4 BEHIND THE SCENES CONT
There is a legislative incongruity affecting the use ofbugs. It is not illegal to own or purchase a bug and the rare prosecutions that are raised refer to interfering with the air waves. This reflects a similar grey area concerning the legitimacy of private investigators. Currently. the Institute ofProfessional Investigators is seeking a sympathetic MP to sponsor a Private Members Bill in order to establish a code of practice and eliminate unscrupulous. ill-qualified investigators. Stephen Grant is the chair of the legislation committee for the IPI.
‘As an institute we can take action against members ifthey have acted
unprofessionally.‘ he says. pointing to the four-year training apprenticeship which his company operates. ‘But dismissing a member does not stop them continuing to operate. Also. there is nothing to stop a totally unsuitable person setting themselves up as a private investigator. An unscrupulous investigator can do a lot ofdamage because they will often be in receipt ofconfidential information which could be used unprofessionally.
. ‘In America'. says Stephen Grant. ‘the majority of investigators don‘t leave their offices. Because of the greater freedom ofinformation. they do everything by telephone.‘ His is an opinion which hardly squares with private investigators in the US.
like William Dear in El Paso. who have become celebrities in their own right. with bodyguards and bullet-proofcars.
‘There are no high-profile private investigators in Britain that I know of. For practical reasons. ifa private investigator is doing something delicate. then the last thing he or she would want is to be recognised. What we want to do is go in and do the job without people knowing that we have been there. That also happens to be self-protecting.‘
Those who play out the romantic illusions ofbeing a detective either do not get enough work to sustain themselves for very long or get known and cannot work effectively. The threat of being recognised as an investigator was the backdrop to what Grant argues was his most frightening case. Masquerading as an ornithologist. he spent weeks in an isolated area in the north of Scotland conducting a surveillance of alleged arson on a country estate. ‘Had I been found out. they could have done anything to me and no-one would have known for two months.‘
J o Roe rolls up her sleeves and turns up at the Kalpna, reputed to be the best Indian restaurant outside Madras. Below, mouthwatering economical recipes to test your tastebuds but not your purse.
‘So. you want to wash dishes.‘ Sleeves rolled menacineg above elbows. Ajay Bhardwaj jerks his head towards a steam-filled kitchen. ‘Ehm. I‘m not a dishwasher‘. I apologise. ‘I‘m from The List.‘ Breaking into a grin. Ajay Bhardwaj, part-owner of the
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Kalpna. grabs my hand in welcome.
Earlier I had noted a steady stream of arty types and single women. Despite its tastefully westernised ambience. the Kalpna is reputed for fine, authentic cuisine. This time I was to venture through the swing doors. to uncover the work behind this genteel exterior.
Struck by a blast of hot air. I warm to a dark, rich odour. Clouds of steam hang over huge cooking vessels and crashing crockery is accompanied by the sound of crunching vegetables and spitting oil. An ingenious cooker lines one wall of the narrow kitchen; its gas rings burn from a pool ofwater fed by a metal pipe. a cooling system which also soaks up unwanted
odours. A chef fries pakora which bubble to the surface like mini submarines. A neighbouring ring fuels a vat ofboiling milk. ‘Kulfi. Indian ice cream.‘ motions Ajay. ‘It takes about three hours to reduce. Then we add saffron. pistachio. sugar and other nuts and freeze it.”
Occupying the central table. a gleaming pasta machine rolls out samosa pastry. Once cut into rectangles. the shapes are formed into tidy envelopes. stuffed with spiced vegetables and sealed with a surgeon‘s thumb.
Stooped over the sink. an assistant makes cheese curd. ‘It‘s very simple.‘ Ajay insists. ‘Bring your milk to boiling point and add vinegar. citric acid or fresh lemon
THE KALPNA’S OWN BAINGAN BHABTA (crushed aubergines in yogurt)
2 large aubergines
2 large finely chopped onions
‘th chopped tomatoes
1 whole garlic (medium)
V2 tblsp turmeric (good for digestion) ‘h tsp chilli powder or 2 small green chillies
1 stem of fresh ginger
handful of cashew nuts
fresh corriander (chopped)
1 cup of yogurt
Liguldise garlic and ginger into a paste, with the chillies if you are using
fresh ones. Wash the aubergines and rub all overwith oil. Place whole in a dish and cook in the oven at a high temperature for 25 mins. When done, a knife should pass through easily. Leave to cool for a while and peel the skin off. Cut into circular slices.
Heat oil in a frying pan, and cook the mustard seeds until they pop. Throw in onions and cook until golden brown. Add ‘Av cup of hot water, turmeric, salt and garlic paste, plus chilli powder if you are not using fresh ones, then stir in the tomatoes until they go soft. Add water if the mixture begins to stick. Finally, add the cashew nuts, coriander, yogurt and aubergines. Stir slowly, until boiling. Leave on a low heat for5 mins.
‘I‘zlh basmati rice
100g vegetable ghee or butter salt
1x‘ztblsp cumin seeds
4 cardimon seeds
2 bay leeves
1x‘zin cinnamon stick
1whole nutmeg, grated
Wash the rice thoroughly. Melt fat in a large pan. Add the spices and cook until they begin to pop then pour in the rice and salt and stir gently for a few minutes. Add one half times as much waterto rice (in volume). Covertight and leave on full heat until boiling. Turn the heat right down and leave for 15—20 mins.
[a The List (v — 19 April 1990