How many countries at my breakfast table?

Take a guess maybe?

Being one half of an Indo-German couple; I often get asked how we handle/manage food?

We don’t.

We celebrate it. And not just Indian and German. Why should we restrict ourselves when the World is our oyster? And our Panini, Baklava, Bacalhau, Nasi goreng, …. I could go on for days…

My spread at breakfast jumped out at me today. I actually put my hunger on hold for a whole five minutes to appreciate how beautifully 7 countries came together before me. (Maybe more, I counted in a hurry.)

Sigh, if only this could be translated to today’s trend of dividing politics and racial clashes!

Not to end on a wishful note, can anyone pick out these countries from the photo above? 2 should be easy enough….

Food for my soul

Have you ever found yourself in a bowl of something delicious? Well, I sure have. Found myself I mean, in bowls of food. Both spiritually and literally. (Pun intended)

You have to admit that very often a taste of something that tingles those gustatory nerves makes you feel alive once more. Makes you want to step out into a different phase- whether new, bold, exciting or at the very least- into a satisfied, peaceful, post-prandial slumber.

I’ve just had a particularly discouraging day since my 16 months in Germany. I used the 6 km brisk walk home to burn through my bubbling frustration. However, my nose decided to lead me astray every few meters. It invariably caught the scent of freshly brewed coffee, tantalizing Mexican cuisine and pungent Indian curries. 3km into my furious walk and I succumbed to the not-so-subtle rumblings of my rather angry stomach. I jumped onto a train and headed straight to a little authentic Indian place called Badshah at Hansaplatz in Hamburg. As the name suggests, you are treated to food worthy of a king.


In the flurry of five minutes it took the friendly staff to get my order ready, familiar smells of home were already releasing the tense knots which were once my muscles. I did indeed find myself in this simply superb plate of Chole Bhature– red, hot chickpea curry relished with fried bread. (Here are more details for the curious and brave-hearted).

It amazed me how comfortable I felt in this chaotic, colourful, noisy place where Indians and non-Indians alike bonded over food. Most of the latter category, surrounded by piles of tissue to calm their shocked noses. For me, raw spice has the most soothing effect. Home truly is where the spice is!

Much to my surprise, my affair with exotic food for the day was not done. Friends from an old language class invited me to L’Amira– a Syrian restaurant (a stone’s throw away from Badshah’s).

We had many bowls of yum to find ourselves in. My favourite was once again a chickpea based dish called Fatteh.

My Syrian friends, as is custom back home, broke into song once we finished our meal. Needless to say, the Germans around us raised more than just their eyebrows. It wasn’t difficult to read their minds- “These crazy foreigners!”

Oh, how my spirits soared!

Happy and sleepy, my body set out to digest my soul food and I made my groggy way home. I climbed under the sheets and as expected, my big disappointment from earlier in the day came back to bite me in the bum. Sad and down but once again, saved by my nose. It picked up the aroma of comfort -fresh mint tea this time, served with a big hug from the hubby. What a darling I thought!

Only now, as I lie awake with the events of the day coursing through my mind and tummy; I wonder what the mint tea was really meant for. To comfort a sorrowful wife or to protect from the cheerful effect of one too many chickpeas?

Let’s say I don’t want to know.

PS- go get your fill of chickpea goodness if you are close to either of these two places. Maybe just not both on the same day. 😉

 

 

Day 24: National Chocolate Day

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The picture says it all. You know exactly where that delicious chocolate belongs…. and it rhymes with yummy…. 😉

It’s now only 1 day until Christmas and I must say I’m going to miss our Advent activities.

So to go out with a bang, here’s the whole list of ADVENTuring we did. Today’s your last chance to catch up with whatever you’ve missed.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year 2017! Cheers!

Day 19: Bake

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It’s not much longer until Christmas. So while we’re waiting, I figured we could use the time to bake.

The place I come from, Goa, celebrates its Liberation Day today. Being a state holiday, families use the free day in preparation for Christmas. I grew up with the tradition of making goodies with the family every 19th of December. Pots, pans and flour flew all over the place as Kormolas, Neureos and Nankatais merrily roasted themselves to perfection. As a kid it was my job to shape the cookies and sweets. What a glorious, beautiful, happy mess I made.

Since I moved halfway across the world last year, I will miss my family-goodie-making session today. I’m comforted by the promise of seeing my family in under a week.

I hope you can bake or make some Christmas delicacies today. The hard work pays off in the end when you inhale the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread rolls, crisp cinnamon stars and warm apple strudel! What bliss when these exquisite tastes warm your soul. Christmas is definitely almost here…in 6….

PS- Happy Liberation Day to my fellow Goenkars!

Also, Christmas is a time to be together and my heart goes out to those that might have to spend it alone. To those in Goa reading this- if you or anyone you know would like to share Christmas lunch with my family and I, we have a place at our table. Do send me a private message and let me know.

Day 13: Let’s scream for Ice-cream

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No flairs about today. Just reap the child-like joy of sinking your teeth, tongue and being into the deliciousness of an ice-cream.

The simple pleasures we once enjoyed as kids, so easily forgotten in this madness we call our world.

The cold feel of the creamy delight, melting on your lips. The crunch of the crisp, chocolate dotted cone. Noisy slurps as you try not to waste even a drop. Frozen wonders trickling into your tummy and leaving behind a cool breeze of satisfaction.

Short-lived no doubt, but isn’t that a piece of heaven?

If you need to come up to speed with the last half of Advent; here’s what you missed:

Day 5: Play St. Nicholas

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Here’s the information you need:

This is a fun tradition I only recently found out about. The 6th of December is celebrated as Saint Nicholas’s day world over. St. Nick is considered the main gift giver of the season. In Germany, kids hurriedly clean and polish their shoes or boots and set them outside the door, under the bed or near the fireplace. St. Nicholas is said to come around during the night and  fill the shoes. If you have been good, you get goodies- cookies or little sweets. If not, (maybe you didn’t do any NICE Bucket Challenges this year 😉 ) you get potatoes and coal!

I suggest you take the day to set the scene for a fun Nicholas tomorrow. I’m baking cinnamon star cookies for some lucky people who don’t know yet that the Indian Nicola is going to fill their boots with some nice spice! 😉