Thursday, December 6, 2007

Global Gobbler guest #1 - Mary-Jo

Name: Mary-Jo
Age: 29
Occupation: Chinese medicine practicioner
Favourite food: Olives
Why she deserves the Global Gobbler experience: In exchange for all those needles and cups!

The Verdict
The photo at the start of the ‘Imagining India’ post isn’t the way I’d imagine India – I think Indian food and I think of dahl, curries, pappadums even. The India Joel imagines is fresher and more deconstructed, you can see and taste each separate ingredient, even as you appreciate their sometimes unconventional combining.

We started with a thin slice of nashi pear, its cool crunch contrasting with smooth blended avocado, cumin and tahini, topped with carrot, plump currants and spiked with mint leaves. This is visually appealing food, with bright colours more evocative of India than the food itself – bright orange carrot against avocado green and the white disc of pear

The side was visually spectacular. A pale red yoghurt accented by greens of cucumber and mint. It also tasted amazing, the roasted tomato and paprika yoghurt was the perfect accompaniment to thin ribbons of cucumber, red onion, mint, and sneaky green chilli lurking to give a cool heat. There were also cumin-roasted cashews, again a balance of smooth and crunchy, cool and hot, red and green.

I managed to eat both of my grilled eggplant steaks and the sweet potato mash flavoured with tamarind and coconut milk, though I was filling up at this point, maybe my fault for bringing wine and beer along! The texture of this course was great, the potatoes grated then slowly cooked rather than simply boiled and mashed yet remained creamy thanks to the coconut milk, and freshened by the fresh coriander garnish.

Dessert was so good I ate it all - what I thought was almond cake turned out to be lemon-infused millet with coconut shavings. Sweetness was provided by a slow-cooked sauce of crushed dates, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise that had spent all day simmering. The dessert maintain a fresh taste through the bed of fresh mint it was served on and the lemon zest garnish.

A lot of effort went into designing and creating this food, and all I had to do was appreciate it…. it was so good I even did the dishes! The outdoor setting was perfect for a Melbourne summer’s night, althoughthe mosquitos also had a tasty meal.

Global Gobbler is a once in a lifetime experience I (my belly in particular) won't forget in a hurry. Now to organise my ticket to India...

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