pork, seafood

Day 200: Two hundred days

July 19, 2007

This evening L and I set about making Big Mussels with Chorizo and Saffron Rice after wrestling a very tired and procrastination-prone toddler to bed. We made the mistake of unpacking the shopping while she was eating, and one sight of the blueberries threw all reason to the wind. Tantrums which strongly feature, well almost exclusively feature, the word “boobies” with the odd “please” are in all fairness as funny as they are frustrating. Anyway, so we eventually cooked a fairly extravagant meal including mussels, chorizo and saffron; not the most everyday ingredients in our world, certainly.

The rice was cooked with chicken stock, seafood stock, saffron and a splash of olive oil, with frozen peas stirred in right at the end. Meanwhile, the chorizo was fried in a little olive oil, with the garlic, onion, red pepper, celery and a bay leaf to follow. Once the vegetables were softened, a splash of white wine was added then cooked down, and some diced tomatoes stirred into the mix. The mussels, of which we seemed to have a mountain, were added in a single layer on the top, a Tetris-like endeavour, and cooked for 4 minutes. A handful of parsley was added to the pan, and the mixture was served on top of the rice. Crusty bread was supposed to supplement the meal, but there was certainly plenty of food to be going on with.

We used to buy chorizo that would blow your head off as it was so spicy, but the only chorizo we have managed to find here is extremely mild. Really it has the consistency of sausage, but not much in the way of flavour. Had we had a good spicy sausage, fnarr fnarr, this meal would have been phenomenally good; as it is, it was still pretty damn good. The tomato sauce is solid and substantial, and the vegetables add a satisfying crunch. Chorizo and mussels together are a winning combination, the chewy with the slimy, so to speak. If we’d have served the mussels with the bread, I would say that the rice would become superfluous. As it is, it mops up the sauce pretty well. I don’t know what the life expectancy of saffron is, we have a big bag of it that I got on holiday in Istanbul maybe 9 years ago. I put a generous dollop in with the rice, but it didn’t seem to have a great impact. The colour of the rice stayed the same and I’m not sure that it added anything flavour-wise. We would certainly make this again, perhaps adding some spice to bolster the chorizo. Although this meal seems a little indulgent, compared to steak, the mussels were reasonably priced. This could easily become a staple if less mussels were used; we bought a pound for around $5, and you could certainly get away with less mussels and add in the bread.

Tomorrow we are having Aussie Meat Pies, Made Quick, which I have to admit I am pretty excited about. They’re made with puff pastry which is one of my favourite things. I’ve been meaning to make some spinach feta pastries for a while, but couldn’t bear to turn the oven on. Maybe I’ll make them tomorrow when we are set to roast anyway. The following day is Fall Minestrone, which certainly backs up our theory that this cookery book was not particularly well planned. It’s July, and any leaves on the ground have been melted from the trees by the burning sun; the recipe is 3 months early. In 8 days time we get the keys to our new house, which is completely and utterly terrifying. We really, really hope that our Ikea kitchen doors are winding their way down from Montreal; if they don’t get here in the next week we could well be scuppered. It will be much easier to cook our August rendition of Verdure di Primio Maggio con Polenta (Mixed Greens of the First of May with Polenta) if we actually have a kitchen.

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