Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mangoes and Curry

I moved into my new flat on Sunday--a big open-plan studio with a full kitchen, high ceilings, lounge area and fireplace. I know that makes it sounds less like a studio and more like some sort of figment of my imagination, but I'm the one who started to memorize the listings on, recognize 11 digit numbers on my phone from agents returning calls, dream about missed viewings, and get bamboozled by 'wire-me-money' schemes, not unlike the Nigerian e-mail correspondence we all know and love. So I know it's very much real and very much appreciated at this point.

It's in the conservation area of a great neighborhood called Angel, a mere 4 blocks from a popular strip of restaurants, bars, theatres, boutiques and galleries. It's only a couple of blocks from a popular bus hub, a convenient tube stop, and it's walkable to the British Library. You might have heard it snowed here (blah, blah, blah), so the slushiness and slick streets threatened my ability to fully appreciate my neighborhood for the past few days. But today I said no more.

After finishing up in the BL today (I *finally* got a reader's pass, granting me access to the Social Sciences reading room for the next year), I went to a show called The Political Animal. It was part of a BL series called "Taking Liberties"--an exhibition meant to explore the history of freedoms and rights in the U.K. This show, however, was meant to be a comedy show, spotlighting 4 prominent comedic talents and their politically satirical material. I found out about it last minute, so I went alone and got chatted up by a slightly strange woman who claimed to be in love with New York. Now I've been to London more times than I can count, but I've *never* met as many people as I have already this time around who are absolutely thrilled by the idea of America, let alone my roots there. And when this lady asked me where I lived, and I said New York, and she asked me where, I--inexplicably--couldn't bring myself to say "Ithaca" and explain where that was. I mumbled "Brooklyn" and then numbly sat there, hating my dishonesty, while she hemorrhaged about buying a suit there once.

The show was pretty disappointing. Luckily, the two comedians I really wanted to see (Paul Sinha--an Indian ex-doctor who complained about terrorism and racial profiling, yet still made juvenile jokes about "Gah-nish, the el'phant god;" and Rory Bremmer, a truly amazing impressionist who saved his flops with particularly fantastic impersonations of Obama, Clinton and Gordon Brown) were the two acts before intermission, so I ducked out after they finished and the rest of the crowd hit the bar in the lobby.

I was starving so I took a bus home from Kings Cross and hit the Tesco Metro on the walk back to pick up some groceries to make Pork and Aubergine Green Curry Noodles. It was quick, delightfully easy, and will definitely be a go-to meal this term. I'd suggest adding a tbsp or two of fish sauce and brown sugar, each, but I didn't have any around. I used the noodles illustrated below, and they go straight into the wok from the bag, fully cooked. Pretty amazing, that Tesco.

Pork and Aubergine Green Curry Noodles

1tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground pork
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soy sauce
1 medium aubergine (eggplant), sliced into half moons
3 tbsp thai green curry paste
noodles of your choice (4 servings worth)

Saute the pork in the oil and garlic until it loses its pinkness. Add curry paste, pepper, salt, and soy sauce and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the aubergine. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender. Meanwhile prepare the noodles of your choice separately; when they are done, add them to the curry, toss thoroughly, and stir-fry for another minute.
Serve warm.

And now I'm sitting at my coffee table, listening to the rain outside and starting a painting of mangoes. God help me, I love London, but I need something tropical in my place, right about NOW.

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