My favorite way to start the day is with two slices of whole wheat sourdough bread from Iggy’s with a liberal spread of Nutella. The bread is hearty and powers me through a crazy morning at the office, or a sadistically long run; the creamy hazelnut chocolate spread, I savor every smear of. This had so completely worked into my running routine, that when I travelled out of town for marathons, I carried my Nutella jar. Continue reading “Nutella Sandwich: Nutella spread on Iggy’s bread”
Iggy’s Bread IS my favorite bakery in town. Their breads and bread rolls are hearty and made of simple ingredients with no chemicals or preservatives (see comparison at end). My daily staple is their Whole wheat sourdough round, which goes well with Nutella, or even Trader Joe’s crunchy salty peanut butter and fruit preserves. They also serve home made sandwiches and unique pizza creations, … and it is a beautiful store fronting their bakery. Continue reading “Iggy’s Bread: A Photo Essay”
Arrowroot powder is the starch component of the perennial tuber, marantha, found in tropical forests. Starch from these tubers is believed to be of a higher quality compared to potato starch or corn starch, as it has a neutral taste when used in cooking. Continue reading “DuddaLi: Arrowroot Pudding”
Last year on my return from the Kailash Manasarovar yatra, I had a severe case of acid reflux which was affecting my throat and vocal chords. Apparently, eating foods cooked in an unknown quality of oils and lying in sleeping bags (without pillow) can cause this. Of course, my intense running also brings up stomach acid and aggravates it. In addition to medications and other dietary changes, my doctor recommended that I stop drinking coffee! I could not imagine starting my day without a double shot of espresso. But I loved running more. So for several months I drank green tea in the mornings (and yawned at my desk). I came upon Masala Milk Mix in the grocery store and loved its refreshing taste. My mother noted that it was easy to make the powder at home and that got me started on grinding my own Badam Pista Milk Mix.
Now, I start my day with a warm cup of Badam Pista Dudh. I still drink about half a cup of coffee after lunch. My acidity problems have been essentially resolved and I feel great.
Easy to make.
Continue reading “Almond Pista Milk”
During this summer, we had parents, siblings and their families visiting. In addition to catching up on gossip, we were constantly eating various dishes that the women conjured up.
And they made one of my favorites, Dill Idlis (Dill is called Shaepi in Konkani). These idlis represent the marriage of the South Indian staple idli with the aromatic Dill, popular in coastal Maharashtra. Dill Idlis are primarily made along the northern coastal Karnataka (Konkan).
In making these idlis, the key is to retain the subtle taste and gentle aroma of dill, which is later complemented by warm tuup and honey while eating. So here is the brief recipe and a few pics.
Display of breads in a tiny bakery in Vienna – steps from our friend's house. The bakery carried a large variety of multi-grain breads and everything was “organic.” The front counter displayed an assortment of dessert rolls, croissants, tarts, pastries and other savories. We'd nibble on an almond- or walnut-filled croissant and sip their superlative melange (espresso with hot milk!). Soon this became a routine. What’s not to love! Continue reading “Good Bread is Good for You”
Idli Sambar: Its whats for brunch!
Of late, I was craving idlis. First it was Lakshmi, who tormented us with her pati's excellent idli making skills. Then at the Konkani Sammelan we had idli sambar for breakfast, and I only got one serving! Considering the long lines, I felt guilty and did not go for seconds. *Yes sad!*
But the ever-vigilant M dearest noticed my silent suffering. She soaked the dal for two days, ground it, fermented if for a day and on Saturday morning made delicious idlis. She even made the perfect sambar, just the way I liked it – from scratch and by blending all the spices. And with lots of eggplant, peppers and potatoes. I like the gritty feed. No powders were used in the preparation of this sambar!
And yes! I went for seconds, … and thirds!
I get cranky without a good breakfast. Particularly when traveling. I do more research on breakfast places, than on sightseeing. So it was with Montreal. On our first morning, we walked over to Chez Cora Dejeuners (1425 Rue Stanley, off Rue Ste Catherine). I had read a lot about it and was ready to be disappointed. When we came up the street, seeing customers lining outside was a good sign. After about a 30 minute wait, we got a nice table with sunlight streaming in from large windows. We ordered random things from the menu. An omelet wrapped in a crepe for M (see next pic), and a waffle on a bed of fruits for me (see above). This place is known for its generous fruit servings and all their breakfasts are accompanied with lots of fruit. Yes, it was del-i-cious! Fueled us for a long day walking around Montreal. Another of my characteristics – once I find something good, I hang on to it. So for the next couple of days we started our days at Chez Cora. Continue reading “Breakfast in Montreal”
We started our Canada trip with a couple of days in Calgary. It's a well laid-out city and easy to walk around. We enjoyed the ethnic foods and the coffee shops a lot. The folks we met were also friendly. The girl at the Patagonia outdoorsy Store, for eg, was gushing with suggestions for things to do in the mountains, places to stay and lakes to visit.
