I am nervous before I attempt any Raymond Blanc’s recipe. I don’t dote on celebrities or people much, but he is an exception. His recipes are precious and somewhere I feel like if I fail them, I’ll let him down.
On a usual day of baking, I am fairly well prepared. On a day when I am attempting one of Raymond’s recipes I am shockingly meticulous. I stick the recipe on a wall in front of me. I measure the ingredients and lay them out in bowls. I read the recipe 10 times, at least, after watching the video 4-5 times.
In all the times I’ve tried one of Raymond’s recipes, this time was extra special, extra important, this time I endeavoured one of his gorgeous chocolate cakes, Gâteau de Macaron, for Pavan’s birthday.
If you follow my blog regularly, you know by now that I get sentimental about food that I have grown up with. Don’t get me wrong, I like being adventurous with food and try out different cuisines ever so often, but familiar tastes can give you a sense of warmth that is incomparable.
Yesterday’s post on strawberry jam was a sweeping hit; I had visitors from Nigeria and Lebanon which I almost never do. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by, by the way. But I took a moment and thought about what was so unique about a simple jar of jam? And there, I said it myself, “simple”.
In my home, a bottle of jam never lasts for more than a month; I always have about 3 different flavours in my refrigerator. For me, the idea of conjuring something that you have always bought in a store is exciting. There is nothing fussy about making jam – fresh fruit, sugar and a dash of lemon juice, how difficult can it get?
I just love the look of an old-fashioned dessert. As a matter of fact, I like most things old fashioned – The Beatles, bellbottoms, cat eye glasses, the 50’s frock, the sexy beehive hairdo, a glass of greener than green grasshopper and there’s plenty more. It’s just that they all reek of character, devoid of any signs of superficiality.
Traditional desserts were wholesome, plenty of fruits were used probably because chocolate wasn’t affordable – think, Peach Melba, pineapple upside down and apple pie. A spoonful of wobbly red jelly with vanilla ice cream makes me deliriously happy even today.
As a child I used to have The Princess and the Frog jigsaw puzzle. I would spend half an hour every day to fix the puzzle, until it became too easy and I got too bored, and old for it. But the memory of the puzzle is etched in my brain, piece by piece.
It is 5:30 in the morning and I am up and about to watch The Oscars. I think it happened a few years ago when I turned the TV on because I couldn’t sleep and now I’ve just stuck to the tradition. A hot cup of coffee, early morning breakfast, gorgeous gowns on the Red Carpet and my favourite part, The Oscars – what’s not to like? Although, I wish I had the same enthusiasm to wake up and jog; I’d be fit as a fiddle.
I am really excited about the recipes I’ve planned for you this month; let’s just say that it is going to be diverse. I made a grocery list that was never ending and finished shopping over the weekend; baking aside, walking down the grocery aisle and browsing through ingredients has got to be my Zen place, except for the bit when I go ballistic after looking at the price on them. Which is why I am introducing a new column on my blog – DIY Thursdays; some of these ingredients we just blindly buy are so incredibly easy to make, if only we have the time and the patience, so watch out for Thursdays!
Which Indian kid didn’t grow up on greasy veg puffs, of golden perfection and sublime crispness? If you throw your hands up in the air, I’ll tell you that you’ve missed out on something invaluable. It was the symbol of Birthday parties; I have this vivid picture of neatly arranged paper plates containing veg puff, potato chips and a wedge of the cut birthday cake along with transparent, plastic cups filled with this pale-orange liquid – I really loved you Rasna!