From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DAY 100 : DELICIOUSLY COMPLICATED

And so today after a very very very long , I felt like a big fat gooey grin...
Does it have something to do with some one or something..
Well always.. ha ha ha ..
I blame it on this season ..
It's December, it just does something to me..
It fills my heart up with stars, that burst out of me
And so I'm perennially walking under a star burst..
Is that not beautiful..
So the tree has been put up..
There are little reindeer's sitting in corners of my home..
My kids keep writing letters to Santa everyday.
Buble is weaving his Christmas magic around my heart..
I'm trying to make a Christmas menu, that I can cook in a short span of time..
I'm writing a mental letter to Santa ..
But leaving it up to him, he never gives me what I want.
So I have just told him to surprise me this year..
I love surprises..
Hmm.. so ya ..
Peace, joy and all the festive Christmas spirit has taken abode inside me..
And I'm happppppeeeeeee....


You know it feels nice..
To just wake up ..
And feel good..
To look around at your sleeping kids , and wake them out of their slumber, to go to school..
Frankly I feel, what fun if school was optional..
But then , I think all the mothers would go completely crazy, if all they did was look after kids..
I'm sure school was started with the noble intention of imparting knowledge and also as , rest time for mums..

So today started like any other day.
But by noon, I was suddenly having my friends over...
And so busied myself in the kitchen.
I have this new Phillips Air-Fryer, thanks to Mz.Mini..
Who is the gadget queen of kitchen equipment..
So I'm using it like crazy..
And so decided to make a pizza with ribs on the side and garlic infused potatoes ..
And so was happily, cutting, chopping, marinating..

Well if you can please do check this air-fryer out, I frankly have fallen for it..
I would like to marry it, it's easy , not complicated, and low calorie..ha ha ha
But Mins said, she is already married to it, so I will have to be the mistress..
And frankly, I'm OK with that,because it just maybe more fun ha ha ha..

So out of the blue,  Mini and Jaya came home..
And we sat and discussed help leaving, kids, kitchen equipment ( which drives Jaya up the wall) men , other women,other women's men , shoes, clothes that are not zipping up ,so on and so forth..
While my pizza , got baked in the oven and my ribs were getting nicely browned..
And then, we sat and ate heartily and happily among much banter..

There has been something that I have been wanting to try for some time now, but have never really got down to it..
When I do want to try something, I normally do get down to it sooner or later..
Today it all just fell into place..
Like magic
I had the ingredients and the most beautiful company..
I cook better when I am feeding people I love..
So while we sat in the sun and were getting baked, Mins said that it was to get our required dose of D3 ( ha ha ha Mini, she is our official non certified Doctor)..
So while we drank chilled coke with ice..
This was conjuring up in my head...
Sometimes I feel like a witch , trying to cast spells on people , with the help of food..
Ha ha ha ..
If I eat too much of food, I may not be able to fly on my broomstick ha ha ha ..

But here are the ..

INGREDIENTS

Flaky pastry- 250 gm
Ganache - 250 gm
Marshmallows - 15 pieces
Vanilla ice -  cream
Strawberries - 10 , hulled and diced.

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
Roll out the flaky pastry, to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Smear it the chocolate ganache.
Randomly place the marshmallows on it.
Bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.

This is something you must serve hot.

The marshmallows look really cute and puffy.
The chocolate is melting and oozing out.
Very quickly, put dollops of ice-cream over it, and throw the strawberries.
Run the pizza cutter over and into it , and serve immediately..

 
What I realised about all the ingredients , that I had thrown together, was that they were all fantastic on their own..
Flaky pastry is yummy even if you just bake it with nothing in it , same with the chocolate, strawberries , marshmallows and ice-cream..
But put together they are a perfect blend of a opposites and variations..
Too hot..too cold..
All in one..

And I feel, all of us are like this , we are perfect and complete just the way we are..
We don't make anyone's life complete , and nobody makes ours..

But yes if we have a good blend of people in our life, it makes it so much more fun..

I think all girls will agree , that they are very much like this dessert...
Crisp when they want to be..
Flaky when they need to be..
Buttery when they want , what they want..
Chocolatey because they are addictive..
Gooey when you are able to melt their defences..
Cold  if you rub them the wrong way or hurt them..
And so hot, that you know, this could be real trouble..
And so juicy and pretty, like a strawberry , that you just cannot help but want it...
Ha ha ha ..



But please be pre warned ..
Girls will be girls ..
And this combination is pretty lethal and very very deliciously ..
But then, that is a speciality..

DELICIOUSLY COMPLICATED


Ha ha ha
So while I bite into this yummy addictive hot-cold gooeyness...
I just want to say , if you find a Girl that is deliciously complicated, go with her..
She may just be exactly what warms your insides with her naughty smile on a winters night , or a crazy grey rainy day. or lights up the blue skies in summer and fires the perfect shade of orange in autumn....

So here's presenting "Deliciously Complicated"...with a whole lot of muchness...only from "Maria's Kitchen"


Saturday, June 29, 2013

DAY 98 - CRY ME A RIVER...MUTTON..

And yesterday I gave away my piano .
No I do not know how to play a musical instrument.
But I could play devils march by heart.
And I was pretty good at it
Then happy birthday and do re mi ..

As a kid I could not really afford a piano or the piano lessons.
So I sang, I still do..
I love music and thankfully the sound of my own voice when no one is
listening to me .
I sang alto because it was easier.
And I deflected I to soprano whenever I liked a particular song .
But all the years of screaming like a hooligan has taken it's toll on my voice ,and my debut album ha ha ha
And so today I sing only to my kids and to myself.
Zeke normally tells me to keep quite but Zene and me do duets ..

And so in 2002 after searching for a piano for about a year.
A friend I know was moving house , and she did not have space and so was selling her piano.
I jumped at it.
I thought I would learn to play.
But I never found the time to.
I was busy travelling the world with music and Cricket.
But I looked after my piano.
It was always cleaned and tuned, and I would tinker with it when I wanted to ..
There is nothing like the sound of a piano in a home ..

I bought it because I felt that if not me my kids would get a chance to play on a real true blue old piece of art.
Well it's been 3 years since I have been trying to get Zeke interested.
Zeke who thinks he knows it all..boys..

Zene giving it a shot..

And Zene is just about starting.

I have been going through a let go or give away stage in life..
So I am  letting  go of people (with great difficulty ) that do not want to stay
And I'm giving away stuff that someone can make better use of.







But today when I saw my piano being carried away by 6 men .

I just broke down ,there was a sharp pain deep in my heart.
With it went a little bit of hope that I maybe would find time to learn a musical instrument.
Hope is a very beautiful thing ..
It keeps you alive..
But hoping for something to happen without working at it
Is futile ..

I have always wanted a piano right from the time I was tiny and singing at a talent contest
I still remember my first song
'But you love me daddy'
I also remember my grandma teaching me this song and me not reaching in time because she got the timing mixed up (I'm like her .. Oh my god )
So me in my pretty dress and stockings and shoes, did not get a chance to sing ..

