Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hong Kong garden

We'd just finished lunch this afternoon (melon du jardin followed by another Chinese dish with green peppers) when a car crawled past the house and BB said, "that's the car of the guy who used to live here in the mill" - despite having only seen it once five years ago! BB can tell you the owner of every car in the village and beyond by the make, model, type and colour and, where there's more than one of the same (e.g. Citroen/C15/first/white - of which there are many here), the registration number. He often asks, when a car passes, "who was that?"

BC: Don't know.

BB: Well what car was it?

BC: Kind of pale yellow.

BB: What type?

BC: Mmm. Lemon chiffon maybe.

BB: No. The make?

BC: Four-door?

BB: Strewth!

Anyway, back to the car - this guy was born in the mill in 1934 and is the nephew of the previous owner, Leon Viard (or the son of Leon's brother Elie, if you like), mentioned in le moulin - a history. It was obvious they (he was with his wife) were itching for a look round so we went out to greet them and gave them a tour.

It must be strange going back to the house of your birth after 75 years to find so many changes. But he was aware of the state it was in before we even bought it (holes in the roof, major roof timbers broken or burnt, rotting principal supporting beams, floors propped and re-levelled) and seemed genuinely pleased with the work we're doing. When I asked him if he could have imagined a swimming pool in his old house he replied that he could never have imagined running water!

This Chinese chicken curry recipe by Ken Hom was brilliant.

Serves 4
450 g/1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5 cm/1 in chunks
1 egg white
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
300 ml/10 fl oz water
1 tbsp groundnut oil
225 g/8 oz green peppers, cut into 2.5 cm/1 in pieces
1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
150 ml/5 fl oz home made chicken stock
1½ tbsp Madras curry paste (I only used 1 dsp - which I thought was sufficient)
2 tsp sugar
1½ tbsp rice wine or sherry vinegar
1½ tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour, blended with 1 tbsp water
basil leaves

1. Put the chicken in a bowl with the egg white, salt, sesame oil and 2 tsp of cornflour and leave for 20 minutes in the fridge.

2. Bring the water to the boil in a pan and add the chicken and leave on a low heat for 4 minutes until the chicken turns white. Remove.

3. Heat a wok until very hot and add the oil. Add the peppers and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add the stock, curry paste, sugar, rice wine, soy sauce and cornflour mixture. Cook for 2 minutes then add the chicken and stir until heated through. Serve with torn basil leaves.

♫ Cook along to: Siouxsie and the Banshees Hong Kong Garden

No comments: