Inverted Midas

Hi all

September was a good month. I made some progress with my Oracle DBA 2 course, in two weeks or so I’ll be able to apply for the vendor exam. My remote database job has been working out too (read: I didn’t break too many things). But to all nice songs come ends, and the same thing applies here: they don’t have enough Oracle clients to keep me for a permanent position.

Oh well, I’ll take my mind off of things with a new project: brewing my own beer. We bought hops, grain, yeast and some other ingredients for our own Pale Ale. We’ll start easy and small, only a 5 gallon batch. In a month I’ll publish the results and the size of my hangover.

This deal is from a Sunday afternoon game in El Cerrito.

North
KQ982
K95
A862
7

South
A5
QJT64
KT953
4

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1
pass
1
pass
2
pass
4
a.p.
 
 

South opened a tad light for being vulnerable, but I don’t disagree. The final contract looks healthy, if everything breaks nice and smooth you’ll only lose one and one . Well, I can tell you Inverted Midas reared it’s ugly head. When we touched this deal it turned into the exact opposite of gold. You can think of something appropriate yourself.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
KQ982
K95
A862
7
West
A72
QJ74
T98632
East
JT7643
83
AKQJ5
South
A5
QJT64
KT953
4
 

The lead was a for the Jack and then the enemy entered a cross ruff for down three. Ugh! Unfortunately nobody was able to bid the cold game in EW. Even 6 looks close, but that only comes home on a favourable lead.

No vampires!

Hi all

Today Sanne and I went to a restaurant called The Stinking Rose. As you already might have guessed, garlic is their specialty. We shared a garlic fontina fondue first, and I had a very, very tender short rib (garlic braised) as a main course. Amazing! Well, if you have any plans visiting us (or just San Francisco), go there. You will not be disappointed.

Last week Sanne and I played a sectional in El Cerrito. They don’t know about Dutch masterpoints, but the lady looked at us and thought we would fit in the medium group. Oh well… Here’s a mamma-pappa-slam. At least I thought it was.

South
6
KQ7
AKJ
KQJT82

West
North
East
South
 
1
pass
2
pass
2NT
pass
4
pass
4
pass
4NT
pass
51
pass
…7NT
a.p.
 
 
 

1. 0 or 3 Aces

I probably could have bid a forcing 3, but I wasn’t sure. So I opted for a self agreeing 4. La-die-la-die-la, I asked for Aces and when Sanne showed three of them I could count to 14 tricks. Director! Where is the 8NT card in my biddingbox?

North Dealer
– Vul
North
A7
AJ832
953
A93
West
QT842
T94
QT8
64
East
KJ953
65
7642
75
South
6
KQ7
AKJ
KQJT82

What I’m still wondering about is why we were the only pair present that bid this (in my opinion) yawningly boring grand.

Åland Pancake

Hi all

My parents travelled through Finland this summer and they brougt home some delicacies and knowledge about delicacies. Here’s a recipe for Åland Pancake.

1 l milk
1 dl of pudding rice (or 1.5 dl of semolina)
1 dl white flour
3 eggs
½ – 1 dl sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom
50 g butter

Boil milk and rice (or semolina) to a smooth porridge and allow to cool off. Beat together the eggs and sugar and stir into the porridge. Add flour, salt and cardamom. If the batter is too thick you can add more milk. Grease an ovenproof dish or pan and pour in the batter. Add a few knobs of butter. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30-50 minutes (until the sides are golden brown and the center is no longer gelatinous). Serve with stewed prunes or jam and whipped cream.


 

Sweet Seduction

Hi all

Here’s a little gastronomical adventure that will leave you craving for more. Every time I go to the supermarket now it takes a lot of effort not to buy these ingredients, I would acquire a pearlike shape in no time.

  • 1 box of raspberries
  • 1 box of strawberries
  • Ice cream (vanilla)

Clean and wash the berries carefully and put them together with the ice cream in a bowl. Give it a short whizz with an immersion blendee mixer or a kitchen machine. Just to release some juice from the fruits.

The texture of this dessert is so wonderful. The physical state of the ice cream performs a balancing act somewhere between solid and liquid. Together with the tender strawberries and raspberries it forms a trinity that has no equivalent. 

Aroused by asparagus

Hi all

It’s the time of the year. Time for the white gold called asparagus.

