Brisket

It is funny but after reading that eating beef doesnt help the planet, last week I decided to cook brisket and bought a 5kg piece…. I am a bit a hypocrite right now. In general I dont eat much meat but it is done.

So this desire came from one visit to a BBQ restaurant some time ago. And I wanted to try at home with my oven. So I found this recipe that looked good to follow.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5kg brisket
  • salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, garlic, spices for the rub
  • 2 onions and 2 potatoes
  • 1 can of beer (or 200ml wine)
  • 1 litre of beef stock
  • foil

Process:

  • Combine all spices. Be sure the brisket is not too wet, so you can spread the spices properly in the whole piece.
  • Let the meat rest (marinate). Put it in foil in the fridge.
  • In a big hot pan with a bit of oil, seal the brisket. Then fry the onions at medium heat.
  • Add the beer to the onios until soft.
  • Move the onions to a oven try, add the brisket and sliced potatoes.
  • Add the beef stock.
  • Cover in foil the tray and put in a pre-heat oven at 175C for 4.5-5h.
  • After long wait, take the tray from the oven and remove the foil.
  • Let the meat to rest for a bit

This was my result:

It wasnt like in the restaurant but actually it was like some beef stew I used to have as a kid. Good lunch for a long week…

Our Planet

This week finished a book from David Attenborough. It is impressive how much the population of the planet has increased since he was born (1937) until 2020. Based on the book is from 2.3 billion people to 7.8 billion. And how much the wildnerness has decreased in the same period (from 66% to 35%). Keeping mind we had two WW in XX century…

The first two parts are quite pessimistic with all the damage we have caused. But then he offers option for the present to save the future.

The main focus is recovering wildnerness in the world. We need to move to a more sustainable economy (it is not going to be pretty for the super rich and powerful countries) where growth can’t be the only measure (NZ has done something about it). We need to use less (the richest person is the one who has less needs said my grandmother), reproduce less (hello religions!!!). We need to use clean energy. This is a hard topic. Batteries and solar panels need to be more efficient, cleaner to fabricate and recycle. Most of the components have to be mined…. But yeah, the sun energy is a big deal. How much we can get from deserts?

For Nature itself, recover the oceans with policies to avoid over fishing and let recover the wildnerness. The book give the example of Cabo Pulmo and Palau as examples and the benefits of doing so. Better fishing, more sources of income. Win-Win.

Reduce the farmland footprint and let the forests recover their strength (with all the fauna included). This focus in meat consumption. I dont believe becoming vegan is the solution but eating meat every day is not needed. Our grand parents didnt eat meat everyday, that was a luxury. And not long ago, you had to pay the Church for eating meat (“la bula”) So I strongly believe in eating more green (but not manufactured stuff….). I dont see the point of cutting more trees to grow soy for producing meat-life products instead of raising cows. It seems 60% of farmland is dedicated to only beef, crazy. This is quite connected to the global populations too. Imagine if India were a beef-eating country….

Improve agriculture with regenerative farming. I believe in this, although I feel quite naive and romantic about this subject. It is a dream to have your terrain with several types of fruit trees producing good products every year, depending on the season, having your vegetables growing among them, and bees!. And not using any pesticide. Dream. I am pretty sure the yield wouldnt be very constant but this is built for balance. You have several crops… In a world with less people and not based in extreme-capitalism (surplus surplus!!!!) it would work (I hope)

The book says we are reaching our population peak but I dont believe, because religions dont want that, nationalism dont want that. But this is one of the last shift and I guess more difficult one. Changing/adapting ourselves.

If we allow it, life finds a way, like in they city near Chernobyl. It has been recovered by the forests!

At the end of the day, it is always the same solution. Balance. The virtue is in the middle (it seems Aristotle said that).

Timballo di Riso

Some years ago I went to this restaurant. We had a nice meal and I remember I tried something totally new: “Timballo di riso”. It was super tasty, it wasn’t a normal risotto (that still I haven’t master it…) and it wasn’t a pasta dish. So I only managed to take a picture of the ingredients, because I finished it too quick. Since then, I had it into my to-cook list but finally I decided to try after checking some videos. This was the source for my attempt.

Original Ingredients:

  • Arborio rice, saffron, B├ęchamel sauce (milk, nutmeg, salt, butter, whipping cream, flour type 00), Vegetal broth ( celery, carrots, onion, broccoli, zucchini), Fontina cheese, ham, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt

My ingredients:

  • Glass of risoto rice.
  • 2 glasses of boiling water
  • 1 cube of stock
  • 100g of butter
  • pinch of saffron (or similar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • bechamel / white sauce:
  • – 50g butter
  • – 1/2 glass of flour
  • – 2 glass of milk
  • – nutmeg, pepper and salt
  • 250g cure ham cut in small pieces.
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan
  • breadcrumbs

Process:

  • In a big pan and medium heat, put the boiling water, stock cube, butter, saffron and bay leaves.
  • Once all mixed, add the rice. Let it cook at low heat until it gets dense. Stir from time to time to be sure it doesn’t stick.
  • Let the rice to cool down in a try.
  • Prepare the bechamel sauce. In a pan, melt the butter, add the flour. Once it is combined like a brown paste, start adding milk bit by bit. It should start to form a sauce. Add nutmeg, pepper and salt. Keep adding milk. At the end you should have a creamy tasty sauce.
  • Put the ham and shredded mozzarella with the bechamel. Add the parsley.
  • Add the rice to the bechamel mix. Combine everything. Add the mix into a ovenproof glass dish.
  • Top the dish with a layer of grated Parmesan and then another of breadcrumbs.
  • To the oven at 180C until golden on top (20 minutes)

Here we go!

