After all, it's called Chocolate Tulip...
Chocolate can be both a unifying and a divisive factor. Whole debates can erupt about 'dark vs milk', 'the best kind of M&Ms', 'cocoa:sugar ratios', or 'is white chocolate really chocolate?'
However, most of the time, placing a plate of brownies or a bag of chocolate or a giant bar in the middle of a group of people will result in good spirits, lip-smacking, finger-licking, and lots of smiles.
My economics teacher always promised us chocolate when we found out the answer to a challenge question, and joked that we owed him chocolate when we did well in an assessment. The truth is, we owe him a whole lot more than chocolate – to go with economics terms, technically, teachers could be considered as not being economic goods, because it's actually very difficult to put a price on them.
But this chocolate-nutella cake in a jar was symbolic, and I had a lot of fun making it, right down to the cute labels and nerdy economics puns.
I think I ate this cake in 3 forms: First, I planted myself on the kitchen counter and licked all the extra batter out of the bowl.
Then halfway through baking we smelled something burning, and all the batter had bubbled out of the cupcake cups, all over the tray. (After much reflection, we realised that in the chaos of the evening, my sister and I had forgotten the flour.....) So after scooping whatever batter was reclaimable into a new tray and adding some random scoops of flour, I ate up the delicious sizzling-brownie-esque stuff that was all over the tray.
And then I finally turned the broken cake into 'cake in a jar', layered with huge dollops of nutella and lots of chocolate sprinkles. Yeah. And of course I ate up the extra bits of cake.
Another delight of chocolate is chocolate in the morning. The Dutch know how to do this right, with rich chocolate sprinkles or flakes on toast being immensely popular. Chocolate features in my oatmeal, on my toast, in my cereal, anywhere. One morning towards the end of school, I had a pretty exhausting day ahead and lots of work, so I decided to make myself chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Because. Breakfast is special and pancakes are fun and chocolate just makes it better.
The chocolate was gooey and warm, and the pancakes were crisp and soft, and it just turned my day around.
Of course, I've thought of the people who don't like chocolate at all. (Don't worry. I don't hate you.)
So whatever it is that makes you socialise, laugh, and be happy, go ahead and make it.
Eat it in 3 forms. Eat it for breakfast.
This post was going to be entitled simply 'lately', but it kept reminding me of the song by David Gray. The chorus goes:
"Honey, lately I've been way down,
A load on my mind."
So the title is only partially apt. "A load on my mind"... yeah, you can say that again.
But I haven't been way down, not at all. The past few months have been chaotic, but I've been undoubtedly happy. Even though I haven't had much time to cook I wanted to write a bit of an update on the little foodie things that have been going on. I expected this post to be rather mundane, but in the process of choosing all the photos so many memories and moments have come back, and I actually think this post, despite a major lack of cooking, will be one of my favourites.
My mum and I had a quiet weekend lunch at Suzette - an adorable crêperie nearby. I had plenty of work, but we had to wait until a particular time and that made us slow down. Each savoured bite was interspersed by deep, engaging conversation and the place was quiet except for cute background music. We actually sat for a bit, just chatting, before we decided to go for it and order the blueberry panna cotta that had been tempting us. It was creamy, perfectly sweet, and it has set my panna cotta - and lunchtime - standards high.
I've read a lot about shashukha (a North African dish of eggs poached in a rich, flavourful tomato sauce) and it's high on the list of things I want to make. I didn't have enough time to make the real thing, but one day before an unusually early start at school I tried whipping up a simpler version. It certainly doesn't look as appetising as a traditional shashukha, but it was aromatic (my mum and sister were rather intrigued), warm and it was definitely what I needed that morning.
I'm still a coffee person (I never, ever thought I would be... late-night art sessions drove me to start drinking it, and now I'm one of those 'morning cuppa' people) but I do like certain teas. The Indian masala tea is divine, I'm very intrigued by floral teas, and from what I've tried of green tea it's alright... I've sort of made myself like it because it's good for you. But there are lots of fruity options out there waiting to be experimented with. My dad brought back some Sri Lankan tea and I particularly liked some of the honey-coloured, light ones and the gentle green teas. What topped it for me were the little labels, the rough string and the triangular cloth pouches <3
I can't rave enough about the fruit we get here... one weekend we just had so many, and I was feeling nostalgic about our trip to Cambodia and my daily fruit platter breakfasts. It wasn't the same, but nonetheless refreshing... and loads of fun to eat.
