Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?
Well then there was MyOwnPersonalSlave.
Yes, MyOwnPersonalSlave. I had been traveling though Europe and had found myself on a train from Milan to the soul of Germany, Berlin. The sky was endless blue and the view from my lowest class window was spectacular and ever-changing. At some point I became aware of the gentleman sitting opposite me who was partially committed to reading the book in his hand between taking frequent glances at the same accelerating landscape. At one point our captured glances met and a timid but fascinating conversation ensued. “Your strongly featured face is really quite captivating, I’d like to paint it” he said shyly. It makes my gag reflex spring into action when I say it out loud now but at that moment I was flattered and intrigued to know more of my traveling partner. He was of Thai background but had lived in Europe since the age of four, an artist resident in Berlin, he was a painter and photographer with a passion for mixed forms and the animalistic representation of the human body, in love with nature and untamed environments, he was articulate to a tee, with beautiful eyes that held a gaze so intensely, a smaller frame that suggested kindness and gentility, and expressive, creatively driven hands. Note: I wasn’t entirely sure if his hair was real or if he was wearing a hairpiece and felt an uncomfortable urge to tug at his hairline for most of our conversation.
And so, it was curiosity. We ordered bad train coffee and delved into each other’s minds, discussing our love of travel and culture, the smell of rain on freshly cut grass, our mutual excitement at lightning storms and cracking thunder, and our shared delight of custard tarts and anything that comes with pastry. It was sweet and engaging and never once crept into flirtatious or suggestive territory. And as we chattered on he once again referred to being captivated with my ‘strong’ face and requested to paint me if I would so do him the honour. I was inwardly glowing at the offer and gave him my phone number so we could arrange a time to meet once in Berlin.
But from that moment on the conversation seemed to take a different direction. It felt disconnected and tangential, as though he was pre-occupied with other thoughts. He asked questions about Australian wildlife, expressing his fear of spiders, snakes and most of all crocodiles, whilst pointing his toes and waving his hands fearfully, suddenly turning Broadway. His voice seemed to have risen in pitch and volume and he was gesticulating all over the place. I wondered if it was the coffee or perhaps something else had made him nervous. But after a slight pause he posed a rather brash and altogether unexpected question. “I have to ask, are you a domina?”…”I’m sorry, a what?” I queried. “A domina, BDSM?, dominatrix?” When I responded with a quick negative he looked thoroughly downcast. “Why?” I asked, slightly aghast. “Because you look like one and you would be so good at it, and I would like to be your slave”. I laughed and spluttered a little coffee spit, and felt my gag reflex spring into action. Excusing myself immediately I rushed to the bathroom and hid there for the rest of the journey until it was safe to disembark.
My mind boggled. At which point did the mood turn from custard tarts to chains and bondage? Was my face betraying my emotions and was it constantly set in a steely, whip-yielding countenance? I certainly had trouble looking in the mirror for a few days following the strange encounter. But thankfully he never called and I escaped any further contact with someone who only envisioned me in latex, thigh highs and ready to deliver a world of pain and suffering. My slave indeed. Although, I still do find myself wishing that I had given that hairline a good tug, so perhaps there is a little domina in me after all. Enough said. The only thing I’m interested in dominating is a knife, some delicious ingredients, a couple of pans, and the hand that feeds me.
A taste of Thailand
1 kg beef oyster blade, beef cheek or chuck steak
4 cups coconut milk
3 cups coconut cream
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 to 3 long green chillies, deseeded
3 kaffir lime leaves
Thai basil leaves to garnish
4 tbsp peanuts
7 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked & drained
1 tsp finely chopped coriander root
1/5 tbsp chopped galangal
1 tbsp chopped lemongrass
2 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped red shallot
1/2 nutmeg, pounded and roasted
Pinch of salt
Slice the beef and rinse in cold water. Pat dry. Bring 4 cups of coconut milk to the boil and add the beef and reduce to a simmer. Leave to simmer for two hours until tender.
In the meantime get the paste done. Boil the peanuts in a saucepan of water for about 30 minutes. Combine with all of the other ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste.
Once the meat is cooked heat the coconut cream in a deep pan and add 4 tablespoons of the paste and stir through. Once fragrant add the sugar and fish sauce. Now add the braised beef. Add a little of the braising coconut milk to taste and season with salt, palm sugar and fish sauce to taste. Add the chilli and lime leaves and leave to heat through for another couple of minutes. Add vegetables that you might like to accompany the beef. I used red and yellow capsicum, and broccoli. Serve with a garnish of thai basil leaves, roasted peanuts and a bowl of jasmine rice.
Exotic flavours in my mouth. Love you long time Beef Panaeng!
This recipe is a take on David Thompson’s Beef Panaeng