Taco for party

_DSC0616
I started writing this as a set of individual posts of all the elements of a taco party, then I thought it should all be in one place. In one ready to reference post. It is also time for Diwali parties and while you do the tikkas and the kebabs, a Taco Party is more fun, it is a welcome change to greasy Indian takeaway food used for parties and it somehow brings people to a table, which is what parties are for.

So if I have to entertain people at home, then I have an inclination towards tacos as party food. And I think its fresh. A lot can be made ahead, and very freezer friendly too. The leftovers are again freezer friendly . Think Guacamole on toast with a fried egg for breakfast.

So this post is about getting ready to set up a taco party. From scratch. Yes.

Another reason I like them is that they leave scope for a seasonal twist. So when it is the season of mangoes and I had to had to make a mango salsa. A combination off sweet and sour mangos, with a dash of chillies and salt and cilantro. Thats it. A surprise to the taste buds.

So from the salsa to the guacamole to the tortilla itself. All are customisable.
_DSC0586
fullsizeoutput_cc2


For the tortilla:
1/2 cup maize meal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup (approximately) lukewarm water
2-3 tbsp oil/ ghee/ butter
1. Take a bowl and mix all the dry ingredients.
2. Slow add the warm water and knead. The warm water helps in the binding and rolling of the tortillas. Once the dough is smooth, divide into approximately 6-8 balls.
3. Heat a flat bottomed pan, and grease it with oil/ ghee/ butter.
4. Roll out the dough into chapatti like discs. If you are not good at that, don’t fret, just use a roti maker or tortilla maker.
5. Place a rolled tortilla on the pan and cook both sides. Cover with a cheese cloth to keep it soft. For freezing, let it cool and freeze with butter paper in between each tortilla.
fullsizeoutput_cc6
fullsizeoutput_d76
For the Tomato Salsa:
1/2 kg ripe red tomatoes
1 onion minced
1 handful cilantro/ coriander leaves chopped
2-3 green chilies minced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
To taste salt

1. Roast the tomatoes on an open flame. Instead of boiling them to remove the skin I like to roast the tomatoes. It just imparts a smoky flavour to the salsa.
2. Cool and peal the tomatoes. Mince the tomatoes by hand or roughly in a mortar and pestle the idea is to leave it slightly chunky
3. Mix all the rest of the ingredients and the salsa is ready.
IMG_4684
_DSC0609.JPG
For the Guacamole:
2-3 ripe avocados
1 onion minced
1 tomato minced
1 handful cilantro/ coriander leaves chopped
2-3 green chilies minced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2-3 lemons juiced

1. Split just ripe avocados into two. Use a spoon to carve the pulp out of the avocados and use a fork to mush/pulp the avocados. Avocados discolour very easily so squirt the lemon juice and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients.
2. Store in the fridge till it is time to serve,
3. One more tip. Avocados are bland and sometimes require adjustment of the lemon juice and salt. So taste and adjust.
_DSC0610
For the Yogurt Dip (a great replacement of sour cream)
1/2 kg Yogurt
2-3 cloves Garlic
Salt to taste

1. Take a cheese cloth and hang the yogurt for about 3-4 hours.
2. The hung yogurt is creamier. Use a balloon whisk and grated garlic and salt to taste.

For the Kidney Beans
1 cup kidney beans
2-3 large Tomatoes
2-3 large Onions
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder (use the one whose heat you like)
1-2 cups water
2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves
2-3 tbsp oil/ ghee
Salt to taste

1. Soak the kidney beans overnight. Cook the kidney beans till tender. You can use a pressure cooker to expedite the process.
2. Add the oil in pan. Once the oil is heated, then add the chopped diced onions and sauté. Remember to keep the heat on low. Once the onions start to cook add the chopped diced tomatoes and cook. Its better to cover and cook to ensure that you onions and tomatoes sweat well. Add salt at this stage to hasten the cooking process.
3. Once the onion and tomatoes are pasty add the spices and water and bring it to boil. Then add the cooked kidney beans and cook till the means are coated in the paste. Add the cilantro/ coriander leaves and they are ready.

