I recently encountered the most beautiful glass sculpture I’ve ever seen – a huge work of art that spanned two storeys of intricately blown glass in various shades of blue. Its sculptor Dale Chihuly calls it Tre Stelle di Lapis Lazzuli. Its 2,071 pieces of glass weigh 4,300 lbs in total. It’s breathtaking.
And where is this exquisite sculpture housed? Not in the hushed halls of a security-monitored museum, where bejewelled patrons with skewed lipstick pad silently in smug satisfaction, but smack dab in the middle of the foyer of Stanford University’s medical College in Silicon Valley, in the Stem Cell Research Centre, where white-coated scientists scurry about clutching documents, pausing now and then to check a poster announcing the next lecture, like “Pioneering Myriad Cures with Stem Cell Gene Therapies”. (“There are about 10 000 human diseases,” says Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD. “that are caused by errors in a single gene.”) – or to get a sandwich from the café, whose tomato sauce scents the whole foyer that holds this astounding creation, while worn-out Christmas jingles scratch the air. That is where it is. And that, dear reader, is exactly where it should be. Art. Science. Together. Always.
Having grown up in a medical family, I know that there is usually no time to eat. So, here’s a no-time-to-cook recipe gloriously and abundantly adjusted from Cook Now, Dine Later by Althaus and ffrench-Hodges. It took me 15 minutes to prepare.
Heat a walnut-sized blob of butter with a tablespoon of oil in a large heavy frying pan. Saute a large onion, (or 2 small) chopped. Oh, and add a chopped garlic clove, too, just so that you can admire its luminescently pearly pink skin. Fry, covered, on a low gentle heat about 10 minutes until soft. Add one thinly sliced pork fillet. Cook, swirling it around in the butter, until all is uniformly un-pink. Don’t cook too long, because you don’t want the meat to toughen. Then add 3 teaspoons curry powder (strength is your choice) and mix in well. Fry another minute until the curry doesn’t smell raw. Then remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons brandy, swirl in, and about 5 – 6 tablespoons cream. Serve on rice, toasted crumpet, baked potato, quinoa, pasta, or if you are going paleo, a beautiful bed of stir fried greens.
Alternatives: Now here’s the beauty of this recipe. For “meat” you can use sliced chicken fillet, firm fleshed fish, or that cooked turkey lurking at the back of your freezer from Christmas – add cooked meat just before you turn off the heat, get it hot and proceed as above. For “cream” you can use cream substitute. For additions, sprinkle with sliced almonds and/or chopped parsley. Add chopped water chestnuts, mushrooms and/or dried apricots to the sauce. The photo is purposely bland so that you can dream your own dream.
Vegetarians: try firm tofu or Indian commercially made paneer, either one added at the end of cooking. Let us know if it’s ghastly.