Friday, March 19, 2010

Neeta's Prawns Hariyali from The Healthy Plate

 "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." - Charles Dickens
It was indeed one of those days, the sun was shining a cool breeze was blowing and it felt hot in the kitchen. I was pondering dinner possibilities when I stumbled over a package on my front door step. Filled with homemade treasures from the UK, my friend, Neeta of  The Healthy Plate had whipped of a few goodies and filled the box with wonderful treasures. 
Irish Smoked Oatcakes, Handmade Shortbread Biscuits with Chocolate and Orange were on top. Underneath were two beautiful packages tied with ribbon. Inside were were handmade fruit rolls tasting of mango, banana, pineapple, blueberry, cardamom and nutmeg. 
Under layers of tissue I found Almond bars made with coconut, seeds and banana. My daughter began devouring the almond bars. She has threatened to hide them from the rest of us. 
I also found 2 jars of handmade spreads, one Almond butter with cayenne and honey the other Hazelnut and cashew butter with dark chocolate. Both are rich and flavorful. As Katy said "Heaven on the end of a spoon".  When I sat down to write a Thank You note, I remembered the Hariyali Shrimp recipe that Neeta had posted and I thought the perfect dinner for a Summer/ Winter day. A little heat, a little sweet, a taste of the sun and sea. An Indian inspired dinner was the perfect end to this Dicken's day. .
The recipe calls for a number of things I didn't have, curry leaves, Garam Masala, ginger and garlic paste and dessicated coconut. With the help of my friend Natasha I was able to navigate the Indian grocery in Elmsford and buy all the appropriate items. (I usually borrow Indian spices from Natu, but I think it's high time I bought my own supply. Natasha, I think you'll agree.)
Curry leaves turned out to have a bit of a bite and an unusual fragrance. They really give the Hirali a lift. Seek out fresh ones if you can. Neeta says they can be omitted.
These are fresh curry leaves. Natasha tells me that leftover leaves can be frozen.
I served the Prawns Hariyali with basmati rice, raita and garlic naan. It was a meal fit for a Mahārāja.
 I copied the recipe directly from Neeta's blog. But have a look yourself and you will find recipes of the goodies in my box.

750 gm uncooked Prawns ( I used one pound)
2 tablespoons Oil
2 Onions - finely chopped
1 big tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ground black Pepper
1 tablespoon Cumin powder
3 tablespoons dessicated Coconut ( I used unsweetened shredded)
2 cups Green Paste
2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon sea salt or more if required
Lemon Juice

Green Paste :

Fresh Coriander, Fresh Mint, Curry leaves
Ratio of 1 : 1/4 : 1/4
Process all together to make a thick paste,
adding a little water as needed.

Prawns Hariyali :

Heat the oil in a deep pan,
saute the chopped onions till they change color
and become light brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry on gentle heat.
Add all the dry spice powders, salt and a drizzle of water just
to keep it very lightly moist.
Saute it all together for a couple of minutes.
Add the dessicated coconut and fry for another 2 minutes.
Then add the Green paste and fry together till all
the ingredients are cooked, nothing remains raw.
Finally add the uncooked prawns and mix gently till
the prawns are coated with the Green Masala.
Let it simmer till the prawns are cooked,
Be careful not to over cook the prawns or else
they get rubbery and lose their right texture and taste.
Add lemon juice to garnish before serving.
The post before the Prawns Hariyali, Neeta had awarded me the Happy 101 and The Sunshine Badge. It was in the Happy Sunshine Post where she suggested we keep these two awards together. I agree, it's a great idea Neeta!.
Here are the rules, You are required to list 10 things that make you happy  and try to do one today. Award 10 other bloggers that brighten your day and bring you sunshine. The 10 bloggers receiving the award must link back to my blog. 

The things that make me happy?

My children:-), Friends, Traveling, Cooking, Photography, Books, Writing, Knitting, Learning new things and Blogging!
I pass these two awards onto;
                                 Monique at La Table de Nana 
                                 Hungry Dog
                                 Kathy at Sweet up North Mornings

 All of these blogs make me smile again and again. Thanks everyone!
I've been so remiss in my blogging I've missed being a part of The Saturday Blog Showcase. Hosted by Ann at Thibeault's Table and Lori at All that Splatters, visit and have a look at what's cooking this Saturday.

All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef

Monday, March 15, 2010

Be There... Don't Just Go There...

Treat yourself to a French country experience in the heart of Bourbon Auvergne at  beautiful   Jardins des Thevenets.  It's the opportunity to relax and enjoy new friends, explore a medieval village, learn how to make mustard, attend a wine tasting at the oldest vineyard in France, all while learning new cooking techniques and sampling new foods.  You will enjoy all of this in one of the most beautiful spots in France. 
Surrounded by 9 hectares of woods and organic herb fields the old Manor house has been renovated to allow modern amenities but still retains it's old world rustic charm. The carriage house is now a beautiful idyllic pool. Perfect for a swim before your afternoon nap.

Lying between Lyon and Paris, The Auvergne is the best kept secret of France. Off the beaten track in the heart of the countryside, it's only a short drive to Vichy and it's chic boutiques and restaurants. You'll enjoy the quiet of the country and the amazing charm of the surrounding area. What you won't see are hordes of tourists and the blare of traffic. 

Lynn and Olivier Chaulieu your hosts, will welcome you and make you a part of their home.  
We will enjoy the carefree lifestyle of rural France, while learning new cooking techniques and eating all the best the area has to offer. 
 All bedrooms are decorated in a different theme and have their own toilet and bath or shower.  Both Lynn and Olivier are artists and this translates into a gorgeous and eclectic style.  
An authentic French adventure, a visit to Jardins des Thevenets will take you to the heart of french hospitality and adventure. Lynn a vivacious and outgoing hostess knows everyone in the area. With Lynn we will meet the people that make the Auvergne unique place it is. She knows everyone personally and this opens the doors to having the authentic experience of being there not just going there. 