My mum packs a healthy, filling lunch for me every day (I dare my teachers to try and get me to absorb even one word if I haven't had a proper lunch), and she adds such lovely little touches. She'll put strawberries with kiwi because to me they're like chocolate and vanilla, or she'll put in a tub of mishti doi (a creamy bengali sweet yoghurt that's irresistible... Danone has ingeniously started packaging it like regular fruit yoghurts. The only downside is that I eat it way more often than I normally would... but I can't pass it up). One of my favourites is her speculaas parfait creation: a crumbled speculaas cookie, topped with plain yoghurt and a dollop of peach jam. It all infuses and it's the absolute best pick-me-up.
I asked Tarini what she wanted me to cook her for her birthday, and I was prepared to make anything. I had done croissants for my mum, a cake for my dad and frantic poffertjes for myself. But Tarini is a simple eater and, if you know what she likes, easy to please. She asked me for hash browns to go with easy scrambled eggs, canned baked beans and a carton of juice. Frying the hash browns was a tad messy... I gave 'hash' a new meaning... but she seemed satisfied :) Her simple pleasures rub off on us, because we all spent the morning bonding over building a giant Lego set together and sipping my dad's cappuccinos.
So many amazing restaurants keep popping up around Bombay. A lot of it is shifting to areas like Bandra, and people say my area will essentially become the quaint, historic 'old town'. I'm not complaining. I truly love my part of town, and we still get a huge number of new places each year - with the added advantage of more space and relatively more tranquility. The Sassy Spoon is minutes from my house and is unbelievably charming. The decor is gorgeous and quirky, the food is creative and fresh, and the last time we went they had a Christmas bazaar going on in their gardens with all the latest from Bombay's flourishing fashion design world. The photo above shows nothing of the ambience or the fun drinks, but the colours happened to catch my eye :P
Aside from 'real' cooking, I keep up my usual experimentation. I throw random ingredients into my oatmeal, cereal or yoghurt, try different toppings on my toast, mix up a new drink, or make something with bits and bobs, like the dessert above with bits of cake, yoghurt and jam.
One day my sister and my dad were busy, but my mum and I attended a bread making workshop. We figured it would help, considering our bad luck so far. We didn't actually get to make much - the dough was prepared, and they baked it. We essentially watched a presentation, kneaded the dough around a bit, and snacked on crackers, hummus and cappuccinos. I can't say we left as enlightened bread makers, but we did enjoy mingling and unwinding. The bread (cherry-apricot, raisin-hazelnut, and olive) was delicious and I ate it in every possible way:
... a box of stale (probably re-gifted) Belgian chocolates melted perfectly for us to dip the bread in...
... dollops of real jam...
... with strawberries, peanut butter and nutella...
... and I made the last two chunks into french toast :)
Near Christmas I made a banoffee pie - the recipe was really easy, and everything went perfectly. I was holding the fridge open, rearranging to make space, and holding the pie in my other hand, and I heard a splat as a part of the top layer spilled because I wasn't paying attention to it tilting and tilting. It worked out, though - we ate it while watching The Santa Clause, and it tasted incredible. The photos were taken in the evening, so they didn't do the pie justice, but condensed milk pouring onto a buttery walnut-biscuit base is pretty yum too.
These are kind of cheating, because they're from a box of pumpkin spice doughnut mix sent over via my dad by my aunt in Boston. It was like a little package of their pretty autumn. It wasn't your usual box mix because it was whole wheat and all natural, so I didn't mind ;) I turned them into muffins in the absence of a doughnut pan, and I was thrilled... the dripping maple glaze on top was, quite literally, the icing on the cake. I rolled my eyes at my dad adding more icing to his muffin, but yeah. He was right. These need a generous heap of icing, and I didn't regret it.
