Tag Archives: Culinary

Summer Treats

26 Mar

It’s hot. It’s bloody, bloody hot. My weather app told me it was 38 degrees yesterday. 38 degrees centigrade at 4pm is insane. But as dumbfounded as I was at seeing the weather update, I was also told to not rely entirely on it since it isn’t always accurate. But give or take a few degrees, it’s still shocking to see the city reach such scary levels. I know I talked about it in my last post, but evidentally, I’m still not quite over it.

Having said that, I don’t quite feel the summer (or any season) that much during the day thanks to the sterility of a concrete and glass airconditioned building. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not, but I’m sure as hell blessed in many ways because there are so, so many people out there who’re exposed to the rather harsh elements of nature, when she decides to be at her harshest, and otherwise. So I cannot complain. Not just yet.

I can, however, get back home and throw my bag and rush to the fridge to see what I can wrangle out to take on the weather. More often than not, that would indicate getting my hands on a cold bottle of water I can have the pleasure of sipping till my teeth go numb or hurt. To digress ever so slightly, do you also think that cold water doesn’t really really quench your thirst as much as regular temperature water does? I love cold water, I do. But I think it’s that perfect mix of regular and cold temperature water that hits the spot. That’s all one really ever needs.

But today, I decided I wanted this.

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Banana milkshake.

Of course, I’m never really just satisfied by adding two and two together to get what I want. When it comes to food, I like it all. And I don’t believe in ever holding back. I frankly find it most (almost) apalling (if I may use the word) when I’m told I “shouldn’t” have a certain thing. It’s like not knowing what “little butter on my toast” ever means. Smidgens of melted butter on your fingers while you eat buttered toast, now that I know. :D In this case, I’ve heard a million times over that bananas and green grapes are perhaps the most avoided fruits if you wish to lose weight. I’m sure there are reasons why such nasty things are said about these fruits.

But today warranted a banana milkshake and so nothing but a banana milkshake would do. Also, much to my horror (or fortune), I happened to open the freezer (in retrospect, I wonder why) and find and almost empty pack of ice cream that was left open. Now we know what happens to ice cream in open packs in freezers. So, I took it as a sign and emptied that into my blender jar as well. There. I’d done it. In there was banana, milk and now ice cream…watcha gonna do now calorie killer?

Needless to say, I added that chocolate sauce on it because I wanted it to look purrrty. I have absolutely no regrets. I feel most refreshed, alive and recharged. I think my body needed that and so it had that. I figure I could, if I ever decide to have the K words, keep small little surprises waiting for them in the fridge when they get back from school. This is perhaps the one and only time I’d think of something like this not because I’m dying to have them or get married or what have you, but because banana milkshakes always, always remind me of summer mornings we’d be served large glasses of them by my masi (aunt) back in Delhi. Summer treats. Special summer treats, always.

In this case, I’ll assume the K is my K brother for now. Because I know he’d whoop around on finding his share in the fridge, this evening. Small joys.

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Sundays

9 Mar

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The pigs were given a bath yesterday after a long time. Now that there are signs of summer aplenty, fortunately (or unfortunately for them), it’s a better time to bathe them and have them figure what ever happened to their dry and filthy fur. I’m more than happy. I like my pigs bathed, groomed and clean. Poppy (Poppins, the first one with a big black patch on his face) is such a pleasure to bathe. He’s the baby of the family and he sits put on the balcony while I lather him. He even lifts his chin so I can bathe/rub his neck, which he really enjoys so much. Fuzzy (the last in the series of pictures), makes bathing her a little more challenging. This is perhaps the only time that she shows me that she, indeed, can run. Because she’s the laziest pig you can ever find. Thankfully she isn’t reading this blog post. But she knows what I think of her, so she and I just have to deal with the reality of it all.

I haven’t seen them clean in such a long time. And now I find it hard to let go of them because a) they’re so clean and white and soft and neat, and b) they’ll go roll around in their cages and become brown all over again. Gosh, it’s such a pain being a parent. I’ve figured that this is as close to having kids as I will ever get. :)

So everyone’s happy this morning. They’ve been combed, their noses and ears have been sponge-bathed and are more presentable, and they’ve been groomed. Fuzzy believes she can run for being prom queen again. But I was telling her that maybe she should give someone else a chance. Vanity, I tell you.

