Monthly Archives: October 2011

Chilli Con Carne & Leczo

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Simultaneous cooking. I am lazy and when I do anything which is not lying in the sun, reading books and drinking coffee I want to make it in the most ergonomic way possible (so that I can go back and continue lying in the sun, reading books and drinking coffee). Killing two birds with one stone translates into Polish as cooking two roasts in one fire which is exactly what I usually do: prepare 2-3 things same time. Today peppers & tomatoes made a bridge between Mexico and Hungary:

 

Leczo

1 zucchini

2 yellow peppers

1 red pepper

1 canned tomatoes

2 small onions

soy sauce

oregano

basil

parsley leaves

1 tbsp oil

 

Chop onions and cook until transparent. Add peppers cut into small cubes, simmer under cover for approx. 13 minutes. Add zucchini cubes (I don’t remove the skin as it keeps zucchini in shape instead of turning into zucchini mash whilst cooking) and cook with reduced heat under a cover.  Allow 20 minutes for veggies to let some juice into the dish. Add spices and canned tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins more and be careful not to overcook unless you are more into vegetable purée rather than ratatouille dish. Season with soy sauce and top with parsley. A fresh crispy baguette and voila! A lunch makes a day.

 

Chilli Con Carne

 

2 small onions

1 garlic clove

500 gram minced beef

canned tomatoes

1 red pepper

canned kidney beans

ground cumin

marjoram

beef stock (250 ml)

chilli powder

paprika powder

salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar

1 tbsp oil

 

Heat the oil on a pan, add garlic and onions. Cook until onion gets transparent. Add spices: paprika powder, chilli,  cumin, marjoram and let it release the flavours (2-3 mins). Add minced meat and use a wooden fork to stir the meat on the pan for a few minutes so that it doesn’t turn into a big pulp (experienced cook I am, hm?) .  Add tomatoes, beef stock, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar and simmer for 20 minutes. The goal is to make the dish thick and hearty. Add the drained beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes with the reduced heat. I added soy sauce because I recently add it everywhere. Serve with rice.

tip: GoodFood says to put a small piece of a  dark chocolate instead of sugar. Tempting… 

 

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Enchiladas

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A bit of freestyle here made from memory of what I ate ages ago in Barcelona; I have no idea what would a Spanish chef say to a lemon grass though! Never mind the original, this one  turned out to be so tasty  that I am here now, at 11 pm eating the second one ,already thinking about opening a ginger beer and promising myself I will run for a minimum 12 kms tomorrow. Guilty pleasures. kurde.

 

1 onion

1 garlic clove

oil

chicken breast (finely chopped)

a pack of tortillas

a can red kidney beans

spices

lemon grass (leftover from Thai one)

cheddar cheese

Heat the oil, add crushed garlic and red pepper powder, cook for 1-2 min. Add chopped onion and lemon grass and cook till transparent. Add chicken, fry until light golden in colour. Add red kidney beans and cook for 10-15 mins on the low heat. Add spices of any liking: I used herb mix to add a bit of flavour, but paprika already makes the deal.

Roll up tortillas filled with the chicken-bean mixture, garnish with cheese and bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Istanbul Biennial

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I missed Istanbul’s marathon by just one week but no way I could miss Istanbul’s Biennial! Amazing  – it is incredible that me, a traveller from Poland could find so much personal experience cought up there, in Turkey, in true art. This year’s was political. There were statues made of riffles, war photography, pieces  of cloth torn through with bullets… at some stage it got very  heavily loaded with emotions.  So many different works so much to tell, I won’t even attempt to describe http://12b.iksv.org/en

We didn’t walk out too depressed though:

 

will you survive?

Simon Evans above

And Ozlem Gunyol with Mustafa Kunt , work titled Ceaseless Doodle

 

But my absolute number one was Egyptian origin artist Wael Shawky and his Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File: a filmed puppet show telling the history of  First Crusade( 1096 – 1099 ).  I sat there with my jail dropped down: intrigues, betrayals, massacres, fanaticism  – that was so real I couldn’t believe no real actors are on the stage. Marionettes’ costumes were  little masterpieces themselves. I wish it’s showed  at history classes.

http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2010/wael_shawky

http://www.sfeir-semler.de/current/AlSolhShawky/AlSolhShawky.htm

 

 

4th page of NY Times

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Poland’s Centrist Leader Claims a Second Term

WARSAW — In the race to govern Poland, Prime Minister Donald Tusk appeared to have a strong lead on Sunday over his conservative rival and predecessor, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, while a party that supports gay rights, abortion and some drug legalization seemed set to win representation in Parliament for the first time.

