Sunday, February 13, 2011

Checkered Cravings

I woke up early one morning to find the house unleashed with a flurry of activities. A quirky buzz with a thwack kept resounding over my head which I realized was my 2 year old niece whacking a pillow which was dangerously close to my head with the mosquito buzzer. I was inches away from being mildly electrocuted when I managed to snatch the buzzer away from her and being wide awake, it dawned on me – it was D-Day. It was my sibling’s engagement day and the house was full of my family & extended family, cheerily going about how one should on an occasion-day. The room was of course a mess with me having more cousin sisters than brothers so it was a lot more clothes (pink everywhere), make-up, towels and hair dryers contrary to cigars, empty liquor glasses and bottles and hooka apparatus in case I had more male family members than female.

I managed to wade my way through the sea of pinks to find more pinks in the living room. Pink wrapping paper, pink boxes, pink ribbons and a reel of pink cloth which I later realized was for stringing along a canopy like structure in the lawn where the decorations and activities were full throttle. I managed to swipe someone’s coffee which was being brought out from the kitchen as I knew I would certainly not get any lest I went and made it myself as my house help was running around in a crazed frenzy as though the king was arriving. My dad taunted me with a “late aren’t we?” snide remark and insisted I get dressed and accompany him for a small errand.

Well I had not taken a four day off from work to laze around. So off I went to find that the errand was to check on some decoration supplies and buy a sari for the maid. Now, seriously! This was getting a bit ridiculous; apparently my Mother had forgotten to bring new clothes for the maid who had been sulking since morning as the male house-help had new trimmings on them. She had conveniently badgered dad into visiting a nearby market to pick up a Sari (Not Green, as that’s what I am wearing, she warned) and dad, having not an inkling of sari shopping conveniently roped me into this for moral support. Another house-help accompanied us and we three set off with the agenda being one sari for the maid. It was indeed a sight to have captured with two men (I refused to get down) alighting from a car outside a non-descript sari store to go pick a random sari. Things went a bit too far when both being undecided on which to pick came up to the car armed with six different designs with a look of utter confusion clouding their faces. I was on the verge of losing it, when thought better of it and pointed to the nearest non-green looking one and we were off.

The day itself went by in a whiz, the sibling was a bit undeterred by the fact that he should be relaxing, aiming at looking good and leaving the arrangements to the rest of the family, instead he was on a trip of his own minding the flower guy, trailing a reel of pink cloth and pointedly expressing his disappointment at the decorators that “it was not the way he expected it”. We were hours away from the occasion and welcoming the fiancĂ© side for the first time into our home, so it was but necessary that arrangements should be top notch. The lights were installed, the bouquets and garlands came in, the caterers were shoved to one side and things were unendingly carrying on. I settled down with the caterer a little before I went back up to get fresh, and he happily thrust a piping hot filter coffee glass into my hands. Muthuswamy our trusted caterer since years never failed to fill us up with his excellent cooking. His manager went on to offer me a plate of fresh idlis and a chaat saying “Saar, you will not be able to enjoy my food later on, you will be too busy attending to your guests and will be tired to even eat later on”. His statement was true to the core and I was surprised that he had adjudged me so well. It was a surprise when he said that he knew me since I was a “baccha” and he was the one who used to come to our house every time they catered, going back to 20 years in time.

I crave for Muthuswamy dishes and somehow am never able to enjoy them when hosting. This gesture Coming from him is what true catering is all about, he knew my weakness for his food and he had ensured that I had my fill a little before the party had actually started.

Speaking about cravings, my extended family was in no mood to excuse me for not cooking up some special dishes for them. They all had insisted that one meal would have to be laid out by me and I had ensured that I would. I dubiously got my way around by selecting breakfast as the meal I would cook and got to making fresh batches of waffles and served them with the freshest fruit amongst home made scones, butter and preserves. Well, no one’s complaining as they all left feeling heartily satisfied.

These waffles are easy to make up last minute and a perfect breakfast dish. You will need to invest in a waffle maker, not a very easy task for me as I had been looking for one all these years and was on the verge of importing it when one fine evening my friend and partner-in-photography eyed one at a local electronic store and picked it up without thinking twice, ensuring that I got the best gift of my life.

For Waffle Batter

2 Large Eggs (Separated)
3/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
3/4 cup White Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3 tablsp Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with milk and butter and keep aside. Ideally chill this mixture.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in another bowl and stir well. Add the egg yolk-milk mixture and stir evenly to get a thick batter.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until well blended but not foamy, fold into the batter till you get a slightly runny batter.

Pour the batter in the waffle iron till it covers the grid area. I like it checkered so I do not fill it all the way till the top, this way I get crispier waffles with checkered holes in them. Close the iron and bake till they are evenly browned while constantly checking the bottom part as that tends to get cooked faster.

Sprinkle over with cinnamon sugar (a little cinnamon powder mixed with superfine sugar), maple syrup or honey and fresh fruits, serve hot. 

You can even add orange zest to the batter to get a zesty kick, or chocolate powder for chocolate waffles (a couple of spoons of cocoa should do the trick). You can even top with with nutella, chocolate sauce or whipped cream with bananas as a quick dessert. 

The engagement went on to be a hit (how could it not) and it is the beginning of a new chapter in my sibling’s and our lives.


thepickyeater @ A Spoonful of YUMM ! said...

looks delicious !! happy stop by my blog :)

nonchalantgourmand said...

Hi pickyeater.. have my own page now.. do visit for more latest posts... ill stop by your blog :)

Ayesha said...

hey nikhil :) nice could try adding any sort of fruit compote or preserve like cherry,mixed berry etc to the batter for flavoured waffles,but be sure to reduce the liquid to maintain the consistency :) theyre amazing :)

nonchalantgourmand said...

Hi Ayesha, thank you for your suggestions quite interesting !
btw* my new link is now (i have my own dedicated webpage now) click on for latest posts...