Of Gems, Spices and Exotic Inspiration

    Julia Hill
    Julia Hill

    Location | Ligging : All Around The World
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    Join date | Datum aangesluit : 2011-08-28
    Age | Ouderdom : 48

    Of Gems, Spices and Exotic Inspiration Empty Of Gems, Spices and Exotic Inspiration

    Post by Julia Hill on Mon 27 Feb 2012, 4:30 am

    Every once in a while one is “gifted” or given a gem .... a gem of such rarity and beauty it pretty much defies description – most often these gifts have no shape or form but are experiences that you will carry in your heart or spirit. Having changed my life rather dramatically through relocation recently, to be presented with such a gift is all the more precious, and revitalising. Now to be honest I am blessed daily with wonderful experiences and interactions ... but this deserves an attempt at putting pen to paper ...

    First off, this week I have been working at an airline company, whose training centre is about a 30 minute walk from where I live (the walk in itself being so enjoyable), and being the training centre we get all cultures in the restaurant and coffee bar ... and having discovered that I lived in South Africa, my manager, a wonderful lady called Mary, has taken great pains to introduce me to all the regulars who are South African in origin – but the most unexpected surprise came in from the left side – a delightful young Japanese man who was here for training as part of the ground crew programme – each day he would shyly request in quiet English a large cappuccino to take away ... well on Tuesday I popped out for a breath of fresh air, and truthfully, a cigarette during my lunch break as it had been one heck of a morning ... and there he was in the smoking shelter, we chatted a little and when he discovered I had only recently come back to England from South Africa he launched into a slightly formal and stiff but perfectly excellent greeting – in AFRIKAANS – it turns out he had worked at the Embassy for Japan a few years ago in Groenkloof – I have to say that the chat we had – which then progressed to a daily chat until he left on Friday was the most musical and beautiful rendition of Afrikaans to my ears – what a beautiful blessing, a stunning gift – one that both of us enjoyed.

    And then to things culinary which of course is right up my alley. Another of my gifts is that I have managed to see quite a bit of my dear friend Serena who left South Africa more than nine years ago. Well off we went on a girls night out on Friday, a gentle stroll round Reigate, a lovely little town, and then off to explore to find a nice place to eat ... and here is the gift that she presented ...

    Very unassuming, and simple in setting, down a little side street was Everest Spice ... it had been recommended by a friend, who knowing that Serena is vegetarian, assured her that she would not be disappointed. The white walls – somewhat reminiscent of the Chinese restaurants in Cyrildene in their heyday, without the gilt and kitsch, decorated with simple paintings depicted various scenes from Nepal and India - with beautiful white table cloths, linen napkins and unadorned crockery and cutlery – it seemed somehow so much more refined and beautiful. It was not quiet, there were plenty of folks eating in, but it had a peace and tranquillity that was underlying, in every movement or action, the staff soft spoken, making it almost difficult to understand their medley of accents. Their movements gentle and fluid, making it appear somehow magical the way they presented their offerings.

    We dined on the most simple of faire, being vegetarian BUT I cannot remember when I have last been treated to a culinary assault on my senses, such as this ... the spices layered, suited to each dish to absolute sublime perfection, absolutely nothing jarred, nothing clashed, each dish was a perfect marriage ... I humbly bow before this chef in admiration. Each dish had a definitive texture, and completely different layering in the spices to make each a new and exotic experience. Aubergines were juicy, plump and mouth-watering, the bread chewy and crunchy all in one go, and the mint providing a “pop up” freshness that made me want to giggle (well it was the mint and the great conversation with Serena ). The capsicum with the okra was just cheeky enough to get us glowing, and then leave us blushing. It is hard to encapsulate each and every taste, but enough to say that each and every mouthful was like being taken on a magic trip, a beautiful trip, that nourished soul, mind and palate.

    Thank you Serena, for this gift, of a most inspiring dining experience, and the pleasure of your awesome company  a night to remain in fond memories always.

    Just for interest I have included below our meal selection and the restaurants description (I am hesitant to add one of my own recipes at this stage – I feel kudos to this little restaurant should remain as the firm ingredient)

    Aloo Phul Gobi
    A tasty serving of sautéed potatoes, cauliflower cooked with mustard seeds, coriander and finished with a touch of tomato garnished with spring onions

    Saag Ra Paneer
    Homemade Cottage Cheese with Spinach

    Bhenta Ko Tarkaari
    Baby aubergine cooked wth special care to preserve its original Nepalese flavour

    Bhindi Sukha
    Whole Okra cooked with tomatoes, spring onions and capsicum

    Pudina Paratha
    Wholemeal Unleavened bread with mint flavour

    Pilau Rice
    Basmati Rice cooked with Bay leaves

    (c) Julia Claire Hill
    26 February 2012

    All material remains under copyright
    (c) Julia C Hill

      Current date/time is Fri 26 Apr 2019, 5:09 am