Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sewing Adventure - V - Pillow Galore

Going to the fabric store has become my new stress buster.. walking amidst the amazing fabric designs is so inspiring. so picked up all this fabric and wanted to make a pillow for everyone i know! since i can't practically do that, i made a set for amma and atha. Making the bolsters was hardest and most time taking and the patchwork for atha's diwan set was a great learning experience. All in all, it was great fun. but i think i overdid, i will be taking a break from sewing for a while!

Sewing Adventure - IV - Patchwork Purse

I love my grandma (who doesn't!) .. she has made numerous crochet dresses/purses/hair clips for me, that i always wanted to make something for her.
I thought I finally knew that i could make her something, so I went to the fabric store and loved what i bought! The process was lengthier than i thought, but i was so excited to see the end product.

Sewing Adventure - III - Pattu-Pavada

Maya is our neighbour's baby girl and is sooper cute! I decided to make her pattu pavada. my first attempt at sewing clothes andi thought baby clothes were easy. later found out, NO!
but i had amazing fun making it and much much more when maya actually wore it, she looked adorable!
The pavada was good size, but the first attempt at the blouse wasn't a hit. i took too long, maya grew bigger :) so i remade it and this time it fit her! yay!

Sewing Adventure - II - Patchwork

Sue introduced me to patchwork in a very inspiring and informative way. I spent an entire afternoon in her awesome sewing room learning basics of patchwork and quilting, in exchange for showing her how i made palak paneer! how cool is that! She gave me a looot of fabric and the coolest thread cutter i have seen and a ton of books to ooh-aah on! so i had a hard time piecing the tiny 1.5" squares i cut up (later learnt .. NOT a beginner's project)... but when we got done, we loved it and hung it besides the game of life and circle of reason. :)

Sewing Adventure - I - pillow covers

So the thread is in the machine and fabric in my hands. Did a lot of google-reading (i wonder how people learnt new things w/o google!).
Learnt a lot of basics about fabric. With all this gyaan from google, i set out to make these lovely pillow covers in an evening, withotu using scissors!
PS: i later googled (yes again!) and found that these pillows were priced @ 65$ each! ;) :D howeeesit!

Sewing Adventure - Introduction

So the new hobby has set in my head. The husband bought me the New Complete Guide to Sewing and i love it! Like Kaushik said 'we reap what we sew'!

Happy Holidays 2009

The 2009 Holiday Season was awesome! Did a lot of baking, painting and geared up for the next adventure - Sewing!

Food Adventure XX - Spinach Lasagna

Good friends, Bhavna-Sunil were moving to UK and gave us their glass baking dish. In their honour made some awesome spinach-red bell pepper lasgna. Layers of spinach in red bell pepper - tomato sauce, ricotta cheese in between whole wheat lasagna noodles baked at 450F for 15-20 mins and it came out perfect!

Food Adventure XIX - barotha-goorma!

so the husband wanted some barotha-goorma (Chennai style parantha-kurma). I had so much fun making them!
Good fun for exam-season.

Food Adventure XVIII - Butter it up!

There isn't one desi restaurant on the foreign soil that doesn't serve paneer and naan. so we set out to make our own version of paneer butter masala and butter naan.
It was a great experience - making of the naan. I felt like the chef we used to love watching as kids in Jorhat, he would toss us the roomali rotis for us kids ooh-aahs. But i hadn't expected the yeast to smell so weird! But when they came out of the oven, it was awesome!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Food Adventure XVII - Pudina Rice

I had a mixed opinion of mint/pudina. I used to like it's fragrance, but was apprehensive of cooking with it. It might be because, pudina would grow on its own with weeds and such in our quarters in jorhat, or maybe because i sometime in past ate something so strongly pudina-y that i am scared that it would over power the dish. But, today I gave in to the fragrance (and kaushik's farmaish) of pudina rice.
To prep for the dish - I separated leaves from the bunch and washed them thoroughly, chopped an onion, tomato and green chilli, grated half n inch of ginger and soaked 2 cups of basmati rice.
In a little oil, added some cumin seeds and hing. when the seeds splutter added the chopped onions and tomatoes. when they were done, added the mint leaves. cooked till the leaves wilted and turned off the flame (yes, we have a gas stove!). when cool, made a paste of the mixture.
In the same pan, added some oil, saunf and this paste. after few seconds, added the soaked basmati rice and mixed thoroughly. added 4 cups of water and cooked till the rice was done.
We loved the pudina rice - cucumber raita combo.

