Tag Archives: Kerala

Nai Appam ( Rice cakes sweetened with jaggery)

24 Nov

I am back from my vacation and it seems I need a another one to recover from the strain of this one. Travelling to meet relatives, performing social obligations etc are just what India is all about. Ofcourse it is exciting and there are so many stories to share and for Mimi to discover who her relatives are. She was such a hit with her grandparents (both sets), her uncles and aunts. She picked up new lingo on the way and has been chattering non stop.

After such a long hiatus from this blog, it seems like I need to start afresh. It is almost like I am lost and to find my footing again with my writing, baking and cooking is going to take some time. Being back at work has been even harder. It was almost like being thrown into a cyclone. They say the eye of the cyclone is where there’s no chaos and on the contrary, its the calm and serene. Everyday it is a struggle to find that eye or find my center in the middle of giant cyclones and carry on with my day.

The simple ingredients: Rice flour, fresh coconut, scrapped jaggery and cardamom

Perhaps I am not even making any sense and all my thoughts are scattered at the moment. But I am sure in the days to come, things would settle down as it can’t be this chaotic forever.

Well these depressing thoughts aside, I had the chance to learn how to make these delicious rice cakes sweetened with jaggery that we call Nai appam. Mostly we make them for special occasion and as offerings to our Hindu Gods and Goddesses. As a child, I remember devouring these even before they were offered to the special deity. There is also a savoury version of the same recipe which I hope to try and bring to this blog soon.

The apparatus: Nai appam chatti

Melting the jaggery

The batter

Heating the oil/ghee in the Nai appam chatti

Flippity-flip

crowns of golden brown

My mother and I made these in the kitchen of her new home while the clouds gathered outside and threatened to pour any moment. It was the perfect moment that signified harmony and the very purpose of our (my mother’s and mine) existence – being creative. It was her thorough conditioning and my dad’s too, that I sought to be creative in anything and everything I tried to do in life. Probably, it is was a survival skill that they taught me which I hope to pass on to my daughter. Being creative and finding beauty in the most mundane of tasks has helped me get through life’s slowest and dreariest periods.

I also take this opportunity to thank everybody who voted for MIMI on FACEBOOK because she WON THE CONTEST. She is the cutest Kid in Bahrain and as a prize she would have a photoshoot done by Summer Weeks here in Bahrain on the 22nd of December. Only thing is Mimi hasn’t clue about all of the above because the only thing she was concerned during the holidays was to have a lot of fun… There is so much she teaches me everyday in her own little MIMI way.

Home Sweet Home

31 Oct

It has been a very hard October. My job has consumed me, my life and everything there is to consume. I have burned out in the process. We had our vacation planned around this time to celebrate Diwali with our folks in India. It was to be a 4 week, much deserved vacation but due to work pressure and such wholly silly reasons, we had to cut it down to less than 3 weeks. But atleast we got some break.

Packing was a nightmare in between  finishing the last of my assignment and a sick child. I thought I might not make it to the airport at all. But we did and it was such a relief to sit in the Bahrain airport lounge sipping my green tea and watching Mimi play in the family room full of toys. She was on antibiotics and hence experiencing some temporary relief.

Finally we did board the flight and it took us many hours before we landed in God’s own country – Kerala and more so to my mum’s and dad’s new home. We were spellbound by how beautifully this house was constructed and it radiated such tranquility and positive energy that its indescribable. Just the right place for burnt out souls like us. Whats bonus is, it was my parent’s home and it was waiting for us with all the  love and affection.

My parent’s new home in Kerala (India)

The gate and the compound walls are still under construction and my parents are planning to have a beautiful garden and a vegetable patch too. They have their own well to draw out sweet tasting water and coconut and jackfruit trees in their backyard.

My daughter who was recuperating from an ugly bout of ulcers in her mouth and throat seemed to forget about her pain and enjoyed frolicking around in the mounds of sand in the front yard. She lay on it, built sand castles and pretended to be on the beach. I sat watching her enjoy herself in the mild drizzle and enjoying the feeling of the wet sand between her fingers and toes.

Our everyday routine goes like this :

  • Wake at whatever time we please and find that a sumptuous breakfast is ready
  • Mid morning- laze around reading or finishing some writing project while sipping on some green tea
  • have a sumptuous lunch over conversations and loud laughter
  • take a nap or read some more
  • go and meet my granny and my uncles, cousins and aunts in the evening or a visit to the temple
  • come back and watch some tv- reruns of Masterchef
  • have a light dinner and then retire to bed or browse the internet.

