Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who Needs Tissue?


I’m back after a long break.. almost two months, I think! I was just too busy. Illness.. examinations… no internet connection… illness again… they all came one ofter the other… (This paragraph should have appeared in my last post, but as I keep saying, I’m not that organized!)
Anyway, I spent the last week or so catching up with my RSS reader, now I’m taking a break to write a few lines… a quick update on the latest howlers from Tha├»s.
Now that she has settled in to the daily routine, I thought she might like to carry a napkin in her school bag to wipe her face and/or her hands after she finishes her mid-day snack. So I asked her whether she’d prefer a napkin or tissue. Her reply, “It’s OK mummy. I don’t need it. I wipe my hands on my dress!”

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ferragosto In Goa - 2008


A couple of times in the past, I’ve referred to this Italian club that I’m a member of. Recently, on the occasion of ‘ferragosto’ which coincides with our independence day, we had a little celebration. We cooked different types of pasta, and also made a Goan sweet called ‘patollio’. We had an extremely enjoyable day.. it was a fun learning experience for many of us. So without further ado, here are some pictures…
We started with the preparation of the sweet. It is a mixture of jaggery, which is basically unrefined sugar, mixed with coconut. I don’t know the exact quantities and what else goes into the mix because it was made a day before by one of our members. (This is not a cookery blog, neither is it a recipe archive… just FYI :-) )
So anyway, a description of the sweet – a layer of rice paste filled with a mixture of coconut and jaggery spread out over turmeric or jackfruit leaves and steamed. First, you wash and trim the leaves and spread a layer of rice paste over each one.

Then you put some coconut and jaggery mix on top of the rice paste and fold the leaf over to ‘close’ it.

These stuffed leaves then have to be steamed. To eat, simply peel off the covering leaf.


And now, onto the pasta… Make a well in the white flour and pour the eggs into it.

Mix well till it all comes together. From what I remember, there’s no need to knead the resulting dough. In any case, after all that wine, I don’t think we would have noticed the difference ;-)

But you can play around with it, though… :-)

Divide the dough into smaller, easier-to-handle portions. Depending on the size of the portions, you may need to cut them up to make them a little smaller…

Then take each portion and roll it through the pasta-making machine… Careful! You may need some help here. You don’t want to end up with flattened fingertips… ;-)

There… that’s the way. Now, that’s just the first run through the pasta-maker. You’ll need to put each sheet 3-4 more times to flatten it out to the desired thickness. Or thinness.

In fact, it was so much fun even the kids wanted in on the action.




At the other end of the table, the pasta was sauce was being prepared by our Italian teacher. Here she is, smashing the life out of those tomatoes.

During the entire process, some of us were busy chatting…

… and others were clicking away… :-)

Since there were about 25 of us, the pasta dough had to be made in two lots.


Ah.. finally we get help from some of the men…




Pretty soon almost everyone wanted to have a go at the pasta-maker.


The kids kept coming in from time to time to make sure everything was moving along smoothly… :-)


Meanwhile, the salads were being prepared…

… and salad dressings were laid out…

Finally… all the pasta sheets are ready.

And the final product… uncooked, that is.

Now all you have to do is dunk it all in boiling water, a little bit at a time.
Uh.. Where’s the cheese?

I guess it turned out OK… :-) Kidding… It was fabulous!