Back to the Future, Part 1

My warm and fuzzy weekend at the Gopals Memory Lane Cookery Class is over. I dragged my aching limbs to Melbourne airport last night, and after the usual delays with a less-than-punctual Qantas flight, I finally crawled into my Sydney bed and slept like a baby (I woke up crying every hour).

I think everyone enjoyed the day. I certainly did. If you’re reading this, boys and girls, let me know how the class was for you. “Honk if you’re happy”.

Nice slender asparagus was in plentiful supply at the South Melbourne Markets. The staff at my favourite stall there still remember me from the 90’s, and asked me how my life was going. Impressive.

chop chop:

The second floor of Gopal’s Restaurant was an ideal choice for a class. A decent floor space meant we could fit in all our 28 attendees, though I think a slightly smaller class would have been more comfortable for all. With myself and 6 staff, attendance was ‘robust’.

The customary pre-class group photo was aided by the window ledge and chairs, creating that multi-layered effect. Pity the sun was peaking; that back-lit look was not in our photographic favour.

The Usual Suspects:

As is my habit, we stopped at intervals in the cookery to explain various procedures. Here we are discussing casein, albuminous proteins, and the merits of unhomogenised milk for optimum cheese quality.

The Huddle:

We had 2 pots coming to the boil, each containing 8 litres of milk. The total litreage yielded almost 2 kilos of fresh, bouncy, succulent panir. (That’s 4.40924524 pounds for those of you still crouched in the pounds and ounces dark ages).

making some panir:

A brief 15 minutes of pressing, aided by a tight wrapper of butter-muslin cloth under a heavy weight gave us a perfectly tender, juicy block of cheese. We handed out samples of the au naturel still-warm cheese, drenched with lemon and oil dressing + sea salt. Heaven!

The chunk theory:

Oops! I slipped as I attempted to transfer half a 10kg bucket of golden Australian ghee into our giant wok. So be it. Gasps of horror ensued, and my attempts to explain that this was de rigeur for serious deep-frying, was met, by the dairy-shy amongst us, with quizzical looks. What was I thinking??? I was only cooking for 35. I guess it’s a matter of ‘you can take Kurma out of the big kitchen, but you can’t take the big kitchen out of Kurma’.


Is this one of the world’s longest vegetarian banquet tables? Probably not, but it was impressive, nonetheless. John Cleese dropped by for dinner with his sister.

The world's longest vegetarian dinner table:

This dinner plate was not a staged photo; I would have chosen more photogenic poories, and slid them to the side of the plate. Remember that next time, Craig. And when you set up the plate, less is more. But hey, this was lunch, first and foremost.

I have made better poories for a cookery class. These beauties, cooked in Alice Springs, were my best ever.

light lunch:

My cookbook food photo days have left me with excessively high visual expectations. All was delicious, no doubt, and that’s the main thing. Thanks to Bhakta Dasa and Bhakti Dasi, plus all the crew, for a great day. Thanks to Craig for most of these snaps. I’m waiting on a whole swag more photos for part two. Until then, I bid you adieu.
Posted by Kurma on 13/10/08; 7:42:48 PM

Life and Travel

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