Add a Salad:
250 gms cherry tomatoes
2 cucumber
1 carrot
1/2 lemon juice
1-2 tbsp olive oil

1. Slice the cherry tomatoes and julienne the carrot and cucumber.
2. Add the lemon juice and olive oil
3. This easy salad is a great way to add a fresh crunch tot he tacos. You can vary it as per your liking and seasonal vegetables

Assembling the taco:

Cheese of choice

1. Take out all the best bowls for the guacamole, salsa and the yogurt dip and the salad and the beans. I like to use colourful bowls and mix an match them
2. Grate some Jack Cheese and Cheddar Cheese
3. Use a microwavable platter for tacos, so that you can reheat them.
4. Your work is done. Now allow your guests to stuff their face with tacos that they make for themselves as per their taste.

P.S.
Watch
Netflix – Riverdale – Mystery, drama – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5420376/
Movie – Ordinary People – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081283/

Listen –
Koop – Koop Island Blues – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W3MpOU3OUU
Radiohead – Creep – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFkzRNyygfk
Jem – Keep on Walking – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww5CYMI0V34

Read
Blog/ Webpage: http://inkimageideology.blogspot.in
Book: Old Man and the Sea – Earnest Hemingway – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2165.The_Old_Man_and_the_Sea

Poem

FINISTERRE

The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you had brought
and light their illumined corners; and to read
them as they drifted on the late western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you would still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
– David Whyte

Charnamrita inspired breakfast bowl

img_4836
I vividly remember two occasions when I have had a Panchamrita/ Charnamrita. One was when my aunt had taken us two sisters for attending some Puja in an old haveli in Lucknow. I remember asking for a second helping of the 1-2 tablespoon serving that we were given. And the other time when a dear friend’s mother had summoned me to help mash bananas in a big pot of cold milk and yogurt mixture. I was then made aware that this has to be done by hand only.

Panchamrita/ Charnamrita is the offering to the Divine and then consumed also by those making the offering. Yogurt, milk, ghee, honey, sugar, Indian Basil. Dry fruits, and bananas are added by others.

Because it is so tasty I thought about using the same ingredients with the addition of roasted Amarnath and Foxnut, which is very popular food during this fasting time and making a breakfast bowl.
img_4839
Ingredients:
1 cup Yogurt
2 cup Milk/ Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Honey (you could use a combination of sugar and honey)
1/4 cup Ghee
2 Bananas
1/2 cup Dry Fruits of your choice
1 cup Roasted Foxnut
1 cup Roasted Amarnath seeds
2-3 sprigs Indian Basil

1. Soak the torn Indian Basil leaves in the milk for a few hours.
2. Peel and mash the bananas in the yogurt. I did it by hand, just for the memory. It is fun. You can try it.
3. Mix the milk, ghee and honey into the banana yogurt mixture. Once every thing is assimilated add the dry fruits, roasted foxnut and roasted amarnath seeds.
4. Divide into bowls and serve.
5. Its another great bowl of food post a morning yoga flow.
_DSC0662
img_4838

A mouthful of coconut (energy balls to the world, laddoos to Indians)

IMG_4811
Rituals in India include coconut in many ways. It is considered auspicious and is a staple across the vast coastline of India. It is now that the world has woken up to the possibilities of coconut and its dense nutritional value is fast gaining dominance in cooking, the world over.

During any festivities, yogic or ritualistic fasts, coconut and preparation from coconut is very common. So are coconut laddoos. Traditionally the coconut is cooked in milk, which I have replaced with coconut milk to become a completely plant based dessert.

The other thing done is that if coconut sugar is used the flavour is stronger and makes the laddoos more vegan friendly.

These are great post work out treats for me.
IMG_4819
Ingredients:
100 gms Desiccated coconut, plus some extra for rolling the laddoos in
50 gms Raw/ unrefined/ coconut sugar
1 tbsp Coconut oil
200 ml Coconut milk

