From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Sunday, November 8, 2015

MY BOOK IS OUT 15TH NOVEMBER 2015...YEEAH..

And so next Sunday my book that I have been working on for the past two and a half years will actually be a reality.
It's quite a scary thought and also very exciting.. .

To be a published food author ha ha ha
Is something, I never ever thought about..
Maybe I don't think too much .
I'm more of a, do what makes you happy person...

And so I hope that this book brings much happiness to everyone who goes out there and gets it for themselves or for someone they love.

To me this book has been a journey into my past and my present
It has been a long tedious , interesting journey and like a holiday of discovery into my own being through ingredients and simple cooking techniques.

This book is something that transpired between the universe, Arshad being a very fine actor ,me refusing a show I did not feel good about , Ajay Mago my publisher amd Bhutan "The land of happiness"

So I went to Bhutan as Arshad's + 1, because he was invited to be part of a panel discussing films at the Bhutan Literary Fest with the likes of Gulzarar Saab , Sharmila Tagore and other artists of their ilk.
I was never supposed to go , because I was going to be part of an amazing 24 hrs show to raise money for a cause.
But after speaking with them, I was not feeling good about my role in it.
I always feel that when you do something in life work wise, it needs to make a difference to your own being and needs to make you feel a little happier.
But if it is status quo and making you feel not that fantastic about yourself , or you feel like you are being given a raw deal..
Then I'd rather sleep..ha ha ha
Or in this case travel..
I work in weird ways what can I say..

And so I bowed out of that TV show, asked Arshad if I can go to Bhutan with him and left for this beautifully country .

Like they say what is meant to be is meant to be .
I met my publisher Ajay Mago here, and he made me laugh so much , that we ended up friends.
And so, he told me that he had read my blog and would love to do a recipe book with me.
But I did not take him seriously , and thought it was polite conversation.
And so, after a year of trying to figure if he is serious about wanting to publish a food book with me and he trying to figure whether I'm serious or not about going ahead and starting this.
I officially started working on my book .

After Culinary school , I frankly had no set plan whatsoever .
Yup all I wanted to do was cook .
And the impractical romantic (no idea about how to run a business) part of me wanted to open a small Cafe in Versova, Andheri (because that's where I live) ,and I would serve freshly baked bread and have a fixed menu for breakfast , lunch and supper, because I wanted to shut early and go home to hang with my kids.
(Ya I'm filmy that way)

I come up with the most impulsive impractical ideas most of the times.
But I'm willing to work really really hard to see it through.
Hard work has never frightened me ever.

I really feel if you want something in life , you only get luckier at achieving it ,if you work hard.
So I started working on my book.
Only thing is being neither a full fledged Chef nor a writer.
I could not have asked for more trouble.

So I first started with jotting down all the stuff that I already make at home .
Then the food I loved to eat when I travel.
Then the food that I grew up eating in my mums home which is out of this world.
Then all the food I learnt on my own through television shows and books I have read .
My favourites from my blog.
Then the food I make for my kids.
The food I make for Christmas.
Then  a recipe each I learnt from my friends Mini Mathur, Shaheen Abbas, Banita Hamal, Eefa Shroff , Amit Ashar , Sheeba Hussain and one with Special Permission from My Principal Andrew Maxwell at Tante Marie.

After I put all this together.
It was time for me to put it in a book format.
And for the life of me , I could not understand how.
So first I just thought maybe I should do a seasonal menu, then I changed it to a festival menu ,then when nothing made sense I just shut it all  and waited for a flash of brilliance , which never came ha ha ha .

Then I just went down to basics.
I'm not a chef.
I never will claim to be one .
But I'm in love with the process of creating food and feeding people that I love .
(So ya there goes the business venture, since I cannot tell people , I don't like you , please I'm not letting you buy my bread ha ha ha )

And so finally I decided to divide my book into Months .
And dedicated each month to a person, friends or then an occasion or feeling and soon I was in business.
I then got down to making menus and getting my recipes in order.
So I had 7 recipes from my friends, now I could start my book..
All I needed was 65 more of my own favourite recipes..aaah ha ha ha ha
And that was a bloody pain.
And to further throw salt on my wound , I get to know, that most recipe book writers have a team of people , who research ideas, recipes, do trials, tastings and ideate and put a book together.
so I promptly called Ajay and asked him ''Where is my team?" and Ajay being Ajay says to me, "Babes, you are your own team" aaah ha ha ha , we both laughed about it , and I went back like Cinders to my kitchen, at times I was so fed up trying to develop something, I used to sit hoping I meet a brilliant chef like the rat in Ratatouille ..ha ha ha
Yup I was going slightly cuckoo..
And I had Ajay to blame for it ...

I had to jot down everything to its last tsp and ml, oh my God , and I had 72 recipes.
Everything in the book I cooked more than twice, once to try it out , the second time to see if it really works , so had friends to taste it and then finally for the shoot .
Some recipes I cooked just once, those are my favorites.
Some I cooked photographed and then felt...Naaaaah

The shoot was a mad, fun, crazy affair.
That took its own sweet time, in the middle of moving kitchens and then house and of course holidays and kids exams ..

Amit Ashar my friend and fantabulous photographer agreed to be part of this roller-coaster ride, he always knew how he wanted to shoot it.
And there is no one who could have shot this book with so much warmth and sunshine like he does, he is a Virgo , so he always finds something beautiful in every picture, to bring out its story..
So he only wanted it to be shot in real sunlight..
Under a tree that would provide a lovely dappled effect caused by the leaves, swaying in the breeze.
And that was his take on how it should be .
And I trusted his judgement and went with it .

Sambo my clothes stylist since MTV, was going to style my table , and between her and Amit, they decided on colours for every month .
And moved pots and plants , together , Sambo scouted around for cute stuff to put on the table and got various combinations of table cloths .

Bhavna came with food from her home,and I exchanged mine for hers ,because I did not want to eat my own food at all, except some times.
And she then slipped into the role of reflector holder and general calm bringer.

