In which I rehearse in a bikini, get my first spray tan and enjoy the last of the summer sun. Plus wontons.

Brixton Village. Where I met and fell in love with Garfield the cat.

Brixton Village. Where I met and fell in love with Garfield the cat.

For the past two glorious weeks, I have been rehearsing for a play called Fat Pig at the Prince of Wales Theatre, which is a brilliant venue smack pow in the middle of Brixton Village. Cue delicious shrimp dumplings (Mama Lan), Japanese omelettes (Okan), and fried chicken that you just want to take a bath in (Chicken Liquor). Yum. When I realised that I was two weeks away from appearing on stage in a bikini, I did what every health-conscious actress would do; I booked a spray tan.

For the uninitiated, spray tanning involves standing naked (with the option of hilarious little paper underpants) in a space age inspired booth. A tiny woman in a breathing apparatus will literally spray paint you with orange goop. Then you assume a starfish position while the stuff dries on. Of course, I tottered off to my dinner date straight after. Little did I know my skin would rapidly develop into an alarming colour, and take on a peculiar biscuit smell. My sincere apologies, diners at Tibits Covent Garden.

Akie Kotabe, Aslam Husain, and I in my stripper coat

Akie Kotabe, Aslam Husain, and I in my stripper coat

Anyway, back to the show.

I don’t usually invite people to shows. In fact I mostly hide the fact I am in something and discover the flyers ten months later. But this time it’s different. Fat Pig has been a revelation, partly due to the brilliant script but also thanks to the team behind it. Georgia Goodman, the producer, has fought tooth and nail to provide us all with well paid Equity contracts. This is very, very rare for a fringe production. Mackenzie Thorpe is a simply brilliant director who constantly surprises me with his insight and suggestions, and the actors, Akie Kotabe, Aslam Husain and Francesca Fenech are phenomenal. I am so, so proud to be a part of it.

Mackenzie Thorpe, director extraordinaire. Looks good in hats.

Mackenzie Thorpe, director extraordinaire. Looks good in hats.

On top of this, Georgia and Mackenzie suggested that everyone, including themselves, show up in a swimsuit to put everyone at ease for the beach scene. So yeah, you should come.

All this talk about Brixton Village has made me hungry, so I’m gonna leave you guys with one of my absolute favourite (and surprisingly easy) recipes for Won Ton Soup:

Soup Base:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
  • 10 cups chicken broth (I just use stockpots)
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced pak choy (bok choi)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I like enoki)

Wontons:

  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 1⁄4 teaspoons corn flour (corn starch)
  • 1 tablespoon minced scallion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1⁄4 lb ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 20 fresh wonton wrappers (3 1/2 inch squares) (you can buy them at any Asian grocery store)

Instructions:

Soup: Heat oil in large saucepan. Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add green onions (scallions) and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes while you make the wontons.

Wontons: Mix chicken stock and corn flour (corn starch) in a bowl. Add rest of ingredients (other than wrappers) and mix. There are many ways to fold wontons but the simplest is to put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle, wet the edges with water and fold over to form a triangle. Pop the prepared wontons onto a plate covered in wax paper or baking paper.

Add mushrooms and pak choi (bok choi) to soup and cook for two minutes. Add wontons and boil for another five minutes, or until they float to the surface.

I love to eat this with chili oil drizzled on top. Yum!!