Saturday, 30 June 2012

Deciding a Menu (Chilly Garlic Fries today!)

I am a bookworm and a food fanatic. For me, it’s (almost) like Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. He couldn’t decide between giving up food or coitus (ah The Big Bang Theory!), I can’t decide between books and food!

And when it comes to deciding menus for what I want to cook, I have a beautiful analogy – for me it’s like choosing a book to read. Firstly what I will read or cook depends on my mood, “What book will go with my mood? Do I feel like a light chick lit, a classic Victorian novel, some poetry, a thriller?” Similarly, the menu will be highly dependent on what my taste buds crave, “sweet (very rarely), spicy, salty, sour…”.

Then will be the exploration stage. I will open my cupboard where all my books are kept, take some out, read their jackets (if I haven’t read them already) or remember its stories –when had I last read it, how did that book make me feel, what had I loved about it… if I remember a section I particularly like, I will quick go to it and read it again and take the book if it hits the right chord. Similarly for cooking, I will go through the ingredients I have, remember the times I have cooked the recipe, what innovations have I done with it, what had worked, and I will pick the ingredients accordingly and set them out for me to cook.

Then comes the lost in reading/ cooking and eating stage… a fairly self explanatory process.

Today’s recipe that got me: Chilli Garlic Fries

These ingredients should make fries enough for two people (or if you are like me then just one!)

3-4 large potatoes for the fries
Peanut Oil for frying
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 spring onion greens finely sliced
2-3 green chillies finely sliced
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt to taste (Soy sauce already is quite salty, so you can skip this if you do not like too much salt)
Pepper to taste

Heat the peanut oil to prepare it for frying, Wash and cut the potatoes to make fries. I prefer keeping the fries a little thicker for this recipe. Fry and remove the potatoes on a tissue paper for the excess oil to get soaked.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil. Fry the garlic and the chillies. Add the spring onion greens (you can save a few of the greens slices for garnishing) and the soy sauce. Toss the fries in immediately. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

Voila! A very simple recipe of French fries with a chilly- garlicy twist! (Will put up pictures soon!)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Breakfast Times

I pamper myself with my breakfasts. Surprised? Read on.....

During school days, 'breakfast' was a quickly gulped down, albeit filling glass of milk before hurrying to catch the school bus. The only time we (as a family) actually sat down and demarcated the first meal of the day as breakfast was on Sundays when grannie whipped up, either traditional breakfast dishes (poha, upma, idli) or more often than not, impromptu concoctions (toasted bread , bread, butter and tomato sandwiches with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, chips and dips).

It was when I was at Xavier's that my travelling distance and time increased, and I realised the value of having a healthy (or at least a hearty) breakfast. To motivate myself, I made breakfast time, "me" quality time and pampered myself no end!

Breakfast times at Xavier's had me spoilt for choice, be it anna's (the mess owner's) Toast and baked beans, or maggie with cheese and garlic, or Raju's quickly dished out hot soft omlettes with fresh pav with oddles of cheese or cutlet pavs with a the sour and sweet tomato ketchup (those were still my no need to control weight days....sigh!) or piping hot steamed idlis with a spicy tangy sambhar (it was me and my best friend's own version of sore throat remedy) to delightful dosas served with a dollop of butter that you could see melting till you carried your plate to your seat. All of these would be gulped down with a generous helping of  a double cappucino (the Nestle machine one which was somehow much better than what we got at Somaiya or get in the office vending machine), and the company of a good book for lit class or just CD and our chitter chatter.

For the past three years, I haven't really had much of choices as far as breakfast is concerned (you see I passed out of Xavier's) yet my breakfast time continues to be me times (unless I eat at my desk - but its still a meal I don't miss). Especially on weekends, when I make the effort to make myself a nice breakfast with a great cup of tea and spend time on it either with a sitcom or a great book.  Its the best way for me to start my weekend!

And then of course there are special occassions breakfasts (I come from a Gujju family after all!) with hot crisp neutral tasting fafdas with a spicy chutney that makes you just want to grab the next item on the menu, a sweet hot juicy jalebi! I can't wait for those occassions!

So the start of a new blog with a post about the first meal of the day that leads to great starts!