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Showing posts from October, 2013

A piece of cake - Victoria sponge with orange zest.

As many of you who've been following my blog know.. I've been known to run away from eggs. Run, literally scamper out of the way. Just as an individual with a Parietal cortex stroke, my brain effortlessly used to come up with the most ridiculous of excuses to avoid buying them when my son asked me. It finally hit my head that it wasn't fair to my son that I should deprive him of a food he was curious to try, and I began to gradually bake cakes. Yes, I still clear out the counter around the 'future' cracked eggshells like a bomb disposal squad clears out curious onlookers and for once, I'm extremely prompt in clearing up and washing the dishes that the eggs have been in contact with, just to ensure there is no trace of any 'eggy' odor. And for helping me get over my neurotic aversion, I have my Food52 friends,Cynthia, (the Solitary cook) & Mrs. Larkins,(a.k.a the Scone lady) to thank, they were instrumental in getting me out of this craz…

Garlicky Herbed Lentil & Carrot Pilaf:

I hate negativity, I'd much rather spend my time in the Lab doing what I love best, running my experiments, taking measurements,  analyzing & visually recording  the results. Or, in blogger-speak, create a recipe, clear my kitchen counters,  prepare the dish, take photographs & then tuck into my creation. I'd rather not have written up my last post, my response to Martha Stewart, but there was something so smug about her tone in the interview, non verbal, that my pre-frontal cortex just had to sit back and support my lower brain in lashing out. It was not easy, for every 2 sentences I put down, I had to erase one. It was a learning experience, one that made me determined to never let my self imposed guard down when it came to to the quality of the recipes I post and never be stingy on listing references & inspiration, however insignificant or indirect.

 Today's recipe was both an example of something hurriedly cobbled together into a one pot dish that had a he…

'Martha Speaks' -- and my reply..

Dear Ms. Stewart,
     This is probably the 'n' th (where 'n' is a sufficiently large positive integer) response from the blogosphere to the condescending remarks you made in your interview. And in true blogger style each one of those that I've read so far is a signature of the author who composed it. Let me answer you in the language I know best.

Who are these bloggers? Well, Ms. Stewart, we are a large networked group of men & women who are extremely passionate about what we do. What's remarkable is that everyone of of us chose to do this of our volition, without any delusional assumptions of striking it rich, Monetary returns are simply bonuses, a validation that we must be doing something good. We reap ample rewards through encouraging feedback from our followers, who make it a point to let us know how much they enjoyed cooking & sharing our creations at their kitchen table with the family. I doubt whether you would ever know that on a personal leve…

Recreating flavors (or at least trying) - White turnip stew with toasted Chana dal.

Kootu or vegetable stews are an integral part of South Indian cuisine. Just about any vegetable, be it a root, shoot or fruit, bud, blossom or bean, doesn't matter, chances are that a South Indian has already made a kootu out of it. The kootu is a low maintenance recipe, vegetable of choice, boiled with a pinch of turmeric, thickened with either a paste of coconut, chile & cumin or cooked & mushed up dal. A shot of sizzling tadka (with mustard, Urad dal, a single arbol chile, a pinch of asafetida and Curry leaves) and voila, a nutritious stew, all set to be served up with steaming hot plain rice.
Asafetida takes the place of onion & garlic in South Indian food, especially dishes from the Brahmin community. Yea, we were born to be a bunch of nerdy geeks whose grandmothers shuddered at the mere mention of those smelly bulbs that incited base, scandalous emotions. They usually added cinnamon & Fennel to the list as well. And God forbid, you were ever cheeky enough to…

So long Summer! - A recipe for Peach 'Varatti' (Peach Jam - South Indian style)

I never fail to get a bit down & out when Sept 21st (the autumnal equinox) rolls out annually. Days officially (and from the planetary perspective) become shorter than nights, Coats get yanked out, the frantic search for a matching pair of warm socks from the sock drawer and before you knowing the Daylight saving weekend is upon you. You may gain an hour that day, but it seems to be a terrible compensation for the fact that it gets dark at 6.00 p.m and even that gets progressively earlier until Dec 22.


I've spent the summer playing with peaches, in fact, two Bushel's worth. Smoothies, jams, salsa but the best of them went into making a preserve of a different kind - Varatti . You see, the inherent tropical weather in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Southern India, meant that fruits would spoil rapidly and canning was not a method of preservation employed in traditional cuisine. The preferred method was to cook the fruit down to evaporate the water content and preser…