India

Why India

India was chosen when we did our brainstorming session to choose countries for 2019. And why would we not go to India – the origin of so much delicious food. The blend of spices in good Indian food is a delight to the taste buds.

My experience of India

I’ve never been to India and, to be honest, it would be very close to the bottom of my travel wishlist. Everyone talks about the noise, the smells, the crush of people, the poverty – it all sounds too confronting for me. I even have no desire to see the Taj Mahal, however ignorant that might seem on my behalf. My desire to travel is to see the natural beauty of the planet – not the consequences of its overcrowding.

Although, having said, maybe it might be good to see Diwali, but without the noise, the smells and the crush of people. I suspect that would never happen, and maybe it would be nothing without said noise, smells and crush.

The food, though. This journey is all about the food. And it sounds awesome. Cannot wait!

Preparation

We’ll have lunch in India on Sunday 30 June. Hopefully the heaters will have been installed in the pergola and we can sit outside in the warm. But let’s wait and see.

I’ve invited a couple of friends – Peter and Natalie, and there’ll be the founding members (Lauren, Will and the kids) and our honorary life member (Jan).

The menu

This is what the menu is looking like:

  • Spiced snack mix
  • Naan
  • Yoghurt chutney
  • Khatti dal
  • Saag paneer
  • Aloo masala
  • Lime rice
  • Butter chicken
  • Goan pork vindaloo
  • Chicken and shrimp curry
  • Punjabi-style carrot pudding
  • Goan coconut cake
  • Masala chai

Lauren and Will are on cocktail duty, and Will is going to make the butter chicken. Lauren is in a dilemma – she has found two cocktail recipes and doesn’t know which one to make. There’s a very easy and very obvious solution to that particular dilemma, Lauren!

Sounding good!

The food

As is becoming the norm, the food was fabulous. Will made butter chicken that was to die for. The pork vindaloo was voted dish of the day, although my favourite was the butter chicken. The spiced snack mix was also very popular. The lime rice went very quickly as did the naan, and the chicken and shrimp curry was delicious.

The carrot pudding was nice, and the coconut cake was lovely later on with the leftover syrup from the cocktail poured over it.

Natalie brought a platter of the most delicious looking Indian sweets. The good thing about Indian sweets is all the sugar.

Here are the recipes for our faves – India best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The drinks

Lauren brought two cocktails.

The first was an Indian cardamom cocktail, which was a tad weird and took a little getting used to. But it was OK after a little while.

And it being Negroni week this week, we thought we’d try an East Indian Negroni. Yeah – no. It wasn’t all that nice, although we had to substitute some of the ingredients – five-island rum and Lustau East India Sherry are not on the shelves of our regular go-to grog shops. Maybe if we had the all proper ingredients, it might have been nicer. But then again, maybe not.

The ambience

It was a fairly cool day but we stoically had our first course outside with the patio heater on full blast. But it is winter, after all, and we adjourned indoors for desserts and quizzes.

The quiz

Will won the quiz. Again. Truly, I am going to put in a concerted effort to beat him next time. And we didn’t do so well in The Age quiz.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_India

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_India

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_India

The highlight of lunch in India

The vindaloo was voted the dish of the day with the spiced snack mix a close second. My dish of the day was the butter chicken. Thank you, Will!

Where to next?

We are off to Turkey on 28 July. Turkey should be great – I’ve already done some research on the food, and it looks fabulous – bourek, gozleme, baba ganoush, Turkish bread, Turkish delight. Mmmmm, my stomach is growling in anticipation already.

 

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