Sunday breakfast of Bombay toast, adrak chai and cake has been had. The sky looks beautiful laden with wispy clouds going their own way, and taking their time to do so. The plants in the balconies are happy because they’ve got their dance partners – the breeze – back. And in the midst of all this, it’s been a good day of reminiscing. It all started last night, actually. It started last night when a friend and I were talking about love and how foolish we are in love, in her words.

Of course I thought I’d wake up late today or at least get up after having spent a good amount of my Sunday morning, reading in bed. Isn’t that the best feeling ever? But today started off early and post all the extra productivity that did its rounds, we continued our conversation. I hope it carries on. We reminisce ever so often. Because we really did have such a lovely time.

In her words, “a few years back when we were in love, we were sooo in love.” And it was true. We were so in love. We were in love with our new-found freedom. We were in love with life. We were so in love with the boys that we were so in love with. We loved without consequence. Or without thought. Or without preconceived notions. Or without fear. We loved with such abandon. We loved keeping happiness in mind. We loved in the moment. We loved without hesitation. We loved with so much joy. We loved without the prospect of heartbreak.

None of us is with the boys that we loved without a care, today. None of us hurries to meet them for hurried breakfasts before rushing to work. None of us runs to the train station in time to see them off. None of us spends evenings with them. None of us stays out late and has the other cover for us. None of us has immense phone bills testimony to innumerable conversations about the infiniteness that was our relationship back then. All of that’s gone. And we made it out okay. Or have we?

Because we’re not the same anymore. We’re more cautious, guarded, afraid. We’re more sure of ourselves, but really, are we? We’re more “grown up”. We’re more “independent”. We’re all that we wanted to be but I don’t know where that abandon went, where the ability to just let go and trust yourself went. I don’t know where the fear crept up from. I don’t know how the years that have passed have made us more fragile. Life is so strange.

But on this particular day, I choose to think of all that we were and of all that we did, without a doubt, without a thought. There’s something about that kind of youth that fades. Unfortunately. But we’ll always be fools in love. That we’re all very sure about. And that’s the thought I’m going to hold on to. :)

Have a lovely Sunday, you guys.

Experiments

17 Feb

There’s always something about weekends. They always have that element of surprise in them, even if you did spend its entirety in bed doing absolutely nothing, which is just the most legitimate thing to do on a weekend. Or otherwise on any other random day, for that matter. There’s a bit of give and take, but in the end, when you reflect back, it’s almost always in fondness and a certain amount of satisfaction of having felt exactly what you wanted to feel at the end of it, irrespective of what you did to achieve that feeling. Almost always. Unless, of course, you hate your work week that much which makes you go into a nasty weekend withdrawal or unless you didn’t reward yourself with that one thing you must have on weekends, which going by the most favourite trend, are those extra hours of absolute sloth and guiltless sleep.

photo (1)photoMy Saturday, post a rather nasty scare on V-Day, was one that oscillated between the beauty and perfect ambiance a Jhumpa Lahiri novel mandates (especially on a beautiful weekend) and a few experiments in my most favourite place at home: the kitchen. I don’t know whether it had anything to do with the diaspora or whether I just wanted something new to look forward to for my Saturday evening tea, but I decided to veer into the direction of Gujarati food; a genre(?) that contributes so generously and magnificently to the Indian cuisine.

I have, of course, never ventured into that area because it intimidates me, to very simply put it. As awesome and vibrant as I think Gujarati (and Rajasthani) food is, I keep a safe distance from them because I think they’re too complex for my very meager skills to handle. But I came across khandvi and by the looks of it, it looked pretty approachable. And so I decided to make khandvi. Apart from the (pretty decent) set of dhoklas I made back as a kid with readymade dhokla flour, I think I did just fine. This involves zero fat unless you want to go all vegan on it and say that yoghurt contains fat. But that apart, there really is no use of oil in this dish. While it is so simple in its cast of ingredient characters, this dish requires quite the amount of physical labour. And I think because it was just too darn healthy for me plus the work out that happened while making it, I went a bit overboard with the serving of oil for the seasoning khandvi requires. Health food and me just do not go. It’s a confirmed fact. Amen.

