Tag Archives: Comfort Food

“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night…

…before I realized it was just an introverted pizza” – Jarod Kintz

This week was that sort of a week. The family is away, and SG packed his bags and left Monday morning for several days on the road. Determined to eat healthy, I stocked up all manners of fruits and vegetables, and bookmarked several tasty recipes which were easy to do for one person. I planned this delicious soup involving basil leaves, celery and spaghetti and a proteinilicious broth with red lentils and barley. I bought all the makings of pad thai noodles, and lovingly picked out sprouts for all the salads I was going to throw together. You get the picture, all aglow with health and happiness and home-made nutritious meals.

When it came down to it, I subsisted on cornflakes.

You know you are depressed when you find yourself having cereal for dinner, clutching the TV shawl and remote for company. (If you don’t have a TV shawl, or a TV throw, or a TV something warm, may I suggest a semi-lie-down on my couch?). On a typical day, I put in some thought into my cereal bowl – perhaps some chopped nuts or almond flakes, with dates or a sliced banana, drizzle over some honey, chill the milk to the right temperature. But no fancy-schmancy, this week. Dump cereal into bowl, pour milk, grab spoon.

You know you are quite depressed when it is it is 7 PM in the evening, and you are having cereal straight from the box.

You know you are very depressed when it is 7 PM in the evening, and you don’t even have the energy to have cereal.

I stopped short of cereal from the box stage, thanks to the lovely pick-me-up supplied by Nutella straight from the jar. May Fererro rest in peace knowing he has made the world a much happier place.

A couple of other factors which broke my headlong fall into slovenly and lonely despair – exercise endorphins and music. The daily act of finding a clean pair of socks, doing up the laces, and finding the right tunes to accompany me on my 5K steps plucked me off the couch and into the fresh air. As for the music, I listened to everything from hard rock, teenage pop, some really good old Bollywood, Coke Studio, barely tolerable Bollywood, old favorites and new discoveries. Keep it reasonably peppy and the feet and spirit soon follow suit.

One evening, tired of hearing the basil quietly wilt their last, and the baby-corn yellowing to a sad death, I put together this Tarla Dalal’s paneer (cottage cheese) baby-corn jalfrazie, a simple recipe and quite doable for one person: Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add some cumin seeds, wait for them to crackle. Add chopped spring onion whites and capsicum along with some ginger. Saute for two minutes. Add sliced babycorn, turmeric powder, chilli powder, tomato puree and some salt. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally till the babycorn is cooked (about five minutes). Add the cubed paneer and spring onions greens towards the end.
I ran out of energy for the fresh coriander garnish. I trust you to do better.

Paneer and Baby Corn Jalfrazie
Paneer and Baby Corn Jalfrazie

Anyhoo, am back on track now. SG returned and am merrily planning the menu cooking for a whole bunch of friends expected for dinner. Yay!

We’ll just have to re-stock the ice-cream and keep quiet as to how several tubs seem to have disappeared during the week.

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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

Resonance and Comfort Food

I thought of this: I thought of how every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments – Douglas Coupland

Last weekend, I awoke, the first in the house to stir, after a late night spent catching up with SG’s brother and his wife, over drinks and food at their place. I spent an hour or so, in the winter sun, reading the newspaper and listening to the flowers dancing in the breeze. My six-year niece woke up next, in a whirlwind of instant energy and with the absolute determination to make the most of every moment that only children possess. We chatted, by her pet goldfish, as she explained their feeding and cleaning routine. Just a few moments of nothing spectacular, no grand thoughts or epiphanies. Just a few moments of sipping the early morning sunshine and being content in the resonance.

Bread Pulav
Bread Pulav

Such simplicity requires comfort food, which by definition is no-fuss and easy to throw together. That weekend morning, the BIL took care of breakfast and dished up grilled sandwiches while I sat with my feet up a little longer. Yesterday, for my second breakfast (there are indulgent days when you require two), I put this bread dish together in exactly ten minutes. The other definition of comfort food is that it should bring back childhood memories and this was practically a staple while growing up. I think my mom made it differently, this has kind of devolved in my kitchen, becoming simpler and super-easy to do. Chop some green chillies, onions and tomatoes. In some ghee/oil, heat some cumin seeds, chuck in the onion and chillies, and sauté for a bit. Add the tomatoes, some red chili powder and turmeric, salt, and chopped ginger if you have any handy. Roughly chop up some sliced bread (I had some which were floating at their best by eat) and mix in. Saute some more and garnish with coriander. You can add diced bell peppers or spring onion (greens and all) or even grate in some carrot. Comfort food is also very forgiving and difficult to screw up.

Here’s wishing you some comfort food, resonance and perfect moments. XO.