Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Saturday 20 October 2018

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest – RIVER PHOENIX

River Phoenix died an unbelievable 25 years ago this month. 

Apparently, people always know what they were doing when they heard that Kennedy had been assassinated, or when Elvis had breathed his last. 

Well, I still remember one Sunday morning in the Autumn of 1993. I was reading a book about the Habsburg Empire, with the radio on softly in the background. I missed the headlines but sat bolt upright when the death of River Phoenix was announced.

River had an unconventional upbringing. This may or may not have contributed to his success or demise, but what is certain is that, from his appearance in Stand By Me, it was clear that his was an exceptional talent.
Continuing on from this, he played the young Indiana Jones and was Oscar nominated for his performance in Running On Empty. In 1990 he broke away from his clean cut image, portraying a narcoleptic rent boy in the arty/ edgy My Own Private Idaho, which many consider to have been his finest moment.
Then, things began to go awry in his personal life, although his film career took off as never before. 

In a 1988 Washington Post interview, River answered a series of questions:
Favourite food?  "Tofu."
Favourite drink?  "Fresh water."
Favourite colour?  "Blue."

Favourite smell?  "Skin."

When he died, we were all shocked to learn that such responses were, although still his ideal, far from his reality.
His notorious death, on the last night of October, outside Johnny Depp's club, The Viper Room, sent my generation into shock. It seems that there were just too many contradictory pressures on him.

But, just for River, this is Zelda's favourite tofu-based dish:


3tbsp vegetable oil
4tbsp green curry paste
2tbsp soft brown dark sugar
1 400g pack tofu, drained, washed, dried and cubed
1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 lime
400ml/ 1 large can of coconut milk
1tbsp light soy sauce
handful coriander, chopped

Heat 2tbsp oil in a large pan or wok and fry the onion, pepper and cubes of tofu until slightly brown.
Then remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the final tablespoon of oil. Add the green curry paste and sugar and cook over a high heat for a minute.
Reduce the heat and stir in the tofu, peppers and onions until coated in the paste. Add the zest of the lime.
Pour in the coconut milk along with the soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
Turn down and simmer for about 30 minutes until it thickens.
Then stir in the juice of the lime.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Lovely accompanied by Thai Baked Rice