From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Though I may be traditional and believe in old fashioned stuff and happily ever afters....
I somehow have not been able to conform, to what everyone thinks is right or wrong ..
And what I abhor most is to be slotted in a group ..
It's been a kind of an allergy ever since I was a kid ..
If everyone went right ..
I would go left ..

Like I chose Economics to graduate in, why?
Because it is tough and very few from my class opted for it ..
Yup I was tearing my hair out, because my finals went on for a month and a half, but I was happy I did this in the end......
Maybe because I don't like to take a path that's often trod...
Maybe because I like to discover life by myself....
And maybe because I'm just plain, stupid enough to jump off a cliff ..
Not knowing where I'm going to land ..

My mum could never understand this about me, because I was your quintessential "GOOD KID" ..
But with a very impulsive non-conformist streak...

Even when it comes to fashion,
I  am really not interested in wearing what everyone is ..
Maybe I have a big ego ..
Maybe I like standing alone ..
Maybe I just do not like being part of a crowd ..
I really don't know ..
Or then maybe I like to tread where angels don't dare ..
But all in all ..
I'm fine with being who I am ..
I like standing solo ..
Even in a crowd..
I'm flawed...
I say what I feel like saying ..and then work my way through it ..

If there is one thing I want my kids to learn .
It is that's it's OK to do things differently ..
It's good to ask questions ..many questions ????
Just because everyone else thinks its right...
Does not mean it is ..
What works for one , may not work for another ..
And yes it's fine to make your own mistakes ..
I think they make the best memories ..
Of what you should not do ..ha ha ha

But want Zeke and Zene to be sensitive to people's feelings ..
Don't hurt any one knowingly ..
Be truthful ..
Stand up for what you feel is right ..

Don't be afraid of saying what's on your mind ..
Don't let anyone walk all over you ..
And it's OK to turn around and walk away from a place that no longer makes you comfortable..
But most of all never give up easily ..
Give it your all and everything ..
Before you decide to walk away ..
I also know , that if in my heart I feel something is wrong..
I may not be right, it may not be all wrong, but it will not be completely all right ..
And so I will go with my heart ..

But I know from life's experience that every person and event in your life , good or bad , always has a positive impact , somewhere down the line ..
And that's what truly makes me happy ..

And so when Zeke wanted to make doughnuts ..
And did not want to make them like the ones you get in the market ..
We decided that we make them any shape we wanted ..
After all it's only the outside that would look different ..
And there is no law laid down saying that doughnuts should look a certain way ..
The inside would still be as yummy ..
And since we had a holiday ..
We decided to go for our doughnuts with flourish ..

Now I have never tried this before, but what the hell, it's always an adventure , when you try something new ..
And what's the worse that could happen ..
It would just not work ..
And then I will try this all over again , with another recipe ..

This is by Lee Drummond..
Also known as the Pioneer woman...
Its fantastic...


1-1/8 cup Whole Milk, Warm 
1/4 cup Sugar 
2 1/2 tsp Fresh Yeast 
2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten 
1-1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, melted 
4 cups All-purpose Flour 
1/4 teaspoon Salt 
Vegetable oil

Preparation Instructions

To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won't be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter's not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it's thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Let the dough prove for at least 4 hours. 

'Dabbie's" Red Velvet ...

So while I put the dough away to prove, I decided to make a red velvet cake for my Friend Shruti , who I fondly call "Dabbie"..
She is just one of the sweetest girls I know ..
We did a play together many many moons ago and we stayed friends..
She is a fellow Sagittarius and absolutely lovable...
And loves food in the same crazy way like I do ...

And so after the dough was proved ..
I got back to it ...

To Make the Doughnuts:
1. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Cut as many shapes as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as many shapes as you can.
4. Place both doughnuts on a floured baking sheet.
5. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; I just leave them in my oven.
6. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughnuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Doughnuts
1. Heat plenty of vegetable oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees---do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

And then I got this recipe of the Chocolate Glaze from Alton Brown.... 