And then there was Vijay my helper and Sous Chef , who has been with me for 10 years, he understands my kitchen madness and without his efficiency in handling my ingredients and my kitchen quirks , I would not have be able to do this easily.

We all went about our chosen business.
I cooked and plated my food, without adding anything artificial , or overcooking or under cooking it, to enhance its appeal.
What you see is what you get.

Zeke , Zene and Arshad were my permanent Guinea pigs and my most straight forward critics, but after some time the kids began to believe that , they had to critique all the food that came on to the table ..
" Mama these eggs are a bit too hard boiled"
"Why are we eating dal again?"
"So why are we eating food ,that is not going in the book"
Oh my God.......so I had to politely tell them that , they would get a kick on their collective arse's, if they did not quietly eat what was served on the table ..
"That's just not fair, now that we have told you how to make your dishes tastier, you are being mean "
And so the saga went on...

Simultaneous along with the cooking, I also began writing and realised that nothing was flowing out of me , as it did so easily in the blog.
Maybe I needed a muse ?? Ha ha ha
And so I realised that the only way I could write was when I was not told that I had to..
Ya .. So I realised I have some issues concerning authority , regularity and freedom..

But I slowly put pen to paper..
And on good days, wrote like a fiend.
I also began running..
And the more I ran ..
The more I wrote..
The more I wrote ..
The more I cooked ..
And the more I cooked ..
The more I had to run..

My book then went into edit and came back , with a maximum of five lines per recipe.
Ha ha ha so I know that this was a recipe book and I need not have a story to all of them ..
But I guess I had a lot to say ..

So I have lots of the written word ,stored with me ..
Along with a whole lot of recipes that I replaced in this book ..

But I'm happy with what has happened to it .
Amit then introduced me to Sucharita who did the final design of my book. And I could not have asked for someone who understood me better..

Well Ajay, Dipa, Shoili , Sharboni, Amit, Sambo, Vijay, Bhavna and me are pretty happy with what we have in hand ..

And Arshad is happy that I finally learnt to cook small quantities ..

All is well that begins well..
Our book is out on the 15th , I think the best is yet to come ..






Monday, October 26, 2015

FOR ME ITS YOU..

There is great freedom in knowing your truth ..
How ever dark or light it may be ..
To know where your heart wants to walk ..
And in whose arms you wish to be ..

My favourite place is in the crook  of your arms ..
With your warm breath , at the nape of my neck ..
I could stay..
I could stay for always..
But , no I don't want to lay any claim on you ..
Love never holds anyone captive..
It actually sets you free..

So you are my freedom
And if you feel the same ..
Then all this makes sense , you see..

To me, I'm yours..
But I don't have to stake any claims..
Because anything that has boundaries , has nothing to learn or gain....
I don't have a picket fence around me..
But I have you ..
And if I want something from you..
Its just for me to be in my favourite place..
In your thoughts..

I may not say as much as I used to ..
Or I may just say all the wrong things ..
But I know ,you know the words I'm missing ..
Because I hear them too..
In between all the laughter and casualness ..

What our souls share is incomprehensible ..
And I'm not interested in offering an explanation to no one ..
Not even to myself ..
I just want to bask in the warm embers of this feeling ..
That I don't want to label ..
I don't want to name..
That neither is a raging forest fire ,but are like million dancing flames..
No two are the same..

It always looks like it's going to start a fire ..
That's going to explode some day..
It's mostly on the edge ..
But it's kept in check ..
But forces , probably of deep love and respect ..

Sometimes,
It burns my heart from the deepest corners of my soul ..
But I'm learning not to play with fire..
Because I don't want to burn ..

If we fan these embers..
The flames will reach the sky ..
It will sear everything that's along its path ..
And go on for a quite a while..

But it will die out ..
All fires do ..
Or maybe just continue to glow..
Deep passion red and white golden
Spreading warmth ..
And keeping us warm for ever more ..

But I don't know..
I have had my heart too close to a raging fire ..
And it hurt pretty bad ..

But it's a brand new season
And my heart is going a little crazy, a little mad ..
I can't help but trust you ..
I can't help but smile ..
I can't help it ,if I want to run to you ..
And lay your beating heart right next to mine ..

I want you to be your self..
I want you to say what you want ..
Without thinking to much ..
Why won't you give yourself that chance ..

To feel love is one of the most beautiful experiences in life ..
And I'm in ..
I'm just waiting for you ..
Who stares at me , from the side
Devouring me with quiet passion..
Like a river over flowing through a forest with all its might ..

I'm holding out my hand..
I look into your eyes..
You are scared to love me ..
Though your eyes are full of , "c'mon lets fly"

I'm scared too..
If you want to know..
But this space in my heart is filled with you , and I know , you know ..

The way you look into me ..
The way you touch my skin..
The sweetness when our lips meet ..
I've got you under my skin..

I'm fine with all that we have ..
I'm fine with all the love I walk with everyday ..
I'm free ..
In a funny way ..

And I may not tell you, as often as I want to
But for me ..
It's you ..

Saturday, September 19, 2015

GO...

So I woke up with a missing..
A void inside my soul..
An emptiness..
A longing..
Of something of yore..

On the surface of my smile..
There seems to be little drops of tears in my eyes..
A path I walked on again..
Led to a dead end...
Not that I have not walked here before..
But I thought my laughter could melt down that door..

And so I walk back again..
Looking for the sun shine in the sky..
But am met with tiny droplets of rain..
That fall softly..
Without a sound..
So that the breaking of my heart is the sound all around..

It's funny sometimes..
How things turn out..

I told you so
Says my head to my heart
Empty words make the most noise
They are just said because...
Its what was not really meant.
But it's the actions that really count

Am I looking in a place that does not exist
At a face that I think is smiling..
But just not my way ..
Walking down a road
Where streets have no name

Help me out of here ..
Says my heart to my head..
Take me away to another space instead..
Where I can fully heal and be whole again.
Where I can meet ones..
Who know me by my name..
Where you say what you mean..
Or not at all..
A place that shelters you from hearts you should not trust..
A place that does not have broken hearts all over like dust..

