Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pasta, faster

A easy quick meaty meal to fix yourself when you're short of time, drunk, & hungry:

Fettuccine with Italian Sausage:

Serves one person:

  • Onion - 1 medium size, finely chopped.
  • Tomato - 2 small or 1.5 medium sized; coarse chunky pieces.
  • Italian Sausage - Chunky pieces;Cut 1 sausage into 4-5 pieces.
  • Bacon (optional) - Nothing like cooking in animal fat
  • Fettuccine - A little less than enough for one person.
  • Mozzarella (optional) - You're not calorie conscious, are you?
  • Salt, Pepper, & cooking oil.
Preparing the pasta:
  • Simply heat the fettuccine in boiling water. Add a little salt to avoid sticking. Taste a strand or two & set aside when its not fully cooked, but cooked enough so you can eat it if you had to. So about 90% cooked.
Preparing the Sausage:
  • Heat about 1.5 tablespoons of oil in a flat saucepan. Turn the heat to low.
  • Saute the chopped onions until they are sort-of, kind-of brownish.
  • Add the chunky tomatoes, bacon, & sausages.
  • Stir to mix everything well, cover the pan, & cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Put the Fettuccine into the mix & stir well. Cover the pan & let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir from time to time to avoid sticking.
Sprinkle a little cheese, throw in a little salt to taste, & enamour with some pepper.

Your pasta is ready to eat, so hope you have some beer stocked up .


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Carbon footprint

Of all the ways we perceive, & change according to, the world around us, one of the important measures to know & care about is your carbon footprint. It is all very well to know about global warming, though I'm personally unsure how much of the global warming debate is driven by scientists as opposed to activists (or alarmists...), however, I think that it is important to know how much each one of us contributes to carbon dioxide content, & see if there are ways to reduce it.

The good thing about reducing carbon footprint is that it is not not only an environment friendly thing to do, but it is also good economics. So if you use CFL in your households, you're at the same time saving money & energy. Unlike many other problems we face today, reducing carbon footprint means a saving of money & not a spending of it. So much so that the CFL commercials just talk about how much you'll save on your energy bill, without saying how much more efficient it is compared to incandescents. This is the implicit however; but I think it'll help to emphasize this.

Again, car pooling/mass transport is good economics (Kilometers per passenger, fuel litres per passenger), good for the traffic, & good for the environment. That is why trains are so much better than flights - though you could argue the macro-economic costs of business travel over rails are enough to offset any gains in reduced spending.

In any case, since a society is after all an assimilation of people that live in it, it will help to know what your carbon footprint is & see what you can do, if you want to, to reduce is. Here is a carbon footprint calculator.

The breakneck pace of India's global ambitions should, I feel, be equally complimented by the sensitivity & awareness of her people - people who are driving this growth, the income appreciation, & probably looking to drive the latest Sports Utility Vehicles, & the gradually replacing once manual chores to appliances as much as they can.

I do not know what the right balance to all of this is, but a start is probably more important than the right strategy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Deep thoughts on food

Usha has tagged me to do a post on questions pertaining to food & the like. While I prefer eating food more than writing about it, I'll do this post regardless, because like Anatole, aunt Dahlia's cook, " I am cool as a few cucumbers." :)

What’s your favourite table?
Ok, I know that I'm not very smart, but is that a trick question? It simply does not matter as long as what is on it is good. I like tables with tableclothes on them, but that is about as much attention as I pay to tables. Furniture...haah!

What would you have for your last supper?
This is why knowing the future is such a bad idea. If I knew this was my last supper, I won't feel a whole lot like eating. So I guess I'll have a jittery Hilsa, a shaky Hefeweizen, & a nerve-wracking Black Forest gateau. Or at least those are the things I could think of in my panic-stricken state.

What’s your poison?
Usha says tea; I'd say the same. Though I'd probably have the second flush Darjeeling with a nonchalant spot of milk, & a few friends with a little conversation for sweetener.

Name your three desert island ingredients.
1. Water
2. Very sudden & strong beginnings of faith in an almighty God.
3. Can I take my wife, or no other animals are allowed?

What would you put in Room 101?
Apologies, but could you ask that question in English again? Apologies again, I was born like this.

Which book gets you cooking?
It is rather hard to get me cooking. But one time I did read a book & got cooking & made, I believe, one of the the better biriyanis that I have had during my short but colourful career as a carnivore. Those of you who do not read my Amazon reviews should go & check out Lizzie Collingham's "Curry: A tale of cooks & conquerors". It has the biriyani recipe right from Akbar's kitchen. What a great king was he, nahin? :)

What’s your dream dinner party line-up?
Lambs, swines, wines, tobacco, dashes of garlic & pepper. Serving sizes, apart from the wine, should be rather frugal. The wine would preferably be heavy, dry, & red. The furniture should be cherry, & the people on the table should be chatty & funny.

What was your childhood teatime treat?
At the risk of losing your society forever - though it is rather pompous to presume that I had that privilege in the first place - I loved drinking raw eggs as a child. I don't know if i had a specific teatime treat.

What was your most memorable meal?
Even for a philistine like me, it is difficult to reduce the evenings I spent at Asha's to just food. They were memorable everything, meals inclusive, & free. :)

What was your biggest food disaster?
Back in Sangam, I made poha that you could hear yourself chewing.

What’s the worst meal you’ve ever had?
In Shanghai, we had an evening out to dine at the day time museum & the night time restaurant - some kind of an office of the erstwhile British empire. They served us certain organs of an octupus, I did not know octopuses had. It wasn't probably the worst meal ever, but certainly the biggest disappointment given the occasion.

Who’s your food hero/food villain?
No food villains, anti-heroes at the most. My wife & my father are among my favorite cooks.

Nigella or Delia?
Err... what?

Vegetarians: genius or madness?
If ever there was a rhetoric question...sigh...

Fast food or fresh food?
You crazy sexist; you had to ask a question showcasing gender-bias. Fast food, of course!

Who would you most like to cook for?
I promised baba that I'll make him the Akbari biriyani I mentioned above. But the emprire would not have been what it is if it kept its promises, right Usha?

What would you cook to impress a date?
I would not cook to impress a date. Success & failure are equally fraught with risks.

Make a wish.
I wish that people would experience their worlds with the same duality of intensity & serenity with which I experience a bratwurst.