Today, the members of the Foodie Monday Bloghop group are going #DownMemoryLane. We are all sharing recipes that have memories associated with them. For the theme, I share the recipe for the first-ever thing I cooked for the husband and his family – Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice or One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice.
This recipe is something you can use in a jiffy. In just about 10 minutes, it yields supremely flavourful, fluffy cumin rice that makes for just the perfect accompaniment to dal or a gravy-based curry. Do try it out!
Check out the recipe, just in on my blog!
I would have been around 12 years of age when my first real spark of interest in cooking ignited. I don’t remember precisely which grade I was studying in then, but I do remember the particular day when it happened very, very clearly. Masala Dosa was the first-ever recipe I made on my own. Making Masala Dosa isn’t a big deal for me today, but back then, it was. It was a huge thing, an achievement!
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of has ‘#MyBeginnerRecipe’ as the theme this week, wherein we are required to share the recipe for the very first dish we cooked on our own. Head over to my blog post to read my beginner cooking tale, and my beginner Masala Dosa recipe!
When the husband, the bub and I embarked on our drive to Doodhpatri, some 40-odd kilometers away from Srinagar (where we were staying), little did we know that we would absolutely fall in love with the place. Neither did we know that Doodhpatri would force us to think deep and hard about human nature.
Read my detailed story, just in on my photo blog!
Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak is an utterly delectable Gujarati-style black chickpea curry, a beautiful medley of flavours. It is sweet, it is spicy, it is salty, it is tangy. It makes for just the perfect accompaniment to rotis and parathas, and goes well with dosas and steamed rice as well. When Shantaben, a Gujarati neighbour of ours, taught me how to make this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak, I was amazed by its simplicity. How can a curry be so simple, yet so delicious, I wondered. But it was just that – beautifully simple, elegant and absolutely scrumptious.
Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog! 🙂
So, so, so, that long-pending trip to Ahmedabad finally happened! On New Year’s day, the husband got confirmation for a work trip to Ahmedabad, and he asked if the bub and I would accompany us. We did just that, flight tickets were booked, and we were off the very next day – as simple as that. After 6 long years, I finally visited the place where I grew up, and it happened Just.Like.That!
Did I find traces of the city I loved so much or has it changed drastically?
Well, yes and no.
Ahmedabad has, indeed, changed drastically. I don’t know the routes in the city any more. I don’t have a home to stay there any more. The area where I used to live in has changed beyond description. There are loads of new shops and eateries that have come up, and some old favourites of mine (the school I studied in included) have disappeared. The few tourist attractions in the city have been given a huge facelift. I have lost touch with the language – I can’t speak it so fluently any more, though I managed to read the script pretty well. That makes a difference, for sure.
But then, some of my old haunts still exist. The heart of the city still remains the same, and I cannot be more thankful for that. I managed to check out a few of them, in the week’s time that we were in the city. I got reacquainted with some foods that I used to love gorging on, and got shocked at just how much the prices have increased since then. I met up with old friends, shared old and new stories, and built better connections. I managed to show my daughter (and husband) some of what my life before them had held. I stayed over at relatives’ places, and liked it better than I had expected to. I rekindled some very old memories, some pleasant, some others not so much. I fell in love with the broad roads and ease of transportation in the city all over again (though it is not the same as before, the traffic is still way better than it is in Bangalore). I discovered new food joints with the husband and friends. I fleetingly visited the apartment I used to call home, and felt stumped. People recognised me and talked to me, and I felt stumped all over again.
Overall, my trip to Ahmedabad after ages was a mixed bag. I was kind of nervous before I left, I admit, of what I’d find there, but it wasn’t so bad. It was wonderful, in fact. I should do this more often, I realise. Hopefully, my next visit won’t take 6 more years!
Stories from Ahmedabad – coming up soon!
So, I was bestowed with the Sunshine Blogger Award by Reena a while ago. Thank you, Reena, for considering all that I ramble about here worth reading and commenting on!
The award came with a set of questions by Reena, which I will answer in this post. Here you go.
- Some funny or crazy incident you would like to share?
I’ll tell you about a crazy thing that happened at our place last Sunday.
The husband, bub and I were having a fun time, out of home, on Sunday evening, when we received a call from my dad. My parents and we stay in the same apartment, in different houses. So, dad told us that BESCOM cut off our electricity supply because we have dues to pay. Just like that, without any intimation to us of any sort. We were stunned, because we have NEVER, EVER missed paying an electricity bill on time! We rushed back home, nice mood all shattered, but the BESCOM guy had already left. The husband called him at the number he had left back, and was told we had to pay BESCOM 500-odd rupees as ASD (Advance Security Deposit), that it had been appearing in all electricity bills since April 2017. We had no clue about this because we pay our bills online, and this particular charge does not reflect while making online payment. And, no, this amount isn’t added to your electricity reading charges, so you can just pay the total amount – it is just mentioned as a footnote in your bill. So, how are we supposed to know?!
Fuming, we paid off the charges online immediately, and called the guy up again, only to be told that his duty timings were over and that he had left office. We asked if there was anyone else we could contact, but it was met in the negative. The electricity would be back by the next day, we were told, as soon as BESCOM could. We could do nothing but wait and fume some more. In the meanwhile, we had to shift all the perishables from our refrigerator to that in our parents’ house. The milk went too, by mistake, and my daughter spent a restless night without her nightly glass of milk – we didn’t want to wake up the parents late in the night and disturb them. Some time in the night, the refrigerator started leaking water, thanks to the being switched off for more than a few hours, and on Monday morning, we woke up to a flooded kitchen. Our UPS battery had drained off completely. Monday blues worsened like never before.
