Archive for February, 2011

Escalope à la diable

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

After an afternoon at the beach, we wanted a quick and easy supper.  While the rest of the family opted for chicken fajitas from a packet mix, I converted a great recipe for Blackened Redfish, from my twenty year old copy of Cajun Cooking by Marjie Lambert, to come up with ‘Escalope à la Diable’.  It turned out great and my mouth is still zinging from the flavours and the heat.  Here’s how easy it is.

After beating chicken breasts into escalopes, coat them with the following mix of herbs and spices, freshly ground to a medium consistency in a mortar and pestle.

2 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
2 tsp onion granules
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Pre-heat your barbecue plate or cast iron pan to the highest temperature.  You’ll need a raging hot barbecue plate or cast iron pan to cook this dish and, if you cook it indoors, make sure the kitchen is very well ventilated.  The first time I cooked this in our tiny apartment kitchen in London, the smoke hit me like riot gas and left me with streaming eyes and nose! Once fiercely hot, cook the escalope on one side until the coating is blackened and the flesh whitened, probably no more than 2 minutes.  Gently turn over and repeat for the other side.  Serve plain with steamed fresh vegetables, flavoured rice or a mixed salad – or serve as a burger with your favourite toppings.

A beautiful moment in Egypt

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Christians protecting Muslims while they pray during protests in Egypt ©NevineZaki

Christians protecting Muslims while they pray during protests in Egypt © NevineZaki

I am pretty sure that this is what ‘love your neighbour as yourself‘ looks like. May it be a metaphor for the future of Egypt and an example to the wider world in the weeks and months to come.

via Jesus Needs New PR and Reddit.

Jack & Grace

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011


“The leaves of our blessed lives fall to the ground and if we’re wise … we gather them in a pile and keep them safe lest the winds of forgetfulness blow them away.”
— Philip Gulley

Jack’s one of a kind, many times over. Ever since our days together at East 15 Acting School, I have known some of these Jacks. Each is a leaf in my blessed life which I now gather in a pile lest my winds of forgetfulness blow them away.

Jack the caring curmudgeon;

Jack the exasperated deflator of theatrical pomposity;

Jack the seeker of honesty;

Jack the Dad who loved and tried;

Jack the earnest conversationalist;

Jack the skilled stretcher of a dole cheque;

Jack the lifelong musician;

Jack the succinct sage;

Jack the ‘Technique’ Alpha to the ‘Method’ Omega;

Jack the mate to troubled teens;

Jack the punk;

Jack the best Bad Fairy ever;

Jack the burner of sofas;

Jack the closet cowboy and Western lover;

Jack the sharer of large bar tabs;

Jack the perpetual wearer of Doc Martens;

Jack the loving son in the RAF club;

Jack the encyclopedia of popular music;

Jack the groom whom I best-manned;

Jack the innocent who asked me how the internet worked;

Jack my friend who died and left a hole in many lives.

More by heart and guesswork than reason, I sense Jack carried more than most could manage or fully understand – melancholia echoing from a different time, frustrations with why the world didn’t work his way and some deep dislocation that he could never seem to express.

In a world that leaks and dribbles grace into the cracks of our indifference, Jack had a bruised and persistent grace that touched those who chose to look below the surface. Jack’s grace was in his reflection and kindness, his music and his passion, his mad-cappery and his jester’s japes and the brutal honesty of the friendship we shared.

I trust that as ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ plays for Jack next week, God takes Jack at his word and extends His unceasing grace to my gracious friend.