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Indians have this tendency of idealising their families, (ask them who are their role models – they would quote someone from their families, unlike in the western world where celebrities or sports-giants rule the mind-space), they yearn for consistent interactions with their families, for the confirming presence of loved ones and the resultant psychological oxygen that they enjoy. What happens when they move away from their families in order to pursue their big dreams, career advancements? they, consciously, begin to form “Extended families”, i.e. friends, etc. which is more a western concept. In the book “The Indians – of a People” by Sudhir Kakar and Katharina Kakar, it is written that “The high value placed on Connection does not mean that an Indian is capable of functioning, when he is by himself or that he not have a sense of his own agency. What it does imply is his greater need for ongoing mentorship, guidance, and help from others in getting through life and a greater vulnerability to feelings of helplessness when the ties are strained…” I am not sure, I would completely agree with this , but Young Indians are capable of being Individualistic (just like their western counterparts) – controlled moves, while respecting their roots/origins through consistently being in touch with their families,thus keeping the family bonding intact. I guess, Family ties, Family conversations etc make them feel more stable in a rather aggressive outer world that is increasingly becoming competitive.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir-fry the tofu until it acquires a golden tinge, add the essentials (which are known worldwide for their flavours and seasoning expertise) and stir-fry them. Add a batch of the key ingredients (Veg or Non veg) which give substance to the noodles, and stir-fry them again. Stir in some sauce…stock, let it simmer,…add the drained noodles and gently toss together to heat through thoroughly….I am emphaisizing the ”Stir-fry” bit here. His recipe could be different. I came across a very interesting concept – Sunday Nite Dinner , which may not be an enthusing one for most Indians, who are relatively more connected to their families, whose family dinners still remain intact, where everyday is completed with a hot and freshly made sumptuous dinner at home, and family get togethers – neighbours and close relatives over a loud, mirthful Friday Snack Binge (with some entertainment channel switched on the Family TV)… 

 

 

 

 

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“I have never regretted Paradise Lost since I discovered that it contained no eggs-and-bacon.”
Dorothy Sayers, British writer (1893-1957)

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*Bacon just got leaner and healthier. Omelette is amazingly fluffy. God Bless the Creator! 

100220081064.jpg Recipe 1 :Stuffed Puris Chapter – II : Weekend Food Series

“Like Water for Chocolate”,  this film is about the emotional and spiritual effects food can have when one prepares it passionately and uses love as the key ingredient. ..A quote from my all time favorite film Babette’s Feast (Danish: Babettes gæstebud), an Academy Award winner (1987), summarizes the sumptuous experiential  value of Food…. babette_feast.jpg The General talks of the chef of the Café Anglais, : “The ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair, a love affair that made no distinction between bodily appetite and spiritual appetite.”….Babette’s Feast is an elegant celebration of well-crafted food in the days of abstinence…it’s the spread, the enormous detailing one gets into to create a great tasting,art-piece like food -{link: foie gras, turtle soup, quail stuffed with truffles, followed by baba au rhum and washed down with champagne.} It’s enough to make a man to sit back and re-evaluate his life, which’s what exactly happens to General Lowenhielm.

The elegant film is woven around the story of a mysterious French emigrée Babette (Stephanie Audran) who is taken in by two endearing elderly spinster sisters in 1871. Over the years, an unlikely bond grows between them and the  Frenchwoman, who works as their housemaid, and her pious, modest & kindly benefactors. When Babette wins the lottery, she decides to cook a fabulous feast for the dour villagers. The sisters agreed to her plan, which is quite radical to the belief system they belong to, thus risking the wrath of their puritanical fellow parishioners.

The seven-course delight, a tour de force for the taste buds is politely received by the gruel-eating puritans, and the culinary magnificence stirs almost a Catharsis like experience for the General Lowenhielm who slips into a deep philosophical evaluation of his emotions/love for one of the sisters, and the persistent existence of the same in him despite his marital status.

