No, that is not a typo in the Title.  Please read on.

When I opened the refrigerator this morning to take some milk for my morning tea, I saw a cardboard box in the bottom shelf that is normally used to pack cakes. I thought that my son or daughter in love must have got a cake for some purpose and left it at that.

Later on, I was totally engrossed in my morning newspapers when my son appeared in my peripheral vision with the same box opening the front door while mumbling something about cupcakes. I did not associate the box with cupcakes.

After some time, I asked him where the cupcakes were and he said that the box that he carried out in the morning contained them and I was zapped. He went on to explain that the cupcakes were for a friend who was celebrating her dog’s birthday and she was treating all the dogs in the park in the morning. (There is a park about half a km from our home where dogs are taken to play in the mornings and evenings by their owners living within its vicinity.)

When I probed further, it transpired that it was quite normal for people to bring such cupcakes for some reason or the other to distribute among the dogs and many dog owners were running successful home businesses baking these and that they are called pupcakes.

I was able to get photographs of the actual pupcakes distributed this morning to eager dogs.

Something new learnt today! Have you come across such pupcakes?

Coffee Again!

My friend Raj had this to say in his comments of my post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

“Hi Ramana: I am surprised that no one, including the video has  spoken about the one step prior to this: namely the making of the powder itself. In my childhood, we had to “roast” the raw coffee beans in a rotating-roller roaster machine so it uniformly roasts.

Then, minutes before making coffee, we had to grind it to a fine powder and then proceed like the video shows. Aaaahhh! those were the good old days ! No Starbucks ! No Dunkin !”

Those words took me back to my childhood and pre-packaged-coffee-powders-in-shops days when coffee beans were roasted and ground at home to make fresh coffee. The aroma coming out of the whole process was to die for.

The beans were first roasted in a grinder over charcoal fire in my home.  The roasting was done in a gadget like the one shown below.
The next process was grinding the roasted beans into a powder which was done in a gadget like the one shown below.

Mind you, the roasting and grinding was an every day affair. One did not roast, grind and store away for use later.

The powder thus ground was used to distill the decoction as explained in my earlier post An Uncle, A Sister And Coffee.

The aromas coming out of the kitchen were simply amazing and many youngsters would long to grow up fast to be able to drink coffee which was denied to them.

Do you have any memories of such long drawn process of making coffee?

It Doesn’t Rain, It Pours.

As I write this, it is pouring outside. The tail end effect of our Cyclone Tauktae.. Unlike our other months of May, this one has been relatively cool thanks to regular rains and now this. Thankfully, we are well inshore but, our West Coast has been devastated.

That is not why I chose the topic though! That is due to some very special treats that I had and am about to have later in the evening.

The first one. My daughter in love decided to give me a special treat today and so last night, while I was in my bedroom reading, she cooked up one of my all time favourites which used to be a regular feature in my late mother’s and her elder sister’s kitchens.
This is called Palada Payasam and is made with rice pasta in tape form. During my mother’s times, it used to be made at home but, now ready made ones are available and that is what was used by my DIL for this delicious dish.

Not to be left with just this one favourite dish the irrepressible DIL had also arranged to make Thalipeeth, another favourite of mine and to go along with it Cucumber Raita.
The little dash of red stuff that you see on the top right side of the plate is green mango chutney made at the home of a friend of ours here.
So, I had a grand lunch and while still in the process was interrupted by a courier with a parcel. That parcel turned out to be:
This is a cake that the DIL had ordered from a neighbour who bakes at home and sells to customers in the neighbourhood.

This is the special treat that I intend having later in the evening when the DIL returns home.

So, there I was feeling quite pleased with my Sunday which had started off badly with three newspapers not being delivered due to some breakdown in logistics, when my son and heir decided to treat me to another magnificent gift.

I had been on the lookout for this set of three volumes for quite some time as these have been out of print and not available anywhere. These were found with one online seller who not only had stock but also was offering them on a sale at reduced prices.

Yes, it poured metaphorically and in reality today. And the joy is yet unfulfilled as I write this, as I am still to dig into that delicious looking cake.

Saturday Treat!

One of my favourite street foods is Chhole Tikiya. The link will take you to a recipe by one of India’s great chefs Tarala Dalal. It is simply curried chickpeas and potato cutlets with chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies and fresh coriander leaves.

Since the Chinese Virus entered into my life, this was one of my few indulgences and I would not miss any opportunity to have it. I therefore had it made for today’s lunch.

To add some interest to it, I also had freshly made potato chips which are locally made by a chain of shops specialising on it. I prefer this to the packaged stuff so readily available in all shops.
This is the shop from where we get the chips. You can see the stove and frying vessel on top right in the front. This shop is just 400 Mts away from our home.

That is not all the goodies that I had for lunch. My priceless daughter in love had sourced something that I had never had before, made by the family of a friend of hers.  Please click on the image for a larger resolution.
In case you are not able to read it clearly, it is Musk Melon Ice Cream. What a flavour! If you can possibly get hold of it, I strongly recommend it. I have every intention of having this treat many more times this summer before the season is over.

Needless to say, I over-ate but, have no regrets whatsoever.  I am grateful that at least such indulgences are not denied to us during this lockdown.

A Special Treat.

My irrepressible daughter in love procured from somewhere a new root vegetable which I had never seen or had before.
She informed me that it is a popular vegetable from Indore which by chance, she found in the market during her foray there and brought for us. It is called Garadu and is so rare that it does not feature in wikipedia or any other source to enable me to give a link to it.

It is essentially a member of the yam family.

I had it roasted and we had it earlier today for lunch.
Needless to say, I over-ate taking the chance of some suffering later in the day but, as I write this, no ill effect has occurred.

I could not resist the temptation to share the news of my lunch with some friends from Indore and they were all surprised that it was available in Pune where we live and complimented me for having had the good taste to have it.  Having tasted it once, I look forward to having it more during the next season which I am told is normally between October and March.  Perhaps what we procured was from a cold storage facility.

Another Treat.

My regular readers will remember my pre Covid partner in crime Ramesh, with whom I used to go to the movies regularly. During almost the whole of last year we did not meet but were in regular telephone touch with each other.  This year too we have not met personally yet, though we have seen and spoken to each other on a few occasions, with a fence separating us.

Ramesh rang me up last night to announce that a treat will be delivered to me at home for lunch today. It came just before lunch time and my day was made.

This is Sai Bhaji a dish popular among Sindhis and which Ramesh knows I like very much.

We had made idlies and onion chutney to go with it and the unusual combination was simply sensational.

I over ate and had a blissful siesta and as I write this am full of gratitude for Ramesh and our country’s varieties of cuisines.

Have you experimented with mixing up different cuisines during a single meal?