Stone art by Mimi

I could do this forever or atleast for the rest of my vacation. But from here we are off to my husband’s homeland in the north of India- Delhi. Being in Delhi during Diwali is absolutely exciting. I am extremely pleased for Mimi to be a part of these festivities as it would be a new experience for her.

I have two more weeks of family fun and excitement waiting for me before I return to Bahrain and to my stressful job. Blogging has taken a back seat and I miss it terribly. I hope to keep up even on my vacation else you’ll can imagine me having fun shopping, eating and enjoying my vacation with my folks here in India.

The Onam Sadya Post

19 Nov

I am back from my long break and still reeling from the crazy schedule that I thought was my vacation. But trips to India have always been like that. Too many commitments, a lot of travelling to meet relatives and general humdrum. I have already declared to my husband that I need another vacation to recuperate from this one. I  missed Bahrain and felt like I was back home when I landed here. I also missed my little nook that is my blog and ached to write everyday. I actually wrote little notes behind  books in an attempt to note down the ideas. But now that I am back, I feel lethargy restraining me with all its slimy tentacles and even after a week ( well almost) I haven’t posted a single thing in my space. Finally, after a little nudge from my mother this morning, I decided to do a post about Onam Sadya which has been long languishing in my drafts. This post is more from my need to document my mother’s recipes than anything else.

Onam is the most important festival  for all Hindu Keralites.  The festival commemorates Mahabali’s yearly homecoming ( to His kingdom which was the beautiful state of Kerala)  after being sent down to the underworld  by Vaman (dwarf), the fifth avatar of Vishnu. The highlight of this festival is the lavish sadya ( feast) which includes various mouth – watering items grandly served on a banana leaf. Funnily, I have never had the opportunity to celebrate this beautiful festival in my home state where it is celebrated with much gusto and fervour. Boat races, intricate flower carpets, traditional dances are some of the festivities that are the mark of typical Onam celebrations in the state.

It has been quite a while that I had been meaning to document my mother’s recipes for all the Sadya ( feast) items. Finally, this Onam ( which was on the 9th of September) I managed to get down to it with my mother’s help, ofcourse. I had invited some friends ( all non- Keralites) over for an elaborate luncheon. It seemed like everybody did enjoy the feast and that gave me every ounce of satisfaction for all the effort that went into preparing this feast. I had made a total of 9 items excluding the pickle and banana chips which were store-bought. Here I shall be detailing only the curries and the rice pudding in particular.

Onam Sadya 

Recipe for Sambar

Serves 6

Ingredients

Toor dal/ yellow pigeon peas  – 1 cup

Drumsticks – 4 nos. ( Cut into smaller pieces.Alternately, you could use any vegetable, such as okra, bottle gourd, brinjals, pumpkin etc)

Tomatoes – 2 nos.

Tamarind –  lemon- sized soaked in warm water

Salt as per taste

Turmeric powder- half a teaspoon

For the Masala

Coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons

Dried red chilly -8 nos. ( You could reduce the number to reduce the heat)

Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Asafoetida- 1 teaspoon

Onion cut into pieces – 1 No.

Grated coconut – 1 cup

For tempering

Mustard seeds,  dry red chilly and curry leaves, and oil

Garnish – coriander leaves (optional)

 Preparation

1. Cook dal in water with salt and turmeric.

2. Cook drumsticks pieces separately in water.

3. Fry all the masala ingredients with little oil until light brown and keep aside. When the masala has cooled to room temperate grind it using little water into a paste. Add this to the cooked dal and cooked drumsticks and let it all cook on medium heat for some time.

4. To this add tamarind water and let it all cook some more. Taste in between and realize the taste change primarily because the raw taste of masala has been replaced by this gorgeous cooked masala flavour.

5.  Add water if the gravy seems too thick until it seems equal a pouring consistency.

6. To this add the tempering for which oil is first heated in a frying pan. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the tempering ingredients and wait until the mustard seeds have spluttered and the other ingredients have changed colour. Pour this tempering on the gravy with drumsticks and dal.

