Diary and Notes
A conversation between my favourite food writer, Jill Duplex of The Times and a talking horse called Carrots.
"Hypocrisy, it's just bloomin' hypocrisy I tell you." Whinnies Carrots with an odd cockney accent that would suit a rag and bone pony more than a hunting horse. "I read 'is Basque Style Chicken blog and 'e says 'e only cooks chickens on the bone. Today 'e's bloomin' well 'avin' a Thai curry usin' chicken breasts, the same things 'e was tellin us not to buy. It's bloomin' hypocrisy I tells ya."
"But he didn't buy them." Replies the omniscient Jill, "I think his friend Thomas had them in." Jill's radiant smile beamed back at Carrots who was overwhelmed with the feelings of love that Jill radiated. A small bird (called Chirpy the Third, but that's not really relavent) flew down from the trees and landed on Jill's shoulder and began to sing a sweet song. Butterflies fluttered all around.
"And then 'e goes and uses shop bought curry paste. Shop bought paste! An' 'e 'as all the stuff in to make 'is own. 'Es a bloomin' charlatan I tells ya." Though Carrots is beginning to feel less anger at the seemingly hypocritical blogger - the warmth and rosy loveliness of Jill's pre-Raphaelite beauty would soothe the raging torrent of Niagra.
"He didn'ty have any lemon grass, any fresh chillis, white pepper or kaffir lime leaves and again it was Thomas's paste. You wouldn't want him to go hungry, or be forced to eat something bland would you? You're not a mean horse are you?"
Carrots crossed his front legs and lowered his head. Under his brown coat he blushed a little, "No."
"Well then," Said Jill "Why don't we go for a lovely ride over the fields and say hello to all my little animal freinds there?" And with that Jill (who survived eight years as an advertising copywriter before combining her two great loves - writing and food), picked up Carrots on her back and began to bound across the countryside of Shropshire, flowers growing at her feet and little squirrels making a guard of honour for her journey.
So there you have it, my explanation as to why I'm using shop bought curry paste and as to why I'm cooking chicken breasts. I hope that you can forgive me this once and I promise I'll try not to do it again. There's a description of how to make red curry paste on Thai Red Beef Stew and the shop bought one had pretty much the same ingreidents as mine. I did however add a few other things besides the curry paste and made a farily decent meal. One of the ingredients was some left over liquid from the Hot and Sour, Tofu Noodle Soup from vegetarian week but I only put it in because it was there, it's not really necessary. (If you are wondering about the left over cheese sauce from the Eggs Florentine, Carrie ate it.)
So everything is now clear and we are all friends again.
A plum custard pie. Not sweet enough and not enough plums (ooh matron!).
Thai Red Curry with Chicken and Okra,
Cucumber and Peanut Salad,
Peanut Oil, Chicken Breast, Okra, Red Curry Paste, Shrimp Paste, Thai Fish Sauce, Fresh Limes, Creamed Coconut, Basil Leaves, Coriander Leaves, Left Over Hot and Sour Soup.
Salad: Cucumber, Unslated Roasted Peanuts, Coriander, Fresh Lime Juice, Thai Fish Sauce.
Curry: Chop the chicken breast into chunks. Heat a little peanut oil in a saucepan and fry the chiken for a few minutes. Chop the okra and add to the pan. Stir in a lot of red curry paste, add some shrimp paste, fish sauce, lime juice, creamed coconut, the hot and sour soup (or water), some chopped basil leaves and some chopped coriander leaves. Stir well, put the lid on and leave to simmer for half an hour.
Salad: Slice the cucumber lengthways down the middle and with a tea spoon scoop out the seeds to leave just the flesh. Slice the cucumber into crescents. Put the peanuts in a bag and bash with a rolling pin to break them (or a food processor if you have one). Mix with the cucumber. Make a dressing from lime juice, fish sauce and fresh coriander.