Cooking-class Update

IMG_20151121_155020

The Soups and Salads workshop was fun! It is so much fun(er) to cook in a group!

The small-group cooking class was well received. It was designed as a practical, hands-on class with the participants doing all the chopping, blending, and cooking. I only instructed on what to do, how to do it, and what not to do! Ten minutes into the workshop and I cut my right thumb on the sharp blade of the mandoline slicer after instructing everyone that only I was allowed to use it. I pinched my thumb and kept the right arm raised for a good part of the first hour ensuring that it was indeed a 100% hands-on class ! 😀

IMG_20151122_112318

We sipped tea as we chopped and stirred. We checked off everything on the menu list in well under two and a half hours.

Following the success of the workshop, the next one has been planned and announced (check the Workshops page). Thank you, for all the encouragement here. Stay tuned – the next post in the US travelogue is almost ready for print.

Foolproof Coffee Cake: Welcome 2015

cake 06

Welcome 2015, with a quick coffee-flavoured cake.

All in all, 2014 was a good year.  Ani was home for some time.  When he left, it was to find his feet and spread his wings with more confidence – he got his first job!  I am now the mother of a gainfully employed young man.  We traveled a little.  The road-trip to Ladakh, a long time in planning, finally happened.  Vijay and I crossed another milestone together – we have been married 25 years now.  All of us, the extended family included, kept good health, which is the greatest blessing of all.

Ani Vijay 1992-93
The Boys – 1992
October 1989
October 1989

Now that I think about it, nothing much out of the ordinary happened in 2014!  And that’s what makes it a wonderful year – everything in moderation, no sharp dips or sudden spikes.  I wish I could say that I started exercising regularly, but I haven’t.  The rest, I’m pretty pleased about.

Sometime, mid-year, I and a friend decided that we ought to eat out more.  Heck, I don’t even have that one kid to worry about now!  The intent is to try new places and make new favourites. We tried Pot Belly, a small restaurant serving Bihari food in Shahput Jat.  It gets a big thumbs up – everything we tried was fabulous.  This was followed up with The Pop Up, a pop-up, at Asian Games Village complex, that got a thumbs-down.  This was a strange experience.  We were the only ones there still the service lacked shine.  We might have made unsuitable choices but they left us wondering whether they were a pop-up for another reason.

Towards the end of 2014, I even started blogging at a better rate!  Through the year I also discovered some food blogs that I want to share with you; they are refreshingly unique.

Delicious Istanbul

Hiroyuki’s Blog On Japanese Cooking

Heron Earth

The Silk Road Gourmet

Yes, I notice too there’s a theme here! It is interesting to learn about the cultural and historical links of how we eat, and these blogs offer that.

I was a little upset that blogs/websites that essentially gather everyone else’s recipes were getting all the traffic.  Some of them had my recipes!  That included, among others, Tarla Dalal’s site that took down the picture, after I complained, but still retains the recipe, verbatim, for my Green Chili Pickle!  Search for “Carrot Kanji” and you will find the web flooded with pictures from my post with hardly any attributed to me.

For a brief moment I did consider Googling “how to get more traffic to your blog” and then stopped.  I wasn’t going to let how Google reads dictate how I write! You, who are still reading, are the ones that I want!  The quiet comments section though, is a bit disheartening.  What’s up with that? In the time of Insta-everything leaving comments does get a bit tedious, I agree, usually requiring some kind of verification – an extra step most of us don’t have the time for.  Won’t you, every now and then, leave a note? I am not offering any giveaway, and yet hoping you will outgrow being The Very Quiet Cricket.

2015 has begun well with my new passport finally arriving in the first few days of the New Year.  It did entail a fourth and final visit to the Passport Office just before the year was out, and took 9 months from the time of application.  The US Visa on the old passport is valid till September 2015, so…who knows!

I was going to start the year off with another pickle (red chilli) but what with it being festive season yet again, Makarsankranti, Pongal, Bihu, and what have you, I decided I should re-post an old recipe. Better I than someone else! 😀 This time, with pictures (err… cell-phone pictures for now).  I baked it last weekend to take it to a friend’s tea party which ended in dinner!

cake 07

Teatime Coffee Cake

1C + 1T maida (all purpose flour)
1t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 medium sized eggs
3/5 C oil
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 heaped T instant coffee powder (optional)
3-4 T cold milk
1t vanilla essence
1/3 C slivered almonds

Sift flour and baking powder. Mix in salt. Oil a 9″ cake tin, dust with flour; tap upside down to remove excess flour. Dissolve the coffee powder in the milk.

Turn oven on to Gas Mark 6.

In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, oil and sugar with a hand-held mixer (not a hand-blender) till the sugar has dissolved completely. This takes a few minutes because our sugar here comes in large grain size.

Add the coffee-flavoured milk, and vanilla essence. Mix till combined. Keeping the mixer on the lowest speed add in the flour. Beat till combined. Pour into the prepared tin. Sprinkle evenly with slivered almonds. Bake in the center of the oven for 40-50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool (if you have the time). Slice and serve with tea or coffee.

Much Food and Talk

Teen Deviyan
The three of us at Ugrasen ki baoli, Connaught Place

Manisha, and A and N were here last week and what a food-packed week it ended up being!  I put work aside and for a whole week we just ate, talked with our mouths full, ate some more, drank a little, and walked a lot.  I focused on Kashmiri food at home and we ate out some, crossing off some of the better known Delhi-delights.

Kachori
Here it starts: kachoris and bedmi poori!

streets
The streets that offer daulat ki chat, the frothy, dew-kissed winter-morning dessert.

Manisha arrived on the last Saturday of November and A and N were here by noon the following day.  They barely got enough time to wheel their bags into the bedroom before we were off on our first foodie trip.  Reeta (Delhi Foodie’s Zone) had graciously agreed  to be our guide through the labyrinth of Old Delhi’s streets!  Continue reading “Much Food and Talk”