Saturday, April 25, 2020, Day 41, Week 6, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

There were a total of 738 new deaths yesterday. Our rate is the highest in Europe now and we are rocketing towards the 20,000 mark. Turkey has appeared in the highest ranked countries now and over 50,000 people have died in the USA.

Over 100 UK  healthcare workers have died.

The News

The government offered home testing to any keyworker and their families with symptoms yesterday. The web-site was overwhelmed with demand and had to be closed after the first hour.

A vaccine being developed in Oxford, has moved into the human healthy volunteer testing phase. Fingers crossed its effective and is available as soon as possible.

Most of the conversation now is about how and when lockdown will end. I’m still worried that when it starts to be relaxed for the general population we will be forgotten. We are half way through our 12 weeks but what will happen after that? Nothing has been said about what the exit strategy will look like for the 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people that have been told to stay at home in strict isolation for their own protection.

The New Way of Life

It was quiz night last night. We nearly won again but lost it in the last round, which was on Disney movies. I can’t stand Disney. I think it’s down to overexposure to sickly sweet princesses, talking and singing animals and inanimate objects, when my kids were little.

We had good fun though, got a bit tipsy and fell into bed around midnight. We put some music on in the bedroom for a while but had to wake up to turn it off about 2am.

It’s M’s birthday today! He’s 63! Last year we celebrated in the Outer Hebrides, the year before in Mauritius, but this year we’ll be in the back garden. I have got a big surprise planned for this evening. I hope it works out and that he enjoys it!

I haven’t been able to get out to the shops (obviously),  but managed to add a few “non-essential” items to my last Ocado delivery. A beard grooming kit to encourage him to enjoy his developing facial hair, a bottle of Baylis and Harding Fuzzy Duck Whiskey bubble bath and a very special bottle of Columbian La Hechicera rum, that has been aged in an old Muscat barrel. I don’t think he’s going to want to taste it any time soon though after our little overindulgence last night!

We had a bit of a lie-in and a lovely long facetime with our son and his wife, and our grandson. Later, on our daughter dropped off an amazing birthday cake that she had constructed out of donuts, and we had a little doorstep chat in the sunshine.

This time she brought our little granddaughter with her. We haven’t seen her since the 15th of March. It was lovely to see her, but it was upsetting not to be able to give her a cuddle or play with her. She’s going to be 2 in May, so it’s all very hard for her to understand. She stayed on the other side of the gate and we stayed in the doorway. At first she rattled the gate a bit and tried to get in, but eventually she seemed to understand. Quite sad … can’t wait to give her a big cuddle!

North Indian Chicken Curry

I love this recipe from Indian Food Made Easy by Anjum Anand. It’s simple but delicious.

You start by heating some oil and frying; 7 cloves, 3 shards of cinnamon and 7 green cardamoms for a minute. I also added a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds at this stage because I love the authenticity that fenugreek adds to a curry. You then add a couple of finely chopped onions and cook them down until they are golden brown.

 

This takes a good 10 to 15 minutes, but it’s important to take the time to do this properly, to develop the flavours of this curry.

When the onions and whole spices are done, add some minced ginger and garlic. I used a good couple of teaspoons of each. Cook again for a minute or so then add the powdered spices and a teaspoon of salt; 1 teaspoon each of turmeric and chilli powder (I added a teaspoon of crushed dried Naga chilies here as we like our curries hot!), and half a teaspoon of coriander. Again, cook for another minute at the most.

Now add your tomatoes. Blitz 4 ripe tomatoes and add them to the pan. I used a can of tomatoes as they were all I had until my next Ocado delivery comes on May 1st.

Now cook it down until all the moisture has evaporated and the oil is starting to separate from the dry masala.

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Now add the chicken and stir-fry in the masala until browned. The recipe calls for chicken joints on the bone but I used chopped chicken breast as, again, it was all I had. If you use breast meat, treat it gently so that it doesn’t dry out. I stir fried just to seal the meat and then added water to the pan to reconstitute the masala into a sauce and simmered gently for 30 to 40 minutes.

Add a teaspoon of Garam Masala and (if you’ve got some in The Time of Covid – I didn’t) chopped fresh coriander before serving.

I served it with cauliflower dal, steamed rice, raita and tomato and onion salad.

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