Tuesday, 4 September 2012

UFOs and R and B

I have never seen an Unidentified Flying Object.....

Things flying in my direction over the years have been cricket balls with shouts of 'catch it'....
A poodle thrown at me when I complained about the way it was being treated with cries of 'take it' (I did )...
A pair of worn out trousers (relic of old French tradition of rough music)...
A bag of used nappies (returned to sender)....

All of which I had no problem in identifying.

Any more than I had problems in identifying things I have sent flying in my turn.....
Cricket balls....

But I do know what a UFO is.

In my household it is the thing in a bag which emerges from the depths of the freezer like Grendel's mother seeking revenge.....
An Unidentified Frozen Object.

Under normal circumstances the things I have shoved into the freezer in a hurry stay where they were put...in the fast freeze section on the right hand side. A collection of mis shapes from which to avert the eyes when diving in for something more mainstream with a label.
Occasionally I will  defrost a few of the mystery parcels  and make something with the contents, which has given rise to some unique combinations - the results passing muster on the home front on condition that the haphazard nature of the selection principle remains a dark secret.

No man wishes to know that, rather than lovingly crafting his evening meal from choice ingredients, his wife has been frantically searching the web for combinations using the parsnip,sweet peppers and chicken liver which met her gaze once the ice was off the plastic.

This week, the UFOs manifested themselves in decided manner when Mr. Fly assumed control of the kitchen.
Well, not the kitchen, exactly, more like the menu planning.
Executive chef....not chef de plonge.
He is, it appears, tired of rice and beans for lunch.

So am I, but as Danilo has lunch with us and Danilo cannot contemplate life without rice and beans figuring largely in his diet, rice and beans it is. Not every day...but often.

A typical Costa Rican housewife would tart up the R and B with beef in sauce, or fried chicken or fish, or a pork chop, or a slice of steak, accompanied by cabbage salad, a 'picadillo' of potato, chayote or plantain mixed with diced peppers and onions and optionally some pasta in sauce - all of which explains why they are up at the crack of dawn to fit in cleaning the house and cooking the lunch.

Not signing up to this agenda, I compromise.
We will have cassoulet...with some rice for Danilo on the side.
Or risotto.....with beans ditto.
Anything Chinese with pineapple will be acceptable, as will spaghetti bolognaise, as exceptions to the R and B, but for a potato addict like Mr. Fly it is all too much.

There would be changes.

He assembled the cookery books and spent an evening muttering
'Why did we buy this...?'

Those classed as acceptable were then studied in more depth while I replaced the discarded numbers on the shelves.

There was silence but for the turning of pages and the occasional cry of
'How'd they expect me to get oysters in Costa Rica!
Ditto 'salmon' - well you can, but it's flown in from Chile at vast expense.
And as for 'lamb'...forget it.
I once saw a leg in one of the high end supermarkets. It was greyish in colour and resembled a cross between an emaciated rabbit and a surgical stocking. It cost the equivalent of twenty pounds.

A plan in mind, he headed for the freezer to check the availability of meat and fish.
Where's the tilapia?
Note made to the effect that Danilo would spend the next morning fishing tilapia from the ponds and I would spend the next morning marinading half for smoking and filleting the rest.
Glory day for Danilo's cats.

Ah! Stewing pork!
A lunge into the freezer to extract his prey upset the delicate balance of its contents.....and the UFOs poured down  into the main section.

What's all this stuff?
 Now in English law, should a defendent not speak, a pre trial trial would be held to determine whether he or she was 'mute of malice'....in which case he or she could be enthusiastically tortured until saying something...or 'mute of visitation of God', in which case everyone would be disappointed.
My lack of reply could be argued as being in the latter category,  in that I could think of no generic term for the avalanche of little plastic bags of odds and ends now covering the pork section.

Luckily attention now turned to the fridge, where yogurt was discovered, maturing happily behind the cheese mountain which is unwrapped every day, coated in fortified wine and wrapped in fresh cheesecloth to produce something worth eating at the end of three months.

The spices were inspected...a note made to order fenugreek on eBay.

