tv dinners

watercooler chat about what’s on TV and what you had for dinner last night

Archive for January 8th, 2008

Not cheep?

with 4 comments

When I did journalism at school, I wrote an article about battery farming and two things happened.

1 – I borrowed a SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) video about pig farming that I kept for soo long I was embarassed to give it back, and

2 – I didn’t eat chicken or pork for 2 years

Regardless of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Jamie Oliver – when you discuss battery farming you’re talking animal welfare. To me, what sets us apart from being just carnivores, is the concept of mercy and our higher intelligence. We are capable of treating any animal with respect and we know that their nerve system is as highly evolved as ours – they feel pain.

So why does the average consumer not question the £2 chicken? I understand being poor, you need to make money for food stretch but no-one is forcing you to eat antibiotic ridden, 39 day old chicken. If you can’t afford free range chicken, don’t buy any. Why condone such barbaric farming practises?

I always buy free range – I just buy less. For example, you can get two free range chicken breasts for £3 from Tesco or Sainsbury or ASDA and make enough curry for 3 or 4 if you add some potatoe or other veg in. Buy a small free range whole chicken from £5 and make it last – you can portion the chicken yourself really easily with a good knife, or simply roast it then boil the carcass with carrot, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns for a light stock – use that to make nice risotto, soup or stew.

Hugh’s Chicken Run (on again tonight on 4) and Jamie’s Fowl Dinners on Friday have already started the debate – hopefully more people will try free range and stop the demand for badly treated poultry.

20-minute free range chicken curry

Serves 2-4

2 small free range chicken breasts (skin off).

half an onion

one clove garlic

1 small potatoe

1 small sweet potatoe (try kumara, the NZ sweet potatoe)

1 can reduced fat coconut milk

Pataks Korma paste

Cardomom pods and a cinnamon stick

Lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper

Handful of fresh coriander

300 – 500ml Greek or natural yoghurt

Dried mint

75g per person of basmati or brown rice.

Curry & rice If you’re using brown rice, put the kettle on and get the rice started – it will take 20 minutes – set a timer. Add 3 cardomom pods to the water. If you go for basmati – this will only take 10 minutes. Drain the rice after the time is up, back into the pot and leave the lid on so it steams and gets more fluffy.

Chop the onion and half the garlic clove really finely. Add a spoon of olive or sunflower oil to a wok or large frying pan and start cooking the onion, stirring occasionally to avoid it browning – you want it to be transluscent and soft.

Again add 3 cardomom pods and half a cinnamon stick. If you don’t have these – don’t worry.

Chop the chicken into small chunks and peel the potatoes and chop into small chunks too. Add them to the onion and fry for 2 minutes.

Add a heaped dessert spoon of korma paste and stir into the chicken and potatoe – fry for a further minute, then add in the coconut milk, lots of pepper and lemon juice too (at least quarter of a lemon).

Simmer the curry (medium heat, not too vigorous) for the remainder of the rice cooking time. If you want to add peas or brocolli etc add them at the end of the cooking time.

Raita While the curry and rice cook, chop the cucumber (about a 10cm length). Peel it first if you prefer it like that. Mix the cucumber with all but 2 spoonfuls of the yoghurt in a bowl. Add pepper and more lemon juice and a teaspoon of dried mint. Mix together and set aside.

If you’ve got naan or popadom – heat them just before you drain the rice (remove the cardomom pods).

To finish Add the reserved yoghurt to the curry and remove the cardomom pods and cinnamon sticks (they usually float to the surface).

Add half the chopped coriander to the curry. Turn off the heat once you add the yoghurt. NB if you want to thicken the curry, add a couple of spoons of ground almonds.

TV Dinner tonight – Organic rump steak with minted salad potatoes, some homemade hollandaise sauce and green beans.

Written by Victoria

January 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Recipes, TV

2007 tv.

