Murakami: Unicorns and cyberpunk

I have never read anything by Haruki Murakami (known for Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood), until a friend of mine gave me one of his books a couple of weeks ago. She saw the blurb saying: “the world of the trench-coated detective and cyberpunk sci-fi”, and thought about me. It was lovely of her. That was how a copy of The Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the World came into my possession.

murakami_wonderland

The book has two storylines that alternate with each chapter: the “hard-boiled” one and “The End of the World” one. The first involves a guy, who is a Calcutec, a man able to encrypt data by passing it through his brain. He gets called in to do a job, to “shuffle” some highly important data, and finds himself in heaps of trouble. The second story takes place in a town called The End of the World surrounded by an impregnable wall, where the inhabitants have to have their shadows cut away from them, before they are allowed to enter. It’s a strange town without pain or suffering, fighting or greed, but also no love or happiness, no song. There’s also a herd of unicorns. I won’t say any more about the plot, as I would spoil it for you.

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Cocking-up Curry (Following recipes is for wimps)

In the last few years I have developed a taste for Indian food, and in the last couple – started dabbling in cooking it. From rajma (red kidney bean curry) taught to me by my Indian ex-housemate to carrot theplas (unleavened bread) from some internet page. If made properly, Indian food can be a stunning explosion of taste and smell. However, ‘properly’ hasn’t quite entered my Indian cooking vocabulary yet. Only recently, while looking up a recipe, I was pleasantly surprised that for once I had all the required ingredients. So, you know, the land of ‘properly’ is still a while away. That doesn’t stop me from experimenting and cutting a million corners. For me cooking is a bit like alchemy – you put everything into a pot and hope it doesn’t explode in your face.

Recently I have found a lovely blog on Indian cooking called eCurry. It not only has recipes for curries, but various salads, pancakes, breads, rolls/sandwiches, etc. and a very useful guide to Indian spices. The diversity of the recipes was what appealed to me the most. I have previously attempted an Indian Omelet, and it was easy to make and delicious! Try it!

So when an old friend of mine came to visit me over the weekend, I thought I should make something special for dinner. I decided on Indian, of course (any excuse to experiment). After checking what I had in the fridge, I settled on making a Chicken Curry in Fenugreek and Yogurt Sauce. You marinate the chicken, fry it up with onion and spices and then add the marinade as the sauce. Sounds pretty simple…

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