From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


When I was a kid, Diwali for me meant being in my grandmas home in Vasai, my mum is the fourth of eight sisters, so you can just imagine what a full house that was.
Diwali meant that we would get sparklers from every uncle who came over to my grandmas post collecting their Diwali bonus and always had the biggest box of sweets I had seen.
My grandma cooked a simple meal, of fish curry and dry mutton and there would be much merriment.
We kids would then light our sparklers , fountains, and then get out our boxes of chakkris, and this weird black tablet little thing that when we lit would grow into a snake, so we got into putting these all over the entrance steps of our house , and then of course the final "Laddhi" of noisy crackers..
That frightened the crap out of all of us..

I never did like them , I still don't do .
We kids then just hung out on our really long verandah , that had a swing , that creaked away into the night as we swung on it.
It was just wonderful, and this memory of us lying on that big swing, swinging away, as we peeked at a black sky , studded with stars , and listen to the rustle of the wind through the palm leaves, is something that has just stayed with me.

Then we would all move into the house and mattresses were laid from one end to the other and we would all sleep there in line, while my grandma moved to her room and would continue talking to all her children till late into the night, while my grandpa would say, "Dokri..bas aata, zhop aata "
There was never any noise, no crackers bursting.
Just the sound of Laughter amongst all my aunts, and stories of what happened during the struggle for independence ..

Gosh , just reliving this,  brings tears to my eyes.
My grandma Rose Mary had the heartiest laugh, she smoked bidies, once in a while, my grandparents were farmers..
And going to their place for holidays was my biggest joy.
Running through fields, having a bath at the well, plucking fruit every afternoon (where we would eventually be bitten by red ants) and then the golas...
To me this was Diwali..
Our way of celebrating it ..
There was nothing fancy ..
But everything real and lots of love and laughter..

I love this festival and as a kid growing up in a very Catholic community, I used to wait every year for Diwali sweets from my friends, it was just so special.
My friends Laxmi, Renita and Kiran, was my first introduction to rangoli ,lighting of Diyas , Puja and vegetarian food.
They were the ones who introduced me to the Dandiya and to Ganpati Visarjan.

This is what I love about my India the most, that we are all so diverse and there is so much we can all learn from one another.

But I actually started celebrating Diwali in full gusto with my friend Mini.
She does the whole hog.
It's just so nice.
And then one year , she said what kind of Diwali is this no one gambles here, and she laid down these mattresses on her terrace , so I was introduced to "teen Patti" and other various card games that I don't quiet remember.
So Mini would light Diyas all over the house, make her full Mathur "Khana" and then drape herself in a beautiful sari, (you know for me she is the sari icon of India ) and then she would saunter around, seeing that everyone is well fed, well drunk and gamble, till some would be dropping off to sleep (me ha ha ha )
This year she is in the mountains , so it's a very quiet Diwali without her.

With Jaya, we would do the full Puja and sing "Om Jai Jagdish" , with her kids ringing bells, and us all singing with much gusto, and then her mum would put Tikkas for all of us and then treat us to an amazing Vegetarian fare, and all the kids just had a blast.

To me this is Diwali
Family, friends,giving thanks and lighting up Diyas..

What I dislike about Diwali,are the loud crackers , and my poor dog Taz sitting curled up petrified in a corner, and the horrible smog the next morning..

Do I gamble..
Nope I don't..
I'm not a gambler , but a risk taker I am ..ha ha ha

Today I took all my diyas and after lighting up my home,and I drove over to my new home, with Zene, Taz and my house help..
Both the boys of the house are out working and camping..
So Zene and me went and light Diyas all around our new home..
It now feels like home, even though it's still filled with cement, paint and not yet complete..

So before I say bye, I just want to share with all of you this lovely Chicken recipe that my vegetarian friend Jaya gave me..ha ha ha ..yup..

It's something that is so yummy and full of flavour, it's not spicy so great for kids too..

And if you want to spice it up , just slit a green chili and have it with every bite, it's totally yummy.

So "Happy Diwali" my dear readers, thank you for all the warmth and the love ..
Stay blessed and shine ..
And have a sparkler of a Diwali..
And try and celebrate by lighting up each other's lives with love , patience, understanding and hugs...
Happppppppeeeeeeee Diwaaaaaaaaaliiiiiiii ,with much love from me to you , only from "Maria's Kitchen "

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DAY 106 - JALEBI...

And so I was just pondering about the fact that we meet so many people everyday..
Some of us are just not comfortable meeting new people..
Some we are vary of ..,
Most of them we envy..
A few we respect ..
A few we are jealous off...
A few we feel more superior too..
And a few ,then we count as equals ..
Those are the ones we make friends with ..

