Cooking With Anna J

We’ve all got one of those friends on Facebook. The one who casually whips up food porn for their meals and then posts photos. I’ve got one and he’s called Mr. P.  Him and his lovely wife Mrs. P ( who always reminds me of a beautiful exotic Asian Helena Bonham Carter) have  been responsible for my screen-licking activities on many occasions. Today I was blessed with a visit from them. Our meet-ups are always far and few between. Work, commitments, life etc. gets in the way, but the time I do get with them is always a joy for which I am grateful. No matter how our conversations begin, they follow a road that always leads back to food – and what a great place to end up! The by-product of this, is me, without fail, being left , after they’ve departed, with cravings that only a telephone call to the local Indian restaurant can cure, especially as my cookery skills don’t stretch out much further than oven chips and fish fingers.

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As I was feeling in such a good mood this evening, the sun was shining in through the French windows, the birds were singing and life felt generally good, I thought I’d be brave and try something new off the menu. It’s so important that we step out of our comfort zones whenever we can. I’m generally not a huge fan of Indian food. If I’m honest it scares me a bit because I don’t know what things are, or what is in them, but after a couple of hours talking about it, it was a bullet that had to be bitten.

I closed my eyes, pointed my finger and trusted in the Goddess of Lovely Food.

Jhinga Satay!

 I made the call. Placed the order. And twenty minutes later – Bish Bash Bosh. ( Don’t you just love living in the 21st century? )

It was with much excitement that I plated up and took my first couple of mouthfuls. Spicy but delicious. So delicious  in fact that I set to on Our Lord God Google to see if I could find the recipe. It took me a few minutes to track it down on a cookery site, mainly because I was also still filling my face … which was starting to feel a tad warmer …

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By the time I got to copying the ingredients down, although still with no regrets, I had officially concluded that this probably wasn’t a ‘novice curry’; but being the brave and courageous soul that I am, I ploughed on.

So if anyone wants to try this recipe at home, here are the ingredients.

I have made some slight adjustments using what little culinary knowledge I have, to ensure that the version I am sharing is as authentic as possible and also accounts for the build up of heat I experienced by the end of eating.

 

Ingredients.

1 lb – tiger prawns. Peeled if desired.

2 cups – Fresh volcanic lava. ( If you can’t get fresh, dried is acceptable however it should be widely available when in season.)

3 cups – Breath of a dragon ( flaming) If you can’t find this in your local store, we recommend checking out your local farmer market.

1/4 lb of the sun. It essential that you use a lump of the core. We’ve tried outer layers and it simply doesn’t burn through your oesophagus

Mixed chopped salad for dressing.

And apparently some sort of Asian plum sauce

Method.

Fry off the tiger prawns and arrange on plate. Don’t worry about presentation too much. In five minutes your sauce will have melted the crockery anyway.

Mix all the ‘spices’ together ( we recommend wearing protective equipment whilst doing so. Safety, Safety, Safety! That’s the motto in the Anna J kitchen.) 

You can either pour the mix directly from the bowl, over your seafood, or simply hold the bowl above the prawns and wait for it to corrode through and drop down anyway.

Arrange salad as desired.

Put the Asian plum sauce back in the cupboard and save for another time because I have no clue when it’s supposed to be used.

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And there we have it. My new favourite Indian dish. Next week I shall be blogging about my visit to the plastic surgeon to have my princess-mouth rebuilt.It seems I have taste buds that are grown from fairy wings and dew drops. And the next time I decide to get all brave with things I have absolutely no knowledge of, I shall ensure I have an expert to hand. And probably a fireman. And a plastic surgeon.

Enjoy xx Anna J xx

People, We Need To Talk About Balls.

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I’m not talking chocolate salty balls, or the sort we have to grow in pairs to push out of our comfort zone. I’m talking Yoga Balls. Or Balance Balls. Or, as I have already come to name mine, Bastard Ball. 

I had a few sessions with a fabulous trainer a couple of months ago. Circumstances have altered since then, making any more impossible for the foreseeable future at least, but everything he showed me, is logged in the old grey matter. I have to take my hat off to the guy. I can’t believe he gets clients any less fit than me, but he didn’t raise an eyebrow as I puffed and panted walking ten yards on the treadmill. Nor did he flinch as I wailed at the 2kg dumb bells he handed me, and to my horror, couldn’t control in a safe nor lady-like manner. “Not a problem,” he said; and handed me some 1kg weights instead. I wailed again. “Still not a problem,” he reassured me and handed me a couple of peapods instead. The workout went well from that point, once we’d established exactly what my level was.

I probably didn’t burn more than a 100 calories that day, but I walked out of the gym feeling 10 feet tall and empowered, and my mood was elevated for days. One of the other things he introduced me to was the Bastard Ball; and in a bid to recapture that incredible jubilant feeling, I finally purchased one to use at home.

“Simple!” Thinks I.

Buy it, blow it up, work it. Slinky Dinky Rejuvenated Me!

As with many great plans ( especially mine … and I do have many… on an hourly basis), things didn’t quite go as I expected them to.

Blowing it up. Let’s start there! The box said ‘Pump Included’. Hastily I ripped open my new toy, pulled out a flaccid rubber item ( the ball folks!), and then this thing drops out after it. Something akin to what you might find in a Christmas Cracker. A Cheap Christmas Cracker. That was the pump.  After much examining of pointy plastic bits, chin rubbing  and sucking in air, I still hadn’t figured out how to make it work and deftly handed it over to The Captain and The Colonel to deal with. In all fairness, they did well. It only took them an hour, two punch ups and one tantrum / storming and  I had my ball.

“Great!” Thinks I. “I’ll just read the instruction leaflet to make sure I’ve got everything covered.”  In teeny print at the bottom it read ‘leave ball for 24 hours to get used to its new expansion’.

Que?

I was fairly certain they weren’t referring to the balls spiritual progression, but a threat of possible splitage or explosion, that risk I suspect being much greater when about to be plopped on by a female such as me with  ( to steal a phrase from Plenty of Fish) a few *cough* extra pounds. Despite much reassurance from my FaceBook tribe, I decided to err on the side of caution and leave the grand christening until today.

Despite the period of grace I’d given it to adjust, it was still with some trepidation that I leaned across it this morning, fully expecting one almighty bang as the last ounce of my full body weight succumbed to the ‘power of the ball’.

There was no bang!! I have no idea what witchcraft they use to make these things, but it held my weight!! 

I pressed start on the YouTube Yoga Ball for Beginners video I’d found.

“How hard can it be?” says I. Outloud. “It’s only ten minutes long.”

Well, let me tell you, it could be very sodding hard, and it was. I didn’t even know I could travel across my bedroom, horizontally, at that speed. But seemingly, I can. And that was only whilst I tried to get into the correct position for the back stretch.

The whole session swiftly disintegrated into me, playing ‘ball-boy’ for half an hour. How do people DO those positions and movements without the bloody thing shooting out from beneath them like a pinball machine?

And then we need to talk about the issue of boobage. Seriously.

I’ve tried pushing them up, pushing them down … even attempted one either side of the Bastard Ball at one point. I’m only left with two options now. Sucking them in, or tying them up behind the back of my head. It’s really painful!! I’m sure the guys wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about playing football if they had to have their knackers clamped in a vice for the entirety of the match.

I crawled out of the room a sweaty, but triumphant, mess. Not sure how much I’ve actually benefited from it exercise wise, but I smashed the Ghost of Procrastination in the bollox and that will always be a great achievement.

I may try again tomorrow, or I may not. I’m undecided. The last piece of fitness equipment I bought, that stands neatly behind my bedroom door, is near to reaching it’s full capacity of how many clothes it can hold. Additional storage may be required.

I’m never going to love exercise, but I’m working on not hating it.