Indian Summer…

Breaking-ish news – Rent is closing on Broadway (it is the 7th longest running musical ever, which didn’t impress Tim in the slightest.) There goes my hopes of going to New York and seeing it (with the original cast magically reprising their roles…”it’s nice to dream.”)

Tim and I had our voucher-based date night last night, and a very pleasant evening it was. Monsoon Poon is seriously fantastic! We arrived at 7-ish (would have got there sooner were it not for the fact that high heels slow me down.) It was incredibly busy and we got directed to the bar, (I refrained from saying “you should have bloody booked like I told you” because I didn’t want the night to start badly.) As it was we needn’t have worried. It was airy and cool in the bar area, and because of the voucher we splurged uncharacteristically on a drink each, Tim opting for a Tiger Beer and myself for a feijoa-vodka-elderflower-apple-sauvignon-blanc hybrid called Maid in China. We were seated before we finished our drinks and the waiter was seriously attentive. I mean, the place was absolutely packed, we were blatantly not high-rolling customers, and yet we were treated like the most important people in the room.
Above: Another uncharacteristic splurge – a starter. We ordered these droolsome tempura-style vegetables in a chickpea batter with yoghurt raita. I’m glad this was shared between the two of us, as it was pretty big. It would make a good vegetarian main, with some rice. It was also seriously great; the crispy coating contrapuntal to the delicious, soft vegetables within and the creamy, minty yoghurt.
Above: Our mains. In front, I had chicken and prawn dumplings, and Tim had the lamb maharaja. There were three dumplings in my bowl, I must admit I looked askance at them and thought “that is supposed to fill me up?” Well, 2/3rds of the way through I was so full that it was getting uncomfortable to breathe. They were delicious, as was Tim’s lamb – spicy and flavoursome – but let me tell you about the enormous naans. I’m not sure if you can see from the picture, but they were SO vast – like duvets of bread. I could have worn one as an edible cape. They were HUGE! The entire meal – sans drinks – came to $5 over the voucher’s worth; a tidy sum for such a great dinner, all told.

Afterwards we (following the directions of the friendly maitre’d at MP) zoomed to the nearby Rialto movie theatre to cash in one of Tim’s vouchers at the 8.50pm showing of The Darjeeling Ltd. It has an excellent, dynamic cast, intensely elegant Louis Vuitton luggage, unbearably beautiful cinamatography of India, and flashes of unexpected humour and sadness. And it is definitely a better use of Owen Wilson than the unfunny mess that was You, Me and Dupree.

Above: This is me, by the way, getting ready to go out to dinner. I got the dress from a certain favouritest shop in the world of mine, the Waiuku Op Shop. Tim wore the red, bespoke trousers (a la Jack White) that I got him for his 21st, but was not feeling the photo-op. I’m not in the habit of posting pictures of myself willy-nilly, but as I am lamentably unphotogenic and it is so rare that I get a half-decent photo of myself, I thought this might as well be your impression of the face behind the Nigellavangelism. (Did I coin that, by the way? Should I get it patented? I’ve always longed to coin something, this could be my big break…)

It has been – finally! – sunny the last couple of days here in Wellington, I only hope it stays like this for the long weekend (Wellington Anniversary Day on Monday! Hoorah!) Sunny weather means only one thing for me: (apart from copious amounts of sunscreen)

Above: Vod and Ton. “To fruits, to no absolutes, to Absolut…” Ah, Rent. So reliable for a quote. But seriously, Vodka and Tonic is my favourite summer drink, any time of year. I do like it with a slice of lemon, but I didn’t have any to hand yesterday. The vodka must be good quality; and I do prefer Schweppes tonic water. The blue things in the glass, by the way, are those dinky freezable waterfilled shapes that don’t dilute one’s drink. The libation (that’s Nigella’s wording, not mine) is perfect on a sunny with, say, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica playing in the background.
Above: I have diverted briefly from Nigella Express, to another of her volumes: Forever Summer, appropriately enough. I finally found some yellow courgettes, at Moore Wilsons Fresh – an absolute MECCA for foodie types. I don’t know why, but I have only ever gone to their grocery department, which is seriously exciting in its own right…I was so excited because in Forever Summer there is a soup made from said yellow courgettes, Happiness Soup…I couldn’t resist. It is very simple, and I had all the ingredients, the only changes I made were substituting some ham stock for the chicken stock, and instead of basmati rice, I used the gorgeous, tiny “Stelline” pasta that my aunt got me from Italy. Isn’t it beautiful?
Above: Now, this is a thing of beauty. Doesn’t it make you sigh happily just gazing at that bowl of fragrant liquid sunshine? (You weren’t to know it smells good, to be fair, but you could have imagined it.) This soup is delicious and I suspect it will be even better tomorrow. I was a bit worried that the ham stock (frozen from when I made the Ham in Cider from How To Eat sometime last year) would overpower it but it was fairly delicate. Even though it meant faffing about and extra dishes, I served it in the beautiful casserole that I got from Mum and Dad for Christmas, I don’t think I need to explain why.