7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Recipe for Erissery Recipe

Ingredients

Yam –  cut in to cubes- 1 cup

Raw banana cut int0 small pieces – 1 cup

Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon

chilly powder- 1/2 teaspoon

pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon

salt

coconut grated – 2 cups

Cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

oil – 1/4 cup

Curry leaves

Mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

 Preparation

1. Cook yam  and raw banana with turmeric powder, chilly powder, pepper powder and salt.( don’t overcook) in very little water.

2. Grind 3/4 cup of coconut and cumin seeds.  Add to the cooked veg. and boil . Remove from heat

3. Then heat oil in a frying pan, splutter mustard seeds and then add remaining coconut grated and when it turns brown add curry leaves. Pour the tempering into the Erissery prepared.

Recipe for Avial

Ingredients

 Yam  – 1 cup ( all veggies cut into one inch long pieces)

Raw banana- 1  cup

elavan (Ash guard)-  1 cup

carrot -1/2 cup

Pumpkin-1/2 cup

ginger ( optional) 1 small piece cut in long pieces

Raw mango ( optional) 1 small piece cut in to long pieces

turmeric powder-1 teaspoon

chilly powder- 1 teaspoon

salt

3 coconut grated -2 cups

tamarind 1/2 small lemon size

Yogurt ( should be a little sour) – 1 cup

green chillies- 4-5 ( reduce the number if you want to reduce the heat)

butter or coconut oil – 1  tablespoon

curry leaves

Preparation

1. Cook all the vegetables in a thick bottomed vessel or non-stick vessel with minimum water along with turmeric, chilly powder and salt,

2. Coarsely grind the grated coconut, tamarind, green chillies and yogurt  and add to the cooked vegetables.Boil till the water gets evaporated .

3. Then remove from heat and add butter or coconut oil and curry leaves and mix

Recipe for Cabbage Thoran

Ingredients

Cabbage grated or chopped fine – 2 cups

coconut, grated- 1 cup

turmeric- 1/4 teaspoon

salt

green chillies- 5-6 ( reduce to lower the heat)

one onion – cut int pieces

Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon

split chick peas / chana dal- 1 tablespoon

oil

curry leaves- 3-4 leaves

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a non stick pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add chana dal . when it turns light brown add curry leaves and then add grated cabbage and turmeric and salt . saute well

2. Coarsely grind coconut, green chillies and onions add this to the half cooked cabbage. Mix well. Cook for -2 minutes.

Recipe for Kalan

Ingredients

Yam – 1/2 cup (cut in to small cubes)

Raw bananas- 1/2 cup ( cut into small pieces)

pepper powder- 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder(optional)- 1/2 teaspoon

salt

2 coconut grated –  1 and 1/2 cups

green chillies –  4-5

3 sour yogurt –  1 cup

4 mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

fenugreek seeds- 1/2 teaspoon

dried red chilly- 2

curry leaves

Preparation

1. Cook the vegetables in water with salt, pepper and turmeric powder items together with little water. Evaporate excess water by heating.

2.Beat the yogurt and add to the cooked veggies. Boil and stir continuously so that it won’t curdle.

3. grind grated coconut and green chillies and keep aside.

4. When the gravy gets reduced add the ground coconut – green chilly mixture to it. When it starts boiling, remove from heat.

5. Heat oil or ghee in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add fenugreek seeds,red chillies and curry leaves. Pour the tempering on top of kalan prepared and mix well.

Recipe for Paal Payasam ( Rice Pudding)

Ingredients

milk- 2 litres

broken raw rice – 1/2 cup ( alternately you can use basmati but run it ever so slightly in the blender to break it)

ghee – 3 teaspoons

sugar….1/2 kg ( to make it less sweet, reduce the sugar)

1 glass of water

Preparation

1. Take a thick bottomed vessel and add little ghee. To it add milk and one glass of water together to it and boil. stir well.

2. When the water contents gets evaporated add rice and boil. When the rice gets cooked almost three fourth add sugar and stir continuously.

3. Let the rice gets cooked completely and allow the  payasam to reach the desired consistency, Remove from heat. Serve hot or cold.

This is one long recipe post but I am glad that I got it all down. Thanks Amma for all your help.

Kadala Masala Curry, a Childhood Favourite

12 Oct

Kadala  is a Malayalam word  that translates to Chickpeas ( Black or White)  happens to be one of my favourite pulses. Growing up I have had a fair share of these in curries and in their sautéed form. The way my mother made Kadala curry was to cook it in a paste of coriander seeds, red chillies, onion and grated coconut. That something so simple could taste so wonderful, always surprised me.

