Monday, January 04, 2010

new year's resolutions

I was trying to remember how I’ve spent various new year’s eves in the noughties. last year, I played poker in a cocktail dress and killer heels with boys in tuxes at a casino royale james bond themed house party. I rang in the millennium at the overcrowded banks of the thames. various new year’s in between in strappy tops at overpriced clubs drinking overpriced cocktails. and I’ll always chuckle at the memory of that one year where I spent the last 15 minutes of the year running through a carpark with seanster, pheebs and pilot hoping to catch the fireworks outside the esplanade in singapore. this year, I was in my favourite shorts, flip flops and a teeshirt that says “I recycle boys” – and I’ll have to say it’s been the best of the decade. in a bittersweet sort of way.

this new year’s eve was a duvet evening. metaphorically speaking. I didn’t stay in bed – I rang in the new year’s with my best friends and DC at home. We wore silly hats, drank an abundance of proseco, watched fireworks from my garden. We had chinese hotpot and two deserts. two because we coiuld – homemade pear sorbet. and a melty chocolate fondant cake with ice-cream.

and as I fished for bits of salmon belly with my little wire net out of the bubbling pot of soup, I had a duvet moment – I was comfortably cocooned amongst people I loved and I was soothed in the deeply belly warming way that only hotpot soup can – the communality of cooking your meal together, eating an assortment of bits of meat, fish, vegetable, dumplings and tofu – usually overcooked, in a paranoid bid to avoid salmonella poisoning. and also because you've lost the dumpling you were eyeing and by the time you've found it it's gone slightly mushy.

as the radio chimed in the strains of big ben counting down to the new decade, we clinked our glasses of bubbly and I said goodbye to the memories, the mistakes, the disappointments of the past year and the past decade. I bid adieu to the angst of my twentysomething years, the constant uncertainty of where I was going to be and the novelty and unsettledness of moving cities. I’ve decided to stop running for a bit. I’ve walked away from a move to HK and i've committed to staying at home in London, at least for the next few years. and despite the seeming settledness that remaining static entails, I’m excited about what that brings.

anyway, my rabid thoughts on the new year, when all I really wanted to talk about was fried chicken. new year’s resolutions don’t work for me. it’s odd because I’m absolutely stubborn about lots of things. but every year I’ve resolved to turn vegetarian, train more, watch less telly – i do the exact opposite, I eat lots of steak, refuse to go to the gym and slob in front of the telly for hours on end. it’s classically human – you want to have what you can't. you want to do what you can't.

so anyway, rather than face the inevitable disappointment of failure to stick to well intentioned goals, I’ve simpler resolutions for this year and for the decade: to laugh more, to have deeper friendships, to be (more) fabulous. and to eat more fried chicken. simply because I love fried chicken and life’s too short to not eat fried chicken.

first day back at work, and I’ve done reasonably well. I’ve gone for a run and did quite a lot of productive delegation. but I also forgot to eat lunch, so come dinner time I was hungry. DC asked what was cooking, and I said, fried chicken.

bitesized pieces of chicken thigh fillet, marinated in soy sauce, chilli bean paste and sesame oil, dredged lightly in flour, bathed again in egg and then lovingly panko-ed and fried in hot sunflower oil. lovingly panko-ed because I love panko – it gives a crunch like no other breadcrumb can yet somehow still remaining light in its own panko-ey way. DC was a little bemused by my addition of the chilli bean paste to the marinade, but it worked well – a little beany spicy kick beneath the crunch of the panko and the tenderness of the just-cooked chicken. it would have done well with the sweetness of a little Japanese kewpie mayonnaise, but we had to settle for hellman’s.

our meal was not without any virtuosity – we ate our chicken with a crunchy green salad. and leftover mash – because we believe in our household, that potato counts for one of your 5-a-day.

to a new year and a new decade. to more laughter, deeper friendships, being fabulous. and more fried chicken.


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