Courgette (n) An iconic Nineteen Sixties American car which only came in red and ecru. It was the subject of various songs by artists such as Prince, Leonard Cohen and Val Doonican.
Of late, my bipolar obsessions have tended toward the kitchen. I’m working my way steadily through ’50 Great Curries of India’ by Camellia Panjabi.
‘This book will delight, educate and inspire anyone who longs to make authentic curries at home,’ says Nigel Slater on the front cover. He just can’t help sticking his nose in, can he? As people may know, I have an allergy to Nigel Slater.
It may be because he reminds me so much of Alan Bennett that I keep expecting him to say something profound about Thora Hird or the range of rotisserie chickens in Morrisons, but he doesn’t. Nigel doesn’t have a sense of humour, sadly. He just gets inordinately excited about the prospect of eating a courgette while it’s more or less still attached to its parent plant.
Today I made bread; a split tin loaf. It failed to rise to its expected height but is nevertheless very light and tasty. In shape rather than having the aspect of a country cottage with a curved thatch roof, it more resembles one of those flat-topped red brick pubs they build on the corner of council estates.
Then I made a Parsee Red Chicken Curry which wasn’t as red as I’d hoped it would be. I need authentic Kashmiri chillies for that, not the ‘so-called’ Kashmiri chillies I bought from Waitrose. Camellia Panjabi clearly illustrates the difference on page 58.
So, apart from the colour, which ended up being a kind of dark mustard bordering on russet, it was lovely.
This evening we saw ‘Telstar’ which starred Con O’Neill, whom I remembered fondly from a series years ago about removal men based on the film ‘Moving Story’.
It’s a stunning film. O’Neill in particular certainly deserves some kind of award for his performance as Joe Meek, the eccentric record producer who had a studio in his small flat above a handbag shop. Despite the tragic end it’s a joyous and wonderful tale of the triumph of creative genius.
Odd facts emerge from this; two of the guitarists in Meek’s band were Chas Hodges, who went on to be Chas from Chas and Dave, and Ritchie Blackmore who went on to Heavy Rock fame with Deep Purple.