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  • Rita Date

Simple and Elegant

Gool Patel is an enthusiastic hostess that makes food not only taste great but look great as well. I had the pleasure of attending an informal teaching session she had for a few friends.

I thought she would teach two to three recipes but she did much more than that. In just two and a half hours I learned four appetizers, three main dishes and, a salad and three desserts! The dishes she taught us were simple to make but elegant and delicious. She made the process look effortless and kept saying, “see how simple it is, it only takes few minutes.”

Before the actual cooking Gool taught us how to pretty garnishes for the food. Leaves carved with coloured capsicums, tomato roses and sunflowers designed with eggs and carrot flowers also took just a few minutes to make. Gool stressed that garnishes are not difficult or time consuming, can be done a day in advance and can make your dinner party more festive and appreciated. I believe the trick is to make the garnishes before the actual cooking begins; by the time one finishes all the cooking there may not be time or energy for the extra touches and that is precisely why Gool began with showing us the garnishes first.

Carrot rolls, asparagus candles, chicken and orange canapés and eggplant bruschetta, the appetizers taught, were uncomplicated ann substantial. filling. Gool recommends 6 appetizers per person so make 2 of each appetizer per person if you make 3 different types.

Nigella Lawson’s spinach and tomato salad was a salad that could go with so many dishes and the cut spinach leaves tastes as good as the baby spinach leaves. Good feta cheese and plenty of garlic is the key to this salad.

Braided pastry with various fillings is something you find at bakeries and looks impossible to make but Gool showed us how easy it is. This is the one dish I have tried at home and it turned out quite well…this coming from my kids being the critical judges that they are.

The desserts too were effortless. Marinate prunes in orange marmalade and brandy for a few days and top with store bought mousse from Dorabjee’s while serving….Just a little is needed to satisfy the sweet tooth. Your guests will love it.

The time flew that afternoon; I plan to try Gool’s chicken roulade in wine sauce next. Will keep you posted.

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