Sunday 18 March 2012: the spice road
Today I had lunch with two of my favourite people, Ru and Su. With a combination of Latvian, English, Burmese, Irish and Armenian between them it is always an exotic experience.
Su is a spectacular cook and her kitchen smells of spices and aromatics and the dishes, usually Indian or Burmese, start from these lovely lttle trays and pots of spices. Powdered for adding flavours to sauces and whole spices for dry roasting as a starting for pastes.
The base is onions, garlic, ginger and chilli and the rest is colourful, pungent, delicate and downright delicious. The names too are magical, Haldi (turmeric), Jeeva (cumin), Kali Mirchi (black pepper), Kalouji (nigella seed), Dhania (coriander), Methi (fenugreek) and Elaichi (cardomom) and of course Blachan (dried shrimp paste) without which a Burmese curry is not a Burmese curry.
Today we piled our plates with tandoori chicken and eggplant raiita, madras prawns, meatball curry ( a far cry from a spag topped with tomatoey sauce), dahl and rice. Topped with cooling black Russian tomatoes and slices of cucumber. Ru further tops this with a big, red, chunky chilli!
Sometimes we sit on their balcony overlooking a park and the Swan River quaffing a variation on the Bloody Mary. Well worth adding to your recipe book..the usual BM suspects with added horseradish, celery salt and squeezed lime, now known as a Bloody Nora!
Oh and when we have lunch together away from her fragrant kitchen it is at the local Korean restaurant Shilla and the side dish that kicks ass, kimchi. Now definitely give that a go if you see it anywhere. It is addictive and gives cabbage (of all things) a glorious moment in the light.