Friday, February 27, 2009

Bean There, Done That!

If it's epiphany one day, it's serendipity another. Want something so bad and the universe will conspire to give it to you? I don't know if such lofty ideals/statements can be applied to the smaller delights of life, and it's not as if I wanted this so bad that the entire universe had to get conspiring to give it to me but if it did, I'm happy.

The bane of living in big cities is that services and conveniences you get in small towns are hard to come by. (As are certain vegetables, foods and treats of other kinds, but that's a different story) Whenever I need some clothes altered, I can't give it to any tailor close by but have to go to this poky little shop in a poky little road that features a smelly, open drain to meet the "alterations specialist". It's a right task, hauling myself and my bundle of "alterations clothes" collected over the weeks, to his kiosk, but that day, it was doubly worth it because I noticed these broad beans, my absolute favourites and rarely to be found where I live, on a vegetable cart close by. I immediately bought half a kilo.

They were all the more a serendipitous find because just a few days ago, I had been looking for some ideas for Feta cheese, of which I possessed a small carton, and had come across recipes for a traditional Greek salad of broad beans and Feta.

This recipe is a synthesis of several recipes that I have in my cookbooks and on the Net. It's been a month since I've made it so treat the quantities with a pinch of salt. And if yours is the salty variety of Feta, like mine, don't bother to add any extra.

What you need:

Broad beans: 500 gm, shelled
Feta cheese: 200 gm (a cup), crumbled
Tomatoes: 4 medium-sized ones, quartered
Garlic cloves: 4-5, crushed
Mint: A fistful, chopped
Green olives (I didn't have any black): A few
Olive oil: 4 tbsp (I used EVOO as that's what I had)
Freshly ground black pepper
More mint for garnish

Shell the beans and boil them in a pan of water until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to change colour.

Add the feta cheese and toss for a minute. Remove from fire. Mix with the cooked beans, mint, olives and salt and pepper. Garnish with more mint.

Off this goes to Susan, to the eighth helping of My Legume Love Affair.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our Years of Togetherness

Ever since we unsettled down together, down these years of wedded not-always-bliss; in spite of moments together being cause for mourning rather than celebration; despite the truth in the statement that the best way to a man's heart is through his chest, we've made it so far ... Honey, thanks for the many you-know-whats-I-always-thank-you-for, no thanks for the things that you should do and don't, and may we have even more fun, togetherness and happiness forever. May my every word be your command and may you snap to attention and fulfil my wishes always.

I don't usually celebrate personal milestones on this blog but as it was my wedding anniversary recently, and Valentine's Day has a way of getting my goat, I thought I'd pull all this out of the mush and give those of you who need it a respite from all that hype, hoopla and marketing.

Now be nice and wish us good luck!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

What Brought You Here?

From time to time, I look at the 'keywords' that have visitors landing in my blog and never cease to be baffled by the permutations and combinations that operate in the rather mysterious innards of the Internet. Goodness knows what the poor surfer was looking for when s/he looked for 'Desi Bullock' pictures but amid the Sandra Bullocks and other 'desi' references, nestled a search result mentioning my blog. Whoever was looking was not an idle surfer, I guess.

Then, someone who presumably wanted to know about the goodness of 'coconut oil for fingering blogspot' also made their way to my blog, again a second page result amidst more exciting ones. Guess s/he WAS looking for (or not entirely disinterested in) culinary advice.

It must have been an ornithologically-minded person who typed in 'What Do Crows Eat' and happened on this post. S/he must have been quite keen on the research, because I have tired of clicking on 'Next' after some six pages of results to see how fast the blog came up.

'What happened after dinner?' could have been a teaser for a murder mystery or a romance, but whoever wanted to know visited my blog too. Hopefully, they've learnt some useful lessons.

Someone who had 'too much tomato in my soup' was, in the sane order of things, probably bound to land in my blog, given its name and ingredients, but wouldn't have found any remedy. I'm a 'Slice-of-Life Chronicler', remember (heh heh!) and food is only a perspective, or an excuse, so those looking for tips and kitchen hints here may have been disappointed. Or may have stumbled on a great blog!

Beauty treatments are absent too, and so is health advice, as the seekers would have found when they asked 'Is kala chana powder good for my face' (I couldn't make out which page they landed on) or 'I enjoy curry but it makes me nauseous - what can I do to prevent this' and chanced upon this.

Oh yeah, blogging's fun alright! Yeah, I came alive when I came alive. That, dear readers, is also a 'keyword', though it is, in its unwittingly glorious pun-niness, a most evocative affirmation of how much I enjoy blogging.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Of Colours, Carrots & Chutneys

  • A friend who's self-employed and has resolved not to stir out of the house till she finishes a project says lunch and a long conversation with me is the carrot spurring her to get on with it and finish it.

  • I had a packet of carrots unusually refusing to rot even after a week in a plastic packet in the fridge.

  • A discovery in recent years has been carrot chutney, made to perfection by Aunt, often recreated to imperfection by yours truly.

Now with so many carroty references and occurrences, why I could only think of papaya and pumpkin when FIC-Orange was announced I can only attribute to a moment of absent-mindedness (Aside: if it's absent, can there be a mind? Why does that sound like a smart thing to say?) but blog-hopping rescued me from much thought when I discovered people were sending in carroty concoctions to the event, created by Sunshinemom.

Take 2 cups of diced carrot, boil till not quite tender.

Grind it on the lowest speed in your mixer with

  1. salt

  2. some tempering/talimpu/tadka (2 tsp of mustard seeds; 3-4 tsp of fried black gram dal; 1-2 tsp of cumin/jeera; 3-4 cloves of skinned/crushed garlic; 3-4 slit green chillies; a few curry leaves, all fried in 2 tsp of oil) and

  3. 3-4 pieces of soaked and softened tamarind

Check taste and texture and temper once again if it's not crunchy enough.

And when carrots are mentioned, can carats be far behind? Here's a quote attributed to American actress Mae West, who was also known for her quips:

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of
carats in a diamond.”

Here's another, by American humorist and social commentator Will Rogers:

"Some guy invented Vitamin A out of a carrot. I'll bet he can't invent a good
meal out of one."

(Well, this chutney's a good meal; just swirl it in some thick curds/yoghurt and you won't need anything else.)

Dreaming of carrots? Then prosperity and health is predicted; for a young woman to eat them denotes she will contract an early marriage and be the mother of several hardy children! Don't believe me, go here and find out for yourselves.