And so I keep walking
And sometimes get lured
By "what If's" and "lets take a chance"..
And I'm greeted with a "but"..
Or then words ...
That stay just that...
And disintegrate into the dust ..

There is nothing in life more beautiful than the "now"
Nothing better than the "real"
And even if it's not what you would like it to be ..
It's your reality ..
So step in and ..
Breathe..

Break your heart
Let it burn with the fire of love..
It's only then you will fully know ..
Who you are inside ..

And what ever you do
"Go with your heart "
It's always true...


Saturday, September 12, 2015

GOODBYE & FOREVER...

There is a place in my heart 
That has your name carved, in deep ..
It's not really your name actually ..
But it's that feeling, that I keep ..
It's kept there for days ,I might feel blue ..
So that I can walk into this space I call our's..
And feel all warm ,like sun beams , shining through..

I sit here often, playing with the sun smiling at me, through dancing leaves..
And sometimes, just lay down, in the deep ,,among it's roots, and just go to sleep..

That is the time ,you find ,to walk into my peace..
You wake me up ..
You say we have to go ..
To a place , that I will love much more..

I ask you to stay,to wait a while ..
To just be ..
To rest in the space , nestled in the bark of our tree..
You look at me , I smile back into your eyes..
You wait a bit ..
You ponder a while..
I know you want me to stroll with you while you walk along a path that is strewn with blooms anew..

So how do I stay and yet go away ..
To a world that maybe new..
And all that I would know ..
Would just be you ..

I guess that's what , love means ..
Trust ..

I hug you tight ..
One last time in the shade of our oak ..
That we both grew to love ..
This bark has our stories, and our conversations etched in deep..
It has our love and kisses, that we keep..
It has moments that we shared without a care..
And troubled times that lingered in the air ..
It has good bye and forever kisses, caught in the green of the languorously swaying leaves..
And crickets that hummed ,as we lay nestled , entwined in one another for keeps..

I will go with you .
Wherever you may want to be ..
Because I'm home wherever you nestle happily ..

No, I'm not giving up part of me ..
I'm not making a sacrifice for thee..
I just know deep in my heart ..
That it's you and it's me ..

The rest is all just immaterial..
Bricks and stone ..
That do not understand the way love works ..
Love does not need anything , but just love in return ..
That's all that matters ..
Everything else is just a pretence..

You want to know ..
If I will walk with you further on ..
Till the end ..

But how can I make promises ..
About a time I have not seen ..
I'm here with you now ..
Flesh and blood ..
And a heart bright with the flame of love ..

And that's all I can give you ..
My now ..
Should that not be enough..

Now is where we are..
Wrapped in each other's embrace..
Weaving memories in each other's hearts that will stay..
Uttering words in rapture of each other's gaze ..

I kiss you softly ..
I hug you tight once more .. 
I bury my head in the nape of your neck ..
And I inhale you ..
So that this moment runs through my soul evermore..

Who are you and me to make plans ..
That have already been made for us much before this life time..

I just have one little thing that I really want to do ..
I just want to stay permanently in love with you , in this world where everything changes..
Some days I may love you like the tempestuous sea..
And some days , all coy, like stars bursting softly in the night sky ..
Some days I will love you as silently as the dark deep ocean loves the rays of the sun ..
But love you, I always will..

That's the way love unfolds..
It does not really know why ..
But follows a path that's lit with tiny little flames, with embers that don't really die..

Unless it has been stamped upon...
Of snuffed out ....
Or has been left to gleam ,without any care ..

Love is , at the end of the day ..
For the brave one , who are so rare ..

Yup...


DAY 118 - FOCACCIA

So who does not like being in love...
I don't know anyone, who does not like that feeling..
Unless of course it is unrequited, but then..
Life is unpredictable ..
S@/#* Happens !!!

But that's another blog...ha ha ha

So let's get back to being in love..
I love it ..
Totally and truly..
And what I love most ,is that big fat smile, that just does not go away..

In life I feel it's very important for love to be part of your life..
Whether in the form of people, animals or a passion..
It just makes life a better way to live..

There are a few people that I completely love in my life, but I'm not going to give you any names, because I don't want to be politically incorrect , I'm trying to not always put my foot in my mouth..this year ..

Then there is Taz my 16 year old mix-breed doggy-love-muffin,  who is a cross between my Golden retriever Betty-Boo and my Boxer Ninja..

NINJA & BETTY-BOO

TAZ TIGI WARSI


I love him, like totally love him, and I know he has not too much time, because he is really old and has arthritis, and he has to go one day, and he will, till then I will just love him to bits..

Then , the other love of my life is travel, and that is something that I plan to do voraciously, for the rest of my life.
 
     To go to a new place and find my way around with a map, or just get lost and discover paths, old structures full of history and their food culture is one of my most satiating joys..Oh and of course shopping ha ha ha ...Then there is running that I do, really well, physically and mentally..ha ha ha

And then of course there is food..
That I fell in love with very very organically ,and have discovered so many nuances about myself , and about the art of making "Food Glorious Food" ..
That I realised that it is one of my happy places..

I also realised that sometimes, love is all about timing..
And timing and me , are old friends , that have always missed one another..
And on the occasions that we were able to meet..
It has been totally magical..
I have a lot to thank God for ,and I do..

I think saying Thank-you is the most amazing thing you can do in life, not only because it is a good thing to do , but also because, it acknowledges the kindness and love in the other person...

Ok so ,for starters I'm over the moon, that I'm interning in a Patisserie near my home.
It's called "Petits Plaisirs Patisserie ", and Chef Javed is just the most talented and patient and generous Chef I have met.

