Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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India Trip 2014- A Round-up of Food and Fun

Things have changed around here! WordPress has a brand new dashboard, the colors have changed and I cannot recognize one freakin’ thing. This is bad, you guys- well, bad and good actually. We got back from India a month ago and I hit the ground running the minute we reached home. First, baby A fell sick with a tummy bug. She hit poopy land (erm, sorry for the graphic details. I have to get it off my chest some how) for quite a few days. Although the doc assured us that this will pass, things hit further rock bottom when I followed suit and fell sick with a viral.

Yet another first birthday cake for Aarabhi. This one was for one of her numerous birthday parties in India. It was a chocolate mousse cake with fresh fruits. Yum!

Yet another first birthday cake for Aarabhi. This one was for one of her numerous birthday parties in India. It was a chocolate mousse cake with fresh fruits. Yum!

The hub, the father of my poopy pants daughter spent a couple of very busy days tending to us. As we recovered, my semester started and I had to look alive and start studying, an art I had conveniently forgotten over the summer. Weekends have been spent catching up with friends, promising to clean the very messy kitchen (a task I got done only today. Shudder!) and catching up on the sleep we have been steadily losing since the toddler decided to embark on her purple crying phase.

Kiran's Lunch Box: My mother-in-law is probably the champ of making quick but delicious tasting lunches. This here was for the BIL.

Kiran’s Lunch Box: My mother-in-law is probably the champ of making quick but delicious tasting lunches. This here was for the BIL.

Oh, I forgot the day care fiasco! A had happily forgotten her beloved auntie and friends from daycare and we spent a tense couple of weeks getting her reacquainted. Although we were told that she adjusted way easier than some children do, I don’t think I have the strength in me to take her away for a month again!

Yes, I cooked too. I made my Egg Korma with coconut milk for dinner and watched my mom and sister go crazy! Achievement unlocked.

Yes, I cooked too. I made my Egg Korma with coconut milk for dinner and watched my mom and sister go crazy! Achievement unlocked.

Ah, the month. It was a whirlwind romance for me with the city I love. Hot, humid, complex and cheerful Madras. So much has changed, I realized every minute of my stay there. But amidst the bustle all the new developments had brought, over the blare of the traffic honks and away from the blinking lights of the overly commercialized lifestyle that has become the new identity of my people, I recognized my old city, the one that will always be the love of my life. It was warm, it was inviting and it is a place I want to return to again and again.

One of the best things to ever happen in so long was meeting all my ladies at the same time... after five long years!

One of the best things to ever happen in so long was meeting all my ladies at the same time… after five long years!

Paneer

With my super-cool brother-in-law, drinking Paneer Soda, a local delicacy in one of the oldest cities in the world, Madurai. It happens to be the husband’s home city on his maternal side. Made with rose water, this fizzy drink is the best beverage I’ve tasted in so long!

Another awesome drink from Madurai, the Goli Soda. Perfect for a hot summer day. I don't regret the sore throat I acquired after.

Another awesome drink from Madurai, the Goli Soda. Perfect for a hot summer day. I don’t regret the sore throat I acquired after.

So with all this going on, I forgot that my blog existed. I have been cooking, I have been taking as many photos as my schedule lets me but while trying my best to keep up with Chefette Spicy, I have come to admit to myself the bitter truth- I cannot do this like I used to. This blogging thing became a full time job back when I could afford to spend time on it. But with a demanding course schedule, a baby who makes me want to spend all my free time with her- making dog and cat noises over and over again, and a non-demanding husband who deserves more attention from me than I seem to give, my blogging days might be coming to an end.

I know that I might probably be undoing years of work I put into it. I cannot say it doesn’t make my heart feel cold and lonely. But I need to set my priorities right. So I might keep the blog running but it is going to be slow and updates might become sparse. Ah well, it has been a good run.

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Photography Styling Challenge- Fashion

fashion4I thought I was setting myself up for failure with this month’s styling challenge topic, Fashion. Although I am not all the way up there with couture and all the trend there is to keep up with, I can claim one thing with a clear conscience- I am not all that oblivious either. But styling for a full post that is going to revolve around that seven-lettered word intimidated me. I am not lying when I say that I started mulling over this concept since the February edition of PSC went up.

The first thing I decided on was my muse. Now, I know. A muse should come to you, you don’t get to make that choice. But mine is a very awkward, very shy model and I had to coax, threaten (which bordered on abuse) and bribe him with Thai Red Curry to agree. So after blackmailing him for a few days, the hub-man finally gave in. There was only one problem- he couldn’t care less about fashion. He is oblivious to trends (why shouldn’t he be?) and if it wasn’t for me, his wardrobe would be full of clothes that fall under one of the four color categories- black, white, grey and blue. Although he does end up looking good in what he wears most of the times, I am a color person.
fashion2We had a couple of beautiful days last weekend, thank you, Alabama. So we made the most of the Saturday by going to the park. Apart from getting wonderful shots of Little Miss Bee, I managed to get satisfactory shots of my muse flaunting his shades. I admit that this shoot bordered on minimalism- no extra props and all that- but it came out better than we feared it would. I had to catch Kishore unawares a couple of times but I ended up with good pics.
fashionfashion3I always knew that we were an awesome team! 🙂

Ps: my hovering image probably killed the first picture. I must learn to fade out of my pictures while shooting shiny stuff.