On the way back from school, my mind conjured these beautiful images of what all my mother would have made for lunch. That anticipation always made me race back home with a heavy school bag in tow. My mother was a banker so she wasn’t around to serve it to me piping hot. But that was hardly a bother as I was pretty much adept at doing most of the stuff myself ( also, I shouldn’t forget to mention that I had a caretaker until I was 14 years old and my brother had his).  All the cooking was done by my Mother  as a matter of principle and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyday, she would prepare a spread of two curries ( pulses), a vegetable, a raita or a salad, pappads, rice and rotis. She had to be at the her workplace by 10 a.m and before that she made a sumptuous breakfast, send us off to school with our tiffins and prepared such a large spread for lunch. Every single day.

We were so demanding, I realize now. Not giving her any respite and asking for something or the other. She happily obliged not caring if she was tired after a long day’s work.  We took it for granted and she did what she had to without complaining and with great joy. That joy translated into the food  that she made and calling it tasty would be an understatement.

Only after all these years, now that I have a child of my own, I realize, how she had to put up with her ever hungry, demanding kids. This post is an ode to all that she has done for me  and my brother for years and years. I know it wouldn’t measure up to it but something to say – “Thanks, Amma!”

Recipe for Kadala Masala Curry

Ingredients

1 cup of black or white chick peas ( soaked over night and boiled)

1 medium-sized onion , chopped

2 dried red chillies ( you can up the heat by added as many as 8 red chillies too)

1 cup fresh grated coconut

3 tablespoons of coriander seeds

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For tempering

Oil

1-2 tsp of mustard seeds

more dried red chillies (optional)

1 small chopped onion

small handful of curry leaves

Preparation

1. Boil the Chickpeas with some salt and turmeric and keep aside

2. Meanwhile prepare for the gravy by roasting grated coconut first and keep aside

3. Next roast, coriander seeds with dried red chillies

4. finally roast the chopped onion until golden brown.

5. Once all of the above roasted ingredients have cooled, grind them into a paste with some water. Do not grind it ultra smooth. It needs to be of a coarser consistency.

6. Pour this gravy into a pan / kadhaai and cook until the raw smell has gone and nice aroma spreads.Do this under a closed lid as it would be faster and to avoid all the gravy splashing about.  This would take some time and you would notice that the colour has changed too and is darker brown in colour.

7. To this add, the boiled chick peas and cook for sometime under a closed lid.

8. Once you feel that all of it has come together, ready the tempering in a different pan by heat oil and mustard seeds until they splutter. To this add the curry leaves and chopped onions and wait till the onions are done well. Pour this tempering into the curry.

9. Serve hot with rice.

If you find it too spicy you could lower the number of red chillies and even use yogurt while you dig in ( that’s my favourite way to eat – hot rice, curry and yogurt). The rice in the photographs is the fluffy red rice that we usually eat in Kerala. I also feel, the gravy would suit all kinds of meat such as chicken and mutton. It is finger licking good, trust me!

I am sending this off to Anamika’s Herbs & Flowers  event originally hosted by Seduce your tastebuds.

A Birthday celebrated with Rice Pudding, Kerala Style

29 Apr

It is that time of the year, when post 30, you fervently pray that people should forget your birthday. I turn 31 today. It is a bitter-sweet feeling. I am not overly excited neither am I under-playing it when friends and family call me to wish me a beautiful birthday. I have  never been excited about birthdays. Frankly, I think they are slightly over rated. I rather enjoy festivals and other important days such as my daughter’s birthday or my husband’s even than my own birthday. Do not know why but my birthday seems like  just another day to me.

I LOVE TO PLAN for others’ birthdays, anniversaries, last day in office and similar events. But when it comes to my own, I hate to do any planning for myself and I also do not expect anybody to plan either because it wouldn’t be as great as the way I do. Totally narcissistic. But I have high standards, what to do? 🙂

Post 30, cakes can make you feel, if not a little depressed, then definitely uncomfortable. How many candles are you going to light up there? 30 odd candles and then there is no space to put the knife through! So naturally, I did not order for a cake on this birthday. In fact, it is all-Kerala strike and hence there wasn’t even a question of ordering one or going out for dinner too. All celebrations are confined to my mum’s home. My mum being the lovely mum that she always is, went through the trouble of making a rice pudding. This is no ordinary rice pudding since I have had all versions possible ( north Indian, south Indian, west, and east too). She promised me that it wouldn’t be anything like I would have had before.

