Drumsticks in November

It is awfully silent in here, isn’t it?

I do not want to start off with an apology, considering the numerous times I have in the past following months of shamelessly ignoring my blog. Instead, let me start off with a happy ‘Hi!’ and ‘How have you been?!’

I took this picture below a day before I was leaving Nottingham. It was a quiet day, even when I was silently rushing through the empty three-storey house trying to gather my things and pack for India. I hadn’t had any sleep for about 48 hours at the time and my head was buzzing with thoughts of caffeine and home. I couldn’t wait to be home. I’ve gifted that scarf to a friend of mine and I don’t think I’ll ever forgot how my room looked at dusk and the loud whirr of the oven in the kitchen downstairs.

I, in a matter of speaking, have been great. In spite of a few ups and downs, loss of a friend and a family member, in spite of emotions hurtling through the roof and dropping to rocky depths, I have been well. Through food.

I’ve eaten and eaten away happily through the last two months. And yes, I admit to a few pounds that I’ve gained which are, to my despair, extremely visible.

But am I going to give up a chocolate-pistachio cube from Flurys’ glass box of pastries that looks like it was dropped off a delivery truck headed straight from some Pastry Paradise? Not till my teeth rot and die.

The last two months were that time of the year, when there’s a whiff of nostalgia in the air and a rush of festivities that keep you in a constant state of intoxication. It’s almost winter, but autumn is holding on for dear life and its still sweltering hot. You cannot keep off eating Bengali sweats (and we’re GOOD at it), you cannot stop yourself from splurging on that gorgeous pair of wedges or the Burberry bag, and God save you if you said ‘no’ to any of your Girls’ Day Outs. I caught up with a couple of old friends, one of whom shares my passion for multiplex chicken sandwiches (yes, sometimes I have unbelievably cheap taste). I also made a new friend, blissfully someone who knows all the yummy eateries in Kolkata (that’s right, I’ve spent 18 years in the city and can only come up with five or six good places…not anymore though). It is also that time of the year, when you very quickly start feeling guilty about your work and how you’ve been indulging yourself too much, which automatically leads to a nagging little voice at the back of your head that bombards you with questions like “Shouldn’t you be looking for a job now that you’re done with masters?” or something like “Umm…will you be taking care of that ungainly paunch anytime soon?” And all that, my love, is not good for your appetite.

However, I’m going to be honest and say that I missed all of it last year, busy with course work and have been thanking all my Gods that I got to spend the last couple of months with my family this year. Happy Autumn everyone!

No, I haven’t come empty-handed today. I have been doing a wee bit of cooking, although I am ashamed to admit that it hasn’t really been the all-pots-and-pans-on-the-counter-and-sink kind of cooking that I did back in Nottingham. That is because, things here are civilized under my mother’s watchful eyes as I work in her precious kitchen. I do have spicy drumsticks on a grill pan with extra juices to mop up with some seed-studded bread or a bowl of lemony cous-cous. All the delight is in the caramelized skin balanced by some parsley. There is a crunch factor provided by toasted sesame seeds which offers a pleasantly different texture that is offset by the nuttiness of sesame seed oil. It’s definitely Asian, but also has a healthy touch of that quintessentially English Worcestershire sauce.

The chicken is marinated in a mixture of vegetable oil, sesame seeds, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, coriander powder, red chilli powder, rice wine vinegar, minced ginger and minced garlic. Marinating time can vary from anywhere between an hour to overnight. The drumsticks are grilled till the juices run clear; the marinade is added in the end to make a sticky, sweet and sour sauce. To add a bit of punch, lemon juice or dry mango powder can also be delightful in the marinade. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and hand-cracked black pepper before serving.

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