Thursday, December 29, 2005

What I ate for Christmas

We’re still in the midst of celebrations of the birth of Jesus (Sayyidana Is’ah) here at Golmal Towers. The holidays have meant a couple of days of revelry involving getting together with family and friends and cooking lots of delicious food and drinking robust concoctions of fruit and wine. Not much different to the way most people do it I suppose. Being happy go lucky immigrants, Mrs Siddhartha and I made up the culinary traditions as we went along. We prepared a 3 duck roast instead of one big bird. A slow-ish roast with an onion and garlic and soy marinade and basted with a sauce made from lashings of pistacchios, almonds, ghee and ginger. Fluffy edged roast potatoes with butter sautéd chestnuts to complete the 'English' course.

A wondrous Khoresht pilau was prepared which is basmati rice with butter, saffron and pomegranate. (It strikes me as I’m typing this that I fancy attempting a Persian style tah-dig “bottom rice” at some point). Along the way was an Indian style lamb stew in black eyed peas with plenty of fenugreek and coriander. Accompanied with a number of Mrs Sidd’s amazing bhartas (patés) which usually involves mashing the item(s) to a paste and garnished with virgin mustard oil, chillies, red onions, black pepper, garlic and fennel. Some of the bharta contenders were grilled eggplant, pea and shrimp, avocado with cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts with mustard seed and a solid no-nonsense tahini with parsley and garlic. Being of Bangali household, fish is never a second class citizen at Golmal Towers and we went to town with a sublime King Prawn in Thai red curry sauce and a salmon roast with a citrus accent of oranges and limes. Topping the fish was Ruhi, lovingly cooked in trad Bangladeshi-style involving shallots, tomato and coriander sauce in a thick jeera-based sauce. Accompanied with paratha bread, mango, olive and apple chutnies. Not to forget cucumber raita and the Siddhartha salad – my variation of a Leventine salad. Round off with Indian and Syrian sweets (rasmalai and pakhlava make a great multi-textured combo) and dark chocolate ice cream sundae.

Finished off the meal with cigars and wacky roll ups, wine, Arabic gawa (coffee) and a little light music.

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