When spaghetti met a south indian

I've learned spaghetti is as versatile as chapati.. can be eaten by itself or with any side dish. spaghetti and meatballs is such a common dish that i wondered if it could be vegetarian-ised. and what you know... it can be! so we soaked up some black-eyed peas (alasandalu), pressure-cooked till soft and sauted them with some chopped onions, tomato, ginger and green chilli. when cool, made the mixture into patties and grilled them for 5 minutes on the skillet (tava). made the pasta as per instructions on the box ( i use the whole grain ones). added some store-brought marinara sauce and my very favorite maggie hot and sweet sauce to the cooked pasta. once i toss these together to coat the pasta, i soaked my black-eyed peas patties in the marinara sauce and voila! we have the very vegetarian spaghetti with b-e-p balls!
PS: We ate the leftover b-e-p balls with chapati, tastes great!

¡Buen provecho! ¡Buen apetito!

It's friday night and we needed something fun to eat with our weekly dose of movie. kaushik had promised me chana masala and i had promised him cilantro rice. and we both agreed to make them tonight. and we didn't feel like eating either of them when we were done. so we bring out the store-bought taco shells, spread a layer of jalapeno-cheddar cream cheese, add a tablespoon full of chana masala, add another teaspoon full of cilantro rice, sprinkle some freshly cut salsa.. drizzle some maggi hot and sweet sauce... and we have the most flavorful tacos we ever had! it was a great meal!

Food Adventure XVI - Mango Ice cream

It was a bit sunny that weekend and what comes out of the kitchen - mango ice cream.
The picture below shows all things you need to make this delicious eggless ice cream - 1 can mago pulp, 1 can condensed milk, 1 pack of whipping cream and a freezer :).

Whip the cream until it forms steady peaks (it's a lot of arm-exercise if you are doing it mechanically). In a large bowl, add mango pulp, condensed milk and the whipped cream. Fold with a spatula until combined.

Freeze the mixture for 4-5 hours, mixed it every one hour. We loved the end product.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vinayaka Chavithi

It was another favorite festival on 23rd August: Vinayaka Chavithi. Memories of walking through the colony early in the morning, collecting patri, pooja katha, rava laddu coming back every vinayaka chavithi.
This year kaushik and I made a haldi idol and did our pooja with lot of love and neivedyam.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Varalakshmi Vratham

It is that Friday of the year is Varalakshmi Vratham..the time to decorate ammavaru.. and .. to make pindivantalu... . At different ages, it meant different things to me. But always it felt great after the vratham. This time it was that much more special.. my first vratham after the wedding.
So with all my food adventure enthusiasm I was in for 9 (most of which are brand new to my culinary skillset) pindivantalu - pulihora, dadhojanam, ariselu, kajjikayalu, poornam bonda, garelu, kobbari lauzu, pappu-chekalu and china-grass sweet (milk sweet made with agar-agar/china grass/vegetarian gelatin). Kaushik and I had the whole thing planned out (ya the planning freak in me had written it down!) - we would split the cooking and spread the preparations over the week before pooja and I would take the friday off.
It was a crazy week (week of July 27th). By Wednesday we had made pappu chekalu, kajjikayalu, ariselu, kobbari lauzu, china-grass sweet. By this time, I had blisters on my right palm... had been sleeping only 3-4 hours per night ( thanks to hectic work @ office)... the house smelled like a restaurant kitchen.. and the deep-fryed oil smell wasn't giving Kaushik any peace. I obviously had the other important tasks (including shopping for pooja-stuff) reserved for the day before and guess what!.. we had a fertilizer factory burn down in Bryan and we had mandatory evacuation orders by 4:00 pm on thursday !! what are the odds! I was almost in tears... there were rumours of the air being 'poisoned' and i was scared i would have to trash my hard work without even having a chance to taste it (talk about paronia!). I was like.. lets take the passport and the food with us!! We evacuated to the Navasota Omkarnath temple. God has his/her way of de-stressing us.. doesn't (s)he?!
On friday, things went by fast.. woke up.. took bath (?!)... put muggu (the search for a 'perfect' muggu is another story in itself!).. made pulihora, dadhojanam,.. and got stuck! I was dumb enough to not grind the chana daal after cooking it! argh! I realised this after ading jaggery. and i didn't think my lil magic bullet could take jaggery ladden chanadal in it (i might be totally wrong.. but then .. o well!) so i re-cook the chana daal till its soft in the jaggery water (which took soooooooooooooooo long!) and mash it.. till it was ok-soft. well after this, another shocker.. i could swear i didn't use ANY water to grind my urad daal but my garelu batter was runny! (reason: dad told me later, you are not supposed to let garelu batter stand for more than 1 hour if you want a hole in your garelu). Ya, the super-planner than I am.. I made my batter before-hand! so anyway I just made a couple holeless-garelu for prasadam. Finally! Now we are ready for the pooja.
This gave me the most joy... decorating ammavaru. After some hiccups with laptops, I finally managed to do my varalakshmi vratham. It was about 1 pm when I was done and I when I drank that coconut water-teertham...... I understood why coconut water. After all the empty-stomach-vratham-hard-work theertham gives the strength you need.
So that was my special day. Kaushik and I were so happy we did it and did it this way :)

