The nostril-tickling smells of the cafe; the good-enough-to-lick-if-I-could pictures in the books; the cooking hot line which seems to hit promptly on a Wednesday morning as if by clockwork, flipping open the recipe book in the back of my brain, wishing I could be eating what they're cooking. But there's no complaints here.
It's one of those jobs that, in the best possible way, stays with you after hours. From the haven of the sofa - half of me engrossed in the long slow camera shots of The Song of Lunch, zooming into a large glass of much-needed red wine; and the other tied to my new orange and pink Madhur Jaffrey Curry Easy book - I can think only of my stomach. Again. There's no escape.
Fortunately, for risk of becoming belly-bound, Miss Jaffrey's book opens on a page which gives me the satisfaction of full-flavour but with half the gluttony. Her curry is light, perfumed and completely un-greedy but leaves you feeling perfectly full - enough to say no, I think I'll leave it, to the dry naan bread in the centre of the table.
Having forgotten to buy the ginger, I added a few more ingredients to soften and sweeten the spice.
BANGLADESHI-STYLE CURRY adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy
3 large hake fillets
2 medium sized shallots
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbsp crushed ginger
2 tbsps olive/mustard oil
1 tsp red paprika
1/2 cayenne pepper
3 kaffir lime leaves
half a lime
1 tbsp honey
2 handfuls of fresh coriander
1 handful of mint leaves
300g basmati rice
In a large, deep frying pan, heat up the olive oil. Add the shallots and fry gently until a soft brown colour. Meanwhile, mix the ginger, garlic and spices with 3 tbsps water into a paste.
Boil a pan of water and add the rice, having rinsed it through with water to remove excess starch. Cook for 20 minutes or as the packet advises. When cooked add half the coriander and the mint.
Add the spice mix to the shallots and simmer off the water. Then add the 250ml water and simmer adding the lime and kaffir leaves to infuse into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour in the honey. Gently lie the hake fillets into the pan and cook on a gentle heat. Turn over after 2-3 minutes and cook them for another couple of minutes until cooked through.
Put the rice in bowls and place the fillet on top, pouring over the sauce, and distributing the shallots in equal measure for each bowl. Garnish with coriander and serve with a spoonful of natural yogurt.
If you like more sauce, add a tin of coconut milk just before adding the fish, and follow the process as normal.
This would work well with any other white fish, or chicken if you prefer two legs to no legs. A quick and detoxifying treat for the under-nourished and over-fed.