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livin’ la vida local

There I said it. That song’s been stuck in my head and I don’t even like Ricky Martin. Sorry. Nope. Nyet. Not one bit. But I do like living in Lane Cove. It’s central, it’s safe, it’s perfect for families with young children and hopefully in the next few months were going to see new life injected into this suburb.

There’s been plenty of criticism about the new developments but I say bring it on. Urban sprawl is creeping up on all of us so we may as well stop fighting it and embrace it instead. And with that in mind we figured why go to Surry Hills or Whoop Whoop for a good Indian meal before even giving Indian Fusion a chance.  

 

Yes we know there are already a few Indian restaurants in the Cove. But bear with us as we prattle on about our meal last Tuesday night. A motley bunch of us congregated at Indian Fusion. 

  

    
 

Four Indians, one from each corner of the Motherland, plus one from Ireland (you know how I love the Irish – especially those that cook rogan gosh meaner than any I’ve ever had) and one beautiful woman originally from Sierra Leone then London now Sydney, sat down with a bottle of wine and decided the menu was way too extensive to choose from. 

  

So we let a very traditional waiter in shorts and a tee decide for us. Okay okay Robert was off duty – we found out he is actually the general manager – and decided this would be a very long night if he let us loose on the menu! He decided what we should eat and boy were we impressed!!

I’d like to say straight off the bat that every single starter was superb. Malai tikka, oh you gorgeous thing how I do love you!! And fusion chaat and tandoori chicken I would marry you if I wasn’t already spoken for. Ouch, my vegetarian friend is poking me hard in the ribs and insisting I mention the galoutti kebabs too. And the onion rings and the paneer. Oh the paneer. Marry me now!!! 
  

  

But the serious SERIOUS highlight for me had to be the lamb chops. You have not lived till you sink your teeth into those oogley boogley delicate little morsels that fall off the bone and into your mouth. Even my ‘trying to be vegetarian’ friend succumbed – and and one point we were pretty sure she’d lick her plate clean.  

  

As I looked around the table the other thing that struck me was how beautifully diverse have become. How small the world now is. How sweetly we live next door to each other in harmony. How there is no common language greater than the language of love and friendship and food and laughter. There are a lot more things I’d like to look at, but I was getting quite full by now and could barely roll my eyeballs so had to focus on the mains that were about to arrive…

Naaaaaaan!! Naan. Garlic naan. Butter naan. And the absolutely most stupendous chilli coriander naan!! Woot!! Robert you have outdone yourself. Harpreet Singh with your gorgeous pink turban you have six women hanging off your every word as you put our mains down at the table.

  

The paneer, the chicken, both were good. But the Yakhni, this delicious slow cooked lamb…oom nom nom nom. I also have to make a special mention of the channa upon which the pattie was served.  The problem is I don’t want to give too much away. YOU. JUST. HAVE. TO. GO. THERE. AND. EAT. IT. ALL.!!!!!

   
 

As we came to the end of our meal we were so full we can barely swallow our spit. But there is a God and I know this because he gave women separate dessert stomachs. Don’t ask me how we managed to stuff our faces with kulfi and gaajar halwa and ras malai. But we did.

So with a bellyful of curry and a heart full of grace I thank this gorgeous suburb I live in. And I’m so grateful that good solid authentic Indian flavours are only a stumble up the laneway. We’ll be back! Dee x

 

EDIT: Stop press! This note has just come through from one of the girls that was in our group on Tuesday night.

She says, “We just back from the restaurant. We couldn’t stay away and will be very frequent customers. We couldn’t eat everything – tried our hardest but we just couldn’t fit it all in. Went 100% veggie this time. Had a veggie starter platter and shared a main with rice. Bought our own wine. Total was $71 – such fantastic value. Service was not as prompt and we waited some time to order, they were much much busier though.”

Wow. Twice in the same week must be a good thing no?

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why would you go to an irish woman’s house?

To eat curry of course!! And what a mighty fine rogan josh it was. Made lovelier because I didn’t have to cook it. (Not that I’ve ever cooked a curry from scratch but still!!). 

So allow me to introduce Lisa. This lovely dear friend who cooks with passion and loves with heart. And has her own amazing blog where she Junk’d the Junk and had inspired many a yummy meal at our house. 

 

And she even wrote a guest blog post for me. She gives me a lot more credit than I’m due, but thank you gorgeous girl. One day I will hit you up for that rogan josh recipe but in the meanwhile I’ll just pop over next time you make some! So without any further ado here’s Lisa…

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If you are meant to be shot – you won’t drown!

Let me explain. I’ve a new old friend. I’ve known this woman for a few years and I feel like we had been on the cusp of a friendship for some time. Recently though it’s changed from an acquaintance into something more. 


Why the title of this this post? Well its simple, this new old friendship nearly never happened. My new friend became seriously unwell and was in a coma for some time last year. However being the tough nut fighter that she is, she did the virtually impossible and survived. I’m very glad that she did!


Lovely Dee who is beautiful inside and out. The most generous girl you could meet– if you say something like “what a lovely bracelet” it’s off her wrist and on yours in a flash. I’m very proud to call you my friend. 


Anyway enough smushy stuff already, onwards and upwards and all that. 

We went to an Italian / Lebanese charity cookery class, demonstration and feast a few weeks ago. It was so great. The demonstrators Marta and Tina were funny and engaging.


Their food was amazing. There was Panzanella, Gnocchi Potato and Bean Soup, Hommus, Baba Ghannouj, Parmigiana, Chicken Taouk, Roast Potatoes & Rosemary, Tabbouli, Tiramisu and Baklava. I rolled home.


The atmosphere was chilled and comfortable, the company was excellent and it was for a great cause, fundraising to support the School of St Jude in Tanzania that provides free education to children, who are not able to access private schools. You can find out more about it here www.schoolofstjude.org  


The stand out dish of the evening for me was Tina’s Baba Ghannouj. Look I know I know – Aubergine aka Eggplant is not something I ever got enthusiastic about. That was before. Tina she has changed my view on these shiny purple veggies – no longer are they the slimy oily things I dislike. They have been transformed into one of my very favourite ingredients. I’ve made this dip four times since the cookery class and Hubby#1, Children#1, 2 & 3 and myself are all elbowing each other out of the way to get to the bowl. 

So here it is Tina’s amazing Baba Ghannouj. 


Ingredients

2 Aubergines

2-3 big tablespoons tahini 

1-2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 large lemon

1-2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon olive oil & some to garnish

Pomegranate seeds – or chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish

  


Heat your oven to the highest temp. I rub a little olive oil all over the skin of the Aubergines. Put the onto a grill tray and put into the hot oven for about 10 minutes – turn over and put back for another 10 mins. The time really depends on your oven. You want to blacken the skin and cook the flesh inside. Then peel the skin off and set aside to cool and drain for about 15 mins. 


Meanwhile crush your garlic cloves and juice the lemon. When the aubergines have cooled drain off any excess liquid. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and whiz until smooth. You can do this by hand either just mash up with a fork and use some “elbow grease”. You can add more tahini, lemon, garlic to your taste. We like it with a good bit of tahini in my house.


Now to make it look pretty to serve, scoop in into a bowl, make a well in the centre and drizzle the olive oil over the top and scatter over the pomegranate seeds or chopped parsley. It’s so yum. Serve with flat breads, vegetable stick or crackers. I also like to put great big spoons onto a salad as a dressing. Enjoy. Thanks Tina for the introduction to Baba Ghannouj.


Here we all are enjoying the feast after the Italian-Lebanese Cookery Class. Notice how all the plates are empty – everything was gobbled up. Just shows how yummy it was!