So there it was. In between lots of reading and pondering over just how beautifully well Jhumpa Lahiri writes, I experimented in the kitchen. And khandvi made an entry into our home. And it was all yellow. :)

photo 1 (2) photo 2 (2) photo 3 (1) photo 4 (1) photo 5 photo 1 (1) photo 2 (3) photo 3 (2) photo 4 (2)Keeping in line with just how surprising weekends can turn out to be, or life in general, if you wouldn’t just be such a darn control freak, all I have to say is that this weekend was just as memorable in a beautiful, beautiful, heartwarming way. Sometimes it just isn’t written until you write it. And sometimes it just isn’t real till you read what’s already been written. :)

Summer

3 Jun

Did you know Time bought himself the latest Lamborghini and is painting the world of Time red? I’m sure you’ve seen him zip past. I’m sure the next time I see him, which won’t be too far off, it’ll be October 2020. Not, I hope. Sigh. It’s June, folks! June. JUNE. Like the sixth month of a year that has just twelve indicating we’re reaching the half-past mark at a pace none of us expected. Right? Yeah well, do you still love the Lamborghini as much?

June came too fast. It wasn’t long ago when I was awaiting the arrival of May with great excitement and longing. May was filled with everything every month should be filled with – family meetings, reunions, birthdays, celebrations, arrivals and of course lots of catching up, food, laughter and madness. May was filled with what I can describe as the only summer love I’ve known all my life.

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We’ve been blessed with abundant mangoes, litchis, peaches and mango-milkshake-moustaches. It’s been the season of much gluttony of a childhood kind; no questions asked, no heat boils counted. Mangoes rule, litchis prevail, peaches reign. There are just no two ways about it.

Summer walks, travel and rides at dusk make the perfect companion; even in silence. They’ve been abundant and abundantly welcome too. There have been storms of a fierce summer kind that put you in your place and shut you up when you open your mouth to talk about the heat. There have also been uproars of a thunderous kind which tell you to shut up, period. And then there have been power cuts, candlelit games, adrak (ginger) chai (tea) sessions and conversations in shadows. There have been the most beautiful sunrises the mornings after. There have been steaming cups of filter coffee and homemade cookies, mango tea and cinnamon rolls and conversations in between claps of thunder of course.

There’s always a magic in summer; in the way it shows up and transforms everything around it; in the way it takes the world by storm without really saying a word. Summer is a rainbow of every colour, every mood, every sound, every experience. There’s calm and quietude as flowers bloom at dusk and there’s the din of the sky opening up above. There’s the cruelty of parching heat and the apologies of torrential rain. There are butterflies, rain ants and moths. There is always the struggle to survive with a ladder and a jug of water right at the end. There is always summer.

Infinitea

17 May

Infinitea is a tea cafe right here in the city; one I’ve been going to for a very long time now. As its name suggests, this is a small place which serves tea of all kinds and from almost every place in the world. It’s divine, if you’re into tea i.e.

P texted me one evening and said she wanted to go visit because she hadn’t had the chance to go there since she got back from the US. You’ve met her here. It’s ironic because having been neighbours, I don’t recollect us ever having gone there together. So this was spontaneous, new and fun. Plus I think we got the best seats on the first floor with a good view of everything including the two couples who could’ve possibly been sitting on each other. Anyway… here’s why I think we got the best seats.

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I love the lamps, I love the duskiness outside, I love the yellowness inside, I love the feeling of warmth the place exudes, I love how cozy it makes me feel, I love the graffiti on the walls…I love it all.

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As I said earlier, Infinitea has been a place I’ve been coming to way before I could even afford it entirely. I used to visit this place back in college because it was so close by and because back then I had the softest spot for iced teas. And they do serve a variety of iced teas which you should check out if iced tea is your thing. I enjoy mango quite a bit. My grandmum didn’t feel the same way.

There are two favourite staples here when it comes to food.

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Steamed chicken momos.

It’s a crime to not like steamed chicken momos, especially from here. I’m telling you. I must admit my love for momos was acquired albeit at an early age, but even though a lot of people do not really fancy this dish/snack, it’s worth a try. Why? Because steamed chicken momos with a side of spicy red chilli sauce and a Tibetan version of salsa features in the top 10 of one’s all time comfort foods. It’s the law of the universe. I didn’t invent it. Here, at Infinitea, they serve the momos with a tangy, spicy tomatoey sauce which is their signature sauce because I haven’t encountered it anywhere else.

