I very, very rarely go to any blogger related activity. I have also never been to anything organised by PR people to do with food blogging. Now, this isn’t me trying to be all principled and holier than thou (though I think that is a separate discussion). It’s more a case of the fact that I seem to spend most of life flying from one thing to the other, and constantly playing catch up when it comes to spending time with loved ones, friends, family. I suppose that’s the nature of London life. But it’s a reason I’ve always been reluctant to start going to things related to the food blogging side of my life – throw that into the mix, and the wheels would probably fall off.
So, it was quite a big decision for me to say yes to the seriously kind invite from Maunika to attend a Diwali supper club she was running in conjunction with Luiz (in his seriously gorgeous home – house envy much?) and Tilda. But the reason I said yes is that I love Maunika’s blog, which showcases great Indian recipes from across the sub-continent. The blog reflects her own breadth of knowledge and skill when it comes to cooking Indian food. Moreover, this was a rare opportunity to eat dishes made by Maunika, considering she lives up in the North East.Oh, and I’m also an avid user of Tilda basmati rice – the only rice I have used since I left home, so that made the decision a bit easier. So, I said yes.
And I’m glad I did. This was a veritable feast of Indian delights, taking in a range of regional cuisines. Just take a look at this:
- Deep fried sundried tomato and mozzarella rice balls, served with mint dipping sauce
- Paneer Haraa Tikka, served with a pineapple and black pepper chutney
- Haraa Masala Chicken – green spiced chicken cooked with caramelised onions, mint and coriander
- Keralan Fish Curry (Meen Moilee) – sea bass fillets in a coconut gravy
- Baingan Ka Bharta – charred aubergines mashed with spices and ginger
- Lamb Yakhni Pulao – lamb pieces fried with rice and spices, and then cooked in lamb stock and butter
- Roasted cumin & pomegranate Raita
- Roti / Naan
- Papad / Poppadums
- Coconut, Ginger & Tilda Basmati Rice Pancakes – with grilled pineapple and maple syrup
- Bengali Bhapa Doi – steamed, sweetened yoghurt infused with cardamom, served with mango puree and pistachios
Oof, I feel full just looking at that list. It was all lovely, but my personal highlights were the paneer with that amazing pineapple chutney, the baingan ka bharta (which was seriously smokey, with the most amazing texture), and that lamb yakhni pulao. Now, I’m no massive fan of Indian desserts (though if I’m ever having some form of lack of sugar crisis, I know what to eat), but I even found myself gobbling up that bhapa doi. The texture immediately brought back memories of eating ras malai as a child.
I’m not quite sure how Maunika managed to whip all of that up, and still look so seriously composed at the end of it (I can safely say I would probably end up shouting at all my guests if I had to get all this food cooked and out for that many people), but massive props to her for doing so.
As I drifted out into the very cold night, I couldn’t help but feel enthused and excited about my first taste of Diwali delights this year. All I can say is, I can’t wait for the feasts to follow.
And on a final note, Happy Diwali everyone!