Chef Javed



This is the first time , I'm actually working in a kitchen , and I hope to work here for a good amount of time.
I would have liked to go back to school , but that is really not possible anymore, and so my pastry school is going to be this Kitchen.
And I have a really wonderful set of talented pastry Chefs in the making , that I get to work with everyday.
Saachi, Niyati, Chef Ajit, Amit, and Swapnil...
And then there is Chef Javed, who has such a positive , quite, generous way of running his Patisserie, that I feel totally lucky to be part of their everyday craziness in the kitchen.








So today I'm going to share with you something that I have wanted to make since my Friend Shalini, took me to this Bakery somewhere off Jersey, and introduced me to this totally yummy Focaccia..

It was light , totally tasty, had a layer of apples on its crust and was served with a drizzle of a balsamic reduction..
And , it has been haunting me ever since I bit into its yumminess in May.

So last evening after work , all I wanted to do is make this , and eat it ..
So here it is

FOCACCIA...
INGREDIENTS

All purpose flour- 260gm
Yeast - 10 gm
Water - 150 ml..but don't pour all in together.
Olive oil - 4 tbsp
Chili flakes- 1 tsp
Mixed herbs - 1 tbsp
Rock salt - a sprinkle
Apples- 1 ,thickly sliced
Olive oil- 1/2 tbsp
Butter -1 tsp
Cinnamon - a pinch

METHOD

Mix the yeast into 100 ml of water and keep aside, for 2-3 minutes, then add 11/2 tbsp of oil to the water and yeast mix.
Add the above mixture to the flour and very slowly bring it all together, add the remaining 50 ml water to the flour , and see to it that the dough is not too sticky.
Over turn this mixture on to a little flour and knead it well for about 5-7 minutes.
Leave it to prove, in a bowl , which  you have nicely smeared with the remaining oil.
After about 40 minutes to an hour , it will have doubled in size,(I left my dough in the fridge overnight ) knock it down , add the remaining oil , from the bowl and all the herbs, knead it all into the dough, and shape it in to a nice circle , not more than 5 inches inches in diameter , and leave it to prove again.
Then after 25 minutes when it has proved again, just very gently press it flat with your finger tips.
Now arranged the cooled cooked Apples on to its surface, and sprinkle it with rock salt,  and leave it to prove for another 25 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake the Focaccia for about 18-20 minutes.

Apple topping 
Heat a non stick pan and then add the oil,then the butter and as soon as it sizzles , add the apples to the heated pan and  let it cook for about 3 minutes on either side .
Sprinkle with cinnamon and leave it to cool 

Serve it with some balsamic reduction or just plain olive oil and Balsamic vinegar will also do ..


And so this morning , after I had baked my bread, I most greedily bit into it while it was really hot .

And all the different flavours, just burst into me like a rainbow in the sky..
Yes please have it with a little Balsamic and olive oil emulsification..
The soft herb bread, the sweet apples , the sea salt and the balsamic , together is just a party that you will not want to stop .

You know in life , it takes all kind of experiences to make life well lived.
The bad to appreciate the good, and the Good to get over the bad.
That is the circle of our life and I bet you , that no one single person can escape this.

It takes all kinds of interactions in life to bring out the best in you .
And yes , I do believe that , everything you want does come to you , at the time it is supposed to .
And sometimes it just does not ..
Well at times like that , just go for a run ,cry your heart out..
And get back to getting used to the fact , that life gives you almost everything , but keeps you wanting ..
And if you are able to let go of the wanting ..
You eventually find your place of peace and happiness..eventually ..

Ok in my opinion, things can make you happy for a bit ..
People for a while more..
But ultimately things break ..
And people break up with you ..

Just don't give up on your own little fire that shines so bright ..
There is so much love inside us ..
But it's funny how we are always looking out ..
No one can make you feel loved or make you happy
Unless you yourself are not in peace and a little in love with yourself ..
I'm serious, don't laugh ,I know it sounds weird ..
I'm sure you think I'm cuckoo..
And of course you are right ..
But just think about what I said ..

While I just bite into this really yummy piece of flour ,that has magically transformed itself in a fluffy piece of Focaccia, after it has been , beaten and pounded and had to also go through fire ..
Well that's the way life is ..


Home-made Apple topped Focaccia
  I

I really loved my Focaccia , please do try and bake it, and please do send me photos at my Twitter handle @mariagorettiz..

With much love from "Maria's Kitchen"
See you all again soon , as soon as I fall in love with another incredible morsel of food ..










Tuesday, June 30, 2015

DAY 117 - PALAK PANEER ..FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS..

And so how you live life , or live with the choices you make ..
Is what finally makes or breaks you ..
All of us are beautiful inside out ..
That's my consensus..

And then life happens ..
How we behave during the great times and deal with the bad times..
Is the stuff our core is made of..

Some of us are easy to please ..
Some sceptical of every move ..
And yet others who just take each day and confuse the hell out of it ..
Some live within a picket fence, too worried to step outside..
And then some just live , each day like it maybe their last ..

I have realised that , what's food to one , maybe poison to someone else!
And what's special to one , maybe average to someone else ..

So the best way to live , is to see that you are at Peace with yourself ..
We'll easier said than done ..

Yesterday after two years of writing and trying out recipes..
Shooting , re-shooting ..
Scrapping every word I wrote ,to writing again ..


I finally closed the final draft of my book !
I was so so happy and , so relieved ...
I sighed a loooong sigh of relief!
I don't think I have worked so hard in a long time ..
And after ,I finished reading it from first word to last word..
My life actually played out to me, in the many hues and colours that I have lived..
And I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of people that I have to thank ..
That I did..
Really hope I don't forget anyone..

Because unlike so many chefs , who are able to churn out books ..
This one baby has been quite difficult ..