I never ate momos here earlier because they are pretty steeply priced at INR 180 approx per plate which is a ridiculous amount especially when you’ve eaten wayyyyy better at INR 15 approx a plate. I think they’re making up for the cost of the bowl they serve it in. Having said that, their momos definitely hit the ball out of the park and are worth a try at least once.

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My second most favourite thing to eat here is their Chicken Oriental Salad which comes with a peanut sauce dressing. And trust me when I tell you that it’s so worth a try if salads are your thing. Salads are never my thing. But this one is. It’s crunchy, crispy, tasty, refreshing and exudes just the right amount of “healthiness” from it. I cannot accept stuff that makes me feel like I’ve consumed hemp, you get what I’m saying? There has to be meat and it has to taste good and yeah, it needs to make me happy! Not asking for much.

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I don’t know how this picture came here but I’m not sorry because I want you to try these out if you’re in the city! :D

So the evening was cozy, cushy and yellow. It was filled with conversations, catching up, avoiding PDA being thrown in our face and a general sense of satisfaction.

P ordered a chicken steak which was what she was drooling over since she left for Boston. And then someone told her about it and then she decided to rush to Infinitea right from the airport because she just had to. Not. But she did have the steak and she loved it. She loved it because she could taste butter. See? Butter is invaluable. I didn’t fancy the steak much because it smelled eggy and was coated in a thickish coating of an egg batter which is not how I like to eat my steaks. But I’m glad she got her steak and enjoyed it and I’m not so glad that I didn’t get a picture of it to put up.

Whilst we ate, I did this too because I’m like that. Only because it’s a pretty place. Otherwise it’s hard to separate me from my food.

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Pretty, aint it?

Because no tea was consumed that evening (LOL!), I shall put up another post about their teas when I soak myself in their brews. All I can say is that I really miss the vanilla tea I used to have. They don’t serve that anymore.

You can check this place out at:

Vasanth Nagar, Bangalore.
(It’s actually on Cunningham Road, diagonally opposite Sigma Mall)

Note: This is not a paid article.

An Epic Weekend

16 May

Did I tell you about the babiest brother of the family? Well, as the name suggests, he’s the youngest brother in the maternal side of our family. He came to Bangalore last week. He came here for the first time. He came here for exactly 1.75 days of which some parts aren’t counted. He came here for one of his engineering entrance exams because he’s at that stage of life where kids need to take a painful number of entrance exams to make their dreams become a reality. And so he came on one extremely stormy Friday night (read: a night that saw rain like it had never ever ever ever rained before) and left by Sunday afternoon. So you can imagine what that schedule must’ve been like.

He landed here at 10:30pm and had just about an afternoon the next day to hang out because one never eats out before a major, life-changing national exam, does one? So whilst the world has looked peachy and lovely and pristine and pregnant in all its Bangalore summer glory, I’ve had more of a twister-like past few weeks. But that’s not for this post. This one’s to introduce you to some of my most favourite people in the whole wide universe.

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We decided to check this place out and I must say this has become my latest favouritest hangout. I’m going to head back there, photograph it and share it with you just so you know why exactly this has become my new hotspot. Having said that, when there’s beer on a summery Saturday afternoon, life’s more or less set. You’re in the zone, your brain cells ease off and have less frizzy hair, your hair settles down too (or you stop caring; whichever happens first) and life seems to float by on a pretty pink boat (yes, my boat is pink, thankyouverymuch). Anyhoo, so the beer arrived and so did the food. And before we knew it, our afternoon slinked into what every Saturday afternoon should be like – chilled out.

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These are 2 of my 3 brothers. The one behind me is my brother S who is my younger sibling. The one to my right is A and he’s our babiest (cousin) brother.

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Oh, I forgot to tell you that he’s over 6 feet tall. I’m glad I used this photograph as an opportunity to highlight that fact before you gasped at the outrageous difference elsewhere!

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This is S. He’s my brother from another mother. He is my one of my brother’s closest friends and I treat him like my own. I don’t think he knows that and maybe it’s best we kept that for another time! :D Isn’t he the sweetest and handsomest?

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Awww, here’s one to friendship!

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And here’s one to brotherhood, bru-hs! Ok nevermind! I’ll stop. By the way, they claim to hate posing. All guys think it’s fashionable to say that. Mad boys.

