Friday, September 6, 2013

One for the failures


I know I have shut down myself once again from writing and I cringe at that thought almost everyday I see my blogger button on the menu bar. 7 long months have gone without me penning down my food thoughts in this wonderful space of mine. I went through a lot of ups and downs in my personal front and a 'deeper' down in the food life. After the "kalyana sapadu" my cooking skills have been impaired. After bragging for months about how good I am at the kitchen repeated failures stuck me at the wrong end of life.

The brownie that I used to make often suddenly became the worst challenge ever, a simple kuruma became a vegetable slush, after so much Chinese cooking for years the black soy chicken looked nothing like the 'Chilli chicken' I posted before. I have never felt ashamed about anything but that piece of solid sand bars I called spring rolls, I unfortunately served it to someone too. How can I ever forget the burnt stuffed buns?? I have always been a safe person in the kitchen and the past 2 months saw continues bruises and burns on both my hands. Sigh!!

Ahh!! my bad I think. It sucks to know that the simplest things in life looks extremely complicated and complex. I am not a dot to dot recipe following person but still I used to get good results but suddenly things looked bad and I had to stop.

But I can never explain why some one will want to visit my page. I never check the number of visits or tell anyone about my blogging traits. Facebook has no idea about my blog so does most of  my friends and family. I keep hiding and I have no idea why I should. probably because I am this 'private' person I believe I am. But still I got some page visits, people even commented and I felt real guilty. I felt sorry for this space which needs more love and affection from me.

After so much thought I some how made myself sit down and click the 'new post' button just to stay afloat on the blogging world.

Veena's Acchu

I know I talked about the bad things but very few good things happened too. One good thing I will call : Veena, a typical mallu mother who adores her husband just the same way as I do. We clicked the third day  on a four day trip to Holland and still keeps clicking every day on Skype or in person. This was the time I had finally made myself accept the fact that Geneva was no place to find friends. That is the reason why I took 3 days to accept this women and then there is no turning back.

She by far has no interests what so ever in cooking but that never stopped us from bonding. Even though I talk about my cooking skills, I failed to impress her with the food. The spring rolls happened with her and I stopped talking about food since then. The only thing that we both talk about will be our children. She has a 3 year old and mine is 2 now, the kids like each other so much and that itself aided the friendship. Veena has a lot of friends here in Geneva and I was really not surprised to find that. Since then I have made quiet a good lot of friends who are wonderful and make me happy all the time.

Venna and I often share food these days and I really fell in love with her mother's prawn chutney podi and pulli pickle. I am going to steal the recipe for sure, they sure are generation passing recipes. I might post the pictures if I ever make them :)

Repeat failures means going back to the basic right? Oh ya I have been making a lot of typical south Indian food for a while and it is BORING. But I have no choice and here comes Veena with her idiyappam machine so that I can make myself fall in love with the south Indian noodle again.

 Coming back to the basic means a lot to me, mentally I am preparing to move on and find peace with what ever happened. Somewhere in the near future a prim and proper pie is going to pop up in this blog, if luck permits.

Thin Idiyappams

Idiyappam or string hoppers is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. The only problem here is the acchu or machine we use to press the hoppers. My mum makes thick iddiyapams which I hate so much. I adore the thin iddiyams which is a sight to see at Saravana Bhavan. I always thought it was impossible to find a acchu that will make thin iddiyapams back then. After marriage I never thought of it since we were living under the idly roof and Saravana Bhavan was 1 km away from our house.

After the Geneva moving it was oven, baking, adventure blah blah and never iddiyapam. When Venna told me about hers I was tempted because we no longer live under idly roof and the nearest Saravana Bhavan is 3 hours away in Paris. She gladly lent me her machine which gave super results and tasted yum with the kuruma (my amma's recipe) that somehow made a good appearance after a long time.

Almost a year later mama and I felt home with the iddiyappams. It made our day. Our little two year old is a fussy eater now. She is not in when such magic happens at home and wont give a try. There will always be a  next time with her. She will definitely like it if she eats it.

For me it is more like a ray of hope that will show me the way to continue falling in love with cooking and experimenting. Thank you to all those people who had the heart to read my "stuff" and comment.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The kalyana sapadu ( wedding food )

I am a wedding person and I am definitely not the crying person. I don't cry at weddings, I did not cry at mine, not a single drop. I was one of the HAPPIEST brides ever!!. The fact that two people are committing themselves for a life long journey makes it the best thing. But the 'romantic' person in me will suggest falling in love be the first best thing, it is always the most craziest thing, ever. 

Lets go to this wedding thingy, mine was a typical south Indian ARRANGED marriage and with not so many rituals to bother about. It sucks for me :(. I love traditions and customs and rituals in a wedding, they make the wedding for me. When some one is getting married, either friend and family I never go to the receptions but the wedding which is the most glorious thing to watch. I love getting dressed up too, that's mainly cuz I am a little girly :p. In India weddings are celebrated the way they should. Every region has its own way of celebrating the union and how I wish to witness all of those different weddings to just have the kick of it. I have been begging mama to marry me again, christian style gown and all. He wont will he??

I suck at photography !!

Leaving the wishes apart the best thing about any wedding will be the FOOOOD, I have added two more'o's to specify its importance and presence. The whole of Tamil Nadu will have the same menu for the wedding I guess, its been the same all the time. Kerala weddings too have the almost same except for the number of payasams and few sides. I remember eating six varieties of payasam for Kannan chittapa's wedding.

