My friend Vira who owns a lovely Thai restaurant gave me some authentic curry paste from the market, so I thought, woohoo, instant yummy Thai!

No such luck! First was the trip to the supermarket venturing down unfamiliar aisles looking for fish sauce, coconut milk and lime leaves (amongst other things), with an impatient man beside me muttering, “I’ll have baked beans on toast.” Whatever.

Vira added roast duck to his curry. Where on earth does one find roast bloody duck? Chinese restaurant? That impatient man, having bought his baked beans, wasn’t going to drive me round the island looking for roast duck. Well, we ain’t having any duck in the curry then.

Next home to slave over the hot stove. Cried my eyeballs out peeling shallots. Smoked the whole house out frying the curry paste. Worst still, I managed to impregnate my hair with the aroma of red duck curry paste. I smelled like a walking Thai kitchen. But I soldiered on like a true chef, more convinced than ever why I did right feeding my kids only bland English and simple Italian food for 30 years – I would never have been a nervous wreck if I have to cook this every night.

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My two friends, Jane Varley and Richard Boyle, had notes from this restauranteur friends, and here are the notes (courtesy of Jane and Richard):

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(I was drinking Pimms and flirting on the terrace whilst my two friends were learning how to cook Thai).

Anyway, my result didn’t look too bad. But mood was ruined when my ungracious carnivorous child asked, ‘Where’s the meat?” and I choked on the sheer spiciness of the curry. Let me recover from this and I will try the second Thai dish – with pomelo! But anytime I want Thai, I will pop down to Vira’s Family Bar & Restaurant in Kamala, Phuket.