So today in the middle of this book discussion..
Let me lead you to my recipe of "Palak Paneer" ..
I know , that for most of you , this must be part of your weekly cuisine..
But for me it is special, because I never ever , had this as a kid..
So here it is , something common that is special to me.. ..

http://youtu.be/tdGX36IHf34


So getting back to my book..
It's my love-child ..
And it's always going to be , most special..
Yesterday , reading through it, was fun and also a very emotional evening for me ..
Every recipe, had a story , in my head that I may or may not have told ..
And frankly , like my editor told me , it's a recipe book , not a diary ha ha ha ..
So there is very little chatter..ha ha ha

So I will continue to blog ..
As I always do have a lot to say ..
And it just gives me immense peace to have just said ,what I feel ..
Really try it ..
It feels good ..

So my book ,is now on its way to get "Proof-read" ..
Then we will do a dummy book to check ink on paper and colour..
And then , it will get into production ..

I don't know if I'm ever going to do another book..
But I'm not going to say "never"..
Because today my friend Sambo , said to me " All the things that you say , you will NEVER do , is what comes back to bite you ..
So I'm not going to say this is my last book ..
But I'm just going to say ..
I'm really happy and excited about how it has turned out ..

This book has been lots of fun ..
And also a lot of hard work and tears..
There were some days, I had not a word written..
Because I'm not a writer..
And I used to sit with my phone ..
(Oh yes , I wrote this entire book on my phone..)
And wait .. And felt .. Oh my god ,what the hell , have I got myself into !!

But I also realised..
That the way in, is also the way out ..
And the way out, is the way in ..
Ha ha ha ha
I hope you are as confused as I am ..

See the thing is..
I just gave it my best shot ..
The rest , I have left to the forces of the universe ..

Maybe like how I find "Palak Paneer " special..
There will be a few people who will find my book special ..
And that's good enough ..

I know that once you bite into my version of "Palak Paneer"
You will love the freshness and the fact that there is no cream in it ..
And it still does not take away from the taste ..
So do make this and let me know how you like it ..

As for me ..
I have written too much ..
Tasted too much ..
Edited too much ..
Cooked too much ..

I now want to go on a holiday ..
Climb up a mountain..
And watch the sun rise ..
Is that too much to ask for ..????
In my scheme of things ..
Not at all ..
You have to just want it badly enough ..
And I want to go to Machu Pichu ..





So as I sit here , at my computer , biting into roti and Palak paneer , and reading bits from my book" "From my Kitchen to yours..food, love & other ingredients"
I feel I need to correct some more stuff..
Add a few lines, edit a few words..etc etc..
So will get down to working , till late into the night ..

And when I don't want to work anymore , will count the stars ..
With lotsa love , from "Maria's Kitchen "







Monday, June 29, 2015

DAY - 110 CHEESY BREAD ROLLS

 You know the best relationship you can have in life ...
Is with yourself..
Yes love does make this world go around..
But do you know any loving relationship that is just all about only love and only love ..
Well ...

We go through so many phases in life..
The single want to be in a relationship ..
The ones in a relationship wonder whether it's better to be single..
The ones who have no kids, look with longing at the ones who do ..
And the ones who do , just want a break some times..

So yup it's just human to want what you don't have or can't have ..
But what's important in life , is to try and find happiness where you are..
If you can be happy with yourself..
Single, attached, on holiday, at work, pregnant, without kids, with kids, friends or just reading a book under your bed..
I think you will then be just fine..

I sometimes feel like running away ..
Have you ever felt like that ..
With just a book and some money to travel..
Where I'm going to go , what I'm going to do ..
Without a plan..
And that's what makes the whole thought so adventurous..

But I also know that it's really stupid and not practical at all...

A lot of people who are in love with one another..
Run away with one another..
And then real life catches up with them..

Which is why most of the amazing love stories in the world end in a tragedy..

Seriously ..
What does this say about love ..

I'm not a cynic..
I'm all for love and its myriad complications...
I'm also impulsive and mercurial..
Not at all a good combination at all ha ha ha ...

And so with life I have understood a few things..
To get to the top of the mountain, you need to walk up, the view will get better slowly..
Very slowly ..if you try and race to the top, your body does not acclimatise ....
you just have to take it slow..
You cannot make someone love you , even if you want them too..
But you can love who you want to , there is no tax on that ..
Sometimes it's nicer to walk away than spoil what you have in a relationship..
Sometimes it's very very imperative that you speak your mind..so you have no regrets..
Kids will be there own person, not an extension of you (note to self)..
As a caretaker we have to keep them safe and bring them up as good caring human beings...
And so on and so forth ..

I grew up believing in star signs, then one day I read I'm not Sagittarius but some new star sign called Ophiuchus....
Whaaaaat ?
 I mean really ..So does this change my entire chemistry with other star signs...
So do I get along with the earth sign or are we not supposed to ..
Is the water sign not going to douse my spirit ..
Will the air sign be there to fan my flames ..
Fire was me ..
Now I am ...what ?

So yup the world sometimes confuses you ..

"Gosh Maria,I never expected this of you "
Oh really ..???
I want to say ..!!!

Why do I have to live up to anyone's expectations ..!
When I have not yet put up a chart for myself..!
I'm me..
I'm just supposed to live ..
I'm supposed to dream , chase my dreams , make mistakes and start all over again..
Alt- Ctrl-Del...
That's just a computer application ..

But yes , I know that in life we get along with some like salt seeps into water ..
And some people are like chalk and cheese..
And then there are still some that are like balsamic Vinegar and Extra virgin olive oil..
That look like they were never meant to be together, but when they emulsify, you just can't separate the two..
It's like soul mates..
It does not really matter post that..
Because that taste of the emulsification just stays..



Oh gosh I'm really getting soppy ..
Ha ha ha..
Ok today I want to share with you ..

http://youtu.be/hEeWG81dOZ0


This is just the nicest combination of ingredients ..
And gives you a bread that is beautifully soft , and the flavour of the cheese and the butter , just seals the deal..

Oh yes sometimes you eat bread..
And sometimes you go on a no carbs ways of life ..
Basically it's your life ..
Do what you want with it ..

I'm just going to bite into the softness of this home-made soft cheesy bread that has a healthy dousing of butter , and it's filled with love from me to you only from "Maria's Kitchen"...

Friday, June 26, 2015

I MET AN OLIVE RIDLEY SEA TURTLE

So yesterday as usual I was running on Juhu beach , when I came across a turtle stranded, it had quite a crowd gathered around it , it had its left front fin missing..
The little fellow, actually he has about 21/2 ft was trying to get back into the sea but was unable to swim back against the thrashing waves on the shore!


There was another gentleman there like me who kept trying to call an animal rescue number , but so early in the morning , nobody was really picking up the calls!
I then tweeted a video of the Olive Ridley Sea turtle , and Prerna Pradhan responded with a number that I called!
It was the number of Nilesh from P.A.W.S. who immediately sent Kala  to have the turtle collected!
While all this was happening, there were lots of concerned citizens who came to that spot , and were asking if anyone has called for help ,because most did not have a phone as they were on their morning walk or jog !
And the ones that did have phones, were clicking their fingers in its face and taking photos!
I think we sincerely need to include ,'How to behave with animals " as part of our learning in school.

I was there for an hour and a half , with this other concerned gentleman , whose name I did not ask, and 4 other guys.
In that 11/2 hour , there were many attempts made to put the turtle back in the water, but he just always landed back on the shore!
By around 8 am ,after I had picked Zeke from his Athletics  training , we sped back to that spot, because I just wanted  that turtle to be in safe  hands !
There were 6 of us who were there hanging around the turtle for that whole time till he got rescued!
In the interim period , many came took photographs and left ,some prodded him and some waved in front of his face...Seriously !!
And then one elderly guy who picks plastics off the beach , wanted to take him to put him back into the water , on another part of the beach!
When we did not let him touch the turtle,he got really upset and gave all of us ,trivia about Turtles like he had done an In-depth study about them ,because he spent so many years on this beach ..

I sat next to the turtle just before he was taken away and petted his wrinkly neck ..
He did not move away or flinch !
Not because he liked me ,but more because I think he was scared,I don't know, I'm just assuming stuff here!

But it felt good to sit next to this beautiful sea -turtle !
Zeke and me wondered how his fin got cut!
Maybe it was stuck in a fisher's net, maybe it was a shark attack or then maybe a propeller..
I don't really know..
But I was happy that I went running yesterday and chanced upon him ..

You don't always get a chance to meet an animal from the wild !
And further more, to even be part of the crowd of people, to rescue one !
But to meet an injured animal , is a very sad feeling, how scared he must be, away from his family , his habitat, among humans, chatting around him, carrying him to take him back to sea, and some waving in his face!
Everytime a wave washed near him, he would turn towards it and try to walk back into the sea, but was unable to .
But he never really gave up you know.
There is a lot we can learn from nature , if we are just willing to observe and not own, or destroy!

The gentleman in the blue t-shirt who was there throughout and only left when the animal rescue person came , I wish I had got his name !

I felt very good yesterday after a very long time !
I felt one with the universe !
I felt like even if we can all do a little bit of good..
It all just binds us together in a circle of life !

As for the turtle, he is in hospital!




And from here , he will go to the Dahanu Wildlife Rehab Center, that already has 50-60 turtles that have been stranded on various beaches, whose fins get chopped due to the fishermen's nets!!

The police in Juhu Beach took my name and number ,along with the rescue workers , before they let the animal be taken from that shore!
So I do feel like I belong to him in some way !
He chose me ..
And it made me feel very wanted and special.

The last time I saw a green sea turtle ,it was in the Reef waters of Australia , where it so beautifully swam near me ,so I reached out and touched it 's back..

I'm glad I saw this turtle on the beach and I'm glad he was rescued!
But it was heart-breaking to see it had a fin missing !

You know in life , we come a cross so many people every-day !
We don't know there stories or their lives!
They may all look physically perfect !
But let me tell you from experience ,that none of us are fully whole on the inside!
Most of us have more brokenness that anyone can imagine !
So with this thought , if we can just be nice to the people we meet !
And treat everyone with kindness!
I'm sure we would all be investing in a better world for our children and the ones to come !

Have a lovely blessed day



Monday, June 15, 2015

DAY 116 - TEHRI...OR THEN MERI..HA HA HA

Sometimes I find much solace in words..
Sometimes I feel like if I'm not able to say, what I want ,my heart will burst ..
Have you ever felt like that ?

And so when I started my blog in 2010 ...
It was just that..
It was a vent ...
A passage ..
A walk ..
A run ..
A trek ..
All in one !

I really did not think or measure my words!
Before I pressed, the send button..
Never edited it , except for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes ..
The rest ,was just ,what flowed through ..

It did not matter to me ,whether anyone read what I wrote or everyone read what I wrote ..
To me it was catharsis ..
It was release ..
It was my stage with or without an audience ..
I still danced ..
Sometime it was pantomime..
Sometimes it was Tap..
Sometimes Jazz..
Sometimes the waltz..

And with every send ..
Something inside me set sail into the galaxy...
Like the universe is now part of me ..
And I had slowly found my little corner in the shade of an elm tree..
That was just mine ..
And whose shade, I could share ,with whomsoever I choose to ..

Where I lay down under ..
Looked up at the skies ..
Inhaled the flowers..
Watched birds fly ..
Squinted at the sun..
Smiles at the moon..
And generally learned to be happy with myself ..
I learnt a lot from the ones who wrote back to me ..

I felt a beautiful circle of life forming ..
And I realised that it does not matter who you are , where you come from , what you do or don't do in life ..
It's what you feel and what you do about those feelings that really matters ..


I learnt to cook very very slowly ..
I learnt to enjoy that process..
With every mistake , my resolve to get it right , just grew stronger ..
I loved the hap hazardness of the way I put things together ..
I was not traditional in my approach , I was not right , but neither did it feel wrong..
The food on my plate evolved..
The ingredients I used changed a bit..
Or then , i just started adding  new stuff to the old..

I know I'm not a writer ..
Not in the traditional sense..
I'm just a product of feelings and emotions ..
That's what drives me ..
I need to feel it ..
I can't weave words out of thin air ..
Like my friend Jaya, who is just a beautiful writer , and magically spins words like spells..
Or my friend Lalita who is just the funniest and most practical writer I have read ..

Sometimes I felt that I wrote so much ,that I had driven myself to the edge of the water..
Where either ,I needed to retreat or then  swim ..
Sometimes I just sat there , looking at the waves..
Sometimes just walked on the waters edge ..
And then sometimes just swam till the saltiness and me were one ..

Writing to me is like cooking ..
And cooking to me is like the stupid poetry I write ..
Maybe not everyone gets it ..
And frankly I'm fine with that..
Maybe it's not meant for everyone ..
Just me ..

I realised that cooking is an extension of how I feel ..
And writing is the sides , that I serve my food with ..

I want to learn more and more..
I want to learn how to make traditional Indian food..
To get the tadka just right ..
To be able to make Kashmiri food ..
To learn stuff from my friends Mums ..
To learn Indian from my friend Mini, who has a special magical hand ..
To capture my mums essence in the food I make, which is really difficult ..

To just explore ..
Every facet of life that I can ..
To start at the bottom ..
I'm fine with that ..

So today I'm going to share with you a dish I learnt from my friend Jaya..
She writes as beautifully as her green eyes smoulder..

http://youtu.be/thE57sRFeFc

It's a simple dish ..
It's something her mum Aunty Mridula makes , that she passed down to me !
And I enjoyed every moment of cooking it ..
It can also be made with meat but that's for another day ..
So after every dish I  cook in my kitchen ..
My crew devours it ..
Ha ha haha
And that's the best part of the show ..
The part that you dont get to see, but the part that feels , absolutely awesome, to me..

So I just want to say , this mustard flavoured rice is totally yummy ..
And no you don't have to measure your calories or your carb intake all the time ..
Enjoy it ..
For what it is..
Tomorrow is another day..

So while I ate greedy morsels of this amazing Tehri..
I was thinking ..
There is so much you can learn from everyone you meet ..
And all you have to do is be open to the experience ..

Everyone comes into your life for a reason ..
Some change your life 360 degrees..
And sometimes you bring a magical change into theirs ..

So live each moment and enjoy each morsel of food ..
Take chances..
But remember ..
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts and don't let anyone be reckless with yours..
This is from the Baz Luhrmann song "Everybody's  free to wear sunscreen " that my dearest friend Nikhil Chinnapa introduced me too, eons ago ,that is like a bible for life ..


Well the first part of that sentence I do practice , the second part , is still under construction 
..
Sometimes when you love someone , you trust them , to not be reckless , with your breakable heart , but things always or mostly never go according to plan ..

But you can keep the love ,that is you always glowing ..
Choose to be happy ..
Choose to live life with all your awesomeness..
And remember , to keep coming back here because , we have lots more to talk about to one another over plates of food made with lotsa love ..
Siempre from , "Maria's Kitchen"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

DAY 115 - IN LOVE WITH AN ORANGE ..



And so being a true blue Bombay ( now known as Mumbai) girl..
We had summer, the rains and an excuse for winter..
And through my travels around India and a bit around the world...
I realised that the colours of autumn eluded my colour pallette..
I never really saw trees going from green to ablaze ..
And like any normal human..
I wanted to feel and see what was not in my periphery of vision ..
We are all like that I guess or is it just me ..
What we can't have ,we want ..
So we go after it..
And sometimes in life, we do get what we want, and then don't know what to do with it ..
So like all primates ,we do a deep scrutiny ..
And play with it a bit and then what cannot be consumed, physically or spiritually, is then left , on a by-lane..

So what is it that makes us want something in the first place ..

I think in my limited knowledge of life..
I would say how a person , place , animal or thing makes you feel..

Like my kids make me feel protective..
Spain makes feel totally yummy..
My Taz makes me feel totally adored..
My Madden wedges make me feel comfortable..

I feel if you live life , controlling your feelings , you just don't live..
And I don't mean , give in to your anger, rage and other negatives and burn the country side..
I mean give in to the positives..
Smile more, hug more, reach out more, forgive more, compliment people and love ..

Ok let me just digress a bit and give you this recipe..
I was watching a travel show yesterday and a Jewish feast was being prepared, and I saw this cake being made..
And because I'm in love with the colour orange ( I know what you are thinking , she is Nuts) , this recipe just stuck in my head..

SO THIS RECIPE IS IN MY BOOK, "FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS "AND  IT WILL BE ON THE SHELVES MID OCTOBER..


So while I was baking this cake in my oven, I had a lot of time to just be..
So I'm sitting in my kitchen and  trying to figure stuff in my life ..

So I miss Autumn..
Why ??
Because I never grew up with trees turning a fiery raging orange ..
And somehow that has just made a little nook inside me ..
And now I love the colour orange ..


Because it reminds me of Love ..
Love always evolves..
If it is real love ..
And if it's not , then I guess it takes a walk ..
I think the reason I love Autumn , is because , it's the season of change..
It's the season of shedding your old self and starting anew..
Its allowing yourself to fall, not holdng on..

So yes cut yourself some slack ..
Take a few chances..
Let yourself fall..
I somehow ,am kind of forced to start anew , sometimes..
Because I indulge myself..
I take a few chances..
I let that fiery passionate orange overwhelm me ..
I think it's a nice way to live ..
Whats the worst that could happen ..
It may just not work out ..
And I believe there is great wisdom on every path that we stumbled and fall flat on, that we will eventually find..
And thats what our true essence is..

