Avocado Mango Yellow Lentils Lime & Chilli Verrines

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Many relationships are forged and strengthen over meals or social events. Emotions evoked and lasting impressions are made when people come together at the table to share a meal. As a daughter of an hotelier our family moved often from country to country, always leaving behind friends and a community that had taken us in. It was never easy and yet I watched my parents form new friendships and build a social environment in each new city with ease.

It wasn’t until I was in my teenage years that I realized that my mother often took it in her hands to create a loving and comforting condition for all of us by hosting dinner parties and social events. She realized that without friends and the support of dear ones, the family would suffer a lonely and isolated time in the unfamiliar place. It helped that my mother was a fantastic host and a brilliant cook and often her dinners and parties were celebrated affairs.

The quintessence of these social events is that today they live in Dubai and remarkably many of the friends they socialize with, and are also now living in Dubai, date back to times before I was even born.

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This was a significant lesson I learnt and socializing also came easy to me. However, I realized that for me my happiness lies in having a select few friends that I know will be there for me. Although I travel a lot, I have been living in Weimar for 15 years now and having my base means that I am able to bond and strengthen my ties on a different level. Still, that lesson of what it means to establish a friendship in a sociable and intimate environment has always stuck with me.

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From the window of a quaint loft apartment nestled in a quiet corner in Erfurt’s pedestrian area, wafts the inviting smell of onions and mixed herbs. My friend, Kerstin sits at the large table tying the name tags to the small Weck jars filled with Za’atar. I have taken my usual place at the stove, caramelizing onions for the turmeric roasted cauliflower that will be part of the evenings dinner. We giggle as we try to simultaneously take photos for our InstaStories. In this moment I think about the way things, over time, have changed, or have they evolved?

Social media meets social dining!

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Both Kerstin and I are hosting our first supperclub, something that we have wanted to do for ages. We both believe in the power of convivial gatherings and how food connects people from all cultures. Interestingly, we both met a few years earlier as she hired me to work on food related project for the company she worked for. Food connects and creates friendships at all levels!

We had promoted our supperclub through social media and word of mouth and the guest list is a mix of friends, acquaintances and people who have connected with us over this blog, Facebook or Instagram.

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We are nervous as the doorbell rings and our first guest walks in. The bubbly aperitif of Prosecco and a power shot with flavors of ginger and pineapple is zesty and refreshing and as we pass around the nibbles of spiced nuts, our guests warm up to the situation. The group was most loquacious when, in the kitchen, among other preparations, pumpkin was pureed for a hummus and orange zest was toasted for the beetroot. The voluble conversation continued at the dinner table, now decorated with flowers, candles and fairy lights. Laughter echoed through the loft as platters of aromatic turmeric cauliflower, lemongrass noodles or za’atar cannellini beans were passed around.

Talking to strangers while you eat is something that would rarely happen in a restaurant. That, for me, is the significance of hosting a supperclub. Bringing strangers together in a homey and cosy atmosphere; to meet new people, to network, to communicate and exchange ideas. Paradoxically, away from the virtual reality of the internet and social media.

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Restaurants tend to get stuffy and formal. The concept of a supperclub, however, offers guests real delicious food that they help to prepare, in a relaxed and fun ambience. That is the lesson I learnt from my mum and the idea I am happy to be developing and realizing with my friend Kerstin.

Coincidentally, social dining has its roots in ancient Greece, where wine and olives were used to bring plebeians together. Food was the catalyst for galvanising disengaged communities. Today, it seems that while the internet has disengaged communities on the one hand, we can use it to bring people together in the real world easily. There truly seems to be a yearning for real life interactions and we hope that with our supperclubs we are able to make these real life interactions a shareable experience for our guests.

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Our Kochen & Freunde Supperclubs are scheduled to become a regular experience this year where we have a few dates set for upcoming events. Kerstin and I have only just started and we are hoping to bring many people together not only in a social but also in a business environment. We will experience set-backs and disappointments, I am sure. Our goal, as we move forward, is to add real-life value to the communities and people in our region. If you are living in and around our region please feel free to contact us for dates and details.

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How does this recipe fit into the idea of a supperclub? Perfectly! Cooking and preparing the menu for a supperclub can be fairly flexible. We take into account the dietary restrictions and try to accommodate them while creating the menu. The dishes are far from boring – as a matter of fact our first supperclub was entirely vegetarian and offered an abundance of variety in flavor, produce and textures. We also think of a few creative serving ideas – no you won’t get soup in a dog bowl or anything along those lines, but we did serve our Asian lemongrass and coconut noodles in Asian take-out food boxes, allowing guests to “take-away” any leftovers. These beautiful verrines characterize our idea for creative flavor fusions and serving ideas. The verrines make the perfect appetizer, cater to many dietary issues and look good. Texture plays a vital role and there is a bomb of texture and taste: as an Indian my palate likes to experience all the tastes in one go – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. This recipe includes them all!

