We're in the midst of a major transition these days: contemplating yet another move to a more permanent place (not just yet...but it's coming), ending old jobs and beginning new ones, and shifting from Spring and school days to carefree Summer. And house hunting. (Shudder.) In the midst of all of this, this Life that is happening, the Mister and I are finding ourselves excited by all sorts of possibilities. We're finding that our dream of a place to call home, near the waves, with a bit of space to grow things, to raise our Kiddos...this dream may actually be turning into a reality. After months of forced attempts to make this dream work, of disappointing house hunting, frustrating job searching, ineffectual planning, we finally reached a point where we just let it go. That fruitless act of beating our heads against a wall, in a vain attempt to make something happen when the timing was off, simply wasn't paying off. We looked around ourselves, at our thriving children, our astounding community of friends, the beautiful area we're currently calling home, and decided Hey...this might be enough. For now. Apparently, merely finding peace with we're at, right now, was exactly where we needed to arrive, before change could occur. (I believe this is one of those forest-for-the-trees moments...so difficult to see when you're mired in it...and so simple when you take a breath, step back, and let Life unfold.)
Suddenly, an exciting job offer came up for the Mister, in just the right location to make this little dream feasible. Now our task is to wrap our heads around what this all means: new schools, moving further from our well-loved people, finding home. It's not going to be easy. It's a little bit scary, really. But this is exactly where we want to be. New adventures await, and possibilities abound. I love this stuff, I must tell you. Looking back on all our travels and wanderings, it's always those moments of uncertainty in the outcome...but certainty that it's the right move...that Life is truly lived. Taking that big leap is what stokes our fire. It's how the Mister and I found each other in the big, wide world. It's how we've managed to live in some amazing places around the globe, and meet so many interesting, dear people. And now, we get to do it again.
When we married, the Mister and I wrote our vows, and the main point of what we promised to each other was that together, we would live a life filled with love and adventure. And how.
So, with all this exciting stuff going on around us, I must admit I do not always find the time for an exciting meal. A great deal of energy is being spent (well-spent, without a doubt) on realizing a dream, sometimes leaving little, at the end of the day, for meal-planning. (Or grocery shopping.) Thus, a simple meal is in order. And who to turn to, other than Mr. Nigel Slater, for inspiration?
From Appetite, this dish is referred to as "a fragrant, healing bowl of rice...Food to soothe and revive." What could be more appropriate?
I do hope you enjoy it. And remember, allow yourself the freedom to adapt, in order to feed your appetite, in the recipe, and in Life.
Fragrant, Spiced Rice - adapted from Appetite
peanut or vegetable oil
one small onion, or half a large one
basmati rice, 2 cups
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few cloves garlic, bashed, but left whole
few slices of fresh ginger
5 to 8 green cardamom pods
4 or 5 cloves
pinch of chili flakes, or one whole chili pepper
handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
You can prepare this rice two ways. One, use a saucepan, and begin by sauteing your onion. Or, if you're rather busy, cheat, and use a rice cooker. You can either start by sauteing your onion on the stove, then adding it to your rice cooker, or just start it off in the rice cooker itself, to really make things simple. If you solely use your rice cooker, you won't get much in the way of caramelization, and you may have to prop something down on the little button that flips between "warm" and "cook" to keep it cooking. But it does work. Just so you know.
Whichever method you decide, begin by gently cooking off your onion in a tablespoon or so of oil, with a bit of salt, until softened and translucent. Add to this the garlic, ginger, and spices (not cilantro), and allow to cook briefly, to bring out their essential oils. Stir in the rice, and chili, and add the recommended amount of water (from either your bag of rice, or your rice cooker). I use 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup of rice, yours quite likely, may differ. This is not a problem. Season with sea salt, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, without stirring. Again, follow your recommended cooking times on your rice packaging, your rice cooker, or go with experience. Once the liquid is absorbed, gently stir the rice, and re-cover for about 10 minutes (or up to an hour in the rice cooker).
Delicious. We served ours with some roasted veggies, and it was just about perfect.
Life is a grand adventure. Eat it up.