The Chronicles of Miss Shola

The blog's epitaph: Miss Shola came and went as she pleased

Archive for the ‘Chow’ Category

Delicious colours of Christmas

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Written by Miss Shola

December 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

Posted in Chow

My first bundt!

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After months of drooling over them in many food blogs, finally made a 3 cup bundt cake of banana and chocolate chip with nutella cream dancing on it wildly.

~ Dedicated to An, sweet and lovely just like her excellent blog, who generously gave me the bundt cake pan from her large collection of bakeware. Thank you!

Written by Miss Shola

November 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Chow

Adventures of a Warrior Cook

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She sat on her bed reading her latest pick in apparent rapt attention, but she was hardly following it. Her ears were perked absorbing every wave of sound emanating from the kitchen. They were avalanching towards her – the running water from the tap above the sink, the clanging of the pots and pans as they were being dumped into a large steel tub, their temporary resting place until they retired clean and dry at their usual spots for the night, and of course the continuous chatter interspersed with giggles of the two maids presiding for the moment in that large breadth of space. The TV in the living room was still on and the other women of the house were still in command.

This setting remained unchanged for another twenty minutes or so until the double doors of the house shut in quick succession marking the exit of the one of the maids and a change in scene. The sounds began to wane from this point on. Randomly a kitchen cabinet would shut or the master of the kitchen also her mother-in-law would shout out to the maid-in-waiting  to check if the gas had been put off. Finally she heard the TV die a sudden death and the withdrawal of footsteps behind closed doors, followed by silence; for a minute and then four more.

This was her cue. She put down her book, got up determinedly and walked over to the kitchen that had already been put in the dark. With just a click of a button it came alive, her spick and span workstation for the next half an hour. She had rehearsed the procedure (from the recipe she had found on the www) several times in her head and now it was only a matter of putting it into action, in quick, knowing and efficient steps.

First, she dragged out the biggest cabinet of the kitchen and removed from inside a deep box a 50 grams packet of walnuts (that she kept aside for a date and walnut cake on a wintry day) and cut them into pieces with her bare hands. Next, she went over to that larger-than-life fridge and brought out 2 cups of basil leaves (or in local parlance, tulsi leaves) that she had purchased for just Rs. 20 from the market in the morning. She had spent a good half an hour then to separate the leaves from the stem, wash them and pat them dry. That initial investment of time would help her at this late hour.

She plugged on the mixer and first went in the walnuts for 30 seconds and then the basil leaves with a sprinkling of water for another 30 seconds or so. She cut up two plump pods of garlic and put them in too. The grinding continued, interspersed with pouring olive oil (about 30 ml in all) into it, till the mixture was smooth like chutney. For the final grind, she put in half a cup of cheese (again grated and stowed away in the fridge earlier). She looked inside the mixie jar, quite pleased with the consistency of the mixture, not too runny or too dry, and touched it up with a dash of salt and lot of pepper; never was she a miser with her favourite spice.

She then poured out that pleasant smelling mixture into a big glass jar – that previously held Nutella, but had been washed and cleaned just for this purpose. She ran back into her bedroom and wrote out a small chit of yellow paper and pasted it on the bottle with a flourish. It read ‘Pesto Sauce’.

She could now use the Italian sauce as a sandwich dressing, or spread it on her khakra or even use it as a wafer dip.

Written by Miss Shola

September 26, 2011 at 1:55 am

Posted in Chow, Ramblings

Jottings of a July

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July is a pretty significant month that way. It’s that part of the pie when my world gets its share of the sky, quite literally. Clouds go in for a scheduled breakdown and pour their hearts out on a crore of a city, with really no care for whether they are huddled in shanties holding buckets or lounging in high-rise apartments with a glass of bubbly. It’s an operasque performance and everyone has to tune in.

The seventh incongruous month has also been ill-fated in the recent past. Not only has it been soaked with water but the blood and tears of many that have been targets of terror. But eventually life takes over and trudges ahead in a million different instances until another chaotic evening of July brings people together in death.

