Food Advertising by

Penang Curry and…Heightened Anxiety

Archie’s given me an anxiety disorder.

On Thursday night Carl and I went out and when we came home Archie was out.  Arabella told us that he was staying the night at Webb’s.  Webb lives five minutes away from Archie’s uni so Archie likes to stay there occasionally and enjoy a bit of a sleep-in believing he only needs to emerge from bed ten minutes before his first class.

Penang Curry with Braised Beef Shin, Green Peppercorns and Basil

Yesterday I was distracted and rather busy with Arabella so I didn’t phone Archie to make sure he was okay and that he’d managed to get to uni on time and what was he doing about lunch etc, so it was only after Arabella had left for the formal that I realised I hadn’t spoken to him.  But then I remembered his final class of the day wouldn’t finish until 6pm so I waited until after that time and then tried to call him.  And he wouldn’t answer.  And I kept trying and then it was going straight through to message and I worried that his phone must be lost, stolen or out of battery.  I then started texting him.  And he wouldn’t answer.  So then I got really cross because it was now well after dinner time and I had been expecting him home for dinner so if you’re not going to come home for dinner you should at the very least let you mother know so she doesn’t cater for you unnecessarily.  So I sent him a text message telling him how selfish he was and he still didn’t answer.

By the time I went to bed at 11pm I was quite worked up and I told Carl I was very worried about him but Carl just said, ‘Well he’s obviously up to no good’ and went to sleep leaving me wondering if I should start phoning police stations (starting with King’s Cross) and asking if they had Archie in one of their cells.

I didn’t sleep well because I had a nightmare, one of those ones where you’re trying very hard to scream and I must have been making some sort of a noise because I woke Carl and he shook me to wake me up and asked what was going on and I told him I was walking through the savannah grasslands and had been caught by a leopard who was eating me alive.  And Carl erupted in laughter thinking that was a huge joke and it’s not funny because anyone sensible would know that it’s impossible to outrun a leopard.

At 5am I heard Archie come through the door and was very relived but still livid that he had been so discourteous not to phone to let me know where he was and what he was doing for the night.  But in the morning I discovered that it wasn’t Archie who had come through the door at 5am, it was Arabella and some chap who went to the formal but not with Arabella!  And that was confusing because Arabella had organised to stay with a bunch of girls in a hotel room at the venue but now she was home and there was a strange chap asleep on the couch in the lounge.  But where was Archie?

Thai Curry

So I left Arabella in bed and the strange chap on the couch and took Alfie to his rugby match and while there I kept phoning Archie to no avail.  I hatched a plan that when I arrived home I would not only ask the police stations to check their cells, I would also ask the hospitals to check their beds.

But when I walked through the front door my mobile rang and it was Archie.  ‘Mum, I’ve got all your missed calls and all your text messages.  Mum, did you forget I told you I was going to an 18th in Bowral?  We discussed it the other night.  And you know in Bowral I was going to be out on a property where there’s no mobile reception.  I’m on my way back now and I’ll see you in a couple of hours.  Are you okay?  You sounded pretty upset.’

Of course I’m upset.  I thought I was suffering from anxiety but it turns out it’s memory failure.  Excellent!

I do remember Archie telling me about the party it’s just I thought it was Saturday night, not Friday night.  And Arabella had a brilliant time at the formal except the girl wearing the same dress wasn’t exactly civil and as for the strange chap on the couch, well he remains a mystery but he thanked me very much for letting him stay.

And watch out for leopards – they can run at speeds of up to 88km/hr (55mph).

More comfort food required.  A curry like this is very good for anxiety or even memory loss.

Comfort Food

Penang Curry with Braised Beef Shin, Green Peppercorns and Basil

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  3/5

Cost:  Beef shin is gravy beef and a cheaper cut of meat.

  • 2 cups (500ml) coconut cream
  • 500g (1lb) diced beef shin
  • 2-3 tbsns red curry paste
  • 1-2 tbspns light palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbspns fish sauce
  • 4 tbspns roasted crushed peanuts
  • 2 tspns green peppercorns
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 lge red chilli, de-seeded and sliced

Open the coconut cream without shaking the tin and separate the cream from the milk.  There should be about 1 1/4 cups of milk and 3/4 cup of cream.  Place the diced beef in a pot with the coconut milk and just enough water to cover if necessary.  Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat uncovered until the meat is cooked.  This takes about 2 hours.  Let the meat cool in the liquid.

Heat 1/2 cup (125ml/4 fl oz) of the reserved coconut cream in a wok and simmer until the oil starts to separate.  Add the curry paste and gently fry for about 5 mins.  Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, half of the peanuts, the braised beef and enough of the cooking liquid to make a thick sauce.  Simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Lastly, stir in the peppercorns, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves and chillies.  Remove from heat as soon as the basil wilts.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining coconut cream and peanuts.

Serve with rice.

This recipe is from Spirit House, Essentially Thai.  The recipes in this book are all fabulous but I find the portions quite small.  For four big eaters who are not having other dishes like a traditional Thai meal, you could just about double the recipe then, if you have any leftover it is great for teenage lunch boxes!

Want to keep in touch?  Join the fun on the Hotly Spiced Facebook page! 

Related Post


  1. I just had to read that out loud to John it was so hilarious. Gold.

  2. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Mmmm. I don’t think I’d forget to eat this curry. Looks great.

    It’s not wonder you are forgetful with everything that’s been going on. I’m just glad Archie was okay.

  3. A_Boleyn says:

    Another day in the soap opera that is your life. 🙂 I wonder if you could survive a stress free existence.

