I've recently returned to New Zealand from India where 14 lovely gastronomads helped me access my inner spice goddess on my tour of Jaipur, Goa, Kolkata and Darjeeling. We block printed our own scarves, received blessings in temples, bejewelled ourselves and gathered vegetables on a farm before learning how to combine them with pomegranates, pistachios and coconut into fabulous Rajasthani batis (deepfried unleaven bread balls). The rasoi (kitchen) is the centre, heart and the very core of Indian hearth and home – it's where love is transferred and sanity is restored. When not eating and cooking we cruised on rivers, danced, sang and went completely native. The October 2018 tour is almost full but there are still a few places on this colourful, outrageous adventure.
Vibrant Vietnam in April?
Feel like eating sweet mangoes, slurping on pho soup, watching fish and chickens meeting their maker in the market, eating noodle pillows, sleeping with jasmine flowers, munching on banana leaves and nibbling on French pastries in Vietnam? This is a land of staggering beauty and wildly divergent cultures. It manages to be both exotic and adorable at the same time. I first visited Vietnam to write a book on its famous pho soup and the love I feel for the country has not changed in 15 years. It is the most fabulous (and easy to get to) destination. We have a few places left for 31 March to 10 April 2018.
Haming it up
Regarding the Christmas ham – it's expensive but it's worth it in terms of feeding the multitudes and remaining the calm fragrant person you really are. My method is simple to the point of falling asleep.
- Buy organic cooked ham on the bone - Havoc is the best
- Buy a proper ham stand for carving
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees
- Remove skin with fingers and place on bottom of roasting pan
- score ham, pour marmalade all over and stick cloves in
- Place ham on top of skin, pour a cup of orange juice into pan and roast for one hour
- Place ham on stand with trotter end at the top
- To carve, cut a deep wedge at the top near the trotter,
- then carve in a straight angle down to the bone. Enjoy!!
Another exciting year is over, I said goodbye to my mother this time last year and my lovely niece married the man of her dreams last week, so let the circle be unbroken. Family, friends and love are the glue that sticks us together and stop us from falling off the earth. I'm off to a family Christmas in Melbourne then the romantic Tamil Nadu culinary tour awaits in January. May your Christmas be full of falling pomegranates and crushed rose petals and may your New Year be spent cleaning them all up.