Category: Fruits & Sweets

All manner of sweets including fruits, cakes, cookies, breads, tarts & pies

Nigella Lawson’s Maragarita Ice-cream

It seems as an architect entirely too much of my time is spent wrestling with printers. And it seems in my young life I’ve had to deal with all kinds, inkjet, laserjet and my perennial favourite, the large-format plotter. Ever tried printing a drawing on a dot-matrix printer? I’ve had the dubious honour of having done that as well. Do you know what happens to your eyes when you try to read a drawing by a dot-matrix printer that has developed shades of Jackson Pollock?? I scrubbed the floor furiously for a while before the truth dawned on me.

Yesterday I dealt with a super-quirky laser printer that was having cold issues. “Printer warming up”, the little 5″ monitor dolefully proclaimed. Sorely berating its need to cool down every five minutes, there I stood, while precious moments leaked away from life while it stubbornly refused to warm up. I rained invective upon it, pushed the power button Monk-like several times to no avail. There was just no sign of life. I complained to the print tech and gave the machine a once-over. He was sanguine at first but when significant time had elapsed, he became concerned too. As we both stood there glaring at the machine, there was a hacking sound, then a sudden whirr and after a profusion of Artoo-Detooesque beeps, the printer spat out a lime green piece of paper that would do saturation conferences proud. But not me. Because it wasn’t what I’d sent to the printer.

The sudden appearance of this virtual remnant of someone else’s prints produced several emotions. The print tech was relieved and happy to see the printer working. I was annoyed in a way only someone dealing with recalcitrant technology can be and stared morosely at that green piece of paper. And just like that, in seconds, I was thinking of ice cream (See, that feeling you had that Cheeky Chilli had surreptitiously become a tech blog was completely unfounded). The mind forms strange connections. But let me tell you, frustrations literally melt way when thoughts turn to ice cream.

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Frozen Orange Margarita

I drink rarely. Let me tell you why.
Fact one:
Tastewise, alcohol doesn’t work for me. When it comes to wine, I like two, maybe three wine varieties and they’re all sweet. I have been told that the taste isn’t the point of the alcohol, but it is for me. I have also been told that the fact that someone like me lives so close to Napa and Sonoma is a terrible waste, but that’s what it is. I will never drink most hard liquor for the same reason.
Fact two:
Alcohol does not like me either. I will throw up with any beer – am allergic to hops. Yeah, that’s what a doctor with a panel test and clown specs that made it hard to believe him told me. One time I tried this Hungarian drink called Unicum at a friend’s place and by tried, I mean a two tablespoon shot. I broke out in hives the next day and couldn’t shake the reaction for six months. Which is why I was at that doctors’ with the panel test. Bourbon will give me shooting pains in my ears. Clown specs doctor is working on figuring that one out.
To sum it up, there are about three to four liqueurs, two to three wines and a couple of other alcoholic drinks that I can safely consume without my palate or my constitution paying for it. I stick to those and am very wary of branching out, but find it infinitely easier to avoid drinking altogether.

Today is Cinco de Mayo. There is a multitude of parties and everywhere there’s a flurry of chips, salsa and of course, the ubiquitous margarita. Never has there been a holiday that was about something else but has become a reason to try out the food and (especially) the drink of a nation. The tequila flows freely and tons of margaritas are made everywhere. And the kid in me who loves chemistry and pretty colours uses it as a reason to mix up a very adult margarita.

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Cherry-Orange Bread, adapted from Everyday Greens

It would be rare to see coffee in my hand. I reach for it only when I absolutely need a boost for an early morning or from a long and tiring day. It wasn’t always like this. While I never drank copious amounts, it used to be what I asked for often instead of tea. But either the beans or the processing here is different from India. And whatever the change is, it leaves me with a bitter taste, both literally and figuratively. The smell of some coffee beans brewing early in the morning can make me nauseous. I’m sorely disappointed that I can’t enjoy any and all varieties. I read somewhere that the palette changes every seven years. I do hope mine learns to like all coffee. Meanwhile I’ll stick to the tried and tested. I get my coffee from a jar bought in the Indian store.