I cooked a simple breakfast and lunch on Monday morning, in partial darkness. I ensured I didn’t cook anything that necessitated grinding in the mixer. Much back and forth happened between my parents’ home and mine, to fetch ingredients from their fridge. Somehow, I packed the bub’s bag and sent her off to school. We held off bathing till the electricity would be restored (no hot water at our place!). All the water in our water filter got used up, and off we ran to the parents’ place again to fetch some more, at least for the bub. The husband worked on his laptop, using whatever little charge was available. I had some urgent work to finish off, and worked on my mobile, making my data charges shoot up sky high. Multiple phone calls to the said guy from BESCOM yielded the same answer – we will restore the power soon! Finally, after much more fuming, the power was restored by Monday evening, and we heaved a sigh of relief.
Phew! What a harrowing experience! For what fault of ours, I still don’t understand. What is the point of maintaining a good track record when it cannot be referred to, in a situation like this? Digital India, eh? If we had paid our electricity bills at the office (a la Dark Ages) this wouldn’t have happened, right?
2. Your 1st thought when you wake up in the morning?
‘God, I haven’t had enough sleep at all!’
Yes, this has become a regular thing with me for the past one year or so. I simply don’t get enough sleep due to a lot of reasons, and almost always wake up tired in the mornings. 😦
3. What stands 1st in your priority list?
My family and my dreams – both on an equal footing.
4. One thing you love about yourself?
Whatever I do, I try to give it my 100%.
5. What is women’s freedom to you?
Being able to do what a woman wants to do, whenever she wants to, without being afraid or getting a talking-to.
6. Can you describe yourself in one word?
Thank you, Reena, for this meme. It feels good to be writing on this space again, after ages!
Packing the bub’s lunchbox for school is a task I find as fulfilling as I find it frustrating.
Yes, it is a tiring thing to do day after day after day, getting up early in the morning to make a little something for her snack time, planning well in advance, having to think creatively every day so that she loves what I have sent for her.
And, yet, it is extremely satisfying. I imagine her opening her dabba at school, her face lighting up at the sight of her favourite poori or khakra, and I realise I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Trying to offer her a mix of different ingredients in the course of a week, trying out little twists to regular recipes, including a cheat snack once in a while – that is my way of bonding with her, I realise. It is a way of developing her palate, developing a healthy interest in food.
I love it when she returns home and tells me: ‘Amma, I loved what you had packed for my snack.’ It is, kind of, saddening to learn that she has left her lunchbox untouched, and has preferred to eat the home-made snacks that are offered at school, instead. I tell myself to be happy that she has, at least, eaten something, that she hasn’t gone hungry the entire school time.
When you are a sort of bored SAHM like me, I realise, you relish these little challenges. Packing lunchboxes that your child can’t resist eating from becomes a task that you can’t take lightly – it is an opportunity for you to think out-of-the-box and take your cooking to new levels.
Farzi Cafe had always been on my list of eateries to visit in Bangalore, thanks to a number of blog posts I have read praising the place. I was in awe of the very innovative ways in which the cafe presents its food. So, it was Farzi Cafe in UB City that we chose to celebrate the husband’s birthday recently, and headed to for lunch. True to the reviews that we had read, the cafe did dish up food in very different ways, but we, sadly, ended up underwhelmed by the whole thing.
Read all about our experience of lunching at Farzi Cafe, on my photo blog!
The bub starts school this June.
After a lot of thinking and researching and soul-searching, we decided to go ahead with the Montessori method of teaching. I still have my fears about the method, but we want the bub to be in an atmosphere that doesn’t put undue pressure on her, letting her learn at her own pace, in her own way, at least in the initial few years. We love the concept of Montessori, and the few friends I have talked to about this have vouched for it. We have had naysayers, too, but the husband and I have made up our minds to give the bub a chance at this system, and the system a chance to work on the bub.
We were fortunate enough to get her admitted into a school that follows purely Montessori methods of teaching (there are many schools that call themselves ‘Montessori’, but aren’t really!). We liked the school, and got good vibes from the teachers and principal, with whom we talked to at length. Soon, very soon, too soon, the bub will be a ‘school-going’ child. Life, as we know it, is going to change, for all of us in the family.
As I stand at the crux of a huge life change, I am as worried, fearful and doubtful as I am happy and excited. This is a big, big, big decision that we have taken on behalf of Bubboo, and I hope (pray, fingers crossed) that it works out for the best. The OH, being the OH, is unruffled and unperturbed about it all, at least on the surface.
Considering that life is going to get crazier than it is now, once school begins, and because we have been having quite a few stressful days lately, we decided to take a vacation. Within the span of four days, we had in our hands a travel plan for parts of Northeast India – a place that I have always dreamt of visiting. It was as if the place called out to us, and chose us to come over. Last-minute preparations and packing were done, and we left on our holiday – I choose to call it a ‘schoolmoon’ – a week ago. We just got back to Bangalore after a little over a week’s time of visiting fabulous places that had us ooh-ing and aah-ing, made us introspect, and pushed us out of our comfort zones. We met some very interesting people, and had some lovely experiences that I will cherish for a long, long time to come. Stories from the trip will be up on the blog soon, hopefully.
Please do pray for us to fare well and send us positive vibes, will you? And do wait for the travel stories – I promise they will be worth your while!
Till the next time, be good!