Monday, February 21, 2011

Today's Menu is.....

Having digested many recipe books in bits, pieces and glossy versions, I made Shanghai Fried Rice, Mixed vegetables in Oyster sauce and Bread Pudding. The first two turned out really well, the flavors and colors came alive and just tasted awesome. The pudding - I've kept it to set in the fridge - lets see how it will turn out - it smells divine though.

Reminds me of a quote by Voltaire, "Nothing could be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

What do you think?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Story of Lord Krishna & a Thief

Long, long ago, when robbery and burglary were harmless, respectable professions (no thanks to Robin Hood) that did not involve beheading or killing innocent people, there lived a good thief. Now, don’t misunderstand, we call him good because he had a good heart and well, being a thief was just a temporary situation of sorts, if you know what I mean. 
The thief hid in a house where a scholar was expounding on the MahaBhagawatham, the story of  Lord Krishna. The scholar was describing the enchanting beauty of Krishna and Balaram and listing details of the jewelry and clothes that they wore. The thief could think of nothingelse. He had to find the two kids and grab their ornaments. He jumped out of his hiding place and demanded to know the address of the two children.

The poor scholar, who feared for his life more than anythingelse, told the thief that the kids lived in Mathura. The thief set off to find them.
Day and night, he searched for them, their beautiful forms were in his mind and heart. All he could think was of finding them. He ate no food and drank no water, such was his determination to find them. Days passed like this and he was ready to collapse.
Just then, the two boys appeared before him in all their splendor. Seeing Krishna, the thief was completely enchanted by His ethereal beauty and smile. The thief said, “I wanted your jewels but seeing you, I realize all I ever wanted was to continue gazing at you. I no longer want your jewels.”
Krishna blessed the thief and said, “You have been truly seeking me. I am pleased by your relentless love and concentration, so I have come.” Krishna and Balaram put their jewels in a bundle and gave it to the thief. They vanished.
The thief went to the scholar and gave him the jewels, stating, “I no longer want the jewels. You can have them.”
The scholar said, “I too don’t want the jewels. But I have a request – can you take me to Brindavan and show me a glimpse of Krishna? I’ve never seen Krishna.”
Do you see the irony of it? The thief was the real seeker – he could not rest or eat without seeing Krishna,  whereas the scholar spent his life around preaching about Krishna, not feeling or experiencing the same longing to see Krishna as the thief did.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dinner Ready: Strawberry Souffle is for Dessert

I have to admit that I havent done in cooking in a long, long time. Not because I don't like to but because I usually have no time and I really need time to get into cooking mode.

So, today, I decided I wanted to cook. I knew that I wanted to do something special and fun. Yet I wanted to also keep it simple.

I made Vegetable Biriyani, Cashew Chicken curry (courtesy: Lathika George's amazing cookbook titled 'The Suriani Kitchen') and Strawberry Souffle. Except for the Biriyani, I was making the other two for the first time and I had serious fears that they would turn out less than palatable, because I have very little faith in my culinary skills these days.

Finally, everything was done and before I got an opportunity to taste it to check if everything is ok, Hubby rings the bell. Whoops! I was nervous. I rushed to open the door, and everything happened so fast coz Adi was screaming, somebodyelse was at the door, I got a call and what not. Hubby had dinner before I could say 'cheese'.

Guess what? Hubby loved it. He said, "You should do cooking more often. The chicken curry is amazing. I loved it." 

I didn't tell him how worried I was when I put the cashew paste and yoghurt into the pressure cooker and waited for it to cook and when it was cooked, it had no color - coz it was a totally white curry - as given in Latha George's naadan recipe - and it didn't reassure me because I am used to rich, deep red type of gravies that go so well when making chicken. I was feeling let down by the color though the expert author assures readers that it is the taste and the whiteness that gives this curry its awesome flavors, particularly if you have it with appams or puttu or just toasted bread.

I was over the moon coz I know that unless it was really good, I wouldn't be hearing this. So, I said, with sudden confidence, "Guess what is for dessert? Strawberry Souffle." 

Of course, he knew that I had never made a souffle in my whole life! When the strawberries were cooking in milk, I was having multiple heart attacks coz I feared something would go wrong. Then, when I folded in the cream, I deviated from the original recipe and added coffee powder and cornflakes that I beat smoothly into the cream and then folded it into the strawberry mixture. It was on the spur of the moment. I know that good cooks can take such risks but not amateurs. Still, I was lucky - it turned out very very well.

Hubby tasted the souffle and yes, he was delighted. I am glad I made what I did - though confidence is still in lower case:)

Well, it was a hard day's work for me - and I got a loving hug and a kiss - what more can I ask from life - this, my dear friends, is family bliss.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Young at heart Census Lady

Yesterday morning, a middle aged lady came home. She came to take the Census survey. Courteous, well spoken and warm, she asked about the details she needed to complete the survey.

I had to sign on the paper with the date. I looked at her, enquiringly for the date.

She smiled, and said, "How can you forget today's date? It's Valentine's day. You young people should be celebrating, isn't it?"

I turned red. Some people are blessed enough to be young at heart. I looked back at myself, wondering whether the years of this rebellious romantic spirit that had once been mine has gone - somewhere down the line, I have become more serious about my life, like a typical Indian mom, and I guess I am more Indian than I'd imagined. 

Celebrate Love, Not Valentine's Day!

In my growing up days (don't read it as synonymous with getting old and demented please), Valentine's Day had no importance. My parents didn't celebrate it but they have always been in love. My grandparents probably never heard of it but I believe they loved and respected each other too. And myself? Growing up, I thought it was a day when we got a legitimate excuse to watch adults do a lot of kissing and more on TV, and they called it romantic movies, of course. Now, they've even done away with that cheap thrill...they have it in every song, ad and whatever, you fear what you will see on TV than anythingelse, especially if your kids are around!

Today. it's truly different in India. My friends and I in law college marked our protest for this day by wearing only black, while others wore red. Of course, all three of us had love marriages but my point is - preach against love, you will end up doing the opposite in life:)

But anyway, I always found these celebrations and so called declarations of what each person gets as a Valentines gift very frivolous. You don't need a day or a bunch of cards to celebrate your love for some one special - you've got a lifetime to express it in words, thoughtful gestures and by being there to share the dreams and aspirations that brought you together. 

Today's kids, as young as five, seem completely bought into the Valentine's Day concept (oh no, that's my baby's age!)  and they know about it so early and probably in a couple of years, (god forbid!) my son will be ordering flowers online for gal(s) with a great deal of enthusiasm! 

Ok, lets cut the chase and here's my message for you - If you love some one deeply, be ready for a fun filled roller coaster ride wherein the chances to get deeply hurt are much more probable than anythingelse. If you don't get hurt, then, you need to wonder, "Is this love?" 

Real love hurts a lot because you will always give more than you want to get, you will claim very little in return because you see yourself in the other person more; you learn to live for the other person more than yourself and on the way or in the course of life, you may give up your dreams to have new ones in its place and none of it is truly yours to take coz the moment you lost your heart, you lost yourself to someonelse for a better, happier and wiser YOU.

So, yes, go out there and celebrate love, don't pay a huge price for it. Real love doesn't survive on expensive things, it survives on simplicity and understanding. Little moments of shared joy and pain....those make all the difference to a woman's, that's the secret to happy love.

Enjoy and let me get back to the romantic flicks on TV - never could resist'em!


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