To be honest, I don’t remember the taste so I can’t compare but it was taste. It is like a risoto without mushrooms but with cheesy bechamel!

So again, I liked it, I enjoyed cooking and had a good lunch for the work days! I don’t need much more (enjoy my job?)

This time is not different

I had this book in the pipeline. It is a bit technical but is interesting as it tries to provide data for several centuries about financial crisis. That is quite challenging not just because governments from middle age didn’t have much accountability but even nowadays the authors struggled getting hard number regarding domestic debt.

The book was written about the subprime crises in 2007-8 so that’s the main focus to proof that the event is not that different from other crisis. And it is remarkable how many crisis I have been through since 1980s without really noticing (but my parent sure they noticed…)

The book preface is super direct. The one common theme to most crisis is the excessive debt accumulation (governments, banks, corps, consumers). Even during a boom. So debt-fueled booms are not very healthy. And it was proved during the subprime that the financial markets dont correct themselves.

One of the most interesting points of the whole book is the evolution of default-prone countries (like France and Spain) to “stable” ones. This graduation process is long and hard, and not many pass the exam. As well, there are a lot figures about deb before 1929 crash, post WWII to put thing in perspective.

So it was interesting read mainly for the historic background and our psychological naivety during crisis times. At the end of the day, the economic is a cycle.

Cocido

I have done some lentils and beans stew before haven’t tried chickpeas stew “cocido” before. And I fancied a good homemade cocido soup! So as I had my last piece of cure ham in the freezer, I went for it. This is a proper cocido, but I used the ingredients I had at hand and the result was very tasty. That’s what matters to me.

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of cure ham
  • 1 chicken breast sliced
  • 1 portion of chorizo
  • 1 potato
  • 1 cup of chickpeas cover on water from the day before
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • Paprika (pimenton!)
  • Some greens: I used chard
  • 2-3 handfuls of fideos

Process

  • Get a big pan, put all ingredients apart from the greens and fideos
  • Fill the pan with boiling water. Put the pan at medium heat until start boiling. We want plenty of liquid for the soup!
  • Reduce heat till simmer. Stir from time to time for 1 hour of so.
  • Taste the liquid, it should have a strong flavour. If the potatoes, chickpeas and carrot are soft, we are nearly done.
  • Add the green and fideos. Stir for couple of minutes until the fideos are cooked. The greens will boil and keep a nice color.
  • Shred the ham so it releases all juices. Mix all together

All done, it is quite easy. And had a tasty lunch for the work week!

McPeace

MM is one of the few people I read/folllow and his newsletter (and books) is one of the best in my opinion. And today I had a laugh about this week entry. I have never heard about the impact of CO2 with obesity but who knows. The funny part was the theory about the “world peace period” is mainly chased by the big corporations (McDonalds, Dell, etc) because war doesnt make profit for them. In one side, makes sense, USA-China are like a old married couple, standard war is not profitable. Just do it somewhere else.

Fela

I was surprised today reading this blog entry. Watching the video, it reminds me to techno, so it is good. And reading further his bio in wikipedia, I was really impressed with his persona, political/social effort and music. And somehow, I noticed there was a movie about him, I am pretty sure I have seen the ad somewhere but as usual, I normally ignore the movies.

I dont believe in those hall of fame things, but definitely I would put Tina, RATM and Fela.

Hot Chocolate

When making hot chocolate at home, I used to use the pre-mix thing, the result was good. But this time, I wanted to make it from scratch and get the final hot chocolate I like when as a kid bought “churros”: thick, delicious hot chocolate.

So I have tried several methods, but I made my best result based on this video. Easy ingredients, easy process. Great result!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup of 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of milk

Process:

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the milk to the dry ingredients and mik well.
  • Put the mix at medium hit and stir from time to time. It will start to thicken up in 15 minutes or so. Be sure it doesnt stick in the bottom of the pan.
  • Taste it, you may add some spoons of cocoa if it is too sweet.
  • Once it is thick for your taste, remove from the heat and enjoy!

As a kid, sometimes I used hard bread with my chocolate. Good memories today!

Persopolis

I wanted to read this book for some time. It became a hit in its time and there was a movie. But to be honest I wasn’t sure what was about. So finally managed to get a copy and read it. I was surprise that it was a comic novel but really enjoyed.

I read it quite fast, it was engaging and when you finished, you wanted more.

But it clearly made me think. How was Iran before, during and after the revolution. What a curse can be the oil. How shit we are the western nations. How shit we are human beings. How the author had to go through so many different stages in life to find herself, find the connection, find your belonging.

And, as many times tell myself, how lucky like I am, although some times struggle with it.

There is a point in the book, when the Irak-Kuwait war in the 90s triggered a panic in Europe, like it was the end of the world (like with covid lately) and Marjane parents laugh at it because the war was so far from Europe and they have already went through several years of war.