FB: How would you rate yourself as a cook?
DR: I’m pretty damn good! I’ve been cooking for myself for a long time. I was born in India, and Mum and Dad, you know, they worked quite a lot. We had eight kids. We had servants. One of them was an amazing chef. He taught me everything he knew, about curries and spices and stuff.
FB: What is your signature dish?
DR: I’m a curry man. I love cooking curries … you name it, I can cook it. I learnt a lot of coconut-based curries. Curries aren’t simple. Curries can be very, very exotic and different from each other.
FB: What sort of food did you eat when you were growing up?
DR: Oh, curry. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was curry.
FB: You have a Japanese teppanyaki grill at home.
DR: Everybody needs to have a teppanyaki grill at home that can seat 14 people. After the Indian thing, I sort of fell in love with Japan. I lived in Japan for a little while and studied Japanese cooking … I love cooking Japanese food now, too.
FB: What’s the hottest and most exotic thing you’ve eaten?
DR: I’ve eaten all kinds of stuff. I’ve eaten snakes, snails, crocodiles, guinea pig … but the hottest thing, I think, were the Louisiana Ghost Reaper chillies.
FB: Which five people would you most like to invite to dinner?
DR: They wouldn’t be foodies. I’d invite interesting people like Osama Bin Laden, maybe the Pope, a guy called Christopher Hitchins, who’s one of my favourite atheists, Carl Sagan (American astronomer) and Sam Harris (author and neuroscientist).
FB: Do you have a kitchen tip for us?
DR: Always keep your knives sharp.
THE HOUSE THAT SARAH BUILT
I hope everyone has recovered from the festival of food that is Christmas. I know a lot of us have Christmas food traditions. Since our son was born, mine has always been gingerbread houses, though certainly not the traditional kind. Baking, cutting out and then gluing together slabs of gingerbread with royal icing takes a special type of skill and patience I don’t really possess. Plus, our son would prefer chocolate cake over gingerbread any day, so that is what I give him. I call it my gingerbread cake house. I bake two square chocolate cakes I’m the first to admit that I use a packet mix (Betty Crocker’s chocolate fudge cake mix being my go-to choice) and cut one into four even triangles. This becomes the “roof” of my house. I sandwich the triangles together with chocolate icing (the store-bought kind is fine if you’re pressed for time) and stack them on top of the other cake. Then it’s just a matter of slathering in icing and decorating with any kind of lollies you fancy. Obviously, Freckles on the roof hide any imperfections! It looks very home-made – because it is! My son loves them and my hubby thoroughly enjoys the cake, too, with lashings of Connoisseur Murray River Salted Caramel ice-cream with hazelnuts! Here’s to a wonderful 2019. You can now find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the Food Bytes podcast fires up again this year at mypodcasthouse.com.
“I think my soulmate might be carbs — Unknown