Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mother’s Day 2010

Yet another Mother’s Day that they’ve made very special with their lovely cards and gifts.

Then, at lunch in a nice restaurant in the old town of Antibes, Indira startled and delighted me with her knowledge of the word rhetorical.

She asked, “What does rhetorical mean?” and then proceeded to answer the question herself. She asked if it was like a situation where the teacher might say “So who’s talking?!” when in fact the teacher knew who the culprit was.

So I wondered if the teacher had said just that, one day and then told the class that her question was rhetorical.

Then it was Noor’s turn to surprise me next, as she contributed her bit to the discussion of playground tensions in the primary section. I remember that I was quite impressed to hear her speak a couple of big words with ease that I would not have imagined she’d know how to use…it evades me now what she said exactly; I’ll ask Indira in the morning if she remembers the conversation.

I have to say I get a kick out of hearing them use their growing vocabulary. It’s amusing, it’s sweet and it’s pleasing too, that they learn and remember these big words.


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Filed under LE FUTTED BALLON-life with the girls, THE STUFF OF MEMORIES

Rava Idlis

This is another of Pooja’s recipes, adapted a little by me.

Maybe I ought to start paying her a royalty for all these inspirations !

Thanks to this one, the girls loved their gouter today and I am looking forward to having the idlis for dinner tonight, with sambhar.

In the background – Ruhin’s artwork, from a year or so ago, which Boudi creatively transformed in to a set of place mats for us.

Rava Idlis

1 cup of suji/semolina/rava, slightly roasted

1 and a 1/2 cups of smooth yogurt

1 large carrot, finely grated

1 or 2 tablespoons of cashew nuts, sliced in half

5-6 curry leaves, finely chopped

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

2 teaspoons of sunflower oil

salt to taste

1 teaspoon of Eno fruit salt

Mix the yogurt in to the rava, adding a little water – about 1/2 to 1/3 of a small cup – if the batter seems too thick.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small frying pan, then add the mustard seeds. When these start to pop, add the curry leaves, fry for a few seconds and then pour this mixture in to the rava batter. Now mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly.

Lightly oil the idli mold, pour about 2 tablespoons of batter in each section and steam the idlis till done. This will take about 15 minutes.

Take the idlis out with a butter knife.

The top of some of the idlis was a little damp still when I took them out of their molds but the moisture dried up in a few minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks

A win for the humble kaddu

At the end of week 16, there’s finally a slight increase in the order from the boulanger and I am sort of chuffed about that.

Next week, he wants twice the usual quantity of chicken.

The thing that really pleases me though, is that he continues to be game to try the kind of food that is not the usual curry – though the regular sort of boneless chicken curry and jeera pulav I made this last Tuesday were very well received by his clientele (“tous le monde dit tres bon”, his helper Corine told me).

So next Tuesday, to go with the mint- and coriander-flavored grilled chicken, I’ll be making pumpkin raita and thakkali sadam which is a recipe for tomato-flavored rice from Tamilian cuisine.

The latter two dishes is what we had for dinner yesterday and this afternoon I took some of the leftover portion of each for Patrick to taste. Much to my delight he agreed readily that we should try this combination next week.  He was not able to identify the vegetable in the sauce au yaourt and seemed quite taken with the idea when I told him what it was !

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Chicken Chettinad-or maybe not?

The cuisine of the Chettinad region of Tamilnadu in India is said to be very spicy/hot, if I remember this right. By that yardstick, the Chicken “Chettinad” I made today for dinner does not really qualify for that name.

But neither the girls nor I will ever be able to stomach the four dry red chillies that the recipe in Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khana Khazana” would have required be added to the ground masala this dish needs.

So I made it today without any whole red chillies at all.

The girls liked the chicken a lot, as did I. It makes a nice change from the usual sort of chicken curry though it is rather heavy because of all the coconut that goes in to it.

I’ll take some tomorrow for the boulanger, and see what he thinks of it.

Chicken Chettinad

450 grams of boneless chicken, cut in to small pieces

3 small onions, sliced fine

2 teaspoons each of ginger paste and garlic paste

6 tablespoons of canned tomato pulp

5 tablespoons of desiccated coconut , or the flesh of 1/4 of a fresh coconut

poppy seeds – 1 teaspoon

fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

coriander seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

cinnamon stick – 1 one inch stick

green cardamom – 2

cloves – 2

turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon ( I use Kashmiri red chilli powder)

4 tablespoons of oil

star anise – 1/4

2 small tomatoes

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

5-6 curry leaves

salt to taste

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Filed under Curries

A bedtime story

The cooking I have done today for the boulangerie – boneless chicken in a yogurt and kasoori methi-flavored sauce, gobhi tamatar – will be memorable for this.

I have been working during the day, so though I managed to finish cooking the chicken this morning, I ended up making the gobhi right after we finished dinner. This meant, though, that I still hadn’t finished in the kitchen when Noor came around wanting to know who could read to her before she went to bed.

I have let Shri take care of the bedtime routine quite often in the recent past, but tonight I found myself wanting very much to share this ritual with her.

So I asked her if she would stay with me in the kitchen so we could read a story together while I cooked. She agreed and stayed by my side as I read aloud “Les Trois Petits Cochons” ,though it took a while since I was making the gobhi in two lots at the same time and I stopped every few minutes to add the spices and turn the gobhi over.

Thank you Noor, for your patience.

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Filed under LE FUTTED BALLON-life with the girls