Festival of Appreciation

A Festival of appreciation, gratitude and thanks was organised by the inspirational Vara-nayaka at the North Sydney Hare Krishna Temple last Sunday. I was requested to cater for the function, and I did. I spent all of Saturday and half of Sunday with a large crew of assistants.

I’ve had a lot of experience cooking for big events, and I know that it takes a huge amount of pre-planning. Here’s a fragment of my ‘writing on the wall’. I’ve been described by many adjectives before, but ‘listless’ is not one of them.

writing on the wall:

We cooked deep-pan lasagna, a ‘main course’ on a one plate selection.

mature age teamwork:

These are just a few of the key players in Team Lasagna. On the bottom of the photo is Krishna, a head chef from the Ashok Hotel chain. Without his help, I would not have been able to assemble the 30 large lasagnas (600 pieces).

more lasagna:

More lasagna assembly. 40 kilos of cheese, 20 kilos of lasagna sheets, 70 litres of herbed tomato sauce, 60 litres of bechamel, 20 kilos red peppers, 20 kilos eggplants, 5 litres olive oil, 30 kilos spinach… It was the biggest lasagna I have ever attempted.

spinach story:

We also prepared an intricate salad of many opulent ingredients like rocket leaves, broccoli florets, feta, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, Lebanese cucumbers, avocado, asparagus, feta, kalamata olives, all drenched in a tahini-and lime-infused dressing.

Another star contender in the menu were the delectable panir cheese pakoras.

cheesy grin:

One of our main men, panir in hand. 25 kilos of panir was used. The time-honoured cauliflower pakoras were also there, a date and tamarind chutney, and an extremely opulent Bengali Royal Rice (Pushpana).

I wanna be sedated:

This is the stalwart Jitendriya, who, despite his t-shirt, did not want to be sedated.

the ever-smiling Tatiana:

And who can forget the ever-smiling, never-complaining Tatiana?

team parfait:

A multi-layer parfait of cardamom rice pudding, strawberries, vanilla custard, miniature anise doughnuts, mango, whipped cream and pecans.

tres parfait:

And to refresh: 150 litres of icy cold saffron lemonade.

balancing act:

And finally it was done. The cheeky Jambavati shows us just how to enjoy a feast. And that’s well-known bhajan singer extraordinaire Carmella Baynie carrying what Jambavati was not humanly able to transport.

hungry, happy punters:

They reckoned they were carrying plates for four girls. I’m not so sure…

banquet hall:

An aerial view of a small portion of the eating area.

quietly enjoying the feast:

Some, like these troupe-members from Le Carnaval Spirituel, chose to enjoy the feast in a more leasurely fashion. After 500 happy punters were replete with the festive fare, they enjoyed the rest of the afternoon’s entertainment. My mission was complete. Thanks to all. I ‘appreciate’ it.
Posted by Kurma on 23/12/09; 11:24:08 AM

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