I can either write or experience, I can’t do both at the same time. The past few weeks, we were doing things crazily. Back to back theatre shows, the frontline, romeo and juliet (people on my hall, May and Marie afterwards) a Bollywood theatre production of Wuthering Heights, Borough Market…and then the big feast.

I’m chock full o’ disasters, I positively attract them. Like that one time Otis teased me about running into objects while I walk backwards on my tour, and the next second later I walk into a pillar, after I tell my tour group to warn me. This evening, I’d planned an oakra curry and saag paneer, with a final dish of yoghurt rice. On Friday, we visited Portabella Market in West London, where Tina picked up some oakra for her deep-friend Southern oakra dish. I thought I’d find some at Sainsbury’s or Waitrose – both stores failed me. But I never even made it to that dish as my first batch of saag paneer was all cream and no spice.

Help me out here, I’m not quite sure where I went wrong. I usually don’t have trouble making my dishes spicy and this time, I did it properly with mustard seeds and all. Mustard seeds, ginger, cumin, turmeric, gharam masala, red chili pepper, black pepper, paprika.

I used Laura’s blender which isn’t a container with a fitted blade, but rather an open blade. Its a blunt approach, direct contact between you, the blade and the food. And everything around it, since it’s kind of broken so saag flew onto everything. The walls, the salt shaker, the water filter, the table….everything.

And the coconut. It just appeared, no rhyme or reason to the storyline of the dinner, but a product of a bad bet Rob and I made. When will they learn, not to make bets, because I win. Or won a coconut as a reward for opening a container of lemon juice in those cheap plastic containers shaped like a lemon.

But coconuts are complicated. Rhdori laughed when we asked him to bring a hammer to open the coconut, and then Indian version of coconut rice is ridiculously complicated. I asked my mom, and she responded JUST DON’T DO IT. YOU CANT. I looked towards Thai, (because the cuisine is much friendlier) for a simple rice dish. It’s really not hard, I don’t remember what all the fuss these Indians are making with their two types of dhal and long list of spice list.

But to open the coconuts, how did we manage that without any hammer? Brute force, Rob and Frankie hit it against the walls. I just hear these awful banging noises (as I was cutting up spinach) and expected a sharp scream to follow. Piece by piece, the coconut fell out, unfortunately with its hairy exterior in tact. Rhordi then peeled it off and cut it up into orderly pieces. And then I made coconut rice and it was worth all this ridiculous effort. I hope.


The small amount of oakra I was going to borrow from Tina hardened overnight so I had everything I needed for a curry, but without the center piece. Rob and Rhodri have disappeared for the week, so it was a quiet girls’ night in on Tuesday’s dinner. We left the lights off in the kitchen as the sun slowly set and we continued to sit in darkness. Peaceful. May and I bought a sack of potatoes and I made a version of a Bengali aloo dish that turned out perfect, except it was still missing the spicy punch characteristic of desi food. (Okay, I never intended it to be Bengali, but I didn’t really have a choice, they just own it and potatoes are cheap.)

And finally, the cocoa rum. There’s no good way to say it: rum hot chocolate, rum cocoa drink, hot rum toddy, rummy cocoa, Cocoa de Rum; Ya!, Adult Hot chocolate.

There were three. Baby hot chocolate (Frankie), Adult Hot chocolate (me), and Adult Soy Hot chocolate (Tina). Yes, the adult one was only for me, as I put more and more rum in it to extract a strong flavor, my taste buds became desensitized.

I melted a bar of Green and Blacks in cup of milk and a splash of rum. Since I used 70% cocoa and straight dark rum, the cocoa wasn’t sweet. I’m not sure how I feel about it, I think I want to try Spiced Captain Jack Morgan, or add my own cinnamon and nutmeg along with the rum. The flavor became stronger once I added the rum to the ready-made hot chocolate, but I want to produce a non-alcoholic drink, thank you. Hmm, must keep experimenting…