Being at my grandparents' house at any time of year means lots of homemade food and sweets and cookies and whatnot. This was further compounded by us being there at Christmas and New Year's, and the fact that my grandmother is an avid Dutch baker. I tried my first mince pies (above), had fresh oliebollen and appelflappen (Dutch New Year's traditions), gevulde speculaas, cookies, namkeen and cake... just to name a few. Bad for your waistline, great for your happiness.
Contrasting all that butter and sugar is my grandmother's herb and vegetable garden from which we collected fresh cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil and oregano. Among several other things growing were pumpkins, which I'm excited to see. I love this photo for so many reasons. Tarini's hand - on the left - is almost as big as mine, reminding me how she's not so literally my little sister anymore. The colours are vibrant, I can just smell the herbs and remember plucking them. It's always so interesting to go and see a plant - it connects you to your food in a different way and brings out your often stifled curiosity. And the little nose and ear peeking out on the right - the golden eyes are unfortunately hidden - belong to their dog Leela. I love her feistiness and energy, and she perfectly juxtaposes Naveen with his sweet, wimpy nature and melting chocolate eyes.
I had my first taste of chana jor: a street food special of roasted raw chickpeas (with the skin on) mixed with fresh onion, tomato, coriander, spices, a few sweet crunchy things, all culminating in one of the most delightful snacks I've tasted. The man preparing it could give the masterchef contestants a run for their money in onion chopping, and the whole process of putting it together is so fascinating. Little things in my tastes are changing... spicy street food, turmeric in my popcorn, and the newly realised ability to eat green kurkure without burning my tongue. I'm evolving with Bombay :)
I was lured back to get chana jor again, and I discovered 'ragi khakhara' at the supermarket both on the same day. Ragi is rye, and khakhara is traditionally a gujarati snack made of crispy paratha and comes in every possible flavour (even chinese schezwan, dosa and pizza). My family likes it, but I've never been hooked. But ragi khakhara? Oh yes. I love it. For all its fried food, Bombay is rather health-conscious, and increasingly so. Bombay is evolving along with me, too :)
From a recent trip to Copenhagen my dad brought rokkebrood (I only know the Dutch name), a dark, dense, slightly bitter bread laden with whole grains and seeds. No one in my family likes it, so more for me ;) I've had it every day for breakfast along with the pungent cheeses he brought, the artisan pineapple-mango jam (brilliant combination) I brought from our school trip to Pondicherry, nutella, butter, peanut butter, honey... you name it. It didn't even last a week. But I'm not disappointed, it's just given me something interesting to try and cook.
There was a massive food festival this weekend at the Nehru Centre, with each floor filled with stalls of food galore. We relished in all the different tidbits, and we especially enjoyed the organic farmer's market and stalls. It really showcased Bombay, from new French bakeries to masala burgers, perfect papad and Belgian fries, spectacular ice cream and organic flax seeds...
Today I'm feeling especially blessed. Well, call it what you will, as someone constantly debating faith I'm never sure quite what name to give it. Regardless of what it's called, it's an extraordinary feeling. Very, very few people are surrounded by such beautiful individuals, hear such warming words, are given such exciting opportunities and are made to feel, each and every day, that they love life.
Crumbly scones + coffee.
I think I made these scones at 9 at night or something.
The week was really busy with my grandparents in town and all the usual schoolwork... but once I start making excuses I'm a brilliant procrastinator, so I just closed myself up in the kitchen and cooked.
I'm glad I did, because it's nice to wake up to a little buttery triangle and hot coffee.
Speaking of coffee, everyone had been busy posting about the first pumpkin spice lattes, the first pumpkins, the pies... everything autumn.
When we were in Chicago I didn't like coffee (:O) so my standard order at Starbucks was a hot chocolate, or later a tall, no whip, double chocolate chip frappuccino (The rhyme never failed to amuse me. I felt so cool ordering it...).
So we went to the Starbucks at the Taj (*ahem* Chicagoans: South Bombay may have only 2 Starbucks, but they are a 1000 times more gorgeous than any one in the US. Just saying. They're pretty stunning), and they had the full smorgasbord of Pumpkin treats! I refrained from ordering a slice of pie, a muffin, a frappuccino and a cookie to complement my latte. Honestly, I don't think it was worth all the hype... it was definitely yum and creamy, but a little too sweet. I was kind of imagining a speculaas-y coffee, you know?
