24 February 2010

Lazy lamhe: Eggless rawa cake

Its Olympics time in Vancouver..the city is buzzing with excitement and energy since last Friday as the gracious host for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I have this whole week off from work (can you believe my luck??) and plan to do a big NOTHING these 5 days!!!I have put my foot down and told N that I will be doing no things he wants and only things I want (didn't go too well at first, but when he remembered how heavy my foot is and how flimsy these wooden North American houses are- he yielded). We have a deal- I give him food three times a day and he lets me be by myself (thinking back, I think a little more foot thumping from me and maybe he would have been the one making the meals- now that would be a supergood vacation, I say!).

Anywho, the last 3 days have been pure bliss. For the first time in last 4 years, I have vacation just to spend by myself. I have slept, cooked, read, watched the games, and some movies, gone out, cleaned some parts of the house- all at my leisure!! When N gets back from his lab, I actually have time to sit and talk with him (something we just don't have the energy to do on workdays) -so all in all, vacation's going fab so far!

Today, I am going to share a recipe of egg less rawa (semolina) cake I made yesterday. The cake is lovely substitute for the regular flour cakes and is one I totally enjoy. I have passed on this recipe to few of my friends, who have become loyal fans ever since. I remember making this for my in-laws when they were here last summer for vacation- they enjoyed it so much that they put in request for one to take with them on their journey back home!

Here's the recipe (from Hamkhaas Pakshiddhi by Mrs. Jayashree Deshpande)
1.5 cups rawa (semolina)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch baking soda
1 tsp (leveled) baking powder

- Grease an 8" round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350C.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar gradually until it gets well-blended with the butter.
- Add the yogurt in small batches and mix well.
- Add the vanilla essence, baking powder and baking soda and mix thoroughly.
- Now add the rawa, followed by milk.
- Stir just enough to combine the ingredients without beating - don't
overstir - and immediately pour into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or till the cake tests done and is golden brown on

Super-easy, eh? Yup, it is! just make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you begin and the end result should be pretty good!

Goes superbly with a cuppa chai and a good book! Reminds me, got to go back to my lazy moments now :)

More in the next couple days, until then...Go Canada go!

11 February 2010

Book review: 'The death of Vishnu' by Manil Suri

Back of the book says:
'At the opening of this masterful debut novel, Vishnu, the resident odd-job man, lies dying on the staircase he inhabits, while his neighbours the Pathaks and the Asranis squabble over who will pay for an ambulance. as the action spirals up through the floors of their building, the drama of the residents' lives unfold. Mr. Jalal's obsessive search for higher meaning; Vinod Taneja's longing for a wife he has lost, the comic elopement of Kavita Asrani, who fancies herself the heroine of a Bollywood movie.

Suffused with Hindu mythology and the exuberance of Bollywood, this story of one apartment building becomes a metaphor for social and religious divisions of the contemporary India, and Vishnu's ascent of the staircase parallels the soul's progress through the various stages of existence. As Vishnu closes in on the riddle of his own mortality, he begins to wonder whether he might not be the god Vishnu, guardian not only of the fate of the building and its occupants but also of the entire universe'.

Pretty interesting premise, wont you agree? I thought so too- which I why I picked it up the library to read it. The book starts off great; the building setting just like any other you would typically see in Mumbai- too little space, too many people, too many dreams, a fair dose of selfishness - nothing extraordinary. But Suri does really well in painting the picture. Vishnu's anguish as he lies dying and his recollections of his sweeter memories (of Padmini, a pretty prostitute who was the love of Vishnu's life or those of his mother telling him the story of Vishnu-the-God) are nicely portrayed. The constant friction between the Asranis and Pathaks over money, space and other petty issues is seriously funny. The lives of Jalals and Taneja as the upper floor occupants unravels nicely as well. So all in all, Suri does really well setting up his characters.

And while I found the book really good in a quite few places, I must admit I was a little lost in others. Especially the ones where Suri treads on the fine line between philosophy, religion and real life. And then there is a constant undertone of sexuality and lust throughout the book. I understand the sensuality is a big part of life but there were times when I found it a bit too much, sometimes even unnecessary. The story's okay, Suri's writing style is excellent but most importantly, his attempt of braiding mythology and religion with real life deserves a read. So in spite of those little bumps, I will still give the book a thumbs-up.

After I finished reading the book, I was wondering what will happen to 'me' after I die! Trust me, I couldn't go on thinking for more than 5 mins!! I mean, who knows where I will end up? and what about N, my family, my loved ones? If I don't meet them in my after-life, I will be lost, wont I?? So I told N, whatever happens to me, I am never-ever-ever going to leave him ('mera saaya saath hoga' type)..freaked him out completely..hehe!

Besides, N and I have this constant argument- I keep telling him that in our next births, I will be husband, he will be the wife and as revenge for this life, I will boss him like crazy! Sweet dreams, he tells me! His counter-argument? Maybe I was the husband is our last birth and its his revenge this time (yikes, don't like that..makes me look bad!) and more importantly, how do I know this one isn't the last of the mythological seven births of us together?? (double yikes, no more chances of revenge for me??)!

See what a book can do to you?