mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘on the side’ Category

Walking down memory lane…

In Fruit, Kashmiri, on the side, Preserves, This and That, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on November 1, 2009 at 1:02 am

Quince

If you take a good look, you will find that the majority of the posts on this blog are around memories. Mostly memories about food. Yet, from the moment Manisha announced her IFR: Memories I seem to have been at a loss for words! Her deadline, extended, is looming and I can feel the pressure as she churns out post after daily post on IFR.

Many of my vivid memories are around food, which must be true for a lot of you. Despite nostalgia rendering most things pink, resurrecting food of our memories usually turns out well. Unless you are attempting to recreate your mother’s cooking. That one is hard to get spot on. Few can rival a mother’s prowess. Hopefully, our children will look at our cooking the same way, and we will have our spot in the limelight.

This summer, for example, before setting off for college faraway, the son finally awarded me a 10-on-10 for my rogan josh. He also added that not only had I cooked a swell rogan josh, I now had my own secret ingredient for it! Which was true – I had tweaked my mother’s recipe a tad – I added a teeny weeny bit of ground mace. What was I to do – after trying in vain to match her rogan josh for ten years, I rebelled and made it better :). Well, not really. By that time I had likely put in my time – the minimum requisite to get certification – behind cooking rogan josh to have finally got the art down. Yes, recipes evolve…in an effort to better your mom’s cooking when you can’t make it just like her. I bet my son’s food memories are starting to stack up. Read the rest of this entry »

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

In From the Garden, Low Fat, on the side, Rice, Vegetarian on June 28, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I know, I know – I have been neglecting the blog.  I think i might have writer’s block.  The thing with writing is that you must just keep at it; that’s the only way to get past it.  You cut yourself some slack, waiting for inspiration to strike, and before you know it you have arrived at Writer’s Block!  Sticky place, that.

the vine

Yet it’s not as if it has been an uneventful month.  The Big News is that the son has graduated from highschool. Pappu pass ho gaya!! :D Not just that, he has also managed a place at a good college down South to study the subject he wishes to.  Yes, if all goes as per plan, he is slated to become an engineer in four years.

This is also a month of birthdays in the family, and everyone is a year older.  The son can vote now.  As for me, well… I don’t think 44 is any kind of a milestone…  After 40, they seem to whiz by.

Yet, this birthday ended up special in many ways.  The day began with the usual phone calls from my Mom and sis.  Then my neighbour T walked in to wish me and reminded me about our lunch appointment – yes, T took me out to lunch!  It was after a very long time that I actually liked everything I had ordered at a restaurant.  Thank you, T, for a wonderful afternoon!

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Another chance – a piece of cake?

In Desserts, Muffins and Cookies, on the side, Tea Party, Under 30 min! on May 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Despite what you might be beginning to think. I haven’t fallen through any hole and disappeared from the surface of this earth.  Though, I came pretty close to just that this past weekend.

Given the hectic work pace of the past month, a fleeting thought that this might be our last chance to find some time with a young son on the threshold of adulthood (and college), and the by-now oppressive Delhi summer, we decided to steal a quick trip into the neighbouring Himalayan foothills.  A few calls and we were booked for an extended weekend in the tea gardens of Palampur.

But I am not going to be able to tell you anything about the tea there.  We never made it that far.  We had a nasty accident just a few hours out of Delhi and are really lucky to have made it back at all!  It even seemed a bit surreal after the crazy moments of the actual crash for the first few seconds of which we did not even know what was going on.  There we were turned 180 degrees and looking at the giant trailer that had just fish-tailed us!  Thankfully, the truck loaded with reinforcement steel wasn’t going too fast and came to a stop without dragging us too far or crushing into us further.  It was all over in a matter of seconds.  I looked around – all seemed okay, got out of the car and walked over to the side…. I was pretty amazed at my steady steps!

Good karma. :)  And another chance at A Mad Tea Party!

A silver lining of the botched trip was that I was able to be in town for a visiting friend.  Shilpa was going to come over with her daughter and friends for A Mad Tea Party.

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Kanji on One Sunny Spring Day

In Drinks, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Under 30 min! on March 29, 2009 at 1:15 am

kanji
Natural.  Home made. Brew with a (nonalcoholic) kick.  Lip smacking. Kanji.

Every winter I look at the black-purple carrots that appear in the vegetable markets of Delhi and the rest of Northern India, and make a mental note to track down a recipe for kanji. As far as I know, they are used only in the making of this fiery colourful end-of-winter drink. And every year passes just the same as the previous one.

Now, this blog has given me a lot of readers. Some of the readers have gone on to become good friends. Friends who share their views and opinions – and I am glad you are opinionated – share their likes and dislikes (of people, of colours and pictures on this blog and in general, punctuation and pronunciation, and of course, food related stuff). Some have been willing to risk sharing their blog… only to end up fuming later at some very persistent confusion regarding ‘the real owner of IFR’ as the movement spread! I wasn’t complaining about the unintentional link-love it brought. Especially, since I haven’t exactly been in the thick of it all this past year.

