Knowledge Can Be A Dangerous Thing

Friday 17/6/2005

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Diary and Notes

Near to where I work there is a small public garden with seats, where people go and eat their sandwiches at lunchtime. Sitting on one of the benches is a statue, a bronze piece of a slightly unhappy looking man who, if he weren't made of bronze would be completely ignored by everyone passing by. The only slightly remarkable thing about him (except his slight rounded face and oddly cut 1950 style suit) is that he is holding an apple.

It's not great art as you can probably gather, or then perhaps it is, for in some way the artist has managed to capture the essence of the great man which it depicts, Alan Turing, a man who should be more famous than Beckham, more revered than Nelson and more respected than Einstein. A truly great man, without whom the computer would probably still be in its infancy and the Nazi party would still be in power in Germany and probably in Britain too.

Yet I doubt Alan Turing gets even a mention when history lessons are given in schools and I doubt in the list of famous scientists harldy anybody in Britain could state what he had achieved. Yes there have been films made about his work, numerous, but they either concentrate on the heroics of American sailors capturing Enigma machines from downed Germany submarines (in reality the story this film is based on is a true incident where some British sailors captured an Enigma machine and there were no Americans on board at all) or films where other scientists have steamy romances with the telephonists at Bletchly Park - all complete toss.

Now I'm not claiming that Alan Turing single handedly cracked the Enigma machine and deciphered the Germans' code during world war two. Much of the credit also has to go to some exceedingly brave Polish resistance fighters and mathematicians who managed to steal the thing in the first place and make much of the progress on the maths necessary, but without Alan Turing the submarine versions would never have been cracked, the Altalntic convoys would have been sunk and Britain would have been starved into submission (along with the fall of Russia which would have never recieved the armaments necessary from America).

And what happened to Alan Turing after the war? Was he given a hero's life and decorated with medals like so many generals and captains were? No, he knew too much and was considered a dangerous security risk because he was a homosexual. He was hounded by the courts, publicly discraced and eventually took his own life by eating a cyanide laced apple.

And where was the government whilst the police and magistrates were destroying him. When did anyone in power stand up and say "Hold on, this man is a hero." Who was willing to put their head above the parapet and publicly defend someone who had done so much to keep the world free from fascism and in essence keep the politicians themselves in power? When did the supposingly great Churchill stand up and give a rousing speach in defence of this humble man?

So sometimes I take my sandwiches and sit next to Alan's statue and am always reminded of just how much loyalty the people in government have for their citizens and just what lengths they will go to to eliminate anyone who may be a threat to their power.


Butter chicken is an excellent dish, invented by an Indian chef, for Indian customers, in India. It's not (like many curries) an invention for a British market. The fenugreek gives it a slight bitter taste (along with a little wine vinegar) and putting a sauce on some tandoori chicken can only result in something good (though it's not true tandoori chicken as I don't have a tandoor in my house). Excellent it was and I recommend having a try yourself. I shall also sing the praises of the lentil stuffed paratha which were a triumph of sub-continent goodness. All hail the curry - king of all foods.

Cake Blog

Tortini from monoprix: Brought back from France and tasty they were.


  • Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
  • Lentil Stuffed Paratha
  • Cumin Rice
  • Lime Pickle


    Murgh Makhani
    1 Small Chicken
    1 Tbsp Tikka Paste
    2 Tbsp Yoghurt
    1 Clove Garlic
    1 cm Ginger
    1 tsp Chilli Powder
    1/2 Onion
    1 Tbsp Ghee
    2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
    1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
    1 tsp Vinegar
    50g Butter
    100 ml Single Cream
    1 Tbsp Garam Masala
    4 Green Chillis
    Lentil Stuffed Paratha
    100g Chapatti Flour
    2 tsp Ghee
    50g Red Lentils
    2 Green Chillis
    1/2 Onion
    1/2 cm Giner
    2 tsp Curry Powder
    Salt and Pepper
    Oil for Frying


  • Murgh Makhani: First make the tandoori chicken. Mince the garlic and ginger and stir into the yoghurt. Add the tikka paste and chilli powder. Skin and joint the chiekn and cut some slits in the flesh. Marinade the chicken for 3 hours or so. Heat the oven to 220c and place the chicken on a rack in the hot oven. Cook for 10 minutes then turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a further 10 minutes (until a little burned all over).
  • Finely chop the onion and fry until brown in the ghee. Add the fenugreek leaves and tomato puree, a dash of vinegar and enough water to make a sauce. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, add the (chilled) butter to the sauce and stir in. As soon as the butter is metled add the chicken ty the pan and the seeded chillis (whole). Cook for 3 minutes then stir in the cream and garam masala. Serve immediately to prevent the sauce separating.
  • Stuffed Paratha: Boil the lentils until soft. Dice the onion and fry a little ghee until brown. Add the chopped chillis and ginger, then the curry powder and salt and pepper. Drain the lentils and squeeze out the water. Add to the pan and stir well, allow to cool.
  • Make some chappatis (don't cook) then spread a blob of lentil curry in the centre of half the chappatis, leaving about 1 cm all around the edge.. Put another chappati on top and cut fan like slits all around. Fold over each second fan and then turn over and do likewise on the other side. Fry in oil until crispy.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person