1. Heat a heavy bottomed wok or pan. Ensure it remains on low heat all the time. The temptation to turn up the heat and expedite the process of cooking is very high. We are conscious cooking these days, so just enjoy the fragrance wafting in the house while preparing this. Also this will ensure that these coconut laddoos remain as white even when cooked
2. Add the coconut oil to the pan and the desiccated coconut and gently stir. Continue stirring till the decimated coconut is still white, but slightly toasted through and before it changes colour. Add the coconut milk and the sugar and continue stirring. Stir over low flame for about 8-10 minutes
3. Once the mixture is no longer loose and starts to leave the sides and comes together, turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. I like my laddoos to be very soft and hence I almost have a wobbly structure to my laddoos. But if you like a little more bite, cook the mixture a little more, till it is as dense as you like.
4. Once cooled, add some oil to your palms and form balls laddoos. Roll the balls/ laddoos in desiccated coconut and allow to cool. You can store it in the fridge as well, but they will fast disappear where ever you try to hide them.
IMG_4820

Potato Pancakes (Potato Chilla)

fullsizeoutput_d02
The way of life in India and Yoga, is the current inspiration to the Western World. Especially the food we eat. We are traditionally whole grain and coarse grain and plant based eaters, with a vast variety of methods of cooking and a multitude of spices and thats probably why once Liz Hurley had once said that its easy to be vegetarian if you are eating Indian.

But twice a year at least, we give up grains as well. Once such time of the year started yesterday, the start of the Hindu month of Kartik, the end of Shradha (Autumn). This is the weather transition period and characterised by special food for the next nine days. The food is special because the focus is on a complete plant based diet, minimal to no spice and no table salt or sugar. Unrefined sugar and jaggery are allowed. And salt if at all required is Himalayan or Rock salt.

I am a vegetarian and I usually eat quite mindfully and since I travel a lot, sicking to 100 percent plant based diet for all meals can be tough. But this time around I am not travelling, so I decided to not eat grain for the next nine days. Its a tough challenge at hand and since I feel that some fun recipes can help kill the monotony of the food that you all are having at this time of the year.

_DSC0617
The quantity below makes 2 pancakes and serves one person. Multiply the portions as per the number of people.
Ingredients:
1 boiled potato grated
2 tbsp water chestnut flour
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 green chilli chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ghee
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp mint chutney (just blend 1 green chilli, 1/2 cup mint leaves and 1/2 cup raw mango, 1 pinch rock salt, splash of water)
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

1. Heat thoroughly a non stick pan. Add some ghee on the pan and spread with a brush.
2. In a bowl add the grated potato, water chestnut flour, green chilli, dill and water. Whip through till well mixed. The batter should not be too thick of thin. It should coat the back of a spoon.
3. Pour half the mixture on the non stick pan and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Do not make the pancake too thin.
4. Now its time for patience. Do not touch the pancake till the edges have started to brown, else it will be difficult to turn and might break. Once the edges are browned, flip it over and gook on the other side as well. Repeat this activity with the rest of the batter.
5. Serve with yogurt, mint chutney and pomegranate seeds.
_DSC0620

Pancakes with Thyme, Grilled Mango and Mango Syrup

IMG_4353
Crepes and mangoes I sorted for you all. Now well they are tricky, more technique requiring and demand more patience. But then pancakes are better. This one is a multigrain pancake. I usually take a big jar and just add various coarse grain flours and keep it for such handy use. So be more we proceed lets get this little tip on multigrain flour out of the way.

Multigrain flour.
Add all the flours below in a jar and shake it up.
250 gms Buckwheat Flour (Mothi /Kuttu Atta)
250 gms Maize Flour (Makai Atta)
250 gms Bengal Gram Flour (besan)
250 gms Sorghum Flour (Jowar Atta)
250 gms Pearl Millet Flour (Bajra Atta)
250 gms Oats Flour
250 gms Ragi Flour
500 gms Whole Wheat Flour
250 gms Rice Flour

So I made these same pancakes all the time. This one here had a mango syrup, grilled mangoes and there is thyme in the pancakes. Ya odd. But works beautifully. I personally love some cream with my Pancakes, so you will find them a regular feature.
IMG_4765
Ingredients:
Grilled mangoes:
2 ripe Fibrous Mangoes
2-3 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Ghee
Mango Syrup:
500 ml Mango Juice (they are only now going to be preserved ones)
1/2 lemon
Pancakes:
1 cup 9 Grain Flour (as mentioned above)
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Ricotta
1 cup Diced Mango
1 pinch Salt
1/2 tsp Sodium bicarbonate
1 tsp Thyme
2-3 tbsp Ghee

