Sugar High and Tipsy

My blood sugar levels have hit the roof.

Well, no…not technically. But it seems so obvious considering the fact that I can’t come up with food that has absolutely no sugar in it (or honey,or molasses, or syrup, or…well you know the rest). And I’m not even talking about desserts.

I’m currently in a phase where I get fits everytime I see the sugar jar…and automatically give in to the temptation of dumping a spoonful of it into anything that’s stewing, or roasting, or boiling, or frying in the pan. I have started craving for sugary sweetness, which is unlike me in totality, after lunch, after dinner and even before bedtime.

Forget about being terrified of turning into my mother, I’m practically turning into all the women in my family. They love their sweets, believe me.

Now, I feel like a traitor after just blogging about how I stay away from ghee or syrup-dunked sweets. No excuse. I’ve even, to my own horror, found myself wondering how recipes are only totally and completely 100% savory, seasoned with only salt and pepper!

So, this is what the family GP had warned me about….hmmm.

And the rate at which Fauri keeps replacing the empty jar, all the while wondering where exactly was all the sugar magically disappearing to, is almost obscene.

Well, what can I say…I’m trying.

Continue reading “Sugar High and Tipsy”

Fish : a new one

 

I grew up Bengali.

Having fish for lunch and dinner, prefering rice over roti, fond of monsoon and very unlike a Bengali, running at the mention of sweets packed in khoya or paneer and deep-fried in ghee. Bengalis love their sweets. Period.

I’m still fond of monsoon…especially the extra-stormy ones. And I’d choose rice over roti anyday.

I still run at the mention of “ghee”.

And I’m still totally fishy.

Uh, ok….that didn’t come out right. What I mean is, I still slobber at the thought of fish (or any kind of seafood for that matter)…any kind. Salmon, Hilsa, Cod, Pomfret especially.

I reached the Sunday market early to get a load of fresh fish. Wasn’t disappointed.

Continue reading “Fish : a new one”

What the fudge…?!?!

terrace_floor

The first droplets of rain in Mumbai, left streaks across the tiled terrace floor, almost washing away the dirt my gardener leaves behind every alternate afternoon. You could hardly call it “rainfall” since the drizzle was nothing compared to what Mumbai usually faces.

We’re all gearing up for the washout due 23rd or 24th of the next month. How lovely.

Meanwhile, I’m getting deliciously absent-minded, day by day.

I released the wrong set of drawings to the wrong consultant yesterday and then made his assistant drive back to the office and collect the right set. Not to mention the madness with which I cursed at myself while he was paying full attention to my instructions. His spectacles almost fell off the edge of his nose, I swear.

I typed a fantastically raunchy text message meant for the Lieutenant and then sent it to his best friend. Don’t ask me how that happened. I’m only thankful that M. is a very understanding guy and wasn’t really scandalized by the message.

I got inspired by the new book on chocolate that I bought and decided to try out the orangette recipe….I know, I know its technically not orange-season in India, but the tangy green ones are out. I just couldn’t help it.

It was destined to get all fucked fudged up really. Sorry Mom.

And hurriedly read through the directions, and instead of letting the peel strips cool in the sugar solution for 6 hours, I strained them out and left them in the open. By the time I came back from office, red ants were yelling out “Thank You Amrita!”

I know, I’m smart.

And if you’re wondering, then no, green peels don’t work as well as orange ones…they’re just not as sweet or easy.

Continue reading “What the fudge…?!?!”

Routine and Saturday Morning Chicken

Yellow Bell Pepper

Its become routine now. After six months, anybody would expect it to.

Wake up. Cook food. Nag after the maid. Take a shower. Get dressed. Talk to the Lieutenant. Rush to the office.

All the resolutions that we had made in college, that we would not be living regualr lives like our folks or other people, and get stuck in the tight clasps of “routine” have all flown out of the window.
The biggest concerns that we face now is which call to answer first on reaching the office, or which course to opt for (in relation to Post-Graduation, which is now looming like an obvious monster in the very near future).

The “tiffin wala” I had assigned to bring me stacked stainless steel boxes stuffed with saabzi, roti, rice and dal (thats veggie-curry, Indian flat breads, rice and lentil curry for everyone who’s not desi) got himself fired a long time back, almost after a month of delivering food at my doorstep at the right time. His food was tasty no doubt to most Marathis (who happened to be the bulk of his clients). Unfortunately it was spicy enough to put my mouth (and certain other parts of my body) on fire. And the curry never varied. Ever.
I understand that cooking the same curry everyday is easy and exceptionally economical from his angle, all thanks to Readymade Curry Maker. However, I found it unbearable. No offence Mr. Tiffin Wala.
I went through the same ordeal back during my college days in Baroda. I’m just not a “lunchbox” person.

