Stuff & Nonsense


20 March 2019

#WordlessWednesday: Spring Flowers

It's spring in the "Big House" greenhouse at Elizabeth Park.

15 March 2019

April Lady by Georgette Heyer


Nell, a young bride still unused to her new wealth, finds she has overspent her quarterly allowance and has acquired a (to her) frightful debt. Desperate that her husband, Cadross, not know, she turns to her gamester brother. While her brother is skint, he does have a Cunning Plan.

Which fails. So he concocts another plan. Which does not go as ... planned. Meanwhile, Nell's behavior towards her husband becomes increasingly distant and formal. Cadross begins to think all his friends were right when they said Nell was marrying him for his money and title. And Nell (thanks to bad advice from her Mama) fears Cadross married her out of convenience and will never believe she loves him -- especially now that she is in debt up to her eyeballs.

And then there is Cadross's sister, Letitia! Pretty, headstrong Letitia who is up to no good with an upstanding young man of prospect but no position ... she will turn their love into something out of a horrid novel, see if she won't.

Oh, the silliness! Such a lovely bit of of escapism. A perfect dessert of a novel.

April Lady by Georgette Heyer (Sourcebooks, 2012)

10 March 2019

Making Martha Stewarts "Asian-Style Chicken and Rice"


After therapy last week, I popped into the Asian market across street for a big bowl of tonkotsu ramen and a poke around the produce section. The produce section is small, but always packed with amazingly cheap and delicious things and it's very hard not to go buyallthethings. Having only a vague idea of what I needed/wanted for the weekend, I picked up a pound of shiitake mushrooms ($3!), a ridiculously large bouquet of scallions, and a fat bundle lemongrass.

While I wasn't sure what I'd end doing with the lemongrass stalks, I had a faint memory of a bookmarking a Martha Stewart chicken-thighs-and-shiitakes recipe that seemed like it might make excellent comfort food on a snowy weekend. The recipe "Asian-Style Chicken and Rice" does not get very high reviews, but I chose to go ahead and make it, anyway, as many of the complaints were about the dish's lack of flavor, not about cooking method or gaps in the recipe. Flavor is subjective, after all, and there was never any chance I was ever going to limit myself to four scallions or three garlic cloves, anyway.

Changes I made:
I ended up doubling the amount of shiitake, garlic, and scallions.
I also seasoned the chicken with five-spice powder (in addition to the salt and pepper) and crisped it using a combination of sesame and olive oil.
I didn't have quite enough arborio rice, so subbed in enough carnaroli rice to cover the difference. (Like arborio, carnaroli is a medium-grained rice that is used in risottos. However, carnaroli holds its shape better during long, slow cooking).
After the chicken and rice had cooking for twenty-five minutes, I took the lid off and let it cook for another five as there was still a bit of liquid in the pot.

The Husband and I both enjoyed this chicken rice dish very much and look forward to eating the leftovers for lunch. Admittedly the reviewers were right to complain that the flavor was not strongly "Asian" and, next time, I might use something like Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Pho Soup Starter or Simply Asia Japanese Inspired Ramen Soy Ginger Chicken Broth to boost the flavor a bit more. That said, it is deliciously creamy and chicken-y.