Saturday, July 13, 2019

Bread Baking with Me

Bread 101
1. Working with yeast.
2. Types of yeast
3. Proofing
4. Effect of liquid 
5. Temperatures
6. Types of breads Sandwich loaf, Mumbai pao, Brun and masala breads.

Assorted breads 
1. Pretzels
2. Foccassia
3. Fougasse
4. Pita bread

Price for these will be ₹3000 per session. Not more than 4 people in a batch.

Day 1: Bread 101
Practice at home for 1 week.
Day 2: Assorted breads class

Confirm seat by paying in advance. 

Bread Baking with me is not just about learning to work with yeast and creating beautiful breads. It is also about sharing a meal together. The class starts at 10 am so as we work we work up our hunger we take a break as the bread is proofing and have lunch of whatever we bake. We talk about menu creation for a party with bread at the center of it. You also take back home everything that you bake so your family can taste and you can show off your new learning. Come join me.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Cherry Chutney

I am posting a recipe after a very long time. After AC its been a very stressful time just collating matters of the home and business, I haven't being doing anything in my own business. The Eshop is totally neglected. However I did host a couple for an #ExperienceWithMe session. Recently I also did a Bread Baking class.

No matter what I do the sorrow does not go away. There are days when I am numb and miss my husband. We were married for a short 2 years 10 months and have been together for a year before that. A total of two months short of 4yrs. We met at a time when I had already had an heart incident in Jan2012 and I had learned to value every minute I have on this earth. My outlook to life has changed completely since that time. So when we met and shared stories on the first day itself we found each other as different as chalk n cheese but we were sure that would balance us is a good way. After swinging between Yes-No-Yes AC finally called on 14Feb2015 and things were different for us. We decide to put ourselves thru the grind. So we started with visiting each other. Then I took him to my village Thal and my family home for a few days to see if we can spend more time together. It was difficult for us because of our age to change our thought processes but still a lot of important things we believed in were same. It was important for me that Arvi did not smoke and drank only to celebrate, may be once or twice in a year. We agreed to keep our own faith and he assured me he will never interfere in my practices infact I was already seeing him participate. He then took me on a week long holiday to Panchgani. He had a very nasty bout of vertigo once thankfully I was visiting him and I stayed till he recovered. It was so hard for both of us. As our decision to get married became final it started being tested by external poisonous factors mostly people and not circumstances. We had a very tough first year. The only way I could make things work for us was assuring him that we are in the marriage as a team come what may. We explored our thoughts on surrogacy, adoption etc. We talked to a lot of friends and our relatives and finally decided that we should not have kids. Through it all Arvi's health issues were becoming more and more complex as we discovered his heart was bearing the brunt of all the medication over the years. Our cardiologist was the same and he had clearly informed us about the challenges on hand for both of us. However we chose to live well inspite of it. We had our year planned out. Summers in my native Alibag, attending all the Parsi baug fests, Panchgani in the monsoons, December for our travels to a new place as it was our Anniversary month and Finally after new year visit to Udwada to thank Khodaiji for the life we have. The two big trips we did together were a struggle for Arvi I realised and last Dec he wanted to take me to his favorite Manali. In the last 2 years we became friends of the heart. Arvi made everything special for me, always the more mushy one. He always said you will miss me when I am not there. He always told me he would not be able to live without me. He also told me to live well. He had come to realise his heart was not going to let him live all his dreams. Inspite of that he promised to celebrate 25yrs of togetherness with me!

After I lost my husband my parental joint family dropped all the existing differences, love won over material matters and continue to hold me in their warm hug. I must have done something right all these years. There was a stray incident when someone I didn't know very well talked to me in a way I still haven't been able to understand. What made that person say the things she did? God gave me strength to bear that too. Only then we learn the importance of family and blood. I am grateful to both sides of my family, Koli and Parsi. Though less than a handful on the Parsi side they are very loving and supportive. Unfortunately they were not in town as they were all travelling when it happened.

I try to pack my day with lots of activities now. So when someone requests for a class I say yes. It fills my day with a lot of good energy. The recipe of Cherry chutney I am sharing here is what I made for one of the class sessions to go with bread that we baked. It is lightly sweet, spicy and delightful. Do try and let me know if you like it.

2 cups Kashmiri Misri Cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan put the half of the pitted cherries. The other half grind to coarse paste and add to the saucepan. Add a cup of water to just cover them. Cook till soft. Then add the sugar, salt and chili flakes. Simmer till you see the cherries look slightly glazed and the chutney is not runny. Let it cool completely. Chill it in the fridge and then serve. 

I served it with the breads during the class and after it I have been enjoying it with different crackers and savory biscuits like in the pictures.

Note : The plate and chutney pot are my Cooper family heirlooms and so is the crochet tablecloth.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Food Maula: Loksatta, 7Jun2019

Anjali Koli (Featured on Food Maula, Loksatta 7 Jun 2019) This is an online translation of the original published in Marathi.

My blog is called 'Annaparabrahma'. In 2006 I started blogging. I grew up in a joint family but after we started working, everyone got scattered. So I started the blog to talk to my family. They wanted to know the recipes from me. It was not possible to tell it on the phone. So, I broadcasted on the blogosphere,first to my family and then other readers. I listed out Koli recipes. Then wrote about it and started posting. I used to do traditional Koli food, Maharashtrian food and cake baking. I have a blog, e-shop and a Facebook page too. I teach cooking and also participated in some food shows. I went to Bangalore for work in Wipro and fell in love with local food culture in the state of Karnataka.

