Usha Singh

I consider myself one of ‘those fortunate ones’; as I was at the Le Creuset/Reza Mahammad food demo on the 27/05/2013 held at the Pick ‘n Pay Good Food Studio in Johannesburg. The Le Creuset teams Jill Macgregor was at the entrance to welcome guests and she made sure all the guests were comfortable and well taken care—snacks and drinks galore – ‘low and behold the snacks were vegetarian!!’ There were sweet potato and goats cheese samoosas (page 10), spinach and paneer koftas (page 80)

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I had gone on my own, however I did get to meet some new and interesting people, and I was totally surprised as to how many people are interested in Indian Food – this made me feel good.

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There is no arrogance or anything pretentious about Reza, he went about the demo and whilst cooking many a time he got carried away while chatting –after all he has a wealth of information and he tries to share as much as he can in the short time that he has. He is a walking talking “Google”—ask him anything about Indian food, spices and their history–and voila he has enough information to share and fill a series of books on the topic. Unfortunately the 2 hours allocated for the demo – was not enough, as I do realize that he had lots more interesting information to share with us.

During his demo he cooked a spinach kofta in tomato gravy (page 80), jewelled rice (page 135), chicken in  cashew nut gravy (page 93) and an asparagus and bean sprout salad (page 116). Whilst he was cooking he invited guests to come and taste dishes after each stage of the cooking – he mentioned he cooks in “flavour layers”.  He was kind enough not to add chicken stock into the jewel rice so that it would be totally vegetarian and I could have a taste. When Reza talks about the amalgamation of spices and taste he refers to it as an orchestra playing music on your tongue.

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Once all the dishes were ready – he plated up tasters for each and every one of us. Reza also made time to sign each of our recipe books and take pictures with us (this left him no time to have a breather before the “hands on class” started. For me Reza was a Chef, Poet and excellent ambassador of Indian Cuisine- a big THANK YOU to LE CRUSET for organising this event—hopefully we Jorburgers will be treated to a few more events of this nature

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Once the demo and formalities were over, Le Cruesets Jamie Paine made her way to each one of the guests present to introduce herself and ascertain their opinions on the event – needless to say all were overwhelmed and overjoyed to have an event of this nature on our the doorstep in Johannesburg, with our own man made mountain (Sandton City) in the background.

While we were saying our goodbyes – the team offered all present more drinks and we were given wonderful Le Crueset Goody Bags – Yipee. The Goody bags contained a French onion soup bowl (lovely bright green) + a silicone spatula. Well I do wonder when Le Crueset will be organizing another event like this.

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I have a copy Reza Mahammads latest recipe book “REZA’S INDIAN SPICE” (packed to the rims with amazing recipes and information), to give to one lucky reader, who correctly answers the following question “Where in the world did Reza go to boarding school”? Email your answers, name, contact telephone numbers and postal address to usha.singh@iafrica.com, with the word REZA in the subject line. Competition closes on the 8th June 2013 and the winner will be announced on the 10th June 2013.

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 I have not recived any remuneration (monetary or ortherwise) for this review/article.

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