I have always been healthily jealous of people who can play a musical instrument.
I think they are truly blessed.
I don't have it ( like I'm bad with languages)
I don't  have the patience..
Maybe Zeke is like me.
He actually wants to learn the drums ..
Yup he does..
But I cannot handle drums at the moment
Maybe I will let him when I'm old and deaf ..
Anyway the point of my rant is that I let go of my piano , that I loved and have always wanted...

And so today I decided to make Mutton do pyaaza ..
Which as the name suggests is double the amount of onions to the mutton ..
Basically I want to cry and I can use the onions as my excuse..
I believe that crying is good for health it cleanses your soul ..
So I googled and found a whole lot of recipes..
And some in Arabic..
Which was most informative , since I do not understand it at all ha ha ha

Well this is a combination of a recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor and Aditya bal and some other recipes..

INGREDIENTS

MUTTON-800 gm

Onion- 750 gm
Tomatoes- 4
Dry red chili - 6
Green chili - 4
Pepper corns- 6
Cardamom - 4
Fennel seeds - 3 tsp
Fenugreek
seeds or methi seeds -1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 piece about 2 inches
Black cardomom -2
Pomegranate seeds- 4tbsp
Yoghurt -1/2 kg 

 Coriander seeds -2 tablespoons
Cumin seed-1 tablespoon
Lemon juice     -2 tablespoons
Ginger- chopped 2 inch piece
Fresh mint leaves - 1 handful
Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Garam
masala powder     1 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped  2 tablespoons
Ghee/clarified butter- 6 tbsp

Method


With a hand pestle grind together the , red chillies, 2 green chillies, the pepper corn,cardamom, fennel seeds,
fenugreek seeds, pomegranate seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds..with a tablespoon of ghee.
Add the juice of 1 lime to it.
Then in a pressure cooker add 4 tbsp of ghee/clarified butter.
Add about 1/4 the onions and two green chillies..
Cook it till the onion gets translucent, add the spice mix and cook for 5 minutes more..
Take it off the fire and drain the onion spice mix, leave it to cool and then grind it in mixer

Put the pressure cooker back on the fire with the used ghee and add two more tbsp of ghee.

Put all the onions into it and let it sweat, on a medium flame.
Add the ginger paste and cook the entire mix for at least 15 minutes.
Add the cinnamon, the black cardamom , garam masala,turmeric powder ..
Give it a good stir..
Add the mutton pieces and let it all cook on a high flame for 10 minutes..
Please take extra care to not burn it.
Then put the flame down on medium and let it cook for another 25 minutes..
My grandma used to say that if you want tasty food , it need to be bagaar'd..or bhuno 'd..
So that's what I did..

Then add the mint.
I put in half a kg of yogurt , shut the pressure cooker and let it whistle twice.
I then brought down the flame and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Put it off and left it to cool.

Serve with mint and freshly cut onions with lime squeezed on it ..



And so today I'm letting it all out..
Half way mark to the year 2013..
And I'm cleaning and de-cluttering mind, body, heart , soul and home..

And so as I look at my ready mutton do pyaaza..

I'm thinking of my piano that is now sitting in my church ..
Where it will be played every Sunday , by someone who really knows how to make beautiful music.
So many kids will have a first hand experience of a true blue old fashioned piano...
I'm happy..
It will do what it was made to do ..
Play music ..
In my home it was a beautiful piano that was never really played..

And so even though I have still not gotten over the fact that I freely gave away something that I have always loved and wanted..
I think now it will be much happier ..

According to me a musical instrument not played is furniture
And a heart that cannot love with abandon is just a muscle ..

Music and love are both entwined..
Like the earth and the rain..
The sky and the deep blue sea..
The poet and her muse..
A paratha and ghee..
A muscle and a dumbell..
Yoga and health..
A run and endorphins..
Etc..
Well that's my opinion completely and nobody has to agree with me ..

Cry me a river- Mutton..

So as I bite into my "Cry me a River-Mutton "..
That I used as my excuse to cry with abandon..
I'm thinking its all good  ..
It's funny how an onion that makes your eyes water while you are slicing it , completely turns sweet once you cook it ..

I guess that means all of us humans also become better people after we pass through trying times..
More compassionate, more loving, more understanding...more in tune with true feelings deep inside us and other people....

Well the sweetness of the onion and the spice of the chillies along with this tender mutton has sufficed me  at the moment to pacify my heart break ..

The rest I will sort out with some music  and time ..
With lotsa love and a looooong sigh only from "Maria's Kitchen "

Monday, June 24, 2013

DAY 97 - ZEN'D COD WITH PEPPERS and XOXO...

And so my kitchen is kinda ready , but not yet..
There are workers walking in and out of my home..
Wherever I look ,I see a man working on some part of my home...
There are masons, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, polishers, iron smiths..
Well there are just toooo many people..
And frankly now they have become part of my household...
So when I bake muffins...
Or make churros enough for an army..
They get it with their Chai..
Maybe that's why they are not leaving...
Ha ha ha ...

I think when the work all gets done..
And they do not come back no more..
I'm think I'm going to miss them..
Ha ha ha ...
I have made peace with the fact that they are not leaving in a hurry...
And that's that..

I think as humans..
Making peace with what you cannot change or improve is a good way to live ..
Not everything goes according to plan, but plan you must and know fully well that there will be changes..
I don't know..
But that's what I feel now ..
At this stage in my life..
But my feelings change a lot.. Mercurial is what my friend Jaya says I am..

I'm still volatile..
I still hurt..
I still bleed..
I still cry..
I do not like to give up..

But I have learnt to give in..
To let be..
I'm not always right..
Even though I may think I am ..
And it's not that I don't put up a fight ..

When I'm about to lose something or someone I dearly and deeply love or want..
But I also know, that if I'm fighting for something and someone..
Then they should also be wanting the same..
It's like that scene from "my best friends wedding" ..
Where Julia Roberts character is running after her best friend who is getting married to someone else..
And her friend Rupert Everetts character asks her, " and who is running after you"...
Such a deep pertinent question..

Well such is life..
Sometimes we need someone on the outside to give us perspective to the obvious..
And at that time..
We have a choice..
To actually see the truth..
And come to terms with it ..
Or live in fools paradise..

So Upender my contractor has told me, that it's going to take him maximum a week to finish up and leave ..
But I'm thinking 10-12 days at least..
That's because I can see it for what it is..
And so have made peace with the fact that ..
Yup..
They are not leaving in a hurry..

Meanwhile, the pet project I'm working on has come to a standstill..
Also because I'm at a loss for words..
Am feeling a bit stuck..
So I do not know what to write..