I'll try and make that and see how it comes out:)
I had a lot of fun making this pasta. The next morning I was leaving on our school's annual bonding camp trip to the hills, and so although I had loads of work to do, I could put it off for a few days.
That trip has had a reputation of being absolutely horrendous, and I've honestly been miserable sometimes. But this year it was unbelievable. The treks were harder than any I've done before- wet, slippery, hot, stifling, crumbly and long. But the views from the hills were spectacular and nullified any tiredness: acres and acres of greenery in every possible shade, little waterfalls and streams, fields of wildflowers, cattle wandering along a silent path, clean and crisp air, mist rolling around you from all sides- sometimes turning the entire surroundings white- and the rain shimmering down from time to time.
Plus, with 60 new students there was always so much to talk about and so many people to meet.
This pasta is kind of like our camping trip. It's fresh, natural and good for you, and it's filled with different colours, shapes and flavours- like the new variety of personalities we have at school.
I got really carried away with photographing the bright vegetables, and then even more so when I saw that even the pasta was multicoloured. I started pouring pasta into bowls, taking photos in-motion, scattering them, and generally turning the kitchen counter into one big, noisy, colourful, messy, moving canvas.
The 4 colours that this dish revolves around are yellow, red, green and white. That's literally it.
Mixing this dish up is such a good feeling... you simply run your hands through a dish of ingredients of varying shapes and textures, made slippery with olive oil and exuding the vegetables and herbs' subtle aromas.
Another one of my favourite sensations is breaking apart fresh balls of mozzarella... the cheese just splits into lovely, soft chunks, and they're irresistible.
There isn't much to this recipe: chopped garlic, red and yellow bell pepper, ribbons of zucchini, sliced tomatoes, torn real mozzarella, shredded fresh basil, a lot of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake the dish in the oven to cook the vegetables, taking it out and stirring it occasionally. Boil the pasta, serve it all up and top it with some fresh basil and grated parmesan.
I hope you've had a colourful day xx
I've put these two recipes together for two reasons: they both came from the same blog, and they're both ridiculously easy. Besides, most people tend to pair breakfast and coffee, so why not throw the two together?
Another thing linking them is the way they caught my eye. My mum remarked the other day that I haven't been cooking as much as I was, for example, last summer- aside from helping out with making dinner.
I think the reason was that nothing had really excited me... I had no desire to bake a cake or a tart or a batch of cookies or a pie and have it haunt my fridge for days. I have never been hugely enticed by main dishes, and I was content to be doing the odd job with my mum in the evenings.
I was conscious of the effect of what I would make, and also conscious of whether it was worth my time.
However within a few days of each other, a few gorgeous photos popped up on my news feed; impeccably lit and temptingly laid out, a glass of iced coffee and a handful of cocoa cereal lured me in.
I kept the two pages open for days... the iced coffee was so simple, but so different and I had never thought of it. The cocoa cereal was proclaimed to be no work at all, and for me anything that is
d) an all-natural and super-healthy version of a chemical freak food
e) all of the above,
is a winner.
But no matter how frequently or infrequently I cook, what never fails to please me is the relaxing nature of it. A few simple ingredients slowly mixed together, and as if by magic the colour turned into a rich and decadent chocolate brown. The best part was forming the balls: my dad had just finished having a frustrating phone conversation when he walked in to the kitchen and paused to watch what I was doing.
"Want to roll some? It's therapeutic.", I said simply.
With a sigh he said, "Yes, I would actually."
With music playing, silently we pinched, squished rolled and placed, one by one, talking now and then about little things as the sun slowly said goodnight.
The thing with both these recipes is that you have to forget any preconceptions. This iced coffee is nothing like your Indian iced coffee with ice cream and whipped cream and heaps of sugar and syrup. But you can by all means add some- especially as the ice melts and the mixture becomes more saturated with coffee, you may need something sweet.
I was expecting the cocoa cereal to be crunchy and puffy, but I should have known better- there is no leavening agent whatsoever, so the cereal comes out as solid as it went in.
