Singapore was great. My first visit, I was greeted by a vibrant and very friendly city that is obsessed with food. I ate what I could, but never enough. There are so many different dishes to try. I am heading back quite soon on a stopover to complete my list. Which is lost, but more on that in a minute.
As great (and brief) as the trip was, it didn’t end well. My phone, with so many of my photos, all my notes and recorded interviews was MIA. I left without it and have had no luck tracking it down. When I got home my flatmate asked if I had a cold and I realised, fark, I do! I had put it down to hay fever the previous days. I don’t like to moan – especially on here – but after a night of absolutely no sleep and a stonking head cold, with a missing phone, and falling behind with work as I can’t think straight, I feel like crap.
But, there is a solution. There always is. Cosy pjs and a cupboard raid rendered a lunch that I could actually taste, and one that is healthy too. My first thought was turmeric, I need to have it, it is so good for many things, being anti-inflammatory and great for all things intestinal like stomach pain and bloating. It is particularly good for colds too and one of the annoying things about a cold is not being able to taste anything, so I decided that a good, simple and bolshy homemade curry might sort me out. Or ease the torture for fifteen minutes, at least. My second thought was eggs. Eggs are brilliantly comforting and speedy too. They are also terrific in a curry.
Turmeric is best fresh (and increasingly available). It looks like ginger, only smaller, and is peachy underneath it’s brown skin. It stains like beetroot (except yellow) so take care or you will quickly look like you smoke 50 a day. It is fiddly too, and in my current state I couldn’t deal with it (even though I have some in my fridge), so I used dried here. Fresh is brilliant if you can find it though, it has an aromatic quality to it that is lost in it’s dried sibling, and I am sure it is more potent too.
I hope your days are faring better. Please send positive energy my way – I need to retrieve my phone. It has thousands of photos, interviews, countless notes. Predictably, nothing was backed up. (And I thought about doing that the day I lost it too. But, of course, I didn’t).
Recipe: Eggs Poached in a Simple Homemade Curry
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 inch ginger (thumb sized approx), peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp good dried chilli (fresh is good too)
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tsp honey
some herbs to finish, coriander is great, I didn’t have it so I used basil, which isn’t usual but worked very well
light oil for frying
a small frying pan to cook this in – it is best that it is all nice and cosy
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry hot frying pan for a minute or two until they start to pop / you can smell them. Remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar. I suggest this because the taste is so much better than ground. But if you are very poorly, use ground.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and cook the shallot gently over a medium heat until starting to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric and cumin and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and honey and bring to the boil. Cook for at least a half an hour over a low-medium heat, adding water if it appears to dry out. Season the curry with sea salt to taste.
Crack the eggs into the sauce and cover with a lid. Cook until the whites are just set. Serve immediately sprinkled with some torn fresh herbs.
Enjoy, and if you are ill too, I wish you a super speedy recovery.