Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend blogging, pizza sauce and pancakes

Another weekend gone by and comes Monday and with it, the wait for Saturday. But this weekend was different with many tasks being done. The most important was getting Netlon fixed. Well, measurements of the windows and exhaust fans are taken and tomorrow we will have a lizard proof house. Or so I hope. On Saturday, the inverter guy also came to install the inverter. The whole day went by just like that with people coming all the time to do some or the other work.
In the mean time I managed to prepare pizza for lunch. I had the pizza base ready, prepared the pizza sauce and used baked beans, capsicum, onion and mozzarella cheese for the topping. I got ready made breakfast that day with Anurag preparing bread-omelets and tea. Couldn't have had a better start to the day. Got out of bed and voila! Breakfast is ready, courtesy hubby dearest. We also managed to watch a movie on DVD in the afternoon with a few breaks in between. In the evening I was too full to eat anything. We went for a long walk and after that I had ice-cream while Anurag had bhelpuri and sev puri.
On Sunday morning, I made an English breakfast of pancakes topped with honey/jam. My first attempt at it and it was really tasty. Might become our Sunday special breakfast. Watched some TV and had a leisurely bath. For lunch, I made chole, rice and pudina flavored curd. Slept in the afternoon, watched 'Pirates of the Caribbean' in the evening, had dinner and again a long walk.
On Friday night, I had prepared lauki-beetroot halva. Came out pretty well.
A satisfying weekend. Though it did not come without its share of ‘Sunday evening blues’. I think what was great about the weekend was that I and Anurag got to talk. Hey, I don’t mean we don’t talk but to have spare time and to talk about things in general is a luxury. Otherwise everyday talk is limited to ‘wake up’, ‘what’s for breakfast’, ‘don’t forget to take your mobile to work’, or any thing which needs to be discussed. During and after the long walk on Saturday, we talked about our childhood, about the people in our lives....I came to know about problems people have in their lives. Someone has a mentally-retarded grownup child, someone’s mother-in-law doesn’t like her and is giving her a tough time, someone’s wife has gone mad even after giving birth to four children leaving the children deprived of mother’s love. Also of illnesses and how the illnesses were taken care of with pure love. Might not have saved a dying person but sure must have made them feel better. It was like an eye-opener for me. I always felt I have a blessed life. I had never seen people suffering. Almost felt like Prince Siddhartha (Buddha) who was unaware of things outside his palace. Well, I definitely knew poverty, suffering, misery existed but never knew anyone who has suffered. Really scares me as to how would I ever deal with anything but a rosy life.

Now to get into my recipe guru ‘avtaar’. How to make pizza sauce and pancakes? Fret not , recipe guru to your rescue :) Here’s how I made them.
I have come up with a pizza sauce recipe which I really like and it never fails me. Here it is :
In a pan, heat some oil, add 5-6 peppercorns, 3 cloves, a bayleaf, half an inch dalchini stick, 1 medium onion chopped, 6 cloves of garlic, sauté till onions are transparent, add 3 medium tomatoes chopped. Add salt, sugar, chilli flakes. Cover and cook till tomatoes are done. Now blend it with a hand blender. I removed the bayleaf before that as I was not sure whether it would mix. Use it for pizza, sandwich. I even used it for making gravy for vegetable.
Do try the pancakes if you like egg. It has a unique texture and tastes yummy. I used 2 eggs beaten with 4 teaspoons of sugar. Added about 4 tablespoons of flour, pinch of salt, vanilla essence, about a tablespoon of milk and beat some more till completely blended. Then heat a pan. Spread a little bit of ghee on it and pour a bit of the batter. Pancakes are generally thick unlike dosas. Cover and cook till done on one side on slow flame. Turn and cook the other side. My pancakes didn’t need any prodding to separate from the pan. They came out on their own. That's one way of knowing whether its done. Once out of the pan, spread some honey or jam on it, fold and serve hot. Perfect to start a weekend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Experiments in Cooking and Me - II