What you have to keep in mind is what Marta wrote on the original blog post: it's like brownies floating in your bowl. These really are soft, chewy and chocolatey (except instead of associating that description with forbidden fudge, it's your filling breakfast with almonds, yoghurt, honey and cocoa... all good-for-you ingredients :)
So end your day with some unwinding, mindless cooking, and start tomorrow with pick-me-up coffee and chocolate.
They always put me in a good mood.
Note to non-BD-ites: This may not make any sense, and don't get me wrong, our canteen is lovely. But being written for The BD Broadcast it had to be extra exaggerated and humourous- have a read if you want :)
BD-ites: this is the full version of the article in the most recent BD Broadcast issue.
“Oily and hairy!”
“I’m lovin’ it”
“Nice and spicy...”
Like most of the food, my interviews with students at the GD canteen could end up quite heated.
Of course, many chose to be ‘white bread’ with their remarks: decidedly bland.
But with my loyal taster by my side, 3 days of tasting, asking and snooping have culminated in: The Ultimate GD Canteen Review and Guide.
Paneer Chili vs. Chinese Bhel
The argument over these two dishes is as divided as I am over dark chocolate and milk chocolate.
In other words, there’s no conclusive decision... so go with both!
Most people find the paneer chili spicy, addictive, and filled with soft and perfect paneer.
My opinion? I tried it once in the 8th grade, and I was not going to go there again... besides, I don’t think it’s ever going to stop haunting me. It’s like a gelatinous, red mess with emulsified, soggy-batter-coated paneer, onions and capsicum.
But I’m not very opinionated.
The chinese bhel- crispy, red, spicy, creative and claimed by some as unhealthy- is a huge hit in the canteen, and the subject of many BD Broadcast and MUN jokes. In all honesty, it wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t have the stomach to have full plate... we just stole a bite from a devout 11th grade chinese-bheler.
The dosas... some say it’s the best thing there, some say it’s the worst. Some even claimed, convinced and aghast, that they had seen one of the cooks put tap water in the batter. Whatever it is, you can’t deny their popularity. They’re quick, crispy, a little spicy and their fillings are well-balanced: not overloaded with cheese, nor is the masala green with chillies. Just try to ignore the black cloth that’s used to wipe the griddle each time...
The manchurian roll is allegedly like pav bhaji: red, indistinguishable, spicy (noticing a theme here?) and messy, while its cousin the cheese corn roll is delicate, cute, spicy, corny and cheesy (much like The Broadcast). One expert offered her advice: “You need to be an experienced Subway-eater to eat it properly”.
My review helper had an ingenious idea: she broke it in half and ate it like bruschetta... well done for thinking outside the bun.
Which brings me on to bruschetta. Most people in my class didn’t believe our canteen (‘our canteen?!’) had bruschetta, but low and behold, there were little plates with dainty slices of baguette topped with fresh tomatoes and basil.
What are they trying to do, make us eat real food? Where’s the masala? Tomatoes? Who needs tomatoes, when you’ve got perfectly good ketchup?
Jokes aside, I liked it. The bread was slightly soggy from the tomato juice, but it was refreshing to see some nutritious food on offer.
One day, something caught my eye, and not in a good way. I mustered up the courage to try the masala bread. Essentially it’s a fluffy, starch-white pillow of bread, topped with puréed green chillies and tomatoes. At least, that’s what my burning, mush-filled mouth told me it was. If you love spicy food, and aren’t obsessed with wholewheat bread, then by all means enjoy some masala pav... it grows on you. Or maybe my taste buds just went numb.
The idlis were good... well, idlis are idlis. Rice. Steamed rice.
But the chutney is definitely a success- it’s balanced, it didn’t set my tongue on fire, and it’s really coconutty. One person said it was “The best thing she’d ever eaten. Ever.”
I think that says more about the person
Who guessed food colouring? Congratulations! The paneer chili’s signature redness does not come from tomatoes, or even chilies...
As for the chinese bhel, the artificial ingredient is... brace yourselves... ketchup. It actually is really bad for you, but I honestly don’t envisage India parting with its beloved ‘sauce’ any time soon.
They use sunflower oil, and bake their bread in the canteen: next time you’re there, look at the back and watch them put in and pull out trays upon trays of buns, and try and spot their sandwich bread slicer.
