Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thai salmon and squash curry

MOST of us journos think we're damn funny, and tend to laugh at our own jokes. In the pub many of us play to the audience, but getting up on stage and actually performing is a different matter. Ask Withers. He talked himself up brilliantly when he applied to be a contestant on a novice stand-up show a couple of months back. Come the day, though, and the wonderful one had a nasty case of squeeky bum, as Manchester United soccer boss Sir Alex Ferguson calls it, and came up with a whole host of excuses why the world wasn't quite ready for his talent.
Now another of our number has gone one step further. Enter Tucker.
We are not talking here about the character played by Todd Carty in Grange Hill, who later starred in that brilliant 70s spin-off Tucker's Luck, but rather the scruffy, bearded, stella-swigging, ex-teacher who worked in Japan and is now a soccer writer on our sister newspaper, The Snail.
As such he has ideal material for stand-up, even though most of it wouldn't pass the board of censors of Daytime TV.
On Friday Smashy suggested we all go to see him at the Chapter Arts Theatre in Canton where Tucker was performing his particular brand of the genre in front of an audience of, well, tens. Wren and I accepted the challenge, while others made their excuses and opted out.
After a few beers in the torrential rain (what a lovely summer we're having) because of the smoking ban, we then took our seats in a tiny little room upstairs. It was packed and the MC came on to warm up the audience. He did ok, though I wasn't sure about the material of the first comedian, who seemed to think rape in Swansea was a good topic of amusement.
Then came the big moment. Our compere compared Tucker to an out-of-work "pottery teacher" and on strode our man.
He appeared full of confidence, which was a surprise seeing that just 20 minutes before I had seen a completely different individual, jiggling nervously from foot to foot and drinking, shockingly, from a half-pint glass.
The routine was original and got quite a few laughs, too, even though I can't remember too many of the jokes, having consumed several pints of lager before the show. I know that most of it was porn, self-abuse and toilet humour but, hey, that's all he talks about when he is out in the pub anyway. Well done, Tucker, we enjoyed it immensely.
Wren and I had pizza on the way home and then she headed off to see Keane play live at the Millennium Dome the following day while I went in for a hard Saturday slog at work. The rest of the weekend was a washout, mainly due to the weather and the fact that with wall-to-wall sport on the TV there wasn't much reason to move. Plus the fact, two weeks on and Charlie STILL has my car. Oh well.
On the Thursday night, however, I made Wren and myself an interestingly different curry that I had attempted to remember after picking up the basis off one of Nigella Lawson's shows on the Food Channel. It was really quite nice and based mainly around a tin of coconut milk. Nice, too, to add some uncooked prawns as Nigella did. She insists cooked prawns wouldn't cut it at all.
Two boneless Salmon fillets cut into big chunks.
Tin of Coconut milk/cream.
Tablespoon of Madras Curry Paste.
Butternut squash cut into big chunks.
Uncooked prawns (I used 12)
fish oil
vegetable stock
Bunch of coriander
Scrape the firmer coconut milk from the top of the tin and splosh into a wok, heat and mix in the curry paste. Then add the squash chunks.
Mix in then add the rest of the coconut milk. Season with some salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Then put a good couple of tablespoons of fish oil in the vegetable stock and add about 1/2 pint of that to the mix. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and continue to cook for another five minutes.
Add in the salmon, turning over after a couple of times but be careful not to stir vigorously because it will break up too easily.
Add in the prawns and keep turning over until they go a beautiful reddy-orange colour.
Add a bunch of ripped coriander and a squeeze of lemon, then serve on a bed of rice.

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