Sunday 23 October 2016

Letting myself go... and some Chicken Jalfrezi

All her friends, and Himself, have offered various arguments for trying for another baby, but Sophie White has very little faith in their reasoning

Published 11/05/2015 | 02:30

Use spices including chilli power, turmeric and cumin in chicken Jalfrezi
Use spices including chilli power, turmeric and cumin in chicken Jalfrezi
Sophie White

Now that I've popped out a baby, I am under constant surveillance by friends and family to see when I will be producing the difficult second album. Apparently, it is very much a case of when, and not if. This anticipation is attended by a broad spectrum of emotions from mixed (myself); determined (Himself); downright dread (Herself); and delight (the Bitchherd).

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The Bitchherd are willing Yer Man The Sequel, as they adore the original and have basically put in an order for more of the same. I have vowed to withhold until at least one of them joins me on the dark side.

It's easy to see why the Bitchherd has a blind enthusiasm about such an enterprise, but I cannot fathom what Himself is thinking. Since virtually the day we brought Yer Man home from the hospital, he openly admits that he began attempting to sow the seeds - of the idea, that is, not literally. I'm too smart for that - "fool me once, etc".

I think he's addicted to the sense of power bringing forth life has given him. Since having a child, he has more or less disregarded other humans as being kind of surplus to requirement, his thoughts being: "Feck them all, I can make my own people."

Herself is genuinely terrified of us having a second baby. The root of this lies in the fact that, deep down, she believes it is intrinsically irresponsible for people like us to be having children at all.

By "people like us", I think she means people who, up until very recently, were just children ourselves, still don't know how to separate delicate whites from non-delicate whites in the wash, and point-blank refuse to use a colour catcher.

At some level, I think that Herself believes the fact that Yer Man continues to thrive under our guardianship is largely a fluke. Any time I mention converting the attic to create another bedroom, she looks openly horrified and starts muttering things about how I have only just managed to scrape together something that resembles a life and do I really need to derail it again?

She doesn't seem to realise that the process of having children is inherently life-derailing and that's part of the joy. She only had one child and can't seem to imagine coping with two.

With Himself and the Bitchherd conspiring to impregnate me, and my mother dead-set against it, I did some research of my own into the subject.

I polled the Mumherd, several of whom are two, or more, deep in children. One said there was no question of leaving it at just one. "Do you want to go on holiday with a lone bored child?" The inference being that the second child would occupy the first while you sipped a cocktail. Interesting.

Another mum, whose son was born the same day as mine, recently returned to work. "I hate it," she confided, "so we're going to have another baby."

They're expecting this summer. That's one good reason to bring a child into this world. I'm not judging, as I am already thinking how bored I am trying to "maintain".

Dieting is practically easy compared with maintaining. I'm sorely tempted to get pregnant again, if only to be allowed to let myself go and just eat Pop Tarts for nine months. The only downside that I could see is that this spicy curry would be off the menu due to the raging heartburn I suffered in the gestational state.

Chicken Jalfrezi

Serves 4.

You will need:

2 onions

3 cloves garlic

1 thumb fresh ginger

1 tablespoon groundnut oil

2 red peppers, de-seeded and sliced

4 chicken breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces

1 teaspoon chilli powder

3 teaspoons turmeric

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons ground coriander

2 (400g) tins whole peeled tomatoes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Bolied rice and fresh coriander to serve

Peel the onions and the garlic and roughly chop the ginger. Place these into a food processor and blitz for a couple of seconds until finely chopped. Heat the groundnut oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger and the red peppers. Add the chicken to the pan and stir-fry over the heat until the onions have softened and the chicken is cooked.

Add the chilli powder, the turmeric, the ground cumin and the ground coriander to the pan and stir together until well combined, adding a splash of water if it is drying out. Blend the tomatoes in the food processor and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to allow the sauce to simmer for about 5-10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, add the butter and stir to melt in before serving with bolied rice and fresh coriander.

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