Monday, March 26, 2012

One for the past :)

Icing: for the 1st time

Few days back I was checking my orkut profile (after a year, I am a FB addict)  and saw my albums in there. I had pictures of the cakes I baked during college. That’s when I conceived with this new thought.

This post is to rekindle my memories related to food as a kid. When I was six or seven making mud-pies and flower curries was a daily routine with my neighbor friends. My grandparents had a big garden those days so it was fun picking flowers, leaves and small berries to play with. I used to steal flour, milk, vegetables from amma's kitchen for my cooking. It was fun till I got caught. Then my parents got me a new baby brother to play ( read fight) with and i stopped making pies :p.

Marble cake

 During most of my teens it was just making omelets and occasional fried Maggi. I did not like cooking at all. Going to school, finding friends, fighting with my brother, trying to study, watching cartoon and much more was going on then.

It was during college that the miracle happened. Amma got herself a conventional oven to bake cake. That's when I remembered a big fact that amma used to bake, when I was very small. I used to sit near her and watch her take out her big oven (round, somewhat an ancient model) and wipe it. It used to take up a big space in the cupboard. She also had a big recipe book from which most of her food came from. She would take out a big chunk of avin butter and slowly beat it into the right consistency. Then the eggs will be beaten for while and the other ingredients will go in after checking her book. Then she would place the cake mix in her oven and set the temperature. We would  sit near the oven and wait for the cake to raise and get shape. She would say that electricity is the most important thing and if the current fails the cake flops. Nostalgic, I can still smell the cake. All this will happen in the late nights, amma's specialty.

Banana cake

She also made butter biscuits, jams, squashes and her own ketchup. The saddest part is that no one in my house realized its worth. I did not eat the cake or the biscuits, it was not shop brought. She made them for me and I did not appreciate the value of it. Appa, I guess never bothered to tell anything. One fine day she packed all her equipments and sent them to the loft and never baked again. That's it, end of sad story :P

Oats cookies- hot from the oven!!

So after years she got the spirit back and this time she did not bake, I did. It was my friend Roobaja who gave me the idea. She got Nita Mehta's cook book from her cake baking friend Aliah Hoda and we were so tempted to bake one ourselves. So the operation 'cake-bake' began and it turned out well. We were jumping in joy to see our first cake raise and take shape, its always a joy for me to stand next to the oven see the fruits of my labor. Amma was really proud of me and my brother gorged the cake in two hours. What more do I need?

My birthday cake :)

So it started, my love for baking. All the birthdays in my family was topped with a home baked cake and everyone loved it. I always bake Oil cakes cuz they are much lighter than the butter cakes and I did not find any difference in the taste. Seeing my interest amma got me different molds to make cakes. She went one step further and got a Philips hand mixer which was a tad bit costly then. It's so special to me that I carry it everywhere I go. Even when I flew to Geneva I made sure it was traveling with me, not bothering mama's hesitation about the weight.

Love-cake for You-Know-Who

Geneva has been nice to me till date when it comes to baking. I tried my hands on so many things, not just cakes but pies, croissants, naans and stuffed buns. They were quiet a success I will say cuz mama got me three molds and a piping cone this valentines day :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

This one's for you, poo:)

  Poornima is the poo this post is dedicated to. We share a very special 'bond' that grows stronger everyday. She is one of those rarest 'finds' from college who thinks I make sense when I tell her something, normally considered to be crap by others.We have very similar interests and all that we talk interests the both of us. It seldom happens with others inclusive of mama. During college we spent n number of hours standing in the corridor talking and laughing. We did not hang out much or stayed in the same group throughout college. It was like on and off all the time but that never affected what we felt for each other and 'opening up' was made easy. I have some of my best college memories with her, the foremost being the day I got  placed. She stayed the whole day waiting, motivating and praying so that I get-through. I owe you one poo :)

She flew to the US to do her masters soon after college. Since then we are again on and off through gtalk and Skype. When I told her about the blog she was damn excited about it. She even told me about how she has fallen in love with cooking and the various healthy recipes she cooks everyday. I wish could eat them some day, it will be a fantastic reunion:)

It was poo who suggested the word 'burritos' to me, yes here we come to the food part this blog is all about. I was telling her that I had no clue about the tex-mex cuisine which I very badly wanted to try. Since I am a food fanatic my eyes are always glued to the TV when there is a food show. Top chef, Master chef, Food safari, Bizarre foods, Man vs food, Nigella express and much much more, huh!! those were the days when all time was my time. It was Maeve O'Meara's Food safari show that made me fall in love with the tex-mex cuisine. I was heavily pregnant by then and I was not in for trying new food.

Yellow and Red : Tex-Mex

 But once I came here my search for a restaurant that serves the cuisine started, but still haven't found one:(. So when Poo told me that very special word I have no idea about I looked for it in immediately :). This website is a wonderful place, full of food recipes I have no idea about. It gave a me fair idea on what burritos is. But still I ended up making a different dish, meaning i did not do the traditional burrito wrap. I some how got lost, lol.

That was appetizing :)

I am a frequent visitor to Migros and Coop (the nilgires or wal mart in Swiss) with Babbi, our 'outgoing' time. So I had a fair idea about the ingredients the website was talking about.Mama was surprisingly excited about my idea. Ever since the blog he seem to have broadened his food choices and readily agrees to my crazy plans.

 I got some Fajita spice mix, some chunky salsa and ready made flour tortillas (12CHF in a bang). The salsa sauce was extra hot version and the fajita spice mix was the less spicy version (was not able to find a hotter version). Poo mentioned some black beans and I had no idea where to find them fresh since I am not a tin-friendly person. So I cooked some chickpeas and rajma beans which were a very good alternative owing to our unfamiliarity with the food's actual taste.

I planned to serve them for the dinner and did not think of an alternative in case of a failure, fingers crossed. 

Everything was clear about the making. Youtube and Google has never let me down when it comes to such adventures. With the help of two videos from Youtube ( how to make a tortilla and how to wrap a tortilla) it was all done in minutes. I just had to cut some onions and green peppers, add them to the beans and pour the salsa, add the spice mix and heat them for some time. There you go my mix/stuffing was ready. The tortillas were so soft and I was very careful not to tear them. Wrapping was fun and then I toasted them to seal the shape. In some of my tortillas I added cheese, it seriously adds glam to the food.

Wrapped up 

Something that started as a burrito ended up looking like a postcard. But my only concern was the taste. It is mandatory for mama to try anything I cook first, its been happening ever since I started cooking. He mocks me a little about this fact but I don't mind as long as he does the 'tasting'.

The last one

He did like them and he ate the whole thing in a go, that's mainly because I didn't make a proper lunch that day. Another trick of mine that mostly works. Anyways it was a good dinner and it was so easy to make just like how Nigella makes things in a jiffy.