Working where I do brings with it, among other good things, every other Friday off. Though most of my weekends these past months have involved wrestling with books filled with cost estimation, grades of soil, Modernism and the like, I’m nevertheless still thankful for these alternating long weekends. I wake up early in the morning, grab the requisite cup of coffee to help keep my eyes open and jog my brain, and hit the books with the fervent hope that they won’t hit back too hard. It’s difficult to put up much of a fight when I’m just about barely awake.

Today, the caffeine carried me through some part of the morning.Then I realized methods of project delivery were starting to leak out of my head. My early morning meant that I was hungry earlier than usual as well. Luckily, there was still some orange bread left over. While I would normally never advocate this for a meal; indeed, it’s original intention had been for an afternoon snack, I was glad to have it at hand. It meant I didn’t have to get up and futz around the stove, racking my already hurting brain about what to cook.

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French Yoghurt Cake from Epicurious

There are days when grey skies and rainy days are fine by me. I love them when I’m sitting at home and don’t have anywhere to be.  These are the days that things at home that have been clamouring for my attention for a while, but haven’t been critical enough to actually get it, get done. Stuff like sorting out books, reorganizing a closet or shelf. But there is also a lovely indolent element to these times. They are the best days for curling up on the couch and doing nothing other than reading a good book or watching a bad movie. Amey and I love to sleep in when we have such weather. But that Sunday I was up uncharacteristically bright and early. I sat by the window and watch the rain come down while a steaming cup of cocoa warmed my hands. As strains of Reo Speedwagon‘s Can’t Fight this feeling filled the room (I always get a bit nostalgic and retro when it rains and I don’t know what it is about this song and the rain, they just fit), I watched the rain falling down my window, tracing the drops as they formed briefly-lived lines on the pane. Rains in San Francisco aren’t like ones in Bombay where the terrifyingly dark skies open and a deluge of water pours down. This is gentle pattering down of water from slate skies. I could still see the traffic on Bay street clearly enough to read license plates, something that would never happen in Bombay rains. Nevertheless, rain it was, rhythmically falling and bringing the calming feeling of facetious isolation that it brings for me. The same feeling I get when I am by myself in a crowd.

Draining my cup of cocoa left me me suddenly bereft of the warm cup in my hands. It also turned my thoughts to the week ahead, as Sunday mornings inevitably do. I used to groan at the thought of that early Monday morning. Monday blues used to hit me a whole day earlier.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and my workplace, working as I do with fun people. It is Mondays that are the problem. Like the kid sticking his fingers in his ears and singing to drown out words he doesn’t want to hear, early on in my career I would shut my mind to the thought of Monday and try to push it far back as much as possible, thereby ensuring a full fledged gloom attack by Sunday night. These days I deal with it a lot better (cue in peals of hysterical laughter from my husband).This time though the thought of Monday brightened me considerably as it came with thoughts of cake.


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Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Brownies

March madness has begun! No, I don’t mean the annual basketball mania. I mean the seasonal scramble when spring is not quite here and we’re doing everything in our power to force it here, if only to be pointedly told by Mom Nature that it will get here when it gets here.

Earlier last week, my friends R & R announced that they would be in the Bay area with their adorable tot T on Saturday and requested a round-up of the ol’ college gang. Ever eager to do so, the bunch of us looked up the weather, whooped in glee as it promised to be warm(ish) and sunny and decided to meet at Fort Kronkite for the first picnic of the year. Our wonderfully laid plans were summarily thwarted as Saturday dawned as a blustery, cold day. The weather websites had changed their forecasts without notice and now promised no sunshine. After trading several phone calls, Amey, V and I bravely trudged on to Fort Kronkite, only to be driven back by gale worthy winds. As V regretfully contemplated his decision to wear shorts that day, Amey hurriedly called and urged the rest of our friends not to cross the Golden Gate and stay in the city. We’d meet instead in Golden Gate Park.

We found a sheltered nook near Stow lake, laid out our blankets and proceeded to gorge on our potluck picnic, trying hard to be oblivious to the incredulous stares of people walking by. All I can say is thank God for blankets and the wonderfully warm, gooey chocolatey brownies I’d baked.
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