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Posts Tagged ‘mother’

It would make sense that for my mum’s birthday, especially as this one is her 70th (!!!), this entry would be about her and how awesome she is, what a great role model she is, and how much I love her etc. etc. etc.

IMG_2381But I want to talk about my dad instead and a very sweet tradition he has started for her birthday. He cooks. Ever since he spent a year and a half working in Abu Dhabi where he lived on his own, having had a crash course in cooking from my mother, he regards himself as quite adept in the kitchen. But he saves his culinary skills for this one day.

IMG_2377Before I elaborate on the menu, let me give you a little context on him. My dad is quite the oddball in that he blends a mixture of some old-skool (Indian) views and formality, with new age man stuff. Combine the question he asked me when I showed him my tattoo, ‘how many of your MBA friends have a tattoo?’, (to which I answered I don’t know because I haven’t seen them naked), with him being a pioneering male user of facial moisturiser (he’s been using Oil of Olay since the 90s) and enjoying vacuuming and dusting, hopefully you get the sense that he’s not just a regular Indian dad. So of course he doesn’t just make spag bol or lasagne. Or a chicken curry. He goes ALL OUT. Haute cuisine. But his traditional notions of what haute cuisine means that for the past few years he he makes a starter with lobster because lobster is chef-fy and posh, and a main course of lamb because lamb is Bengali posh. Last year he made lobster bisque and Indian lamb curry. This year he steps it up even further: homemade lobster ravioli and a Mediterranean roast lamb.  Go Baba.

IMG_2384It is a whole day endeavour with planning akin to a military operation. Maa is the sous-chef, gently helping out, sometimes taking over, and generally making sure her kitchen stays intact. Baba waxes lyrical about his ‘technique’ while we giggle and tease. In the end, all’s well that ends well and dinner turns out delicious.   My dad can chalk up another successful foray into gastronomy and proudly slink back into just eating dinner for 364 days.

A family charm for a very special woman. Happy birthday Maa.

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Chicken soupIt’s a truth universally acknowledged and perhaps even scientifically proven, that chicken soup can help to heal a common cold.  However, instead of opening a sad can of store-bought soup or even making your own (in that case, are you even that sick?), the chicken soup that really feeds my soul is the one that is made by my mother.

I am lucky enough to live a short train ride away from my parents’ so instead of being home alone while my boyfriend is away, I decided to take myself, with my runny nose, teary eyes, non-stop sneezing, and tissues busting forth from my coat pockets, home for a bit of unadulterated tlc and my mum’s chicken soup.  Sure, I am 33 but as my wise 11-year old niece, Anoushka Aurora, very eloquently wrote, I also have all my other ages stuck inside me.  So this weekend, my 10-year old self was the dominant one.

Now this soup (recipe below) is not extraordinary and doesn’t have any secret ingredient.  It is incredibly simple but it does have two things that make it a magical elixir for me.  Firstly, it is not a watery broth but instead, it has golden baubles of butter bouncing on the surface and a small splash of indulgent single cream that makes the soup both healing and luxurious.  Secondly, my mum makes it.

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 1 chicken breast or 4 mini fillets – dice small
  • 1 shallot – finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
  • 2tsp butter
  • 1tsp plain flour
  • 4 mugs boiling water
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock pot
  • Half mug of milk or quarter mug of single cream

Method

  • In a thick bottomed saucepan, over a low heat, sauté the 1tsp of butter, the chopped shallots and garlic  until transparent
  • Add the diced chicken and stir a few times before adding the plain flour
  • Add the mugs of boiling water, stirring constantly so that the flour doesn’t go lumpy.  Then add the Knorr stock pot and simmer for 2-3 mins
  • Taste and if needed, add another half a stock pot
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer on low heat until the soup thickens slightly
  • Before taking off the stove, stir in the milk or single cream
  • Serve with black pepper

On this occasion, my taste buds could barely register much, so I couldn’t taste the flavour of the soup.   But from the combination being back home for 24 hours, eating multiple helpings of the chicken soup, and watching back-to-back episodes of House of Cards, season two, I emerged kleenex free.

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