Samosas

This is how I make them anyway.

You will need:

  • Samosa pastry (ask at your local wizzo Indian grocers or they might have frozen spring roll pastry at the supermarket, it is the same stuff basically. Ideally, go to ‘Goodeats’ in Long Lane, Finchley, where the man is really friendly and has loads of delicious Indian snacks and ingrediments. I am not affiliated with him though except that I like his shop, and enjoy eating its contents.)
  • Potatoes
  • Chick peas
  • Regular peas
  • Some meat if you like it
  • Optional sweetcorn
  • Green chillis
  • Seasoning: you can use whatever you have, I like to crush up some cumin and coriander seeds, and then add some fresh coriander, which I always have in massive bunches around the kitchen, because it is delicious. Lots of chilli powder if you like your samosas spicy.

How to make:

  • Boil the potatoes
  • While they are boiling, cook the vegetables and/or meat.
  • Defrost the samosa pastry but do not let it dry out too much, keep it in the wrapper or wrap it in a damp teatowel. If it dries all the sheets stick together and then it is a pain to separate them.
  • Mash the potatoes and drain the veg and bosh everything together in a big pan with the seasoning.
  • Add enough water to give it a nice mushy clumpy consistency, not too wet, not too dry.
  • In a wok or big frying pan, heat enough oil for deep-frying.
  • Take a strip of pastry and put a spoonful of goo at one end and then roll the other end around it in a roughly triangular sort of shape. Brush the loose end of the pastry with water and press to seal it.
  • When you have made enough samosas, pop them into the oil three or four at a time and fry until crispy and golden. The oil must be nice and hot as otherwise the samosas will just disintegrate into limp, sad little parcels. Let it heat up again for a few minutes in between each batch.
  • Dry on kitchen paper.
  • Using a hand or other instrument, put each samosa into the large hole in the front of your face and chomp thoroughly until eaten. Wash down with LAGER or other cold, fizzy beer.

Samosas are great because it is like a little curry pack lunch. They are also delicious cold, if not more so. The nice thing is you can make the goo and keep it in the fridge and make a fresh little batch of samosas whenever you want them, or if a tall handsome curry-loving man comes round to visit, such as me.

The life of keithlard

I took the camera out for a wander to try and get lots of pictures of WILDLIFE ekcetera. I was a bit glum at first as I did not really get anything much, it is very hard taking pictures of birds especially, as they keep moving around and flying off. So I spent a lot of time hanging around suspiciously in the woods.

It was a beautiful day though and it was nice sitting quietly in the sunshine by the river watching blue tits fluttering around and listening to woodpeckers. It is awful hard to identify little songbirds as they tend to be (a) quite small, and (b) very good at not being seen. So it is bird listening rather than bird watching, I am trying to learn what all the different birds’ songs and calls are.

One thing I learned from watching David Attenborough’s wizzo series The Life of Birds is that birdsong actually means something, and they are not just messing about and jamming. Generally a male bird sings for the same reason that you do when using a public lavatory where the door doesn’t lock properly: to say ‘Hey I am here and occupying this territory, keep out!’

Birds tend to stick to their patch of territory and they will know their neighbours. If one day they don’t hear a neighbour singing, it is a good sign that he has died or flown away, and the territory is ripe for takeover. So the song is also like the Soviets rolling hundreds of tanks through Red Square every year: it is saying ‘I am strong and powerful, do not mess around with me or you will regret it.’

At breeding time it also attracts females of course, and the louder and more varied and impressive your song, the more of a chick magnet you are. It means ‘I am so genetically well-endowed that I can waste precious resources sitting here warbling all day long’, in much the same way that a ridiculously expensive and oversized SUV asserts your status as a human being.

So it is all very interesting and the more you sit in the woods and listen the more different types of songs and calls you realise there are. It would be good if there was a Michel Thomas course on bird songs.

In the end though I got lots of great photos (coming soon!) and returned home in time for a snack before zooming out again to a meeting of the Finchley Guitar Trio (it is now the Archway Guitar Quartet as Matt’s housemate Chris has now joined us on mandolin). So much musical fun was had by all (MP3s coming soon once I’ve edited them to cut out the mistakes and laughing).

Then when I got home I made and ate delicious home made samosas!

It does not get any better than that really.

Photo by Jim Higham

Insecks

If you do not like bees, or do not want to know the score, look away now.