Currently Loving…

I’ve stopped hating Mondays. They are no more the I-don’t-want-to-wake-up, tedious mornings of trying to drag yourself into decent clothes and running to the bus-stop. No more dreading Monday-morning chores or work updates.

We, this semester, have only one hour of lecture on Monday…and that too late afternoon. Oh happy day!

Meanwhile, work is on full-throttle….have cooked a bit over the weekend, but today I’m putting up 5 things that I’m loving currently.

1 – The SRB sem room at the school.

2 – This car that I find parked everyday near the Lenton Drive.

3 – Sherry….rich and sweet.

4 – These wedges from Acne (I’m trying to get my hands on a pair of medium-heeld wedges before Easter Break starts)

5 – Spring by Ben*Jammin. I have no clue what the lyrics mean though…

Have a happy week!

Lemon Cake

We have quite a baker at the 189.

Hana. Vietnamese. Management post-grad. The cutest thing. And excellent with flour, eggs and sugar.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve trudged home after a long day at the University, only to find a chocolate cake waiting on the kitchen counter. Or a plate of blueberry muffins on the top shelf of the refrigerator. And I’ve shamelessly gobbled up most of them. They’re always delicious and somehow the perfect fix for my bouts of ‘munchies’. And it doesn’t end there. She brings on Pho just when you need it, sushi just when you’re craving it and of course, she just happens to be my Salmon Queen.

Another reason I love her so much….she gushes about my cooking and photography enough to put me on the ninth heaven.

The weekend slipping by right now has been an extremely sweet one. One birthday including a wholesome cheesecake and Hana’s spoon-licking lemon cake. Not to mention store-bought tiramisu (yes, store-bought). And now, I’ll be starving myself for the next week.

Lemon cake with Blueberry spread

Inspired by the Paris Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs

How-To:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans.
  • Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine sour cream with lemon zest and juice.
  • Beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy (about a minute) with an electric-whisk. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
  • Add the flour mixture and sour cream and beat on low-speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans until the top are golden and a fork run through the center, comes out clean. This takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Cool pans completely.
  • Level the top of one cake and spread blueberry jam evenly all over. Place the other cake on top of it. And enjoy with tea or coffee!

I ♥ Lazy Weekends

Thank goodness for lazy weekends. I had one after a long time.

I re-stashed dark chocolate bars throughout my room.

I had a long lunch at Pranjal & Ashwin’s. We booked tickets for Europe and I made a drink out of Mango-orange pulp and soda. It tasted good. No joke.

I brought out my trolley-bag…even though its way too early to start packing.

On Sunday, I snoozed on happily till noon when I was woken up by a couple of girlfriends who barged in to announce how my favourite IPL team had won their last match.

I treated myself to a couple of bowlfuls of mint-chocolate chip ice-cream from Waitrose.

A sun-beam sneaked into my room late afternoon. Its March in England and the Sun is starting to show.

I found two pairs of shoes the workmen left behind in a house under construction.

I also made chicken and caramelized onions in soy sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms of boneless chicken pieces
  • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar
  • 5 big cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch block of ginger, sliced into fine strips
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 table spoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 500ml of chicken stock (plain water will also do)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Chopped coriander or red chillies, to garnish (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How-To:

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till they start to turn brown. Add the garlic, ginger and sugar and cook on low heat till the onions caramelize.

Add the chicken pieces, cloves, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey and chicken stock (or water). Stir well. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Check to see if more stock or water needs to be added (you don’t want burnt-bottom pans!) and cook for a further 15 minutes or till the chicken has cooked through.

Season with salt and black pepper. Keep in mind that the soy sauce and fish sauce has already made the dish salty.

Boil off most of the liquid on high heat, if you want a thicker gravy. Or leave it be if you want it to be more brothy.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves or red chillies and serve over steamed rice.

I ♥ lazy weekends.

A Gallery & Some News

New Art Gallery at Walsall, simple, vibrant, informal and interactive – just as it should be.

Oh and yet again, I’m running behind on my best wishes to all you gorgeous ladies out there……Happy Women’s Day!

A 3-day delay is unforgivable really, especially when I’ve turned up without a recipe to show for it and also because I owe my schoolmate Sagarika, a loud thank-you for tagging me!

