17 January, 2008

variety is the... well, you know














You know your appetite takes up the two sides of your brain: the one that eats for health and the one that eats for FUN. In my case, the fun isn't chocolate, or even biscuits or candy. It's CREAM. And butter. So I have two suggestions that, if you follow them both, will lead to the perfect balance of diet. I think.

The first is, and I'm beginning to believe it's the key to all good health, a nice big glass of mixed fresh juice. I got my juicer last year, and while I will never become a fanatic who believes that all food should be eaten raw, I do think there's something to getting the fruit and veg while they're truly fresh. And, call me nutty, I have yet to come upon a combination of fruit and veg that isn't nice together. Plus it's a good way to use up those bits and pieces in your fridge that aren't quite nice enough to eat whole. Today was blueberries, a good handful, a number of slightly shriveled baby tomatoes, a whole beetroot, a handful of celery stalks, 3 carrots, a knob of ginger and an apple. Plus a whole bunch of flat-leaf parsley which I am assured will completely neutralize that lovely vodka I had before dinner last night. Throw them in your juicer, stir it up and down the hatch. I swear, just the vibrant color will put a zing in your step. Truly.

I just came yesterday from my annual doctor's checkup where I gave most of my blood to be analysed for all the stuff you spend the rest of the year not thinking about. Mostly cholesterol. And normally mine is very nice. So until I find out otherwise, I will continue to believe that one of the ultimate comfort dinners is:

Creamed Chicken with Single-Malt Scotch and Thyme
(serves two)


1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps dried thyme
a good splash single-malt Scotch
2 chicken breast fillets, cut in bite-size pieces
1 tbsp sweet paprika
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Then gently fry the onion and garlic till soft, and add the thyem. Pour in the Scotch and let it evaporate. Then stir in the chicken breasts and toss until nearly cooked through. Sprinkle with paprika and lemon juice, salt and pepper, and then stir in the sour cream. Turn OFF the heat. The chicken will continue to cook and not get tough, while you steam some basmati rice and broccoli on the side.

When the rice and broccoli are ready, turn up the heat under the chicken and stir until bubbly. Serve over the rice. HEAVEN.

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Well, I stayed up far too late last night chatting with my adored relatives in Iowa, for which I must now pay the price and take a short nap or I will never make it to my writing class this afternoon. And tomorrow brings another exam for Avery, this one sat at South Hampstead High School. I'm trying to get up the courage to drive, but something tells me it will be a ruinous cab ride, instead. Wish her luck.

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