Risotto with artichoke hearts, peas and celery

At the moment I am really into rice. Looking at the ingredients on hand for the main meal on Sunday, I decided to buy some risotto rice, which is not what I usually cook with, normally being a fan of long grain brown rice.
However I have not had much luck in the past attempting to make risotto with that, so I decided to splash out at Waitrose, and buy an inexpensive pack of own brand risotto rice.
I based my recipe around the one on the back of the pack but with some slight variations.

Ingredients:
4 sticks celery, washed and chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Half a jar of Artichoke Hearts Antipasti
1 tablespoon frozen Petit Pois
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold Bouillon)
1 tablespoon Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Drain the olive oil from the artichoke hearts using a fine mesh sieve and add it to a large pan.
Set aside the artichoke hearts
Heat the oil, then add the onions, celery, and garlic.

Once the onions have started to soften, add the rice and cook with the stock according to the pack instructions.
When the rice is nearly done, add the peas and the reserved artichoke hearts.
Just before serving the rice, add the Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes and stir well.

A reading from Shobogenzo Zuimonki

On Wednesday our meditation group studied a short text from Dogen’s collection of talks to his monks and lay trainees, Shobogenzo Zuimonki.

“In a dharma talk, Dogen said,

Even if you are speaking rationally 1 and another person says something unreasonable, it is wrong to defeat him by arguing logically. On the other hand, it is not good to give up hastily saying that you are wrong, even though you think that your opinion is reasonable.

Neither defeats him, nor withdraw saying you are wrong. It is best to just leave the matter alone and stop arguing. If you act as if you have not heard and forget about the matter, he will forget too and will not get angry. This is a very important thing to bear in mind.

The original Japanese is dori, which means, (1) principle, truth, (2) reason, argument”

We had a good discussion about what this meant to us and how we interpreted it in our daily lives.

It is one of the most radical aspects of our Zen Buddhist practice, and one of the most difficult.
Radical and difficult because it is totally in opposition to the way my experience and conditioning has been formed.
The society forms us to always argue the point, always put up a good debate, always assert myself.
Build up the Self with Views and Opinions, stories and history.

Election Result for Newcastle upon Tyne Central

I was at a hospital appointment on Friday morning, and it was there I learned of the result, that the Conservatives had got more seats than any other party but not enough to form a government!
Chi held Newcastle Central, and even gained votes since the last general election, confounding those who suggested that The Brexit Result meant that England was full of Xenophobes, Little Englanders and Bigots.

Insight Timer

For a long time now I have been meaning to write a post about this meditation app Insight Timer

When I am at home I use it every day, mainly for timing meditation, there are beautiful sounds to signal the start and end of meditation periods.
There are also some optional background sounds to accompany meditation for those that find that helpful.
Also there is a massive quantity of guided meditations from meditation teachers all over the world.
It only works with smartphones or tablets, there isn’t a desktop version yet.

Arthur’s Hill and Spital Tongues

A few photos from being out and about in the local area recently…

Housing in Arthur’s Hill is mainly brick terraces, some dating to the mid Victorian period, many are Tyneside_flats
There is a large variation in socioeconomic status and condition of properties in Arthur’s Hill, with some in very poor condition, and some looking very genteel, we do see that absentee landlords are allowing properties to fall into disrepair, whereas some other properties are very smart. Currently one of the best maintained streets is Sidney Grove, where I spotted this lovely laburnum and rhododendron.

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An architectural wonder, which is easily missed unless slowly meandering, the Coptic Orthodox Church on Brighton Grove

Beautiful daisies carpet the ground in
Nun’s Moor Park

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Also beautiful laburnum and rhododendrons in Nun’s Moor Park

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Lastly, over the other side of Barrack Road, in Spital Tongues, the most beautiful profusion of bushes, ferns and flowers on the side of a house…

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Plastic Pollution

I found this post in my draft folder. I wrote it a while ago and maybe  for some reason didn’t want to publish it at the time. So apologies if it seems a bit out of date.

The has been some news recently about the harmful effects of plastic fleece. The kind that clothing is made from. Fleece jackets and so on. Also microfibre cloth. I remember when fleece  clothing was thought of as being an environmental “good” because it was  a way of recycling used plastic bottles. But apparently when plastic fleece, and microfibre clothes are washed, fibres get washed away and end up polluting the ocean. I also remember having a few viscose jumpers which basically rotted away after being washed a few times, I did not think that the fibres would have ended up polluting the ocean.
Over the last few years companies in Europe have been improving the way products are packaged, and there is  less packaging than at the packaging peak, however there is still a long way to go.

Old cigarette vending machine

This has been on my list of street furniture to record for a while now.
I don’t think I want to say where it is, it would spoil the mystery. Its difficult to imagine that once, maybe when these old Arthur’s Hill terraces were first constructed, and smoking was everywhere, even in public buildings, cigarette machines were installed in the very walls of streets.

Do you see, how the command

CIGARETTES

has prompted obedient passers-by to stub out their cigarettes and leave the “dog-ends” as instructed?

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How much more obedient, to the command of advertising and peer pressure, did the young people of the twentieth century follow the prompt to smoke cigarettes?
We are dealing with the legacy of that wave of addiction, as those people addicted to smoking still haven’t been able to stop, and have influenced their younger family members to become addicted even in a time when no one would seriously think it was a good idea.

At the time when this antique artefact dispensed packs of cigarettes to reward those who had fed a few coins into the slots, there were no health warnings and not many were aware of any danger.

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