Saturday, June 30, 2018

Right a wrong

She never got it right. No matter how hard she tried. Her cakes tended to implode. She read blogs, checked online videos, consulted friends who were adept bakers - but to no avail. Her cakes ended up being wrong. 

But she wanted to get it right. At least once. She wanted for once for every corner of the house to be invaded with the heavenly smell of baking. Over the weeks she had managed to speak to a colleague who had given her  tricks - sieve the flour, equal amounts of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, do not open the oven before 20 mins, keep it at the lowest shelf at a low temperature in the oven. Some she knew before some were new. 

As she was walking home from work, inspiration struck. Why not attempt a cake? 

She opened the door, checked the clock, put on the apron. Bowl, sieve, mixer, flour, sugar, oil, butter, eggs, baking powder and soda. It looked like a mini troop had assembled on her kitchen counter. Sleeves rolled, she took the sieve and started to pour the flour. It looked like white rain. The flour gently falling through the sieve onto the bowl. Her nose twitched. Uh! A sneeze was bubbling. In her enthusiasm she had ignored that she was highly allergic to particulate matter. Before she knew the aaaaa became a chooooo. The grip over the vessel of flour loosened and bam! there were  clouds of flour in the room. And a heap of it on the floor. 

So much for baking. Dejected she started packing up. As she was keeping the sugar, inspiration struck again. She kept a pot on the gas burner, poured some clarified butter and poured some jaggery. It started to melt, looking like shining mud. She grated a coconut and roasted it. She mixed the coconut in the jaggery, added a pinch of cardamom. She waited for the mixture to cool. She shaped balls out of the mixture and placed a roasted cashew on each like a kiss

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative forIndian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Monday, June 18, 2018

General updates :D

For the lack of anything better let's go with some general updates.

Chiyaa's half term  got just over a few weeks back. I am not sure if you remember how I was sweating it about her first half term ever. Being so nervous about handling her and Pumpki at home. The first time was a bit of a challenge. But this time it went swimmingly. Being six, she's so much easier now. She's independent, has ways of keeping her self engaged and is catching up mentally. So it's not like being with a little kid. It's more or less like with a young person. She would finish her morning chores, read a few books, play for sometime and then watch some shows on telly. I was loving sitting beside her and working. Then pronto at four we would go and pick Pumpki and then both would wreck havoc in the garden :D It was the most pleasant 5 days I have spent with her. I was so missing her once school started, looking forward to the summer holidays in 6 weeks time. So parents of young kids don't lose hope, it gets easier eventually. 

We have been in the UK for 8 years now. We tend to revolve with in familiar circles. We tend to associate with fellow Indians. But I am lucky to be 'friends' with some colleagues ( who are ex- colleagues) now, cos they have moved organisations. So I planned a lunch party to have them around our new house. It was the first time we were having non-Indians at home. I had plans of making Indian food, but not tried and tested restaurant options. I wanted to be a bit more adventurous. I sweated over the menu, reaching out to my sister and a few friends who are able cooks. I ended up with cabbage pakoras, puri, jeera rice, paneer kalia ( which is one of my cheffy friends recipe and even won an award in a 'curry off' organised in K's office), chole and a chicken curry my kids like :D Dessert was vermicelli kheer. 

I knew my friends were not averse to new tastes. But I wasn't sure how much I was pushing the borders. The pakoras were a big hit. And so was the chicken, chole and the kheer. The paneer ( the award winning one) had mixed reception. The rice was a dud. Thankfully we have K on our side who is the leftovers demolition man.;) It was a very fun filled day. All the spouses got on famously. There was jovial teasing, arguments, and lot of good natured conversation. One minute we were talking about economic conditions of countries, while the next about processed food and the next about men v/s women. The kids were all in the same age group and played on and on. It was fabulous. We spent around 5 hours together without a minute's awkward silence. We all departed promising 'we should do this more often'. 

Talking about friends, my parents went on a trip to Kashmir with their friends. I remember as a kid making trips with Papa 's friends and their families. This time it was a couples only trip. All of them are in the same age group, with kids grown up and settled. It was a fun filled trip for all of them. My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photographs with the contentment written on their faces. It is lucky that they have the right company to associate with. I hope these friendships remain forever. I wish we had such circles but K and I never have found mutually agreeable companions. I think for activities like travelling together there has to be a higher degree of likeness. It never happens for K and me. We have not yet found the family we have the same degree of bonding with.

Well...Someday hope we find 'our' friends too! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

In it together

Today  it is two weeks since amma started back to India. Things have a way of moving don't they. 

Within these two weeks we have managed to establish a routine. Routine is too bland a word. It's more like a symphony. We do things which lends itself beautifully. And by we I don't mean just me and K. It's the kids as well. We have managed to establish a day time schedule  where I wake up pretty early, do the cooking for the kids and prep for K and me. Chiyaa is quite independent now and needs some supervision while she does most of her stuff herself. Eating still needs a bit of coaxing, threatening, shouting and the whole lot ;) But I can't complain. 

Pumpki has a personality of her own. She exclusively seeks me. Mummy is all she wants. But as long as I get  her ready and feed her, she is all right. Towards the time when I am about to leave home, she tends to get a bit anxious. That's when a children's program comes to the rescue. K drops the kids and starts his day. 

By the time he is at work, I have done an hour at my work ( It's sounds like doing time doesn't it :D). My work day is shorter than his. So the pickups are mine. It's a scurry. Catch the bus, come home, take the car, pick kid 1( Pumpki is closer home, so if I am running late it's her first so that I have one in my kitty) followed by kid 2. At home, the divas take turns. If one is having a meltdown  the other is a saint. If one is screaming her head off, the other is brokering world peace. Each day is a different challenge. And on some unique  days, they are both sitting on the table,each with a book, tucking into what I am trying to feed them ( my heart is crying tears of joy). On some other special  days they are both bringing the roof down. 

Situation permitting, there are video calls to India. Once K returns, it is time for the bedtime routine to kick in ( while we manage to put some food  down our throats). It's divide and conquer when it comes to putting the kids to bed. After they have been tucked in, preparation for the next day begins. K loads the dishwasher and gives a vacuum  if needed. 

There is a certain rhythm to it all. It helps that the days are longer and the weather is warmer and it's generally brighter. It helps that I can work from home some days and multi task a few household chores. It helps that Chiyaa is a bit more grown up and is much easier to take care. It helps that Pumpki 's day care is at the end of the street and we have easy access to her. She herself is settling down better. It helps that we are all a unit in this. As the advert for one supermarket chain goes ' every little helps'.