Tag Archives: Friendship

{friendship series} Bedmi Puri – An Uttar Pradesh specialty

28 Feb

As a continuation to my last week’s post, I have featured Ankur’s very own Bedmi Puri recipe. For the uninitiated, Puris are Indian flatbreads that are deep fried in oil and they take a puffed up appearance. Bedmi Puri is a Uttar Pradesh specialty ( a state in the north of India) which uses a unique blend of spices and urad dal.

Urad dal /www.foodsubs.com

Generally, I avoid making deep fried food at home but Bedmi puri is an exception. On days when I am feeling generous and happy such as some work -free weekends, I do make a lavish spread of bedmi puri, dum aloo and kheer ( rice pudding) for my family.

Post this heavenly lunch, we all take a much needed afternoon siesta until it is time to head out for an evening full of social hobnobbing.  Life is good in Bahrain but I still cannot help but feel that familiar longing for my old friends. This post is again about Ankur because I am not done talking about her. When I talk about Ankur, I cannot do so with talking about Deepa.  I write this post from India where I have come down for a short trip to attend a relative’s wedding. Being back in the old space – Delhi/ Noida, brings back a bucket full of memories of Deepa and Ankur. On this trip, I happened to read this beautiful book called “Sister of my Heart” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and I miss both of them even more. I feel compelled to constantly compare the two protagonists – Basudha and Anjali with Deepa and Ankur. If you are fond of beautiful, touching writing that evokes emotions that rise like tides on a full moon, you should read this book.

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Deepa also worked with us ( Ankur and me ) in the same organization and I found her as someone who could charm through the coldest of hearts with her enticing smile. I met her at a time when career-wise it was possibly the worst period and I wasn’t in the best of moods to be friendly. But Deepa danced and sang her way through my coldness. Publicly known for her dislike for the culinary arts, Deepa never felt the strong emotions that Ankur and I felt towards food and cooking. But there were other passions that we bonded over such as shopping from thrift shops, office -pantry singing and late night partying.

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This post gave me a chance to look back at my life – the carefree life with fewer responsibilities. I took this opportunity to go through all my old albums where I reminisced about our last Goa trip, the trip to Binsar, many a late night dinners and late evening coffees at Cafe Coffee Day and Barista in Noida. Ankur, Deepa and I have way too many memories and even if I try and jot all of them it will take very, many posts. I am afraid, I will only fall short of words reminding me that certain emotions are better remembered and felt. Putting them down in words can never do justice.

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Food and memories are central to my blog. Being blessed with terrible memory, this blog is my only rescue. Through words, I greedily try and capture all possible memories which time is hastily trying to erase. On 24th of Feb, this blog completed 4 years. It just slipped past unnoticed – ofcourse only I remembered because like a mother who can never forget her children’s birthdays, I cannot forget my blog’s birthday too. This blog has been my loyal companion for 4 years, changing and moulding itself into any shape that I gave it over these 4 years. I had planned  a lot of things for my blog – a new look, a giveaway etc. but none of it materialized due to the lack  of time which is such a mundane excuse that I cringe as I write it. I know I haven’t shown as much affection to the blog as it has and yet it serves me uncomplainingly. I am determined to change that going forward.

Now for the recipe of the Bedmi Puri that Ankur shared with me – thank you Ankur! Miss you and Deepa a lot.

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{friendship series} A terrific Dum Aloo recipe

21 Feb

Two years back I badgered some of my closest friends to share their favourite recipes with me. Soon enough I collected a good number of their favorite recipes for the ” Friendship Series”. Now that I have tried their recipes and I think each of them is absolutely stunning and worthy of all the praises that I can possibly shower. Apart from the agenda that included collecting of recipes, I wanted to capture the essence of my relationship with all these beautiful people. In this post, I share a wonderful recipe of Dum Aloo that my dear friend Ankur shared with me.

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I met Ankur in 2005 as a colleague with the first company I worked for after completing my Masters. My first impression of her was that she was extremely fastidious and diligent as far as her work was concerned. Also, I noticed she laughed a lot. A lot. Her infectious laughter drew me to her and we started interacting a lot more. She admired the way I could put my eye liner in a few strong strokes while I tried to absorb her indefatigable zest for life. We bonded over office gossip, short lived crushes and conversations about food and cooking.

