Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 145: My Sweet Lord

My fingers are fragrant with the aroma of ginger and garlic, for I have been cooking.

Mr. George’s Tip-Top Number One Dahl Recipe

1. Wash 550g of yellow split peas and place in a large flat pan with a tsp of turmeric, a tsp of salt, three bay leaves and ten cups of water. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to simmer.
2. Chop six carrots into bite-size chunks and add to the simmering mixture.
3. In a pan, roast a tsp of dried chilli, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel or fenugreek seeds and three cloves. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, transfer the roasted spices to a pestle and mortar and turn the seeds to a powder.
4. Mix the seeds with a tsp of garam masala.
5. Chop three cloves of garlic and a thumb of ginger and cook in a tbsp of oil until their colour changes and they soften. Add enough of the spices to absorb the oil (store away any remaining Tip-Top spice mixture.
6. When the spilt peas and carrots have eventually softened and the water all-but evaporated, stir in the garlic, ginger and spice mix.
7. Serve with naan bread from the local curry house and mango chutney from the cupboard.

*whilst cooking, burn Nag Champa incense and listen to Ravi Shankar’s ‘Bangla Dhun” (from The Concert for Bangladesh) or anything from a Satyajit Ray soundtrack.

Day #145 Tip: Have activities linked to Mother Earth
I have been in heady conversation these last two days: film talk of locations (for the shooting of one of my scripts) in Jordan (where David Lean shot Lawrence of Arabia [Wadi Rum]), praise of my writing from London and elsewhere, mentions of famous film starts being attached (ooh la la!!), potential script readings...it’s all too lofty and rarified an atmosphere for a poor boy like me.

This afternoon I spent an hour or so, giving feedback to a friend and colleague on a script and then received like back on one of mine. By the time that five o’clock swung around I knew that after all of this giddy activity, I needed to ground myself; before meditation chop wood and fetch water, after meditation chop wood and fetch water....or is it before and after enlightenment?

Writing is a cerebral activity, so are meetings, too much and I’m quickly away with the fairies and the mental people. I have to quickly get my feet back in Mother Ganges, cover myself in marigolds, so-to-speak, and do something highly practical and simple which involves me getting my brain out of the way of things.

Left to our own devices we writers can easily become nut cases, it’s precarious enough just being a human being?! So I reach for the spice jars and Mr. George’s Tip-Top Dahl recipe, which admittedly I did have to get from my head (if you’re not familiar with who Mr. George is, I suggest you trawl through the Hungry Blog’s archives).

I also find watching game shows, quiz shows and most sports (particularly football) to have the same effect on me, but now I must eat.

Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
(May all beings everywhere be peaceful and happy!)

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