So while she sweated it out (literally) in the Kitchen I made myself comfy with a book. Around lunch time she asked me to come over to taste the divine concoction. It had an enchanting aroma and I guessed it was because of the rice being cooked in coconut milk ( traditionally it is milk that is used to make rice pudding). I quickly grabbed a bowl and dug in. Simply fabulous and like she said, it wasn’t like any other rice pudding. It had a melt in the mouth kind of texture with fried coconut pieces far and in between. It was simply perfect. The sweetness was because of all the goodness of jaggery and the stunning aroma was because of the coconut milk and cardamom.

It is anybody’s guess how many bowls I would have devoured. Who needs a cake when you have the yummiest pudding made by mum?

The bananas that you see in the background (photograph above) are organic bananas from my uncle’s farm. 

This modest seeming pudding is an explosion of flavour and in my opinion, a grand substitute for a birthday cake:-)

The Recipe for Rice Pudding in Coconut Milk and Jaggery

Ingredients

1 cup of rice (basmati rice- you need to break it up a bit by grinding for a bit in the mixer grinder. Need to be careful that they don’t become too fine else will be mesh and almost dissolve into the pudding)

5-7 cups of coconut milk ( either squeezed from freshly grated coconuts, like my mum did or use the ready-made varieties available in the market)

Jaggery(grated)-2 to 2 1/2 cups depending on how sweet you would like it

Coconut pieces – a handful ( optional)

1-2 tsp of cardamom powder

1/2 tsp of ginger powder ( optional)

Preparation

Wash the rice thoroughly and throw it into a mixer grinder or blender to break it into smaller bits. .

In a huge vessel/pan, pour 2 cups of coconut milk and the broken rice and cook it in medium heat.

Traditionally, this recipe would require 2 coconuts which are grated and fresh coconut milk is squeezed out which is called the first milk. This would be thick and dense. Then a sprinkle of water on the same grated coconut to squeeze out some more, which is called second milk. finally, pour a little extra water on the grated coconut lump and squeeze out maximum that you can, which is called the third milk. The rice needs to be cooked in the third milk to start with. As and when the rice cooks, second and first milk are added after the addition of jaggery.  This is the foolproof way of ensuring the authenticity of the pudding. Only after I learnt from her the actual method of making this pudding, did I realize how much effort she had put it.

So for anyone ( like me ) who uses ready-made coconut milk right off the tin, this process would be way simpler. For ease of understanding, I have divided the 6-7 cups of coconut milk into approximately 3 lots. The first lot, like I mentioned above would be approximately 2 cups to cook the rice first.

To this,  now add grated jaggery. It is a joy to see it melt uniformly into the whiteness of the rest of the ingredients. This is when the pudding attains the chocolate like colour.

Time to add the next lot of coconut milk which would be 2 cups and let the pudding simmer. A beautiful aroma would waft through the kitchen as the coconut milk cooks the rice.

Finally, when the pudding seems to near completion added fried coconut pieces ( fry them in ghee/clarified butter for enhanced taste) and add the last lot of coconut milk to maintain the consistency.

You can keep simmering the pudding on low fire till you get the consistency that you prefer.

Top this with cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and mix thoroughly before taking it off the fire.

Let it sit for sometime and give time for the flavours to blend in. I loved mine chilled but you can have it hot and steaming.

So that is how I celebrated my birthday. My personal trainer is not going to be happy at all. I guess he might give me a break since it is my birthday. No birthday is complete without the round-up of presents.

I have to thank my mum first for gifting me a beautiful Tissot watch which I will treasure for life. It is an exquisite looking thing.

My dearest hubby, Amit- thank you for all the lovely books you got delivered home.  You are  a darling to have sent me splendid baking and culinary books and  a parenting book by Amy Chua called ” Battle hymn of the tiger mother”. For a laid back mum like me it is like a slap on the face kind of book. I love it!

My fantastic friend, Namit, cared enough to send me the book that I was so excited to buy but never got around doing so. He bought me ” Baking from my home to yours” by Dori Greenspan. It was such a  pleasant surprise. Thank you Namit

My darling friend Gayathri surprised the day lights out of me, by dedicating a birthday post. It is such a lovely gesture that it would very difficult for me to express how much it means to me. Thank you Gayathri.

