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New Book Launched and My Trip

01/10/2012

New Book Launched and My Trip

New Book Out!

Grand book launches are becoming relics of the past so having a book launch at the British High Commissioner's residence in Delhi was really fitting. The grand home spoke to me of the strong historic ties between India and Britain and political power parties on the lawn. I almost felt that Nehru or Gandhi might make an appearance.

The British High Commissioner very kindly hosted a party to launch Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feast. In his speech, he welcomed us (the “chefs”) to India and talked about what a great year the UK has had, how tikka masala was almost a national dish and how we produce more cheese than the French (is this true or had I had one glass too many?)!

The evening was lovely and I felt very honoured to be there and it was really the cherry on the top of a great trip.

Delhi : dinner for 240

My India trip was really fantastic. There were lots of highlights and firsts for me but none more so than cooking for 240 people. I was one of 6 chefs to cook a course for a charity dinner. The proceeds went to sponsor training for the underprivileged in the food world.

I decided to make a char-grilled spiced mushroom salad with roasted butternut squash with crème fraiche and green peppercorns. I was understandably nervous as most of the other chefs had Michelin stars.

This feeling of being out-ranked increased once I read their dishes (i.e. all the confits, foams, dehydrated foods, sea weed jellies, sous-vides etc.) but stayed true to my own style. Just days before the event I was informed that despite their best efforts the fantastic team from the Oberoi Hotel in Gurgoan were unable to source some key ingredients. Cue, the smuggling in of a box of butternut squash and homemade crème fraiche and the dish finally came together! Despite all the drama, I had such a great time doing this event and the dish went down really well. I have included the recipe in the newsletter for you to try at home.

South Africa and Bunny Chow

My visit to Johannesburg was a 40-hour whirl wind of demos and book signings. I felt so welcomed by all my South African fans and absolutely loved their upbeat attitudes, warmth and distinctive accents that it almost didn’t matter that the oven stopped working mid demo while I was telling everyone that my soufflé never fails to rise!

I am really interested in the local food and as I wasn’t around long enough to try a lot, I spent quite some time talking about it. My favourite story was that of Bunny Chow, which is basically a helping of curry in a slightly-hollowed out loaf of bread.

There are many stories as to its origin and etymology but most believe it is what migrant workers took to work or bought from vendors at work. Bunny is thought to come from the word Bania, a community of Indians who settled there and chow the word for food. As a loaf of bread held together better than Indian flat breads, curries were served/transported in a hollowed out quarter or half loaf o f bread.

The dish has become part of the fabric of local cuisine and is still widely eaten today in Durban. I have included the recipe in the newsletter for you to try at home.

Delicious!

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