And frankly, life without a few, not thought through chances , is very very boring..
And I'm very dangerous to myself when bored ha ha ha ..
That why I prefer getting into trouble ha ha ha

Life actually gives us so many chances and paths, we are free to choose..
And we have a chance to go through autumn and come back beautifully new ...
And yes we will come across so many situations in life that will make us want to dance and laugh in the sun and twirl..
And then those that break your insides to smithereens , like ground almonds in a food processor..

But the thing is , the pieces of almonds , do not lose their essence..
They just change form..
So take that chance ..
Dance in flames , till you drop..
Because every time we go through autumn which is so beautiful and raging, we are getting ready for a bare winter..
And then very slowly back into a blooming fragrant Spring and then a smiling summer ...
If nature does this so easily..
Why should it be a Herculean task for us ..

So while I'm sitting in my really hot kitchen..
With Taz for company ..


I'm thinking that in life don't confuse yourself..
Go with what makes you feel happy , without causing anyone else harm ..
And life will be just fine ..

Today I love orange ..
Tomorrow God knows what ..
So I will just go with the flow ..
Infuse a bit of Orange in my everyday and enjoy its warmness..

Sometimes I want what I don't have ..
I want Autumn..
But I'm sitting in a blazing Mumbai summer..ha ha ha ..
And that is my reality..
And it's all good..
Because in my Bay..
I get Alphonso mangoes, that I know are special to my summer ...

Playing with sunshine on a hot summer day ..


So you are getting the drift right...
Ha ha ha now that I have written enough about oranges and Autumns and leaves and feelings..
I'm just going to now bite into my gluten free slice of moist orange yumminess..
It's full of that fresh orange flavour, I can also taste the rind in it ..
It's slightly bitter , but ever so slight..
And filled with a sweetness, that is just enough..


It's like a slice of life lived well, it's browned on the surface, has its share of bitter experiences and yet retains a quaint sweetness and is filled with a moist golden yellow inside that's beams like you cannot stop it...
That is love..
And that should stay in your heart , regardless..

With much love and sun shine...
Always ..
"Maria's Kitchen "...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

DAY 114 - JUNGLEE MUTTON


So in this world of ours  where most things are artificial and have an expiry date..
How do we know who is really real, in this chemically enhanced journey through life.
Or is it like food, the one that is au Naturale does not have too long a shelf life.
So we are then made to believe, that all that is real will not last.
How can we distinguish between the "real " and to put it in the words of Javed Jaffrey ,the "Na-real"..
How would I know..????
I think we just have to go through life, take everyone at face value and continue walking.

And try and live as close to our own truth as possible.
Or rather as close to the secrets we keep.
I know that judgement has to be kept for the last day, like the Bible says..
See I'm Catholic that way..HA HA HA
And frankly , who am I  to judge anyone , anyway ???

But the thing is if I were to meet you in a crowd and smiled at you and you smiled back at me, who is to predict the shelf life of this moment???
Is it fate..??
Or it the actions that you and me take..???

We were born wild..
And then humanity took over, or the lack of it...

But I have realised that you can't tame a heart..
You may adhere to how you have to behave in society..
But have you ever thought of what you would actually do if there was no society to answer to ..



I realise that I love people,but I'm not a crowd pleaser..
I don't have to be nice to someone I may not like..
And so more often than not..
I will just stay away...
There are very few that I may open my heart to...
And I  also know, than when you break your heart, only love can heal it ..

Sometimes in life, I do put on my mask on,and add my artificial sweetener and walk around...
But that does not really last too long..
It's actually just lasts for the duration of a song ..

And so today I just wanna tell you that all that is wild...
May not be as dangerous , as we have been convinced to think ..
It's more a pureness that we are not used to....
And that's why we do not know how to deal with it ..

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a wild animal ..????

The closest I ever came to ,was in Zimbabwe 12 years ago ..
And I was frightened by the sheer physicality of that beautiful lion ..
All it did ,was look at me ..
And me at him..
And those eyes were the most truthful I have ever seen ..
They were raw..
I never understood what they said ..
And in that rawness
There was a connect ..
No I did not want to meet him with no steel gauze to separate us ..
But he looked at peace in his dense forest and at me on the other side..

And so today I want to share with you a recipe that is very basic..
No frills..
No fancies..
What you have ,is what you cook with.

http://youtu.be/Zpe7mDNK9Z8

And while I cooked this...
I wondered ..
What is it about us humans that need a veil..
That need a safety net..
So you can see the other person , but can't really walk to their side..

In my next life ..
I'm going to just be a lioness..
I'm going to hunt when I'm hungry ..
Go to the watering hole when I'm thirsty
Love when I can meet my lion without all these borders and demarcation lines..
And just live ..
Wild and free..

We have a lot to learn in life .

Firstly I have seen that in someways we can be like animals
We all play around with our  prey ,before we destroy their souls..
Sometimes just for fun .and sometimes because we are stronger than them ..
Or then just damaged souls,ourselves.

I'm thinking that we were all born with a purpose in life ..
And no it was not to save the world or another person..
It's just to be the best person we could be .,
And if we were all going to just try and do that ..
This world that we live in , would be a better place ..
Be kind to one another..
That's the least we can start by doing ..
And so as I today make you "Junglee mutton"" ..
I just want to say ..
Keep things simple .
Keep relationships free ,from frills and fancies...
Be real ...
That's all we need to be ..
And like the animals in the wild, don't hunt if you are not hungry..
Don't pretend to love , if love is not what you seek ...


So as I sit here in my corner of the world...
I just want to say , you may be a vegetarian or a non-Vegetarian reading my blog..
And so if I can spill my self here ..
Just write back a line ..
If I touched a string in your heart in some tiny way ..

As for this recipe..
It's yummy..
And I'm not going to be bashful about it ..




Food is like love ..
Half cooked is really s big waste of time of ingredients and emotions ..
If you are going to cook .
Then do it well and with complete indulgence ..
With lotsa love from "Maria's Kitchen "