I was recently asked to host a Curry Club dinner by Sharmini Brooks. I met Sharmini about a year ago when she accompanied her sister to a dinner I hosted. They were both guests of my good friend, make up artist and stylist extroadinaire, Hester Magson. I simply adore Hest and she has an amazing ability to make her subjects look like movie stars on their worst days. She is a real gem who puts up with me in my most foul moods and spruces up my hair when I have been hovering over a stock pot.
Sharmini had been trying for a while to set a date for a special party for her Dad’s 80th birthday. As soon as a gap opened in my diary, we picked a day and planned a menu for the special occasion. Reggie Naidoo turned 80 a few months ago but his daughters Sharmini, Que and Dris felt that he should have a year full of celebrations rather than just a day!
I obviously love entertaining and curry clubs are just my favourite parties. The guests usually wander around and some of them always seem to end up in the heart of my home which is the kitchen. They pop in for a chat, ask questions and are happy to just watch the meals being prepared. Reggie and his wife, Suzie are both vegetarians and this called for some extra special preparations. Potato rolls and samoosas were served as starters. There were seven robust curries served for mains, catering for both vegetarians and carnivores such as myself. Traditional Lamb Curry, Thai Green Prawns, Chicken Curry, Brinjal in Coconut Sauce, Chickpeas and Spinach, Bombay Potatoes and Tadka Dhal were the perfect choices for a cold evening. The curries were served with Basmati Rice, Minty Yoghurt Raita and Sambals. A feather light chocolate sponge was served for dessert with a delicious warm Belgian Ganache.
When some of the guests arrived I had just fired up the Bombay Potatoes in a large AMC electric cooker – potatoes always need to be served piping hot and immediately after they are cooked through. Dris set up a projector and Que took us through some memorable highlights from Reggie’s life. What a wonderful celebration it turned out to be – happy, warm and friendly. Far too often, birthdays end up being admin intensive with most of the focus on a gift. This was not the case with Reggie’s birthday – this was a celebration of decades of life and love and achievements.
Being a part of this celebration made me wonder about a few things, particularly since I am something of a loner that grew up without many friends or a close knit family. We seem to live in a world where children grow up and almost disown their parents – this was certainly not the case with Reggie and his family. I wondered if my kids would throw me a party when I turned 80!
After the party, I thought about how many things I had missed out on as a kid, and I thought how important it is for parents to not end up with regrets about missed opportunities with their own children. So for anybody reading this – go and build some happy memories with your kids right now!