Albany Cooking, Part Four

The penultimate day at the summer school was, in the Australian vernacular, ‘a cracker’.

Here’s what we cooked:

Gujarati Yogurt Soup (Karhi)
Pecan and Orange Wild Rice Pilaf
Dubai-style Fresh Date, Toasted Turkish Bread and Feta Salad
Succulent Asparagus with Semi-dried Tomato & Macadamia Chutney
Hearty Koftas in Tomato Sauce
Rose-scented Marzipan-filled Half-moon Pastries

My Dubai-style Fresh Date, Toasted Turkish Bread and Feta Salad is, as yet, an unpublished recipe. It is an amazing blend of texture and flavour. Specifically the sweetness of fresh dates, the slightly bitter greens and the salty feta cheese combine beautifully with the crunchy toasted bread and the lemon and mint flavours.

Here’s Ian and Lyn adding the final touches to the salad – toasted hazelnuts and julienne of lemon zest.

Ian and Lyn tend to the salad:

There was a bit of history to our dessert, a 500 year-old Italian recipe. Marzipan, the smooth but firm confectionery paste based on almonds has been around for centuries. It was a popular confection in sixteenth century Europe, the origin of these half-moon shaped pastries.

This is Sally and crew in the early stages of the pastry-making:

preparing dessert:

‘If you like marzipan’, I told my crew, ‘then you’ll love these delicate pastries, scented with ginger and rosewater.’ Well a good few, (including Sally, who had to make them!) didn’t like marzipan, so that was that. I think there are two types of people in this world: those that like marzipan, and those that don’t.

It was ‘open-day’, and a few locals wandered in as we were preparing lunch, including a photographer from the local Albany newspaper. Here I get a chance to photograph a photographer. What you don’t see in this shot is Ian photographing me photographing the photographer, while someone photograhs Ian… Cerebral stuff.

'smile':

The rice dish was a great favourite. To quote (me) “Wild rice is the seed of an aquatic grass that grows in ponds, lakes and waterways of the USA and Canada. It is not actually a grain, but it is treated as such. It’s long, thin ash-brown to blackish grains cook to a chewy texture, with a slightly smoky flavour. Wild rice teams up very well with basmati rice, and in this recipe is joined by continental parsley, slivered toasted pecans, dried cherries and orange zest.”

Here it is joined by the Succulent Kofta and Barbecued Asparagus with Semi-dried Tomato & Macadamia Chutney.

plating up:

The dessert did look quite beautiful, especially since we garnished it with fragrant rose-petals from the school’s immaculate garden. I think this photo could grace the pages of a gourmet food magazine (says Kurma, humbly).

marzipan half-moons:

What more was there to do but to raise a toast (with ‘Adam’s Ale’) to a splendid day in the kitchen. Salute!

a toast:
Posted by Kurma on 14/1/06; 7:59:03 PM

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