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Well you may think it’s too late to be raking over the dimming glow of the TV in 2007, but I’ve been on holiday, and finally caught up on my Sky+, so here it is. I’m not going to talk up the big hitters, Heroes, Lost and the shows I’ve already talked up, Flight of the Conchords, Californication, The Street.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Well what happened? Aaron Sorkin’s highly anticipated show burned out of the ratings game in the US so was cancelled before it even got to the UK, hence setting up home on More4. The pilot was perfect – so you can see what the hype was about. Where can you go after such a high though? The series charts Danny Tripp (West Wing’s Bradley Whitford) and Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) – the producer and writer who quit the hit show several years earlier over a contentious skit aimed at Dubya in 2001. New network head Jordan McDeare (Amanda Peet – who isn’t annoying in this) hires them back after the live Studio 60 show is interrupted by a tirade on the state of television from Judd Hirsch from Taxi, which is straight out of Network, but better.

So the show follows Danny & Mark and Jordan’s fight to gain ratings and scratch back some integrity. Like the pilot, they start off well but then the novelty wears off and the onscreen Studio 60 starts it’s (unknowing) tandem ride with the offscreen ratings..

The show has been criticised for it’s pompous take on religion and the war on Afghanistan and Iraq but I really don’t see this as a problem. The arguments are balanced; the love story between Harriet Hayes, a devout Christian and Matt, who despises the climate of fear in the US fostered by the christian right, republicans and advertisers isn’t given a resolution of sorts until the final episode. Other love interests, propfessional compromises and the impact of the current war are all touched on and it’s a really effective drama, which shouldn’t have been axed.

Asides – Harriet’s character is based on Kristin Chenoweth, from the West Wing, who Sorkin previously dated. Watch out too for Lucy Davis (Dawn from the UK’s The Office) is awful in this show, stuttering and constantly wide eyed, it’s like she’s doing a hideous impression of Hugh Grant.

30 Rock

“Thank you Jack Donaghy, I’m going to make you a mix tape. Do you like Phil Collins?”

“I have a heart and two ears, don’t I?”

This show started off as the Alec Baldwin show and has now turned into something unmissable. Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live) plays Liz Lemon, head writer, juggling well meaning but bizarre network boss Baldwin and the insecurities of the stars of the their show Tracy and Jenna (Jane Krakowski from Ally McBeal).

The second show dealing with the behind the scenes hijinks of a TV show – 30Rock rated ok, but won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy and will be back for a second season. The first season continues on Thursday 10 January on Five. Watch it!

The Lost Room

Peter Krause and Julianna Margulies are time travelling in this brilliant mini series. Based around Krause’s missing daughter – I can’t give too much away – the series is to do with time travel and a set of objects that give whoever possesses them a certain power – sounds very Heroes, and you’ll love it if you’re a Heroes fan – but it’s unique and well worth buying, or catching a repeat on SkyOne.

Please vote for me

Charming Chinese documentary of 8 years olds electing a new Class monitor, amazing little characters and an honest depiction of democracy and human nature. Part of BBCs Storyville series.

The Thick of It specials

Bring it back! Last years Christmas specials have been replayed in our house so often I swear they’re 2007 fodder. The specials worked well without recently convicted Langham and surely 2007’s political rollercoaster will inspire Iannucci again.

The Apprentice

Although the final was dissappointing (isn’t it always?), the series had some good characters – who’ll forget Tres or Katie in a hurry? I want to see more of Nick and Margaret though, and less of the bearded chipmunk that is Alan Sugar.

Off the boiler…

Have I got news for you – well maybe but more likely Paul Merton is doing his ‘how do you do?’ joke again.

ER – I’ve always been squeamish so the ongoing drama has to cut the mustard for me to keep watching, and whilst I’m thrilled Abby & Luka are together and John Stamos is staying at County General, the show just didn’t work so well at the end of the last series, see Neela being trampled, hmmm. It’s starting back on E4 this month so here’s hoping Stanley Tucci can work some magic.

Written by Victoria

January 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Posted in TV