While working in Bangalore, I used to blog at lunch break. It started as a hobby then became a career. I love traveling, so I spent a lot of time traveling in Karnataka in the seven years. I interacted with people in the small villages of Karnataka. At that time, I was exposed to the food culture there. I learnt a lot from my neighbors.

There is a Maharashtrian influence in the food culture of North Karnataka. The jowar-bajri bhakri, dal, and vegetables are similar except there is a difference in seasoning. At the beginning of winter as field beans are in season it is a fun time. The people of Bangalore are so crazy for these field beans that men and women in the household go shopping together for these. You will see carts piled up with avarekai everywhere. How to choose the best? is a secret. My neighbor shared it with me. Lot of field beans are grown in the Alibaug area of ​​Konkan, Maharashtra. Yet, I did not know that. The neighbor told that the beans must be rubbed between the palms. That releases the essential oils and releases an aroma. It is only if it smells fresh and lovely to you then you must buy. I was amused by this entire process and realized how stringent the Kannadigas were in this selection. The real interesting part lay ahead. There is a competitive environment that can be seen in the Season. Kannadigas buy and eat field beans and then throw them at the doorstep to tease the neighbor that they have enjoyed the field beans and the size of the heap decided who was scored more in Avarekai happiness. Avarekai is used is many recipes to make variety of dishes.

They are so crazy that there are Avarekai festivals held across the state. Two of these dishes are my favorite. One such recipe is called 'Avarekai Congress' it is a kind of chiwda, made by deep frying fresh beans. It contains only fried bead with salt, masala. A curry called 'Hittik Bele Sambar' made only in Kannadiga homes is delicious. It is made with onion and coconut ground masala. The fresh beans are soaked in hot water and peeled to separate the creamy field beans and then added to the curry.

Just like in Maharashtra a puranpoli meal or Shrikhand Puri meal is supposed to be a pretigious meal for a wedding, in Karnataka it is the Chiroti Badam milk meal that raises your status in society a few notches high. The Chiroti in Karnataka is a huge puri the size of a big bhatura. Yet it isn't hollow but crisp and crunchy thoroughly. It is served on banana leaf or a thali and guests crush the puri as the servers and hosts pour badam milk over the crush. There is also an 'Api Payasa' which is made with small puris that are torn into pieces then boiled in badam milk to get a slightly thickened kheer. Small puris are called Api in Konkani and payasa is kheer.

There is a village called Melkote near Bangalore. It is a town in the middle of Karnataka where Tamil culture is thriving even today. Ramanujacharya had lived there and done penance for 12 years. You find the only Sanskrit school in India, there. This town of Iyengar Brahmins is 

famed for its 'Puliyogre'. In fact, Puliyogare is found in all four directions of Karnataka. Yet if you ate it there, it tastes outstanding. Peanuts are used in this recipe. While a 5 star hotel may use cashew nuts it is traditional to use peanuts. A good puliyogare is made with tamarind and sesame oil.

One more favorite is sandige with popped rice. Curd rice, pickle and the popped rice sandige makes a heavenly combo.

In the last decade the street food culture has found an address in V. V. Puram. Lot of South Indian food items are available there. Different types of masala dosa, a famous type of Chilli Bhajji. This Bhajji batter is different from our bhajji batter, Rice, urad dal and a little bit of besan is used for it. Peeled fresh peanuts are served with onion, coriander and chillies. There aren't many chaats but one is very popular. Masala puri, made with crushed pani puri and topped with dried green peas which are soaked overnight and made into a sambar.

Due to dynamic weather in Karnataka, there are two types of almond milk cold and hot. It rains eight months and there are dry hot spells in between. So hot and cold almond milk suits perfectly. Soda, and fizzy drinks are not consumed much. Almond milk is a craze. There are grape and sweet lime gardens in some areas so naturally grapes and Sweet lime juice are wonderful. There is a sweet called 'Kardant' which is similar to Dink ladoo. It contains gum, a lot of dry fruits and coconut. Also, if you go to Karnataka, you must enjoy the ghee soaked Maisur paak.

Interviewer : Bhakti Parab

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Arvi Loved Hapoos!

Wherever we went Arvi always ate mango icecream! 

Last of the Hapoos icecream made by my sweetheart. Just like he was an expert at Vasanu making he considered himself expert at icecream making. His icecream machine was not working so I helped him make it in the mixer. Like all bawas he was crazy about Hapoos. Infact even as a child he would gift his poor friends boxes of hapoos so that they to could enjoy the golden fruit. Last mango season we were holidaying in my native place Alibag when my brother suggested we buy mangoes from Salav forest area if we were visiting Kashid. We did exactly that. We bought 9 dozens!

The car groaned under the weight. The driver cribbed while loading and unloading. My husband appeasing him with a generous tip and a share of the haul. 

After enjoying most of the fruit in the ripest juiciest form we made milkshakes, lassis and mango sheera and even a Hapoos icecream making faceoff 🤗

I made my Hapoos+condensed milk+cream version; his the reduced milk version. His verdict was mine turned out better. His excuse he lost patience while reducing the milk. His version laced with elchi - jaiphal.

Today finished the last of the icecream made by him. Shared it with Dad and told him, 'Arvi chya haat chi'. Shevat chi.

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