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Getting into Spring: Paneer Tikka

In Low Fat, on the side, Punjab, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on March 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

kanji

Spring is here and Delhi is a riot of colour. There are the myriad shades of green and now the blooms. To all this, Holi added its bright colours this week.

skewered

It has been a while since we joined in the revelry that Holi is but a party is always welcome. My MIL would always make fruit salad on this day. But who can handle all that cream in this day and age. One Holi we ate homemade pizza and ordered ice cream. If I feel like I will sometimes make gujiya, the traditional Holi sweet here in the North.  [Some other traditional Holi recipes here.]

This year all I did was cut up great looking purple carrots and start the process of preparing a cooling fermented drink… (yes, Pel are you listening?) As it turns out, it is a traditional drink for Holi second only to the frothy bhang! It is an apt one alright – with that deep purple colour…

While you wait for that recipe, here’s the one I promised last time – great party fare this one too. Read the rest of this entry »

Paneer Tikka Parties, and other things

In on the side, Punjab, Tea Party, This and That, Uncategorized, Vegetarian on February 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

labne
My entry for Click Feb: Cheese!

It has been a very busy time for me on the personal front this time. First my sister was visiting from CT, and now I have a friend visiting from Chennai. From Monday will start the stress of the XII Boards for the son. But it hasn’t kept us from having a jolly good time. The kitchen has been buzzing with activity.

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Gimme Red!

In on the side, This and That, Vegetables on January 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Quick.  I need your opinion.  This one is my entry for Click: Red! To get these juicy tomatoes I made a trip to my local vegetable market so I could have tomatoes with their green bracts still attached!

tomatoes
(salad recipe here)

tomatoes
pears

For Click: Red! I’m was leaning towards #2…liked the mood there.   But you are all right, the tomatoes are looking their best in #1!

Thank you all!  First one it is – the official entry for Click: Red!

Divali Treats: namak pare

In Maharashtrian, on the side, Tea Party, Traditions and Customs, Vegetarian on October 27, 2008 at 7:17 pm

reading corner
The lights are up!

Yesterday, on dhanteras (the thirteenth day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin), I gathered up some enthusiasm to get the Divali cooking underway.  There was no way I could have shopped for gold – the prices are at a record high and the market at a record low.  Making Divali treats seemed to be just the thing to get the festivities off to a happy start. The easiest munchies to make are shankarpare and namak pare, one sweet, the other salty.

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Deep Fried Love: Batata Vada

In Maharashtrian, on the side, Potatoes, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on August 24, 2008 at 5:11 pm

batata vada
If you have been seeing Batata Vadas appear in some of the food blogs you read and wondering what is up with that, here is what is at the root of it all – old fashioned indulgence.  A year ago, while discussing this and that on this blog, I and my readers decided a party was in order – an old fashioned yet not completely throw-caution-to-the-winds party.  Celebrating food without worrying about what went into it, or got left out; being intuitive instead of thoughtful.  It lead to a bunch of us frying poori last year, some for the first time!

This year we are experimenting with frying batata vadas, some of us for the first time!  The motive, again, has been to cook and share with friends and family, and remind ourselves that a little indulgence is a good thing.  And, of course, have some fun while we were frying!

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Caronde he Caronde

In Bread, Chutneys, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 19, 2008 at 12:25 am

caronde ki chutney

Please don’t mention Caronda* for some time…it is in every jar I had spare!  There is no room for any more pickles or preserves…As I mentioned last time, I made some caronda chutney a week ago, to use up part of my Dad’d harvest from a bush I planted about ten years ago in the front yard of their house.  I used the idea of a sweet-tangy Indian chutney such as saunth (sweet and sour tamarind chutney) or a mango chutney made with unripe mangoes.  The effort was much appreciated. Since it was a trial batch I got just enough to fill two tiny jars that I sent off to my mum and sister.  The next batch was a repeat of the recipe and this time the effort yielded a big jar – plenty, I thought.

There were still some carondas left which then went into a pickle, pits and all, along with some unripe mango, lotus root, and green chillies. I keep that stoneware jar in the sun, what little there is of it at this time, bring it in every evening, and give it a good stir.  It is looking good.

So far so good.  My mum liked the relish a lot.  She doesn’t eat too much pickle because of the high salt content.  I told her that pitting the fruit was a pain in the rear.  She pitted about a kilo with the help of her maid and presented it to me.  I had thought more like: ok, here’s a recipe you might like to try… But I came home and made my third batch of caronda chutney.  This batch had fewer ingredients – I had already used up my dates; no gur – I couldn’t be bothered; less sugar – I had used up a lot of sugar in the past couple of weeks between the caronda relish and the mango jam, and was making statements with big exclamatory marks regarding the sugar content of the chutney.  The fruit for this batch had ripened further on the plant, was a deeper pink, and there was a subtle change in texture too.  What a pretty pink it turned in the pan!  And the texture – why, it reminded me of sour cherries in syrup!  The slight crispness as you bite into one was so similar!  That made me Google for recipes using sour cherries and I found a bunch that hold promise for next year!  I make no promises…but there might even be Caronda Liqueur on these pages one day!

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