1. For the grilled mangoes. Peal the mangoes and try not to lick your elbows while at it. Heat a grill pan and brush with some ghee. Place the mango chunks. Brush the chunks of mango with Honey and balsamic vinegar alternatively. Keep the flame low and keep turning the mango chunks on the grill pan. Once you can see that there is colour on the mangoes. Take them off the flame
2. Simultaneously take a heavy bottomed pan and add the mango juice and let it simmer away and reduce slowly. Keep stirring occasionally. Once it starts coating the back of a spoon, turn ff the heat and add the lemon juice. The lemon juice is to prevent any crystallisation and also makes the syrup more fresh and zingy
3. Heat a non stick pan and coat it with some ghee. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients of the pancake batter. Then add the ricotta. Use a balloon whisk and add the buttermilk. Then fold in the mango chunks
4. Take a ladle and pour the batter on the greased nonstick pan. Allow the pancakes to form shape. Bubbles will emerge from the pancake and it will appear cooked on the sides. This is time to flip the pancakes. Place them on a serving plate once cooked on both sides.
5. Serve the pancakes with chunks of grilled Mano and mango syrup, some quark cheese or sour creme
_DSC0583
P.S.
Watch
Netflix – 13 Reasons Why – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1837492/
Movie – Room – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3170832/

Listen –
Come Together – Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher – for War Child – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQVPZI7dvWs
The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8
Song for the Deaf in general – No One Know – Queens Of The Stone Age – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s88r_q7oufE

Read
Blog/ Webpage: http://www.refinery29.com
Book: Beautiful Maria of My Soul – by. – Oscar Hijuelos – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7600936-beautiful-maria-of-my-soul

Poem
Moonlight, summer moonlight

‘Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,

But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.

And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.

– Emily Bronte

Jam the Mango and Mummify Summer

IMG_4717
For a lot of us a morning breakfast is a morning ritual. Something repeated time and time again. For me there are phases. One of the phases I go through is the tea and toast mornings. And this specially when I settle back into the morning routine. After an hour of running, kickboxing or yoga. There is comfort in the familiarity of tea and toast. How boring you might say. But change the jams, experiment with nut butters and tea combinations and it never is boring. I love fresh home made small batch jams. It keeps me interested in the toast morning after morning.

And just as the mangoes are bidding adieu, what better way to savour them a tad longer than Jamming it.

I do not add any flavour or spice in mine, but you can add chilli flakes or cinnamon or cardamom. Just a hint of after taste. Let the mango shine
IMG_4715
Ingredients
2 cups chopped mango
3/4 cup of raw sugar
1/2 lemon juice

1. Chop the mangoes and add them in a pan on low heat. Add the sugar and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally.
2. Cook till the consistency you like has been reached. I like my jams chunky, so for me its all about tenderising the mango.
3. Before turning the heat off, add a squirt lemon. Stir and turn off the heat. Pour in a clean try jar. As the sugar quantity of the jam is low, it is not apt for long term storage outside the fridge. So store in the fridge and enjoy with toast, pancakes, crepes etc.
IMG_4652
P.S.
Watch?
Netflix – Are you done with Game of Thrones?. I am not. – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947/
Movie – Out of Africa – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089755/
Listen –
Wolfman ft. Peter Doherty – For Lovers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLY0eUtVlXo
Electronic – Getting Away With It – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSfjtdnUsls
Arctic Monkeys – Knee Socks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZvn3KsUYwk
The Chemical Brothers – Come With Us/The Test Clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsHzrbebhjc

Read
Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/202897.Foreign_Affairs

Poem
Tis the Last Rose of Summer Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

– Thomas Moore

Whole Grain Crepes with Mango Jam and Fresh Mangoes

IMG_4667

Blogging was something I must have started planning some aeons ago. First up usually was this desire to create a stock of images. And this morning I was browsing through them and I found these. Mango crepes from last year. But I cannot bring myself to remember if I ever started writing about it.

I lost some stuff this winter, some writings and scribblings. Maybe in there. But so what? I could write afresh. And so I remade these crepes just to be sure of the measures and then only ate. No clicking pictures for a change. So the speciality of these crepes is that they are whole grain wheat and buttermilk crepes. And not syrup soaked, like the suzette which remains my favourite. But it is really well balanced, nutty from the almond butter, sweet from the fresh ripe mangoes and the mango jam and creamy from the coconut cream used.