I even remember so many of my friends wanting to book the same food cater (who catered for my wedding) for their weddings too, it was THAT good:) Even though the reception food was grand the wedding day food is the most precious one to me. This is because mama and I were eating together for the first time as a MARRIED couple and we had this small custom which is the highlight of all. The bride should serve the groom food, you know it is like getting the right to serve him food for life long. Believe me I took it very seriously. Till date I don't let mama serve food for him( unless and until I am away or we are on a fight), I get so angry that he CALLs me to do it for him :).

It has been a long time since I went for a wedding and ate the wedding food. I keep telling mama to find out if any one of his friends at work are getting married. Looks like most of them have got married and the one's who might get married are not close enough to invite.

Reliving memories are not very easily done but we somehow pulled it this year. Since 2009, the 13th of every December has become the most unforgettable day of our lives. The day the knot was tied, three times. The day my name, my address and my life changed forever. I cannot describe with words what I felt that day  even now, after 3 years.

But I can describe what happened the next 13th, the wonderful 1st anniversary. Mama took me to see the Taj Mahal, isn't that wonderful?? But the funniest thing is that we fought all the way. We stayed at Pat anna and Pavi mami's place in Delhi and drove in their car to Agra. I don't remember how the fight started but it lasted for two full days, even in front of the Taj Mahal, so embarrassing I know. The other two had no idea how to settle it between us, poor them. I don't remember anything else other than us arguing in the flight back home the following night. Oh it is a nightmare and I really wish to go back to the Taj and come out with good memories.

The next anniversary was supposed to be nice. We were all packed to travel to Geneva. Mama would come on the 10th celebrate the 13th and take us by 15th. How simple was that?. I guessed wrong again. Mama came home with some kind of a food allergy and he looked like he was bit by insects all over his body. He was red and bloated and I was SHIT scared. I remember running to the hospital the next thing he landed and it continued for a week that followed. In between all this mama was WORKING day and night. I felt so much let down and sad that whole week. Poor poor mama, he lived on steroids. I really did not imagine me setting foot in Geneva, ever. The nightmare had another face now. It was a miracle that we some how made it here and the memory of mama all blown up will be the joke of the day. On the day of our anniversary I wore my wedding silk saree to just feel what I felt as a bride two years back. It was the moment for the day for me.

This year when the date neared mama asked me what I wanted. I asked him for a proper candle light dinner in one of the 'fancy' restaurants right away. It has really been two years since we went out for a proper dinner, just the two of us and I really miss the first year sometimes. There is no use blaming the baby and she has always been good to us. The only question mama asked was "What about Babbi?" I said "She will sleep". Even though we have moved forward in so many things we were still not comfortable with a babysitter. I was actually planning to cut her afternoon nap so that so will go to sleep in the evening and wake up to have dinner then play and sleep. And she will sleep all through the dinner and wake up while coming home. We had to keep our fingers crossed right from the start. As a thumb rule mama did not tell me where he was going to take us.

We planned nothing else as it was a working day and mama had to go to the office. But I promised myself that I will bring back some memories for us by cooking the whole wedding meal within three hours. I planned for a week of what the menu should be. Since all of them are typical south Indian dishes I had to walk up and down to the Sri Lankan store in minus degrees. God was seriously trying to help me cuz it is impossible to find banana leaf in Geneva out of all places and I found a perfect banana leaf (from Thailand)  that will bring back so many fine memories.

Having planned for an elaborate meal I needed so much support from the baby. If it is one of her cranky days I am done for good and if she hits or bangs herself  then I wont even have a simple lunch on the table. It is like usual in my family to cook ten items for important days and so they felt nothing cool about my idea. My GM still cooks all the ten for her anniversary so I cannot brag about it to her. Since she is my recipe support calls from Geneva flew to India very often that week. When I finalized the menu it looked long and surprisingly appetizing for mama when read from his shoes.

The list goes on with

Shallot and green chili pachadi
Okra curd kichadi
Cabbage thoran
Urad dal vada
Parupu Payasam

not bad right? It is really not hard to cook all these. The only thing is pre planning the vegetables : cut and stored in the fridge the day before.

The day started with mama and I exchanging our gifts right after midnight when Babbi was all asleep. This is important because it is impossible to admire anything with a cranky\ sleepy baby no matter what. The break fast was white chocolate sauce with croissant  a real french breakfast. Mama had to zoom to office, he promised to stay a little more during lunch since he knew I was into something. 

Then started the madness of running, I had to cook all these in three hours. I somehow cooked everything except the urad dal vada since I wanted it to be pipping hot while serving. The only item that caused problem was the payasam, it tasted good but sat on the plate like jam rather than its usual liquid state.

After washing and wiping the banana leaf clean I pinged mama to come home and he replied a OK.My heart was beating so fast since I had no idea how he will react. I really felt happy because it was the first time that I had cooked like a maniac and made so many dishes in such a short time. 

Mama had no words, first he was surprised and next completely moved. He was so proud of me and I was so proud of my little baby who had actually given her gift in her own way by being good and allowing me to cook.

So it happened the lunch that was so complete and enchanting. we were full of memories of the day that went by 3 years ago. The best part was when I ate from the same leaf that mama ate. It is another part of tradition which I find very romantic. Mama was not very happy about my choice but I was too happy to bother. We do share our plates mostly since I am too lazy to wash another plate :P but the leaf was going to the trash.

As for the dinner, it was FANCY: much more that what I asked for. If you are dining at Kempinski, then you will know the real meaning of FANCY. Thank you so much Mama. I had no idea why my baby was being so wonderful that day, she slept the whole dinner time and the moment she got up we RAN like hell!!