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And because you’re in the company of a fooseball table and boys, you cannot sit pretty at your table and pretend like the table doesn’t exist. The boys decided to get lean and mean and my brother defended his spot against the other two brilliantly. And then because he’s a darling and repressed the fact that his sister sucked at any kind of sport, he called me to join him and sort of insisted as well. I panicked like a chicken on the inside while I kept a brave, elder sisterly face on the outside whilst laughing and thanked the pints of beer I’d had a million times as I tried to shirk his offer off. But to no avail. He didn’t care if I was bad (awww!!!). He didn’t care if I sucked (awwww!!!). And he certainly didn’t care about his score! Memories or nightmares of my first ever football match in school came flooding back to me and I palpitated a million times. And then the game was resumed.

I watched the ball like a hawk and kept watching it while it flew past my men and vanished into the goalpost. I kept staring. I guess I hadn’t realized what had just happened. And so that happened a few times. Also, this is perhaps the only time I will confess to the fact that own goals were scored. The brother breathed patiently and told me I could shift and be on the defense if I wanted. So I did that. But the opponents had me. I held up my white flag and took refuge behind my camera just so I could regain some lost pride. I was the elder sister after all. I did need something to fall back on!

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Here’s my darling brother holding fort all by himself. So brave. So focused. So awesome! Isn’t he the coolest?!

Because we were at a brewery, we just had to call the mother because she does have a soft spot for the good stuff. Everyone in the family does. Say the word beer and watch the magic that unfolds!

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Here’s my beautiful ma, my best, my most awesome ma! She hates being photographed and worse still, she has a knack of looking into the distance (or into people’s head off late) just as the shutter goes off. Yeah, ma, bro and I are the yin-yang team alright!

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But then my babiest brother realized what was going on and here’s what it resulted in as S clicked our pic. I like this one much! :) You can see crazy popping out of our ears!

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See what I mean? I decided I wanted one with the two crazies. S looks relieved that he’s just a brother from another mother, honest to God! Crazy at go, that’s what we are and will always be.

The beer was had, the food devoured, the music sung to and the fooseball players well played. It was time for some meaner boy stuff we had to get out of the way before it was too late. And here’s where we headed.

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This is a classic example of the brother trying to pose while trying not to pose just so he can act cooler than his age and pretend like he doesn’t like being photographed! Bollocks! But he looks darn cool either way, so I’m glad we got that out of the way!

Before we knew it, Saturday was over and we were completely spent. There was another long and very important day ahead and since I was to take my youngest brother for his exam and to the railway station directly after that, we decided to call it a night.

Time flew on Sunday. I cannot recollect how we woke up, traveled almost 80 kms (you got that right) one way to his exam center which wasn’t even in the city, got his exam done with and left for the station. We had to have lunch so we stopped by at the fastest option we had – McD – before we continued on our journey.

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And when I wasn’t looking, he sneaked up and bought me a sundae! My babiest bought me a sundae. Sniff. So we had our sundaes while our burgers got prepped, then snarfed the burgers en-route to the station and made it well in time for the train. It was there that we spent a rather lazy afternoon on a bench at the railway station; chatting, catching up and absorbing the silences in between.

His train arrived and he was all set. As much as I love trains and stations, I despise departures. It’s always such a bittersweet feeling.

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I had to sneak pictures of him while he spoke to ma. I just had to.

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And then he found out! 

And then his train left.

And then I felt happy and sad.

But I’m glad the exhaustion took over because saying bye is just the hardest ever.

Ever.

Updates

5 May

Hi, dear readers! I hope you’ve been well, alive and painting your town red! I’ve been awesome and I’ve been around, doing my own thing, being my own kinda crazy.

Ever since I got “happiness-squared”, my blog’s seen a slump. It was bound to happen considering I’m such a sucker for photographs and images. They do speak way better than my choice of words do. And even though I love writing from the bottom of my heart’s heart, the latest square of my life has taken over. Instagram has officially taken over my life and now that things are stabilizing, I figured I’d build some bridges and come back here. Because I have missed this space so much. To make the comeback as balanced as possible, I figured I’d show let this post speak through my pictures. And I’d write side by side. That only seems fair.

