Another one of those days, using a distraction to help me cope

It’s been a long couple of days at work with a few issues taking all my attention. They were sufficiently different to make focus and concentration difficult. To help me focus better, I used a technique that I learnt many years ago. Whenever I felt a bit stressed I thought of something I wanted to do and built up a picture to appreciate. I knew I had a piece of steak in the refrigerator. By the end of the day I had a meal composed and cooked in my head. The problem was I had little time. I left the office at a reasonable time however, my bag was full of work and my e-mail inbox replete with unread messages. On top of that I had a week’s worth of ironing I had to do tonight.

The best time saver in the kitchen is the pressure cooker. I’ve blogged about my pressure cooking before when I made jook (congee) and pork belly.

In my mind this morning I started with a piece of steak that I diced. In the pressure cooker I put some roughly cut onion, ginger, potato and the steak. I also added a little red curry paste and water. I cooked this for 30 minutes. In a wok I sauteed onions and ginger in olive oil. When the onion had softened I added some diced tomatoes and then the rest of the red curry paste I had. While that was simmering I added peas, beans and carrots. When the meat was finished I added it to the wok and combined everything through. I added some coconut milk and while that was coming to a simmer I prepared some noodles. I added a little lime juice and coriander as I served the curry on the bed of noodles.

These thoughts kept me sane today. The meal turned out well and I’ve now finished the ironing and completed a good portion of my homework.

My dinner tonight was a red beef curry


Comfort Food—Jook (Congee)

Tonight I made jook. I think it’s also known as congee. Basically it’s a rice gruel. It is peasant food. It can range from a runny soup to a thick gruel with a porridge like consistency. It is to me what chicken soup may be to others. I always feel better after eating it.


Chicken Jook (also known as Chicken Congee)


1 whole chicken, best with giblets and liver if present
3 tablespoons of sherry
3 slices of fresh ginger
3 shallots cut across and crushed with a meat cleaver or cooking knife
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Arborio rice
1 chicken stock cube


1.    In a pressure cooker place the rice, ginger, sherry, shallots, stock and salt.
2.    Place the chicken on top.
3.    Cover with water.
4.    Heat until the pressure cooker dances.
5.    Lower heat and cook for 20 minutes. Release pressure and open cooker.
6.    Remove the chicken and shred meat.
7.    Place shredded meat back into pressure cooker and stir through the rice porridge.


Serve with thinly sliced spring onions, soy sauce and shredded ham.