Another cooking experiment born out of boredom of eating cabbage the same old way. Anurag loves cabbage so I make it often though not as often as he would like :)
It is specially made after he is made a scapegoat for many of my experiments and I have to make up for it. I do not have any aversion to cabbage but making it the same old way with potatoes every time makes me run away from it.
Yesterday was one such day meant to make cabbage. Since I am back from my vacation, I hadn’t prepared a proper home cooked meal. So this was the way to start on a right note or was it?
I wanted some kick in my cabbage not the plain old cabbage with only few masalas for flavor. I had on impulse picked up some pudina, a raw mango on my vegetable shopping spree. Yes...I am going to add these to the cabbage.
It had to be completely different. I had started out with the idea of adding capsicum and peas instead of potato but what resulted finally was better cabbage sabzi than I had ever made before. At least that is what I thought.
I had left office early yesterday so I had time to cut the cabbage into neat thin strips. I don’t like using food processor for cabbage as it makes it too tiny. Do you too face the same problem?
Ok, so I cut about one small cabbage, I cut a capsicum into small pieces. I grated one medium carrot. I cut the raw mango into very small pieces. I could have grated it but I like cutting more than grating :)
I heated oil in a wok. Added jeera, ajwain, til, saunf to it. All on the spur of the moment. Some haldi, chilli powder goes in. Then the cabbage, capsicum and carrot. Sauté on high heat for about a minute and cover.
Now add little bit of cut raw mango. About 7-8 chopped pudina leaves, salt, sugar, dhaniya powder. Cover till done. A beautiful aroma fills the kitchen. Anurag arrives from office and asks "Pudina ki sabzi hai kya" :)
It looks as beautiful as it smells. Carrot adds nice color to it and cutting veggies neatly does make a difference in the beauty of the final dish.
The saunf added a good flavor. I could have left ajwain out I believe, maybe next time. I couldn't figure any difference in taste due to sesame seeds. Maybe it was too less to lend itself to the dish.
But overall, I really liked the taste. Slightly tangy with a hint of saunf. Best part is it cooks quickly. Only the preparation takes time.
Another good experiment. But I think I liked it more than Anurag did.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

My vacation and a Survery

I am writing a post after a long time. I had gone home for a week. I had a great time and ate all the good food and relaxed a lot. I hope life could always be like, sleep and make merry. I know it cannot be and it is fine because I don’t have any major regrets about the way life is right now.
On the flight home, an old man was sitting next to me. He had a bag full of papers. He was going through the papers and discarding some of them and putting some of them back...hopefully arranging it. He finished doing it about 15 mins before landing. But he was the most restless person I had seen, He couldn’t sit still for even the few minutes. He opened the tray table and started looking at the papers again and then writing something. The air hostess had to ask him to put up the table and sit straight. He looked really sad about sitting without doing anything. He must have been glad to get off the aircraft.
I also had a nice time shopping there in Gujarat. It was a great experience compared to the shopping experience here in Bangalore. You can bargain, you can choose from a huge variety. The shopkeepers there are really interested in selling their stuff and they try to make a personal connection and help you decide among a mountain of clothes. That's what makes shopping fun.The biggest problem with buying clothes in Bangalore is that in sometime everyone around you will be wearing similar dresses.

There is one more purpose to this post as the title suggests - a survey :) If you have read the blog, you have a fair idea on what I feel about babies. I want to know from you - married, or unmarried, with children or without children, men or women, boys or girls :)
Do you want to have babies? Why?
Please leave your comments with your views on why would you want to be a parent/why would you not want to be a parent.
I just want to know the thoughts in general. Because I am not able to figure out reasons for having children. I really feel people with children are not able to live the way they would like to. Also, there is already enough stress in our lives, why add the stress of raising children. I know most of you would not agree, that is why I want to know why you think I am wrong. And those of you who agree with me, please leave those comments also. I would be glad to know we share similar views.