I am sitting here at sunset, or just after. There is a slight wind. It promised a shower this afternoon, but it did not materialise. I watch a helicopter take off from its landing pad on top of the hospital. The lights of the copter and the landing pad glow in this dusk – the light that is left after the sun has set and before it gets truly dark. The hills are quite blue, the sky, although cloudy, is blue. Street lights are coming on and glow in the half light. I can see my South Indian wood carving of Devi reflected in the windows. She is wearing orange today, the colour of Autumn. And Siva dances his dance of creation again and again and again. Destruction before creation. Out with the old before the new can exist.
Yoghurt is draining in the refrigerator. There is Turkish bread, slow oven baked tomatoes and fresh picked green salad for a light dinner just for me. A glass of wine perhaps.
There are plans for the kitchen. An icecream. Some home made pasta. Quinces sit on my table, scenting the room, waiting to decide what will become of them. Fresh spinach in the fridge. Paneer to make. Spices to be ground. Tofu. Soups and baked treasures to make. I could live my life in a kitchen.
I escaped it today to go walking in the bush.
Today is my last daily post on my holidays. It is the 9th Holiday post. My holidays are not over, but there is still some things to do. I had wanted to experience the discipline of posting every day. Of writing every day, perhaps in a different way than I would normally do when I am pressed for time. Generally most of my posts are created on a weekend and scheduled through the week. It was a luxury to post daily, to cook and photograph and write. It was difficult at first, to dedicate the time, to ensure that the cooking and photographing was done while there was still light in my apartment. The best light is early afternoon. Sometimes the writing was hard. If I get the right first sentence, the rest flows easily. If the first sentence is wrong, it becomes hard work. One or two nights I went through a dozen first sentences before I hit the right one.
Sometimes what I had planned to write about as I thought about my post during the day, did not materialise at night when I would do the writing. Sometimes another topic took over altogether. I let it.
Thank you so very much for listening and supporting my daily post. You have no idea how much this has meant to me, each day to receive your comments and ideas and support. How I have loved the ability to think about taking the photos and craft them a bit better than normal. And your acceptance of them has been a real boon for me. I have been overwhelmed by it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I have come to love posting every day, and it will be hard to let it go. But that is another discipline.
My regular posts will continue, never fear.
It is dark now. I sit in the dark with a little lamp. The hills are gone from view, but the light of the helicopter pad remains, signifying that another emergency dash is due to arrive. I think of the family each time I notice its journey, and ask that they be given the strength to cope with whatever is being given to them at this time.
Time for some Mint Paneer. Of course, use your home made paneer. Or failing that, you can buy it even in our local supermarket these days. Very different from a year or two ago when I had to drive across town to get it from and Indian grocery.
Source : inspired by Navratra Special by Anju Khattar
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves: 2 – 4 people, depending how you use it and what else you are serving with it
250g paneer cut into cubes
0.5 cup mint, chopped
1 – 2 green chillies, depending on your palate
salt to taste
0.5 tspn cumin seeds
4 green cardamom pods
0.5 tspn Garam Masala
0.25 tspn red chilli powder (or less, depending on your palate)
2 Tblspns cream
1 Tblspn ghee
Wash and combine mint leaves, green chillies, and cardamoms and grind in a blender.
Heat the ghee in a pan and saute the cumin seeds until fragrant. Add the mint paste and fry for a minute or two. If there is water in the paste, allow the paste to become almost dry, but not brown.
Turn the heat down, as cream may curdle if it is boiled. Add salt, garam masala, red chilli powder, cream and paneer cubes. Stir well, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
I used creme fraiche (Katte Malai) instead of cream. It can tolerate heat and also adds a nice sour note to the dish. It was perfect.
The Holiday Series
- Mint Paneer: A recipe
- Srikand: A recipe
- Creme Fraiche: How to make
- Thick Thick Yogurt (Yogurt Cheese): How to make
- Yogi Tea: A recipe
- Roasted Rosemary Pears: A Recipe
- Pomodori Gratinati (Baked Tomatoes with Cheese): A recipe
- Ginger Garlic Lentil Soup: A recipe
- Oven Baked Chickpeas: A recipe