The lunch menus for the next two days were announced.

Day 1. Pasanda. Beef curry served with.....rice.

Day 2. Fabada. Of which the principal ingredient is...beans.



  1. There are things in my freezer that I don't remember putting there.
    At least we no longer collect road kill!

    1. I reckon my freezer is a descendent of Dr. Cagliari's cabinet....

  2. Better something Doug McClure left in the freezer than a Vesta paella.

    1. Goodness gracious...is Vesta still going? I remember my mother once buying one of their products and mixing up the soft and the crispy noodles....

  3. We've all been there. I've had made interesting discoveries too in the freezer which have lead to strange meals. Eating up the freezer is synonymous with a week of original combinations.

    1. If I could only bring myself to chuck things out rather than horde them in the glory hole of the freezer life would be less complicated.

  4. I came upon the 10 year-old corpse of a badger in a girlfriend's mother's freezer once. I wonder what it would have fetched on the Costa Rican market...

    1. Sold to the American expats....you'd make a bomb. They go around mourning the dearth of sqirrels for making pies...

      When I was at university one of the west country rugger buggers used to arrive each January with a badger ham.

  5. Hilarious! I have abandoned my freezer as anything going in never came out.
    Did you know beans and rice is the standard working lunch in Turkey - with a side of thick yogurt.

    1. Here rice and beans is a staple at all meals...in the morning it's gallo pinto (speckled rooster) the two mixed togerher with a dollop of sour cream.

  6. Hmmmm my freezer is full and I have no place to put the surplus vegetables hence the bottling, but don't ask me what the hell is in the freezer, guess it is time I took stock LOL
    Love this post, take care Diane

    1. I'd be bottling too if I could get Kilner jars.....

  7. Sounds just like our freezer, when it gets too bad I have a boil up for the dogs.

    1. I do gird up the loins and have a go at it from time to time....the chickens and ducks have a field day but the dogs tend to turn up their collective noses.

  8. Just heard the news re earthquake, are you OK? Diane

    1. Thank you Diane...we are fine.
      It looks as though Costa Rica has been very lucky from early reports.

      We are about 150 kilomtres from the epicentre, but the house was rolling for some three minutes, while Danilo who was down at the tilapia ponds saw the water slopping over like waves!
      He said the chickens all went quiet and sat on the floor of their pen some fifteen seconds before it started.

      The emergency services want the roads clear, so we're not going to look at the San Jose house until tomorrow...there has been damage in the capital, though it seems to be confined to tower blocks...which isn't us!

      The experts have been expecting a big earthquake in the Nicoya peninsular for some time, so all the emergency procedures were in place, luckily.

    2. Thanks so much for the quick answer, glad to hear that you are OK and still have an internet connection. I hope there are no further problems. Fingers crossed that all will be well for you. Diane

    3. Thank you, Diane.
      Costa Rica did indeed escape lucky....the epicentre was apparently some 50 kilometres deep; the destruction would have been appalling if closer to the surface.
      We were only 4 kilometres from the epicentre of the last quake....but it was 75 kilometres down, so we escaped with a rattle and roll.
      Two deaths have been announced...one a gentleman crushed by a wall falling on him and the other a lady who had a heart attack.

  9. Nothing wrong with beans in my view. My middle so Mike was virtually brought up tinned baked beans - refused to eat almost anything else till he was nearly ten.

    I shall remember 'mute by visitation of God' - I can see uses at both work and home!

    1. But just imagine if you could use the sanctions available for 'mute by malice' at work....

  10. So glad to read you're ok. Heard the earthquake news on BBC Radio 4 as I came home over the Lang Whang from Edinburgh and immediately thought of you.

    That was one sharp, very smart and wonderfully funny post Fly. Torturing the defendant? Think our legal system still uses that - or at least a version of it!

    Your diet sounds remarkably similar to ours. Beans and rice. Interspersed with pasta. Bit of beef curry. Occasional chicken fajita. Lots of soup. Fish - trout from the Clyde thanks to my sons who are keen fly fishermen.

