Friday, October 19, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Curry night

Mirth and Woe: Curry night

I once done a curry. A big, brown, steaming curry. Om nom nom nom.

In fact, I have done loads of curries in my time, and like to think of myself as a cut above your average bottle washer. I could never be a Jamie Oliver, but then, who'd want to be a fat-tongued Mockney twat anyway?

Despite a childhood hatred of spicy food, I have grown to love Indian cuisine to the point that I will often upbraid any chef that dares to wimp out on the hot stuff. Many are the workplace curries I've experienced where the curry powder was placed within ten feet of the meat for thirty seconds before being locked in an underground vault, resulting in a bland meaty stew with rice.

The day they allowed the chef to actually use his own recipe was a joy to behold. And even then, I was the only person complaining at the lack of ground up glass and barbed wire in the finished product while colleagues took turns in drinking directly from the toilet bowl.

It was not always the way, however.

Everybody's got to start somewhere, and like most novice chefs, it began with Uncle Ben's Guaranteed Inoffensive Stir-in Sauces for the easily pleased.

Easily pleased that I was, this sufficed for the early years of my married life, before my chef-ing instincts got the better of me, and I decided that - dammit - I was going to cook A Proper Curry.

So, with the wife's birthday looming over me* like a big loomy thing, I spent a lovely afternoon going into certain speciality shops up and down the Oxford Road, and once I'd bought all my gentlemen's leisure pamphlets, I went to Sainsburys and got all the curry stuff in.

I really went for it - curry paste, the works. I went back to the house, and got down and dirty with a large pair of breasts (off a chicken) and curried them up good and proper.

Not having three days and a slow-burning clay oven, I used a great big casserole dish and a gas cooker, and the whole thing smelled absolutely tasty gorgeous.

Come the appointed hour, I sat my beloved down at our genuine antique dining table (now a work bench in the garage because I simply have no idea), uncorked the wine and served up my piece de resistance. Curried Chicken. And rice. Rice with special Indian lumpy stuff in.

She was impressed that I had gone to all this effort just for her birthday, almost to the point of forgiving me for the previous year's present. It was a washing machine, a thoroughly necessary gift that almost caused a divorce. There's no pleasing some people.

Then we tucked in. Om nom nom, and indeed, nom.

"mmmmmmNnnnnnnYaaaaaaaaargh! It's nice."

"Muh muh muh muh mmmmmmmngggggg Yes it is, isn't it?"

"Nya nya nya nyaaaargh Water?"

"Guh guh g-g-g-guh Just a pint, please."

"Ummm - Jesus - How much curry paste did you use?"

"F-f-f-f-f-fffff All of it, like I normally do. *boilk*"

You can see where this is leading. Having served my apprenticeship on Uncle Ben's Guaranteed Inoffensive Stir-in Sauces, I had simply opened the tin of Evil Uncle Panjit's Extra Hot Curry Paste with Ground-Up Glass and Barbed Wire, and poured the lot into our feast.

I retrieved the empty jar from the bin and read the label:

"Recommended dose: 5ml. Wear protective clothing."

God, we TRIED to pretend it was OK, but eventually gave up after the third bucket of water, but slightly before drinking straight from the toilet bowl.

And how I paid the price: I was doing the brown laser for two days, my ring like a baboon's backside.

However, having developed a taste for the hot stuff, I decided to make things up to my beloved by letting the professionals take the strain, escorting her to a local curry house of dubious repute.

In a fit of bravado, and humiliating myself with an ill-advised "Poppadom" gag, I ordered the hottest dish in the house, washed down with gallons of Indian lager.

I got - I think - about fifty yards down the road before it was coming out from at least three places. I decorated a passing hedge, the gutter and the front door of Graham's Barber and Wig-fitting shop with rich, brown vomit, before realising I had also decorated the indie of my second-best trousers.

Curry was served.

And Mrs Duck was right. I wasn't getting in the car in THAT condition, and I was graciously allowed to walk home in a soiled state, hosing myself down on the driveway before I was allowed to cross the threshold.

That Tilehurst hedge is still there, I might add. Bigger, bushier, stronger. Like it had - somehow - been fertilised with some sort of high-power Miracle-Gro.

In these environmentally-friendly days, I like to think I started the trend for organic gardening.

Set meal for two, extra barbed wire plz.

* And GAD! If it isn't her actual real-life birthday today. And my turn to cook, funnily enough. Something spicy's on the cards. But before that, I've got to do the dinner

On any other business

Subscribers to the Baker and Kelly football podcast should be able to hear my dulcet tones - subject to the slashing of the editor's razor - on the 19th October edition, once it's uploaded to the Wippit website.

If you're not a Wippit member, it's a free sign-up and the podcast doesn't cost a bean. Or, you can find it via the iTunes link from the Dans' website if you're that way inclined.

Chances of hearing the words "Sick inna hedge": 100 per cent.

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