Wow! It’s almost a week since I last blogged! How time flies when you’re having fun.
Today in this big dry land downunder there’s a full moon in the sky. It’s the last day of the Holy Vedic Month of Kartik, and it’s also the day when half of Australia goes completely mad with gambling and drunken reverie – Melbourne Cup Day.
My Dad has gone out to join his friends in the excitement of sitting in front of a TV in a sweaty dark room watching horses run around a field, while on the track, intoxicated socialite ladies try to poke out each others’ eyes with fashion stilettos and bash each other with champagne-soaked Armani handbags; and here I am, all alone, catching up on my blog, sweet incence wafting, delightful music filling the airwaves… It’s a scorching hot day, so I know where I’d rather be.
The classes are racing by. Last Thursday I spent an enjoyable night demonstrating Vegetarian World Tapas at Foodstuff in Mona Vale, an upmarket gourmet food store in the upmarket Northern Beaches suburb of Mona Vale. Always a blast.
My weekend was spent in Wauchope, at a cookery retreat in the countryside of New South Wales. The still life platter above is part of my mis-en-place for the Turkish Rice Pilaff.
The complete menu: Kurma’s Spice Trail, including BBQ Asparagus served with Balsamic-infused Semi-dried Tomato & Macadamia Pesto & Shaved Grana Padano, Turkish Rice Pilaf with Thyme, Currants & Pine Nuts, Crisp & Spicy Delhi-style Eggplant, Cauliflower & Potato Fritters (Pakoras) served with Fresh Lime Wedges, Classic Fresh Panir Cheese with Spinach & Cream (Palak Panir), Tender Hot Buttered Wholewheat Flatbreads (Chapatis), Orange-infused Hot & Sweet Apple Chutney, and Pakistani-style Cardamom & Rose-scented Creamy Vermicelli Dessert (Kheer Sevian).
In a moment of sheer brilliance, I decided to try adding icy cold soda water to my dry pakora batter mix. The result was sensational! Here’s our grand Pakora Platter, featuring eggplant, sweet potato, potato, red pepper and cauliflower pieces battered to perfection.
The milk for my panir cheese-making was delivered fresh from a nearby cowshed still warm from milking. Big slabs of tender cheese were pan fried and slathered in our spice-scented creamed spinach for the best country-style Palak Panir I have ever made.
Okay, I know you’re wondering who that dog is above, and what she’s doing. That’s Tilley the sheepdog, a resident of our Wauchope event. I always tell my students how fresh whey (the residue from panir cheese-making) is adored by animals like cats and dogs. To demonstrate, I filled up Tilley’s bowl with warm whey and she slurped it all up in about ten seconds, licking the bowl and licking the ground where a little bit was splashed.
And that’s it for me this afternoon. It’s 18 minutes to “Cup” time. All of Australia will fall silent as the horses thunder around the track, and then the two mile (3200 metre) equine scamper will be over for another year.
Posted by Kurma on 3/11/09; 2:42:11 PM