Light on the stomach and yet packed with flavour. Great to make ahead and store. This freezes well too. You know of my current obsession with mangoes. This is just another one of those.
IMG_4669
Ingredients:
Crepes:
1 cup butter milk
3-4 heaped table spoon whole wheat flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3-4 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
Toppings:
1 mango pealed and sliced
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 tbsp almond butter per crepe (Liplik almond butter )
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1. Sieve through all the dry ingredients and then use a balloon whisk to blend this into the buttermilk. Whole wheat flour is tricky to handle without a balloon whisk.It tends to get lumpy. If you want to use a food processor, just keep the soda bicarb to be added last. Over beating the soda bicarb will not air the crepes right.
2. Gently heat a non stick pan. Add some ghee and swirl. Alternatively you can spray the ghee or use a brush to coat the non stick. There is a trick to mastering the eggless crepes. The trick is that you should have a flat spoon or ladle and work quickly to spread the batter thinly on the pan. You might not succeed in making very thin ones initially, but if you keep at it its achievable.
3. With patience spoon the crepes and cook gently on each side.
4. Once the crepes are ready, its just a matter of assembly. Place a crepe on the plate, slather it with almond buttered mango jam. Plate some fresh mangoes on top.
5. Gently whip the coconut cream. Spoon some of the coconut cream on the crepes. 6. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds.
7. Savour or devour
IMG_4668
P.S.
Watch
Netflix – El Chapo – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6692188/
Movie – Their Finest http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661275/

Listen –
The Last Shadow Puppets – Is This What You Wanted – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LtrwbEUow
Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQZhN65vq9E
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzQYtpjMjSo

Read
Siddharth by Hermann Hesse – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52036.Siddhartha
The Journal of Andre Gide – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/492519.THE_JOURNALS_OF_ANDRE_GIDE

Poem
I taste a liquor never brewed (214)
I taste a liquor never brewed – 
From Tankards scooped in Pearl – 
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I – 
And Debauchee of Dew – 
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days – 
From inns of molten Blue – 

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door – 
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” – 
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – 
And Saints – to windows run – 
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

Po-ta-to Gratin

fullsizeoutput_cc1

When you have a French friend and she says she’d like to come home for dinner, I tell you it’s cause for great anxiety. She says she misses cheese and the only request is some cheese please.  Add to it she is vegetarian these days. Add to this you decide to be a total fool to try a potato gratin. Just imagine the amount of technique that will come to play.

Potato gratin with a very Indian element paneer or Cypriot grilled haloumi. Once all the elements are ready, assembling the gratin is a simple job. Very simple indeed. So the elements I used were: Thin grilled slabs of paneer (cottage cheese) caramelised onions and blanched and grilled slices of potato. Plus a blend of cheese and bread crumbs for the layers and the crust (this was largely because I did not have enough of Parmigiano Reggiano, but in retrospect, it was a delicious deficiency). Next is the béchamel. Sauces form the founding pillars of French cuisine. And probably if you get that right, the rest is an assembling job.

The trick to the right, no fail béchamel is butter, cold milk and a balloon whisk. Butter in abundance ensures the raw flour flavour does not eminate from the sauce and the bayleaf and nutmeg are subtle flavours which will not work with the overpowering flavour of raw flour. Plus the dollop of butter will save the sauce from becoming lumpy as the flour will cook through evenly. Next up the cold milk blended when the butter and flour are both not on the flame with a balloon whisk. Both together and the result is a silky lump free sauce.

