It all started with a Facebook post on Food Blogger’s Association of India (FBAI) timeline, informing us that Beacon Holidays had an interesting contest coming up. All we had to do was to go to Beacon Holidays India Facebook page and write in 12 words, about what we would like to experience in New Zealand Cuisine. So I wrote that I wanted to try New Zealand lamb chops and Kiwi Berry Pavlova. And there I was! After a few days, I received a mail that I was among the top five contestants who would take part in the New Zealand Cook-up at APB Cook Studio, run by cookbook author Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. The lucky winner would get a free trip to New Zealand and a 3N, 4D accommodation in Queenstown as well! We were also informed later that Food Food Channel would be covering the cook-up event.
At the #NZCookUp, we were told to use atleast one or more of the following three ingredients:
- Lamb Mince
- Boneless Lamb Chops
- Kiwi Fruit
I decided to make something with the first and last ingredients. So I promptly wrote down the recipe for “Kiwi Lamb Cutlets with Kiwi Sauce”. This recipe is my very own recipe and yes, I made it for the first time straight at APB Cook Studio, Mumbai!
When I entered the studio, I was instantly in a happier mood. Rushina was there with a smiling face (as always!) and made me comfortable with her positivity and warmth! As we chatted casually over a cup of coffee, also joined by Rushina’s mother and the owner of Beacon Holidays India, Heena Munshaw, the same warmth and resourcefulness reflected! We were almost lost dreaming about holidaying in New Zealand, as Heena exchanged her thoughts about Apple orchards and vineyards there.
The cook-up event started soon after. We were given two hours to make our dish. We had to pick up ingredients from the common table and go to our workstations to prepare our respective dishes. As I peeped into my left and right workstations, I could smell the waft of flavours from my competitors (and also my foodie friends) Mohit Chotrani and Pushpa Moorjani. I was eager to taste what they were cooking right at that moment. My other friend Renita was making my dream dessert: pavlova! But anyways, I had to concentrate on my dish. So I planned everything quickly in the first five minutes. I peeled potatoes and immersed them in boiling water. As the potatoes were boiling, I chopped the kiwi fruits quickly and reserved some for the plating later. I also kept one sprig of rosemary separate.
For me, everything was quite manageable and I was content that I did not panic at all and executed the recipe to my satisfaction. I was also content because not only did I manage to make cutlets for the final plating for the judges, but I made extra cutlets for the team. As the judges proceeded to another room, we found ourselves busy tasting each other’s dishes. People around me complemented that the cutlets and the sauce tasted great! Special thanks to Elsie Gabriel for all her appreciating words. While I was more interested in tasting my friends’ dishes (well, I always taste my own dishes all the time!), I was happy that they relished mine!
When we were tasting each other’s food, plus the amazing spread of New Zealand delicacies made by Rushina and her team, the fifth contestant, Aarthi, who came a bit late, was struggling with finishing her dishes. I took a look at her workstation and her Kiwi chutney looked tangy and inviting.
After sometime, after the judgement was over, Rushina declared Aarthi the winner. Aarthi was indeed very excited and we all felt happy for her. Rushina also told that I was less by just one point! But for me, what was more important was that I cooked in front of so many people and the fact that my dish was well-appreciated. At the end of the day, I was satisfied that I finished my job on time and made my entire batch of cutlets! I was also happy that I spent good and memorable time with wonderful people like Sameer Malkani (owner of FBAI), Rushina, Heena, Elsie, Tanvi, Rachna and all other foodies.
Rushina presented me with a pack of candied fruits and a bottle of Merlot from New Zealand. I had an awesome lunch and had great fun in the pleasant ambience of APB Cook Studio. I am really looking forward to more of cook-ups at APB Cook Studio! Aren’t you?
Kiwi Lamb Cutlets with Kiwi Sauce
- Ingredients for kiwi lamb cutlets:
- Lamb mince: 500 g
- Balsamic vinegar: 2 tbsp
- Boiled and mashed potatoes: 500 g
- Finely chopped onions: ¾ cup fried
- Garlic crushed: 2 tsp
- Ginger paste: 1 tsp
- Chilli flakes: 1 tsp
- Cornflour: 6 tbsp
- Mixed fresh herbs [thyme basil and rosemary (finely chopped)]: 2.5 tsp
- Breadcrumbs: for coating
- Eggs: 2
- Small pieces of kiwi fruit: ½ cup
- Salt: according to taste
- Oil for shallow-frying
- Ingredients for Kiwi Sauce:
- Onions finely chopped: ½ cup
- Olive oil: 4 tbsp
- White wine: ½ cup
- Crushed kiwi fruit: 1 cup
- Dijon mustard: ¾ cup
- Garlic crushed: ½ tsp
- Tabasco sauce: 4 tbsp
- Salt: according to taste
- Marinate the lamb mince with balsamic vinegar and crushed garlic, for about 15 min. After 15 min, squeeze the juice out of the lamb. The lamb mince should be almost dry. In a large bowl, add the marinated lamb mince to fried onions, boiled and mashed potatoes, ginger paste and mixed fresh herbs. Add cornflour and salt. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes. Make round and flat discs out of the dough and hide small a piece of kiwi fruit at the centre of each cutlet. Dip the balls in a small bowl having whisked eggs. Roll the cutlets in breadcrumbs and shallow-fry on a low flame until golden on both the sides.
- For the kiwi sauce, add the onions to hot olive oil in a pan. When the onions turn translucent, wash away the oil by adding the white wine. Keep on sautéing till the white wine is almost dry. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for just 2 minutes. Adjust salt, if required.