When Rani from Rani's Cuisine contacted me to say that she wanted to host a My Giving Table cooking class, using her beloved recipes from Mauritius to raise funds for Open Haven, I was beyond excited.
Anyone who knows me will know I love spices and exotic flavours and the thought of enjoying an afternoon hearing stories and learning about the flavours of Rani's birth home of Mauritius was definitely something to look forward to.
Quietly spoken and thoughtful and exceedingly generous and knowledgeable, Rani did not disappoint in all that was shared. Her personal love and respect for food providence and her compassion and kindness for those who create and provide our food, share meals for us and with us is a delight to hear. Too often we focus on the quick and the easy in our diet at the detriment of nutritious, wholesome and respectful eating. Food with heart and connection. Food where we know who has grown the chicken we are eating or tended and dried the spices and herbs. This is real cooking with all the best ingredients, including the most important of all - love.
Of course, as a leader of Slow Food Brisbane, it makes sense that Rani considers food choices carefully and advocates for food providence, for food made with heart and awareness. Meals that share community and spirit and enrich beyond the simple ingredients. Rani fully understands the importance of whole food, of slow cooking and the power of sharing and coming together over food. It is the thing we all have in common - no matter where we go in the world we are richer for sharing the act of "breaking bread" with friends, old and new. We remember loved ones through meals shared and those who taught us to cook and appreciate the food we eat, like the Chinese neighbor who taught 17 year old Rani to make the delicious double cooked, free form, spring rolls we were lucky to experience all these years later.
Sharing a meal is also a fabulous way to make new friends and add new richness to our lives. It was not missed on me that our group cooking class was a wonderfully diverse fusion of cultures and nationalities, all enjoying the coming together and connecting through tastes, stories and laughter. It just doesn't get any better.
There were smiles all round as we enjoyed hearing about the multiple types of pepper available and where they are sourced, who grows them and how they are shared. We took turns at stirring the pots and chopping the vegetables and rolling the delicious flat breads. We then sat and feasted on all that was created together around the shared table. I must say, despite my allergy, I really wanted to dig into the prawns - whose recipe included ginger and tomatoes, curry leaves and garlic and was finished off with a grilled gruyere cheese - a fusion of French, Mauritian, Italian and Indian cuisines, that was a delightful new cooking combination for me, I will need to try it with crab I think.
Our event of course had a deeper purpose, as our ticket price to attend allowed us to raise funds for Open Haven to continue their great work supporting women and children in our community, women who need assistance to rebuild their lives after leaving domestic violence situations.
It was also lovely to hear that Milton Fruit Bowl generously donated the vegetables to the event and Petersen's Meat and Hand Sourced provided the most amazing chickens and meat. Our host looked beautiful and was kindly styled by lovely Sher Lo from Anannasa.
So much kindness and generosity and I thankyou for your support of Rani's event.
This event was a perfect example of why I created My Giving Table and the concept of hosting a "party with purpose". Events that are full of laughter and fellowship of good will and kindness. It is wonderful to host and attend an event sharing the love of food with friends while raising funds for a chosen charity. It gets us remembering to live with gratitude and thankfulness. There is a deeper purpose and all attending feel the connection, the benefits of hosting or attending an event last longer than the event itself with the kindness and giving continuing beyond the circle of friends who come together to those further afield in our community who need a little love and support from a stranger, or should we say friend they just haven't met yet.
If you are interested in being a part of our My Giving Table events it is pretty simple. You can pick a date and a theme and simply register to be a host to share your own "party with a purpose" with friends, choose the charity you would like to support and keep the giving going. If this weekend was any indication, you and your friends won't be disappointed.
Your effort "pays it forward" in so many ways.
Oh and by the way if you register between now and the 23rd Dec to be a host you go in the draw to win a weekend on a luxury yacht with your own private chef - read about it here that is how much we love our hosts.