Also I think when I broke my kitchen, a part of my soul broke with it too..
It's there that I found  my love for cooking..
That my ZZ's have had their first meals..
Where I have cooked many a meals for my friends..
Where my Christmas madness has happened..
Memories of sitting on the windows with my friends drinking wine..
Drunk dialling..ha ha ha
Gosh now that I'm reminiscing ..

There is just so much ..
Memories, moments  and some more...
Memories can be such a bitch sometimes..
Ha ha ha did I just say that ..
Yup that was me..!

But I'm enjoying my new kitchen..
But it's still not home broken..
I need to call my friends and cook for everyone..
I need to drink champagne in there ..
And not remember anything ..ha ha ha the usual..

This kitchen has all my old wood-work, but its very different.
Its calm..
Maybe I have finally grown up , or Zen'd out a bit..
Its white..
So I need to add my brand of colour.. still deciding , am so confused..
And I need to write stuff on my walls..
But it has a wooden island, that houses all my recipe books..
Yeeeeaaaaah
My Le Creuset dishes that my wonderful friend Tosh carried back from London for me, are hanging on my wall..
My new kitchen overlooks my terrace..
And the big blue sky that has the rising sun..
When it rains..
I just love sitting at the window of my kitchen ..and stare out..
I loooooove the rains..
There is something extremely romantic about this season ..
And there is something completely magical about looking up into the rain ,as it pours down on you ..

And so today inspite of my home being full of Upenders elves..
The soft drizzle and the fresh light green leaves swaying on my terrace..
Just did something to me..
And so I started frantically searching for something that I could whip up..
Something that I don't normally make..

So I found cod..
I had pasta that I had boiled and kept..
Then got into my pantry and took out sesame oil, chili flakes, Xo sauce, oyster sauce, 5 spice powder , fish sauce and I was in business..
What business I still had to figure ..
But I was going the oriental way..

ZEN'D COD and PEPPERS with XOXO..

Cod fillets-1 kg

Sesame oil
Soya sauce
Oyster sauce
Xoxo sauce - 1 Tbsp
5 spice powder-2tbsp
Fish sauce- 1tbsp
Pepper freshly grounded

Chili flakes
Butter
Vegetable oil-5 tbsp
Bacon

Red pepper -1 diced

Yellow pepper-1 diced


METHOD


I'm sorry but I did not really measure all of the ingredients I used..

I was just cooking with abandon..
So please bear with me...

FISH

Wash and pat dry the cod..
Then sprinkle it with the 5spice powder..
Add a nice healthy and happy glug of the sesame oil..
The fish sauce.
The freshly ground pepper..

And about 2 tbsp of good quality Soya sauce..
And just let it marinate for about half an hour..

PEPPERS

In another pan
Add a tsp of butter
And 2 tsp of groundnut oil
And just add the peppers and stir fry them..
Add 2 tbsp of oyster sauce and a tsp of a soya sauce..
Let it sauté for about 3 minutes , then add 1/2 a cup of water and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or till the water is reduced and you get a nice sauce..

Take it off the fire.

Keep aside

In a non stick pan over very high heat.

Sear the fish with a tbsp of butter and 2 tbsps of ground nut oil, on either side about a minute each..

Then lower the heat to medium..
Add chili flakes while frying the fish .
Add 2 tbsp of oyster sauce.. 
Then let it cook on a medium flame for about 5 minutes or till your fillet is cooked..
Add a tbsp of XO sauce and take it off the fire...

I did not have spring onions or basil..

Or tiny red chillies..
But I think if you do add it , it will be awesome..


Serve hot..


The amazing thing about using cod is that it's texture is very soft and fleshy and it takes in the flavouring of the marinade very easily ...

Sometimes in life I think if we are able to adapt to everything changing around us without putting up a fight ,it sometimes help..
I'm not saying give into stuff that is ridiculous and that goes against your grain..
But sometimes you have to let be..


I think all of us have a path..
And if you find people walking the same path with you ..
Great ....
It's always nice to walk with wonderful company..
But it's also nice to discover your own company..
And the best way ...
Is to introduce you to yourself..

Sometimes hanging in your own company..
Fine tunes your soul..

So while I served food and Zeke went into over drive about the aroma of the food..
While Zene was trying to say stuff with her mouth stuffed with fish..
And my parents were wondering why there is no rice or noodles...
(well I then tossed the pasta in some sesame oil, with some chili flakes)
My daddy looked relieved ..
He had that look on his face,that said, " crazy people have no clue what a meal should be like " ha ha ha

I pierced my fork into a steaming fillet..
Soft, succulent and full of the toasty flavour of the sesame.. The subtle spice of the Xo sauce enlightened my taste buds..
This felt good..
This recipe worked..
I really did not know how this was going to taste..
But it was good, it had the right amount of flavouring and consistency



And so you may not always know where you are..
But that does not mean that you are lost..
You need to always go with your heart...
Take a few risks without thinking too much..
But yes do not hurt anyone..

And when in doubt COOK...
At least that's what I do ..
 I love to cook........regardless..

So here's presenting "Zen'd Fish with peppers and xoxo" ...piping hot and so subtly flavoured...
 It's almost like when you look into someone's eyes and then break into a smile that unexplainable..



With lots of love only from "Maria's Kitchen"...



Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 95 : FUNDAY FONDUE....

Children are amazing creatures.
They are blunt ,honest,say what they want .
And say the most amazing stuff at the most opportune moment.
So summer is here in full swing.
And as my friend Kichie mentioned, "If the outside feels like an oven, should not the inside smell like brownies"
Well what can I say our city of Mumbai is as hot as the women that live here ha ha ha ..

Well so the ZZ's are busy enjoying their Prithvi workshop..
And I'm really enjoying, hanging there, in the quiet buzzing atmosphere, trees and happy faces.
And so I have started using those two hours to write..
I use my earphones, put on a compilation of my favourite music and just write straight for two hours..
It's lovely..

My kitchen is getting moved.
I'm glad.
I somehow love change, and I'm constantly rearranging, stuff around the house , so it all looks different, I also rearrange the plants, if they could talk , I know they would have plenty to say to me, but they are flowering, so I know they are happy..

I have always wanted my kitchen upstairs as that's where we entertain.
And I have realised that I usually get what I want , maybe not as soon as I want it , but eventually...
If I still want it as much as I think I do .

So this year, I took that giant leap and decided, that , this is it..
I'm going to get what I want ..

My kitchen is going where I have always wanted it..
And so I'm knee deep in dust and kids on vacation..
And it's all good..
So my kitchen is being pulled apart and getting re-arranged, and re-located, and I'm hoping it gets done before the rains..
And so we have been eating out a lot.
Because its kinda not feasible to be cooking with the dust..

So today we all go out for lunch, order food, and in the middle of our order, the neighbouring table gets a pot of fondue with bread.
And Zeke looks there and says, I want cream and bread.
Then he realised that it was cheese and then wanted cheese and bread..
And he went on and on, that I really thought that our neighbouring table were going to invite him over or send us the pot of fondue.
It was exactly the case of , " I want what they are eating"..
Which reminds me of that fantastic scene in "When Harry met Sally" ha ha ha
Meg Ryan was just adorable...