The canteen is open, breezy, bright and friendly. You talk, you eat, you walk around... going back there after more than two years really made me look at it differently. In the 8th grade you’re this awkward, new, self-conscious and shy little kid. The ambience changes so much when you’re meeting your friends in all the grades, laughing about the food you remember and the new things you’re trying.
The canteen food is spicy, it’s strange, and the hygiene is open to debate.
But we can’t disgrace it entirely- after all, as one person put it: “Although we wanna shut the canteen, I’m sure we’ll all miss the food.”
It’s our canteen.
(Even though it's GD's...)
We recently had a weekend abundant with heavy food: snacky chaat and popcorn at the movies, my dad and I made a dinner of 'bakarkani' (a buttery baked bread with almonds and raisins... lovely), and a rich, buttery daal (equally delicious), pancakes, kulfi etc.
I was motivated to try and invent my own recipe, after reading about Izy, as mentioned in my previous post.
The subtitle says 'reinvention' because of Masterchef (:P). I've often read about making zucchini pasta, with zuchinni ribbons substituting for the regular noodles. I figured that going full-out vegetable would be a little too health-freakish for my clientele, especially given what a hardcore pasta fanatic my sister is.
So I met them in the middle: The sliced zucchini and the carrots play te role of pasta, in the form of papardelle. I chopped the fusilli and the penne in order to make them the size that chopped vegetables usually are in pasta dishes. The proportions remained the same: the amount of pasta was greater than the vegetables, however I'd like to try swapping them around sometime, and using wholewheat pasta would be perfect.
The idea behind this dish is that it's a kind of detox: fresh, minimally cooked vegetables; heart-healthy walnuts and almonds; no creamy sauce, just a generous dose of olive oil (again, insanely good for you); chili flakes, salt, pepper, fresh basil and real parmesan provide all the flavour necessary for a dish that leaves you with a really clean and satisfied feeling.
Grießkoch, griesmeelpap, mannagrynsgröt, blåbärsgröt, klappgrö, mannavaht, basbosa, semolina pudding, suji halwa, helva, basbousa, pizza dough, pasta...
All the words above are the names of various different dishes from around the world that use semolina- and there are dozens more.
I read about this porridge on What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today- a gorgeous and upcoming blog- and it seemed like the perfect warm, quick and healthy breakfast. What's more, it said that the porridge tastes great topped with fresh jam, and my mum had just made a pot of cherry compote.
When I told my dad about the dish he instantly knew what I was talking about: "Oh yeah, that's griesmeel." he said nonchalantly. He proceeded to describe the way in which it's cooked, how it looks, how he enjoyed it, and the ways in which it sells in Dutch supermarkets today.
Apparently he, too, has grown up having semolina porridge, and he told me about a lovely Dutch version: the semolina s cooked with sweetened milk and chilled in a cup. When you tip it out, it emerges like a dome of jelly, and it's topped with hot jam, stewed fruit or hot syrup. It sounded so tempting, but for the time being I've tried the reverse- hot pudding with a cold topping- as it seemed more fitting for damp, chilly mornings. However I'll be sure to post about the other version once I try it.
I'm so intrigued by semolina now- until a couple of days ago it was just the coarse stuff that we used in pizza and pasta dough, but now I'm dying to try out all the different dishes out there. I never realised one could make halwa (an outstanding, fluffy Indian sweet dish) from semolina, and considering it's loved by my family it's definitely on my list of things to make this summer.
Summer? Monsoons? It doesn't matter...
Oh, man. Few countries in the world experience this strange phenomenon, and India is certainly one of them. Rain, rain, ceaseless rain for at least 2 months.
I'm kind of caught in this hybrid of two seasons: on the one hand it's summer, but on the other hand it's damp and often depressing.
Last weekend the monsoons really hit Bombay and we were actually excited, as the huge overhead clouds (read: air conditioners) rolled over the city, and one could almost feel the mercury in the thermometers plunging.
We went all-out with monsoon food: my dad and I made a fresh batch of banana muffins for breakfast (as promised, I have not posted about them... but they were probably the best recipe we've tried yet: insanely fluffy and perfectly flavoured). For lunch my mum made a gorgeous lentil soup and what made it outstanding was the roasted red bell pepper she added into the pressure cooker with the lentils. Along with parathas she made a fresh mango chutney- something I've never tried before, but I absolutely loved. In total contrast, I made a peach sorbet; something that screams beaches and scorching afternoons at the park. It was nonetheless welcome: it's simple and light, and the added-on-a-whim almonds were a lovely little touch.