So whenever you try one, don’t be rushed, play some John Coltrane, pour yourself a Chiante and meditate through cooking.

fullsizeoutput_cc0

Ingredients:
Béchamel Sauce
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
2-3 bay leaves
1 pinch nutmeg
2 cups cold milk
Gratin
4-5 tbsp butter/ghee
2 large potatoes sliced
300 gms cottage cheese/ Halloumi
2 large onions sliced
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups grated cheese (Aged English Cheddar, Gruyère, Pecorino)
200 gms cream
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan add the flour and butter. Keep the flame on low heat. Stir and cook till the flour just starts to change colour.
  2. Take the pan off the flame and add the bay leaf, and nutmeg and stir. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly with the ballon whisk.
  3. Put the mixture back on the flame, stirring constantly with a balloon whisk. Once the sauce starts to coat the back of a spoon, take if off the flame and pour into a container and set aside. Immediately cover the bowl/ container with a cling film to avoid the formation of a dry layer on top.
  4. Next, heat a grill pan and brush it with butter/ ghee.
  5. Grill the potato slices on both sides and set aside on a plate. Repeat this activity with haloumi. Add a little more butter/ ghee for the onions and allow them to really cook through to near caramelisation. This adds a lovely sweetness the the gratin. WHile grilling the potato and the onion, be generous with the butter/ ghee, else chances are that both will not grill well and will by dry. Haloumi / cottage cheese has enough fat on its own to grill through.
  6. Now the assembling. Take a 10 inch by 10 inch deep dish. Add a layer of potato, followed by the onion and the haloumi/ cottage cheese. Sprinkle some cheese on top. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper and salt. Cover this with a few spoons of Béchamel Sauce.
  7. Repeat this layering process till the top of the dish. Once the layering is complete, pour the cream on the top, slowly. This will enable the gratin to remain moist when it is put under the grill.
  8. Mix the bread crumbs and the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top as the last layer.
  9. Put this in a pre heated oven, and cook at 180 degree centigrade till the top crust is golden which will take approximately 40 minutes.
  10. Serve with crusty bread and more butter and watch everyone scramble for the crusty edges.

fullsizeoutput_cbf

P.S.

Watch

Netflix – Stranger Things – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/

Movie – Amélie –  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/  –

Listen – to a lot of jazz

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – My One and Only Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCpIuw_ZKEI

Edith Pilaf – Browning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUC74h6AiaI

Edith Pilaf – La Vie en Rose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzeLynj1GYM

Robreta Flack – Killing me softly – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgl-VRdXr7I

Nina Simone – Feeling Good – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5Y11hwjMNs

Read

In keeping with the French theme – Albert Camus – The Stranger –  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49552.The_Stranger

‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.’

  • Return to Tipasa by Albert Camus

Poem

Eternity

It has been rediscovered.What? Eternity.It is the sea fled with the sun.

Sentinel soul,We whisper confessionOf the empty nightAnd the fiery day.

From human prayers,

From common spirits

You free yourself

And thus you fly.

Since from you alone,

Satin embers,

Duty breathes

No one says: at last.

No hope here,

No emergence.

Knowledge with patience,

Torment is certain.

It has been rediscovered.

What? Eternity.

It is the sea fled

with the sun.

– Arthur Rimbaud – L’Eternité

Mango Bircher Muesli

_DSC0575
Classic Bircher is made with oats soaked over night in cloudy apple juice. And next day morning these soaked oats are folded in cream and yogurt and grated green apple and some nuts and raisins. Classic. That will be dealt with in some other post.

But for now we twist this. Make it simpler. Sunny. Golden. Oh this sounds like a lame excuse to try and be poetic. But none the less. Just soak the oats in mango pulp and thats it. Choose some more sliced mango to garnish and some other nuts and things you like. Let it chill and enjoy.
_DSC0561
Ingredients:
2 mangoes pulped
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole oats
1 cup puffed Amarnath
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped mangoes

  1. Pulp mangoes and whiz them till smooth. Add the water to thin the mango pulp.
  2. Fold the oats in the mango pulp and leave it overnight
  3. Add the sliced almonds and puffed Amarnath to the mixture
  4. Spoon the mixture in bowls. Serve garnished with mangoes, Amarnath and sliced almonds.
  5. Enjoy with a cold brew coffee

_DSC0564
P.S.

Watch
BBC – Wolf Hall  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3556920/
Movie – War Dogs http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2005151/
Listen
Alistair Griffan – Just drive – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnxiRt4qeM4
Alpine – Hands – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzHeNVMqKqg
Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs
Cat Stevens – Father and Son  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yERildSsWxM

Read
Blog – https://nextbigwhat.com
Book – Tinkers by Paul C. Doherty https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4957350-tinkers
Poem:
Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley