Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Pancha Mahabhuta culinary offering! Elsie Gabriel

The Pancha Mahabhuta culinary offering!

Elsie Gabriel

Innovative, classic and deeply embraced by metaphysics was my last meal…….the offerings made by Chef Parimal Sawant of Meluha the Fern ecotel Powai Mumbai India involved the five classical elements of life as the theme of every dish served up.
This concept Chef Parimal created came from the medieval system of five elements which are found in the  Vedas,  especially Ayurvedas, the pancha mahabhuta, or "five great elements", of Hinduism are Bhumi [earth], ap or jala (water), tejas or agni(fire), marut or pavan (air or wind), vyom; or shunya or aakash (space or sky). They further suggest that all of creation, including the human body, is made up of these five essential elements and that upon death, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of nature.

These five elements are associated with the five senses, and act as the gross medium for the experience of sensations says Chef Parimal. At the table, elements of earth were created using all the five senses – hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell. There was Prithvi: Earth, Jal: Water, Vayu: Air,Agni: Fire and Akash: sky. Each element had a different counter decorated by theme and garnished to the hilt.
Explains Chef Parimal, “We have to surrender to the five elements and not let just one single element dominate.We must tune our minds and hearts to use each element effectively.”

For the Earth counter there was Ice burg lettuce,Roman Lettuce,Blanched carrot Baton,Blanched Zucchini batons,Balched Broccoli florets,Blanched Cauliflower carrots,Blanched Corn kernels,Blanched French Beans,Grilled Peppers,Grilled Eggplant,Grilled Mushroom,Grilled Babycorn and Sprouts. All of these could be accompanied by Black and green olives, Dry Roasted Nuts, Grated Parmesan cheese, Grated Cheddar cheese, Grated Emmenthal cheese, Honey Lime dressing, Maple Vinaigrette Dressing, Cocktail dressing
Balsamic Dressing  and Tobasco Chilli Vinaigrette.

For the Fire counter Chef Parimal laid out a lavish barbeque counter. Cajun spiced Chicken Piccata, Pesto Chicken Piccata, Mustard Lime Kingfish Darne,Thai chilli Spiced King Fish Darne, Tomato Basil Chilli Salsa, Roasted Pineapple Salsa,Citrus Fruit Salsa, Mint Yoghurt Dip, Cocktail Mayo Dip and Citrus Chilli Aioli.

For the Air counter there was a steaming array of Chicken Dim sum,Vegetable Dimsums all made with steam and air, served up well with Hot Garlic Sauce,Ginger Onion Sauce,Sweet Chilly Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce and Chilli vinegar sauce.

For the water counter there were soups galore. Gazpacho Vichyssoise,Cream of Chicken Mulligatawny,Steam rice,  Lemon Wedges and croutons.There were also two lively fish holders,elongated horizontal zigzaggered tanks with colourful fish swimming inside them,which I found very innovative.

For the Sky counter,there were blue cocktails and mock tails to tickle you senseless.
Of course we eat these dishes every day, but how many of us take a minute to bow our heads ,fold our hands and give praise to the very existence of the five elements of nature. It was simply wonderful. A simple consuming thought that will remain with me for life!
The power of the five elements of the world well explained and recaptured at Chef Parimal’s table was a blessing, and an insightful learing lesson in disguise.Gracias!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

‘Same Same’ of Koh Phangan resonates with laughter, good food, wine and fantastic hospitality! Kærlighed Same Same! Elsie Gabriel

‘Same Same’ of Koh Phangan resonates with laughter, good food, wine and fantastic hospitality!

Life is a party at Same Same! Kærlighed Same Same!

Spending time with gorgeous Scandinavians Heidi and Christina on a remote island of Koh Phangan in Thailand not only showed me what life is all about, not just sheer fun in the sun but baby-Hard work!!

Only hard work pays off! And by God these two girls are hard working and innovative restaurateurs who can show holiday makers how to live it up. Young Entrepreneurs who can show you how to run your business alright. Fun, relaxation ,gourmet delights, music and good rounds of Pool games, plenty of laughter and dancing to the beats all day long is what their restaurant ‘Same Same ‘offered me. I was impressed.
Heidi and Christina both came to Thailand about nine to ten years ago and simply stayed on to own and run SAME SAME successfully. They both left home to start this business in a new far east place which they now call home. It was challenging they say but passion and drive is what has brought them so far, on top of the charts on the hotels list on Koh Phangan for sure.
This action packed place is a landmark of sorts in Koh Phangan. They offer Steaks, Swedish Meatballs, Danish Food, Stone oven baked Pizzas, Homemade Lasagne and the best hangover Burgers in town Mexican food and off course the best Thai dishes. If there is a special dish you miss from your home country they will do their best to make it for you.

I simply submerged myself into a huge ‘stone over baked pizza’ which compared to none I have ever eaten in California or London or France……The bar is very lively and the staff always helpful, courteous and vibrant.
The girls laid out the most extravagant dinner buffet while we were there and of course had a ‘pool’ match competition countdown to dinner.
 Big warm up parties on Full Moon nights with buffet, live music and dancing on the tables, is what you will get. My very first experience of the Full Moon parties on the different beaches and it was great. The Full Moon Buffet is their legendary offering.

 It is a perfect place to start the night, specially if you are going beach hopping. These girls have my salute. It simply pays off to work hard and honestly, towards making people enjoy good food and music.
Heidi and Christina have my vote and friendship for life! Cheers girls! I miss Same same!Lessons learned from you guys makes traveling all the more worth it.
We will return soon. Of course my little son and hubby enjoyed those rounds of pool games, made fabulous memories out of each and every night which displayed a theme night. Way to go girls. Kærlighed Same Same!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebrate World Environment day every day.How to plant a Tree.

Celebrate World Environment day every day.

Elsie Gabriel.

Planting a ‘Tree’ is more an art than a science. Passion for greenery is all you need to get down and dirty. To feel for ‘Mata Dharti’ or Mother Earth is the best way to connect with planet earth. To feel the ‘mitti’ , ‘matti’ or mud/soil in your hands is the only way you can reason why we need to sustain planet earth and keep growing more trees. The earth is healing and the earth brings you down to earth, a humbling experience that no amount of money in the world can buy!

You do not have to be a green professional to learn the art of planting trees. However, you could increase your knowledge in planting trees by participating in a tree plantation drive. Every year June 5th celebrated as World Environment day, which heralds the onset of tree plantation events all across the world. In India it is a special season as it heralds the monsoon season which is the best time to plant trees.
It is your call to help contribute to the eco system or the new age ‘go green’ phenomenon. Of course many people plant trees every day, farmers, gardeners and green enthusiasts but it is up to us to teach the new generation children and young adults to cultivate a keen interest in planting a sapling or tree and nurturing it to great heights.

First choose a site. Measure your land. Keep distance between each tree or shrub or sapling according to the tree type. Check, is it a going to a vegetable patch, rose bush garden or a huge mangoe tree or a gigantic banyan tree? You will be able to gauge how deep and big the roots will grow into the soil. Accordingly space out the plantations and create the pits to imbed your plant into.

You should always avoid using of underground utilities when planting your trees. Do not plant trees too close to pipe networks or hard rock structures. Ensure the land is soft and has good clay and is healthy and fertile.
Firstly, it is optimal if you choose a tree which is grown to nursery standards for it to be planted, so that you could envision the circumference that the tree would need when its branches grow full size.
Dig up the soil about the size of ‘Width and Height’ one feet by one feet if you are going to pant a tree. If you have vegetable seeds or flowers plants space them an inch or two apart. If it a hedge you are looking at, keep them closely knit.  Supplement the soil with manure and fertile soil. Mix the two ingredients well.Clean the soil in the pit of any plastic materials or weeds. Place seeds about two inches or so under the ground and use the instructions on the seed packets or plant sapling carefully. You can also take the advice of a experienced gardener.

It is necessary that you blend in the soil properly before planting of the tree. You have to set the root ball aligning it with the ground level, and may use some water for enabling the soil to settle down. Open and remove from polybag. Hold the root ball firmly not letting the soil around it to disperse as yet. Place the plant into the pit gently. If it reaches one-third the height of the pit and then enter the remaining area with good soil and cover the root parts well.
You must refrain from packing down the soil too hard and tight, which if done could suffocate the whole settings of planting a tree. After this is properly done, only then can you ensure that the tree will not fall down and that it can easily stand the wind and rain.
Create an outer ring around the rim of the pit, this will help keep the water in. And also create an inner rim inside close to the plant roots.Water the new plant well but do not flood the root area.
Supervise the trees and nurture it like your off springs.
Use organic fertilizers as much as you can. Seasonally check for any insects or fungus on the leaves. 
Take time to smell the flowers, see the butterflies and insects which visit your trees.Harvest your crops with gratitude and enjoy your tree.
Keep an eye on your trees. They will keep an eye on you for life.