It’s been a while. Life’s been super busy and food has had to take a backseat for a while (doesn’t happen too often). I’ve still been eating, obviously, but most of what I’ve made has not been worth shouting (writing peacefully on this blog that I’m pretty convinced about two people read) about. Also Gwen Stefani is currently playing through my bedroom wall (great taste, neighbours), hence the title.
BUT, this week saw a wee change in that pattern. When it comes to times when I really need to buckle down and get on with my work, I do the exact opposite. I get in the kitchen and make ridiculous, convoluted dishes and meals that I don’t have the time or money to be crafting. Makes me feel good though… So this week’s procrastination station was an homage to Mrs Babs. Babs is my queen of all things Indian. She was previously my A-level biology tutor because that sweet sweet state school science department was absolutely incompetent, as was I. However, since leaving those science days behind, our relationship has developed into something completely different and quite unexpected. Babs and I always got on well and there came a time where she would give me a plate of leftovers from the night before in exchange for my undivided attention on the respiratory system of a plant. Her food was incredible, better than any Indian food I had ever eaten, homemade or otherwise, and so I made her promise that once exams were over she would impart some wisdom unto me.
The day came where my A-levels were (thank fuck) finally finished and so Babs made good on her promise. I went over and she spent the whole day with me in the kitchen making all sorts of classics. Babs comes from the North of India where she tells me they eat a lot of vegetarian food, and thanks to the low levels of dairy, most things were easy to veganise. We made daal, chapattis, bhajis, a whole manner of vegetable curries and then sat down with her family to eat it all at the end of a long, hard day of culinary education. It was the most educational day, perhaps ever. I learnt so much about how to replicate authentic Indian flavours, the knowledge was invaluable and I still use it much more than the biology she spent so long trying to help me with…
Fast forward a couple of years and I fancy a Biryani. I could order one but I don’t have funds and also need an excuse to not work right? So I decide to make one, but I also have a hankering for pappadums. So I decide to make those too. I didn’t have a recipe for the Biryani and it was one of the things I never went over with Babs but I figured by applying some key flavour principles that she had taught me, I could work it out. The pappadums were fun too. Smoked the house out with the deep fat frying only to later discover you can apparently just microwave them… The recipe for the Biryani can be found through the link below.
I ended up on a bit of a run and the next day made Saag Aloo, Chapattis and some Coriander Chutney to have alongside my leftovers. Maybe I’ll write up the recipes for them too.