Cooking for the family in London

Cooking for the family in London
Whenever I go to meet the family I carry my stash of masalas and ingredients, to whichever country I travel to. Ofcourse one can get it all in London or Tennessee, but I swear they don’t taste the same and ofcourse the cost is 50 times more.I exaggerate -- at least 6 times more in $’s and Pounds. Not that the boys won’t pay, but I cant have them waste. So, the day before I leave I buy a large bag full of atta for chappaties, rajma, channa, pressed rice, basmati rice, dry peas, urad dal and if I can, a few onions as their onions are inspid.

Packets of Meat and chicken, egg and biriyani masalas also go into the bag and ofcourse the paneer masala. Wish I could take the paneer too as theirs is -- this time 8 pounds for a block, but I desisted carrying any, as their COSTCO paneer is delicious and soft and quite unlike our harder stuff.

Then I start soaking the stuff everyday and make a different curry for them to enjoy along with chappaties, which they used to as children. They sit and demolish a stack of chappaties with some piping hot rajma or channa and chicken or pork on the side. I always use a pair of surgical gloves to keep my fingers and nails clean. I dislike my nail paint chipping too, so the surgical gloves keep my fingers fine, as I mix and knead the atta well to make chappaties.

This time an aunt from Baroda sent me some lovely chevda and guava cheese which the boys and the girls demolished, as I cut it into pieces and left out on a plate in the kitchen. Hand made and home made guava cheese is hard to come by and the boys were lucky to get their fav. This trip. I also brought a large pack of coffee sachets brought from KL by a relative. The family kept stopping by the kitchen counter and making piping hot cups of coffee to enjoy during the 15 days together.

I never feel that cooking for the family is a chore, especially when I get joy watching them eat. I was never a great cook like my sister Christine is, but I try and I guess that’s the whole point. I make an effort to look for tried and tested recipes, as I don’t cook at home since we have hired a cook, in India.

This time I made a large meat loaf which was my sisters, husbands, mother’s recipe, for the new year. Anglo Indians are wonderful cooks and she always served a delicious meat loaf among the dishes she served us and finished it with a home- made peanut brittle.

This time I added to the meat loaf, ingredients that are scarce in India, including pork mince, bacon strips, ground white pepper, a nice thick creamy milk kneaded in with shallots, onions, oats and eggs. Then I patted down the mixture in a large Borosil dish and decorated it with tomato wedges and baked it for 45 minutes, in my sons fabulous new oven. The dish was a hit, with everyone taking large slices of it and enjoying it with garlic bread which was freshly baked too!

On Christmas day the piece-de-resistance was two full chickens, baked with a wonderful secret masala mixed by the British side of the family and the two birds were made to stand erect, on two opened beer cans with beer in them. The roast was wonderful and everyone enjoyed stripping down the birds to just bones, fed to the foxes. Amazing for a mother to see how well my elder son has learned to cook and bake.

But when he has to travel it becomes difficult, so he has hired a Pakistani cook who makes the most delicious meals ever.

As long as I can travel and visit the boys I will, unlike my poor Mum who had envisioned doing that in her old age. However luck did not favour her and sadly that is one dream left unfulfilled for her. I travel between sems so I can enjoy a life, which is both time well spent with the boys and working to keep my mind and brain active.

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