So yes, while I got back to my saw- dust and cement with the workers ..
Zeke continued about the fondue.

And so by 5, I decided to go shopping..
I don't know what's wrong with me..
I'm not much of a shopping person actually..
But shopping it was..

So I get into my car..
And decided to call  Sandy, why ..
Don't EVER as me why ?
I do most things impulsively ...I hope thats answers your question...
But it's always fun to hang with her..
So I picked her up, and a-shopping we went..

Vintage earth is a great shop, it has the most amazing ghagras (Indian printed skirts)
So I was trying to convince them to take the five skirts I have back, so I can buy more, I'm sure they think I'm completely crazy, and I'm never arguing my case ..
I like being crazy..
It's a good place to be..
One day I will invite you in my world of crazy , and you will see that it is beautiful...
If I'm rambling, I blame the dust..

So Sandy and me , then went to natures basket, and bought our groceries..
We talked about stuff ranging from food, to work to fun gossip.
And I was back home with ingredients for fondue for my little cubs..

And so while the carpenters hammered away upstairs, I started prepping for dinner..
What were we having..
FONDUE......

AND so I googled a whole lot of recipes..
And wanted to make the healthiest fondue ever..
Ha ha ha

INGREDIENTS

FONDUE
White wine - 11/2 cup
Cheddar cheese- 11/2 cup grated
Gruyere cheese- 1/2 cup grated
Garlic- 4 cloves
Nutmeg-1/2 tsp
Chili powder-1/4 tsp
Flour - 1 tsp
Butter -1 tbsp


Mushrooms- 1 packet
Cut them into four pieces , and sauté in a non stick pan with 1/2 tsp butter and 1/2tsp olive oil , sprinkle salt , and keep aside


Prawns- 200 gm.
Sauté like above


Carrots- 2
Dice them and sauté like mushrooms.

Baguette - 1/2
Cut it into bite size pieces, and toss it in 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter, then bake it at 175 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
I like it crunchy..

FONDUE METHOD.

IN A non stick pan, add the butter, then add the nutmeg, chili and the flour and cook this really well , at least a minute or more on very medium heat.
Then add a little wine at a time and keep whisking the mix, so that the roux or the flour mixes into the wine and you do not get any lumps.
Add the grated cheese a little bit at a time, and let the first batch completely melt , till you add some more.
Keep doing this till all the cheese is over.
 Do not let it bubble.


I was done..and we all sat for dinner.
Zeke took a bite and said, " oh my god, it's so cheesy"
So I explained that this is what fondue is..
Then he went for it, like he has not eaten in at least a year, he is like me in some ways ha ha ha ..
Zene looked and said, "mama, I love it, it's awesome"
Then she said the sweetest thing, "mama our house is like a restaurant, we get all the best things" ..
Just for this I could go shopping and cooking all over again...
 They ate the carrots, the mushrooms, the prawns and the bread..
Then we made bowls of all the ingredients and I poured a little fondue on it , and they ate it with a spoon...
I think the Swiss, French and Italians would die if they saw us do this...
Thank God, they were not invited for dinner..ha ha ha

I think fondue is to the west what khan-suey is to the Orient...
I did not have my fondue dish, because I do not possess one..
So we ate straight outa the pot..
On a mat on our floor like a picnic..


I like trying new stuff..
And it's amazing how easy and tasty this was..
It's just a big mix of yummy things..


















So as my home sleeps..
I sit alone thinking ..
My life  is  a mix of moments and people..
And it's this mix that makes life so interesting..
Some are the garlic in my life, I want them everywhere, I love garlic and put it in all my dishes
Some are like wine, that make me all bubbly and too honest , which may not always be fine..
Some like cheese, that are a bit hard to please..
Some like flour, that are needed in doses , so that it makes life seem solid
Some like chili, that you need a little of ,for that extra zing..
Some like butter, you never seem to get enough of..
And some like nutmeg..
Subtle but intense and adds a lot without being too overpowering, and all may not miss the taste except the one who has tasted it..
So here's presenting , " FUNDAY FONDUE"
Hot , full of flavour and Zing...just like the weather and women in Mumbai ha ha ha ..
Only from Maria's kitchen ...

Friday, May 3, 2013

DAY 94 : ZENE'S UNMEASURABLE LOVE CAKE...

And so every year, as the days to Zene's birthday draws closer..
I wonder what I'm going to do ..
Little girls are special..
Older ones too..
And they always need to be treated that way ..
(So I keep drilling this in Zeke's head)

So this year, it was decided that we are not having a birthday party, but we are going to take a few really close friends out to this little piece of paradise that we all love in Mumbai..

And so I was sitting absolutely carefree in the knowledge that, I'm sorted , seven kids is not going to be difficult it's a piece of cake..

So on the 29th , while I decided to cycle around..
I go downstairs and get accosted by a bunch of little girls and boys , telling me how they are not in town for "the party" on the 2nd...as they are all going on holidays..
So I look at Zene and say," What Party Zene?"...
And she looks me straight in the eye with a smile saying, " my birthday party mama,you told me to invite my friends" ..
So I'm looking at this little sea of party eager faces , and me being me..
Made a few very quick calculations in my head ..

And in a matter of a few seconds..
I was having a birthday party the next day..
Now how to get invites , what should  I do and how to organise it over night..

So while , I'm thinking this , I remembered at the back of my head that my friend Jaya's kids will also not be there..
Mini leaves with her  kids too..
Zene's best friend Neoma is not there ..
Her building best friend is leaving..
So then if I do a birthday for her later , the ones she loves and the ones that love her , will not be there..
And frankly , she knew that, because that afternoon, she gave me a long list of friends I had to invite ..
I just did not know that they were already invited..

So I have left from cycling, to buying invites..
And by 9.30pm have hand delivered most of them, called and got all my confirmations, by 10.30pm..
Gosh..why am I so impulsive...
But I love it, it mostly turns out fantastic..
So I'm going with mostly..

The plan was, we all do lunch , we watch "The Croods" again..
And thanks to Freyan from Fox , it was done..
And that's that..
I had gone over various plans with Mini and Jaya..
And like they always know, at the end I do what I want..

I don't have a cake..
I don't know what to do now..
So I open my baking cabinet , praying that I have ingredients for at least a cake...
Time now11.30pm..
I'm actually exhausted..

Flour, eggs, butter, baking powder, sugar, peanut butter,chocolate, milk maid all there...

I went to sleep, tired but happy..
Tomorrow is going to be a long day..

I woke up at 6...
Put some fantastic music on..
(I now know how to buy music from ITunes, so I'm fully "buy-happy")
And then got down to making a cake ..
I'm sorry I cannot give you a perfect  recipe, because I put it all together in some proportion of some sort but was not all measured accurately...
I put milk in and milk powder too..
It makes the cake a little fluffy..
This is my "Love cake" ..
Its like when you love someone, you don't really decide how much you must love them,  you just do, in unmeasurable proportions..

