DECEMBER RECIPE OF THE MONTH
This is a recipe for instant gratification. You can cook this while totally off your tits. I know, because i was there.
Mi Goreng instant noodles
sprouts or other vegetation
meat, fish, or fish substitute
Dylan is back in town. I don't quite know what he is doing here, but that's OK, because neither does he. After lurching about town for a 'quick drink', we finally stagger back to the apartment and start in on a stash of New Zealand's finest, thoughtfully left behind during a recent visit by a local bohemian guitarist. It's been a big afternoon slash evening. Sarah Toa was right. There is no such thing as a 'quick drink' with Dylan, unless bouncers are involved. As it was, i had to drag him out of the Tangehead pub before we were thrown out. Once again. After weeks of practice, i have found there is an intangible yet clearly definable line, which, if we stick to it, allows us to be happy, smiling, partying drunks. Once the line is reached - and this is easily recognisable, because suddenly everybody is our best friend - the trick is to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. And drink slowly, preferably while wearing a Hawaiian shirt. To quote Safari Bob, everything looks better in a Hawaiian shirt.
But if i succumb to that almost irresistible urge to increase my alcoholic intake fourfold and /or start in on the spirits, i will cross this fine line, and become an instant nuisance. Or, along with Dylan, two instant nuisances.
After Dylan sits down at someone else's table and starts talking in what sounds like a Lithuanian dialect to Ann-Marie, the pretty, short-cropped blonde-haired ex-model, i decide we must have inadvertently crossed that line at some point on our crawl between the Hurl, the Premier Hotel and Tanglehead. Ann-Marie works at the hairdressers downstairs from my apartment and, a couple of days ago, they were all working dressed in elf outfits. Ann-Marie's red pixie party dress, trimmed with white faux fur, came down to her upper thigh, followed by a short space of white flesh, then sheer white lace-topped stockings. She was wearing high heels, and her legs went all the way up until they met our expectations. We had just returned from the beach, and stood in front of the window - sandy, stunned and somewhat stricken - as Ann-Marie bent over to pick a dustpan and brush up off the floor.
"You looked very festive in that elfin outfit," Dylan says to her during a brief moment of comprehensibility. "My friend and i were watching you through the window. I've got an ostrich egg at home. I can show it to you if you like."
I collar Dylan and drag him toward the exit. "Let's go."
"We could listen to Barry White! Do you play Yahtzee?" he shouts over his shoulder.
Our exit is complicated by the sudden appearance before us of two blonde girls, dressed all in khaki. They introduce themselves as Steve and Bindi Irwin. This proves too much of a distraction for Dylan, who immediately launches into another improbable dialogue.
"A dingo ate my baby," he begins.
Eventually we reach the relative solace of the apartment, light up a pipe, and get bombed. Dylan raids my vinyl collection, and begins to irreparably damage my mint condition Beatles box set. I go to the kitchen to see what's to eat. Not much. Some leftover beef vindaloo. And a couple of packets of two-minute Mi Goreng instant noodles.
I boil some water on the stove, and crack in a couple of freshly plucked eggs. After these have cooked for about a minute, i chuck in the noodles and their concomitant condiments, squeezing them out of their little plastic sachets. Dylan has found some Stevie Wonder. The street scene from Living For The City plays out on the stereo. I lurch about the kitchen. Two minute noodles. It doesn't quite cut it, does it. I find a tin of coconut milk. Mmm. There's an idea. Coconut milk. I open it and set it aside while i go looking for some coriander. Coconut and coriander. Like Steve and Bindi. I find some coriander and some leftover salad, and tear it all up. The noodles are cooked, so i tip in some coconut milk and throw the vegetation on top. Looking good. But it needs some body, some meat, or better still, some seafood. Fish. Or perhaps some nice fish substitute? I ransack the fridge and cupboards. Nothing. Only the leftover beef vindaloo. Where is Sarah Toa, rogue fisherwoman when i need her? What the hell, i think. I quickly heat the vindaloo in the microwave and throw in some beef strips and, as an afterthought, tip in some of the curry oil.
"Mmm," says Dylan, and he takes a mouthful from his bowl of noodles. The Saints are on the stereo, stranded far from home. "This is great curry laksa."
I look at the bowl, with its coconut soup intermingled with curry oil. Bean shoots. Noodles. It does look like curry laksa. Well i never.
"Oh it's not bad," i say, nonchalantly. "I got the recipe from a Thai monk during my stay at the Suvarnabhumi Temple at Three Pagodas Pass, up near the Burmese border. Back in '72."
"They love their Yahtzee, those monks," says Dylan. "You got any beer?"