|The last class for this Melbourne circuit of culinary adventures was a memorable one. My warm and lovely hosts were Lauren, and her parents Ronnie and Maggie Burns, plus an ebullient swathe of Lauren’s friends.
For those of you that don’t know, Ronnie Burns was a 60s pop star, but these days, he’s pursuing a far less public life in the highlands of Tasmania. Ronnie once sang one of Australia’s most famous anti-war songs, but is is now dedicating his life to helping sick and underprivileged children.
Ronnie and Maggie Burns are the founders of Appin Hall Children’s Foundation, which operates from a 108 acre site at Erriba in Northwest Tasmania. The property’s Respite Centre provides accommodation and healing facilities for children, families and young adults in need of care.
You may also recognise Lauren Burns as the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medallist for Taekwondo.
The menu for the night was a delightful one:
“The Global Vegetarian”
Basil and Caper-scented Sicilian Eggplant Appetiser (Caponata) with fresh Turkish Bread
Melange of Seasonal Vegetables, Mung Beans, Almonds & Basmati Rice (Khichari)
Middle-Eastern Yogurt-Cheese (Labneh)
Crispy Poorie Breads
Seared and Spicy Chili Panir Steaks
Preserved Lemon & Saffron Couscous
Fresh Mango Chutney
Roasted Cauliflower & Stir-fried Snow Peas with Cashews
Juicy Milk Fudge Balls in Cardamom, Star Anise, Cassia & Rose-scented Syrup (Gulab Jamuns)
Many thought that we couldn’t cook so many dishes in less than 3 hours for 17 people, but we did it. Lauren’s brother Mike had requested the Gulab Jamuns, so I gave him the task of slowly cooking them in ghee till they were golden and swollen, before submerging them in the aromatic syrup. He did a grand job.
Now I’m packing my bags for a trip to the warmer regions of Australia – Northern New South Wales and Queensland for – you guessed it – more cooking.
Posted by Kurma on 16/5/07; 6:57:03 AM