So I’m going to talk about the weather now. If you’re non-English in UK, you’re getting used to little weather chats in awkward situations:
**Making a cup of tea in the staffroom. Another person waiting for the kettle**
– So… The weather’s awful today, isn’t it?
– Yeah… It is, isn’t it?
– Yeah… See you later.
**Both leave at the same time in silence**
Apparently Wales and the south-west of the Kingdom have been smothered in storms, waves and floods for months now.
This year it has been very dry, warm and tranquil, which is unusual for English weather. Well, at least in Leeds. This means we were able to have a breath of fresh air and a glance at the sun. And maaan, I haven’t seen the sun in a long time!
We live on the bank of River Aire and the area is relatively green and quiet. Whenever we go to the city centre, this is what we see:
This is the main hall of the newly-opened Trinity shopping centre. Talk about crowded… Every day. What can you possibly be buying?
Well, we were buying chestnuts.
The UK supermarkets still stock chestnuts at this time of year. They’re quite pricey, but you can get them for at least half the price at a local market. Both sellers probably get them from the same supplier overseas, China being one of the largest suppliers of chestnuts to the UK.
I didn’t know that once bought, you were supposed to keep them in the fridge. My lack of knowledge resulted in them accumulating mould inside their shell and eventually half of them ended up in the bin, which is a bit of a shame.
What you need:
A bag of chestnuts, around 200 grams
A cup of rice [to two cups water]
10 sage leaves
A knob of butter (use olive oil if you’re vegan)
What do I do with all these ingredients??
1) Roast the chestnuts for 15 – 20 mins in 180 C oven and peel once cool;
2) Cook the rice for 10+ mins with a little salt;
3) Fry sage in butter until crispy, remove carefully and leave aside;
4) Fry the peeled nuts in leftover butter with some salt, arrange everything on a plate and enjoy.
As you take a bite, you can taste the sweetness of the chestnuts. Follow that with the savoury rice and buttery, yet crunchy sage and you’ll be amazed how such little ingredients can have so much character.