UNMEASURABLE LOVE CAKE
INGREDIENTS

Flour -200 gm
Butter- 250 gmDemarara sugar- 250 gm
Eggs- 250 gm
Milk powder- a few tablespoons
Peanut butter- a few table spoons
Milk- at the end so that the batter was easy and cake consistency..
Chocolate-200 gms and some more
Cocoa powder- A few table spoons
Milk maid - A good pour
Baking powder - 2 tsp...


I mixed and sieved all the dry ingredients together..
I then beat the butter, with the peanut butter..
Added the sugar..
Then beat in the melted chocolate, I know I added some more, but no clue how much..

Then I folded in the dry ingredients with a spatula, adjusted the consistency with milk and poured it out into two cake tins and baked them for 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees...
So far all good..
My kitchen is getting moved, so my home is a mess..
So frankly this early morning baking, with the freedom to put what I want in the hope that it turns out well, was blissful..


I then had to cool it and decorate it....

So amidst a whole lot of morning craziness,
I iced the cake..
I made a chocolate ganache and decorated it with "little hearts " biscuits that I iced petals on..
So Zene's cake had chocolate, hearts , flowers and stars..
Everything that  she loves..

By 11.40 my ZZ's , the birthday cake and a few of the kids from my building , were off to meet the rest of the gang..
I met the motley crew of smiling faces all 19 of them ..
We then ordered lunch, played in the play area, whizzing cars, some giddy looking giant wheel thingy and a few screams and chaotic hour later..


We all sat for lunch..
I realise that I like kids..
It's like summer camp..
I say yes to what is allowed..
No to all the demands for "aerated drinks" ..
The ranks had a good time ..
I felt bad for the others lunching,or the ones who were trying to have a romantic lunch ..
Ha ha ha ...
Thank god a few of the kids mums joined me and a dad..

We then all went for "Croods"..
I love that film..
"follow the light" ..
Such a simple line , yet completely loaded..

We then all met the" Belt" from the film...
Thank you Freyan...


We were pop-corned out...
By 5.30 pm , all I could think of is a cold slim glass of a bubbly, somewhere on a beautiful beach..enjoying the sunset...

Ha ha ha...
But I'm very very creative with my imagination, that way..
So I did a lot more after reaching that beach in my head..
But in reality , I came back with a whole lot of smiling faces, and we were done ...

And like a good girl, since I needed to rest..
I went shopping with my friend Sambo..
Gosh shopping is really relaxing ha ha ha ....

Late that night after I put the kids to bed and my day was done..
I sat with a piece of "Zene's Love cake"
Zene's Unmeasurable Love Cake..



I was just thinking of my Zene..
I'm happy that she knows who her friends are, and very clear about who she wanted at her birthday..
She knew her core few..
And they needed to be there..

That's what life is all about..
In this party we live in, we may dance in a room full of people we know, but we truly look into the eyes of just a few..

And as I looked at her ..
6 years old..
A heart full of gold..
A smile that just captures my soul..
And eyes that are really naughty to behold..
She loves too much ..
Already that I can see..
And stands up for her family..
It's a girl thing , I think..
What ever may happen in life..
I just want her to have love in abundance..
The kind that is kind..
The kind that keeps her safe in its embrace..
The kind that lights up her eyes..
And beams the brightest smile..
The kind that will catch her even before she falls..
The kind that will only make her cry tears of joy..
I want all my share of happiness to go to her..
She should never have any fear..
She should always say what she feels, without hurting a soul..
Keep her word ..
I want her to live with a heart that is free..
There is so much time more to go ..but blessings is all that I ask for everyday..
Keep both my kids safe in mind, body , heart and soul...
That's all that matters to me at the end of the day..

Girls are special..
When boys do understand that one day..
This world of ours will be a nicer place to stay...

And so Zene turned a year older..
And I today I took her to my yoga class..
It's a different joy..
Taking a little part of you , with a yoga mat, to a place you find peace..
( Zeke was not interested..
Boys..)
She loved the class and my Yoga Guru Eefa loved her(but then Eefa is a very loving soul), she did everything with ease, while the rest of us panted and sweated..

It was a good day..
The month of May is always good, it always brings clarity..
Maybe because it's the holidays..
I don't know..
Maybe because it's Zene's birthday month, I really don't know..

All I learnt from Zene, this birthday..
Is that everyone of us have a few core people that we love..
And if they are not part of our life, more in the joyous moments..
Those moments don't feel as fun or joyous..
There will be a void..
There will be a little emptiness..
Missing someone is about that moment you are doing something, and you wish they were right there next to you..
Yup...

So like Zene..
Make those moments happen..
Make the people that really count..know that they really count..
All and everything else does not matter..

Yes her Birthday is on the 2nd of May...
But I don't think dates matter..
If your heart is happy , its your birthday everyday...
It just knows feelings...
And that's that..

So "Happy Birthday " my darling Zene-pooie..
May you have have something beautiful to smile about and may you always be surrounded by love ...
With lotsa love from your Mama, who is stuffing her face with your    'UNMEASURABLE LOVE CAKE" ..

And to everyone who is part of my life directly or indirectly..
Lotsa love from me to you ..
Only from "Maria's Kitchen" ...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

DAY 93 - EGGS ALA HAPPINEZZ...

You know some days you wake up ..
And just know, that you are in the best place you were ever meant to be..
And just thank the one above for all that you are and all that you have and for all the rest who are willing to put up with your nonsense(which I have plenty off)

I love the summer holidays..
Yes it is too hot..
But then I live in India and that's how it is..
These past two weeks, I have had a whirlwind of a time.
You know how whirlwinds are, there is nothing normal about it..
But it does not last forever..
So I have soared like a beautiful bird in the blue of the sky.
Have dived into the deepest and the darkest part of the ocean..
Have prowled around the jungles, growling to myself, like I love doing, hung by my favorite watering hole..

My soul sprung a leak..
And I wrote like I never have..

So yes it is all good for me and as normal as I can get in my land of excesses..

I look at Zeke and Zene, and am happy with all I am..
I always knew I wanted kids, though I like very few of them...ha ha ha ..
And have wanted another little one for some time now..
(But that's a long story that I may tell you one day ha ha ha) 
Well let me introduce you to the littlest and sweetest cub of them all"Alisha"..




Gramaasi and "Alisha"...

I'm her "Gramaasi"..
Well if you do not know what that means , let me educate you, her grandma Ritambhara (she writes the tarot section for HT) and me have been close friends for over 11 years , and her mum known as "Kichie-Poo"and me are always upto non-sense, so I'm part her grand-ma and part her mums sister and so , I'm her grandma and her aunt...ha ha ha ..
Poor kid...
And Zene is her"frister" friend and sister..
And Zeke is her "brend" brother and friend..
So yes I have a little baby, and she may not live with me physically, but she is very much part of my heart and soul and the lionesses have a new cub..






