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We have all been to at least one book reading sessions in recent times. Normally held at a noted library or in affable book clubs, it denotes a serious intellect that throng these events. Imagine doing one in the comfort of a quaint house on the hilly slopes of Sangolda – Mustard. A three course delicately crafted menu loosely associated with a novel had Poonam Singh and Shilpa Sharma along with Odette Mascarenhas – the author, host the event and indeed it had a delightful surprise in store for us.
Odette Mascarenhas, known in many food circles as an authority on Goan cuisine is also a well-known food columnist, and the brain behind the Goan Culinary Club – a non-profit venture which strives to preserve the authenticity of the Goan cuisine and research long lost recipes of the past with local chefs and restaurateurs. Her recent novel delves into the lives and times of Goa and Mumbai. A psychological thriller with romance, lust, passion and murder, the protagonist entices you to follow her blindly with her alluring and attractive nature, with an intention to do one wrong with risk along the way. She is the Temptress.
The newly opened ‘villa-restaurant’ – Mustard played venue to unravel this event with an experiential evening of literature and music with a specially crafted three-course menu of signature French and Bengali cuisines to launch and celebrate this book. Customers were enthralled with songs in Konkani and English by Joanne Fernandes, a well-known singer and songwriter that added character and flavour to the recital. The starters were French inspired Luchi followed by unique additions of their famous Pineapple Chutney and Chana Dal. Guests interacted and sat down for a musical recital of the same, which enthralled one and all.
An interesting twist lay in the finer details of characters from the novel inspiring the menu on offer. The Aloo Dum – a dish that graced the tables of both nobility and commoner found comfort in the pristine purity of Luchi. Perpetua de Souza, a character in the novel depicting similar traits, inspired this.
Innocent Noronha’s heavily inspired Maachher Paturi – peels of banana leaves flirting with the seduction of the mustard fish. The Cabbage Patri Dalna – bland and insipid on its own, the dowry with an exciting mix of spices made the dish an attractive proposition from the lives of Miriam Desal closely followed by Mezbani Mangsho – a sensual mutton curry leading everyone to fall in love with it had Carissa Desal to thank for the inspiration. The dessert had one asking for more in the Bhapa Doi.