Recipe: Avocado Mango Yellow Lentils Lime and Chilli Verrines

By
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados
  • 200 g yellow lentils, cooked to packet instructions, cooled
  • 1 zucchini, grated, water drained
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, cubed
  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 3 limes, zest and juice
  • small bunch of coriander
  • Handful sprouts, I used red radish sprouts
  • coarse sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Handful pecans, chopped

Method

  1. First make the lentil salad: place the cooked yellow lentils in a bowl. Add the zucchini, 1 finely chopped onion, the garlic, the zest and juice of 1 lime and half of the chopped coriander. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss well. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Make the cucumber salad: place the cubed cucumber in a bowl, add the chopped chili and red onion, the remaining coriander, zest and juice of 1 lime and 1 tablespoon oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Take 2 of the avocados and with a fork coarsely crush. Spinkle some sea salt and the last zest and juice of the lime. Cube the last avocado.
  4. Assemble the verrines, by filling 4 glasses: first with some of the avocado puree, then layer with the lentil salad, the cucumber salad, the cubed mangoes, and top with pecans and sprouts.


Verdict

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Elegant, easy to put together and practical, these verrines are perfect for any social gathering. Be it a dinner party and home, a picnic or a supperclub – I love how versatile they are. I also find that, although the ingredients are not complicated, but when all the components come together in one glass the entirety of the dish offers complex flavors and textures. Enjoy!

 

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You might like these easy social dining dishes from What’s For Lunch, Honey?:

Turmeric Slow Roasted Veggies Couscous Pilaf 0050 Tomato Zucchini & Goat Cheese Clafoutis (01) by MeetaK Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto Coriander Pesto (01) by MeetaK
Slow Roasted Turmeric Vegetables with Moghrabieh Pilaf Clafoutis - Tomato Zucchini and Goat Cheese Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto and a Coriander Pesto


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2018 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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23 comments:

  1. Oh my god! Congratulations you have finally ventured into social dining. I wish you all the love and luck. The initial part was very close to my heart where your mum cooked for her guests and social gatherings kept her familiarity with a place. Its rich feeling to host well and serve them home cooked food. I am sure it runs in your blood too and you will bring the fervour to the table. Bring on the pictures....

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    1. Yes! I have and am loving doing this with my partner. Sometimes it's an unexpected lesson we learn that makes all the difference in our adult life!

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  2. Wow, all those colors! Almost too pretty to eat!

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    1. Oh yes please dig in - it would be a shame not to!

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  3. Oh I am loving all the layers going on here. The colours are brightening up a cold grey day.
    Danielle.

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    1. Makes the perfect little meal any time of year really!

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  4. Loving the look and sound of this flavor and ingredient combo! Really nice way to use yellow lentils with all the freshies! Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. I'm so glad to experience your supper club, if only virtually ~ these little layered cups are spectacular!

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    1. Glad you are here - but I wish we could share the experience in real life!

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  6. First of all, these pictures are gorgeous! Second of all, I don't think I've ever tried mango and avocado together or even with lentils. This is something I'd be interested in trying. It sounds delicious!

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    1. You will love these flavors all together Kimberly! Totally fresh!

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  7. The initial part you write about mum, cooking and socialising is very nostalgic! Brings back memories! Congratulations on your new venture! Many more of those supper-clubs!!
    I wanted to do something like that but have no idea and would love to partner with somebody to venture into something like that! My best wishes

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    1. I think sometimes we just have to jump head on into the things. I did - if I had thought too long about it I probably would not have. Just go for it Jayasri

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  8. Excellent combination of healthy ingredients for a colorful and nutrient-dense dish, Meeta! I loved that you used red onion as it give a very rich flavor.

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    1. Thank you Agnes! Every layer has a great flavor but together they really are rich and powerful!

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  9. My husband and I keep to ourselves as much as possible, we are not social people. I try to avoid going to restaurants when they are busy when we do make it out.I just love my home and the silence of being just us there to enjoy a meal. This looks like a good one to try next!

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    1. I can understand that being in a cosy familiar environment always is most comforting. We hope that with these supperclubs can somehow offer an extension to the own home.

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  10. Oh man this looks amazing. I am always looking for ways to add Lentils to my diet and this would be the perfect recipe. So colorful and fresh.

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    1. I love my lentils and this really is a great way to enjoy them.

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  11. I'm always on the lookout fo plant based/vegan recipes. This looks absolutely delicious, and i'd love to add it to my meal prep for next week. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Beautiful presentation of this delicious dessert. It really looks awesome for the celebration.Thanks for sharing.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta