Tag Archives: Home Food

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

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142: Cheating

23 May

Today I’m cheating, and confessing about doing so. Yesterday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long, long time. The school is at its fractional strength what with all the kids, except the senior students, already off. It was quiet, calm, serene, and it had rained. There was no clamouring, no crowding, no shouting, no hurrying. If this is a blessing, then I feel blessed. I even got to walk back home in a faint drizzle and under an overcast sky; there’s nothing more a Bangalore girl can ask for during a harsh North-Indian summer May Monday.

And then my internet died on me just when I was about to ease into some yoga which I haven’t been able to indulge in for an annoyingly long time. Therefore, out went my yoga and out went any chance I had of blogging as well. So here I am, writing about yesterday, today. And therefore I confess.

Yesterday was meant to be enjoyed in its entirety I presume. So there was some uninterrupted tree and sky-staring time, followed by a long conversation with P which ended a good hour later when her baby had a poop-blast situation. Because A also got back home much later than usual and I had time at hand, I did what most self-respecting domesticated wives do – cook. I made today’s lunch, dinner, and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast as well, last night. There’s so much food in the fridge, A exclaimed, almost in fright. I’d say there’s no better friend than boxes of fresh home food to tide us through days when the last thing I want to do is cook.

There’s a box of black chana stew, dalia (a savoury broken wheat pilaf), cabbage stir fry (made in a mixed north-indian and south-indian style), mangalorean egg curry, leftover rice, dal, one piece of tandoori chicken, and some other essentials – that’s enough no? :P

134: Sunday Specials

14 May

While I stewed a brilliantly fragrant batch of dal, I hopped in for a leisurely shower (just before the water began to heat up thanks to the mad heatwave we’re undergoing), waltzed out, fried us some papads to go with our rice, dal, and salad meal, and had lunch ready for the two of us. A cooled down our hangout room, drew the blinds, poured us some beer, and had Bahubali 2 ready to watch. Little did I think I’d be watching the movie, forget watching it so soon. But watch it we did. I’ll tell you that I enjoyed both my lunch and the movie, but felt more satisfied by the former, and the experience, than the movie itself. At the risk of the many brickbats that have already flown my way, I am glad to have seen it at home, because it went on for longer than I could sit. As fantastical and intriguing as it was, I switched off periodically, especially when the sfx took over more blatantly than my unimaginative mind could stomach.

We had chilled mangoes to complete the experience, and as if that wasn’t enough, I cut myself whatever leftover banana cake I could, and had that with some ice cream as we closed the movie as well. It’s insanely hot outside, and everything has come to a standstill, including the forest that is growing on my arms and face, because we just can’t. It’s making me eat more, and eat sweeter colder things more. I cannot understand this shift in eating habits, but it has me scared because of just how much junk I’m consuming in the name of “light food”.

We watched planes last evening, once it’d become dark and was okay to step out for a drive. Of course a lot of me was tempted to hang on to a plane and get the hell out of this hell hole to a place where the breeze blows cool air and where the signs of rain really do usher in some rain and respite. I am not complaining, as much as I am lamenting the ghastliness that is this furnace we’re living in. And to think it hasn’t rained yet.

But I’m not letting this take away the specialness of my Sunday. Not now at least.

Brand New Days

12 Sep

I love that every day is a new day and that it is synonymous with feeling hopeful about everything in general. Being more philosophically inclined than I had ever imagined myself to be, or so I think/imagine – please feel free to correct this misnomer – I’m of the opinion that even my posts reflect more philosophy than necessary. I try to curtail making every small occurrence feel like a major, soul-satisfying experience as much as I can; but what a failure that has been right? Haha!

Anyhoo, so just like almost everyone else in this world who looks forward to a brand new day, so do I; sometimes also in the voice of Sting. It helps to add some song and zing into one’s day and way of life, yes? I’m glad we agree.

But these days, this excitement is slowly but surely changing…into what, I’m not sure yet; though changing it is — because hello menu engineering. Having to decide what to have on a daily basis has fast become a chore I really wish I didn’t have to do or deal with or have hanging over my head with the added weaponry of guilt; because apparently every good married girl does this with ease and minus any complaints. Hahahaha! Never have I found the list of things married girls must become adept at almost overnight, more hilarious and irritating, than when I became a married person myself. Many of us do get that grace period to gracefully pick these skills up; but I’m lagging behind on every front and lovin’ it…except when it comes down to my turn and I’ve nothing to show; especially on the table and with an empty stomach. It’s ironic how these ideas traipse in and out of one’s head when you’re not required to put them to practice; and how they disappear when it’s time to get down to business.

