Looking back…

Chilli Paneer
Chilli Paneer

Christmas came and went, but not without filling us up to the brim with good food and great company. The cookie jars have been emptied, and the Christmas tree stands in all it’s glory waiting to be taken down by some lazy people (read: Hubby Dear!) who’d rather postpone the daunting task till the next Christmas.

While we’ve gorged on feasts of rich sinful food the past couple of days, it’s now time to loosen down a little before the biggest feast of the season – the New Year’s Dinner that I plan and carry out with much elegance. The menu has been tried and tested, the serving dishes have been laid out and friends and loved ones have been duly warned to come with ready and growing appetites.

The year end always brings me to a point where I can’t help but take a stroll down memory lane and acquaint myself once more with all the good, and some not-so-good memories that passed me by. This blog has been a wonderful outlet for me in times of joy and contemplation. My food speaks of my various moods and my write-ups brought me closer to my inner thoughts.

When I woke up this morning, I knew I just had to put in a final post for 2006, and it just had to be done today. Why? Well, because I’m a complusive hostess, and throwing a party means that I’m preparing for it well in advance. Hubby Dear can vouch for that! So, anyways, as I was saying, I wanted to write in a last post for this year, and what better than to follow it up with a recipe so dear and near to my palate. Being a sucker for spicy food, this dish brings together the best of the East and West. It’s a perfect blend of spice and all that’s nice, and quick run-to option on cold deary days when the heart wants some warmth!

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Stop me…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

… before I flood the town with cookies!Okay, so I have a disease. When I like something, and I mean, really like it, I tend to go overboard. Yes, as in waaaay overboard!So, the past few days have kept me busy with regular trips to the kitchen store to load up on parchment paper, pastry brushes, whisks of all sizes and most importantly, cookie jars!

I guess you could say I’ve caught the cookie-baking bug. I’ve been baking non-stop for the past four days, churning out tray after tray of the most delicious, chewy, melt-in-you-mouth goodies I’d have never even imagined possible by someone who doesn’t really like to bake per se.

The journey so far has been fun, and for the most part, enlightening. I figured out many short-cuts, some easy and simple substitutions, and learnt quite a few lessons the hard way over some not-so-delightful looking treats that filled my home with the whiff of burning plastic! Yes, it’s been an insightful few days, and nothing that I’d regret. Infact, I think it’s going on great and I still have the will to try out a few more of Hubby’s picks from a cookie bible I bought not so very long ago.

With my Christmas shopping all taken care of, gifts duly wrapped, labeled and strategically placed under the tree, and the home looking it’s absolute best in all Holiday slendour, I can’t help but wait to wake up on Christmas morning to the smell of fresh brewing coffee and a platter of home-made baked treats. Yes, nothing can quite beat that feeling, except, of course knowing that mine is the biggest gift under the tree this year. Now, if only I knew what it was!

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And so it begins…

… my christmas Baking marathon!

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of baking, nor have I ever attempted to turn my kitchen into a cookie workshop during Christmas time. But this time it’s going to be different. When Hubby Dear suggested that we (or rather, I!) bake cookies fresh at home this year, instead of taking a trip down the lane to our favourite Italian bakery, I was intrigued. The thought did cross my mind, several times. But the succeeding thought of being covered in flour and my oven going up in flames always scared me just a little bit. But then again, one look at his puppy face, and I couldn’t help but become compelled to at least give it one try.

Mango-Coconut Cookies

With my school finally over, I am currently enjoying the benefits of being at home. That is ofcourse, before I get into the grind of looking for a full-time job – but let’s not think about that right now and try and enjoy the moment, shall we! So, with a new found energy I decided this was goin gto be the day that would either make or break a tradition in my home. I was about to enter the realm where the aroma of freshly baked goods could be smelled in the air during the Holiday season. Mind you, if this by some grace of God turned out to be a success, I knew it would be stuck as a tradition in our home, where I would be expected to bake every Christmas!