    Penang curry… that reminds me that I have a can of that paste in my pantry (along with masaman curry paste). If only that bloody forgetful squirrel would stop digging in the cement planter I’ve got my basil plants in (broke a lovely small plant a couple of days ago looking for nuts that he never planted there) I could use some fresh basil in my curries.

  4. I am totally not looking forward to the teenage years. You are certainly making me appreciate these early years all the more. LOL. 😉 Glad they are all safe and sound. Comfort food is definitely in order!

  5. Minnie@thelady8home says:

    You had me biting my nails Charlie! Honestly, I am tempted to freeze my boys right at the age they are in right now.

    That panang sounds awesome. Very comforting 🙂

  6. Jennifer Cullen says:

    Not looking forward to having older teens and up who come and go on their own. I’m going to be a mess. But I do love Penang Curry!

  7. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Oh, I do so miss my 22-year-old son being home, but not the teenage dramas. Few with him, actually, but the friends! OMG. The curry looks easy and tasty. Can’t go wrong with Penang-style.

  8. They’re trying to kill us, I swear. I completely and totally empathise. I’m impressed you held off ringing the police as long as you did. I need curry now after reading this.. 🙂

  9. GourmetGetaway says:

    This is my life!!! Lol!!! And my kids wonder why I call them by the wrong names 🙂 they have sent me insane! I loved the story and the curry looks awesome 🙂

  10. InTolerantChef says:

    Maybe you should cut out the spicy food before bed Charlie, that can lead to nightmares….. But I guess so can teenagers!
    Maybe a sign in/ sign out sheet, with a line for intended destination…. Or even better, GPS trackers in all of their shoes ?

  11. At least I’m not the only one who does this. I truly hate worrying like that and I have on more than one occasion only to find out that I should have known better. The release of the stress leaves me exhausted for hours.

    I’d need this curry to make me feel better. It looks delicious!

    fwiw, I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t know where one of my teenagers was.

  12. yummychunklet says:

    Sounds like you definitely need a bowl of comfort food!

  13. aaww lol. So sorry you went through so much!! I would have been worried too! That’s too long without knowing where he was! But thankfully he was fine and behaved lol. Thank you for posting a comment on my blog 🙂 that was very sweet of you!

  14. I’d say that comfort food should be kept on stand-by across the week, as I imagine that night would take a certain amount of recuperating! I am not sure if anxiety or memory failure is worse but both are certainly unpleasant, and any dream that involves being eaten is one I’d like to skip over. Very unkind of Carl to laugh!!

  15. ChgoJohn says:

    Thank goodness it was but a case of “memory failure”, an affliction I’m becoming more aware of with each passing year. Also glad to read that Arabella’s Formal was wonderful. Too bad the other girl was uncivil but it sounds like Arabella didn’t let it faze her one bit. Good for her!

  16. The worries of parenthood. Glad it turned out alright! Tom

  17. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oh that’s a relief! Good to hear that he was safe and sound. So the other girl wasn’t pleasant? What a diva til the end. At least they’re not at the same school.

  18. Juliet Batten says:

    Whew. Glad it all turned out well and that Archie was safe.

  19. Oh dear Charlie you must have been out of your mind with worry! The curry looks seriously good though.

  20. hahaha with so much going on I can understand you forgot!!!


  21. My dear friend, what an ordeal nfor the mind! I am glad it all turnedd out ok!

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. oh dear you must have taken a year off your life worrying when it was just your memory 🙁

  23. It sounds like you need a calendar on the cloud, Charlie. JT and I set up our calendar (if you don’t use a Mac, there is Google Calendars). We can each entre info into the calendar and it posts it automatically on the cloud so that all devices update automatically! Archie could have posted his party on the cloud and you would see it! It’s really very cool.
    That curry looks divine, but not with the weather we’re having right now…too hot for a curry! But I’m book marking for the fall.
    Eva http://kitchneninspirations.wordpress.com

  24. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Hmm, not sure where my last comment went – a few gremlins in the system maybe. I can’t say I blame you forgetting a few things every now and again Charlie!
    Lovely curry recipe.
    🙂 Mandy

  25. Hi,
    You have so much going on in your life it is no surprise that something that was said to you a week ago is forgotten.
    At least the strange guy on the couch thanked you, what a mystery. 🙂
    Loved the recipe.

  26. It is truly an adventure at your house, every day 🙂

  27. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I do not much like it either when text messages or phone calls are not answered. Glad all turned out just fine.

  28. Oh don’t be so hard on yourself Charlie 🙂 It’s not easy having two teenage children and a young child ~ And you’re still cooking, running errands, cleaning the house and BLOGGING! You are a total inspiration on how you are able to do all that every day 🙂 I’m glad Archie is ok 😀

  29. Nice to see something Asian for today.
    And yes the worries of being a parent

  30. Yes, chilis and spice are good for boosting memory, I’ve heard. So you’re on the right track, Charlie! 🙂 I’d have nightmares, too, if I couldn’t reach my son after all that effort. You have too much going on…I suggest you make vacation plans immediately! If at all possible, without the older two. LOL! Oh no, that won’t work. Leaving them at home alone I’m afraid you’d come home to a mess! Better make it a family vacation! D

  31. “Of course I’m upset. I thought I was suffering from anxiety but it turns out it’s memory failure. Excellent!”

    LOL 😀 That made me chuckle. Love a good curry at any time – thanks for sharing this one!

  32. Oh Charlie, your son has given ME an anxiety disorder!! I mean, you’re a busy mom, at least he could text you before the trip..
    I love this curry, never made it, I will try..
    Hugs my friend!

Speak Your Mind