Why hadn’t I done it?

Among the earliest food blogs I loved and stuck to was the Gluten Free Girl and after a while it didn’t matter that I did not visit her blog for the food or the pictures or anything food related but just to read someone discover their relationship with food that is good for them. Today I read some posts of hers and in those posts she talks about her relationship with food.

It is an important aspect for anyone who constantly battles self-image issues and links eating with guilt and weight. Relationship with food plays such an important role that even without any specific health conditions like hers or even mine, just learning to enjoy food is a rare experience which merits self-discovery.  It is something very few people are encouraged as children, rarely in Indian households, and after a point, food becomes all a chore with a little of what everyone wants.

It has taken me considerable courage to try vegetables I could have sworn I would never eat  and not only eat them, but learn to enjoy them. Relish them. Debate their flavours. I hope to be able to pass on that curious spirit to my sister but it continues to be a work in progress. But today I don’t shy away from any food (perhaps only meat but it causes me little grief) because I know I will find a way to enjoy that food.
Reading her post today and her basic pointers of acceptance of your condition, and in a certain way of your body, is paramount. Unless you accept, you will not learn to revel in the choices you make. You will also not seek out the best possible options. You will not want to make food fun and creative and it will be a limited diet for you, which you will only notice for not allowing you to eat certain food items.

Someone recently asked me how to make nice salads. I didn’t really have a ready-made answer for her but told her start with the things you like and work backwards to make salads. You probably see it but I didn’t then and yes, it is a practice that can be applied to every aspect of life. Pick what you like and everything else becomes simpler for you.

Every bite should be a perfect bite.

Salads have slowly grown into my life, taking on a position that now cannot be dislodged. I initially began eating salads because I had to eat salads. Roughage and nutrition and many other great things that no other food can actually act as a substitute for.

But then, as the years passed, I realised how much I had come to love salads. Enough to establish the need for texture. Enough to make some really cool original salads. Enough to realise how much mayonnaise and thousand island dressing are foul for salads. Enough to realise mayonnaise is so cool and way more tastier when made at home. Enough to throw in fruits and grains too.

Often I see people dousing salads with tart dressings, till every leaf, every shard and every bit is coated. My tongue curls up seeing that. I would hear ‘extra mayo’ and would have to stop myself from lecturing people about using mayonnaise in a dish, which like ketchup, kills all taste. And I would wonder what makes a salad so tasty yet so light yet so novel every time on my tongue. Today I realised why. A little element of everything add just the right amount of sweetness, sourness, salt and bitterness to every bite, making a perfect bite every single time. Which is not an experience I can repeat with most food dishes.

This is movie which introduced me to the perfect bite.

The salad in question which led to this epiphany: The KGC Chef’s salad at the Kala Ghoda Cafe.

Nice to get reacquainted

Tahini is that wonderful sesame paste used hummus and baba ghanouj. But then that you already know.

You also know it also adds a wonderfully nutty twist to salad dressing and complement anything from salad greens to onions to … potato slices that are lightly fried up in oil, with a sprinkling of salt and lemon.

Did you also know it can double up in a PBJ sandwich except you would have to use tahini instead of peanut butter and granulated sugar instead of jam? It makes for a stunningly simple snack, especially on toasted home made bread.

And so quickly were the sandwiches polished off that I have no visual proof on how stunning the sandwiches were. Unless I quickly make up another batch of tahini.

Picture courtsey.

 

 

It’s been trying..

In the last few months I had made a resolve. To do what I love to do the most. Cook. Experiment. Revel in the success of my cooking experiments and experience and scatter around my nuggets of wisdom.

Little did I know my head had something else planned. You can take your arrogance and shove it, it tried to tell me. But me, did I learn? Not a wee bit.

Almost three months of despairing defeat of one dud cake after another, one runny sauce after another, one bad commingling flavours after another has me running scared now.

All those cake pans, spatulas, measuring spoons and cups make me quake. My hand trembles when I casually throw in salt on a salad. What if’s constantly crowd my mind. And I continue making disaster after another.Cakes that I have been baking since I was 15 years old are proving to be my down fall. A simple dal is becoming a monumental task. Even sticking to recipes isn’t helping.

I do not know how to go into the kitchen and rescue my cooking mojo and it is a scary thought. But I shall brave on (I say looking at a strangely half cooked, sunk yet toothpicked clean cake from today afternoon)

Brand new discovery

Two weeks ago I got around to making a cake as a gift for a person. And she, for a change, was happy and grateful when she got the cake.

But in the recipe I discovered a neat trick that could act as a substitute for making eggless cakes.

So promptly I had to try it on in another recipe.

Here’s an eggless, whole wheat carrot cake (or muffin) recipe.

1.5 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup yoghurt (It would help if it was thicker curd as the water in curd affects the cake as it cools)

1 cup grated carrots (I even added some leftover pumpkin puree)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

spice mix of nutmeg and cloves

1. Macerate the carrot with sugar.

2. After about10-12 minutes add the butter and mix.

3. Add the yoghurt and mix.

4. Add the soda and baking powder and wait till the mixture starts to bubbles.

5. Fold in the already- mixed flours and spice.

6. Bake in a preheated over till golden.