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Fine cooking

November 2, 2009
2009

There are days when I am an ardent fan of all trivialities and intricacies involved in the act of cooking. And then there are days when I am not, I guess that suffices. I forget to cook sometimes and when I don’t, I am often puzzled by what I hold in my hand to set on the table, thinking ‘what is this ?!’.

Cooking is an art, they say. True, I am really not an artist, sigh. I catch myself reading all those food blogs, pictures, my ‘100 snack varieties’, ‘100 vegetarian dishes’ type of series of books and salivating, but when I try to imitate them, I am either pressed for time (I remember to cook mostly only when either my stomach starts to grumble or the clock speedily approaches ‘pick up kids!’ time) or pressed for enthu (does anyone say such a thing ?).

I often forget to check and collect all the ingredients irrespective of what I set on to cook. I have had no oil the day I was about to roll out pooris, I have had no green chillies the day the oil was boiling and asking for the onion pakoras to be dropped in and I have had whatsoever no rice at home a few hours before the guests were to arrive on a Sunday. (read no shops open in Germany).

So, when someone asks me for that recipe, I cringe. I often don’t know what I did and how. When every time it’s an accident, how do I explain ? I try to repeat some accidents, in vain. It always turns out to be a new accident.

I am still trying to figure out how my most recent accident happened and here is how… when I can still recollect it.

Lasagne

To make this you will need as many Lasagne sheets as you please for starters. (now, I can see some raised eyebrows, I am not dictated by tsp and tbsp, I just cannot handle it).

As step 2, I would rummage through the refrigerator to look for a vegetable (I cook vegetarian) that can be used in the sauce. This time I found a near-rotting brinjal, but not really throwing stage one. That is good enough, if you get what I mean 🙂 (pst! I sometimes find chopped spinach, the frozen type with cream in it, if I am lucky). I intelligently peeled it, sliced it, sauteed in olive oil and kept aside, this gives a slight sweetish feeling to the sauce, but if you don’t peel, it makes you want to scrape your tongue once you eat, believe me.

Step 3 would be getting back to the fridge, looking for leftover ready-to-use Pasta sauces, not necessarily Lasagne, but any noodle sauce. Ooops, did the caption say ‘Fine cooking’ ?? I forgot the ‘!’ in the middle, sorry about that. This time I found a Basil-Tomato sauce and a Garlic-Tomato with Pecorino Cheese. You can use as much as you want (again!). If you have some ready Lasagne sauce powder, go ahead, don’t be shy, use it! And if you don’t have any of these, puree tomatoes, season with dry basil or oregano or whatever you have in that direction. I have seen star chefs tasting the sauces all the time, so you know when to stop adding stuff.

Ok, as step 4, I put the brinjal in the pot, added the l.o sauces, brought it to a boil. And then I remembered two things. One, my Lasagne always turns out dry when it starts cooling down. Two, I don’t have the béchamel sauce, a key ingredient in making Lasagne, says Wikipedia. Plus, I am trying to use less cheese. I took out the low fat milk carton and tipped it into the pot, that covered all the 3 problems I had. You are ready! Now all you need to do is layer your baking dish with sauce and lasagne sheets, alternating. The gooey-er it looks, the better. The watery it is, the better. Bake at 180 – 200°C for about 25 – 30 minutes. Voila!

No, I didn’t forget to talk about salt and pepper, it’s up to you.

To diminish the guilt feeling of this heavy dish, you make a salad like this. Need I say, I forgot to add croutons and roasted sunflower seeds that I know I surely have somewhere. I did remember to sprinkle a dressing of olive oil and balsamico vinegar.

Salad

Now that you have done this, you can end the meal with a quick bite… into this. (forget about that guilt feeling part, this one takes oil, not butter)

Cake

Sorry, this was all that was left when I returned with the camera.
This was a chocolate cake. Takes about 7 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to bake. Don’t ask me how I made it, I tried it again and it came out like an XXL sized brownie. I know I made some changes, but how many ? Beats me!


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