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I do not hesitate to declare that I am not as great a cook as my mom, or my sisters or that man who I talk to everyday, or all those foodies who feature in Celebrity-Chef / Non-Celebrity-Chef Cookery shows which churn out sinfully delicious gastronomical delights or those who watch them ardently. I may not be blessed with much-desired attribute called “Patience”, the restlessness that features on my forehead may be potent enough to stir a battle ground out of a kitchen. But I love the whole idea of fixing something for myself or my loved ones, love to mingle with the spices/masalas waiting to be ground, to be mixed with freshly cut vegetables (am a strict vegetarian), the splendid mix of colours, the aromas spiralling upwards & across the room….The whole process of relocating myself, now, opened, for me, this new dreadful prospect of the head-on-collision with varied struggles that life’d tucked in for me, Cooking food for self being one of them. I understand that the life is going to be rather aggressive to me from now on, and I have no option other than bracing myself for the same.

Now moving onto Fixing a delicious Brunch ……What one needs  {I am not getting into that conventional way of delivering a recipe, as I am not a master chef, who can fix the most from the least, and I fare quite badly at measurements and I hate seeing others toiling over such tangible factors ….And I can tell, our moms usually do not create divinely sinful dishes using ingredients in measured quantities. An instinct – it happens when one enters kitchen more frequently than it could be done, which guides when, what to add and in how much quantity. 100220081057.jpg Recipe 2 :Baingan Bartha – Smoked Eggplant simplified for “Foodies-who-run-short of Patience” like me  …..baingan.jpg

a) Two large Eggplants.Roast them on a gas burner over medium heat. Turn them upside down, and roast them till they look fabulous and release smoky flavour across

b) Let them cool off and peel off the blackened skin. Do not throw away the seeds inside. Mash the flesh.

c) Chop Tomatoes,1 Onion, Garlic into thin slices. Heat oil in a kadai /Non-stick pan, add Mustard seeds,Black Gram,Jeera seeds, and let them splutter with energetic leaps. Then add pieces of dry-red chilli, curry leaves, a pinch of Turmeric, salt to taste. Add a spoonful of Chilli powder, * when you add chilli,at the last mile, it retains the natural reddish tinge* 

d) To this seasoning, add the chopped  Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes (in that order), let the whole combination cook for a while, until they become tender. Add Garam masala powder, Coriander + Jeera powder  to this. Then add the mashed eggplant. Let them cook on a medium heat. Do not disturb!  

e) Spread a thin layer of butter over the dish and cook it for a while. Taste it, and if you are sastified with it, remove it. Great to have it with Chapatis, Parathas etc.     

Recipe 3 : 100220081058.jpg Sweet Pumpkin Cooked with Groundnuts 

a) Pumpkin, next to the Potato, is the most malleable sweet little thing. A tiny pumpkin is enough. Chop this into medium-sized cubes. Heat oil in a kadai /Non-stick pan, add Mustard seeds,Black Gram,Jeera seeds, and let them splutter with energetic leaps. Then add thin slices of Onion. A spoonfull of Turmeric, Chilli powder , Salt to taste.    

b) Add Pumpkin cubes to the seasoning + fried slices of Onion. Once they become softer, add water. Let them cook for a while. Powder roasted Groundnuts along with a tiny garlic + a pinch of salt & chilli powder. Add this powder to the Pumpkin dish that is being cooked. Let it simmer a while and remove it from the cooking device. That’s it!

