From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

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..

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


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..


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


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 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..


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..
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..

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" ...