The dilemma I faced, after I’d fired him, was that I had no idea where I’d get lunch from, unless I planned to order in everyday from all the eat-outs and restaurants near the vicinity of the office. The idea of oily chilli chicken, and overcooked Hyderabadi Biriyani with zero traces of “Hyderabad” in them seemed unbearable. Again.
I finally, forced myself to get into the habit of getting up early (compared to my standards…I’m not a morning person…at all) and whipping up simple dishes to pack for lunch and store in the refrigerator for re-heated-dinner purposes.
Its become routine now.

Weekend cooking requires a little amount of thought and can get tricky depending on the day. If its a Friday or Saturday, I have to go through the entire fridge checking available items and leftovers and spending time staring at them silently, trying to go over combinations in my head.
Sunday’s better, since the pantry and refrigerator is replenished with food for the whole week.
The chicken below, is a Saturday morning creation, with the last remaining yellow bell pepper.

Saturday Chicken

Chicken with Pepper and Sour Curd

What you Need:

– 2 chicken breasts, cleaned and skin ripped off

– 1 tablespoon of olive oil

– 1 yellow bell pepper (by all means, use any bell pepper, green or red, but somehow yellow has a sweet mellowness to it than the others), sliced

– 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

– 2-3 sprigs fresh sage

– Half a red onion, chopped

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

– 80-100gms cherry tomatoes, halved

– Half a cup of sour curd (I used homemade, and hung it in 4 layers of cheesecloth to drain out extra liquid for a thicker texture)

– Salt and ground black pepper to taste

How-To:

– Wrap the chicken breasts between two plastic sheets and beat ’em flat, till they’re like 1/4 ” in thickness.

– Scour the surface of the chicken breats with diagonal knife cuts.

– Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Saute the onions and garlic till golden brown.

– Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, sage and thyme and cook covered, on low heat till the pepper slices soften. This will take about 3-4 minutes.

– Add the chicken and cook till it starts to brown at the edges.

– Pour in the sour curd. Mix well and leave on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

– Uncover and season with salt and ground black pepper according to taste.

– Cook for another 5-10 minutes till the chiken is soft enough to slice into strips. If the dish is too dry for you, pour in half a cup of water (or chicken stock) and cook for another couple of minutes.

– Serve hot with steamed rice.

Good Ol’ Chocolate Mousse

mousse1

Fact 1: I’ve never met anyone who does not like chocolate mousse. No one.

(If you don’t like it, leave a comment telling us about it….

if you like it…well then,leave me a comment about that too!!)

Fact 2: Its easily one of the easiest desserts to make which provided maximum satisfaction.

Fact 3: Flavor options are…well, unlimited…since whatever flavor you choose is bound to work.

I, however, prefer the classic chocolate mousse, with nutty or fruity tones.

Intially the idea was to make a white chocolate mousse…but then I remembered, I already had one in the kitty, so decided to do the other “good ‘ol” chocolate Mousse. This one, is loaded with hazelnutty goodness.

What You Need:

250gms of dark chocolate (I used 60% cocoa), chopped in bits

– 100gms Hazelnuts

– 3/4 cup of heavy cream

– 2 egg whites

– 2 tablespoons of sugar (if you need it to be sweeter…I didn’t use it any)

– Whipped cream, white/dark chocolate shavings to garnish

How-To:

Preparing the Hazelnuts

De-shell and roast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper at 275 F 15-20 minutes.

– Remove from oven before the nuts brown completely….golden brown is what we want.

– Roll a damp kitchen towel against the nuts and rub the skins off them.

– After the skins come off, roll then dry with paper towels and grind them to fine powder, in a processor.

mousse2

The Mousse

– Halve the amount of cream in two separate bowls.

– Heat one half over a low flame, till bubbles start to appear. Don’t let it boil over.

– Add this cream to the bowl of chopped chocolate and let stand for a minute.

– Whip the egg whites and sugar (if you’re using any), till stiff. An electric beater works perfectly fine unless you’re willing to exercise your arms using a hand-beater.

– Add the egg white foam to the warm chocolate and cream mixture and gently stir centre-out till no white streaks remain.

– Stir in the hazelnut flour into the chocolate. Mix well.

– Whip the remaining cream into soft peaks that hold their shape. Pour the cream into the chocolate mixture and fold in gently.

– Pour in serving glasses/cups and allow it to set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

– Garnish with whipped cream (a little of the heavy cream whipped to peaks with confectioners’ sugar) and chocolate shavings (both dark and white, in my case), before serving.