It isn’t often that I whip my phone out and click pictures because I’m not obsessed like that. I am, however, obsessed about documenting the things I find interesting that happen in my life…and it turns out that something interesting does come my way pretty much every single day. I feel blessed. There have been a lot of random clicks about things I find pretty and intriguing. There has been a lot of food. There have been reunions with friends I haven’t met since 2534253 BC. There has been some amount of cooking. And then there’s been some amount of chilling out at varied points in time.

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The Nexus met after what felt like a million years… And even though a lot has changed since when we last met because A got married and has settled down in his happily married life, it felt like the old times when we’d meet, laugh, eat and of course make fun of each other. This meeting was a reminder of how time really has flown past and how the three of us have sort of drifted on, busy keeping up with our fast-paced lives. But there are some friends who make you feel like you met them just yesterday, and A and R are definitely on that list!

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P also came down in April end. She got married last year and moved to the US with her husband. We’ve been neighbours for a while now. She was again someone I used to meet almost every day. When she left and as months flew by, I came to realize how much I missed her. Sometimes you never really know you miss someone till they’re so, so far away.

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SSS and I tried meeting up as and when we could because she’s been so busy and we haven’t found the time to hang out and catch up. And it’s always crazy when we meet up. There has been much spazzing, much eating, much talking and much chilling out whenever time permitted.

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R and I met up too with friends. There’s been a lot of music, alcohol, conversations and painting the town red scenes that took place. Sometimes one needs that kind of fun to sort of even things out. I’ve been out partying and clubbing before, as I have spent innumerable nights out with friends; but getting back home at 4:00am was a first. I don’t know if I’d do that again, but firsts are important. Always. And this was definitely a fun and interesting one.

While I’ve had my plate full with meeting friends, there are a lot more reunions in the pipeline, which is why I’m thrilled that May has finally arrived. There’s always so much joy in meeting friends and family you haven’t met for a million years. And I hope this trend continues because it has been such a breath of fresh air; something I’ve looked forward to so much.

While there were a lot of meetings, there was a lot of food consumed both at home and out.

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The most important was that the bacon craving was fulfilled ever since it showed its haunting face to me during Lent, which I happened to follow this year.

See, I told you there was a lot of food. There always is when I’m around. That’s a given.

And because the summer’s been crazy, Bangalore decided to be kind and shower us with some rain as and when. So when the entire country buzzes at nothing less than 35C and when your city dips to a 28C, you’d be a fool to not be thankful. Drives are how I thanked my stars because if you ever want to get something outta me, just take me for a drive; it’s as simple as that.

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So drives were taken. And random midnight walks at the airport were had because that’s the closest to a big, open, non-claustrophobic place not too far from the city you can head to. And I love going to the airport so much. I love watching travelers, relatives, friends, crew, workers and of course aircrafts; it’s just such an interesting place to go to. The one in Bangalore at least.

It’s been a busy time and as much as I’d like to have updated you with my every move, there comes a time when you need to just switch off for a bit and go on the ride. My blog’s not going anywhere, neither am I. I kept fighting myself because as much as I was having a great time, I also wanted to come here and write. That didn’t happen and somewhere I figured it was OK to let go, savour what I was experiencing and come back. And come back I did. I’m glad I could come back and share because I’ve missed this space more than I could imagine.

Here’s to many more. I hope times are as awesome as they have been. We’re a month less from bidding half of 2013 adieu and it’s been an interesting ride so far. Going by how swift time’s carpet ride is, I’m trying to make the most of every single bit of it. I hope you’ve been having a fab time so far too! :)

Saturday Gastronomy!

15 Apr

You saw what happened on Saturday. There was a storm in my kitchen. There were 2 friends who hadn’t met in such a long time (2 weeks!). The girls were hungry. The girls were chilling out. The girls were happy. The girls wanted to do something different. There was so much here, here and to sum it up, here. But who said that was all? Guess what happened next? Guess what featured on Saturday’s dinner menu? Wait, lemme give you some clues and we’ll take it from there.

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OK, skinned tomatoes, baked chicken and wonderfully risen dough could mean many, many beautiful things. Let’s take this a step at a time…

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I do not usually break my cooking routine to click pictures of ingredients but this just had to be captured because they look so pretty, so red, so beautiful. Perfectly skinned tomatoes never looked so inviting. They just had to be clicked and then they just had to be blitzed and cooked. And while they were cooking, here’s what came next.

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My ideal pick for a lazy Saturday of cooking would’ve been sausages. But who’d have ever thunk the absence of sausages would make way for this beauty? I needed chicken and skinless chicken pieces were all I had in my freezer. So out they came and became into some bootyliscious baked garlic lemon chicken. Very easy, very simple, very unpretentious and very delectable. Also, it had to be something that went well with tomatoes, and this seemed perfect. At first I wondered if something lemony and tomatoey would gel well but when I accidentally added the lemon marinade, I decided to go with the flow. And going with the flow works. The one thing I’ve learned in the kitchen is to NEVER panic. It ruins everything instantly. So beautiful, summery lemon garlic chicken it was. Yum!

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And just look at that holy-mama-bootyliscious dough! I’m not always lucky with yeast and I think I’ve figured out why. However, this was a clean win and it was just the best thing ever. Trust me when I say you want your house to smell of fresh homemade bread baking to perfection in the oven! It’s the best, most homely aroma of all time. And you just have to try it to see. Those of you who’ve experimented with bread at home know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t guessed what I was up to, well, tada, here it is!

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Yummers! Homemade pizza from scratch!

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This was my trial run pizza with the basic toppings of corn and cheese.

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And it turned out to be bloody marvelous! It was cooked to perfection. It was sensuous. It was light. It was healthy. It was as frikkin Italian as it could get. It wasn’t oozing fat and oil and butter. It wasn’t uncomfortably filling. It was just perfect. It garnered many an ooooh and aaaah!

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Now that I’d got it bang on the first time, I went crazy with the toppings. In went my baked lemon garlic chicken with the veges and out came something I can only call foodgasmic. Really.

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I love that the pizza was simple. I love that I didn’t have to go to fancy stores to pick my ingredients out. I love that I had the liberty to add whatever and how much ever I wanted as toppings. I love that I didn’t feel bloated. I love that I felt so healthily full. And that’s a big thing because pizzas and health don’t go together. I love that my house smelled like an Italian cafe. I love how the bread turned out so gorgeous. I love how everything was just perfect.

I made 4 pizzas. And they were outrageously amazing. There’s been a weird kinda pizza mania I’ve been going through since last week. And because ordering pizzas in isn’t something I enjoy very much, I just had to try this out. Said friend’s brother came all the way at close to 1030pm to have one fresh off the oven. And then he got us this :)

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Ice cream from Natural! Mango, grape and strawberry. Yummers yum yum! Perfect!

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And then the friend and I finished our day of cooking and cleaning and general madness with an R&C over a movie. Wait, let me rephrase that to gastronomic madness! :)

Saturday Mornings

15 Apr

Fridays and Saturdays are my most favourite days, everyday. Did that even make sense? Yes, it did if you’re a true-blue Friday and Saturday lover too. ;)

Fridays are eased in and promise a night of absolutely no alarm clocks or schedules one can otherwise be quite anal about. Fridays can get God tiring but promise a night of blissful passing out without a care. If Fridays aren’t spent out with friends, then they’re spent at home. Fridays are fun, Fridays are frivolous, Fridays are fantastic!

This Friday had a girlfriend come over and stay back because it had been forever since we’d met. Because it’s been bitchin hot and crazy, we opted to stay in and figure our way out. When you have friends over, you want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.  I do not pride myself in labouring away in the kitchen while my friends hover around. I do not enjoy conversations getting lost when I’m cooking. It’s not that I can’t focus or don’t like anyone in the kitchen, it’s just that when I have friends, I’d much rather grab that drink and talk. Nothing must ever come in between girls and their conversations. It’s a best practice to adhere to this rule as strictly as possible. Everyone’s happy. No conversations are missed. No updates are tided over hurriedly. :P

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To follow the rule I was talking about, here’s the quick and pretty simple pasta I put together. Optimizing time is of the essence! Always. So pasta with tomato sauce and spicy sausages was our pick and we were pretty set.

And before you know it, you’ve slept Friday night through like a baby and wake up to your most favourite day of the entire week. Saturday. Saturday mornings are so great you want to celebrate them. You want to embrace them as lovingly as possible. I celebrate my Saturday mornings like this because this is as close to perfect as it gets for me.

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Chai. Tea. Saturday is incomplete without tea. I do not drink tea on weekdays and neither is tea drinking a habit for me. It’s an indulgence I look forward to on Saturday mornings. And I like to make it as elaborate as a groggy me can.

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I like to enjoy my weekly cuppa in pretty, colorful cups. Happy cups. Handmade cups. I like to have my masala chai or adrak (ginger) chai in pretty cups. And I was in the mood for this set on Saturday. Who knows what set will make it to the table next week?

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So adrak chai it was. In pretty blue cups. The world automatically lights up when you wake up in a house that smells of brewing tea/coffee, doesn’t it? And when you have chai at your table, you’ve got to have this as well. It’s just a rule of thumb.

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It’s a pairing God made in heaven I think. Chai without toast is almost unthinkable. Really. To me it is. There’s gotta be toast! And kadak (crispy) crunchy toast. Hot. Straight from the toaster. Stacked so you feel like you’ll never run out of toasts on pretty Saturday mornings. Ah, look at them! My pretties!

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Steaming adrak chai with buttered toast. Yeah baby, now we’re talking. This is how it works. Get the good stuff out. The world’s just a muchhhhhhhhhh better place when it features butter in it. There’s just no debating that. Melted butter that percolates into that crispy toast waiting for you to sink your teeth in to is so the way to go! Yum!

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And because it’s summer, mango just has to feature in my life. It’s not right otherwise. One of my favourite toast combinations is toast+butter+jam. *slurp*

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There’s just no other way than to have a teapot full of amazing chai and a stack of toasts to devour. There just cannot be a better wake up. There just cannot be a better welcome ceremony of a day I truly love than this.

So simple. So uncomplicated. So pretty. So easy. So hassle-free. So charming. So Saturday morning!

Aam Panna

14 Apr

I don’t think I can stop talking (and exclaiming!) about the weather and the summer that this has turned out to be. And I probably will not stop talking about it till we shift to the next season – monsoon. In the interim, here’s another popular go-to life saver we almost worship that I bring to you. Give this a try and I assure you that you’d have some newfound respect for the ever so awesome mango if you don’t already.

Before I begin, I’d like to profusely apologize for the picture quality. I was fighting daylight and shooting once the sun’s down is something I despise. But here it is nonetheless and I promise what you’ll taste will far outdo what you see. :)

Ingredients:

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1 bunch of pudina (mint) leaves
1 raw mango
2 green chillies (or how many ever you wish to put in)
salt to taste
black salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. De-stem the mint leaves and give them an infinitely thorough wash simply because you don’t just want to get all the dirt off but because this involves no cooking of the leaves. Therefore one’s just got to be more careful when it comes to cleaning the leaves.

IMG_82062. Wash the raw mango and give it a boil. You could dunk it in the pressure cooker and give it a whistle plus 5 minutes on a low flame just to be safe. If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil the mango till it looks like this. Once the skin has ruptured and the mango turns pale, you know it’s cooked. You could pierce it with a knife to be sure.

3. Scoop the mango pulp out and discard the skin. I do not use the water the mango was boiled in, so you can discard that water too.

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4. Dunk the entire bunch of pudina leaves, the green chillies, the mango pulp and a splash of water into the blender and blitz it till you get a paste. This is your aam panna concentrate.

5. Add water to this paste till you get a water-like consistency. Do remember that the aam panna thickens once refrigerated, so you could water it down till you get the consistency you’re comfortable with. We do not like it thick because this is after all a summer drink and we like it light and easy.

6. Add salt and black salt till you feel it’s seasoned enough. Adding black salt to this drink is imperative. Black salt is the star of the show, I reckon.

7. Serve chilled.

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You know my love for ice cubes. So I dunked in as many ice cubes as I could of course!

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This is just my way of rolling!

Note:

I like my aam panna preparation to taste minty which is why I add an entire bunch. You could tone it down if you wish to.
You could also add more green chillies if you’re the kind who likes their drink spicier.
If, while you’re watering the concentrate down you feel you’re losing the tangyness of the raw mango, you could always add a dash of lime juice to it at the end.
You could add red chilli powder and chaat masala at the end as an extra garnish to make things more interesting. I usually do. :)

It has a million health benefits, as a lot of our preparations do. Since this is a classic summer drink, it cools the body down almost immediately. Raw mango + pudina is a sure way of cooling things down. I hope you try this out and enjoy it. This is just one of the many joyous ways of taking summer head on! Also, it has mango. :)

Enjoy! :)