Tuesday, October 07, 2008

spicy szechuan scallops and noodles

YOU go more than a year without losing your phone, then you can't find it twice in three days. Mind you, I am not particularly surprised the item in question went missing on Friday night/Saturday morning.
On that fateful night I fell among thieves - well the Prince of Darkness on a mission, anyway - and after a few speedily supped pints in The Yard ended up going to the City Arms "just for one". I had a Saturday WoS shift coming up so no way was I going to misbehave on a school night, as Paps calls them.
Then Paps, the man himself, turned up with a couple of mates, and in turn the Prince turned up with a tray of Sambucas, on the basis that he had read the word Sambuca on the T-shirts of some lads out on a stag night. And, well, the next thing I know is I know nothing.
All I remember is finding myself awake on the sofa at 6.30 in the morning watching the Red Sox beating the Angels 9-7 in the last inning of their second game in the Divisional Series. I somehow crawled to bed in the faint knowledge I was supposed to text Wren but all fumbled attempts to find my phone had ended in failure.

Fast forward and I open a bleary eye to look at my clock - 10.45am! I'm normal in work by 10.30 on a Saturday so I rush, grab my things and faint memory becomes fact, my phone has gone. When I get to work Rowley Rowlands (who sounds like a character out of Grange Hill in the 70s but actually works as a MeejaWales news ed) informs me that my girlfriend has rang. Oops, I must be in trouble!
But it's actually good news. Some kind soul has phoned her to say he has found my phone and will bring it back to me at work. My faith in humanity is restored - at least for a couple of minutes, having deserted me 20 years ago. Said guy, Steve, turns up and returns it at lunchtime and I am eternally grateful (though not enough to give him any money for his trouble). Mind you, if I see him in the City Arms and recognise him in the future, I think a pint would be in order.
Meanwhile, it appears Smashy has become "Son of Paps" and has sent Wathanovski a video of me, shirt off but baseball cap still on, dancing the night away in the pub. This stripping off after a few beers habit is becoming a bit alarming. No clue how I got home...

Sunday was sport day, on the basis I couldn't move from the sofa. Watched West Ham lose to Bolton in the Premiership, then Newcastle grab a shock draw at Everton in the first-match under swearing Joe Kinnear. After that it was the Chicago White Sox against Tampa Bay and only at 9pm did I have a change of scene and watched the new series Fringe on Sky - a sort of X-Files crossed with Lost. Not bad.

Monday I went swimming and had an encounter with a world superstar. I was struggling not to drown on my 30th lap of the new Olympic Pool when I realised the bloke in the other lane was languidly doing a form of backstroke which involved no hands just a casual flicking of the legs. The fact he nearly lapped me would have been alarming until I realised it was GB Olympic silver medal star David Davies. And he doesn't look anything like as big as he does on the TV.
I was still pondering this fact when I came close to driving through a red light, slammed on the brakes and vaulted forward in my seat. My phone, resting on the chair next to me, went flying forward. Pick it up in a minute, I thought.
Reaching the launderette to collect my washing I got out of the car and went around to the passenger's side. Down on my knees, I searched everywhere for the phone but, like in Fringe, it had disappeared into thin air, swallowed by the space-time continuum no doubt.
After a while it seemed a bit ridiculous, particularly to the people walking past in the high street who must have wondered what the hell I was doing. There was a bit of swearing, too, although with no one to swear at I guess people just labelled me "nutter" and moved on.
When I went in the launderette and told my tale to be fair the man who runs it came up with the solution. "You go back to your car and I'll ring it," he said.
Moments later, back in the crouching position, I hear the familiar ring tone of Kenny Rogers "What condition my condition was in". But where's the phone? What it has actually done is slide along the carpet and up under the glove compartment, then drop into a space where some of the carpet has come away. The chances? Pretty slim, I would have thought.

Monday night I rustled up a quick meal based on a Ken Hom recipe, having bought some large scallops from Morrisons.
1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
3 chopped spring onions (I didn't have any so used a chopped shallot)
12 king scallops
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 tsp light soy
2 tablespoons dark soy
2 tablespoons chilli bean sauce (I used red thai curry sauce and 3 chopped green chillis)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
sprinkling salt and white pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil

Heat up wok, then add oil until it smokes
Quickly mix in ginger, garlic and onion/shallot and stir fry for 10/15 secs.
Add the scallops and stir around, cooking for a minute.
Meanwhile boil salted water for the egg noodles in a saucepan.
Add all the sauce ingredients (rice wine, soy etc) - apart from sesame oil - to the scallops and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly.
When water boils for noodles put them in for 4/5 minutes until they soften.
Rinse in cold water, then add them to scallops
Mix in and add sesame oil before serving

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