Warm creamy soup, sweet refreshing chutney, crispy comforting parathas, sweet 'n sour sorbet, and watching the curtains of rain compete with our flapping, wind-blown curtains.
In India monsoons aren't complete without bhutta: Indian corn roasted on a fire and smothered with lemon juice and chaat masala. It's a typical street snack, but is just as common in all households. We had an evening snack of crunchy, nostalgic bhutta and steaming masala chai, the ginger, lemon, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom wafting through the whole house, carried by the pervading mist.
However this cross of weathers has its downsides:
Family: "Have some warm, sugary tea, oh and why not add a muffin- they'll taste so nice together."
Me: "I'm alright, thanks, I just had breakfast."
Family: "Oh, come on, it's monsoon season! You have to have them!"
Family: "Let's have some ice cream!"
Me: "Nah, thanks, I'm really full."
Family: "But it's summer! It isn't summer without ice cream!"
So you see my dilemma. But all in all, I'm not complaining. This weather brings out the best and the worst in people: it can be catastrophic, a potential bonfire of frustrations of sitting all day indoors, or being cornered by dozens of honking cars and merciless rain and mud outside. You don't want to stay indoors all the time, and you don't want to go out.
But when you do stay indoors, you make the most of it with laughs, books, good food, music and lovely company.
I wrote about the fantastic fruit earlier, so here's a visual version:
My mum had the idea, and she and my sister are to thank for doing the layout, fresh after the fruit delivery.
In other news, while peeling the peaches I came across this:
I knew almonds were from the peach family, so I honestly thought I had found an almond. I was so excited to try it... and it was the most disgusting, gag-inducing thing I have tried. It was translucent, watery, and shockingly bitter. At least I tried it.
How's your summer going? Are you in rainy Europe? Enduring the Chicago heat? What do you make of the Bombay 'Summonsoon'? Or is your summer something totally different?
One of the great things about living in Bombay is the way anything (and I mean anything) can make its way to your doorstep with just a phonecall.
The downside (and amusement) comes in when you open the door and see that something is not quite what you ordered: Nutella instead of Nutrela; ladyfinger instead of beans; soap instead of flour, or the likes.
A while ago we received a kilo of oatmeal. So we tried to make some stuff to use it up: I made muesli one evening, but it barely used a fraction of the jar, I tried (and failed) and some flapjacks, and then my mum and I made the cupcakes.
On a side note, I haven't posted in ages because I've been in the middle of my 10th grade IGCSEs, and much to my dismay, studying obviously takes priority (but now I'm almost done!).
One afternoon I just had my maths exam the next day and I felt like being in the kitchen, so I decided to finally give muesli a go. There are infinite granola and muesli recipes out there, but I just based this on some I've tried at my grandma's and at a few hotels. I think I'm the only person in my class who goes 'yummm' at the sight of über-healthy, seed and nut loaded, oaty muesli and cringes at the thought of fruit loops and lucky charms.
After my friend fell in love with speculaas (slather some bread with butter, add a couple of cookies and let it soften overnight... heaven), I tried using an oat flapjack recipe and then speculassifying them by adding the necessary spices. The problem was, I looked at two recipes and couldn't decide, so I kind of winged it, leaving me with a pan of flaky, burnt, barely spicy oats.
Yeah.Plus I had forgotten that speculaas cookies need ginger, so they went without. I like to think that burning them was a sign that they just weren't meant to be ;)
On the bright side, I discovered how delicious melted butter and honey taste together and I had that on a some toast with cinnamon the next morning.
Lastly my mum and I made some honey-oat cupcakes. They're more like muffins, because we really reduced the sweetness by using less honey. They're very oaty and solid, but light and fun to have warmed and topped with butter, jam, honey, or cheese. Essentially, they taste like honey oatmeal- just cuter.
And after all this? We've still got about half a kilo of oats left.
Got any oatmeal recipes, anyone?