Last night Pavan and I were listening to old film songs. Somewhere in the middle of getting lost in the melancholy of Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye, I realised something; both of us are growing up. Music has that effect on me – it sort of shakes me up and makes me stare into the reality of life. Sometimes I don’t like what I see and sometimes I do.
Category Archives: French Desserts
And July is also coming to an end. Is it just me or is time really on some mission to travel at the speed of a bullet train? I’m sitting by the window, looking at this sparrow perched on a power line, my brain practically drawing a blank and then out of nowhere I wake up and start working on my excel sheet for next month, of things to do, what to bake and ingredients to buy.
At times when I don’t have clarity, the only thing that saves me is baking. I sit by my window with a cup of coffee, wondering how that pie or cake is going to turn out. I might’ve done everything right but I can still never be sure. And when the cake or pie comes out as it should, the little pieces come together, my thoughts aren’t as cloudy and I feel as though I’ve been injected with a fresh dose of endorphins.
I think I’ve declared my unconditional love for French pâtisserie time and again and well, it’s also all over my blog, but I don’t get tired saying it again – I love French pâtisserie! Every cake or pastry has a little story behind it, boulangeries are so culturally significant in France and the French have their respective bakers from whom they’ve been buying bread and pastries for years.
It’s exciting to do new things in life, to keep the excitement factor up and running. I am someone who gets bored very easily. Actually, I can be obsessively engrossed in something if I want to, but the monotony of life gets to me every now and then.
Boredom is like this parasite. It creeps in slowly and sometimes you see it coming, in the most unusual albeit familiar circumstances; like this route you take to go to work every single day – you catch the same bus and you wait the usual 8 stops to get to your destination, you jump out of the bus, stand amidst the same buildings, walk through the same lanes and shops to get to work and the next thing you know, you are bored of your work itself.
There is a belief in the pastry world that if you crack choux pastry, you’ve conquered something Herculean. It’s what most pastry chef apprentices are oriented into at the beginning, probably because nothing really seems quite difficult after perfecting choux pastry.
It is a technical pastry to make, I agree, but nothing a home baker can’t do, really. We’ve made macarons and puff pastry, how hard can choux be? With my tips and tricks, not very. But read the little nuances twice or thrice if that’s what it takes and don’t take anything for granted, choux pastry isn’t very forgiving after all 🙂
I love second hand bookshops. For me, the idea of wandering my way through a flurry of books that at some point belonged to someone but later put away as unnecessary because they’ve lost their pertinence is very exhilarating. In a weird way they have character, having gone through a cycle of life from one place to another and then to another.
The pages, a murky white stained with rusty brown spots, it’s almost as though they’ve been given a wash of sepia. As you flip one page after the other, the perfume that comes through is so distinctly consistent. And then you find a little pencil scribble on a random page, perhaps a name or a doodle of a little flower and at that point it’s hard not to think why the book was given away, just like that.
For my grandmother, cooking was never a chore. It was a habit that she took great pleasure in. A day without the heat from the wok or effortlessly tossing a pinch of salt into rasam wasn’t a day at all. There were no cookbooks or measuring cups, cooking was intuitive for her, something she knew all her life without actually ever properly learning it.
One of the few reasons why I love French patisserie is its sheer variety. I mean who could’ve possibly thought of laminating several sheets of butter with dough to get innumerable, crispy, golden layers? And then there’s the wonderfully porous choux of course, out of which your delicious éclairs and profiteroles are made of.