Friday, March 28, 2008

In a Pearing Hurry!

My creation for AFAM-Pears looked like sludge, though a rather pinky, pretty version, and it held great literary possibilities for my blog. The dramatic sentence that was supposed to be the opening line of this post crumpled and withered under the pressures of the day, and I had reckoned without that great leveler and humbler – the Internet.

The Net seems to beat you to every smart, original thing you wanted to say or write or cook up. If Slush can be something edible, so can sludge, I told myself, thinking it was a sentence with great potential that would develop during the day. Sludge, I thought, was my creation, the name, at least, but Google ‘Sludge Recipe’, and voila, there’s a multitude leaping out at you.

This was intended to be a pear-apple-oats-and more smoothie for breakfast but I was too lazy to reach for the oats, so I cored a pear and an apple and whizzed them in the mixer with four tablespoons of curds/yoghurt and a spoon of honey.

Once I tasted it, I decided it needed more texture and added a few broken walnuts to it. (I didn't whiz it then - the broken walnuts stayed whole, if you know what I mean.)

Then I photographed it for a while.

Then I slurped it up with a spoon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Testing My Metal

Idli stand

This is the first time I'm participating in Click, and of the several tens of photographs I clicked for this event, this seemed the best. I cast it in sepia because it's one of the oldest breakfasts I know and the appliances in this photo - the idli stand and the pressure cooker - are hoary old fixtures in most South Indian homes.

My recipe for idlis is one of the easiest, and fail-proof: Buy the batter from the store, oil the idli stand, fill it with some batter and steam it for about 10-12 minutes in the pressure cooker. Let cool and unmould. :-D

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This is a trip that I missed. To one of my father's native villages. Dad took these pictures when they all went there for a weekend three months ago.

The last time I went was over ten years ago - we went in a tractor to the estuary, and from there by boat to the sea to immerse my great-grandmother's ashes. A very young cousin, then barely seven, in a brook-no-nonsense voice, stated, "She is dead" (in English, mind you) when somebody sentimentally mentioned my great-grandmother's life in the hereafter, and my grandfather yelled at my uncle who ruminated, as practical as he was fatalistic, that if we drowned, it would have to be at that point in the journey because the sea was the deepest there.

View from the house

Misty morning

Tranquil backyard

Colourful boats

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pickled Link

Ageing pickle
swirled into batter
Its oil crisping this crepe.

I’ve been whetting Srivalli's curiosity about my entry for her Dosa Mela. Well, this is it!

The batter is plain, good old dosa batter, bought from a store, in my case. The pickle is home-made mango pickle, brought from home last year. Considering that most of my recipes of late have been entries for various events, this follows in that new tradition.

Method: Take a ladleful of batter, place it on the tawa/griddle. Put a spoonful of pickle in the centre and now begin spreading the dosa.

Once you’ve spread it to the extent you like, take a spoonful of oil from the pickle (most traditional pickles are steeped in oil, as photo linked above will show) and drizzle it around the circumference.

Wait till the underside gets crisp and the upper is spongy and cooked. If you like, you can turn over and crisp the other side too! And I didn't find the need to eat it with any accompaniments like chutney or sambar - if I eat a dosa, it's with mango or lime pickle anyway. This is ... uh ... an integrated solution, have I got the jargon right?

For a tutorial on dosa making, see Asha's post here

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lazy Potatoes

Lazy days are great for food – you can start something in a desultory manner, with the odds and ends that you have at home, and end up with a stunner. This case owes its existence to a telephonic argument with a friend on which city, hers or mine was better (so what if it's full of traffic, even your city is no better, at least in my city traffic moves, in yours it doesn't, and it's so hot, but my city is good for people with allergies, their allergies go off, i hate the thought of moving to your city, and so on and so forth), someone at the door demanding our attention, snatching bits of a TV show, a late breakfast, and cooking and peeling the potatoes – all this time the onions were lying frying in the pan, attended to only now and then, and that's what really made this dish what it was.


Baby potatoes: 500 gm
Onions: 2, minced
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Chilli powder: 2 tsp
Curry leaves: 2-3 sprigs
Salt: to taste
Mustard seed: 2 tsp
Black gram dal, split, hulled (urad dal): 3 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Dry red chilli: 2-3, split
Oil: 2 -3 tbsp

Boil/pressure cook the potatoes until just tender. This takes about two whistles in a small pressure cooker. When the pressure drops, open the cooker, drain the potatoes and cool.

In a pan, heat the oil.

Pop the mustard seed, then add the cumin, black gram and dry red chilli.

As the black gram turns brown and the chilli a bright red, add the curry leaves and the onion.

Saute the onion for a couple of minutes. Turn down the heat to minimum. Let the onion fry.

Meanwhile, start peeling the potatoes. This can take a while, so keep turning the onions to prevent them from burning.

At some stage, or simply when you get tired of turning, add the turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to the pan, mix well. Let fry again for a while.

