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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Curry cure. A tale of a head cold and curry.

I’m a bit under the weather at the moment with a bad head cold that’s gone on to my chest causing me to feel bunged up in my head and have irregular, sea lion impersonation - coughing fits, some strong enough to wake the dead and attract many a female sea lion. Then there’s the odd nosebleed from blowing my nose so often and the constant flow of mucus… enough said about that.

I’m currently keeping Beechams and tissue manufactures in employment and last night I pulled together some ingredients to knock this wretched cold on the head and return to normal good health and clear breathing opportunities. Pass the Olbas oil.

So, in a moment or two of inspiration I ripped up the remains of a very tasty cooked 'Willow Farm' chicken and chopped up a pungent pot pourri of purification potential prepared for the curry pot. In went the generous amounts of ginger, garlic, lemon peel, lemon juice and coriander. They all rested in a casserole dish and I mixed the lot up thoroughly and popped the lid on and stuck it in the fridge. Then I went to bed as I was too tired to cook it and eat it. Like you do.

I‘ve been doing two half days of overtime at work to help out and be a mentor of a new young man on our meat counter and on my return bus journey home today I actually fell asleep and nearly missed my stop. Thankfully the driver knew where I normally get off and woke me up. He shouldn’t have kissed me though, not without shaving first. Ahem, après slumber on le bus, I made my way home via the local Co-op supermarket and then went off to bed for  a much needed afternoon kip. That was after I had staunched another sudden nosebleed with a dainty wad of toilet roll. I hate feeling ill!!!


Tonight I added made my own special Saag Masala cooking sauce prepared loving for hours in my cosy home kitchen. Saag, or palak, dishes are spiced purées of spinach or other greens common in northern India. The spinach leaves came direct from my one acre kitchen garden of herbs and seasonal vegetables. This is regulalry visited by culinary celebrities in search of inspiration and it is spoken that Madhur Jaffrey herself often has sleepless nights dreaming about the perfect kitchen garden that is mine, all mine. You can’t have it all Madhur luvvy.

So, dear salivating readers, I lovingly puréed the spinach leaves, thinking all the while of a nourishing curry to come, and I nonchalantly flicked in a good  extra handful of garden fresh coriander leaves for herbal depth. A generous twist of freshly ground green pepper finished the dish magnificantly. The evening sun was shining romantically on my French style patio furniture as the heady aromas drifting from the kitchen began their miraculous healings. Food certainly can heal. For an apero I cracked open a chilled bottle of Cobra beer and listened to the soperific sound of the gentle waves lapping the idyllic shoreline nearby. Life can be beautiful even with a cold.

Back in the kitchen, for a bit of zing, I added the tangy juices of a bright green lime and a clean, sharp tasting lemon to the dish and  dotingly placed  the  delicious ensemble into the Aga. A nearby wood pigeon cooed a contented evening coo as the rosy twilight turned to amber gold of late evening and cast its mellow warmth on the chateau next door. The curry dish was sublime and upon reflection I conceded that the spinach was indeed, done to perfection. Madhur would have been proud, so proud.


Confession: Actually I opened a jar of Sharwood’s Saag Masala and stirred it into the gorgeous mix of chicken, ginger and garlic and stuck it into a pre-heated oven, gas mark four, for half an hour. As simple as that. In the meantime I cooked some fragrant and delicate basmati rice (from my own private plot in the Himalayan foothills of course) and enjoyed a simple curry. Tomorrow I will über whiff of garlic but tomorrow is another day and I have a one acre kitchen garden to take care of now and that cooing wood pigeon will be splendid simply served with English pod fresh peas and perhaps a mèlange of spring greens. All washed done with a chilled flinty noted Chablis from my estate in Burgundy of course.

13 comments:

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

ahhh a good chicken curry is the perfect cure for a lousy summer cold... I have only JUST got over mine, which you describe perfectly, as I too was doing Sea Lion impressions all last week... a good chicken soup did it for me!... wishing you better x

Ken Devine said...

Hi Phil
Funny even when ill. Hope you recover quickly. The curry sounds great! I could just eat that right now.

Jean said...

Oh dear, there's nothing like a summer cold to make one feel like absolute s**t. So sorry you're under the weather but at least you can still muster the energy to cook a good dinner.
Get well soon !!

Gailsman said...

You can't beat a good ruby, for killing the bugs. Although there is probably a strain of virus out there that are immune to cumin, chilli, garlic and the like.

Judith said...

There's nothing like a good hot curry for clearing the sinuses. I hope you're feeling better, Phil!

Janette said...

Ah honey, hope you get better soon and I hope that bus driver didn't use his tongue, that's usually reserved for second dates...

Karen said...

Dimwit that I am, I actually believed you'd grown your own spinach (tho not the acreage bit)! I've been similarly afflicted for a week, tho I think my nasal problems are caused by hayfever - living near woods has distinct disadvantages when one is affected by birch pollen. And double dimwit, I didn't think to make a curry either, which would probably have helped enormously.

I also often rely on dear old Sharwoods, or Pataks (with, of course, extra bits & bobs like you did). It's far too much palaver to create a curry mix from scratch. Anyway, I hope it's done the trick, & freed your nasal passage from, um, gunk.

khushi said...

Your cold has no 'ill' effect on your humour! I loved the saag masala thing. We make a real good curry with palak (spinach) and mutton, or pork and even chicken.
Get well soon!

Marian Barker said...

Oh dear..... sorry you're not well. It could be the nasty polleny stuff as it's playing havoc with my asthma right now.

A yummy curry sounds just the tonic.

Phil Lowe said...

Thnx Dom for your best wishes. Feeling quite a lot better now thankyou.

Ken: Yes the more miserable I feel the funnier I seem to get in my writing. Cathartism in the true nature of creation say some.

Phil Lowe said...

Jean: There have been days when I haven't the energy or interest to even cook a boiled egg but, thankfully I am feeling a lot better now.

GM: What's a 'ruby'?

Janette: I did have to have words with the bus driver about the 'tongue' business. I hardly knew him! lol.

Phil Lowe said...

Judith: Yes, it was a good curry and felt like it was doing me good as it went down.

Karen: sorry that you were misled into believing my fictional story of my alledged garden and sounds of the nearby seashore. All fantasy alas.

Phil Lowe said...

Khushi and Marian: Yummy curries can be just the right thing for a summer cold.