From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Sunday, August 26, 2012

WILLOW...


No I don't think of you anymore ..
But I don't think of you any less ..
You keep walking along all the paths in my head ..
Through little corners and crooks in my heart ..
That you know so well ..

Every time I walk towards the sea ..
I see you smile at me...
Can I please be left alone for a little while ..

I need to sit and sort my soul ..
I don't want to melt into your eyes ..
And hear your heart beat like that song I love ..
Your arms wrapped around me ..
And that knowing indulgent laugh in your smile ..

Listen to the river babble about conversations we have ..
Or let the raindrops fall in my lap...
Or inhale you so deep ..
That my heart just cries ..

I  feel like a willow in the wind ..
But all I want is to stand still ..
And figure. if what I see is true ..
If the heart beat I hear is just mine ..


Whispers in the wind ..
Hover over a still lake ..
Where I wash my face ..
And let the trees envelope me in their shade ..
I let the wind play with my hair ..
And blown petals caress my face ..

I sit alone ..
Not a soul in sight ..
There never was anyone really ..
Just my foot steps in hindsight ..
And the company of my imagination, burning bright ..
A mirage of something I thought was real ..
While I walked in the sands for a long time ..
As my feet began to get tired and worn ..

I hear you calling my name ..
Soft like a song in the mist ..
So I walk up and follow your voice ..
I can't see anyone ..
But I have no choice ..
I can't give up on a mere hunch ..
That I may not find you there ..
Because my heart is filled with love ..
And I don't care ..


I will walk ..
I will climb..
I will swim..
I will run ..
And when all is done ..
I will sit in silence ..
And wrap myself in you ..
And all that I hold , as true ..

With love from me to you ...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DAY 83 - THE CALL OF THE WILD



And so today on the eve of the release of "Ek Tha Tiger" I am going to share with you a trip ,we all took together a few years ago to Ramgarh..

I have muffins baked for the kids and I'm really excited to go watch Kabir's labour of love...

"Ek tha Tiger" muffins..

Well in a way it is Mini's too , because I know how much of sweat and blood goes into making a film...And I know its going to be worth all the time and effort ..
And I wish them all the success and happiness...

And now , ready to tell you about a holiday we took with Mini's side of the family,with the score of "Ek tha Tiger" playing in the back ground...
Now "Ramgarh" is  a name, that I had only heard in Sholay ...
And for most of my life, what it looked like in the film was what it was for me ..

So when Mini invited us all over to "SOULITUDE IN THE HIMALAYAS"in Ramgarh,  to bring in the New Year...

We were all really excited
Now the task of co-ordinating dates and holidays of all the kids , the work schedule of Arshad , Kabir, Mini and Sandhya and Amit,  was quite a task, but when there is a will there is a way...
And so, we all had our queries about the place that we addressed to Manish, Mini's elder brother and proud owner of both these fantastic properties...
Walking in Solitude...


I remember the chaos in the middle ,as we were leaving for the airport..
Getting all the woollies packed, getting the kids ready, amidst calling Amito , to be on time, and then I forgot Zene's pram, and also which terminal we were to go too...
So we were late ,did not have Zene's pram and were at the wrong terminal...
Wow what a start...

But all this chaos we forgot once we touched "Soulitude in the Himalayas"...

Well we  finally reached Delhi and like really good girls ..
We went shopping en route to Mini's home...
We then changed and refreshed all the kids, got them pottied , powdered , woolened up and ready to get on the night train...

Some where in the mountain...


But we all had to go to Kareem's..
So we put Arshad into a monkey cap...
Thank God for the cold...
And slipped into one of the busiest streets in Delhi,Jama Masjid...
Where we ordered barra kebab's , sheermal and a whole lot of other stuff...
And when the barra kebabs , came , all of us including the kids , pounced on them and for the first time after many hours there was silence ...
Since every one's mouth was full...
And then we heard little Vivian say, " can I have some more"
Well we ate in a frenzy ...
Like you see a shark feeding frenzy...
And in no time, the plates were swiped clean and there were extremely satisfied faces all around...
Arshad meanwhile was recognized and took photos with the entire staff...
Now was time to catch the night train to "Ramgarh"...