Now, after you’re done peeling the baby potatoes, add them to the pan. Mix them well with the contents. Raise the heat a little and keep turning the potatoes. This just depends on your patience. The more you persevere, the better the result.

When it looks nice and well-coated with all the spices, and you decide you have better things to do on a Sunday than keep going into the kitchen to make a sinful dish that you’re better off not eating, turn off the fire and end the endeavour right there!

This goes off to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kel of Green Olive Tree.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Drinking From The Blogs

Watermelon, guts spilt,
Limes, strangled
Ginger, skinned, bruised,
Blended, strained
A glorious whole.

That’s haiku for you, at least in spirit, if not in form! Now that I’ve revealed the ingredients and method in a most sublime manner, go find the proportions in the original recipe here. I adapted Prema’s prescription to suit my lazy and sugar-free self, and I didn’t miss the sugar at all. (Neither did my guinea pigs, both avowed sugar-lovers.)

This goes to sassy Sig at Live to Eat – she’s hosting MBP for Coffee.

If you missed the AFAM-Pomegranate round-up, it’s right here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Peels, Eats and Leaves - The AFAM Round-Up

Will a dish with seeds count, she asked on chat. Of course, I used leaves, for Heaven's sake, the other she said. Not only seeds, leaves and even peels were used in the making of this event. And hopefully, no egos are going to be harmed in the making of it, either - I've listed the entries in the order I received them, and used as many of the photos as possible. A couple of you didn't send photos and a couple of you sent me photo links which I didn't know how to use or explore - anyway, I'd taken care of the escape clause in the AFAM announcement. Let me know if I've goofed somewhere, will remedy it as soon as possible.

Also, as I'm fairly new at round-ups and have done just one other, do you have any tips to offer on how it can be done easier? I guess I should have created a post as soon as I received the first entry, and should have kept updating it as the mails came in, but I didn't. So this took a while and seemed like a lot of hard work. How do you do round-ups?

First in the line is my friend from my home state - now don't charge me with nepotism, regionalism, communalism, etc, she just happened to be the first - and I've been having fun leaving long Telugu comments on her blog. She made this beauty of a drink.

Next came she - her name makes me think of gardens and garlands, and her blog reminds me of the king and queen, separated by a curse, the former having to spend some time as a chef in another kingdom. Would spiced rubies look like this? Find out how she came by this treasure.

From her comes a post full of information on the significance of pomegranate in her culture. And an unusual dish as well.

Doesn't Bill Gates have taste, or doesn't he know a good thing if it meets him in the elevator? Otherwise why on earth wouldn't he pay her any attention? Do you think this dish would have made a difference?

Leftovers and Photoshop both inspired her to make this - isn't it pretty? Head here for a cooling lunch.

Next is a dish which effectively pinpointed the seed of the problem. Find out how this blogger finally found the formula for a favourite dish of her DH. And there's more here.

This meal-sized salad is a riot of colour and does very nicely for a winter salad. Find out how she made it.

Elegance in a posh glass, thanks to the blog. Find out how she achieved it, happily.

Discover where pomegranate comes in in this toast she makes to the power of love!

In their own words, they are at least XX-rated, and it's very much an affair of the tart.

This is one heck of a tangy, fruity, star-studded treat that she came up with.

Colour me pink, the rice called out to her, and she did.

A good snack and an instant hit, that's what she said they were!

A chole bhatura is the test of any restaurant's cuisine for her friend but the friend's recipe proved lucky for her.

Inspired by a book she was reading, this blogger laid out a Persian spread, and a brilliant soup is part of it.

"A doddle to make", these pomegranate and crystallised ginger muffins. Check out the recipe here.

Curiouser and curiouser. In this dish, our fruit of the month is paired with walnut. Go here to find another dish with the influence of the Mediterranean.

Not quite ice-cream, but let the picture fool you! Find this exotic combination here.

The arils go on to garnish wholewheat muffins in this dish. Look at her lovely photos - you can even see the fibre in the wheat, or that's what it looks like!

Check out these all vegetarian muffins from a blogger who has a lovely pomegranate as her profile picture.

And now it's a pudding in muffin cups. How did she come by them?

More pudding, and the base is bread. She certainly got creative!

Check out this pomegranate feast - nothing prissy about it!

An old favourite, brightened by the ruby red of the fruit. Find it here.

Logically, it should have been a shade of pink, but it surprised her by turning green!

A new blogger's first-ever entry to a blog event, and an unusual one at that!

An unusual element of the pomegranate makes its way into this dish. If you have the runs, learn from her!

This salad is this new blogger's first event entry. Check it out!

When "a slight grumbling of the tum" combines with an unwillingness to make a snack, she found this recipe soothed.

An everyday dish becomes an experience in this entry. Scurry over to her blog to find out more.

Check out this riot of colour at her blog. It's really a visual feast, and emerged after she thought long and hard.

Her first attempt went to seed, but another has all the trappings of the exotic, rice, juice, lentils et al.

And she leaves!