    Had to google tilapia. Mmmmm. Well. I suppose I can eat mostly anything - apart from potato...

  11. PS My freezer es su freezer. There's stuff at the bottom that doesn't look organic - must be at least 14 years old - and I am sure as hell not going near...

    1. Thanks, we're fine!
      From what I read of the new style Family (kangaroo) Courts I reckon torture still exists....
      Tilapia is super...I think they sell it as Nile Perch in the supermarkets....and they are great converters...one kilo of food is half a kilo of fish.
      As to freezers, I remember seeing a great cartoon on Sarah Hague's blog - St. Bloggie de Riviere - where a woman is releasing something that looks like an ameoba from a saucepan....letting it out into the wild.
      I'm sure my freezer harbours something alive at the bottom.

  12. Your freezer sounds much like mine. I have had this idea in my head for years about putting things in labelled plastic boxes but I just never get round to it. Fortunately, anything that's removed,defrosted and looks unappetising will always be eaten by the street dogs.

  13. I became discouraged when the labels fell off....

  14. At least Mr Fly is willing to look at cookbooks. My DH just tries to invent things....

    One great advantage of a roving retirement is having to clear out the freezer(and indeed fridge) at regular intervals. No more UFOs for me. :-)

    1. Ah...so things will improve when we commute between here and San Jose! You give me hope!

    2. Only if you switch off the freezer every time, Fly. Otherwise you're lost.... :-)

    3. I'll just have to stop putting pigs in them.......should be cleared down by the end of 2013 if I stop now.

  15. The more I read this blog, the more I know I’m becoming hopelessly delusional. UFO’s in the freezer, flying pallets of nappies, curried chayote (isn’t that a kind of wild wolfy doggy thingy?), wabbits wearin surgical stockings, fortified cheese mountains haemorrhaging wine, yogurts that hide very sneakily behind fortified cheese mountains haemorrhaging wine, and now ‘fabada beans’.

    Thinks… Didn’t that Hannibal Lecter bloke eat someone’s liver with some fabada beans and a nice Chianti once? Or was that Gordon Ramsay? I always get those two confused.

    Thinks again… Or was it in fact Gordon Ramsay’s liver that Hannibal Lecter ate with some fabada beans washed down with a nice Chianti? Or am I now just being way over-optimistically delusional again?

    Must go, guards are waiting to hose me down for the night.

    1. I hope you insist on warm water...there's probably something useful to that effect in the European Convention on Human Rights......

  16. We don't have rice and beans included in our menus as staples here in the land of Oz. Most cuts of meat in Australia are cheaper than the rest of the world so we are told. Lamb leg currently around $9 to $11 Kilo, choice cuts a little higher and slightly lower for less desirable cuts. Beef varies on quality from $7 t0 $20 for the best. Pork is cheapest from legs at $5 per kilo. Chicken whole from around $3.50 to $5 for whole *chooks (*Chickens).
    Cheapest fresh veggies are all year round Carrots at 90cents to $1.25, per kilo, Spuds depending on variety approx $1 to $2.50 per kilo. Broccoli all year $ 2.50 to $6 per kilo. onions around $ 1.25 per kilo, Turnips and Swedes In season around $3.5 per kilo. Parsnips (I grow our parsnips) Or you can pay $7.50 to $11 per kilo.
    Currently our Australian Dollar is on a par with the Uncle Sam Greenback., 75 Euros and .64 Brit Quids.
    Enjoy your Roast Armadillo.with rice and beans. P S , L/G Rice approx $1.10 per kilo in Aus.

    Vest, from the beautiful Central Pac/Coast town of Budgewoi OZ.

    1. Brother in law in Perth keeps us up to date on prices...he has shares in Coles!

  17. Perth is 3,300 km A T C Flies or 3938km by road or ave 48 hrs driving.. six days?... Prices in Western OZ will differ.
    So Bro has shares in the Westmarket conglom, haven't been doing too well against Woolies and Aldi.

    1. I don't think that will worry him too much....he's had to hand most of them over to his wife who's run off with a (male) gold digger (not in the mining sense) so if they go down he'll be rubbing his hands.