Election officials assisted Roman Catholic nuns with their ballots on Sunday at a polling station in Warsaw, the capital.

Though final results are not expected until Tuesday, Mr. Tusk claimed victory late Sunday and Mr. Kaczynski conceded defeat after exit polls reported on state television indicated that Mr. Tusk’s centrist Civic Platform was receiving nearly 40 percent of the vote and Mr. Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party just over 30 percent. Hours later, preliminary returns from 15 percent of the nation’s polling places showed Mr. Tusk’s party leading, 37 percent to 30 percent.

If the results hold, it will be the first time since the fall of Communism that any party in Poland has won consecutive parliamentary elections. The election was widely watched because of concerns over Mr. Kaczynski’s confrontational approach toward the European Union.

Analysts hailed the vote for continuity as a sign of political maturity in Poland, another step in the democratic development of the largest of the Eastern European countries to join Western institutions like the NATO alliance and the European Union.

“It is a success of optimistic Poland,” Mr. Tusk told supporters on Sunday night. “I would like to thank all Poles for the fact that four years later, in this most significant act of democracy, which is the universal vote, that they confirmed once again that those moments back then were meaningful.”

Mr. Kaczynski conceded that “the forecast outcome is not favorable for us,” but said, “We maintain our position, our confidence, that Poland requires far-reaching changes.”

The new party that had the surprise showing, the Palikot Movement, appeared in the exit polls to be drawing about 10 percent of the vote, enough to place an unlikely third.

“It’s amazing that millions of Poles want a modern state,” said Janusz Palikot, the founder of the movement.

The Democratic Left Alliance, Poland’s post-Communist party, appeared to have done surprisingly poorly, with just 8 percent in the exit polls, conducted by TNS OBOP for Polish national television, and about 9 percent in the preliminary returns.

Mr. Kaczynski served as prime minister from 2006 to 2007, with his twin brother, Lech, as president. Lech Kaczynski died in April 2010 in a plane crash that killed 96 people, including much of Poland’s political elite.

During his tenure, Jaroslaw Kaczynski was famous for his confrontational course toward Europe, and Germany in particular, and for gleefully playing the spoiler whenever possible. While Poland is not a member of the struggling euro currency zone, under Mr. Tusk the country has provided a steadying influence in the European Union, and a Polish politician was even made president of the European Parliament.

“For the last quarter-century, Poland has really remade itself, and in so doing changed the European landscape as a result,” said Stephan Richter, president of the Globalist Research Center in Washington, noting a “core of stability” between Poland and Germany.

“In a European historical context,” Mr. Richter said, “it is monumental that Poland finally has done everything right.”

The prospect of Mr. Kaczynski’s return to office with the same combative attitude toward the European Union boded ill for the bloc. Mr. Tusk, meanwhile, steered Poland through the financial crisis and ensuing global slowdown without letting it slip into recession.

But the weakness of the bloc in these troubled times, with the raging European debt crisis and the inability of leaders to settle on a lasting solution, may have been one of Mr. Kaczynski’s strengths. “Poles look now at Brussels and the fight over the debt crisis and they legitimately wonder whether the union is fragmenting,” said Charles Kupchan, a European expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

“When Kaczynski charts a course that is more independent, that is more stand-alone, he speaks to Poles about the future of the E.U.,” Mr. Kupchan said.

In 2007, Mr. Tusk defeated Mr. Kaczynski and steered Poland to closer ties with Germany and the rest of Europe. While relations with the United States remained warm, Mr. Tusk’s government was less reflexively pro-American. He removed the last of Poland’s troops from Iraq in 2008 and bridged the often yawning divide between Poland and Russia.

Mr. Kaczynski has played on Polish fears of its larger neighbors. In a recent book, he suggested that Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, had been elected with the help of the Stasi and wanted to restore German influence in western Poland.