I should also let you know that my lifelong dream of visiting The Louvre (…or Pompidou, or the Eiffel Tower, or Pierre Hermé…) is no longer a distant possibility.

That’s right….I’m off to Paris for my Easter Break!!!

*Jumps up and does a pirouette!!*

I’m packing my camera, sketch-pad, water colors and a stuffy itenerary (something that I plan to put up soon for all of you scrutinize and add to).

Meanwhile, I have a request.

For all those of you who are lucky enough to have visted the city before, I desperately need help with the must-sees, must-eat-at, must-shop-at places in Paris!!!

Knick-knacks, high fashion, low fashion, shows, macarons, bistros, stationery, pottery, antiques, artichokes, coffee, et all!

Any suggestions?

Hello Again

Is it too late to roar out a ‘Happy New Year!!’ ?

Ah well. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Hope all you lot out there have a lovely one!!

I realize and I understand that I deserve to be shot to death considering the fact that this is my first post after a very long break. But I have an excuse! Yes, I do!

I was busy.

Same old story, did I hear someone say?

It is, in a way. I mean, nowadays I keep wondering what in f***’s name made me decide to come back to school again. (Should I bring on the cussing a little later into the post?)

They’re wringing our necks at the altar of higher education after flogging us with a whip made out of post-graduate degree certificates. And then they have some more sadistic fun by dipping our head into a humongous vat of boiling midnight oil. I hope I don’t sound gruesome. I’m kind of enjoying all the pressure. It’s a high….in a way.

After a bout of snow and a dose of wet and slippery cityscape, we’re finally back to dry, sunny windy days. All through winter, I couldn’t think of much except coffee and chocolate. Maybe a chicken and leek soup. Or a spicy pumpkin curry. Or even greasy pasta with fatty bacon bits. And did I forget to mention Donata’s lovely mulled wine?

Yes, Donata made mulled red wine for my birthday and I tried making some on Christmas, the one that I spent in Nottingham. Glorious sweetness, heady oranginess and spicy red rolling wine. Its like someone trapped a festival in a deep wok.

And yes. We used a well-seasoned chinese wok to make it. Groovy, eh? Kind of surprising it didn’t end up tasting like sesame chicken…

And yes, I have been cooking.

Shocking. I know.

Right now as I’m typing this, I’m feeling this deep sense of guilt that I didn’t take phototgraphs (or even notice) of any of the dishes that I whipped up in the last couple of months. I made them without paying attention. I ate them….no…I gulped them down with water. And even more shockingly, I never even talked about any of them.

I am aware that I put white bread into my mouth whenever I’m hungry….its difficult to miss white bread in England. And then there are those instances when I’m suddenly made aware of the heady smell of rosemary and burnt chicken skin coming from the kitchen, which reminds me that I had shoved something chicken on something tray-ish into the oven 2 hours back. And then I go, literally, stumbling down the staircase to the kitchen to turn the damn oven down so the smoke doesn’t set off the fire alarm.

Shovelling food down your pie-hole — I have finally realized what the phrase means, because apparently I’ve become a champion at it.

Apart from that I’ve taken to collecting cookbooks. Always a good thing. And its almost become sort of an obsession, at least, one of the strongest after my use-garlic-in-everything period. Perhaps its an outlet for my foodie-motions since I haven’t been writing. I know I know, I’m not the one to follow recipes or measurements, but the cookbooks are especially helpful when you’ve been swimming in a pool of drawings and case studies and just need something to bust your stress at 3 a.m. in the morning (along with a cup of cocoa, of course).

I’ve been getting emails and comments from my readers checking back for new posts and have been disappointed, and that’s made me ecstatic! Oh…well, not your disappointment but the fact that you remember me! And as a thank-you here’s a simple rosemary and yogurt chicken dish I prepared about a week ago. Easy and hassle-free.

(And oh yes, I have a ‘pie’ coming along specially for Women’s Day!)

Rosemary and Yogurt Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of chiken thighs or drumsticks
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 cup of yogurt (sour cream would do fantastically too)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How-to:

  • Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients except black pepper, in a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  • Pre-heat the oven (I use fan-assisted) to 275 F.
  • Lightly grease a roaster with oil. Place the chicken pieces in it so that they don’t touch each other. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 200 F, and pop in the roaster for about 35-40 minutes. Check to see if the juices run clear.
  • Season with ground black pepper and serve with a warm bowl of rice and a garden salad.