Happy Food – The Tree of Life Way
Great food is an intrinsic part of a great experience. In days gone by (and perhaps even now ) the biggest talking point would be the quality and quantity of food served at a wedding ! Cut to today’s day and age where food is instagrammed first, eaten later and everyone has a foodie inside of them – the challenge to create versatile, appealing, healthy cuisine is one that we take very seriously indeed.
The Tree of Life has evolved its own signature cuisine – conjured up by the sheer genius and hands-on abilities of Chef Mahendra. With his gentle, soft-spoken demeanour it is hard to believe that this is the same person who places exacting demands on himself and his team to create memorable experiences around the food and dining experience at the Tree of Life.
With stints at the Rambagh Palace and at The Leela behind him, Chef is known not just for his creativity but also for his hands-on style. He will still get behind the range to create amazing culinary experiences for guests in the way only he can. It is no secret that Chef Mahendra’s version of the iconic ‘Laal Maas’ is probably the best that one can get in Jaipur. Chef Mahendra’s talent and skills encompass both Indian and Rajasthani cuisines. He will not just conjure up fabulously delicious food – his aesthetic sense and eye for detail will ensure an amazing presentation that looks almost too beautiful to eat !
And then there is the Tree of Life flair that goes beyond the obvious. For us, a meal is not just what is served at the table – the experience starts so much before. A personalised menu is placed in the villa towards late afternoon. The Chef will then visit guests to discuss food preferences, the wine pairing and the time they would like to have their dinner. So when one gets to the restaurant, there is no going through menu pages and no waiting.
And then there is our Farm to Fork Experience – created with fresh vegetables grown on-site in the resort premises. Our emphasis on organic ingredients, cooked in minimal oil with seasonings and spices for flavour and are the stuff of foodie heaven. We’ve persuaded Chef Mahendra to part with one of his signature recipes for an Organic Salad. This is a Collector’s Item so be sure to try it out. Or better still, head over to the Tree of Life, Jaipur to enjoy it straight from the Master !
Hazelnut Crusted Fried Brie with Stewed Bell Peppers,
Mixed Garden Greens and an Apple Prune Relish
- Hazelnut crusted brie
- 1 small wheel of brie, cut into wedges or quarters
- 1 cup hazelnuts or walnuts
- 50 gm bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- Oil for frying
- Stewed bell peppers
- 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 assorted red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1⁄4″ strips
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced cross-wise
- 1⁄2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Apple prune relish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 green apples, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 70g pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
For crusted brie
Finely chop nuts with sesame seeds, thyme, bread crumbs and add salt in the bowl. In another bowl, stir together the egg and flour with a fork. Dip each wedge into this mixture and then into the other bowl with nuts, sesame seeds, thyme, bread crumbs and salt. Fry brie until deep golden brown.
For apple prune relish
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in red onion and cinnamon for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Stir in apple, maple syrup, vinegar and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in the prunes for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in lemon juice and Season.
For stewed peppers
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add peppers, garlic, onions, and 1⁄2 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cook partially covered while stirring occasionally until the peppers are soft. Stir in vinegar and transfer to a serving bowl.
Garnish and serve as shown in the photograph. Enjoy !