Lynn, a woman who can do it all,  holds an Organic Agricultural Diploma. She tends the land surrounding the Manor House, runs the B&B,  and is a gifted and intuitive cook. She can whip together an delicious, organic meal for 12 in under two hours using the best ingredients of the region. What's more she is willing to share her shortcuts and recipes. 
Pam, a trained chef has been cooking professionally for over 25 years. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she has been teaching students the fine art of preparing meals in a simple and healthy manner. As a Flight Attendant, Pam has traveled extensively and brings with her a knowledge of the world's finest cuisines.Together, we combine the cuisines of Asia, South Africa and Europe to enhance a cooking/learning experience that will enrich your culinary expertise.
Upon arrival you will receive a booklet of recipes and gift of cooking utensils that you can utilize in the future recreating the meals you made here in France.
Remember, this is not just a cooking class, it's a French Experience! We will relax in a beautiful well appointed manor house, travel around the district meeting and dinning with locals. Visit antique markets, food markets and and the chic stores and boutiques of Vichy. 
 Our dining experiences will run the gamut from Maison Decoret, an amazing fine dining experience to dinner at the local bistro. 
This year you will learn to temper chocolate, prepare chocolate bark, and an assortment of Truffles and chocolate treats you will be able to take home with you.
The tap water is the water bottled for Volvic! Does it get better than that? 
France, Jardins des Thevenets, food and wine,  a perfect escape. 
Join us, won't you?

Day 1 Sunday
Upon arrival at Gare de Vichy you will be met and transported to Jardins des Thevenets. Settle into your room, relax with a swim in the pool. We will meet for aperitifs and all meet in the lounge for welcome aperitifs and hors d'oeuvres. Lynn will prepare one of her delicious dinners with the best organic and locally produced ingredients.
Day 2 Monday
Each day begins with a petite dejuener of fresh pan au chocolat, croissants, homemade muffins, homemade jams, yogurt, fruit, tea, cafe or chocolat au chaude and juice.
After breakfast we will take a short trip to the medieval town of Charroux and enjoy some of the many things it offers including Moutarde de Charroux, an old world shop featuring hand made mustard, and freshly pressed oils. Simone Maenner, chef d’entreprise, will demonstrate the artisan technique using equipment from the early 20th century.
Afterward, we will explore the town and dine at the local Bistro, Le Petit Cafe.
We will dine on the luscious salads and sandwiches, all fresh and tantalizing. Enhanced by a bottle of St Pourcain.
After lunch we are off to St Laurent, a lovely cave in Saint Pourçain, an ancient vineyard in the heart of the Auguverne.
Home for a hands on class, where we will prepare our dinner.


After breakfast we will begin our chocolate class. After a short break, we will prepare a lovely lunch to be enjoyed in the garden.
Tonight we will enjoy a wonderful dinner at a local resto. 

Day 4 Wednesday

After breakfast we head to Vichy for the market experience. Here we will explore all the market has to offer. We will buy fresh, local ingredients for our dinner. Then off to lunch at the Maison Decoret.
Afterward we will explore the charming Napoleonic city. Filled with beautiful chateaus, cafe's and boutiques. Vichy has much to offer.

Off to a Spa for a relaxing afternoon. Return home for a hands on dinner class.
Day 5 Thursday

After breakfast we will continue with our chocolate  class. B Dried Fruit and Nut Bark, hand dipped fruits and truffles all benefit from chocolate tempering. You will learn how to temper and enrobe fresh and dried fruits, nuts and berries.

We will also enjoy a hands on cooking class where we will prepare lunch. Dinner at Chez Minou and Kiki in Espinasse Vozelle.


Day 6 Friday
 After breakfast it's off to the train station to begin your return journey.  


Dates; Arrive September 26, 2010 - Depart October 1, 2010
All prices are based on double occupancy

$2000 per person

$ 300 single supplement

  • Arrival and departure transfers from Vichy Train Station
  • Five nights accommodation, based on double occupancy.
  • Welcome aperitif, hors d'oeuvres and dinner
  • Daily Continental Breakfast
  • All meals, wine and beverages
  • All hands on cooking classes
  • All excursions, including Charroux and Vichy
  • Lunch and dinner at several local restos and bistros.
  • Recipes and a Gift Bag, including your own Gypsy Chef at JDT apron
  • Free internet and email.
  • Spa afternoon
  • Wine and beverages
  • Taxes
Book before June 1st to receive a 10% discount.
Payment details
30% due at booking, balance payable eight weeks prior to start of Holiday.
All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef


Debbie Sofos
I attended this fabulous cooking holiday and can personally vouch for the wonderful time that we all had. Lynn and Pam are a fantastic team. Upon my arrival to Jardins des Thevenet, I was greeted by instant friends. Lynn and her husband, Olivier, are the most gracious hosts you could ever meet, and I at once felt comfortable in their beautiful B&B. And Pam, the "Gypsy Chef", is a whirlwind of energy that you just have to experience. The week was a nice balance of cooking together in Lynn's fabulous kitchen, visits to the countryside and nearby Vichy, and plenty of R&R. I highly recommend this french culinary and cultural adventure with Lynn and Pam. You will not be disappointed!

Randy Ashton
I had a great time in France with Lynn, Pam, Olivier and the other guests.  The atmosphere at Jardins des Thevenet is a unique combination of French culture, cuisine, interesting things to do, charming people and is set in an elegant yet casual environment.  The Bourbon Auvergne area of France is gorgeous.  Lynn, Pam and Olivier seem to know everyone in the area which gave me a feeling of truly having a French experience.

Pricing Menu