Well happy and full, we passed out in our berths ...
When we woke up in the morning ...
We were greeted by the fresh fragrance of green and nippy fantastic weather.....
And two and a half hours later ..we reached "Soulitude in the Himalayas "...

But as the barra kebabs have not yet been erased from the memory of my taste buds...
...
I'm going to give you a dish today made with Lamb Rib's ...

No they are nothing like the barra kebabs...
That was sacred and I just cannot make that, as reverence to its royalty and also because I do not have the recipe.... ha ha ha 

But these rib's are really good so here goes...

INGREDIENTS

Lamb Ribs - 2 kg
A handful of garlic with the cover
Onion - 1 , cut in four pieces
Tomato -1 cut in half
Carrot - 1 cut in half
Bay leaf - 2
Thyme - 3 sprigs
Parsley stalks- about 5
Salt and pepper to taste...

In a large thick bottomed pot, add all the above ingredients....
Add enough water to cover all the ingredients..and bring to boil, then let it simmer on the gas for about an hour...
Please spoon off all the scum that rises to the surface...
After about an hour and a little more , turn off the gas, and transfer the ribs to another plate for storage...
You can then sieve the liquid and use it as stock ...
You cam keep these ribs in the fridge over night ...

ROASTING....

Garlic- a handful
Olives- black and green a handful
Kashmiri chili's - 8 de-seeded 
Olive oil
Rock salt

Pre heat the oven to 175 degrees..
In a roasting tin , arrange the lamb ribs...
Scatter the olives and the garlic and the roughly chopped Kashmiri chillies , seeds removed ...
Throw some rock salt over the lamb and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil...
Roast it in the oven for an hour...


The call of the wild lamb ribs...






So while the chops are in the oven let me tell you about "Soulitude in the Himalayas" where we spent a good many days in bliss..


Manish , was just awesome...
"Manish the awesome"

He looked after us like you would family...
He took us on long treks into mountains..
And we came back to hot delectable food from the "Soulitude in the Himalayas" kitchen...
And we ate like we had never seen food...
It was so yummy , with vegetables and produced grown on his "River-side property" ...
We also met a "Mountain Baba" , who told us how a tiger once slept in his cave on a cold winter night ...
Tiger- baba...

Manish took us on long walks , down paths filled with green ..
Took us into the market, and fed us goodies ..
we went on drives , had barbeque's...
The best "maggie" dhaba ever....

And I will never forget a break-fast we had one morning ..
It was so nice and yummy and we devoured it with a nip in the air..
And we must have had break-fast for at least an hour and a half...
Chatting, smearing our warm toast with Amul butter and jam made in the mountains...
While all our collective kids ran around...


At the end of it ..
I remember we girls just lay down right there in the grass and basked in the warm sun with our full tummies..
As Ratna, Manish's uber talented wife, kept our kids busy, with artistic activities...
She is the most soft spoken person I have met in my life..
And she has done the interiors of "Soulitude in the Himalayas " so aesthetically, nothing is over bearing . or shouts "look at me" and yet you cannot stop gaping ,at the beautiful comfortable aura this place has , filled with pretty corners and interesting nooks...
Well Ratna,  is just awesome with interiors and has a very keen eye for all things fine and beautiful...
And Manish and Ratna's daughter Anahat , is just the sweetest girl and an awesome baker....

There are some times in life that you never forget...
This was one of them...
Simple , filled with great company. fantastic food , from a kitchen that was over-flowing with warmth just like the owners of Soulitude...
And paths that talk to your soul...

 Manish also took us to his place ,on the banks of a lovely water body...

Pristine and inviting..
Think if we were not freezing as it was December, we would all have jumped into its inviting coolness...

I have not yet been able to go back...
But really want to...
Now more than ever...
Because it was peaceful , quaint and nestled in the arms of the beautiful Himalayan mountain ranges...

Secluded and filled with wonderment...
With stories of a tiger that lurks in the night ...


And the nights were black and silent ..
With the stars calling out to you ...
I have never seen a sky so filled with stars like I saw in Ramgarh...
The most mesmerizing sight ...

And then to sit shrouded under the  blanket of an inviting sparkling sky ...
And indulge in some sparkling wine...
can it really get better...
You definitely work up an enormous appetite..