Mr. Tusk has benefited from the strength of the Polish economy in difficult times, but there are signs that it is cooling and that unemployment is rising. He has campaigned on domestic issues, leading an American-style “listening tour,” to learn about voter concerns.

“I don’t know if Tusk is a good manager, but these guys still have their sleeves up and are doing something,” said Vasile Transdafir, 52, who works in the insurance business and voted for Mr. Tusk.

With the largest share of the vote and a number of potential coalition partners, Mr. Tusk seemed assured on Sunday night of continuing as prime minister. “This reflects the normalization of Polish politics and the consolidation of a broader and more stable center in the country’s political system,” Mr. Kupchan said.

“One can only continue to marvel at how successful the transition has been in Central Europe,” he said. “You can safely say that almost all the countries in the region are past the point of no return” as stable, economically liberal democracies.

Mr. Richter, from the Globalist Research Center, said monumental decisions, including treaty changes, would ultimately be necessary to get the European Union through its crisis. “Poland is large enough and important enough to really make things go awry,” he said. “This is a time where we can’t have people who are spoilers for no reason.”

October 10, 2011, New York Times

Thai Chicken Curry

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Hey ho! After changing 1 job, 1 country and 2 flats within 3 months I’m back to the game. The first meal in the new place had to be something special. What’s special for me it’s everyday meal for any Thai family and I’m sure they have plenty of lemon grass growing everywhere..

I usually don’t go by these fancy super-dooper recipes that require things like orange flower water, fig powder and so on (Nigella specialises in it so that nobody can cook from her recipes). This time I did my best and found fish sauce and red Thai curry paste. Gave up on lemon grass as ordinary lemon was exactly 10 times less expensive and has done pretty well in my dish after all.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp fish sauce

red Thai curry paste (2 tbsp)

2 large chicken breasts

1 onion

1 lemon

coconut milk (400 ml for not-really thick sauce)

coriander

Slice an onion and fry it on vegetable oil together with a lemon zest till onion gets transparent. Stir in curry paste (2 tbsp is just enough not to make it very spicy) and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped chicken and cover it with the paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, add fish sauce and coconut milk. Cook till chicken is tender (approx. 15 mins)

Adding less coconut milk will make the sauce thicker – I preferred the dish to be more stew – like so there’s a full can of coconut milk there.

Top with fresh coriander and some lemon piece. Off you eat.

Week 3

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So now, at the Ataturk airport, starbucks (free wifi and god bless turkish coffee), 3 hours till the first flight and plenty of time to see what i have (not) done in week 3.

Week 1-2 were I made at my best. Ideal balance of running, workout and proper diet. I was proud.

Till week 3.

On wednesday i was packing my running shoes with a serious plan to use them every day when in Istanbul. After all where else if not Bosphorus…

I dont even want to think how much i ate and that the shoes never got out of the suitcase.

Review:

Monday: rest day – that was required after 15 km on sunday

Tuesday: very nice 7 km with six Ps at the end. I felt like Gebrsellassi.

Wednesday- gym day given up for the trip’s sake

Thursday-Sunday – We were Spoiling ourselves all the way through

Bad bad bad.

Need to make up for it asap!

Week 2

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Ok, we’re getting serious here. After first’s week euphoria it
‘s time to stop running like released from the cage and actually think. So i did. Think how to run and prevent injuries; i just read a blog which started with great enthusiasm and bursting motivation to complete the first marathon – the equipment was perfect, shoes chosen with greatest care, nike chip bought, the training plan shine and ready to go. The author got leg injury in his second month.. and that was it.. :S

Injuries in running are a separate block in sports medicine. I was advised to run on the grass as for shock absorbing. Surprisingly, i could see the difference right after. How little i know..

Week 1

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The first week was pretty much easy. I had great weather conditions each day and nothing unexpected disturbed my trainings. I was really anxious what will happen on the first Sunday with the long run out scheduled. They say this is a cumulation, the peak point of the week that any self-respecting runner is living for.

Half of the day I spent nicely resting in bed till some bunch of coincidences happened and I ended up making 3 times city distance on the bike. I was seriously afraid my legs will go on strike after these. Fear no more – I completed my running cycle , ate half of the fridge after that and the other half on the next day.