And.. I could make my "perantam-packets"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Food Adventure - XV: Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of those dishes that make my mouth water just by the thought of it. And since moving back to CS, this had to be my special dinner adventure. So on july 11th on my regular grocery list, I added marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese,eggs and italian eggplant (we had some pasta left). I took Bobby Flay's and Nithya's recipe and modified it per our taste and what was available. We had only 3 slices of old bread, so couldn't get much for the bread crumbs. I combined marinara sauce with my maggi tomato hot and sweet ketchup to lightly coat the pasta and added a little garlic-chilli sauce to marinara sauce to bake the eggplants. The preparation took painfully long (we both were too hungry for the time it was taking).. the marinating eggplant slices in salt.... heating the bread slices in the oven... pan frying the eggplant... then dipping in egg white.. coating with bread crumbs... pan frying again... baking it... aah the wait for good food.. but it was worth the wait.. we LOVED it!! Buon Appetito!


We love Lazy Sunday Afternoons... we had one such lovely afternoon on June 7th... plates full of yummy chaat and hand full of scrable cards. :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

JFI Attempt: Mirchi Ka Salan

I have been longing to make mirchi ka salan for quite some time now (read 4 years). JFI July (Chilli) seemed to be the perfect occasion, but did not have time to post and mirchi ka salan was a common entry into the event (duh~!) Anyways, I did make it and man! we loved it.
This picture lists out all you need for the reciepe.

I slit the chillies and took out the 'heat' part, and sauted them for a little bit. Roasted the peanuts and sesame with some jeera and curry leaves. when the sesame gave out a nice aroma added coconut flakes and took the mixture off the flame. In little oil, added jeera, ginger and onions and sauted them till the onions were done. On cooling, blended the peanut-sesane misture with the onion-ginger mixture by adding some tamarind juice. In very little oil added the smooth paste, remaining tamarind juice and the fried chillies and let them cook for 10 minutes. Add coriander, salt, mirchi powder and whisked yogurt and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Done Done Done!
I made Mixed Vegetable Biryani to eat with our salan.

PS: I wish i took pictures of the container after we ate it :P

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Online Food Events: JFI (Jhiva for ingredients)

New job - Again! yes! Job in CS means, walking to work with kaushik, lunch with kaushik, coffee breaks with kaushik and dinner with kaushik: Things I missed the most in the past 2 years.
So now that I am not spending most of my weekend-time driving, I can restart my hobbies or shall we say experiments. So I decided to take part in online food events. I have read about many such events across the food-blogosphere, but found one that interests me on my most-frequently-visited food blog Mahanandi; JFI (Jihva for Ingredients). Ingredient for July was 'Chilli'. I thought of many things to make: Stuffed Capsicum, Mirchi Ka Salan and Curd Chillies. And, made them. But found out/read that others have sent the same recipes, so I just kept them for us. The stuffed capsicum was again quite filling and the mirchi ka salan was simply tasty! (i never thought i could make it!) But the dahi mirchi was a flop show! thanks to the untimely sand storm. (i have no clue where in CS do we have so much sand...oh wait a min.. must be from the new biomed building construction site across the street...huh!)

So I patiently waited for August and the ingredient chosen was 'peanuts'.. yay! i was all up to make peanut brittle/palli patti/chikki. I soon found out/read that the host made it for the i didn't make palli patti, but did make many many many ... ok 6 new pindivantalu for varalakshmi vratham.

Food Adventures - XIV: Apple Custard

'Jobless' days are almost over and I realized I might not be continuing with my food adventures anymore, as I start my new job on April 1st (YA!) And then it dawned on me that I didn't try making what Kaushik likes the most - Custard! So bought the 'bird' brand of custard from local desi store and followed the instructions. Result: pretty decent! I was so amazed by the change in state from powder to liquid-ish to semi-solid. I am just amazed!