So now, I'm sitting on my terrace , with the Lamb ribs I have made , sizzling out of the oven..
I have just broken some feta and thrown it over the ribs..
And bits of it has started melting ...
Its just the kind of food you want to dig into on a night filled with stars, ...
So with some home- made bread straight out of the oven and this lamb whose aroma transports me to the mountains ...

I dig in...
Hmmmm...
It is succulent meat that just falls off the bone..
And has such a basic rustic , flavour to it ...
With each bite...
You can feel the lamb melt inside your mouth and  I can feel myself walking up into a mountain ...
And the sweet fragrance of the pine in the air ...


So here's presenting..."The call of the wild" ...
Lamb ribs cooked to perfection..
With a memory of one of the nicest holidays , spent in a place that should frankly be kept a secret forever, with friends


that I would travel anywhere with...
Earthy "Call of the Wild- Lamb Ribs" sizzling hot , rustic and simply succulent only from 'Maria's Kitchen"....
 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

DAY 82 - SOUL-SISTER BITES


And so today is "Friendship Day"...
and I woke up thinking , how corny...

But then again you can only celebrate something if you have it ...
And thankfully I have wonderful friends...
We have known each other for years , know each others secrets good, bad and ugly...and we are still friends...


Now I think what really tests a relationship is "Time"...
More than anything else..
And today woke up thinking , my friends are my life-line...
And the ones that stay with you after the party is over , are the ones whose names you need to engrave in your heart...
I love my friends and am blessed with a wonderful pride of lionesses...
Of course we love a whole lot of lions too...but I think we function like a  tight knit "chick-gang"..
We watch each others backs..
Tell one another the truth ....
And if someone is getting lost, we get them back home.....
We snarl and sometimes bite and get the errant one into our favorite spot near the water..
And practise tough love or the most beautiful spa therapy, depending on the issue ...
Ha ha ha ...

And I would not want it any other way ..
We have done a lot of madness together and cannot imagine life without the few I take totally for granted and they know they can do the same with me...
I don't make friends very easily and so I like to hold close, the ones I really connect with...
Because they make me a richer person...

And so today going to give you a recipe for chocolate muffins...

Ingredients....
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee granules)
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) olive oil

Method...

Cupcakes:
1 Preheat oven to 175 degrees C with a rack in the middle position. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up).
3 In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.
4 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy.
5 Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a tooth-pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6 Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle or coat with frosting.

This recipe I found on Simple recipes and it is amazing..
I added a hand full of chocolate buttons to the batter...
I made this for my Nephew Kyle's birthday party and they vanished very very quickly ...
You don't really need frosting, But I love it when a cupcake looks at you in that ," awww you have to have me" kinda way ...
And so went ahead and put a frosting on them ..
But you really do not need to, because they are lovely and deeeeelicious just the way they are...


They reminded me a lot of my friends who I'm a very fortunate to have in my life...
So today on "Friendship day" ....ewwww this is soooo corny ...(But I'm still gonna do this.... )
I just want to say , to the ones , you know who you are...
"I love you , with my whole heart and soul, and thank you for keeping me in your life, I know I'm not easy sometimes (ok most of the times), I'm stubborn , ask for advice and do my own thing, silly sometimes to the point of exasperation and drive you crazy with my mercurial behavior..
But I love you and cannot think of my life without you in it...
And if I upset you , which I do and you know I will continue...
Please feel free to tell me exactly what a hatter I am..
But stay and I promise to walk with you till the sun don't rise ...
And promise to make you laugh and entertain you with my funny crazy life...
And feed you , till you don't want any more ...
And if you need a shoulder to cry on ...
Please don't , you know I'm ticklish...
Just give me the name of the person who has caused you tears and a gun with bullets..."

Seriously , I just feel immensely blessed that I have such beautiful and varied souls as my friends...
And so here's presenting, the most feather like and mouth melting chocolate muffins I call, "Soul -sister bites....
Only from Maria's Kitchen ...


To the girls I love and the boys on the side..... ha ha ha ....
Just FYI.....Cup-cakes are not fattening, if you "exercise and think thin" ...
I'm sticking to my theory...
Stop laughing ....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

DAY 81 : LOVE ME TENDER GNOCCHI...

I sometimes want to do something..
And I keep thinking about it..
But I'm always fighting against myself or time..
But I'm the kind , that if I really want to do something ,more often than not...
I do find a way ...
Never an excuse...

And sometimes, I feel that probably I should just take a few steps back ..
And sit quietly and do some yoga, go for a run..
And just do everything, but what I want to do ...
So then I go with that, and wait for an answer from the universe..

I'm full of questions..
Always..
And like getting answers to my questions...
And if I don't get answers...
Well then.
I wait and ask a few more questions ..
Ha ha ha

And I have been in a very Italian state of mind...
And have been wanting to make Gnocchi since I learnt it at Tante Marie...
But somehow the whole process is a little long...
And so every time I think of making Gnocchi ...I actually shy away from it...

But you know, for me, when in doubt, I either eat chocolate or then cook..
So after procrastinating for really long..
 I finally made it..
Here goes..

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes - 500 gm
Eggs - 3
Flour - 340 gm
Parmesan grated - 200 gm

Bake the potatoes at 200 degrees for about 45 minutes a night before , if you want to make this for lunch the next day..
(Ritu Dalmia says that you should enclose each potato in foil and so I did that)
Leave them to cool...Do not put them in the fridge , they get soggy)

Scoop out the flesh of the cooled potatoes ...
If you do not have a vegetable mill or sieve, mash them thoroughly piece by piece with a fork...
That's what I did...

Then I mixed the eggs , flour, potato flesh and Parmesan together, till it came together like dough..
Do not over mix , or it gets all gooey...

Flour your hands well , divide into tiny portions, that is easy to use , and roll the gnocchi into a sausage..
With a floured knife, cut them into small pieces and shape on a fork..



In a pan of very well salted boiling water, drop in the raw Gnocchi, bit by bit, as soon as it rises to the surface, it is cooked take it out and immerse in chilled water, let the excess water drain, toss in some olive oil and store in the fridge on a clean tea towel...

Ingredients
Butter- 75 gm
Mushrooms - about 400 gm mixed variety
Broccoli - 150 gm
Red and Yellow pepper - 1/2 each sliced
Pepper and salt to taste
A dash of white wine
A sprinkle of Parmesan...

METHOD

First add a blob of butter in a non stick pan...add the Gnocchi, do not stir or toss , till the gnocchi gets a lovely golden brown..
Toss the Gnocchi , so that the other side also gets a bit of colour..
Then place it in a colander to drain..
Add some more butter to the pan, add the mushrooms to it..
When it is all done..
Drain the juices of the mushrooms onto the gnocchi..
To the same pan add a little butter and a dash of wine, add the red and yellow peppers and the broccoli, let it all cook "al-dente"...
Drain this into the gnocchi and the mushrooms...
Now clean the pan add a little water and bring to boil...
Then add a dash of wine and some butter, olive oil and  whisk till a thin emulsion is formed...
Add the gnocchi, mushroom , pepper and broccoli to the pan..
Mix it all together..
Season with salt and pepper and serve piping hot sprinkled with some Parmesan......





Making Gnocchi has a very meditative feeling..
So if you feel like you need to just shut the world out ..
Then make Gnocchi, because you really have to concentrate on each step along the way..
Do not make gnocchi if you are upset or angry, if you are then make bread ..

When you begin the process of making Gnocchi,  its beautiful ,kneading the potato, flour and eggs and Parmesan..
The texture is so soft and delicate...
Its not like making bread , where you have to punch the dough and knead it well..
This is more involved tender process..
Its like the Elvis song"love me tender"
If you are tough with this dough, it just spoils...it gets soggy...
It's like a girls heart, you behave in a heartless manner and you will make her cry ...
You need to be soft and patient and treat the dough with love...

When you cook your gnocchi in a pan with butter..
It looks golden and tastes really wholesome and fluffy..
I love adding wine to food..
So I added a bit of Rose..
Because the flavour is not too intense and not too acidic..
It has the right amount of sweetness and bite...

So here's presenting,"Love Me Tender Gnocchi", fresh, fluffy and very very fussy...
But laced with the most exquisite hint of butter and wine, with mushroom's and peppers 
An ideal dish for someone you really love , over a glass of red and some heartfelt conversation..
only from "Maria's Kitchen"  ...