So I woke up this Sunday morning..
Full of smiles and love and forgiveness..
(God sometimes I'm amazed that the stuff that goes on in my head)


 If you do not forgive, I feel you will be an unhappy person.
So start with yourself, forgive yourself for getting into anything knowingly or unknowingly , that caused you hurt or harm..
Ask for forgiveness if you have intentionally or unintentionally hurt someone else..
And forgive everyone or anyone who has harmed or hurt you consciously or unconsciously..
 I promise you ...you feel fantastic...
Lighter , happier and smilier (if that's a word)...


This life needs to be lived loaded with love..
And yes sometimes you may do and say things that you should not, but you want to..
Go ahead I say, its better to do what you want than wonder "what if"...
You are in-Charge of your own happiness..so that's that..


Some will get you ..
Some will not..
Some may be able to understand ..
Some will never be able to fathom you ever..
And yet its all good..
You just don't ever turn that "tap of love "off..










So all this early morning philosophy and introspection that I subjected myself to..


(With Taz following me around, I think he always knows , whats going on with me, I sometimes feel , he will one day sit me down and have a long conversation ...)
Made me very very hungry..

(actually everything , makes me very hungry)


So I put together this lovely juicy breakfast that I had to share with you...


EGGS ALA HAPPINEZZ...

INGREDIENTS..
Egg whites - 3..
Tomatoes- 3 cubed
Rocket /Arugula leaves- a hand full
Cheddar Cheese - A sprinkle
Secret ingredient - 2 tsp
Butter/ oil - 1 tsp
Chicken sausages or Chorizo - as much as you like, less the healthier..

METHOD.
Heat the oil and butter in a non stick pan..
Add the chicken sausages or the chorizo..
Let it sizzle for a bit..
Add the secret ingredient..
After 2 minutes..add the tomatoes. and saute till it is just slightly cooked..about 2 minutes..
Add the Cheddar..
Add the egg whites and toss it all around the pan..
do not dry it..
Add your hand full of Arugula, give everything a good stir and then eat it as hot as possible..


Ha ha ha breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Just like peace of mind is important to life..
And so as I bite into this yummy juicy breakfast that is as healthy as it is tasty..

I'm also eyeing the box of mangoes I got from this guy at the Lokhandwala signal, his name is Sabir-9619599733..
We were being our usual vagabonding gypsy selves yesterday, the ZZ's and me..
And when we chanced upon the yellow deliciousness...
I swear they behaved like they have never eaten a mango in their life..
(thank God they are normal like me ha ha ha )
And so in between, buying a skirt from Vintage earth, to a size 3 football. to buying salad leaves and vegetables..
Mangoes were being delivered home...yeaaahhh

Hell I started talking about other stuff..I can be completely Random sometimes, Mini and Sandy always say that...
Sorry..

So back to breakfast..
But please eat Mangoes if you can  ha ha ha ..

So while I'm a keeper of secrets..
You can trust me with anything..I swear...
For my friends and myself...
As far as food is concerned I share it all..
My secret ingredient for the eggs is "Keya -all purpose seasoning" something my Friend Jaya introduced me to, bless her..
And as you know I never cook without infusing all my food with my brand of "all consuming LOVE"..

So here's presenting, "EGGS ALA HAPPINEZZ" juicy, tasty and full of my brand of yummy...
Full of growls and playfulness only from "Maria's Kitchen"



Saturday, April 13, 2013

DAY 92 : SIMPLY ME ..






And so do you think it's easy or difficult being a woman..
I don't mean in society ..
I just mean on your own..

I mean how many roles do you play in a day..
At the end of it all, think we may just turn into "loony schizophrenics"...
For lack of a better word..

Let me just say at the onset , that NO , I would never want to be a guy..
I love being a woman...
I love the fact that I can love as intensely as I can get mad, and cry as softly as the kisses I give and hug like there is no tomorrow....

But sometimes just trying to find me, in the day drives me totally mad...
I wake up like mom..
Go on to screaming mum, then feeding mum..
Then running to the bus stop mum..
Then heaving a sigh mum..
Then turn into mad gym person..
Crazy running person..
And then peace finding yoga happy person...


It then continues oscillating between, mum, friend, buddy, memsahib, fish buyer, vegetable vendor bargainer, writer, the cooking person, the feeding and bathing person, the person that gets told,"we don't like you"...

To the one who remembers birthdays..
Buys gifts..
Keeps the house clean..
Spends time hugging Taz (the family pet)..
Dozes of  because of lack of caffeine..and sleep..
Decides on how to feed the lot , nutritious food disguised like non- boring food..
Read junk..
Then tries and finishes the day at least by 9 , so that she has some time to herself..to comb her hair, read something she likes , or listen to music, write and try and have some "Me time"
I think this is what all the women in the world do ..
More if not less..

And so today I'm making a meal I would like to eat in peace, listening to Maroon 5 croon my favourite song at the moment, as I cook...
Addicted to this song..
INGREDIENTS
Lamb mince- 500 gm
Onion - 3 finely diced
Ginger - 1 Tsp
Garlic - 6 cloves
Tomato - 3 cubed
Chili powder - 11/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 1/2 tsp
Haldi - 1/2 tsp
Water - 500 ml
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

METHOD
In a non-stick pan over a medium flame, add the oil.
Then add the garlic, do not burn it.
Add the ginger.
Add the onions and cook them till they get translucent about 15 minutes..
Add the tomatoes and cook them till you see the oil separating from the tomato - onion .
Add the haldi, chili , coriander and the garam masala powder ..
Let it all get very well mixed and fried into the onion and tomatoes..
About10 minutes..
Then add the water and shut the lid and let it cook for about 15 minutes , and then open the lid and let it cook for another 30 minutes , or till you get the consistency you want, either dry or a bit of gravy..
Taste it, season with salt ..
Its done..


And while I was cooking I was wondering..
How do I find me time..
How do I pander to my wishes..
What if I do not want to wake up early..

Sometimes, I just feel like dressing up and going out..
Just for me, just look stunning..
Without a care in the world..
Without wondering, if Zene has woken up and is asking for me..
If Zeke still has a blanket on him...

Sometimes I really wonder what I would do, if I did not have to keep switching from Mother earth, fairy god-mother , to witch ,to dragon slayer, kung-fu panda, love Godess, David Beckham, to lioness, to cub-tamer, hunter , circus trainer , Florence nightingale, Jessica Rabbit, Tom and Jerry , Juliet , Nigella Lawson etc etc ...

