Of Feasts and Thoughts At 40!
My greatest learning .......turning 40..
I can't believe this is my first post of the year it has been incredibly busy with my little kiddies and ..it all started with turning 40 ....
Every birthday is a milestone …reminding us of the year gone by and a new year to look forward to …most of us put labels to what must be done at a particular age and time.
Turning 40 is said to be a huge milestone as one is officially middle aged (though the new mantra is 40 is the new 30!!) In my 39th year, a lot of people would tell me about their 40’s and how turning 40 is a major milestone in one’s life. Some mark it as the beginning of weakness of the body like bones or eyes and some of just letting go and doing what their heart desires - much like getting a driver’s license at the age of 18, I feel that at 40, people are looking for a license to be free.
There are no rules on turning 40…with many experiences, one has a greater understanding of life, one can be thankful for the life one has led and to look forward to many more fantastic years ahead. This is the year I have learnt that if you want to do something , the time is NOW..I lam learning to be a seeker …how to “see”’ yourself and do hope to understand myself more , enjoying each moment life presents itself and dish out some fantastic and delicious food for my loved ones through Rolling Pin.
I would'nt place lable any age or phase of life and live them as life brings them to me ...
This birthday , all thanks to my husband, I was gifted a trip to visit my parents in India , to seek their blessings and for a culinary journey which was very close to my heart..a trip I shall cherish always.
Seeking blessings from my parents , I was treated to a beautiful restaurant which had a very unique concept ..Lavaash by Saby in New Delhi, India. It is an Armenian restaurant with a Bengali twist - this concept is the brainchild of Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, and is centred around his childhood years he spent in Asansol (in Bengal, India - which was an Armenian colony around 2 centuries ago) and his connect with the cuisine he relished in his early years. Wonderfully decorated with Armenian motifs and each dish on the menu ,so carefully crafted...a must visit for any foodie .
The Armenians gave tolmas, tonir(the tandoor), panir, lavaash and curds to India..which have become a part of it's rich cuisine. A large part of Armenians reside outside Armenia , now a few hundreds in West Bengal , India. One of the wives of Empreror Akbar was thought to be of Armenian origin and the Stephen Court Building in Park Street which houses the famous Flury's restaurant was built by an Armenian.
(source: news article on www.lavaashbysaby.com)
Since it was a celebration, my senses were working full time and I got very little time to click photos...here are just some of the photos..by the time I reached the main course...it was impossible to snap everything!
Lavaash , the unleavened bread is the only food item that has earned a spot in the UNESCO'S in tangible cultural heritage list is prepared to perfection.
Lavaash Cheese Pizza...with Bandel cheese which originated in the Portuguese colony of Bandel in West Bengal...as real treat for the kiddies!
We loved the Amaranth Salad..bursting with flavours, Ramdana puffs, roasted vegetables, my favourite aragula:) , pumkin seeds, batabi lemon and spicy tamarind dressing .
Prawn Tolma...delcious onions stuffed with coconut milk , ginger, chilli ,prawns and kasundi.
Tolmas are Armenian traditional stuffed vegetable dishes usually associated with mothers cooking.
The KK Cutlet..Colocasia and Jackfruit cutlet wrapped in Potato spirals...originated in Kolkatta through the Armenian influence ...
Warm Virgin toddy (made of Apple juice and spices) for a chilly evening in Delhi...just perfect...!
We savoured mored dishes like the mutton rezala, the kathi kebabs, pide pies, Lavaash Fish, Buttered Govindbhog rice, Claypot bread...finishing off with Ponchiki-the Armenian version of filled doughnuts and the Old Monk Mousse.
We had a real foodies treat that evening , one that will be relished for years ...nothing can top great food , meeting old friends and being with family.
This was not my last stop for my 40th!! as my husband had planned a real foodie getaway at Gaggan , Bangkok...I could'nt wait to indulge all my senses at the much talked about progressive Indian restaurant , ranked the 10th best in the world in 2015:)(http://www.theworlds50best.com/)
I take you on a visual tour of Gaggan for here you must visit and experience with your own senses...
The Simplicity of Gaggan
Bites for India Eat with your hands...Nachos Mood today, Yoghurt Explosion, Edible Plastic Spiced Nuts,Chocolate Chilly Bomb,Bird's Nest,Onion Pakoda,Papadam and Tomato Chutney,Corn /Lamb Samosa,Idly Sambhar.................
Charcoal...a surprise feature.had to guess what it was...everything was edible!
DECODED! Mince of peas for the veggies and fish for the non vegetarians
Magic Mushroom..Truffles, Forest Mushrooms in a shape of a log,edible soil and the garden
Red Matcha..After a cold salad of tomatoes and grapes, then hot tomato tea ceremony
Herbed marinated cottage cheesewrapped in edible leaves with tender coconut dashi
Patrani..A non vegetarian option ...herbed marinated fish wrapped in edible leaves with tender coconut dashi
Pickle..White asparagus in sweet and sour Punjabi pickled mix
Lentil cake snow with curry leaves and mustard seeds
Kebab at Last ..Paneer sandwiched with Bengali 5 spices
And Free range Lamb chops sous vide, finished in the the tandoor
I want my curry!!!..
Kashmiri morels,fenugreek and fresh green peas curry with steamed rice
And Blue swimmer crab coastal curry with steamed rice
Finally ...the deserts...Gajar Halwa ...Black carrot ice cream, crispy carrot flower,and cardamom oil
Fall season ..leaves from the Royal Farm with basil ice cream and 70% chocolate
Bombay Cassatta..Pistachio, mango, rose milk, cardamom, paan leaves and popping candy
Digestive Tamarind Leather
Yes , if you are wondering ...we ate all of the above!!.we took arund 3 hours, feasting ...and enjoying each and every flavour in each dish that was presented as pieces of art ....a celebration for all our senses...
As the day ended , I had but one feeling ......a strong sense of gratitude that remained in me for the rest of our journey back home.