Wednesday, 14 March 2012

HOLI Cowabunga Dudes




Three things happened last week... 
(well obviously other things happened but I'm not sure how riveting showering, flossing, making a cuppa, doing the crossword etc etc is for readers)

1.  Hurray Hurray it's a Holi Holi Day




It was Holi last week, the Festival of paintballing, errr I mean colours, it really is a fun festival especially for kids as they basically have a licence to take to the streets and ambush anyone and everyone with water balloons mixed with intensive colours, the kids (and big kids) love it and it was great to watch through the window as alas being so blonde I would have just ended up looking like all four teletubbies combined till next Monsoon washed it off, also it was BF's first Holi at home as he usually pops off to visit various relatives at this time of the year, so it felt like a real proper holiday, a bit like Christmas but with more mess and I mean it about the mess, to try and give you a visual picture I have created some imagery for you...
Virtual adaptation of how I may look after playing Holi
So in we stayed watching all of the merriment and mayhem from the safety of the terrace and had a lovely lazy day at home.


2. The Mad Cow Goes To The Opticians



I went to the opticians, for the first time, oh since the Jurassic Park cast lived for real life. I'd been noticing a bit of eye strain for quite sometime and finally got round to bothering to get an eye check up. Gosh was I in for a treat (or should that was be eye was in for a treat?) 

Well actually neither me, nor my eyes were in for any treats whatsoever. The 'surgery' was downtown near the dreaded Mecca of Misery aka The Big Bazaar and was in a very old building, with even older people in it. The stairs to the office were akin to climbing the North Face of the Himalayas and I regretted wearing strapless wedge heeled mules early on in the game and I got to wondering (as I always do in certain situ's) 'How do disabled people ever get anywhere in India' ? (answers on an E-Postcard please) as I don't think I have ever seen anyone in a wheelchair, EVER.

Well I made my way through the dark and somewhat skanky hallway, now bear in mind this is a top doctors office I'm looking for,  I see a receptionist in another clinic (I'm guessing it's not the opticians as there are a bunch of pregnant women waiting around and not one is wearing spectacles) immediately the receptionist screams at me in Hindi and points heinously towards my feet, for a split second I think it may be a foot clinic or she just has a toe fetish or something but no, she was screaming at my shoes I quickly stepped back outside into the skanky hall and made my way down the corridor and found people coming out of a room blinking, this could be it I thought.

I tried to open the door but as ever in India you 'push' to enter and 'pull' to exit (fire regulations anyone?) and once inside found myself in some sort of retro ethnic Narnia.
Now where I come, we all slag the National Health Service off but at the very least the waiting room at the doctors has:-
*Fitted Carpets (regularly vacuumed)
*A selection of various plants, often rubber and/or yukka, a nice palm, maybe a fern or two
*Pretty artwork on the wall 
*An array of magazines (well at least Hello) and NHS booklets, containing useful tips about eating healthy or warding off flu and what not
*CHAIRS

This waiting room contained:-
*A barefoot receptionist
*Some strange other barefooted people
*A dirty old wooden floor which had not clearly not seen a broom since Lord Lucan was last spotted
*A sort of Workman's style bench (think along the lines of how a Victorian Workmate might have looked) which the aforementioned strange barefooted people were rather awkwardly perched upon
*NO CHAIRS (or plants or magazines or pretty artwork)

I was called in for the check up and immediately asked to remove my shoes, glancing back down at the broom bereft floor I adamantly refused, I think of all people doctors should really know the reason that footwear was invented, anyways I kept my shoes on and it was a bit like I imagine Dr. Crippins office to have been like except there were a bunch of new fangled machines and also, rather strangely, a bed (in an opticians???) 

After all the machine fiasco (one where it blew wind directly into my eye and I was told not to blink, yeah right) I got the hell out of the house of horrors and skid-addled home as fast as my inappropriate shoes could take me.

3.  Copy Cat Take Out 'Cos That's How Calcutta Rolls

Last week we ordered take out from that semi dodgy but usually delicious fast food franchise,  it's quite a scummy cruddy place (well after the eye clinic experience suddenly it's become the Ritz) but the food is great, a bit like my favourite kebab shop back home. We ordered some Manchurian style chicken, a bit of Tandoori, some fries and a chicken egg fried rice (yes three chicken dishes, meatless Monday it was not) the rice was so amazing that the next day I felt compelled to rework it and so was holed up in the research and development centre   kitchen trying to conjure  up a similar style dish, I pretty much nailed it first time and BF thought it was lovey but he thought their version had a little more oil. So on Saturday night I thought I would make Chinese food a la Take out and I really wanted to make an adaptation of crispy beef but with goat meat substitute...

When it comes to creating, adapting or even following a recipe there are only three categories:- 

1. Average Optimum - It took a bit of effort but it was worth it
2. Ideal Optimum - It was effortless and tasty
3. Saturday Night's Optimum - It took forever and was the biggest disaster since Dallas got cancelled

Let me take the time, to tell you to save the time and the trouble of deep frying goat meat.
Because unless you have teeth of steel and intestines made of girders, don't bother, it doesn't work. 
So then I turned my attention back to the copy cat rice, taking heed of BF's astute fried rice palate I added a tad more oil, gave him a spoon to try and he said 
"Can you make it a little less oily?" 
I thought to myself 'If I could extract oil from things surely BP would have head hunted me by now' even my usual fail safe Prawn Toasts weren't as good as usual, had I lost it? And the so called crispy beef was more Teflon coated goat, proving you can't always turn a goat into a cow  whatever you do with it and at this stage I would have traded Magic Beans for a Cow, but undeterred I foolishly soldiered on and it was..... edible (well we ate it).

So the next day was Sunday (funny how it always follows Saturday) and I think BF was expecting his usual Big Fat Indian, but quite frankly I was done with big fat Asian feasts for this weekend but as the word curry is always kind of expected on a Sunday I decided on an Indo-fused stroganoff with the remainder of the goat meat I didn't cremate and the remainder of the rice I didn't oil up and called it a curry and as it fell into the 2. Ideal Optimum category I thought I must share it with you, so without further ado,  I present to you...

stroganoff curry

2 mutton/goat or beef steaks cubed
1 diced red onion
equal measures of diced red/yellow/green bell peppers
handful of sliced mushrooms
2-3 cups of stock
splash of wine, lemon juice
glug of olive oil + a good knob of butter
half a small tub of cream
1 tsp each of cumin/coriander/garam masala/turmeric powder
chilli powder + S&P to taste
fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves

brown meat pieces & remove from pan
add peppers & mushrooms & gently fry off for a minute, remove
gently sautee onion in butter & oil, add spices
stir in & add lemon juice & wine, simmer to infuse 
add the meat + enough stock to cover
simmer until meat is tender
add mushrooms & peppers to reheat
taste for seasoning + adjust accordingly
stir in cream & chopped cilantro leaves
remove from heat, serve with rice and

chilli  & coriander garlic toasts
spread softened butter liberally over thickly sliced french bread
press in 1 crushed garlic clove per slice
top with chilli flakes & shredded coriander leaves
grill till toasted, serve with the stroganoff
*Handy tip - If your other half is Indian, call it curry

*Vegetarian alternative 
use paneer cubes instead of meat

Hope everyone had a safe & happy Holi with lashings of oil free rice


















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