The Immerse yourself in Indian food and culture By S Haslam We are very lucky in the north of the Byron Shire to have an Indian restaurant in Billinudgel where you can get the authentic tastes of India, made with fresh local produce, and you can also occasionally enjoy a special cultural experience on sitar nights. The hypnotic world of Indian classical music, and the sounds of the sitar, starring master sitar player Peter Davidian, are coming to Billinudgel twice this month: on Friday 14 and Thursday 27 February – book now to share in this fun and possibly romantic experience as these events sell out fast! Peter Davidian has been a sitarist for more than 30 years. His unfolding of the musical raga is a result of traditional study, and years of practice and performance across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, India, and Europe. The intricate presentation of this music can be traced back in time thousands of years and is presented to the listener on an instrument that dates back to the 12th century. Peter’s Armenian heritage, and his family’s long history in Bengal, and Rajasthan India, ensure authenticity in his approach to the music.
He has a vast knowledge of the Indian raga system of music. He is the 17th generation of the Rajastani School of Jaipur and has studied extensively with the late Professor Ghulam Qadir Khan. Of course Billi’s Indian serves authentic Indian food to accompany this musical experience. One of the increasingly popular ways of eating is to eat more vegan and vegetarian food, and Indian restaurants often have exactly the right mix of menu items. On the one hand, people are increasingly eating more plant-based food to do their bit for the planet, but for many others this has a spiritual basis to it. Vegetarianism is an ancient practice in India, where 80 per cent of Indians are Hindu, whose ancient texts recommend ahimsa – non-violence against all life-forms including animals, and hence many Hindus prefer a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, India is a very diverse society, and diet is partly a cultural phenomenon, with many Hindus (around 15 per cent, according to a recent survey) eating beef, and only around 20 per cent being strict vegetarians. Class, wealth, sex and religion-based politics all affect whether an Indian will eat some meat. Hence, you’ll still find plenty of meat on an Indian restaurant menu.
Tofu and Mushrooms pictured above. Master sitar player Peter Davidian, pictured right. There is, for example, a tendency to stereotype a region – many believe that Punjab is a ‘chicken-loving’ region, whereas up to 75 per cent of people in this northern state are vegetarian. Chennai, is perhaps considered the hub of India’s south Indian vegetarian meal, but a recent survey suggests that less than 10 per cent of that city’s residents are vegetarian. However in Delhi, well known for its butter chicken, a third of residents are vegetarian. At Billi’s Indian the revamped surroundings are comfortable, modern and fresh, and the menu is ever-changing. How about Dhal Makhani, a
Punjabi dish made with black lentils and red kidney beans, butter and cream. Or chicken dhansak, a chicken curry with lentils (although you can also choose lamb or beef). How about a chicken and cheese naan, or a lamb and cheese naan? The vegan tandoori mushroom, or tandoori tofu? Billi’s Indian is a favourite with locals, and for added convenience and value it’s BYO, and only a few metres walk to the pub bottle shop. Billi’s Indian. 8 Wilfred St, Billinudgel. Ph 02 6680 3352 | www.billisindian.com.au
The Returning: Harvest fundraiser
For over 100 years the site of Harvest in Bangalow has been a post office, general store and residence, then it became the Harvest Cafe under Gary and Emma Sharman, until around thirteen years ago when Brooke Hudson, together wih co-founders Kass and Tristan Grier, took over Harvast in Newrybar, building it up to become an innovative and iconic dining destination in the area. This week the Harvest Newrybar family celebrated together as Brooke went on maternity leave to start a family of her own. Brooke said to the team, ‘Thank you all for what has been a huge 13 years of my life, and although many of you are new to the mix, some of us have been working together for nearly 10 years. Be it one summer or ten, it’s been a pleasure working alongside everyone. ‘For Kass, Tristan and I, growing that “Humble little Cafe that Could” as 26-year-olds into the incredible space we all call work today has been the ride of my life thus far – growing the place as well as the people, and our little families too. I couldn’t have done it with two better people – for that I am eternally thankful.’
Harvest Newrybar is hosting a fundraiser lunch on Friday 21 February for The Returning, a not-for-profit women’s event. The fundraiser begins with live music from local acoustic singer/ songwriter Olivia Roseberry, followed by a three-course lunch with drinks at Harvest Restaurant, with special guest speakers. $55 from each ticket will go directly to The Returning, a women’s leadership event that began in 2018 and focuses on women supporting and empowering one another, paying homage to women, community and nature. According to event founder Ella Bancroft, community and nature should be our top priority. ‘I strongly believe that to regain our power, and our connection to the land and one another, we must reclaim our humanness, and return to our ingenuity on this earth’, she says. There will be raffle prizes on the day, and conversation with inspiring women from our
community, such as Ella Bancroft, artist Danielle Gorogo, and state president of Maternity Choices Australia, Annalee Atia. 20-year-old Louise Albrecht will also be joining the discussion. She has delved into the worlds of weaving, wild foods, hide tanning, processing animals after their death, and using native plants for crafting and personal use. The ticket price is $150 per person, with $55 from each ticket to go directly to The Returning. The next Returning event is 7–8 March 2020. Tickets via thereturningthegathering@ gmail.com or https://www.eventbrite.com. au/e/the-returningfundraiser-luncheontickets-92303232453
The Harvest management team pictured top. Pictured below are co-founders Kass and Tristan Grier and Brooke Hudson.
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DĕćſƖëſƷǨǩǽǩǧǩǧ The Byron Shire Echo 23
Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in north eastern NSW, Australia.