Pistachio Crème brulée
Day3 – Till this day, we are absolutely stunned by what we have achieved on that day. Some may say climbing Mount Everest was the biggest challenge of their lives, some might say that climbing the Atlas Mountains was – it is all relative ok. Plus, us girls were totally unprepared for such an adventure, and turned up in skirts and flip flops. That day, FH tripped and grabbed the tiniest person in the group – Dutch Ladee(a.k.a PastaMasta), and owed her his life ever since. Below is a picture of the locals, running down a 85 degrees slope rather effortlessly. We were quite the opposite, trying to get up that wall.
The climb
As this was our last night, we decided to go all local and went to the market square to have some hawker delicacies. It was really crowded and the stalls were serving pretty much the same food comprising of, fried calamari, roasted aubergines, harrissa soup…etc. You basically either ordered it from the menu on your table or went to the stall and pointed at whatever looked decent, and they’d heat it up in a frying pan and served it to you. On each table were thick round bread buns which I used as a serving plate, as we weren’t given any.
All in all, Marrakech was a pretty adventurous trip. Would I go again? Yes, maybe..to Fez perhaps next time.
Photos are courtesy of  the Canadian Cream Puff, R and myself.

Greetings

November 24, 2008

After much deliberation, this is 28938983th of my blogging attempts. I’m REALLY new at this, so please bear with me as I pick up some new tricks to make it rather enjoyable cruising through the site.

Some notes to self on the birth of slurpmunchburp:

  1. ALWAYS remember to carry around a fully-charged camera
  2. NEVER procrastinate on posting
  3. DO venture to the furthest of lands for a tasty plate of food
  4. ALLOW my flatmate to buy us a deep fat fryer

It is almost home time, so hopefully, tomorrow,  I would be able to grace the site with some posts of my recent death-defying trip to Marrakech, a risotto meal to welcome a friend from home and many more posts to come!