Monday, 19 January 2009

"ill-culinary behaviour"


'Cooking for the band' proved not to be the disgusting failure that I had darkly imagined, as they invited me back to do the ceremonial closing night. An extra bottle of wine, a cake and a collective passing-out at the table due to extreme exhaustion (not food poisoning).
After a lengthy argument with an engineer about who truly is the god of all cook books, (I said Nigel Slater, he insisted Delia, "I don't want anything fancy, no pheasant or shit like that...") and whether I was displaying what he described as, 'ill-culinary behaviour' I got down to the serious task of deciding what to cook, and extracting money from the studio to pay for the ingredients.

After the success of the Alistair Hendy meal last week, I have developed a near obsession with his recipes and have been carrying his book 'Home Cook' around in my handbag, should an occasion arise in which I have to appear informed on caesar salad dressing or make a chicken pot pie.

In a new search through the pages I found a recipe for Thai green jungle curry, swiftly becoming my absolute favourite dish of all time and decided to recreate it. I ended up deviating heavily from Alistair's plan, purely out of greed - I want as many ingredients as possible at all times - and the ever-increasing number of guests ( boyfriends, father of the artist, co-producers, stray marimba players) who kept sitting down to dine. It was delicious but by no means perfect due to my tinkering, so a perfect excuse to practice by remaking it constantly.

makes enough for 8 people (or a serious party-in-my-mouth for 1)

- Fry 2 cloves of garlic and 1 blade of lemongrass (chopped) in some oil until the garlic is beginning to golden, then add 2 sachets of thai green curry paste (cheating I know but this kitchen doesn't even have non-plastic spoons let alone a pestle and mortar) and let it sizzle for a bit.
- After it has cooked for a minute or two pour in 2 cans of coconut milk, one cubes worth of chicken stock, 2 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp fish sauce (pour the fish sauce in slowly and taste as you go to make sure it's not getting too salty).
- When the soup is bubbling, chuck in some raw chicken breasts (I used 3) sliced into thin discs to poach in the liquid as well as some peeled mini new potatoes and a red pepper chopped as small as you like.
- the vegetable section is really up to you, Alistair says use all greens, boiled separately and added at the end, but I added mine to stew along with the soup according to how long I thought they needed. As far as I'm concerned you must have mini potatoes, baby aubergines (if possible although unlikely) green beans and mange tout. Weirdly, cherry tomatoes can also work.
- You can cook this as long as you need or just as long as the chicken and veg takes to cook.
- At the end scatter with basil leaves and serve with coconut or sticky rice (imperative except I don't know how to do it, a lifelong goal is to make coconut rice that is even nearly as delicious and addictive as the one from Yelo the thai restaurant in Hoxton Square)
- Release dinner and album to rapturous applause (hopefully no critics present)

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