24 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM
Big news! My book, East by West, has officially debuted in the Netherlands. To mark the launch, I jetted off to Amsterdam for a quick 24 hours to introduce my book to the Dutch public and celebrate by cooking up some of the dishes from the book — Ladoos, Kitchari and my signature Goldenspoon — for an interactive Ayurvedic workshop.
As I headed off, I did a quick shout-out to you all on Instagram for some restaurant recommendations and received some brilliant suggestions — some I'd been to on past visits, like Breda, and some that came up again and again in the comments, like Bak. Amsterdam, I'm going to have to come back over ASAP and try them all! Before the cooking class began, we stopped by Lavinia Good Food in the South quarter of Amsterdam to have a lovely lunch with my publishers. The sun was out, so I enjoyed the lunch special: salad with soup, and then we finished it off with a delicious almond carrot cake with a carrot glaze.
My East by West launch event took place at SLA Amsterdam. I explained the importance of digestion in Ayurveda and its role as the mother of natural medicine. Guests took a Dosha quiz on arrival to find out whether their mind-body type was Vata, Pitta or Kapha-dominant, which was an "a-ha" moment for many. I then explained how we can use the Doshas to understand our constitution and how we can remedy any imbalances we are experiencing. We then moved onto the demonstration, when a lot of the guests tried the delicious Ayurvedic classic Kitchari for the first time, as well as my take on an easy-prep "cheat" version of gram flour ladoos that don't need rolling! Taking these dishes around the world has been one of my favourite parts of launching East by West. It's always so rewarding to hear how many people then go home and make the dishes themselves in the days following the event.
It was Nick's birthday weekend so after a long walk back through the length of Amsterdam's Vongelpark at sunset, we treated ourselves to an al fresco dinner along the canal at recommended wine and tapas place Bar Centraal. Here, we enjoyed a tiny menu of delicious treats such as celeriac braised in cider, roasted white asparagus with hazelnut, and wild mushrooms with mustard cream along with some biodynamic wine. They had Bob Marley (one of Nick's favourites) on full volume, making it the perfect end to a packed but wonderful day.