|A Peasant collecting Clams, God Bless her. |
She deserves more than four bucks a bucket.
Yesterday I decided I would prepare a fine chicken curry with a smooth peanut and coconut cream sauce. I like curries with a spiciness categorised as ‘Burning Bum By Morning’ but little Alex’s palate is refined enough to sense chilli in his food even if the last time I touched the local very fiery hot peppers was a week ago. Maybe I should try washing my hands more often. Anyway, there was no way I could put chilli into it so I went for smoothness, a rich, creamy sauce lathered around chunks of deboned chicken ladled over rice. Creaminess of texture takes time, so I started early.
Marcia was in town and Alex was off with his friends so I was on my own in the house. Sometimes I like being on my own. I don’t know about you but every now and then I think I could have been perfectly happy living as a bachelor in converted stables in some mews in
I finely sliced a couple of ripe but still firm red tomatoes and a couple of green sweet deseeded peppers, added them to the reduction giving it all a stir and then had a whisky and smoke break which allowed enough time to soften the peppers without them turning to mush, we want a bit of al Dente here. I then chucked in the bite sized chicken pieces and added half a can of Coconut milk and half a handful of finely chopped coriander leaves, stirred it up again and left it on the heat until it started to bubble (not boil) before banging the lid on the pan and taking it off the heat. This is why heavy cast iron pans beat everything else hands down. There is enough latent heat in the iron to make sure everything warms through without the coconut milk curdling. We’re going for creamy smoothness here and once again, free from distraction, I had not only achieved this, I had been able to accompany an episode of Midsomer Murders, choke down a few cigarettes and a couple of whiskeys.
I very finely chopped a couple of Garlic cloves and half an onion and fried them off in a bit of olive oil in a heavy based pan. I added two cups of rice and gave it all a good stir to make sure the rice was evenly coated with the oil before tipping in the boiling water (if it does not sizzle and scald your hand, you have chickened out and not roasted your rice) and banging the lid on the pan. Like I said, my pans are heavy cast iron so it is hard to put their lids on quietly. I turned the heat down to minimum and left it alone for the time it took me to smoke another fag and swig another glass of the amber nectar.
My job was done. The place was clean, the kitchen immaculate and the food was ready.