To know more about the photography styling challenge, click here

If you have time, do drop into the other participants’ blogs and take a look at their challenge photographs:
Redesigned By M
At The Corner Of Happy And Harried
My Food Tapestry
Inge Kathleen Photography
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
A Tree Grows in the Bayou
I Live Under A Rock
Hooked On Homes
MeraKitchen
Miss Wang Photography


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Good-bye, Food!

This has got to be the stupidest post I’ve ever written but it is inevitable. I haven’t cooked anything interesting since my last post. I am not motivated and food turns me off. It’s a phase. And you probably guessed the reason too.

I’ve been struggling to keep up with the idea of food and cooking. It is especially painful when you live away from family, with a man who would do anything in this world for me but cook. Let’s not blame him because even if he did cook, I would not want to eat it. Aversion to things I love eating has been following me around.

I crave Indian food, especially that are not all that nutritious for you like Dahi Puri, Kashmiri Naan and things there is no way in hell I can find in remote Alabama. So, I totally cannot wait to get to India in December. Once there, my mommies will cook for me, I will go out to eat with friends and family and feel loved. Until then, I have to trudge through coursework, housework and make sure I stay sane.

No, don’t feel bad for me. This will keep my endurance in check.

I was talking to K today about the sad state my blog is falling into and he suggested I dig into my folders to find food that haven’t posted about. I did. And it turned up some badly composed pictures. But desperation has left me with no choice and I hate picture-less posts.

so this here is Bhel Puri, a more popular cousin of Dahi Puri that I crave. I made this in March and I refused to make it again because it made me miss home more.

This is Knolkol/Kolrabi Kootu and Curried cauliflower. This Alabama is a strange place. We have a multi-ethnic store which stocks a traditional Indian vegetable like Knolkol but hardly sells eggplant. This Kootu is made of coconut, cumin and Thai chili. If you do find Knolkol in your store, I need to warn you though. Select smaller, tender ones because it is a very fibrous root. It takes extensive peeling and cooking to make this tuber edible. But its taste is unparalleled and this is why I go through all that trouble. Grind the coconut, cumin and Thai chili together with a little water.

Cook the Knolkol until tender. Discard excess water, mix in the paste and salt. Let it boil for a few minutes until you get a semi-solid consistency. Optional addition is soaked Bengal Gram Dal. Two Tbsps soaked overnight (or in hot water for 10 minutes). Add to the cooked Knolkol with the paste. Tada!

So this space is probably going to be done with originals. I will keep it alive with things I eat outside, things my mommies cook up for me and general India posting (sans the Slumdog Millionairesque pics). Who wouldn’t like that!


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A Year Full Of Wisdom-ish

As I contemplated what I could write about to add a little bit of dry humor to your day, I stumbled upon the title first. Some writers tell me that they make up a title before they decide on a topic but being the humble writer that I am, I have found that impossible… until now. After deciding whether it should be A or An, I moved on to what is going to be my second post this week.

So like I’ve been telling every single person who would stop and listen to me, it is going to be a landmark year in my wedded life soon: The Big One. Yes, though I basked in the glory of being a newly wed, I am kind of relieved, for what I call the year of surprises, is ending. As the calendar rolled, I learned a few tricks a person should learn about dealing with their other (obscure) half. I got pretty creative, no doubt, and used a few under-the-table tricks too but apart from the very disapproving housewife, I don’t see anyone else frowning on me. So here goes…

1. I have learned to be subtle. Blatantly telling a man what he needs to do only makes him as indignant as my dear dog Rover. If you layer it with reasoning and humor, he will see your point.

2. Never disclose your budget. If you spend even a cent more than you decided to, it will become his favorite family story for the years to come. How does he care if you can live healthier for a dollar more? Stealth: this is how.

3. Tell him he needs to shave and get a hair cut. Unless you are in love with the hilly-billy part of him, you need to emphasize on them, every month.

4. Don’t give up every time. Or don’t let him give up every time. He either thinks you are a doormat or selfish: two unattractive opinions for anyone to have on you.

5. Leave that saintly attitude out of the door. Really, this is not a church.

6. Make him read what you write, see what you paint and listen to what you create. Mine has the literary interest of an 8-year-old (he reads only Tinkle!) but I make sure he reads my blogs once in a while.

7. Deal with toilet seat issues. He leaves it up? Leave the seat and the cover down every time you go in. That will really reform him.

8. Get a detailed feedback about everything you cook. Chances are he will crib.Don’t bother, how else will you get better?

9. Make combined projects. We are making a random lamp together. It is fun!

10. Laugh. Hard. When we have a serious roadblock, we discuss it, look for a result or sit on it and later make a joke out of it. The problem doesn’t go away but it makes us feel it is not unsolvable. That easy!

PS: I broke my project rules by not publishing for two days. But I picked the most difficult week to go on it. I shall prevail!