What is not to love about good desserts, right? So when I met Christine Manfield, the Dessert Diva herself at Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, 2016, I was struck by the way she defined her desserts, where every element could be used individually, or as a part of a task. I remember watching Masterchef and my futile attempt to create one of her signature desserts, Gaytime Goes Nuts (I stopped after finishing the first two elements, and ate all the caramel ice cream), and it filled me with a considerable amount of joy when she explained to me how desserts doesn’t have to be a very difficult or very simple process – depending on your level of expertise, you can make a dessert and substitute as you go.
Take the dessert Birthday Suit for example. Although the base originally had a strawberry-rhubarb compote, it was replaced with macerated raspberry. Lemon curd and meringue were added to make the basic dessert, and then, there were complexities added to it. The dish could be consumed at its simplest – with a meringue topped with lemon curd and a single macerated raspberry, or made quite complex with the aid of white chocolate shards, which melted in your mouth. As she made her desserts, I might have moaned.
After the launch of her book, A Personal Guide to India and Bhutan, where Chef Sharad Dewan, Nondon Bagchi, and Vir Sanghvi joined her, there was a heated discussion about food history, and the vast culinary heritage of India, which is difficult to imitate or, at times, analyze.
Following that, Christine Manfield was joined by Meera Syal where she showed how to make the dessert Birthday Suit from her book in different ways. The results were so delicious that people flocked to the tables and consumed before any good photographs could be taken. For more such fun events, check out the hashtag #socialbong .
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to the event by AKLF.