On a wet grey November day what better than getting together for a wonderful warming lunch with friends... Which is exactly what we did yesterday. It was another chance to meet up with others from the Cambridge Eat Up group and sample some excellent food with good conversation at Prana, in Mill Road Cambridge.
Mill Road is a lively area of Cambridge lined with some fabulous ethnic shops, restaurants and cafes and host to many events including an annual Winter Fair.
Prana, which has not long been refurbished and re-opened was warm and welcoming... especially after the horrendous drive we had into the city, which took twice as long as usual with gridlocked traffic and pouring rain. But that was soon forgotten as we tucked into a complementry pre-starter of a paneer stuffed green chilli. I'm not a great fan of anything too hot and spicy but this was perfect, full of flavour and just the right amount of heat.
Stewart and I both had a vegetable platter as a starter which was wonderful... pakora, samosa, a potato curry and some sweet chilli sauces. Again full of fresh flavour and freshly prepared ingredients.
For main course, Stewart chose a Lamb Jalfrezi (a creature of habit he will always opt for Jalfrezi in an Indian restaurant) which he thoroughly enjoyed and I had a Vegetable Makanwali, a medley of vegetables in a creamy honey flavoured coconut and almond sauce. It was delicious although the portions were so generous I found it a little too rich and sweet to be able to eat it all.
All this was served with mixed vegetables, sesame courgettes, pilau rice and lots af garlic naan. What a feast... and what a treat!
And just when we thought we couldn't eat another thing, we were each given a beautiful poached pear that had been simmered with cinnamon, cardamon and star anise. As at previous Cambridge Eat Up events, the food was wondeful and it was lovely getting to know new people and chatting to others we'd met before.
This event was organised by Pina, and special thanks must go to her for making it all so effortless for the rest of us. All we had to do was turn up and eat! I'm hoping she won't mind me pinching a couple of her photos... but she took these Facebook "Selfies" to promote the event on Social media. I think the smiles say it all really. We all had a wonderful time.
And on the way home (which was a much better journey) we got to chatting about this and that and events in the world over the past week and months. There is no doubt that there has been much upset and despair both here in the UK and in the US but it seems to me there is obviously a huge desire for change. I don't claim to understand it but maybe if you are poor and struggling the idea of change offers hope for the future. I just hope and pray that change turns out to be good. But what worries me more than anything is the racial hatred it all seems to have unleashed. I have no doubt the racists and bigots have always been around but recent events seem to have given them a legitimate voice and that scares me. Yesterday at our lunch of eleven people we were German, Canadian, English, Malaysian, Chinese, Scottish, Malawian, Portugese and more, eating Indian food... yet that was irrelevant because were just a group of people, getting together and getting along, chatting about the things we had in common and enjoying finding out about those things that were different. And I really wish that is how the world could be... a place where everyone could feel safe to be just themselves, wherever they come from, whatever they look like, whatever their beliefs. And I think every single one of us has a responsibility to make that happen whatever our political beliefs... so be kind to each other, love your neighbour, (even if they are horrible!) and celebrate the wonderful diversity of other people!