Asparagus

Here’s my little experiment:
Take approx. 4-5 large asparagus per person. Boil them for 2 minutes in a little water and some white wine. Prepare a roux from dairy butter and a little flour and add the liquid you obtained from cooking the asparagus. Keep stirring until smooth (you got yourself a buttersauce now). Pour the sauce over the asparagus and sprinkle emmental cheese (piquant, but not really sharp taste) on top. Put it all in a hot furnace for about 10 minutes, until the emmental colours golden brown.

Prepare small potatoes, hardboiled eggs and/or ham rolls as side delicacies. All flavours combine so well together, just writing this makes my mouth water. You can even surprise your guests by serving the eggs with an anchovy fillet on top. It’s a combination made in heaven.

Sweet Potato Soup

Hi all

Another fine recipe. It made me feel all glowy on the inside.

Curry paste:
4-5 dried red chili’s
chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic
chopped lemongrass (a full teaspoon)
some coriander, cumin & salt
1/2 a teaspoon of shrimp paste (use more for sweeter taste)

Use a vice to grind all the ingredients together, physical labour is a good thing. But the lazy ones can use a kitchenmachine as well. When finished add some sunflower oil, keep the curry paste in a closed jar in the refrigerator. It doesn’t stay good forever, but up to 2 weeks it should.

Ingredients:
1 kg of sweet potatoes (cut into pieces)
6 dl chicken or vegetable stock
4 dl coconut cream
peas (I use about 250 gr for 1 liter soup)
1 spoonful of curry paste

Preparation:
Heat the curry paste in a large pan until you have set free the aromas. Add the pieces of potato, stock and coconut cream and bring to boil. On low fire cook until the potatoes are tender. Use a kitchenmachine to get the soup smooth and silky. Add the peas and heat for a couple more minutes. Serve.

Coffee in Italy

Hi all

Espresso, a short, sharp bolt of strong black coffee. I’m hooked, without coffee my life would grind to a halt. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I fell in love with the liquid black gold when I was just a little boy.

In Italy, espresso is considered so essential to daily life that the price is regulated by the government. Be aware, however, that these regulated prices apply to items consumed while standing at the bar. The prices for those same items increase, sometimes dramatically, when you sit at a table.

When I first heard this, I thought they were talking nonsense to me, I couldn’t believe it. But it’s really truly true. It so shows that when this law passed, people understood what was really important in daily life.

Here’s a picture. Me drinking coffee in the morning. Don’t start about bad hairdays, it was day four of a music festival in Denmark. You are supposed to look a bit sloppy.

Aaah.... coffee
 

Arroz Con Pollo

Hi all

Here’s a very nice recipe. The first time I prepared it, it made me feel all glowy inside. True soulfood. It’s called Arroz con Pollo, which means Rice with Chicken in Spanish. It’s an easy, stove-top, one-pan dish.

Chicken
olive oil
2.5 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in, with skin on, rinsed and patted dry
flour for dredging
paprika powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rice
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
pinch of oregano
salt

Directions
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (a skillet that has a cover) on medium high heat. Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, paprika powder and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put in the pan to brown. (You can skip the flour dredging part if you want, it just makes a nicer coating for the chicken.) Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then don’t stir too much or you will prevent it from browning. Let it brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

3. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice until the rice and chicken are done. Fluff the rice with a fork. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

You can also add chopped bell peppers (cook with the onions), peas (mix in at the end), or use a bit of saffron with the rice.

Serves 4-6, thumbs up!

Risotto with lemon

Hi all

I have a very, very fine risotto for you. It’s… it’s… just mindblowing tasteful!

Ingredients for 2 persons:
1 medium onion
2 stalks of celery
1 clove of garlic (optional)
200 grams of risotto rice
1 liter of stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 egg yolk
1 lemon
cream
parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, fresh rosemary

Remember, risotto is slow food, it needs touch, time and attention. But the result is so rewarding. Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan, slowly heat the chopped onion, celery and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and be carefull the vegetables don’t colour too much. Then add the risotto and stir until the rice looks a bit glassy. Slowly add the stock, please don’t drown the risotto. Add the zest of half a lemon and season with the pepper (just a little) and chopped rosemary.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolk, cream, zested parmesan cheese and the juice of half a lemon. I guess you can use something like 50-100 ml’s of cream, I didn’t really check. Now when the texture of the risotto is good, turn down the heat, add the egg-cream-lemon juice mixture and serve.

Succes guaranteed!

@Nigella: Thank you.