Recipe 1 :Stuffed Puris  {Pic is in the beginning}

a) Boil Green Peas (one cup-full) and mash them into a tight paste. 

b) Take Maida (two cups). Add salt, a bit of oil and water to it. Knead the combo softly, with your fingers and work out a softer dough. Put it aside for a while, cover it with a thin muslin cloth.

c) Make tiny balls of this soft dough. Apply a little oil to your palm and use it as a base to make tiny puris. On each tiny puri, spread a spoonfull of paste of Green Peas, and fold its corners to the centre so that it becomes a round stuffed ball. Then, use your palm as the base and fingers to flatten the stuffed ball. 

d) Heat oil in a deep Kadai. You have to deep fry the flattened stuffed ball. If you have not done a tighter seal of the roll, the stuffing – peas paste, like a disobedient child, spills out into the oil. Do not panic. You will become perfect after two or three trials

{To Mom….}090220081047.jpg

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{Perfectly captured FOOD shots make all of us delirious, we term them the HIGH-DROOL FACTOR. I request the reader-cum-foodie to click on this image, to drool over the enlarged version. I requested some prominent intelligent foodie blogger to help me in getting a more presentable format of such a beautiful image, relentlessly. But he stayed on Adamant. Men are jealous when women do perfectly crafted things.What to do?}

Weekends are all about lazing around in bed, watching the sunlight glinting purple hues off unruly curls of my hair, being wrapped in the warmth of dreams that left me a few moments ago, ignoring the autumn chill that is creeping over my face, reaching out to the book to reestablish the link to the journey left midway previous night…essentially, efforting in not to move hands, waist, limbs and feet too much, as they are still stuck with something inexplicable, thinking how wonderful it is to have a man who fixes Breakfast in Bed for me,…..tut, tut, I need to ignore this weird creature with a tag “Lotus-Eating”, decorating the walls in my favourite shades. I have to jump out of bed, and have to head towards kitchen where my sessions with mom are held every weekend. The day is actually beautiful, someone shared with me pictures of “Autumn Fire-works” previous night, the walks I took across them still linger on my lips…. capt_2c728df2f0e64445ab6c0f449f364a01_travel_trip_green_briar_ny403.jpg….capt_dde4375d084d48a9b2161a97ccba840f_travel_trip_looking_for_leaves_ny422.jpg

27102007738.jpg But it’s PASTA TIME. I love Pasta, because it is tantalizingly simple – carry a much larger influence due to the varied ingredients used while making Pasta, flexible, versatile and you can create your own unique, different recipes of Pasta, yup, there about about a million and one ways of making pasta. And Pasta come in many styles – appealing, isn’t it? I still remember that evening when I firmed up my decision to become a “Pasta Specialist” in the next 5 years. Since then, there’s no looking back, I gathered many hued Pasta recipes from friends, across the coffee tables, work cubicles, single working men (bachelors who have girl friends), single working women, live-in couples, married couples still glued together, married couples splitting their ends, HE and MOM.….I usually do not entertain Fast food, but whenever I go out to venture into Fast Food world, I prefer Pastas over Pizzas, Pastas over Burgers. A variety of tasty and flavourful Pastas served up at the outlets seem to fuel my enthusiasm for this simple yet fun filled creation – Use the best Italian brand Barilla, run water through fresh leaves, and other ingredients, slice through fresh cubes or slices of cheese, disturb a fresh layer of cream on milk, stir up senses with fresh Pepper and other spices and cook slowly (the toughest part)….so simple to make a tasty, plump and succulent recipe of Pasta.

I am going to use Barilla Penne Rigate today {Recipe 2}.  

Recipe 1 : Creamy Mushroom Pasta (to be eaten along with mashed potato and garlic bread)

(Most South Indians do not like Mushrooms. I do not like them either. Mushrooms are still alien a concept in most Indian ethnic kitchens. Varied types of Pizzas would have brought masses closer to Mushrooms w.r.t taste and flavour, but most stay emotionally detached to them. This whole campaign for Pastas in my life started with Pasta cooked in thick sauce with mushrooms, green olives and cream. Mushrooms are believed to create a depth of flavor and add certain richness to the sauce. Choosing the right kind of Mushrooms is an important task)  

What you need  {I am not getting into that conventional way of delivering a recipe, as I am not a master chef, and I fare quite badly at measurements….even, our moms usually do not create divinly sinful dishes using ingredients in measured quantities. An instinct – it happens when one enters kitchen more frequently than it could be done, which guides when, what to add and in how much quantity. But, I tend to be a Brand conscious woman in the kitchen}:

