Showing posts from 2015

The relentless march of time - roasted eggplant and Avocado dip

There used to be a time when I would turn my nose up at many dishes my mom cooked and refuse to eat any of her "experimental cooking".   My most hated dish was my sister's favourite, Mulangi (radish) Sambhar and Kathirikkai (eggplant) curry.   Every time she made the dish, my mom would recall, I once said it looked like cockroach sabji.  Yet she still made it and ate it.
BTW in what seems like another lifetime, DH used to cook for his room mates in his UT Austin days.  Once he made something and the girl eating it found a cockroach in it!  She put it out and continued eating.  Are graduate students really that starved?  I certainly wasn't.   And I never ate his cooking in those days because he was still a meat eater.  The vegetarianism started in our engagement period.   (Coincidentally. I take no credit for it.  He is pig headed and probably makes it a point of morality to not take my advice. I am going to enjoy the repercussions of this statement.  Akin to asking…

An Equal Music

Every Saraswathi Puja, we place books at the Goddess feet and pray her grace allows us to learn, understand, appreciate better.  It is usually anything and everything - Ash elementary Hindi letters, Gau phy/chem/math, Tao and the art of watercolour and finally "A Southern Music" by TMK.  I opened the TMK book randomly and came upon a page where he talks about how to define classical music, how delineating folk and classical music is a form of oligarchy (Some Harvard prof said that. That brings me to a news article I read yesterday, more on that later).  It felt drier than my thesis and I closed the book.
Today morning the Friday supplement headlines read "An Equal Music", a conversation with L Subramanian and Kavitha Krishnamurthy about an upcoming concert in Music Academy.  The title niggled and it dawned on me that it was the title of a Vikram Seth novel, a love affair between a pianist and a violinist.  I ruminated over my memory of the story for a while, remem…

Happy Saraswathi Puja!

Saraswathi Puja is probably the only one of the 9 days of Navaratri, when I do everything as per tradition, which is basically whatever Mom did.  Except for the music.  My mother always left the morning music to my dad, Though she hummed all day, I am hard pressed to remember times when she chose the music, any music, at any time of the day.  Odd right?  Especially considering she always sang with intense feeling. 
I started the day with Lalitha Panchaksaram,  Kanakadhara Stothram and then finally Shyamala Dandakam written by Mahakavi Kalidasa.  Playing Shyamala Dandakam pleases me as much as singing along to the other two compositions by Adi Shankaracharya. Isn't it great that we sing a prayer written atleast 1500 years ago by the court poet of a famous Gupta King?  (Vikramaditya / Chandragupta II)  He was part of the golden period in Indian history when our cultural and scientific output was at an all time high. Gau is so frustrated studying history and gets confused between th…

Quick treats: Peanut Butter honey dip, oatmeal raisin cookies

My thesis, validation and kids on vacation makes for a terrible combination.  My younger one is used to a modicum of attention from me, some art, a story here and there,  lots of conversations and trips to the store/beach/coffee place; My older one is used to having me whip up treats, some savoury, some sweet, some savoured, some not so much.  Now, I am continually shushing them while I try to write, to think out they next line/paragraph/chapter mentally.  I also have CMC asking to validate my two projects, WB government reading about our mannequin in TOI and asking to see a demo, TN government medical centre,  right around the corner from IITM, finding out about us from TOI and wanting demo and training... Nice problems to have, but very poor timing.  My deadline is Oct 28th and I have barely 2 of my 5 chapters written!  On the other hand chapters 3 and 4 are just papers and validation I have already done, so they may need no more than 3 days.  I give a seminar on 26th, then hunker …

Everything granola.............. and the inevitable granola bar

One teenager, one small child and the two of us make for very odd eating schedules.  The rather odd hours S. and I keep adds to the oddity (odd adds to oddity, repeat 10 times);  Basically, at any given time in our home someone is very hungry and someone else, usually the cook, me, is very sleepy/tired/unwilling to cook at all.   The net result is, Ash, being the sweet boy that he is, will be satisfied with Bananas, S. will eat anything and Gau will demand junk and junk only.   One goto snack is cereal, homemade ot store brought.

 Honey Bunch of Oats is the most preferred cereal at our home but it's carbon foot print must be enormous!  From time to time, I get up caught in the "Be Indian Buy Indian" slogan of yesteryears and want to buy only locally made products from Indian companies, not MNC in India.  The 24 Mantra ones are OK, but not what I would call a resounding success with Gau/Ash.  I have to chop up nuts, fruits and add a fistful of chocolate chips before Gau …

Soul Food

I may have spent close to a decade in Texas, but when I say soul food, I certainly don't mean Southern African American cooking.  I mean food for the soul, music.

Now that I am sitting home alone most mornings, wading deep into my thesis, I spend quite a bit of time setting the tone of the hour with music.

I love Susheela Raman's voice, especially in the song "Yeh Mera Deewana Pan Hai".  Her voice has a blues-y touch reminding me of Billie Halliday, though,after I had started exploring her (Raman's) albums, Ella Fitzgerald or actually Aretha Franklin may be a better fit.  Lady Day touches you with the depth of feeling in her voice, just like Susheela Raman in this particular song, somehow Mukesh, the original voice of this song, only manages to annoy.  (Mukesh does have a whiny voice doesn't he? It is pure and simple Bathos!  Like a country singer cribbing his truck broke down, dog died and wife ran off with best friend, all to age old guitar strumming!)  

Two …

Lunch staples - Phulkas and Indian hummus/ Nut Butter

Ash's teacher tells me, almost apologetically, he comes only at 8.45 everyday, school starts by 8.30 could I please come a little earlier.  Immediately on the defensive, I complain how difficult it is to get Ashu up.  She says he claims to wake up at 6.00!  Well, he is fast asleep by 6.25 again :)  She then says, she knows how hard it is to make ash do anything but to please try.  I relate the censored conversation to Ash and he says I am the bottle neck.  (Ashu said "You are the bottle cock", a year ago,  the first time he tried to use the phrase ;) I owned up to my delays.  So, now, if Lunch is NOT packed by 8.15, I have to go later to drop it off.  Net consequence?  I make an extra trip to school and S. doesn't eat breakfast.
I have sworn to 
plan my meal the previous night, not follow any whim at 6.00 most of the prep work the previous nightget up earlyWell getting up early is hard most mondays and off late I have severe coughing bouts at night, a very distur…

Cooking with millets : Millet Peas Upma

Another year bit the dust, another zillion resolutions have fallen by the wayside but hope springs eternal.
I am once again going to attempt to Blog Regularly, Cook differently, Eat healthy, Get Fit and Of course, reduce procrastination. That last one had already fallen to the onslaught of my usual vices, this post is at least 25 days in coming :) When I ruminate over my cooking style and variety, I find I am known for a few classics: My Cocoa Brownie, Idlis, Chola + Phulka, Aaloo and the myriad varieties of side dishes possible with it, Rasam, Daal, healthy muffins, granola, rajma, veg rice, waffles, paniyaram etc... 
I am certainly not discounting the value of the ability to cook regular food well.  It is nice when my youngest appreciates the basic Dosa + Coconut chutney I make for his snack box frequently.  Time is short, appreciation is rare and when I do get it I want to record it and frame it and press the play button every time I am bored/frustrated/tired..  I wish DH and my o…