Posts Tagged ‘oil’

The time I got a Thai massage

A few years ago, two friends and I were travelling around Asia. As Thai massages were dirt cheap, we’d been getting them every few days. You know, to ease the tension of travelling and having fun. It can be strenuous, honest. We usually got the massage were you change into blue pyjama-type things and they tug and pull and lean on you and by the time they’ve finished, you feel like you’ve had a proper work out.

This one time, we were in Cambodia, I think. The sign outside the massage place said they had been trained in the temple. Brilliant. I’m not saying that writing on a board outside a shop are credentials, as such, but we decided it would do for us. We went in and the others decided on the type of massage we had been getting everywhere else.

I, on the other hand was feeling crazy. I decided to get an oil massage. My friends were like, “O, but you need to be naked for that one cause it’s with oil,” and I was all carefree about it and like, “It’s no big deal. They must see naked bodies a thousand times a day. It’s all good.”

Sure enough, they told me to strip off and wait in the little curtained off bit lying on my front. This I did, whilst discreetly arranging the towel over my bum. There was lots of oil and lots of massaging and it was lovely and relaxing. There were times when she headed bum-ward when massaging the tops of my legs but I was terribly British about it and pretended it was totally cool and like, whatever, I hadn’t even noticed, I’m just so, like, cool and comfortable with my body and stuff. Yeh.

Then she asked me to turn over to massage my front. Clearly, I only had the one towel still so I made out like it was totally cool and I hadn’t even noticed that I was now boobs-out.

She massaged my legs with oil for quite a long time then patted the excess oil off with, yes you guessed it, the only towel covering me. She patted all the way to my feet then left the towel there. So now I was just a totally naked girl, lying on a floor in a massage parlour, wondering what on earth would happen next.

I daren’t open my eyes to look in case that was the signal she was waiting for, because by now, I was wondering what kind of ‘temple’ she had learned this massage stuff in. Yeh, I’m sadly at a loss on what the dodgy-massage-etiquette might be.

So I lay there and pretended that I was having such a relaxing massage that I’d just, kind of, fallen asleep.

Next minute, she asked me part my legs a little and she knelt in between them. My brain was really really not sure what was happening then. In the absence of any other plan, I continued feigning sleep. Then she leaned onto my hip bones with both her hands. For a very long time. Is that a massage technique? Hip leaning? Because this action had put her face very near the part of my body that had previously been covered.

I. Honestly. Didn’t. Know. What. To. Do. What would you have done, reader? What would you have done?

Me? I just kept my eyes closed and pretended this was all fine and natural and not wierd at all and, just, like, whatever, not even a big deal or anything. Yeh. Totally fine.

Then she stopped leaning and she just knelt there. It felt like she was waiting for the go-ahead. I kept ‘sleeping’.

After a little while, she came to kneel behind my head and there was a bit of almost-boob touching that I’m not sure was real massaging or dodgy massaging.

Then before I could say DodgyThaiMassage, one of the most surreal hours of my life was over.

I’ve still never worked out whether that was a real massage or a dodgy one. Opinions?

Falling for you…

There has been some world saving but let’s talk about that another day. A few days ago, something far more important happened.

I was in work and my colleague, let’s call her Mimi, was having one of those ‘on it’ days. You know? She was pulling out fridges and cleaning underneath and taking things off shelves and cleaning underneath. She had prepared everything in the kitchen and was ready for the orders to start arriving.

“I’m ready,” she was boasting. “I’ve done everything really early. Are you impressed?”

I was nodding obediently.

Then her cleaning energies focussed on the extractor fan. She climbed up on her little fold out stool, flipped down the cover and took it off with the filter paper attached. She was really getting right inside it to clean it. The very edge tends to get dirty because the filter paper is just a little bit too short.

So she was reaching around the edges to clean it.

At this point in time, I was chatting to a customer in the shop. I had made her a coffee and now she was trying to decide what food to order for her and her daughter. We chatted a little, laughed a little, debated what we thought her toddler would enjoy when suddenly….


Keeping my cool, I asked the customer to take a seat until her food was ready and rushed back to the kitchen, where I was greeted by this…..

(artist’s impression)

Mimi looked out uncertainly from a mass of colour and smashed glass. It looked like someone had been murdered in the kitchen. Mimi was wedged onto the two work surfaces, holding herself up by her elbows. Her legs were on the floor but she wasn’t using them to stand up. I now know that it is because the jar of honey which had smashed on the ground had made the floor too slippery to stand on. Like those kids’ cartoons where a cat goes ice skating or something and can’t stand up without falling over a second later.

What had happened was this. Mimi, in her infinite cleaning wisdom, was cleaning the extractor fan, as mentioned. She was reaching to the far corner to get to the last little bit of dirt. She couldn’t quite reach but she stretched, convinced she could make it. She stretched…. And stretched….

Then the stool she was standing on slid out from under her. It went backwards, she went forwards and as she fell, her panicking clutching hands alighted upon the tray of bottled things we keep on the windowsill. It has all kinds on it – olive oil, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, honey, vinegars, sauces, jams, icing sugar….

She caught the edge of the tray with her fingers whilst falling and flipped it. Yes, she flipped a tray full of bottles across a kitchen….

Unsurprisingly, most of them hit a wall or other surface and smashed upon impact. The honey hit the floor and made the ice rink effect. One of the bottles hit a pan of oil that was sitting on a hob, adding oil into the general mix….

Unsure what had happened, I grabbed her under the arms and helped her stand before running for kitchen roll to get wiping. My eyes started to really sting after a second and I realised that the two bottles of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce must have been smashed too.

Like a fly to a flame, both had headed for Mimi’s right breast and soaked it before the hitting the floor. It took a few minutes for the adrenalin to wear off but suddenly she said to me, “Do you have a spare t-shirt with you? It’s really stinging.”

After about an hour, the panic was over, the kitchen was clean, the broken glass was in the bin and Mimi had a clean t-shirt on. And then the laughter set in. It was so severe, neither of us could talk to customers or take orders or make coffee.

And that is what happened in work on Tuesday. There’s nothing like arriving upon a murder scene in the kitchen to liven up your Tuesday!

I confited a rabbit!

This is exciting. It is very exciting. Why? I hear you ask. Well, because I can pretend I am on Masterchef, of course! They are always making a confit of something. A confit of duck, a confit of vegetables, etc etc.

So, using my fabulous new cookbook I got for Christmas, I bought a rabbit, something I have never done before and followed Michel Roux’s recipe for rabbit confit. It was fascinating. Well, actually, it was opposite of fascinating. I just stood and watched a pan do nothing. You have to keep the temperature at 70 degrees the whole time, which is quite low. It bubbles a little at first, then it just sits there, doing nothing. image

So far as I can see, it is a more chic, French way of deep fat frying, minus the batter and bubbling. It is cooked really slowly and then preserved in the fat/oil and will last a few weeks in the fridge.

The rabbit was amazing when I used it to make a cassoulet the next day. Really soft and moist.

Last night I also made tomato confit and garlic confit and used them in my lamb and Mediterranean vegetable dish, from the same cookbook.

I am like the confiting queen now! I will just say one thing though, I’m buying more oil every time I go to the shop and it could work out to be an expensive hobby, this confiting thing.

P.S. Danda would like me to tell you the confit joke he and I came up with…. How do you make a duck confit? Lay it down on the sofa and put a pillow under its head.