Back in the day when Archie was at boarding school, the boys felt a sense of being deprived, neglected, or even underprivileged.
While this was a far stretch from reality, the boarders did share the sentiment that should any blessing, any privilege or any offering come their way, they would dive on it. And dive they did.
One day, it happened to be a very special anniversary celebrating the one hundred or so years since the commencement of the school and so there was an extra special assembly in the school’s chapel with all sorts of VIP guests and many special speeches and choral verses from the choir and rousing historical anecdotes and everything else imaginable the boarders would find brain-numbingly boring.
But they all hung in there. Only because they had been alerted that after the very special and ultra-long assembly there was to be a memorable morning tea with all dignitaries and VIPs and other important guests invited as were the boys and not only were the boys to be at the morning tea, they were to be fed donuts. Donuts! That treat and rarity the boys had not seen presented ever, in their history at the school.
During the assembly it was all the boys could think about and their anticipation grew with every anecdote and passing mention of history. As they were released from the chapel they saw long tables set up with pressed white linen tablecloths and big silver trays containing that very never before seen commodity, donuts. Fears of missing out grew, became heightened and caused a fever-pitch sense of ‘me first’, and the boys began to walk, then hurry, then run, then stampede towards the white tables filled with donuts. As they ran their speed increased and elbows were flung out in an effort to prohibit anyone from overtaking them and getting to the tables first.
Behind the tables were volunteers. Ladies who were connected to the school in a very genteel sense and therefore not necessarily used to feeding large groups of starving boys. These volunteers were lined up and some were holding their trays with sweet smiles on their faces ready to serve the boys they were expecting to line up in a gentlemanly and genteel manner.
But when the rarity of donuts is put in front of starving, growing boys, all genteel traits are discarded and the mantra becomes, ‘survival of the fittest’. A stampede ensued and the mothers holding the trays looked horrified and feared for their lives as they saw these deprived school boys thundering towards them at an ever increasing pace. As they lurched ever forward towards the trays one woman was heard to scream, ‘Help me, help me; I’m going to be killed’.
No one was killed.
No one was even injured.
But donuts after chapel were never, ever served again.
One of the things never served at boarding school was food with a bit of spice. This is a fairly mild curry but even at this degree of mildness it would have been too much for Archie’s taste buds, however, he is now slow adjusting to food with heat and so this is something palatable for the whole family.
Quick Chicken Curry
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is a recipe that contains easily sourced ingredients, so being common, they are economically priced.
- 2 tbspns sunflower oil
- 500g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut in to 3cm pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 long green chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 2-3 tbs mild curry paste like tikka masala
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 400ml coconut milk
- 2 tbs crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tbs chopped coriander
- Pappadums, to serve
- 1 3/4 cups (350g) basmati rice
- 20g unsalted butter
- 1 tbs sunflower oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 8 green cardamon pods, lightly bruised
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 12 fresh curry leaves
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Heat the sunflower oil in a flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chicken starts to brown. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute or until fragrant.
Season, then stir in tomato, coconut milk and peanut butter until combined. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Stir through chopped coriander.
Meanwhile, for the pilaf, wash the rice under cold running water to remove any starch. Drain and set aside. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add washed rice, spices and curry leaves, and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add 2 cops (500ml) cold water and 1 tsp salt, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stand, without removing the lid, for 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve with chicken curry and pappadums.
This recipe is from Delicious, November 2011.
If you liked this post, feel free to share it!