I ate some seriously incredible curries on my travels around Asia. Creamy sag (spinach) paneer in Northern India, green bean curry with black mustard seeds in Sri Lanka, and of course, a dahl-cious amount of lentil soups and stews, eaten with rice, chapati, or roti. One of my favorites curries was eaten in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, a thick spicy coconut broth, rich with the spices I’ve always associated with Indian cuisine, and filled with fat rice noodles and vegetables. It was a heady blend of flavours.
I grew up in a home with an open door policy. Friends dropped by for lunch last minute and we were grand central for large dinner parties. The fridge was flung open for casual meals with guests and it was a “help yourself to leftovers + salad + good toasted bread” situation. But for suppers (or large lunches) my mom and I carefully plan the menu and cooked elaborate feasts. The table was always full from the multitude of dishes we prepared. If my mom knew that you loved blueberry pie or hated cinnamon, she wrote it down in her entertaining book and it would appear/disappear from the meal. My grandfather’s moto “if you go home hungry it’s your own damn fault” rang true. Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up between being my mom’s assistant, and hosting my own plethora of dinners and dinner parties.
The last two days in Montreal were marked by intense rain storms, winds of 100km/hr, and power outages. I slept over at my parents house in order to help them host a family lunch… we ate in the dark by candle light after running outside to stop our neighbour’s carport from rolling into our car. It was a close call. Needless to say, Fall is turning to Winter and that means it’s time to add easy, delicious, and satisfying soups to our repertoire.
I spent three wonderfully intense weeks in Vietnam this summer. Big cities were an endless whirlwind of motorbikes, street food, and humidity. I didn’t expect to be so blown away by the beauty in the North, from the overcrowded boat tour through limestone pillars in the Cat Ba Archipelago, to the serene beauty of the Ha Giang Loop, a three day scooter ride on vividly green, winding mountain roads through farm land… Vietnam took my breath away.
My dad’s birthday was celebrated in a cozy Mexican restaurant as my friend’s band strummed out dynamic Latin songs. I brought this cake for dessert and the plate was all but licked clean by my parents, our friends, and the restaurant staff.
My friend came over dinner the other night and as we sat down to the main course, she commented that she was envious of my calm and control in the kitchen, my multitasking abilities. For that reason I’ve put together a few tidbits that I’ve picked up over the years that I’ve found helpful.
This week’s sunny Fall Monday was enjoyed in a deliciously relaxed manner, as though Sunday was on repeat. I’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving in a traditional way, it’s right around the rush of Jewish Holidays; Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, etc, and that point the idea of hosting another big dinner that involves an all day cook fest is pretty much off the table. However, yesterday my roommate and I decided to take a lackadaisical approach and view the holiday Monday as an extension of the weekend, hosting an easy and scrumptious little brunch for four.