BedmiPuri9Ankur has always been a good sounding board and even after we moved countries with our respective spouses and (now) children, we never lost touch. An occasional email, a quick phone call or chats on gmail have been ways that we have kept in touch. Sharing recipes. pictures of our children helps us keep track of what’s going on in each other’s lives. Recently, Ankur has taken to baking like a fish takes to water and it is amazing how quickly she is churning out one baked treat after the other.

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Some of my favourite moments with Ankur have been on our all-friends trip to Goa. It was once in a life time kind of carefree trip where we roamed on bikes far and wide on the roads of Goa.

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Ankur is a terrific  cook and it is no surprise that I turn back to her recipes time and again. This Dum Aloo recipe uses next to zilch amount of oil and is so quick to prep and whip up. This has become my go-to recipe whenever I have guests to entertain. As a brilliant accompaniment, I serve this dum aloo with Ankur’s very own”Bedmi Puri” recipe which I will include in the next post. 

Sneak peek at the luscious Bedmi Puri ( next post)

Sneak peek at the luscious Bedmi Puri ( next post)

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My friendship stories with Ankur will continue in the next post with her luscious “Bedmi Puri” Recipe which is a western U.P. specialty.

Until then, a brilliant weekend to one and all.

P.S. If you are interested in reading some exciting fantasy fiction, you can head over to my other blog to catch up with a book I had written last year for a competition. I am posting chapter by chapter, once every week.

Eid Mubarak with Nafisa’s Shir Korma

9 Aug

How infinitely true is it when you think about friendships and realize that the friends you have had in school were the best sort. They all come with no conditions apply policy. And as you grow older through college and then work, all the friendship become more conditional. As children in school we have no expectations when we get into a friendship. Wish I could say the same about all the friendships through the rest of the course of my life.

Ofcourse, there are exceptions to this all the time. I have a fair share of such unconditional friendships even now. Touchwood.

Well this is a special Eid post inspired purely because one of closest school friends happened to share an awesome Shir Korma (vermicelli milk pudding) recipe with me.

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Nafisa and I go a long way from school to now being whatsapp buddies. The thing with her is that there is never any awkwardness even if there were long periods of being out of touch. As a matter of fact, we were 5 friends, – Sunita, Nafisa, Kavita, Poorna and me. Whenever I think of one, memories of all the others come on automatically. There was never anything that we did not do together.  Sunita was the prankster, Nafisa the level headed one, Kavita was everybody’s agony aunt, Poorna was quirky and funny while I was the nerd. We made such a fantastic team together and never tired of having fun all the time.

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Nafisa and I also played basketball together for many years. That is where we got extremely close. We could discuss anything and everything under the sun – teenage crushes, gossip, everything.

IMG-20130809-WA003We parted ways after school and during college we couldn’t keep in touch as much as we would have loved to. Life took over and then here we are living our busy lives with our babies and husbands. She is a proud mother of a 2-year-old (nearly)  beautiful Naisha. Thank God for technology and here we are chatting up on whatsapp whenever time permits; discussing motherhood woes and joys.

Eid was a special time while growing up with Nafisa. I remember Nafisa and her sisters wearing splendid shararas / ghararas and looking so beautiful. They invited us to their homes where we were served delicious Shir Korma and other delicacies.

S1Nafisa’s mother is such an excellent cook and so is Nafisa.  So during one of our whatsapp rants I asked her to share her Shir Korma recipe. Shir Korma is a milk based pudding with vermicelli, nuts and raisins. This is usually made during Eid celebrations.   I have tried to replicate it with the best of my efforts just to capture the essence of the Eid celebrations with Nafisa’s family 20-25 years back. Nafisa is sad that she wouldn’t able to spend this Eid with her mother due to some special circumstances. Perhaps this post will rehash all her Eid memories and make her spirit a little lighter.

Thanks so much Nafisa for this wonderful recipe and taking me back in time.

Nafisa, here’s wishing you and your beautiful family all the happiness and prosperity on this Eid.