I have used the sophisticated term menu engineering because I want to emphasise just how huge it really is. Apart from it being a thankless job since forever, it is a big deal and one that the kitchen master is directly responsible for – suddenly the one who cooks has theirs and their partner’s life in their hands – because what we eat is what we become, right? This single task has made me question all my dreams of ever opening that quaint café I always thought would be mine someday…because there’s no way I’m going to want to sit and think about menu options on a regular basis.

To be honest, and like I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been lagging behind on this entire what you should become once you get married scenario. I make meals that are healthy, appealing, tasty, presentable…but above all, I make things which are easy and can be had again. Non-vegetarian curries – great to be had fresh, best when a day old, trust me. But yeah, that’s about it. That’s all I can think of keeping in my fridge without feeling guilty. Oh, and aataa (kneaded wheat flour dough); even though that’s apparently not a very good thing to keep in the fridge.

Thinking of what to make for the day and week isn’t as easy or lovely to do. When that fails, your grocery shopping fails. When your grocery shopping fails, your meals fail. When your meals fail, all else fails; especially if you’re really intent on eating home food. Also, when grocery shopping fails, coming face to face with a missing ingredient right in the midst of cooking said dish, is inevitable. Has that happened to you? It’s the story of my life! And doesn’t that speak a thousand words about my progress on being a composed, has-it-all married lady? It’s both funny and pathetic. Funny because we have such standards, pathetic because it sucks hard when you really need an ingredient and find it missing in the middle of a cook.

But there’s always Big Basket to make you feel a little more accomplished on the home front. Except when you get your entire order and realise you missed that one crucial product which preempted you to haul your ass online to do all that shopping in the first place.

Like I was saying – story.of.my.life.

PS, we can finally cook at home and so I made the one and only thing that can make my heart sing – dal chawal (lentils with rice) only to find that my stock of lentils was over with that cook. Oh well. I told you. Haha!

Oh Yay!

6 Jun

My internet, which was down for whatever reasons (the monkeys switched the phone lines off so perturbed net-izens like me couldn’t ask valid questions about its reappearance and why it was snatched away so unannounced in the first place), is back again and of course I made a dash to log into WP just because, you know, my internet is back. I don’t even really have a post in mind and I wish I could write something random – like a happy jolly lalalala – and then traipse around the place because I finally get to use this service that is more an addiction than anything else.

I opened the newspaper today to find the MET department assuring the people of NCR that these hot days aren’t to last too long; that dust storms and rain are finally here. Yay to the rain, not so yay to the dust storm maybe. You can imagine my joy because it’s been unbearably hot with that added touch of humidity which doesn’t allow an AC-non lover like me to function properly without one. Coming from Bangalore makes you an AC-non lover by default, you see. But over here, it’s downright cruel to not use one. The weather outside already announces the arrival of a storm which would require me to leave this post at any minute and rush to close all my doors and windows (which the Bangalorean in me had left open as evening began setting in) to prevent all that dust from wrecking havoc inside my house.

My weekend began with a lovely ring of the doorbell to herald the arrival of that much loved tub of Natural Mango ice cream I had ordered on Friday night. On discovering that this slice, or tub, of heaven could be ordered and sourced didn’t warrant waiting of any sort. I don’t usually like the ringing of my doorbell unless it’s because the people – and usually the fun ones like family or friends or people bearing surprise gifts – I’ve been waiting for, have arrived. I’m adding my ice cream man to that list because he brought me ice cream from a shop that isn’t even there in my city. So now if he rings my doorbell even at 11pm, I will not scowl at him as I may have earlier. This one came at a peachy 10am or before because I made my husband open the door given I was still asleep. It was a great beginning, I tell ya! Also, nothing satisfies my heart like ice cream does. One could try and be all healthy and uppity about the entire experience by savouring and moaning over sorbets, gelatos, fro-yos and what not. But really, ice cream can not be replaced, no it can’t. I mean I love them all, but I love ice cream most. What heightens the experience is eating it directly from the tub. Just imagine!