And then if someone tips our balance ..
Then our equilibrium goes for a toss and all hell breaks loose. ..
Ha ha ha
Do you know under our calm, peaceful, frantic , energetic or OCD exteriors ..

We are twisted
That is a human speciality ..
Each and everyone of us..
So don't berate yourself ..
And don't think you are special either..
We all come with our own set of confused notions to the table, with a somber face..

That's what we learn in life..
Act cool..
Act like you know what you are doing..
Stay in control..

But behind that smile, or that somber face ..
We are all alike ..
We just look like we have answers ..
But I can tell you this for a fact .
The more peaceful a person looks
The more confused he is ..

I may be completely wrong ..
After all I'm not Freud ..

But I have my own twisted theories of life ..

Like any of you ..
I think I'm mostly right , when I may be wrong 99 times outa hundred ..
And so today I'm gonna share something with you that I'm so happy with ..
That it really does not matter how many twists and turns it has ..
Let's just say it's curvy , like me .. AaaH ha ha ha ...

So I'm hoping you do get the drift ..
It's easy to be complicated ..
But it's really complicated ,to just be easy ..
But this one piece of this Jalebi ..
Will give you peace of mind , for a bit ..
The crispness that holds that beautiful gold syrup..
Is indulgence from a happy goddess ..
So sit back and bite into a piece of twisted bliss, filled with many hugs , only from "Maria's Kitchen "

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 106 - Baked Potato

So how many of you have potato friends..
Don't get me wrong I don't mean to offend anyone in any way ..

But I'm sure all of us have that one friend if not more , that truly gets you ..
That one friend you will go to when nothing seems right ..
Though not all may be quite wrong..
That one friend who will open the door to your not so happy face , and offer you green tea or chocolate or just make you laugh and not ask you any questions till you are willing to spill the beans..
Do you have anyone like that in your life ..
Well I hope you do ..

Because that is your Potato friend..

I do not know many in this world who do not like eating "Potatoes"..

And so that's why you must go ahead, and try this out ...

This is a hassle back potato, which is basically a potato that is finely sliced till the bottom but is still attached at the base, The proper noun "Hasselback" refers to the fancy Hasselback hotel and restaurant in Stockholm where this dish was made , or then you can be all "Einsteiny"  and call it a baked "Solanum Tuberosum, but I THINK IT WILL BE EASIER AND LESS DEMANDING A RELATIONSHIP for all of us involved, if we can all just call it a "Baked Potato"...
The taste will still stay intact ha ha ha ..
It won't get upset, don't worry..
But that is not something I can vouch for about the chef..ha ha Ha

C'mon lets face it..
The reason you are reading this is because probably
1. You love eating Potatoes ..
2. You love cooking..
3. You love me ..ha ha ha ...

Well if No.3 is why you are reading this..
Gosh gee....thank you so much , it's nice to be loved..

But I'm also hoping that you love eating potatoes as much as me and love cooking already or will soon start enjoying it ..

And so I really want you guys to reply back to me with a 1,2 or 3 !
A girl always likes to know..

So getting back to the simple Potato, the vegetable filled with high carbohydrate content , is not as bad for your health as you imagine,and because a small but significant part of it is not easily digestible by our enzymes, it also acts like fibre.
So before all you health buffs out there "dis" this humble vegetable, hold your abs in a bit ....

All you guys out there who look at a potato in disdain , I feel bad for you , it's like saying who needs a friend, I'm good on my own..
Well , it's really nice to be self sufficient and to not depend on anyone..

But is it not nice to be home..
Well that's what potatoes are they give you that feeling of home ..

Or then have you thought of this the other way around..
You may be some one's potato ..
And someone in your life looks at you like their comfort zone..
A person who will never judge them , but will always welcome them with that warm smile and a tight hug..

Life is too short to have complexes or problems..
We need to walk through the forest not around it ..
And sometimes walking with some one who has your back just makes you feel safer, even if the other person is as clueless as you ..
Just to know that someone , at least one person in the world will always welcome you with a smile , is just the most comforting feeling in the world ..

So here's presenting , just out of the oven,a simple but completely deliciously addictive baked potato..that looks like it wants you to devour it now...

And that's exactly what I'm going to do with a dollop of hung Yoghurt...
Yup, it's a "Hug of Food"...with much love from "Maria's Kitchen "

Monday, October 6, 2014

DAY 105 - PESTO ...

There is more to life than just living ..
There is loving have you ever tried it ..

Please do , there is nothing better in this world , than just deciding to like people for all their good ..
And also if we can ignore a few of their faults , it won't hurt nobody..