Above: Because soup alone does not constitute a meal for a Type 1 diabetic, I made some pasta as well, following Nigella’s recipe for Cappelini Con Cacio E Pepi, also from Forever Summer. This is, in prose, pasta with parmesan and cracked pepper. I don’t have any cappelini, and presumed a mix of old penne and spirals would do; and I used the beautifully coloured and deliciously mild pink peppercorns that Mum and Dad also got me for Christmas. This was a perfect pasta recipe, simple, elegant, quick, great tasting. I roasted some beetroot and red capsicum to go with; a very satisfying meal.
Just googled Nigellavangelism…nothing came up except yours truly. I did it! I made a word!

8 thoughts on “Indian Summer…

  1. Herbertimo says:

    Just quietly you did say “I told you you should have booked” but it was followed quietly by a “just joking.” That pasta stuff last night was really good!! Cheese and pasta: a match made in Heaven. Can’t wait to see what I have to sample tonight with the assisstance of Jamie and Ruvin!!


  2. Linda F says:

    Didnt Becks dine at Monsoon Poon when he was in Welly?????Want to see that Darjeeling Ltd too, will try and do that when we are down that way (lots of extended whanau to babysit!)Marathon post Laura, you have been busy, and yes, as I have never heard of Nigellavangelism, it looks like you may be onto something there, copyright it, QUICK!!!!


  3. Kay says:

    The yellow bowl came out quite nicely .It certainly lends itself to something “jolly”. Time to spread the word (nigellavangelism). See if it can get another listing under Google…… You may have to post it on other blogs to get it out there. Good luck. Glad you can vouch for your vouchers being well used.


  4. Glossy says:

    Sounds like a brilliant night. You look lovely in your dress – you’re totally photogenic!! I’m sure Rent will tour near you eventually. I went to see it years ago in the West End in London – my favourite show ever. My husband absolutely hated it and didn’t couldn’t follow the storyline because he doesn’t listen to the words when people are singing!! I feel I now have to create a new word too!!


  5. Laura says:

    Linda – I have no idea where he ate, to be honest – was probably too scared of being mobbed so just got room service!! I would have thought he’d go somewhere posher, like Logan Brown (which is incidentally right opposite an adult movie shop)Tim: Of course it was 🙂Mum:The yellow bowl was the perfect thing for the soup! Kerry: Thanks! I wonder how much it costs to get a patent…Glossy: Thanks heaps – a nice photo is a fairly rare thing for me 🙂 Tim knows all the words and the intricacies of the plot, if only because I made him watch the movie with me so many times! There is a new “remixed” version in London at the moment – I’ve heard it’s awful! Sigh…I doubt a company would come to NZ!


  6. Sarah says:

    Hey Laura,It’s funny how Indian food is so filling, isn’t it? My brother calls it ‘dense’, lol.In response to your comment on my blog.. Mmm… kebabs! Def heading out to get one soon, now that you’ve reminded me – there are heaps of doner shops here in Germany.I recently watched Angels in America, the HBO miniseries. Have you seen it? It was awesome; I think you might like it!xox Sarah


  7. Anonymous says:

    Laura those little tiny pasta are great! I had never seen the stellini but have used pepperini…tinier still but just little circles but about a quarter of the size of the stellini you have shown. Very good in soup. Do you use them for anything else besides soup? jenvdk


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