I would cook turkey marinated in tandoori masala for a whole day, stuffed with winter vegetables such as onions, potatoes, radishes, ocra, eggplant, whole garlic, chilies etc. I would make baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, pumpkin pie stuffing and cream cheese rolls, baked cauliflower (my mom's recipe), bacon wrapped shrimps. butternut squash stirred with garlic and oregano, caramelized onion pie, mash potatoes, warmed bread rolls and green bean casserole. Others would bring with them pecan pies, pumpkin pies, chocolate cakes and we would all indulge in the festivities with rounds of wine, beer, whiskey and my favourite Jagermeister over ice.
Why do I not have photos of these dinners. Well simple, when cooking for 20 people you dont have a moment to step back and take photos.
Well that was a different era. A different life.
A few days back I had the opportunity to meet Chef Faure of the famous culinary school Le Cordon Bleu at the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai. The Chef was in town as part of the 10 day French Pastry festival and was giving demos on pastry making and working with other Chefs and Souschefs in the Oberoi kitchen.
How to make dessert truly Masterchef style:
Chef Faure explains:
Designing a special dessert for your loved ones takes emotion, color & technique.
Conceptualise with the main ingredient.
The chef picked truffles as his ingredient for dessert for us.
Truffles! truffles! those delectable beautiful warm smelling expensive mushrooms. I've had it once before on a beautiful chicken dish but never in dessert. How how will it work? I could not wait to see this come together.
So truffles goes well in brown sauce on chicken, froi gras, so how will it work on dessert.
Well it has to be a warm sauce- it should be a caramel sauce! On some fruit like pears. The pears should be poached in sugar syrup. Leave the stem on so that it does not look like its from a can.
The soft texture of the pear contrasted with something crispy and light.
Puff pastry ofcourse!
Puff pastry with fresh pastry cream, a generous drizzle of caramel sauce with truffle bits served with a dollop of ice cream.
What a beautiful idea. If only I had the skills to bake as well. But I did photograph the chef putting it together. The chef explained the dessert in half French and half English- animated with his hands clearly passionate. After all he did make dessert for the Prince of Monaco.
Presenting Chef Faure:
|Avanika enjoying the dessert|
|I gave the chef a hug.. it was a beautiful dessert.|
|Mumbai! The view from the Oberoi|
The sweetness of the pears and the pastry cream went smoothly with the sweetness of the caramel. The bits of truffle were earthy, crumbly that spread a warmness behind my ears.
Every bite I took I felt like Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds as he sat across from Shoshanna chomping on the freshest strudel with the freshest cream. Coffee for himself and milk for poor poor poor Shoshanna.
Click here for the recipe.
I wanted to add something before I sign off. Two years back on Thanksgiving day I sat horrified in front of the TV as I was getting dinner ready for friends watching the 26/11 carnage unfold on the news. But today the city seems to be back to normal. It was constantly in the back of my mind, as I sat at the Oberois- the events that unfolded two years back.
I think of where I am today. I have a lot to be thankful for. I miss the wonderful friends I left behind in Chicago, New York, Texas- best friends- unconditionally for life- many of whom I may never see again. (I hope thats not true and atleast we have skype).
Today I have a new life with new people in it- school friends, college friends, blogging friends, design friends, Ogilvians, Landorians, Wabi Sabi Women, neighbors, cousins, mom and dad, Janu and Pepper.
I have a lot to be thankful for.