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2 Mar 2009

Oh boy! Whatta week-end….

Everything started on Friday…
After a nice day spent studying my new cookbook it was time to drive, with some friends, to the location of Classical Indian music concert.
The way wasn’t as long as expected but it brought us in the middle of the German countryside through dark streets and sparse houses (thankfully we had a GPS system :P).
The location was the workshop of an artist friend of us.
The old farmhouse from the end of the 19th century newly restored was concealed in the dim light of few lamp posts and the main door lighting. The house, on three levels, was bright, fresh and welcoming; the many paintings of our friend were covering the walls with coloured figures barely sketched, as just come out of a dream. After a small chitchat we headed toward the 3rd floor and workshop.
Waiting us were the musicians. As just looking at a TV-screen, the beautiful lady was sit in a yoga position, covered by a dark green sari and holding a nicely carved Sitar; beside her was the Tablas player in a light brown robe.
The concert went on for almost two hours with a few breaks. It seemed like 5 minutes.
The music was totally hypnotic; I could barely hold the camera and take a few pictures. My heart pounding at slow motion and me scratching my shoulder even slower :P.
Colourful paintings were all around us, inspiring the musicians and lifting up our moods.
By 23h we were home and I was hungry and what do you do when you reach home, you are late, hungry with close to nothing in your fridge? Pasta!

Third fastest Italian Pasta

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
• 150g Pasta
• Olive oil
• 3-4 cloves of garlic
• 1/2 anchovy fillet
• 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
• 3 black olives
• Grated Parmesan Cheese

While the water for the pasta is on the fire, skin and slice the garlic cloves. Put a fare amount of olive oil (it will be the body of the sauce) on a small saucepan, add the garlic, the chilli flakes and the anchovy fillet and let warm over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic, it shouldn’t take much colour while cooking.
After 2 minutes that the garlic is sizzling add 2tbsp of water to the pan and sprinkle lightly with a pinch of flour. Shake the pan to combine well. Slice and pit (if it’s the case) the olives and add them to the pan.
Now it should be time to cook the pasta, don’t forget to put salt in the water. Let the sauce reduce while the pasta is cooking.
When the pasta is ready, drain it well, transfer it into a bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve it sprinkled with some parmesan and enjoy.

All this was before I checked my business email.
Let’s say that I had finally to write down what was going on into my mind since a few months. Hard stuff.
Saturday went still under the weight of those few words; I even turned down a few friends invitations for the evening. I wasn’t really social material that night.
Let just say that I ended up making myself cinnamon pancakes that night.

Sunday has been a bit better. After having massaged my chicken with the orange marinade, I left for a walk with some friends.
It was a nice relieving afternoon completed by a hefty dinner:
Roasted Chicken in Orange-Garlic marinade.

Ingredients (makes from 2 to 4 servings):
• 1 whole chicken of roughly 1kg
• 4 garlic cloves
• 2 oranges (possibly red)
• 1/2 lemon
• 1 tbsp dried rosemary
• 1/2 tbsp dried sage
• 2 tsp horseradish
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• Splash of red wine
• 1 pinch of flour
• Salt
• Pepper


Cut the backbone out of the chicken using a carving scissor or a serrated knife and wash the bird thoroughly.
To prepare the marinade, skin and slice the garlic. In a bowl combine it with the herbs and the juice of one of the oranges and the lemon. Add the horseradish, 1 tsp of salt and the olive oil. Mix the marinade well to combine.
Flatten down the chicken and make four incisions to it, two at the conjunctions of the thighs with the body and the other two at the conjunctions of the wings with it; this will help speed up the cooking process (technique courtesy of Jacques Pépin). Rub well the marinade over the chicken and let it infuse in your fridge for a couple of hours before cooking (you might want to do it directly in the baking tin).
When ready to bake the chicken, heat the oven to 220 deg C; spread the chicken on a baking tin, if it’s not there yet and when the oven will be at the desired temperature, bake for 35-40 minutes.
To make the gravy, transfer the chicken on a dish and keep it warm into the oven covered with a lid. You should have around 2tbsp of fat in the tin, if there is too much of it just spoon it out. Put the tin directly over medium fire and deglaze it with the red wine. Scrape well the bottom of the tin and let reduce for a few minutes before adding the juice of the other orange. Sprinkle a pinch of flour over the tin and let the gravy reduce over the fire till you obtain the desired consistency. Taste it and regulate of salt and pepper and pass through a sieve pressing well.
Enjoy the chicken with its life partner: mashed potatoes! :D

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