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The Happy Birthday Post – A Guest Post by Gayathri

29 Apr

While you read this Post, I would be at the Eiffel tower realizing my long-cherished dream of celebrating my birthday in Paris. But my blog shall not be neglected and for that my dearest friend Gayathri offered to do a  guest post for me. She knows how much I love my desserts where puddings and custards are my absolute favourite. She being the wonderful friend that she is, Gayathri made lovely Panna cotta for me to celebrate my birthday in her own sweet way. I will come back from my trip and come over to your place Gayathri to have my share of the luscious looking Almond- Honey Panna Cotta.

Thanks so so much Gayathri!

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So without any further delay, I hand this space over to Gayathri.

So finally, here is it. Its been over a year that Anita has been asking me for a guest post. Please don’t jump to conclusions that I have been so held up and busy that I didn’t have time for the post. No, the actual reason is, ( confession time) I was not confident enough to post on this wonderful blog. I was just pushing my luck and postponing hoping that she would forget about it but she has a wonderful memory. So here I am with my post hoping that I do justice to her wonderful style of writing and her photography. I couldn’t think of a more suitable occasion than her birthday to do this.

Anu  has been the biggest motivator for my baking and blogging pursuits. It was about a couple of years ago that our common friend Ankur casually mentioned about Anu coming to Bahrain during one of our conversations when I was in India on vacation. I was already in Bahrain for a couple of years at that time having moved here subsequent to my marriage. When I was back from vacation I was surprised to see a mail from Anita along with her number. I was very hesitant and apprehensive at first. But I dialled the number and we haven’t stopped speaking till then. (Wait, this is just to say that we have been friends ever since. Please don’t take it literally. I had been thrown out of my house just for the telephone bill). I think many of her friends will agree with me when I say that she is  one of the sweetest and the bestest ( well , this is grammatically wrong but when you describe friends, you can safely ignore grammar) person one can have for a friend. ( Cue for Anu to get me a lovely gift from Paris). But honestly Anu, I really mean it.

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I hope you have a wonderful birthday In Paris atop the Eiffel while I celebrate by eating this Almond Honey Panna Cotta. I finally cracked how to use agar-agar and this is such a simple recipe to put together. You can prepare it the previous day for any party and the I assure you that the guests will be blown over by the taste.

Almond Honey Panna Cotta (Adapted from Easy Vegetarian)

Ingredients

 1.5 tablespoons agar –agar

3 tablespoons hot water

250 ml thick Yoghurt/hung curd/Greek Yoghurt

200 ml thick cream

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

5 tablespoons honey

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup ground almonds/almond meal

Method

  1. Mix the agar-agar in the hot water and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Take the cream in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix till smooth
  3. See if the agar-agar mixture has dissolved in water else, just heat the mixture till it forms a gelatinous mixture. Add immediately to the cream mixture.
  4. You can refrigerate it in the bowl or transfer it to ramekins for about 4 hours or even overnight.

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Happy Birthday, Anu and thanks for being there for me always ( though I cannot claim the same for you..:).

P.S: Sorry about the juvenile pictures.

P.P.S: If the panna cotta doesn’t set well, you can serve it as a pudding and it will taste still as yumm.

P.P.P.S: My panna cotta hasn’t set well as much as I would like it to set. But for all those puritans read it as the recipe for Honey Almond Pudding.

P.P.P.P.S: I guess this is the last time Anu will ever ask a guest post from me.

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Raspberry Brownies (Birthday Post -2)

11 May

I am a bit embarrassed about posting stuff about my birthday when my birthday was more than 2 weeks ago. But I love the recipe and can’t help but share the wonderful time I had with my family and friends on my blog. So this is the second installment wherein I would talk about a lovely brownie recipe, nothing more. Promise.

It looks divine

What would one do, if one falls in love with one’s on creation? Is that terribly narcissistic? I hope not.

Ofcourse the recipe was adapted but the effort was all mine so it is okay to call it my creation, isn’t it? I love this brownie for its simplicity. The ruby pink-ness against the barren brown-ness and the burning candles against this gorgeous expanse looked like  the stars that are shining down. Maybe I imagine too much and try to draw parallels to where there are none.  But beautiful looking food almost always evokes strong images in my mind and this brownie did just that.

Just before I popped it into the oven

The brownie was asked for a generous amounts of  chocolate but that sweetness was offset by the tartness of the raspberries. The recipe was adapted from the latest issue of the BBC GoodFood magazine. It had made it to the cover of the magazine for all the right reasons. Looking at it, there was little reason not to bake this on my birthday.

