I always tell you we have loads to catch up on, but I never get around to it… till now. Now that I’m somewhat back to my normal schedule, we can catch up, provided you’ve time to spare, so ready? Ok, so what would you like to have… tea… coffee… anything cold or something to munch on? Since I can only offer it virtually, please feel free to grab one yourself ;)
I wanna share with you three different cooking experiences I had, one was fun, another was adventurous & the last one was a lesson! I’ll start with my apprentice experience, that’s where I had most fun. I worked as an apprentice at a bakery division of a local supermarket, here in Bahrain. I visit that place frequently, say twice or thrice in a week. Every time I go there, I’ll spend sometime in front of the bakery section, just staring at their glass shelves, full of cakes & pastries. As you might already know, bakery is my all time weakness. Well, one day as usual, during my staring session, the bakery supervisor came to me. As we chatted, he suddenly asked me whether I’d like to work there for a few days, just for a feel of the whole thing. Tada! The next thing you know, I was given an apron & a chef cap. Ready, set, wait… the biggest excitement is yet to come. All the employees in the bakery are North Indians and no I don’t have anything against them… but you see Hindi & myself aren’t the best of friends. For a moment, I thought, I became breathless… it was like air being let out of my excitement balloon. Anyways, somehow we communicated and it was fun! They all treated me like a small little school girl who’s on a picnic, thanks to my height. (Btw, I used to hate being treated like a small girl when I was growing up, but now somehow I like it… I guess that feeling is inversely proportional to my age ;) Anyways, back to the bakery… I was offered the first share of every item that came out of the hot oven! And then there were stacks of cakes, both chocolate & vanilla. I could pick any & start playing with it… I mean icing it. There were tons of chocolate ganache, butter cream, praline etc; just waiting for their turn. So just like my 4 year old nephew plays with his play dough I started playing with food :) I had a fun ride for 3 days. Apart from enjoying the hustle & bustle of a live borma, I didn’t learn much. Ok, that’s not true, I learned how to pipe a butter cream rose, now that’s a good thing & I had a gala time too.
Ok, that was a fun ride, now for the adventurous one! Not too soon after, I was asked to take a cookery class for a group of 30 people, for a Malayalee association in Bahrain… the Kottayam Association to be precise. I guess I had an adrenaline rush at that time, because I accepted it without any hesitation! When I told Jose about my new adventure, seeing my excitement about the whole thing, he kept quite for sometime. I was wondering what’s wrong & then he said “I guess the association people are more adventurous by asking YOU to do something like that”… *sigh*! You see… I’m a person who panics when we have guests over, so imagine taking a cookery class! As the day approached, I had my panic attack. Unfortunately then, these Royal sick bags weren’t available, otherwise I could have used them! Why am I so freaked out? Well, you have to know one thing – I haven’t attended a cooking class, let alone take one. I just had no clue. Then I made a huge list of what all can go wrong. Yeah, that helps! I had just relived my MBA days of C++ & Java. I am clueless now as I was then! But you know that feeling… that you are sure to fail, so you dont care what the hell happens, yeah I had that. And I guess I work the best under such situations! Because somehow once I started the class everything went well (see on the job training works!) & I did enjoy it. I believe the group also enjoyed it. Here’s something they gave me as a token of appreciation ;) Thank you so much Dolly Aunty for believing in me & thanks a million to Sudin & Susan, for giving me the opportunity and also for your support.
Here comes the last one… lesson learned: I’m like a duck in water. I was thrown in, and now I’m trying to figure out how to paddle. That’s how my whole cooking experience has been. So that’s what I did next, attend a cooking class to really learn how it should be done. While I was at home in Cochin, I got the chance to attend a baking class. First I thought I could learn some more baking tips and styles, the science behind it, but more importantly I wanted to learn how cooking classes were given. That reminds me, in college whenever we used to study a new subject, it used to start with something like “Management is a science as well as an art”, that kinda stuff? Well, I always ignored the science part & considered the whole thing as art. So that’s what I did in baking also. I never bothered about the science part, like aeration blah blah… but in this class it was explained in simple terms, so that lay(wo)man like me could also understand. I also observed the whole process carefully, about how things should be arranged, how you need to organise the class & stuff like that. So now I’m all set to take another cooking class… are you interested ?? :)
Anyways, the best thing about all these experiences was I made new friends… isnt that great!? :)
Btw, I forgot to tell you about the situation in Bahrain. See that’s what happens, when everything goes well, you take things for granted right? Thank you so much for your mails & messages & the positive vibes you sent :). Situation has improved here since my last post. Things are slowly getting back to normal state.
So your coffee… tea is done? I wont take much of your time. I’ll just leave you with this simple egg & potato curry. The other day, one of my readers, Joyce, asked for an egg & potato curry. Here is something I came up with. It’s a mildly spicy curry, I think its apt to call a spicier version of stew. This curry should help you during lent. Also if you dont eat eggs, you can use veggies of your choice & make it a mixed veg curry. I know you are tired from listening to my ranting, but please dont forget to note down the recipe, ok? (Joyce, hope you’ll like it & you too.)
Here it goes:
- Hard boiled eggs - 5
- Potato - 1 small-medium, cooked & cut into cubes
- Onion - 1 big, finely sliced
- Green chilli - 4 -5, slit lengthwise
- Ginger & garlic paste - 1½ tsp, each
- Coriander powder - 1½ - 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Fennel powder (perumjeerakam podichathu) - ½ tsp
- Garam masala - a pinch
- Thick coconut milk - 2 cups ( refer notes)
- Cashew paste - Optional (refer notes)
- Coconut oil
- Curry leaves
- Heat oil in a pan & add finely sliced onions & salt. When onion becomes golden brown color, add green chilli & ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the masala powders & a ½ tsp of oil & fry for 3 minutes. Add cooked potatoes & mix well. Add thick coconut milk & bring to boil. Reduce flame to lowest & add hard boiled eggs & cook till the gravy becomes thick, say around 5 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with palappam, kallappam, puttu & chapathi.
- For veg variation:
- You can use veggies like carrot, beans, cauliflower, green peas etc; Cook the vegetables first & add it along with the potato. Rest of the recipe is same.