Throughout the day, I recieved phone calls from school and college friends. I was touched that even after so many years, they remembered my birthday. Especially because, I haven’t let FB update it on my profile:-)

I was warmly wished by lovely twitter friends and lots of wonderful people on facebook.

Thank you all for making it so perfect. Though I am not the biggest fan of celebrating my birthday, what I excitedly count is the number of blessings that I get each year from these lovely set of people. Thank you all.

Last but not the least, my daughter gave me two meaningful pecks on my cheek and a big hug 🙂

*Shrugs* Week

4 Apr

How sometimes, when you are travelling and you fall asleep, you wake up with a start to realize you have crossed so much distance and time had evaporated. It feels surreal and imagined. That is how my week went by me. It happens, when you are in too much of comfort that you stop thinking. I realize now while I write this post, that because I stopped thinking, life doesn’t seem like a struggle anymore. But for that matter, life doesn’t seem anything.  A Frame (of time and mind) devoid of any feeling and emotion and just passing by  like a rivulet flowing when it had rained torrents  the other night. I also realized since I didn’t feel neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, I had nothing to crib about. Nothing to crib about meant, you are automatically happy, no?

Now from my rant, you can pretty much make out how thoroughly useless I have been this entire week.

With the exception of this, I have done nothing else but watch the Cricket World Cup, eat tonnes of maggi and be on twitter, like my life depended on it.  I spend the insane amount of time on my laptop that my father almost believes that I can play the harmonium.  He refuses to believe that it is all for job hunt. Darn! he is always right.

Also, this World Cup matches have ensured that my husband and I have very little communication. Only when India wins we softly congratulate each other over the phone. That must change. We are breaking all the rules of a long distance relationship.   If our past experiences of staying apart have to be taken into account, we are very very very very bad at being good to each other. This is mostly because, both of us are totally uncomfortable phone users. Chatting does help at times but mostly the Internet – God ensures that by the time we have only finished exchanging pleasantries, the connection conks off. I might have conducted a video chat with innumerable friends, a zillion times but in the last two weeks, my husband has managed to see me and my daughter for a few measly seconds. So that is how things are. No, I am not complaining. We are used to this, and we have accepted it too. It helps keeping tempers from flaring, you know.

My daughter is probably the most unpredictable toddler ever. I was expecting her to show some signs of separation anxiety or the likes towards me. But it seems she is showing such anxieties only towards my father. But it is the sweetest sight ever to see her huddled up and going to sleep when my father’s taking his afternoon nap. When I insist she do the same with me, she never obliges. Mothers are not supposed to be treated like that!! But because she spends more time with him and lesser and lesser time with me, she has learnt to mouth a few words in malayalam.

My mum would be taking voluntary retirement towards the end of this month and is looking forward to spending more time with Mimi. She is more enthusiastic about my food blogging than anybody else I know. She helps me select props for the photographs and constantly pushes me to do better. Since the time I sent my Chatti Pathiri entry to the Kerala Kitchen community, she has been following up with me about when the round up on the same was going to happen. She has always been like this. Very competitive and always wanting to do the best she can. I think I get that  quality from her 🙂



Finally, some action did happen towards the end of the week. One of them was, we  ( India) won the cricket world cup and I showed some emotion akin to what looked like tears in my eyes. Unfortunately I had zero avenues to  get drunk and enjoy, so I had to be content with tweeting with drunk people. Also, on Sunday, we ( my parents, my daughter and I) took a trip to my grandmas’ home. She lives in a village and it takes about 5 hours travel by car to get there. The serpentine roads make sure that by the time I reach there, I have no energy or excitement left to enjoy the few hours that I get to spend with her and my cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews. By the time, I am feeling upbeat, it is time to head back and to feel wretched again. In between my usually jolly daughter vomitted and by the time she reached home, she was exhausted and cranky. In fact when she stepped inside the house, she actually heaved a sigh of relief which sounded a lot like “phew”. Then she shrugged and got on with what she does at home, that is, making  a mess.

So each time something emotion-worthy happened, I caught myself shrugging like I didn’t care. This isn’t like me at all. I don’t shrug, I don’t usually let go. I hope I get my mojo back on this week since there are a lot of exciting things waiting to happen. It even hurts my fingers to type exciting which is mostly because Mimi has plucked some important vowel keys from my laptop keypad.