Do try this brownie and I am sure you’d be as crazy about it as I am. Apart from the lovely brownie which was my birthday cake, I had another wonderfully scrummy cake to cut gifted by Anamika Arun of Taste Junction. It was a delicious, full of chocolate goodness, one my utter favourites – A mud cake. I was spoilt for choice. I also was gifted another eggless version of a gorgeous chocolate cake by Gayathri of Food & Fiction which was divine. I couldn’t help but finish most of it myself since they were so good and made for me with such thought and care. Now you know why this birthday was the best ever ( I can never tire of announcing this every now and then)

The mud cake- thanks Anamika

Gayathri’s Yummylicious chocolate cake with nutella buttercream frosting

Some more photos from the dinner party at my place.

The children had a lovely time blowing off candles on both the cakes. The food was an Italian spread with bruschetta, spaghetti and chicken balls, salad, vegetarian pizza and Salad. Fun, cheer, conversations and laughter filled my home that evening making it so memorable.

the party people

With this I end my birthday post saga with great memories and with a realization that birthdays can be fun. It is just not about getting older but also about trying to spend time with the people you love and cherish and making memories for times to come.

A Guest Post for Gayathri Ramdas – Taking Sides with a Couscous Side

26 Feb

Today I have been given this wonderful opportunity to write a Guest Post ( a rare honour as far as I am concerned) for my friend Gayathri. I have known Gayathri for some time now and we are constantly in touch over Facebook and bbm. During one such random conversations she asked me to do guest post for her blog.  I love visiting her blog because her posts not only talk about the wonderful food that she makes for her family,  but also about the latest trends in music, books and life as such. She always makes sure that there is a conversation going on rather than a monologue.

In this post I talk about how a brief meeting with Gayathri made such a huge impact on my confidence and how her sweet words will always resonate whenever I feel under valued in life.

Today’s guest post for Gayathri also features a very tempting, flavoursome Couscous side which is so easy to put together. I found this recipe from the BBC GoodFood Magazine that I am so hopelessly addicted to. To read the rest of the entry hop on to Gayathri’s blog .

 

Apple Cake for my Friend

19 Aug

This has been a long overdue post.  In between, I started writing fiction and I couldn’t stop. For the first time food took a backseat. Not for real, but only on the blog 🙂

This post is about a lovely friend. Her name is Gayathri.

I have written about her on my blog plenty times before. She is somebody whom I can talk to for hours, without bothering whether it is inconvenient for her or not. She is patient  and would offer her two cents after gauging whether it is required or not. I know she understands that sometimes people only want to be heard, to be able to speak their heart out.

Gayathri, she just lets me be.

When she visits me, I do not have to dress up or do not have to bother whether my home is in order. It is that comfort level that I share  with her.

So when she came by a few days ago, I was excited and thrilled to bits. It would mean catching up on everything once again. I say once again, because we are always in touch through chats and over the phone anyways. But we still have so much to talk about.

Gayathri loves her cakes- eating and baking them. She makes the egg-less sorts which are wonderful and so tasty.

I thought of baking one for my special friend. I browsed for something simple and sweet and found a rustic looking apple cake for the occasion.

This apple cake is from Joy of Baking; a blogsite that needs no introduction at all.

Gayathri, her son, my daughter and I had a nice time chatting up and digging into this gorgeous apple cake.

Recipe for Apple Cake

Makes about 9 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup (75 gms) chopped hazelnuts ( you can use walnuts, pecans)

About 3 large apples

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 1/2 cup (195 gms) All purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 gms) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

6 tablespoons (85 gms) unsalted butter, melted and cooled at room temp

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoon milk

1/3 cup (50 gms) Raisins

Preparation 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.

2. Butter a baking pan and then line with parchment paper or wax paper.

3. Place the nuts (hazelnuts) on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.

4. Peel, core, and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

5. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.

6. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts, raisins, and chopped apples.

7. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

8. Serve warm and in my opinion, it tastes great without any of the edible accessories such as cream, glaze or ice cream.

This recipe is a keeper and I am definitely going to make it again and again.

Apple and cinnamon are meant to be together and that is why this cake is such a big winner.

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