Today was one of those days in life that one is likely to remember for a long time to come. Not just because of the prep time that went into it but also the resulting good cheer that came from the effort. And even though I was bone tired by the end of it, everyone had a good time and I did too! Generally, I'm too high strung on such occasions, trying to make sure everything's going as per 'my' plan and being a little anal about things, to really enjoy myself . But today was a milder form of that for me (atleast by my normal standards) and so I had time to breathe and step back to take it all in as well! :)
What am I talking about, right? :) I volunteered to cook lunch at home for some (read 16!) of my friends and I did a specifically South Indian meal for them. I'd say about 99% of them had never conceived of an Indian meal that did not have some sort of "Curry" as a component. And it was my intent to educate them on the finer non-curry aspects of this highly varied cuisine.
One would think that since I am south Indian myself, it would be a piece of cake. But I seriously haven't worked this hard on a meal ever! I needed it to be an accurate representation of southie food and yet keep the spices mild enough for the palates here. Add to that the fact that I wanted to make things that can be recreated by anyone here even without all the special spice mixes etc that I generally bring back from home every trip. My idea was to be able to show people that they can comfortably cook Indian here! Errrr.........Yeah! Remember when I told you I am generally anal about some things? This was me doing my best impression of it! I do try and make things more n more complicated for myself. My 7th grade Maths teacher and my darling husband will both vouch for it! ;o)
The lunch did turn out fab ultimately. Everything came out quite well and it was so satisfying to see all that effort bear fruition when almost every bowl was wiped clear off food! :) On second thoughts..... maybe I didn't make enough for everyone!!! YIKES!
I'm too exhausted right now to work out the recipes I eventually used for everything and post them here, but I promise to get it up soon. In the meanwhile, here's a very quick and scrumptious dessert you can do in under 20 minutes. It has nothing to do with anything I made today though! :)
Peach & Strawberry Vanilla Parfait (Even though it wasn't a frozen dessert, I want to call it a parfait 'coz of the texture)
1 cup thick plain yoghurt
5-6 Tbsp vanilla sugar
2-3 pieces of peach halves from a can
Use as many strawberries as you like!
A few sprigs of mint for garnish
Whip the yoghurt in a bowl so that it becomes nice a creamy.
Add the vanilla sugar and blend it in with a spoon till the sugar dissolves.
Slice up the peach halves into thick slices that are small enough to fit your glass or container in which you will set the dessert.
Do the same with the strawberries.
To assemble: Take a glass and spoon in some of the yoghurt. Next, place a layer of the peaches on top and then spoon some more yoghurt on top. Take care to let the golden colour of the peaches show through the side of the glass. Repeat the layers alternating between strawberry and peach till you're happy with the portion size. Garnish with more strawberries and a mint leaf.
Cool in the refrigerator for an hour or so before serving.
Note: I get the vanilla sugar here in little sachets but you can make some at home yourself by sticking a whole or half vanilla bean in a pot of sugar (keep it closed) for a few days.