As I sat down with a cookie bible I picked up about the same time last year, deciding on which one of the classic favourites I wanted to play with, my mind began to circle around some not-so-traditonal ideas. Another couple of minutes later, I was convinced on what I wanted. One problem was, I had no idea how to go about it. Neither had I ever eaten such a cookie, not had I heard of one. But wonder of wonders, that didn’t stop me. And boy am I glad! Needless to say, the smell of something baking in the oven was only one of it’s perks!

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Soup’s Up: Meatball Noodle Soup

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

With the temperatures decreasing at a considerably ridiculous rate, I find myself constantly looking for something warm enough to melt my insides. Now these are not one of those simple craving of comfort that could easily be taken care of by a steaming cup of rich hot chocolate or some spiced infused tea. No sir, these longings call for something more that compels me to take the extra tiny step further.

When I think of soups, my mind always seek the ones filled with lots of vegetables and other bites of goodness like dumplings or bits of meat floating in a light flavourful broth. Seldom ever do I desire one that is thick and rich, and made with dashes of cream. Infact, to be honest, I almost never do. You see, for me, soups are best when they come in a clear broth, and that’s eactly always the way I prefer to make them.

I’ve been having a hard time the past few weeks what with being buried in reports and deadlines. With all that finally taken care of and set aside, I was happy to find some quite time in my kitchen on this cold friday evening. With a few hours to spare before Hubby Dear came home, I had enough of time and a lot of energy to make a big pot bubbling with the most fragrant and aromatic flavours that would warm up our home and give me the comfort I so needed.

A few hours later we were nestled on the couch infront of the TV with a big bowl as we slurped and cuddled, of course all warm and cosy together!
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That time of year…

With the hustle-bustle of the holiday season all around you, one can’t help but feel the joy. There is, definitely, something good in the air. And of course, all the sugar being consumed does play a good part in keeping spirits high! While I haven’t even begun to wonder what my holiday baking would comprise of, I have started to however, work my way through to richly comforting meals. Yes, the cold winds do make me find comfort in my foods most times.

Alu (Potato) Korma

I remember a time not so long ago, when all I would eat on cold wintry nights were bowlfuls of hot chicken-noodle soup. Now, times have changed, and with it, so have my moods evolved. I do still enjoy the occasional soup, but I find myself on most days craving something else. These cravings almost always vary depending on what I envision myself eating that night.

When I went to my kitchen today to make a quick fix for dinner, little had I known what would come out of it. A look into the fridge told me that I was missing anaything and evrything that could create something festive. But as always, the culinary instincts refused to back down. A bag of cute red baby potatoes called out to me, and I found my myself picking out flavours to go with it. Had I known that these cute little guys could make me swing a few minutes later, I would’ve atleast played some holiday music!

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Resolving Resolutions: Macaroni with Peas & Carrots

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

With December finally having dawned on us, one can’t help but reflect the year soon to pass us by. I automatically begin with the setting and tackling of my annual resolutions. The most daunting for me of course, is knowing that skipped out on a few of the resolutions I made with gusto at the stroke of midnight eleven months ago.

I frown ever so mildly at the slightly chubbier version of me since a year ago. Needless to say, managing and catering a food blog to ever-indulgent foodies did not play a good part in keeping word to “weight” issue. I twitch my nose and curl my lips at the thought of the next weeks finding me drowned in flour over my over-ambitious Christmas baking plan. The list is being made as we speak, a perfect blend of the sweet, savoury, melt-in-your-mouths, and of course, chocolate choices of the best cookies ever to grace the human palate.

For those who are familiar with my culinary skills, can vouch for my lack of interest to baking. I celebrated my last Christmas with a huge bill of delicous confectionaries, much to Hubby Dear’s dismay. This year, to begin the glorious month with a new resolution, I decided to finally tackle the baking fairy. This I’m guessing, will be no small feat, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Getting back to the topic of concern, I decided to tackle it as best as I could on short notice. With the weather Gods warning us of a cold wintry week ahead, I decided to bring in a little comfort to my very lazy Sunday evening. And I tried my absolute best to make this as healthy as per my earlier resolution demanded. I promise.
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