There has been a lot of eating out that’s been happening, much to my joy to be very honest. Apart from the fact that my mind draws a complete and stark white blank when I enter the kitchen sometimes, it’s a huge relief to just.not.cook. Sometimes I want food to magically be there, available and ready for consumption minus any effort. Ha, but who’s kidding me, I’m all grown up now and have to take charge. *wail* Therefore it isn’t a surprise that FreshMenu shows up right on top on my Zomato listing. I love it but I’m slowly trying to wean myself off of it given its steady price rise.

Saturday involved some retail therapy followed by what I can only describe as a soul-satisfying meal. As the universe almost always has it, my husband’s food always ends up looking and tasting much better than mine does. Sometimes I even hear imaginary laughter at my expense, over and above my husband’s who hardly lets moments like these pass without a laugh. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it really isn’t, especially when you’ve imagined your beautiful order to be a certain way and are drop dead hungry of the ravenous kind. But my order of crispy pork over fresh salad accompanied with sticky rice and miso soup hit the ball right out of the park. Smashed the ball outta the park, I mean. We frequent this Japanese restaurant/diner whose dishes are written in their Japanese terminology without much of an elaborate English subtitle to explain all the dish’s components below it; so more often than not, I don’t always end up getting what I imagined I would. It really was one of those days I want mark down in my calendar as being the closest to perfection I’ve seen and felt in a very, very long time.

Sunday of course ended with beer and salad and Shahrukh Khan. I’m far from complaining. :)

Update – the dust storm has arrived. How I love accuracy and assurances.

Khaate Peete Log

5 Jan

Call it age or habit or convenience or the laziness to change or the love of familiarity or the way I’ve been brought up; that the manner in which certain things must be done and the appropriateness of times during which xyz need to be done have become increasingly rigid over the years. There’s a certain time to get up by (beyond which you automatically start sensing the sleep headache activate), a certain routine of things to be done as soon as you get up… there’s a specific time during which an afternoon nap can be taken (during the rare occasion which really demands that an afternoon nap be taken in the first place) and what time to rise from this (unforeseen) nap – that risky moment which teeters delicately between you waking up fresh (while the sun is still around) and you waking up groggy and perhaps irritable (post the sun’s setting) which just undoes the aim of a perfect siesta. There’s an order, a pattern, a way and a drill for everything – all of which is automatic in nature and fits perfectly in place with everything.

Therefore it is in this context that the idea of bringing out a blanket at this hour in the day is almost astounding and ghastly to my mind which is tuned (by default) to use a blanket only at night, when it permits both my body and itself to welcome the contraption with an embrace that is heart-warming and most awaited. The weather app has been lying to us all, or so it is a conspiracy I (firmly) believe. It certainly doesn’t feel like anything above the 20s as the app has been showing us the past few days… the introduction of the blanket even before siesta time and despite fleece pyjamas, hoodies and woollen socks, is certain of that fact. The sun has decided to start a bit slow this year or at least in this side of the country; a phenomenon that is most discomforting in nature.

Drinking copious amounts of dip tea, because that’s the closest and fastest antidote against the cold that presently is, is another new addition to the many deviations my mind isn’t used to dealing with but must adjust to, at the earliest. Come a decent hour and motivation, though food is motivation enough, venturing towards more warming and comforting breakfasts/meals to pre-empt the nasty grip of this weather is fast becoming a practice – a side I see more as evolutionary than one stemming from the desire to steer clear of the ordinary and mundane.

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It’s an exciting time at the kitchen front because whilst these dishes are seldom fancy or time-consuming, they’re divergent in the use of our regulars and staples. The chance to utilize an ingredient’s versatility has never been more thrilling; more welcoming. Be it an impromptu shakshuka (made with tomatoes and eggs) to a fuss-free English chicken and vegetable stew (with a market of vegetables and goodness in there), who’s to say this isn’t rewarding?

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It makes the weather a little less daunting and the idea of getting our daily nutritional fix a little less intimidating and boring. Besides, it’s all about enjoying what you’re eating without making much of a task off it. It’s that sort of gratification which is synonymous with warmth, love, comfort and that exciting zing; all in one. This learning has so many doors to open and explore, so many to walk through and become aware of.

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I think the tag we have of being the khaate peete log (the folks who love to eat and drink), as we’re known to be, holds more weight than we think it bestows on us. And in good measure, because when everything else looks too stressful or difficult to deal with (the weather included), there’s really nothing like the welcoming warmth of some hot chocolate or a hot cup of tea and cake. And that’s one less deviation for my mind to deal with, because we’ve always been the khaate peete log and hopefully will continue to be.