I think sometimes, I just want to run away..
Just for a few hours..
Blow dry my hair..instead of making a wet bun..
Sit at a cafe..instead of driving hurriedly around..
Read a book in a library very slowly like I have all the time in the world..instead of the newspaper while  I'm trying to make sense of the day..
Sip on champagne..instead of vegetable juice
Nibble on something uber gourmet ,like the French women do..
Wear the highest heels I have, not my keds..
Wear a beautiful flowing dress, instead of jeans and a t-shirt..
Dab on more than my usual amount of Kenzo..
And just drive into the sunset..
Where I find the most beautiful music playing..
And dance, while I smile at the setting sun..
Then ride away on a beautiful horse..
To a mountain side..
Go swimming in the moonlight..
And drink wine at a vineyard..
Sighhhhhhhh......

Well I could write a book on what I really want to do ..
Sometimes I actually dress up and get out, not because I want to go to a particular party, but because I just want to meet me..ha ha ha 

But I think we were all made for a purpose..
And each one made special and unique..
We all come with our own set of super powers and flaws..

As for me, "I'm a mum, what's your super power"..

That's what I say when someone asks me , what I do...ha ha ha
I think  , we all have our own special place in this world , mine is to be the protector and dragon slayer of these two little munchkin's ..
And so I'm my own Lara Croft..
And that's  how it works.

It's because of my ZZ's that I'm a better person, that I understood the meaning of loving someone regardless, the reason I found my love for food, what made me a lioness, a witch and a heart of mush all rolled into one...
What makes me more forgiving I think..

Ya , it's not easy being a woman...
But....
It is best person I could be..

So while I have made this Kheema look really cool in these beautiful pastry cones, served on a bed of kale chips drizzled with olive oil , I sit beneath the stars ,still in my gym clothes, because I just worked out...
Why now , you are asking...??????
DID YOU  NOT READ ALL I WROTE, I HAVE NO SPARE TIME SOMETIMES..
But I'm looking at my new kitchen being built..
And that makes me happy...

I bite into the crispiness of "Simply Me", which is a  pastry stuffed with yummy Kheema  most fashionably , and I take a tiny bite of the kale chips very daintily and of course the succulent cherry tomatoes..
I'm thinking, "Tonight I will sip on a glass of Merlot or a Pinot Noir" and just let my heart and mind relax and wander..
While I listen to Billy Joel sing to me "She's always a woman to me"....
And I think to myself, "what a wonderful world"..

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

DAY 91 : "NOT EMPTY WORDS" MUFFINS...

I love flowers...
They NEVER fail to make me smile .
Thank you Amito...


There is something so pure and beautiful about them.
But I love them on the plants itself.
So I normally will not pluck them.
But just take a photograph..
I have tons of photographs of flowers , and each one reminds me of a beautiful place, time and person.


But more important than the flowers I collect in photos ..

I have a jar of hearts..

I may not be able to photograph each beautiful moment.
But I remember the ones that touch me in a series of conversations, or messages or moments, how their voice sounded, how their eyes looked, where we were and how did I feel .
To an evening that needed to happen, We have to do this again..

Yup I'm like an elephant sometimes, whose memory captures everything and also very emotional like them, they are known to have rescued trapped dogs sometimes, these elephants ..
So ya.

But like every human being , I also come with my own set of horrible flaws.
But I'm trying to be like a flower that makes you smile even if you snip it's heart line..
It's not easy at all let me tell you ..

Sometimes I feel completely alone even when I'm surrounded by friends.
Maybe because I do not have too many of them .
Have always been someone who has gone through school , college and adulthood with just one friend ..
Because although I'm a friendly bounding retriever kind of person.
I take a bit of time to open my heart to someone...
And when I do , I think I frighten them away with so many emotions and the fact that I always do and say the wrong  things at the right time ..
Freeze at the most opportune moments..
Or maybe react a little too late..
Or maybe so much that it's all wrong .

Like if an elephant ....
                               came running to greet you.....
You will run away ha ha ha
That's only sensible ..Right ?
Well so whenever in doubt I now bake or go for a run, whichever is easier, the baking always wins...
I have realised that any cake  batter that has yogurt in it always becomes soft and fluffy..
So here goes

Chocolate Yogurt Muffins
3/4 cup muscovado sugar
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
11/4 cup  yogurt

2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chips


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. 
Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Stir brown sugar and butter together in a medium size bowl. Add yogurt, egg and vanilla and stir until thoroughly blended.
Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. 
Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring only until blended. 
Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 22-25 minutes.



So while my muffins were baking in the oven..
I also realised that , sometimes what you feel about someone ,they do not necessarily feel about you..
Be it love, fondness, disappointment, anger, jealousy or friendship etc etc
And so I feel the only thing is..
If you want to know the truth "dive in" if you are brave enough..
I do ..

Words according to me are very cheap ..
There are a 100 beautiful things I can say ..
Maybe because I know you would like to hear it ..
But they are mere words..
And words that are not backed with deeds..
Is like a garden of what you think were flowers..
But they are actually weeds..

And I don't know anyone who wants weeds because they spoil the plot ..
In more simple a language, they mess with you ..

So if you want something ask..
If you hurt someone say sorry
If you love someone let them know
If you don't , let them go , don't string them along , because it makes you feel good ..
My chocolate roses...


This month of March has been quite a month..
Some say it was because of the monster moon , that affected each and all..
I'm not into astrology , as in blindly believing everything, but yes I'm very very curious about it and I love it..
There must be some truth in it
But what's important is knowing our own truth..

So I started April in silence..
And I heard so much ..
And realised...
That yes the most beautiful moments in life happen in silence..
This month has begun with conversations  I needed to have...
And heart-warming gifts..
I looked deep into my eyes... 
And the eyes of the ones I wanted to look into and decided to stop living in this paradise that had a whole lot of broken walls , that I was trying to ignore..
So I walked around the boundaries and broke them all..
And they break, when you find answers...
You also see that what you thought was real..
Was actually not..

So I went back to all the people I want in my life..
Whether they wanted to or not ..
And put my cards on the table
It's an open deck..
Nothing hidden..
And will continue like that..
Those who would like to stay and join me , well what can I say, I'm the happiest..
Those who do not want to ..
Well I cannot do anything about it..
It called exercising your "free will" and even God does not interfere with it...

So it does not mean that I stop loving or liking someone..
It just means that they have other priorities that I should respect ..
I have come to the conclusion that you should not chase love, affection or attention, if it isn't given freely by another person, it isn't worth having...
Thank you Mins,  I love this book..
P.S.You are always right...


As for my garden ..
I'm pulling out all the weeds..
As I can see them now..
Yes I have my green glasses on..
My Hyperopia has increased and my number is  now 1.75  Ha ha ha
And so I'm gardening..

And as I now sit in the still of the night and decorate these muffins
And sprinkle glitter on them ..
I feel a sense of calm..
And hope..

When friendships get too close ...
You reach a place where you do collide...
And then you could either walk ahead together or stop..

And then some fall apart
Some together
I guess that's how life is ..
So while I bite into my "Not empty-words flower Muffins"..

