Sunday, September 30, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
If you're into cooking (or, like me, wish you were into cooking) and you're on Facebook, be sure to join this amazing community called Foodilicious "Cooks @ Work". Started by some angel called Sharmeen from Abu Dhabi, the community has amassed over 105,000 members since 2007 and today boasts the most incredible resource of home cooked recipes (primarily from South Asia but also other parts of the world) that I've ever come across. You could plan a menu for the next six months and never have to buy tea items from the bakery again just by picking up recipes from this forum.
I'm trying to cook regularly these days and wanted to make an easy recipe for pasta today. Picked up one from Foodilicious and adapted it slightly, and it turned out pretty well! This is not something you'd want to cook up for dinner guests, but it's perfect for a quiet, no-fuss lunch at home with your kids. (Original recipe posted by Nitu Chugani, who apparently got it from Ree Khan from Pakistan.)
2.5 to 3 mugs of pasta boiled in salted water (I used farfalle or bow-tie pasta)
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of white flour (maida)
3 cups of milk
2 cups of grated cheese of your choice
a teaspoon of salt and a good sprinkle of black pepper, dried parsley and dried basil
Two fistfuls of chopped green coriander leaves (cilantro, if you're from the US) (leave some chopped stems in for the crunch)
Melt the butter on low heat, stir in the flour and sautee for a minute or until the mixture is fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in the milk, making sure no lumps are formed. Mix well and return to heat, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened (the quantity of milk will have reduced by about half). Add half of the grated cheese and the salt, pepper, parsley and basil.
Add the coriander leaves and the pasta. Mix well. If the mixture is too thick, you can add some more milk. Put into an oven-proof dish, sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top and then sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven for about twenty minutes, then turn off the oven and bake it under the broiler (on low) until the cheese browns. Eat fresh out of the oven (but please blow on the pasta before forking it into your mouth).
The original recipe called for baking it all the way through but I preferred doing it this way. I feel that layering a pasta dish always helps rather than having the same thing from top to bottom. In this case, the variation came with the textures: gooey at the bottom and crunchy on the top.
Let me know if you've tried this and if you can think of a way to improve on it!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
This is my first crafty post (only literally speaking). My little boy is turning four! FOUR. You know what I'm thinking: if the past four years seemed like a lifetime, the next four years are going to be an eternity!
Anyway, to make passing this time more bearable (and also because I'm super excited about the theme for Solom's birthday this year) I decided to make the invitation cards for his party by hand. With a little cheating, of course.
There are tonnes and tonnes of ideas for Angry Birds birthday parties all over the net. This invite became the inspiration for the one I wound up doing for Solom (link here).
It seemed easy to do, got the point across and HAD MOVING, 3-D EYES FOR GOD'S SAKE. Loved it! It really got my creative cells jumping, so I decided to adapt this concept for Solom's cards. Here's how.
First, I dug up an image of the King Pig from the net and got it printed on card paper with a regular laser printer. Then I folded the paper and cut it, leaving the fold at the ears so that it became a two-layer, opening card.
Next, pasted a message on the inside and a small magnet at the back of the card. The purpose of the magnet, other than to make the card super-cool, was to enable invitees to put the card up on their fridges so that they wouldn't miss the date (we gave the cards out a little early).
Once that was done, I pasted a reduced size, photocopied map of directions over the magnet. This ensured optimal use of the space on the card and also secured the magnet (although it did leave a mysterious-looking bump in the middle that some people thought was a chocolate coin). Then I just trimmed the edges of the map along the outline of the card.
And finally, my favourite part: the eyes! Got them at Rs. 6 apiece from the same art shop that stocked the magnets. They really made the image pop!
To make the card brighter, I used permanent marker to outline some of the features (you'll see the difference in the final product below). The cards were labour intensive but for a closet craft-freak like me they were totally worth the effort. The end result was a richly layered card that was small in size but high on impact and functionality.
Dontcha love 'em? Say you do!