We got up early and headed out to a Diner we had noticed the previous evening. When its doors opened at 7:00 am, we were there. It was a quaint 60's styled Diner, with barstools, chrome strips and all. They had expanded in the back with regular tables and booths, and that's where we relaxed.
M treated herself to a Mushroom and Spinach omelette made from free range hens, accompanied by sauteed potatoes and whole grain bread toast. I settled for buckwheat pancakes with mixed berry preserve (see pics below). It was one of the best pancakes I have had. Not the usual white flour ones which get soggy when you add the syrup. These had a nice grainy and an earthy taste. I also 'helped' M with her potatoes and half of the toast. Simply healthy, delicious food! And very filling. We took more than an hour to finish off the breakfast. A perfect way to start the day.
M's Mushroom & Spinach Omelette
Buckwheat Pancakes with mixed berry preserve.
After breakfast, we ambled over to the North end of downtown, where the Bow river ripples. Along both shores are nice walking paths, running and biking trails, and tiny sitting gardens. With picturesque bridges and numerous ducks, it made a perfect setting. The rising sun showcased the clouds beautifully over the fall trees. Picture Perfect!
Other Posts from our Calgary Visit:
- New Year Greetings – Walking on the Athabasca Glacier
- Lake Moraine, Canada
- Elements: Moraine Lake
- Scenic Drive to Columbia Ice fields & Banff
From our Montreal Visit:
- Montreal: A walking city
- Breakfast in Montreal
- From Montreal: Bouquets of Joy
- Be Mine
- Montreal: Mont Royal and the city
I asked M if she had the last of the Nutella. Nope she said! Its been ages since she touched Nutella. After much moaning and pacing I asked M again. Nope she insisted! “Besides, its too sweet for me.” She is not much into sweets and my stacks of Indian mithai are safe.
But M does have an exquisite craving for chocolate and hazelnut, and our stores of Swiss chocolates steadily recede. I got those just for her. After additional pacing, I asked again with my practiced, 'lie and you rot in hell' look. BTW, we guys don't have the genes for this. Not even bothering to look up from her newspaper, she responds, “maybe there is a mouse in the house.”
Ghar mein ek chuva hai
ya daal mein kuch kaala hai!
See how I prepare for such crises.
Anannas Mhoramba is one of those dishes which instantly transports me to my childhood home in Donald House, Colaba. My grandmother from Bhatkal made the best mhoramba. Not too sweet and not too sour. Best eaten with warm chapattis! I remember using my fingers to wipe the plate of any traces and then licking them clean. It was that good! As kids we used to spread it on chapattis, roll and pack it for a school snack.
Its been decades since I had any good mhoramba. A few weeks ago, one of my aunts asked for a recipe and that got me thinking: why not make it myself. Actually I had tried it several times in the past here in the US. The pineapples here are just too sour and if you add too much sugar, the whole thing carmelizes and you’ll need an axe to hack it.
Finally a stoke of genius – BTW, I get about a 100 of these per day 😉 Why not try it with Canned Pineapples? I put together a recipe and it worked just great. Lets just say, I don’t complain about dinner anymore – I just reach for the chapattis and mhoramba, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for a snack. It is not to runny and not to dense. Not too sugary – when it zings the teeth; and not too sour. Heaven! Svarga! this must be it. Since I am not a sadist, I am including a simple recipe as well. Try it and let me know what you think.
- 1 medium can (375 -450 gms) of crushed Pineapple in its own juice (not “in syrup”).
- 1 medium can of Pineapple “chunks” in its own juice.
- Open the cans and pour out about half of the juice.
- Pour remaining in a medium non-stick saucepan (saves you the cleaning)
- Add two cups of sugar on top – don’t have to worry about mixing it.
- Simmer for about 45 minutes. You should just see some bubbling.
- Use a wooden spatula and stir if you want to feel involved and hard working. I just twirl the saucepan. Its not going to burn because the heat is on very low.
- Separately use a mortar and pestle to crush about 20 seeds of cardamon (elaichi; the seeds from about three cloves, peeled). Add to the simmering stuff.
- Add three cinnamon sticks broken in half
- About ten strands of kesar (saffron)
- A fifth of a nutmeg freshly grated straight into the pot. Be careful – some folks find this too strong.
- Let it simmer for another 45 minutes, with gentle mixing or twirling. You should see the color change to a light brown and the pineapples condensed to about half. You can let it simmer for a little bit longer if you want it a bit thicker.
That’s it! You did it!
If you made it, you get to try it out when it is still warm. If you don’t have chapattis, try it with whole wheat bread. Yumm!
I spoon it to a clean jar when it is still warm, allow to cool on the counter overnight and then cap tightly. No need to refrigerate – we always leave it in the pantry. If you are doing the cleanup, count your blessings. You get to lick the spoon clean.
By mixing the crushed and chunks of pineapple, I get a nice mix of spreadable mush and some chunks.
Any comments, or suggestions for improvements, or what to eat it with are always welcome.