All I know is that everything works out in the end
And if it has not..
Then it is not yet the end..
Muchos Abrazos  ...
Siempre from "Maria's Kitchen"






Friday, January 11, 2013

I LOVE YOU CHRISTMAS....SIEMPRE...

    There is absolutely nothing that I do not love about Christmas , except not having the ones I love around..
So this year was no different...
I of course put up my Christmas tree on my sister Juliet's birthday 26th Nov..
Yup she is a Saggi..

And from then on...
It was impossible to let anything come in the way ...
So right from getting the letters written to Santa..
To getting my home cleaned..
To making peace with all issues I am struggling with. I walk into December with a big smile on my face..
It's also my birthday month you know...

My birthday lunch...

And so as Christmas got closer, I made and re-worked menus, invited and cancelled lunch...the usual..
Mercurial...that's what Jaya says I am , and she is probably right..
But I can vouch for my heart being in the right place, on the left and my ventricle's all gushing with love ha ha ha ...

And then suddenly in the middle of deciding that Zeke needs to study with me instead of going out , inspite of all the fights he has with me. to the tiny fingers he points at me , to Zene always smiling and winking at me ..
I suddenly out of the blue, get called for an ad_film test..

Gosh I hate tests, I hate being put under pressure to perform and also , the dates were 22-23 December..
Too close to Christmas..
So I was not too sure..
So I consulted with my voice of reason...Mini Mathur..
And she would have slapped me if she was in front of me, thank God she was not, she made sure I called and went for it ..

Well I got chosen, and as luck would have it, they were shooting the ad-film in far away Ooty..
Which means I come back only on the 24th evening, as the flight from Coimbatore is at 3pm..
So I cancelled Christmas at my place because it was impossible..

I decided to do a very small family celebration..
And started cooking with gusto..
22nd afternoon I left for Ooty, reached there in the night .
Could not sleep because I hate hotel rooms..
Ok ok I'm scared ..
And so I was keeping my self all right with happy thoughts and ignored Sandy who was sending me pictures of skeletons..ha ha ha juvenile friends I tell you ...I love her..

And so at some bizarre hour that night my impulses got the better of me, and I again decided to do...  A BIG CHRISTMAS LUNCH, and so started inviting everyone..
Thank God my friends know I'm crazy..
That saves me a lot of explaining ..
Then I put down a food prep and cook plan..

My Menu..

STARTER
Chicken liver pate and Melba toast
Mustard-honey chicken sausages
Winter salad

Main course
Mummy's prawn curry
Leg of Ham
Lamb shanks in red wine
Whole baked chicken
Chicken legs in rose and a mushroom sauce..
Feta aubergine salsa bake
Pesto pasta
Naan

DESSERT
Hazelnut-Chocolate rum pots
Strawberry cream filled hearts

So was awake till 3am, had a wake up at 5 am for make -up..
Don't know why I was woken up so early, when all they put on my face was a tinted moisturiser and powder and lip balm..
And then I went back to sleep...

7 am I was on set..


We started shooting by 9.30 am , I was put into the car and told to drive...
Ha ha ha not driven a geared car for really long, my Beetle s automatic..
So after composing myself, I shifted the gears in the hope that I do not cause any trouble,  smiled like the cat that licked the "low-fat" cream, and my first shot was done..
Ooty was beautifully cold..









I finished at 6pm..
And my crew was just amazing ..
Went to my hotel , picked up my bags, washed my face and left with three other guys who were driving to Bangalore..
Well I reached Bangalore at 2.30 am..
My flight was at 7am..
So we all sat chatted, yes I can talk also in my sleep..
And at 7 am I boarded my flight , and passed out..
Reached home by 9.30 am and got into full "Chef mode" ..
Thanks to Vijay my helper and Zoya..
We ordered , cut , chopped , sauteed , boiled , broiled , baked, chilled , fried , marinated , smeared, mixed , churned ...
My kitchen was a flurry of activity , just like I love it to be..
And by 8 pm..
I was done..
Then we all went for mid-night mass..
Came back opened the gifts under the tree and slept,,
6am the next day I was up and about..
I was done with all the cooking by 11.30am..
Pleased as punch..I decided to get into this very beautiful body hugging dress that my friend Tisca , gifted me..
Never got into it before , but it suddenly fit like a glove..
Ha ha ha thank you Santa...

The fun 5



And then everyone started trooping in..
 
The gifts for all our kids under the Christmas tree multiplied as everyone poured in, laughter took over the afternoon..
And it could not be a better day ..
Family corner

Mad cap corner

"What is that"


Dhoom

Gulab-gang smile

My mom says the grace amidst lotsa noise..


Before the madness..


Why do I love this day..
Well because it stands for Love..
It stands for new beginnings..
It stands for everything that is right ...






Baked Chicken


Rose Chicken with a mushroom sauce
Pesto Pasta

Rosemary potato gratins













Out of focus" lamb shanks"..who is the photographer?? ha ha

And so after a very prolonged lunch with all my friends who did come..
I finally called it a day ..

Every Christmas is so different for me, even though I do the same things...

And so on this day I reach out to the ones I love..
Whether or not they do..
I try and let go of pettiness..
I reinstall my faith in everything I lost faith in..
I start again from zero..
I thank God for all that he has given me ..
And leave the rest of what I want, upto him..
If its good for me, it will be..if not ..well too bad for me..





















Chocolate pots and strawberry hearts...Pure unadulterated Addictive Love...


I wake up with hope and lots of love in my heart, say good bye to the fantastic year I had and start the New Year , with an open trusting and a loving heart..

I learnt a lot this past year..
I lost a lot..
I gained a lot..
I laughed a lot..
I cried a lot too...
I cooked a lot..
I ran a lot..
I talked a lot..
Had a lot of silent moments too..
I worked out a lot..
I binged a lot...
 Climbed the mountain I used to talk about a lot..

I guess I do not know how to, not to do things a lot.. ha ha ha ...

So good bye 2012, and thank you...

As for this New-Year..
Well it has started off really fantastically..

Zeke and me are fighting a little less..
















Zene is waking up on time..



At the launch of "Jolly L.L.B Promo"
Warsi's Launch of his promo of Jolly L.L.B went off really well, and the response is really positive....


I got featured in the Vogue Jan issue..

I'm on a T.V.  advertisement after 12 long years..
Now all I have to do is concentrate and start writing and finishing my work that I love..
And start running ..

So I'm keeping my heart open and am welcoming all that 2013 has to bring for me with a smile ..
And will continue being in love with all whom and what I love ..
Crazily and as long as I can ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU ..
LOVE and CALORIES ARE SO MUCH MORE FUN SHARED...

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for always visiting me here and always writing to me here..
I'm a little busy with work, so I may not be very regular, but this is where I'm staying ..
So do come and visit me..

This year I'm plunging into the known, the unknown and into the unknowable, with a knowing , that my heart will stay loved and smiling ...

There is a sun-rise for every sun-set...