Category Archives: Breakfast

An Attempt at Cloths of Heaven

Two seemingly disparate events, in the last week, have conspired to result in this post. In one, I promised a friend that I shall be more open to poetry. A big fan of poetry, music and cricket, she and I have only chocolate in common, which is a lot to build a friendship on, if you ask me. Regardless, after a particularly rude and dense moment in which I refused to understand something finer she was trying to explain, I resolved to make more of an effort to understand poetry. Alas, this art is such that if you need an explanation, you will never get it. It also has it fair share of pretension masquerading as deep emotion and pain, which plain annoys me. But, as I said, am determined to keep my mind open and sincerely try to be less “prosaic.”

The other event was being visiting my sister for a day on a work trip. I bunked at her place – one that she shares with a flat-mate. Both are terribly young and keeping home for the first time. Blessed with the boundless energy of youth, which mysteriously appears only after noon or thereabout, they move happily from domestic mishaps, to midnight girl gossip sessions and alarm clocks which ‘fail’ to ring. What was impressive about the girls, is their resolution to do something new every day. Last seen, after a long day at work, they were learning the Chinese and Greek alphabets respectively. With chalk and little slates, no less. Inspiring, right?

My something new for today was reading Yeats – specifically this poem.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I chose this primarily because I ‘get’ it courtesy a long ago two-hour conversation about this during my university days. Quite a few of my friends have been determined to educate me, you see. The other reason is that Yeats reminds me of Ireland, always a welcome memory. And last, because it brought to my mind this photograph snapped on my evening walk – sprigs of pink against the blue permanence – my version of cloths of heaven.

Sprigs of Pink
Sprigs of Pink

On the food front, sharing today’s lunch with you – heavenly because of the taste and the ease – the potato omelette. Heat some butter in a pan, and add a sliced onion and a thinly sliced potato (peeled). Add some chili powder (or cayenne, if you will) and cover and cook till the potatoes are done. Meanwhile, whisk two eggs with 2 tbsp of milk and some salt and pepper. Spread some finely chopped coriander over the potatoes and pour in the egg. Cover and cook for a few minutes more. Voila! Erm, poetry on a plate. Or rather, a quick rhyme.

Potato Omelette
Potato Omelette

Shall keep you posted on my ‘news’. For the record, am drawing the line at appreciating cricket. Just.not.happening.

 

Chasing clouds from the sky

I wanted to bake today. Truly. A dear friend is in town and I wanted to bake a treat for her. So I read a few recipes, watched a few cat videos, read completely unrelated articles, did some on-line window shopping and hankered after kitchen gadgets that I neither need, nor do I have any place to store. I don’t even know how to use this 2 in 1 Pop Up Vegetables & Fruits Peeler, but now my life is incomplete without one. Truly.

In other words, I have nothing to show for the past hour except the new-found knowledge that tomatoes need peeling, and there exists in this world, is a special device which can do such a task. How have I reached middle age without peeled tomatoes?! Truly blasphemous.

Or these Green Groovy Ice Pop Candy Lolly Molds, Set of 6?! An incomplete life! Summer is just around the corner, and I NEED to learn how to make ‘em watermelon ice lollies!

So there, no baking. If I had baked, for the record, it would have been this dulce de leche cheesecake. Perhaps tomorrow, if the internet does not ruin my evening by broadening my horizons.

Between my dreams of baking and of this mini-cat blackboard, I have left myself 15 minutes to put dinner together. So what’s it going to be? Super-fast creamy spinach toast, I say. Chop some onions and fry with some green chillies in butter. Add some chopped spinach with a pinch of soda bi-carb. Dissolve a tablespoon of cornflour in about a cup of milk and add with some salt. Turn the heat up to medium and stir till the mix thickens. Spread on some toasted whole-wheat bread and grate on some cheese. Bake for a few minutes. Or just serve with some toast on the side.

Creamy SpinachToast
Creamy SpinachToast

Ciao for now. I need to go look at cookware sets for a bit and hum a Kenny Loggins favorite

“So help me if you can, I’ve got to get
Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one

You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky

Homemade Granola

A BIG objective behind my cooking/baking obsession is to discover the perfect healthy and tasty snack, which I can munch tons of. And with this brilliant master move avoid the gym forever (working out is the antithesis of pootling). While the wonder snack remains elusive, homemade granola comes real close.

Homemade Granola
Homemade Granola

This batch was baked on special request, for the niece’s school snack box. Her portions have big handfuls of chopped dried fruits, which I left off on mine.

Add them to your morning cereal, crumble into some fruit, or have them straight up. These truly deserve a permanent spot in your kitchen, and the simplicity of putting together a batch ensures that you can bake them every couple of weeks (sans the drama associated with a baking adventure).

I based the batch on David L’s recipe (halving it and subbing the ingredient I did not have at hand) + I followed the granola making tips from theKitchn. 

  • 2 ½ cups oats
  • 1 ½ cups nuts*, chopped
  • 7/8 cup seeds**
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3/8 cup (about 3 tbsp) applesauce***
  • 1/6 (I eyeballed half of 1/3) cup golden syrup
  • 1/8 (i.e. half of ¼) cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil

 *I used a mix of almonds and walnuts. You can pretty much use whichever nuts you have in stock or like. Granola is uber-flexible and fairly forgiving, in my experience – as long as you get the ratio of dry and wet ingredients right and follow some basic tips

** Again, the mix is up to you. Use one or combination of seeds. I went with musk melon, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

*** I made an applesauce batch which is a fairly easy process. Coarsely chop a few apples and pressure cook (for 4 whistles) and let cool. Strain through a sieve to remove peels and seeds.  Not up for apples and adding another step to the recipe? Mash a ripe banana – I have done this in the past. The banana flavor disappears on baking.

  • Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl
  • Warm the fruit puree, golden syrup, honey and oil in a small saucepan
  • Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix well
  • Pre heat the oven to 150 c. Grease a baking try (with high sides) – mine measures 11 ½ by 9 inches and scoop the mix into it. Flatten with a spatula/back of a large spoon. Pack it in well, else (and I know from experience) granola burns!
  • Bake for about 40 minutes. Check for burning occasionally, and turn around the tray a couple of times (if your oven has hot spots like mine)
  •  Cool and store at room temperature

After it was cool, I added some chopped dates for that bit of additional sweet. And as mentioned, I jazzed up the remaining, for my niece, with chopped dried fruits. In went dried apricots, figs, and raisins. That kid ‘doesn’t like raisins, she LOVES them’ (in her words), so yeah, I was quite liberal with the stuff.