Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Firsts ... And The Food Comes Last

Earlier this month, I did something I've never done before. I went away on vacation. Solo.

                                                                 Nice line, no?

There were other firsts attached to this event - it was the first holiday I've taken where I did very little. Usually, I look forward to days filled with activity - sightseeing, sampling new food, having a little time for myself to explore the place. I would have explored the place, hadn't it been so hilly.

Another first was that it was meant to be an indolent vacation. I intended to be indolent. I didn't even particularly care to go sightseeing, not that there seemed to be much to see there. Actually, I wouldn't know, I didn't investigate. In places like those, there is usually a sunset (or sunrise) point, a legendary seat occupied by lovers or some ancient British official's wife a few hundred years ago, a lake, some boating, a temple or two.

                                                                  A room with a view

There was a lake where I went (Mulshi, near Pune). Along with the mountains, it presented a grand panorama from my room as well as the reception area of the resort at which I stayed.

The other attractions were

the clouds that swirled around the mountain tops and darkened the horizon every evening,

the showers that cooled the place down

the hibiscus that flowered in abundance,

the birds that drank their fill of nectar from them everyday (notice the upside down bird above),

and a lovely quiet punctuated by bird calls and the occasional sound of a drilling machine or a hammer far away. I had a book with me to read but it never got read in all the five days that I was there, I was too busy getting my fill of nature.

Back home, I attempted recreating a salad I had eaten there but I felt it was too plain to be blogworthy. My friend, for whom I had made it as part of a larger meal, said it was great and eminently blog-worthy, and that she wanted the recipe.

At that resort, they had combined sprouts, dates, sweet lime and fresh coriander for the salad. I didn't have dates or sweet lime, so I used some reconstituted cranberries to add the tang. It turned out very different from what I ate there. I don't know how they made it there.

There's nothing to it really, not even dressing.

The green gram/moong dal sprouts, carrots and cranberry are steamed.
The cashew nuts are toasted in about a spoon of cow's ghee.
I added just a little crystal salt to the hot ghee after I removed the cashew nuts from it, and put it in the salad.
I added a lot of chopped coriander to it and mixed it all gently.

Now what's a lunch with a friend without something rich and wicked and sweet? Hence this 5-minute bread pudding?

This is how it looks soon after it's done

And this is how it looks unmoulded. Surely the layer of custard on top is not how it's intended to turn out, it has something to do with the mug I used and the haste with which the dessert is made. I later repeated it with a wider bowl and it turned out fine, as a heterogeneous whole, custard and bread melding together, integrating much better than before.

Bon appetit!

The salad goes off to My Legume Love Affair, hosted this week by Valerie at A Canadian Foodie.


  1. I like *everything* about this post. First, your T-shirt is just brilliant. Your description of your first solitary vacation sounds great. Pictures are lovely. The salad, the dessert, .. invite me over!

  2. Sra, solo vacation and some "me" time is the therapy required once in a while. Place you choose and the season seem perfect

  3. lovely post looks like lots of fun beautiful view
    lovely way to have sprouts

  4. O, I'd LOVE to go on a vacation by myself! Dunno when THat can happen. Lovely pics there.

  5. I 've almost exhausted my patience in asking my husband for a holiday, might just have to take your route to finally get myself a holiday.
    That upside down bird is so pretty. Must have been nice to just sit in your balcony and watch all these things happen by.

  6. Very interesting post. Nothing like spending time with yourself, after all you are the only one who can enjoy and feel and share everything you do with yourself. I am happy for you. The pictures look awesome. Salad and bread pudding are worth indulging in.

  7. That place looks so serene,,,and the salad looks healthy and filling,,.

  8. Love the T! I think you could see a lot from your hotel room - so it is okay if you didn't step out and investigate much.

    I need a holiday like that, and I might just give myself one!

  9. wow..your first also coincides with mine - my first solo trip, ofcourse with an undergrad friend - not exactly solo, but I guess you get the point! :) This post was so peaceful to read as well. The bread pudding looks great - I love the ones from Whole Foods here - warm and earthy! :) the salad looks nice - love simple ones like these - don't like too much drama when it comes to salad! :)

  10. Sra,- We like to take easy on holidays..not like ticking the list on the holiday plan ..slowly absorbing the mood and the ambiance even if that means not going out much..the view outside from hotel room is splendid and it gives plenty of reasons to stay inside and feel the outside world just zooming past..look at those beautiful clicks it says you really enjoyed the "solo trip"..
    You know I do think in this phase of blogging , the simple recipes that should be blogged about is loosing it's place or is getting ignored..the recipes which are homely and very doable ..We need those recipes more and I love the salad ..This is a lovely post, I liked it ..hugs and smiles

  11. Perfect vacation and that rain drenched patio and mountains with swirling fogs has been on my mind since I saw them on FB.Did you read a lot ?

  12. Thanks, all of you!
    Bong Mom, I took three books there, read only a portion of one. I couldn't take my eyes off the beauty in front of me.

  13. This is my ultimate dream... to go on holiday alone!

  14. This is really interesting…

  15. Nice clicks! That looks like a hummingbird.


I moderate all my comments. So if you're a human spammer or a bot that can understand this warning, buzz off, don't waste your time here spamming.