I just feel if I know I'm not perfect..
How can I expect anyone else to be ..
Frankly what is perfection..
It's just a perception..
And perception changes with time..
So it's nice if we could be a  percentage nicer than we want to be ..

Sometimes just sometimes, go out of your way to make someone smile..
Do a good deed for a stranger..
Actually ..
Forget a stranger, let's first reach out to someone close to us, give them a fun day..

I'm all for peace..
But sometimes in life , with its ups and downs, I sometimes go to pieces..
And then when that happens..
I do two things..
I either go deep into hibernation or go completely quite..
I have learnt that maturity is nothing but a series of really big mistakes that you have committed, and in time understand that , if you touch fire, you will get burnt..
And age has nothing to do with it ..
Infact I was a cautious young girl..
But I like the fact that I have thrown caution to the wind..
And I run with the wind and sometimes put fires off and sometimes start them...ha ha ha ..

Today I just want to share with you this beautiful "Pesto recipe"

It is one of my favorite sauce's in the world..
And you can use it with Pasta, breads, smear it on grilled fish, eat it with raw tomatoes and basically have fun.

The only thing is you can't heat it..
It loses its freshness and delicate flavour..
And does not stay flavourful pesto anymore..
This sauce is just a beautiful balance of flavours put together and when you bite into it , you can't help but go "ummmmmmm"...
It's like a beautiful loving relationship..
That you want to keep fresh..

If you put it through fire, it may still look green, albeit a darker shade of green..
But it won't taste the same..
Just remember this...

So here it is my favourite"Pesto" ..delicately balanced with the freshness of tender basil leaves, the coarseness of pine-nuts and the smoothness of cheese..
If this does not feel like the one you are in love with ..
Then just have another bite..
With much warmness from , "Maria's Kitchen"...


And so finally after hanging up my working stilettos  in 2003, after many years of a fun filled carrier on tv, I finally succumbed to starting work again.
Ofcourse this time around, it feels different, I have no agenda , no plans , no back up plans.
What is
And what will be will be..
All I want is to be exactly who I am and to be "happy"...
I have no where to reach and nothing to prove.
I just want to share with all of you what I love and I'm happy if you want to walk with me to my corner, that always buzzing with chatter, laughter and songs half sung  (mostly because I do forget the lyrics)
And that is such a wonderful place to be, because there is so much , that's still left to learn in life..
I'm doing what makes me happy and working with a team of really bright young people from "#Fame"  and I'm having a blast ...

My friend Jaya who just won the Best Film award for her documentary "Surfing Yogi's" directs each cooking snippet and we shoot out of my kitchen with my dog Taz running around in the midst of it all or him deciding to sit right in the middle of the chaos..
So yup it's a full house of madness with the purpose of bringing to you something that you should go ahead and definitely try at least once ..

As my friend Mini said, I finally found my "true-love" ....
Ya I'm pretty romantic that way, and never cease to see the romance in life..
I believe that love is something that happens to you while you are not really looking ..
And when it does hit you , it feels like all the songs ever written about love were written just for you ..

We all at some point of time in life have felt like this ..
And it is the most wonderful feeling on earth..

But in my earthly experience( because most of the time I belong to neverland ...)
I have seen that love changes form..
It comes into our life to create, heal, nurture, realise and fullfill our true potential as humans.

It never ever leaves you the same.
It turns you inside out and upside down..
Till it has had its way with you ..
Like you are caught in a tornado...
And yes if you can reach the very centre of it, you can feel the beauty and calm of it all..
And if you are just caught on the surface..
Then yes you will feel just the whirl of it all, which is lovely , but will leave you restless..

So this recipe I'm sharing with you today is a lot like love that runs deep..
Far deeper than just the beautiful surface you see...

So I really do hope you enjoy watching it..

and making it ..
You know everytime I bake something..
I marvel at how ,just simple ingredients put together at the precise temperature and time, convert it into the most delectable yumminess...

Baking is a lot like life ...
Timing is everything...
But unlike having to measure everything when you have to bake, I feel you cannot live life in measured sequences...
You have to just live..
You have to take chances..
Change recipes..
Try out new stuff..
And never ever give up on your dreams and people that you love (unless of course, they don't even know you exist or you are in love with a fictional person ha ha ha )

So I'm hoping you are going to try this recipe, and have a bite of what I call a tiny portion of life..
The beetroot keeps the brownie moist and full of texture , and the chocolate just melts its way deep inside the recesses of the brownie, the cream cheese adding to the softness of each bite..
This to me comes a close second to that beautiful gooey feeling called "love".. 
With much magic , only from "Maria's Kitchen"...