INGREDIENTS1/2 cup unsalted butter 
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed 
1 tablespoon light corn syrup 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Zeke and Zene had fun watching me deep fry each funny shaped doughnut ..
Hearts ,flowers, the ginger bread man, Shrek..
Was all coming out puffy and inviting ..
We put them in many layers of a kitchen tissue to absorb all the oil ..(God deep fried stuff, I really do not like )
Then we dipped each piece into the chocolate glaze ..
And licked our fingers..
Then had to wash them , so this process took some time...
But the kind of satisfaction one gets licking your fingers smeared with chocolate is , just something else...

 We then decorated them with sprinklers ..
Well we devoured quite a few of the Shrek ones ..
Biting into the ears first ..
And then went for the ginger bread man , a few hearts were devoured by Zene ..
So typical of a girl to go for hearts ..Ha ha ha ...
Oh hell I do that too...Ha ha ha 

I like doughnuts , when they are fresh , they have a lovely crispness about them that goes away in a bit ..

The verdict by Zeke and Zene ..
And a few other kids ..
Well they liked it ..
Zeke now wants me to make a giant doughnut to take for all his friends to school ..
And smear it with "Nutella"...
Well not at the moment ..

So you see ..
It does not really matter what the outside is like ..
You do not have to be like everyone else ..
You can be who you are ..
You do not have to conform to society or what everyone thinks is right ..
But on the other hand ..
You must retain your basic human essence..
Be kind ..
Do not hurt anyone ..
Love as much as you can ..
Don't be reckless with other peoples hearts,
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours (Baz Luhrmen - Sunscreen, Thanks Nikhil Chinnapa)
Laugh till you have tears rolling down your cheeks..
Dance with the one you love ..or alone...
Believe in miracles..
Eat well ..
Look after your body ..
And over and above be a good human being ..

Was thinking that when I am no more. how would I like my family and friends to remember me ..
"Always made us smile, and loved and cooked with abandon" "
Is how I'm hoping they do remember me ...

Well I'm not going anywhere at the moment ..
I have still tons of people to meet , so many people I still want to feed and many more mountain ranges to climb ..
With a big fat smile, and all my fantastic trekking gear, shoes, jackets, mufflers, bag et all...
" Its the insides that always matter "

So here's presenting "Be yourself-Doughnuts "
Shaped how I fancy them to be and full of the essence of a goodness that is so familiar to your palette, only from "Maria's Kitchen "....

Monday, September 17, 2012

DAY 85 - LOVE POTION NO.9 ....

They say that a person who is in love, lives on love and fresh air ...
Now is that so ...
I think to a person in love , the morning is just the most beautiful time to wake up to, because it could mean, you wake up to a face you love or then will run as fast as possible to see that one who puts that unstoppable smile on your face ...
And to sleep is just a waste time..

Well in my opinion ..
Which is not open to any kind of discussion, because this is my space ha ha ha (I love it)
I think when you are in love , you kind of LOVE everything about your day and your night...

As for me , I just find that my day has longer hours because they pour into the night and I think sleep is a waste of time...
I find everything beautiful..
Even the rust on my grills..
I find the clouds sending me messages..
I find meanings in various songs that I listen to, that I have heard before, and also find beautiful songs that I have never heard before...
What is most beautiful about love is that though you look at the world through rose coloured glasses..

After some time, you do take it off..
And look at the person in the reality of the day ..
And thats the only way you can separate the chaff from the grain...
Its difficult to do this in candle lite at night , because that is kind of magical and mystical...
So in the reality of the day, when you look at yourself. your eyes will tell you the truth..
If this is really love or just a beautiful tale you have concocted in your head ...
Is there someone really feeling all you do ..
Or you are imagining it all , because you have a beautiful imagination...

Ha ha ha ...
Well you will know your own truth ...

