Only played a little Civ yesterday - I was feeling a bit like I'd been looking at the screen too long by the evening, so I stopped and read instead. Finished "The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 18" edited by Gardner Dozois ... quite a few good stories there, but I'm only mentioning things that I wasn't keen on. I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't like post-human/post-singularity stories unless they're well disguised, though ... or maybe it's just that the ones that weren't good are the ones that are obviously on that theme. Dunno, needs more thought. And it's amazing how misuse of jargon drops you right out of a story - in "Mayflower II" by Stephen Baxter a character's peripheral nervous system is atrophying, withering away from lack of use ... only the author refers to it as the character's CNS no longer sending signals to his brain (I refer to it as the peripheral nervous system in this sentence as that's very clearly what he describes). The CNS (central nervous system) is the brain (and spinal chord). It wasn't just once, either, it was repeated. And it'd be pretty hard to typo P to C, so I don't think that's the excuse. (I wasn't keen on the end of the story either, but the rest was pretty good except for the jargon).
I also read "Riot Act" by Zoë Sharp ... book 2 of her Charlie Fox books. I'm pretty sure there were some great gaping plot holes you could drive a truck through, but it was brisk enough in pace and entertaining enough to ignore the flaws. A good read if you want entertainment with a high body count, and some pretty neat twists (though having read the fourth book first I did know some of the stuff in advance, but it didn't spoil it as the fun was in the getting there too).
Forgot to type up that Tikka Masala recipe for Ruhe yesterday ... first you need to make Tandoori-style chicken:
Source: Madhur Jaffrey's Foolproof Indian Cooking
- 1 1/4 kg. chicken pieces
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 tbs. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1-2 hot green chillis, roughly sliced
- 2 1/2 cm. fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
- 450 ml. plain yoghurt
1. Cut each chicken breast into two.
2. Make 2 deep slits crossways on the meaty part of the chicken piece (which don't start at the edge and are deep enough to reach the bone if you're using boned pieces).
3. Spread the chicken pieces out on a plate, sprinkle with half the salt and half the lemon juice, rub this in.
4. Turn over and repeat on the other side.
5. Leave for 20 minutes while preparing the marinade.
6. Combine the yoghurt, onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and garam masala in a blender of food processor and blend till smooth.
7. Strain the paste through a coarse sieve into a large bowl pushing through as much liquid as possible.
8. Put the chicken and all the accumulated juices into the marinade, rub the marinade into the slits in the meat.
9. Cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
10. Pre-heat the oven to its maximum temperature and set a shelf in the top third of the oven where it is hottest.
11. Remove the chicken from the marinade and spread the pieces out on a large shallow baking tray.
12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
The recipe refers to 'cooking juices' but I've never seen any liquid on the baking tray - it's all burnt.
Then you use that in the Tikka Masala recipe:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Source: Madhur Jaffrey's Foolproof Indian Cooking
- 1 recipe Tandoori-style Chicken
- 5 tbs. groundnut oil
- 5 cardamom pods
- 5 cm. cinnamon stick
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbs. paprika
- 10 tbs. Tandoori-style Chicken Marinade
- 6 tbs. plain yoghurt
- 10 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. tomato puree
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 150 ml. water
- 1/4 tsp. salt
1. First make the Tandoori-style chicken, remember to keep the marinade and any cooking juices.
2. Put the oil into a large pan and set it over a medium-high heat.
3. When it is very hot, put in the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.
4. Stir once then add the onions.
5. Stir until they begin to brown at the edges.
6. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute.
7. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and paprika and stir for 30 seconds.
8. Add the tandoori chicken marinade (and yoghurt) a tablespoon at a time and stir it in so it is absorbed by the spices.
9. Add the tomato, tomato puree and garam masala and cook, stirring, for a minute.
10. Pour in the water and bring to a simmer.
11. Cover, turn the heat down low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
12. Taste for salt, adding about 1/4 tsp. or what is needed
13. Add the cooked chicken and any juices from the baking tray.
14. Raise the heat to high and fold the chicken into the sauce, the sauce should thicken.
The original recipe called for 4 tbs. of the marinade rather than 10 and no extra yoghurt, and for 1 large tomato rather than 10 medium. I prefer the thicker more tomatoey sauce this modification gives - the proportions of marinade to yoghurt are dependent on spice preference, I found 16 tbs. of the marinade far too spicy so will be trying these proportions next.