Pasta (of any kind, buy Barilla pack), Olive oil (just 1 tablespoon – get Bertolli), fresh Mushrooms sliced, tiny slices of Garlic (you want Ginger. Resist the temptation please), Salt (the essential), 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (Have you ever walked in Food World Gourmet ? please do. I once used those Pizza Hut seasonings), ½ cup sour cream, and grated cheese to be sprinkled across at the last mile of cooking.  

a) Once the lightly salted water has come to a boil, add pasta and olive oil. Let it cook for sometime (a little longer than 5 mins), until pasta becomes tender. Then drain. 

b) Put a wide base pan, add a few drops of olive oil and work on it over low heat. Add the mushrooms until they get soft, then drop in those tiny slices of garlic, Italian seasoning, salt etc.

c) Add pasta. Cook this whole drama on a medium heat and keep stirring it for about 5 mins. Stir in the sour cream and cook it on low heat until it becomes soft, smooth and creamy.

d) Then sprinkle grated cheese (I use Amul Processed Cheese chiplets) and let it blend with the rich cream. Do not forget to enjoy this pasta with mashed potatoes and Garlic bread. A few men claimed that they use White wine for this recipe. Am a teetotaler, never used White wine in cooking. 

 

Recipe 2 : Rigate with Coriander leaves (to be eaten along with mashed potato and garlic bread. The recipe’s image is shared with you folks)

What you need  {I do not want to reiterate what I said above}: Pasta (Barilla Rigate), Olive oil (just 1 tablespoon – get Bertolli), fresh Coriander leaves {broken into tiny pieces, breathe in the fragrance), tiny slices of Garlic (No to Ginger), Salt (the essential), 1 tbsp Pepper, ½ cup Onions sliced, grated cheese, a tiny cup – fresh milk cream and milk. 

a) As above in Recipe 1. But let Pasta cook in the boiling water for a little longer than 8 mins).

b) Put a wide base pan, add a few drops of olive oil and work on it over low heat. Add the slices of Onion, drop in those tiny slices of garlic, and let them gush about or cook until they get soft. Then add a few leaves of Coriander, salt and pepper.

c) Cook this whole drama on a medium heat and keep stirring it for about 3 mins. Add Pasta.  Then, Stir in the milk cream and cook it on low heat until everything becomes smooth and creamy. Then add grated cheese (I use Amul Processed Cheese chiplets) and let it blend with the milk cream. Add the remaining leaves of Coriander, mix it quickly and swiftly. And serve the cooked pasta in a rectangular shaped bowl. Yes, you need to enjoy this pasta with mashed potatoes and Garlic bread.

 

{dedicating this to Mom, the MOST WONDERFUL WOMAN, who braved my tantrums in the kitchen. To HIM, A SNOOTY, SNOBBISH FOODIE who criticises me endlessly!}

And here goes the set of people who would carry Pasta Enthusiasm Tag {am assuming they are fervent admirers of Pasta!}  AntAmy, Alok and ./w .   

{Fall foliage : Courtesy}

And Ant declares elegantly……….{link”While you do not cook an awfully lot or supersophisticated things you though cook in a mediocre way reasonably well without too much effort and too much things burnt. Reasonably well means that it also pleases the eye. …”}

ome.jpgThis recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate two eggs, but it doesn’t say how far to separate them
“I cracked open it into the pan, quite
brusque a move for the egg, delicately
hushed mom;the white flew smoothly
over to the cubes of tomatoes,potatoes
and rings of capscicum simmering with
a layer of pepper,masalas and salt;
the inanimated yolk slid into the center,
twisted my lips with frown,stubborn
fellow! heavy-headed just like you,
detached airs swinging over the fence,
throwing a challenge at me? stirred
an angry spoon over it,see how easily
I could stir you to dance to my moves;

wish!I could mash you like those potatoes,
and fry you with onions,cabbage,and stinging
bits of green chillies!”

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