Well *shrugs* again.

The Holiday Week

26 Mar

Life couldn’t get better than this. As I wake up ( at whatever time I please), I get a whiff of freshly ground coconut chutney tempering and filtered coffee. Yes, I am in heaven or somewhere close, that I call my mum’s home. Breakfast is always ready, bed always made, clothes already washed & folded and dishes do the themselves ( well a maid does them).  However hard I try, I don’t seem to be waking up to help my mum or she seems to be done with it before the cock-a-doodle crows. Life is bliss right now, as I look out of the bedroom window and see a red cow grazing in bucolic grace. Our flat is surrounded by lush paddy fields. The cool breeze, the dancing rice saplings and the herons flying off in the horizon are the sights that welcome me each day. I could sit here forever and find inspiration to type away on my keyboard. All that restlessness is fading away and I feel every inch of me relaxing in a way, I haven’t for a long long time.

Until… my daughter sneaks up from one side and switches off the power button on the laptop. Grrrr…

Well that’s the real life. My life.

For weekly update, there hasn’t much happened to quote and note. Each day seamlessly blending into the other before I look up notice. I haven’t even decided on how long I am going to stay put ( my idea is forever but I am sure my parents may think it unreasonable :-)) here in Cochin. Before my hubby left for Bahrain ( he left because his office reopened and he was summoned immediately), we had a chance to cruise around the by lanes of Fort Kochi. An unappetising place, to say the least. We also happened to sample a lot baked delights from the local bakers. K. R. Bakes, Cochin Bakeries, Bread World to name a few. Though am not sure about the star quality of ingredients used, the cup cakes and the meat puffs were delectable. Through Bread World, I also stumbled upon their gourmet super market that sells cooking chocolate and fleur de sel. A pleasant surprise indeed. I stocked up on butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, cooking chocolate, food colour, ricotta cheese and all that.  My only glitch in this excitement is that my mum doesn’t have an oven. But as she is pretty upbeat about this whole food blogging thing, we have geared up to take up some challenges. Watch this space for some delectable  Kerala delicacies! We did indulge in one such staple snack that you can catch up with here.

Apart from the gourmet hoarding, I chanced upon a Betty Crocker Mix of the Devil’s Food Cake that I made for Namit’s Birthday. I wanted to see if I was close to the original or not. Also, it would be an experiment – first of its kind for me – to make the cake in the microwave. Well it turned out quite okay but was extremely rich after I slathered the decadent dessert with plenty of chocolate glaze.

Rest of time I spent being on twitter, watching the Cricket World Cup  (especially the India Vs Australia match) and reading some books I ordered through Flipkart. I flipped ( literally) with joy when the courier guy rapped at my door to do the delivery. Books ( affordable ones) are so hard to come by in Bahrain and for me a service like FlipKart is a blessing. I ordered for, not surprisingly, “Julie & Julia” -by Julie Powell,  “How to be a Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson, “Women & the Weight Loss Tamasha” – by Rujuta Diwekar, “Cake decoration for Beginners” – by some publisher. Once  I am done with them or any of them, I shall post a two liner review about it. I still  have some more books to order but my purse strings have been tightened by my conscientious hubby. 😦 I know eventually he will come around. 🙂

Being here in Cochin has its own perks because my daughter has found her own toddler community in the building and spends absolutely no time indoors. I hardly get to see her as she is running out to play with her mates or even by herself. She ignores my existence until she feels hungry or sleepy. I am not complaining!

In other efforts to keep myself busy, I tried to enroll into a driving school but due to some paperwork and the  likes, it did not work out. I have to figure another way out. Also, I am trying to enroll myself with a pastry making course  in Kochi and that too hasn’t met with any success. If anybody can give me any leads, I shall be most grateful.

Finally, I want Amit to know that I miss him very much ( he would blushing to his temples by now) and such a public declaration of my affection would send him to his shell instantly. I also miss my dear friend Namit and all the wonderful weekends we spent doing restaurant reviews, dinners, and sight seeing ( by now Namit would be a deep shade of crimson, slowly turning purple and shades alike). I am sure Mimi misses you both, but right now she is a tad busy doing her stuff. Also, Gayathri, I miss our chats. Somehow, since the time I have come here, we haven’t had the time to connect properly. Hoping that it would be better over the coming days.

Because I miss seeing both of you together



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