Pavlova!

When the wonderful Amanda invites you for a bake off challenge, you jump up and down! May be not you, but I certainly did. Also may be not literally;) Not just because she is lovely, but also because I LOVE desserts and the opportunity to try something entirely new is always way too exciting to pass on. And though my pavlova did not turn out as pretty as hers but it really tasted good…thank you Amanda!

(I will explain where my pavlova went wrong in a bit).

Cakes and brownies are usually the go to desserts in our family but even for someone who has a sweet tooth, that is way too sweet probably, these desserts can feel heavy. Occasionally we add flan too. And so when Amanda wrote about this, it gave me an excuse to make a special dessert when there was really nothing special to celebrate! But then I remembered…for the first time ever, we have a female Vice President- a reason BIG enough to rejoice, won’t you agree? ! The recipe was pretty simple and it did not take a lot of time too. You can find it here.

I had never heard of Pavlova before and when I did, I thought it must be Russian... the dangers of assumption, you see. But Amanda’s post and Wikipedia soon corrected me. I finally managed to bake it yesterday evening, as opposed to the weekend when hopes of baking the pavlova were dashed by the piles of laundry that seemed to have overtaken our bedroom and the entire apartment had started looking like a mine field of Lego pieces and other tiny toys, that while remaining invisible, are capable of causing significant damage to one’s cracked winter heels. You see, the blessings and bane of having mischievous little ones! Now, moving on from an extra long sentence.

As I mentioned earlier, it is an easy and delicious dessert and if you have not tried, you must do so. The mistake I made and the reason it looks different is because it is more flat that it should be. When the recipe asked me to just put heavy scoops of the meringue on the sheet, out of habit I think, I sort of leveled it a bit and realized this misstep only after I had put the sheet in the oven. So the pavlova turned to be flatter than what it should be. And that is also the reason I decided not to do the chocolate dome, and I had really wanted to. But I will be making this soon again and it will most certainly have that delicious looking chocolate dome! For this, I put some shaved bittersweet chocolate on top and along with peaches and oranges and strawberry, the whole thing was so mouthwatering.

Here’s wishing you sweetness and thank you dear Amanda for introducing me to the Pavlova!

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Cook, Eat, Repeat: Revisiting Japan through Food- Okonomiyaki

When I went to an okonomiyaki restaurant for the first time with a friend of mine, Imroz, it was an interesting experience for sure. It had been a very tiring week where my days at the school began at 7.45 in the morning and I would come home after 8 in the evening. It was a Friday and we were heading into a long weekend and I was able to come home by 6.30. Imroz’s apartment was one stop on the subway and we decided to meet for dinner along with Rika, who I later went to become great friends with! It’s strange how one remembers such details even from years ago while things from yesterday often slip from our minds. The restaurant was a modest one as many Japanese places tend to be and every table had the teppan (metal plate/hot plate) and we were given the option of cooking the okonomiyaki ourselves. Rika was a native and Imroz had been in Japan for a long time and much more attuned to things that often took me by surprise! How was I supposed to cook okonomiyaki? And why would I have to cook it myself when I have come to a restaurant to precisely not wanting to have anything to do with cooking! Little did I know at that time that it was/could be also a part of eating okonomiyaki🙂

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake where other than flour and eggs, cabbage is the primary ingredient. Dashi (fish stock), eggs, other vegetables, meat are added and a cooked okonomiyaki is usually topped with bonito flakes (shredded dried tuna..like flakes of dried tuna), seaweed, pickled ginger, Japanese mayonnaise. We opted to cook it (and by we I mean Rika and Imroz) and it was fun though a bit scary at first. To begin with, I found sitting at the table a little uncomfortable as one would have to be very cautious with the hands with the hot teppan right in front! But you get used to it soon, to be honest. That was the scary part. But the cooking part was fun and a bit messy but when you are with good friends, making memories you could care less:) And they made delicious okonomiyaki-s and I have been a fan ever since. It did get a bit warm at the table with all the cooking being done but we had some very cold iced tea to help with that and it was a wonderful dinner that we finished off with some matcha ice cream.

The good man has come to love Japanese food and it makes me very happy! And he has taken it a step further by cooking it from time to time and when he made okonomiyaki for the first time, I was on top of the moon:) The recipe he followed was from here and it was oishi, hontoni! (delicious, really). It is not very involved, this recipe, and tastes great. You could surely give this a try and you won’t be disappointed.

 

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Do you have stories that involve your adventures with Japanese food? Have you ever tried okonomiyaki? Did you have it in Japan in an okonomiyaki restaurant? Did you have it in the Kansai area, like Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto or in the Hiroshima area? Those of you who did have it in Japan , how was your experience? Did you get to make one for yourself or was one made for you? How has your experience with Japanese food been where you live? Are you someone who is open to all kinds of food or is there something that you would never even try?

Please share your stories, experiences, photos, recipes, links to recipes you have tried, bloggers who you follow for making special dishes…anything that you wish to! It is always exciting to read about our collective experiences and find out ways in which we are more connected and what makes us unique!

 

Here’s how to participate:

  • Create your own post with your recipe, photos, story anything that you might want to share, representing this month’s theme
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