When I first met the doctors they made us so welcome. It’s their
tradition that anyone who comes to their house should have a meal
prepared for them, and no one is allowed to leave the house without
When I first met the doctors they made us so welcome. It’s their tradition that anyone who comes to their house should have a meal prepared for them, and no one is allowed to leave the house without being fed, so that was really lovely. They were really into doing all these different styles of rice dishes. My favourite one was a spinach rice. The colours were magnificent – such a deep green colour.
The kabuli pilau was another dish that had so much technique in its preparation and is cooked with so much attention to detail and love. But to eat it you wouldn’t even know how technical the dish was, unless you’d been through the process of working with the cook. I loved the fact that they put chunks of lamb in the middle of the rice. It was like finding a treasure, when you scoop up the pilau and get a big chunk of beautiful braised lamb.
What I’ve noticed in almost all of the houses that we’ve visited is that everyone has a pressure cooker. They’re amazing. In case you weren’t alive in the '70s and don’t know what it is. Pressure cookers are an ingenious pot with an air-tight lid, which cook food that would normally take hours of slow-cooking (like casseroles etc) in super-quick time. The meat turns out beautifully tender. I’d personally love to sell my own range of pressure cookers. I reckon they should be revitalised. Maybe they are and I just don’t know about it!
Dr Rahman took me to his favourite Afghani bakery, in Auburn; it seemed like people came from all over Sydney to buy bread from this particular bakery. I had a great time with the bakers, they let me roll and shape the dough and then bake it in the big tandoori oven. The heat was intense.
It was a bit of a debacle on the night of the feast, as the heaven’s opened and at times we were meant to be shooting it would rain. Everything was was set up outside under a tent. It was so funny, the men stayed on rugs outside huddled together under this tarp! I remember sitting eating curry with wet trousers thinking: “this wasn’t in the contract either!!”
The musicians were brilliant. They created such beautiful sounds and were really talented. I loved the little Indian drum that they were playing – a kind of bongo.