I just know that its wonderful being in love ..
And whats even more beautiful, is finding that same love in the eyes of the one you are looking into...
That feeling is simply irreplaceable... ...

And so today I'm making something that I love making..
Its easy and me...
Its pure comfort,, indulgent yet very simple food..
That you can make and sit by a window, or then by a babbling brook or then at your dinning table. with the one you love ...

1/2 Kg Lamb, boneless, cut into medium pieces 
1/2 Kg lamb on the bone, cut into medium pieces
400gm - onions diced
200gm - tomatoes, skin removed by blanching
200gm - Carrots cleaned and diced
200gm - Peas
300gm - Potatoes
500 ml - fresh or tetra pack coconut milk 
1Tablespoon - Garam masala
A small handful of garlic - peeled and smashed or diced
30 gm - ginger, skin removed and finely sliced
4 - medium spiced green chillies 
6 pieces - Cardamon
2 medium sticks - Cinnamon
4 - Cloves
2 - Bay leaves
1 1/2 Tsp - Cinnamon powder
Salt to taste


Heat 4 table spoons of vegetable oil in a cooker..
Add the cardamon, cinnamon , bay leaves, cloves and give it a nice stir..
Then add the chili, and the onions..
Cook then till they turn slightly pink ..
Add the garlic and the ginger...
When the aroma of the garlic is released..
Add the mutton and add the garam masala and cook this till the meat turns nice and brown...
add the tomatoes...
Add salt , a tiny pinch 
Lower the flame and cook the meat for about 30-40 minutes till the mutton is about 3/4 done..

Then add the vegetables the carrots, peas and potatoes and 2 cups warm water ..
Shut the pressure cooker and after the first whistle, lower the flame and let two more whistles go by..
Open the cooker when it is cooled...
I normally do not have the patience to wait, so I dunk it under cold water and open the lid..
Then put it back on a medium flame..
Adjust the salt..
Add the coconut milk and bring it to a boil..
Add the cinnamon powder ...
It is now ready to devour...

This is actually a very simple dish ..
But requires a whole lot of prep and effort and patience ...
You must not try and hurry this because you will spoil this lovely aromatic stew..
Do not over do the flavouring ..
Whats lovely about this , is that you can taste each vegetable and the meat like it is , without too much of a masala flavour and just a hint of it...

This is best served with some "Brun pav" or then some "Naan" ..
And if you want it to look like a very up- market gourmet meal , then plate it in beautiful white crockery and serve with some " French bread " and balance some fresh juliennes of carrot on it , with a sprig of curly leafed parsley....ha ha 
Its really that simple ...

So you see , making this stew is exactly like being in love..
If you really want to keep that beautiful feeling .....
You will have to give this love of yours a lot ..
Time, understanding, kindness, acceptance, trust, forgiveness well the list is endless...and supposed to be unconditional ...
I'm not saying this is a piece of cake..
It all depends on how much you value this..

And if you cannot ..
Then I suggest you just stick to making this stew its easier...
And will have no bitter after taste..even if it goes wrong ...

And to the rest who want to have their stew and eat it too...

Well go for it with abandon..
That's the only way you should ever cook and love..
Without holding back..

Don't let your head mess with your heart ....
If you know you have found the one ...

So here's presenting, ''LOVE POTION NO.9""...
Flavoursome, hot , aromatic, filled with comfort and an immense amount of love...
In every bite..

You will over indulge , let me warn you ...
So its an ideal meal for a lovely after noon ..
Where you plan to do nothing , but hang with the "one"(and I dont mean Keanu Reeves ha ha ha ), under a tree , listen to some music and read or whisper sweet nothings...cuddle...kiss....whatever...
Well do what ever you want actually..
I'm not the authority on love YOU KNOW... 
But like putting ideas in your head...ha ha ha 

Served steaming hot, from the fire into your plate ,with an unstoppable smile only from ''Maria's Kitchen"....
I promise you this..
It will be well worth it...
The stew and all....