Then again, under a heavy bough of July is when my parents got married and the appearance of a little Miss Shola became just a matter of time; albeit a good eight years later.

This July was busy in an ordinary sort of way; busy enough to keep me away from this space and ordinary enough to not inspire me to write. Nevertheless it had its moments that left behind a thought, a memory, a jotting for posterity.

—————–

For the moments that tested and went away sulking:

Again and Again

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian poet

—————–

For the moment I fell in love with yellow!

—————–

For the moments when my inner eyes blinked open momentarily and then shut just as quickly:

Muqaddar Mera

Har Ghadi Khud Se Ulajhna Hai Muqaddar Mera
Main Hi Kashti Hoon Mujhi Mein Hai Samander Mera

Kis Se Puchun Ki Kahan Gum Hoon Kai Barson Se
Har Jagah Dhoondhta Firta Hai Mujhe Ghar Mera

Ek Se Ho Gaye Mausamo Ke Chehre Saare
Meri Aankhon Se Kahi Kho Gaya Manzar Mera

Muddatein Beet Gayi Khwab Suhana Dekhe
Jaagta Rehta Hai Har Neend Mein Bistar Mera

Aaina Dekh Ke Nikla Tha Main Ghar Ke Baahar
Aaj Tak Haath Mein Mehfooz Hai Pathar Mera

~ Nida Fazli is an Indian Urdu poet

—————–

For the many moments spent in the kitchen:

Palak Paneer

Wash one bundle of palak thoroughly. Transfer into cooker and sprinkle a pinch of baking soda (so that it retains its green-ness). Pressure cook until whistle and then remove from flame. Puree one tomato and leave it in the mixer. To it add cooked palak, one green chilly and a pod of garlic and mix again for just 10 seconds (enough to make the entire thing smooth). Heat 1 tsp of oil and put 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. Put the palak mixture in it along with 1 tsp wheat flour (again for smooth-ness), and salt to taste. Keep mixing for 2-3 mins. Heat 5 tsps of oil/ghee and put 1-2 tsps of red chilly powder in it. Put this tadka in the palak and mix again until the oil/ghee is fully incorporated. Lastly, cut up about 150 g of paneer and add to the palak (can shallow fry paneer before adding).

Potato cheese croquettes

Grate 3 cubes of cheddar/mozzarella cheese and keep aside. Boil 3 large potatoes, peel, and mash along with 3-4 slices of softened bread. Add 1 tbsp of coriander leaves, 2 tsps of pepper, salt and 1 cube of grated cheese in the potatoes and mix again until homogenous (can also beat up and add one egg). Next roll the potato mixture into balls (about 10-12), flatten, put 1 tsp of cheese in the center and fold up again into a log like structure. Roll up the balls in semolina (rawa) or bread crumbs and fry. The cheese should ooze out when you bite into them.

—————–

For the moment I heard this and thanked God for everything:

Written by Miss Shola

July 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Chow, Poetry, Ramblings, Shots

Give us today our daily bread

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Purple Foodies’ Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia prompted me to try my hand at baking bread. Here’s the adapted recipe:

  • 200 g flour
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 3/4th tsp salt
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 4 big garlic cloves
  • Water required for kneading

Warm up the olive oil and pour it on garlic cut lengthwise. Keep it aside for half an hour. Add yeast, salt and garlic oil to the flour and knead until it leaves sides but sticks to the bottom of the container. Cut up the garlic into small pieces and add it to the dough while kneading (keep a bit of the garlic and garlic oil aside to be used while baking). Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour minimum (best to keep it overnight). Flatten it out on a baking pan with 1 inch thickness and poke holes in it with a fork. Spread the oil and garlic pieces on top of the bread. Put in a pre-warmed oven and bake till it is golden brown from top (about 10 minutes on my small little oven that gets heated up quickly and saves me time).

Written by Miss Shola

April 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Chow

A Saturday afternoon

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While a man in Fukushima was checking all the counters of a convenience store for a bottle of water free of radioactive iodine; while a home in Libya was getting torn down by a missile in the fierce battle against autocracy; while a home in Egypt was getting resurrected after a civil war that ousted a three decade old ruler; while a TV in India was airing the glorious World Cup victory for the umpteenth time; while a veteran freedom fighter in the same country was breaking his fast-unto-death protest against corruption amidst burning candles; Miss Shola was baking!  

Coconut macaroons – To 1 cup of freshly grated coconut, add 2 tblsps of grated almond. Put half a cup of condensed milk or as much required to make it firm enough to form soft round balls (like pedas). Add a wee bit of salt and cardamom powder into the mix. Oil the baking tray and put spoon-sized coconut mix onto it at regular intervals. Bake till they brown from top. Remove carefully.

Chocolate cookies – Add 5 tblsps of Betty Crocker cake mix (yes, cake mix) to 2 tblsps of butter. Mix and mix until it doesn’t stick on the sides and forms soft dough. Refrigerate for half an hour. Divide the dough and form small round cookies. Pierce each on the surface with a fork. Bake only for 5 mins (on my small 9 litre oven) and let it become crisp in the heat of the oven.

Chocolate chip cupcakes – First make the cake batter – mix half a pack of Amul butter and 2 tblsps of powdered sugar thoroughly. Add 1 tsp of curd and ½ tsp of baking soda to the butter mix. Add 2-3 tsps of vanilla essence to get rid of the curd smell. Sift 5-6 tblsps of flour along with 1 tsp of baking powder twice. Fold the flour into the butter mix interspersed with milk. Add some warm water at the end. It should be of dropping consistency. Add lots of chocolate chips and pour into cupcake moulds. Bake until the cake leaves the side of the moulds.

Apple pie pockets (adapted from Purple Foodie) – Cut up an apple into small pieces. Cook it on medium flame with 1 tsp of butter until it gives off a lot of water. Somewhere along the way, add 1 tblsp sugar. When it is soft enough add 1 tsp of cinnamon powder and mix well. Keep aside. Next, take 4 tblsps of flour (maida) add 1 tblsp of powdered sugar and 1-2 tsps of cold butter. Knead into soft dough and refrigerate for half an hour. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll it out into a chappati, fill up with the apple mix and fold into semi-circle shapes. Ensure that the sides are nicely closed up. Bake for a good 10 mins. Best had crisp (the covering becomes soft when refrigerated – need to figure out why).

Written by Miss Shola

April 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Chow, Ramblings

Dahiwale Alu

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 Lifted right out of Mom’s kitchen, almost dum-alu but simpler to make and possibly tastier.

Ingredients (for 4 persons) 

  • 12 nos. small potatoes (boiled, peeled and refrigerated overnight)
  • 1 tsp. pepper and salt for the potatoes
  • 1 cup of curd (not very sour)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp. of oil (excludes oil used for frying potatoes)
  • Pinch of hing (asafoetida)*
  • 1 tsp. jeera (cumin) powder*
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste*
  • 1 tsp. whole wheat flour*
  • 2 tsps. coriander powder*
  • 2 tsps. red chilly powder*
  • 2 green chillies (cut long and split in the center)*
  • 1 tsp. salt*
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped coriander leaves

Procedure

Cut each potato into two pieces. Pierce each piece lightly with a knife, rub salt and pepper over them and shallow fry.

Collect all the dry ingredients (marked with asterix above) in one bowl. Heat the oil and put all the dry ingredients into it. Let it cook for 20 seconds on low flame and then quickly add the curd and water and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps. Put the potatoes into the gravy so formed and garnish with coriander leaves. Better to let it stay for half an hour before serving so that the potatoes can absorb the juices (adjust water content later if you wish).

Written by Miss Shola

March 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Chow