Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Friendships, Good Health and a Guest Post by Anita Menon of Sliceofmylyfe

Hello friends !

Been so long since I have updated this space of mine and I am extremely embarrased to say that I absolutely had no time to even celebrate my blog's 1st birthday which was on Feb 11th! And it wasn't that I forgot it or didn't bake anything to celebrate the occasion. But just that the photos lying in the draft never made it in time here.

But this post is not about me or about my blog. From the time I have started blogging, I also remember  wanting to have a guest blogger write for me here. That's when I asked my dear friend -Anita of Sliceofmylyfe to do one.Our friendship is a classic example of how food/blogging/internet goes on to establish great friendships in the real world.

We got introduced through another of our dear blogger friends- Nashira of Plateful, who's based in Doha. And since Anita was located in Bahrain, where my parents are based and where I spent all of my childhood and the place I still fondly consider to be home, a meeting was very easily arranged. She invited me to lunch on one of my visits and I still remember being excited when I was meeting her for the first time similar to a teenager on a blind date ! Haha..

I guess the first thing I noticed about her place was the number of cookbooks/food memoirs she owned. It was no surprise that we hit off instantly and got into the mode of chatting just like old friends. I was thoroughly impressed with the fact that she actually asked me what I would like for lunch about two days prior to our meeting and was honoured that she cooked chicken for the first time in her life which was for me. Trust me, it tasted absolutely splendid.

I would be incomplete in my description about her if I didn't talk about her blog. Though initially, I got around to following her space due to her reviews of restaurants in Bahrain now it is due to her narration preceding her recipes that I am hooked to. I tremendously enjoy her style of writing and what I relish most is the honesty and the frankness with which she puts across matters. But don't get me wrong or think that her food blog doesn't contain stellar recipes especially that of the spaghetti and meatballs which I had made and was lip-smacking and also her baking particularly her bread recipes are to die for. I sincerely wish and hope that some day she publishes her own food memoir, because she is one of the few people that I have noticed who connects and transcends seamlessly from insights into her life to recipes. I also must tell you that she also has a separate blog dedicated just to her creative writing which you can find @ Dazzler's Diary and I strongly recommend that you read her series- The comeback which she publishes chapter wise and captures your rapt attention and impatience until the next chapter gets published.

Since my blog has been always dessert and sweets oriented, I wanted her to post a healthy recipe thereby launching the savory/healthy/non-dessert recipes in my blog and ofcourse, which comes in perfect alignment to my new year's resolution.

Here goes in Anita's words...!

Today I have been given this wonderful opportunity to write a Guest Post ( a rare honour as far as I am concerned) for my friend Gayathri. I have known Gayathri for some time now and we are constantly in touch over Facebook and BBM. During one such random conversations she asked me to do a guest post for her blog.  

Gayathri was brought up in Bahrain and after her marriage moved to Doha (Qatar). Since her parents are in Bahrain, she keeps visiting them. During one such short visit, we decided to meet up and I asked her to come over for lunch. Gayathri is  passionate about food and loves to have conversations around it, endlessly. I got to experience that first hand at my place when we got so engrossed talking about food, recipes and restaurants in Bahrain that I completely forgot about the red wine sauce bubbling away on the stove. Needless to say, it was charred beyond redemption. I had planned an Italian fare for her with some good old Mac n Cheese and Ricotto stuffed chicken in Red Wine sauce. I felt poorly giving a dry chicken with no sauce and a mustard-y mac and cheese. But Gayathri being the lovely, lovely girl that she is ate it up without any murmur. I felt disappointed that I couldn't treat my 'foodie' friend with a decent meal. Then I was invited to her home on her birthday which was in a few days from when we had met, her mum treated Mimi and me with the most amazing food that I had eaten in ages. I couldn't stop gushing about how wonderful a cook her mum was and I am sure Gayathri takes a lot from her mum in this department. Her beautiful blog is a testimony to that. 

A few things remained with me long after I had this brief meeting with Gayathri. As a stay-at-home mum, most of the times, am made to feel like I am not really doing anything useful since I don't work anywhere now. One ex- colleague with whom I happened to chat with after a long gap made a  very insensitive statement  where he said, '" You know what Anita, I am in between jobs right now. I am as useless as you are right now." I felt snubbed and but didn't feel like retorting back because it would only be a waste of time. This was when I remembered something that Gayathri told me when we got around talking about when I would start working again etc. She told me, she was so glad that her mother ( who is a home maker too) chose to be with Gayathri rather than go out and work. Gayathri told me in very simple words, " Mimi will thank you one day for what you are doing for her right now. " 

This kind statement from her made me feel so encouraged and happy. I felt for once, someone understood that I wasn't wasting my time. I was doing one of the most important jobs there is to do, which is to look after my daughter. I felt I found someone who took my side for once.  Talking about sides, today's guest post for Gayathri features a very tempting, flavoursome side which is so easy to put together. I found this recipe from the BBC GoodFood Magazine that I am so hopelessly addicted to. I halved the recipe.

The Recipe for Couscous with Roasted Pine nuts and Black Raisins
 Serves 5

Couscous - 125 gm
Hot vegetable stock - 200 ml ( I used the maggie vegetable stock cube which works very well. Just 1 stock cube in a 2oo ml of hot water. ) 
pine nuts ( roasted)- 25 gm 
Raisins - 4 tbsp ( soaked in hot water beforehand)
Coriander for garnish
zest and juice of 1/2 a  Lemon 
2 and 1/2 tbsp of Olive oil (optional)

1. Put the couscous in a medium sized bowl, pour the stock, cover with a tight lid or cling film and leave it to stand for 5 mins.
2. Meanwhile toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for a few minutes, until pale golden.
3. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, add all the remaining ingredients (raisins, pine nuts, coriander and lemon juice and zest) and mix well to combine. 

The beauty of this side is that you can make it as healthy as you want it to be. It complements the mains but does not upstage it. I usually have a small bowl of this for dinner if I have had a heavy lunch.  I hope that this guest post and the recipe makes up for the less than stellar lunch that I offered Gayathri. Care must be taken that the stock is the primary source of flavour in this couscous dish. If your stock is weak, the couscous will taste bland and even the lemon will do nothing to perk it up. 

I would like to thank Gayathri for that wonderful piece of advice that helped me bust a huge stress bubble.  I hope that we would meet again either when I visit Doha or when she comes down to Bahrain so that we can spend fantastic time together talking about our favourite thing - Food.


  1. Wonderful guest post by Anita... Am so glad to have found her beautifully written blog through you! Looking forward to following her too.
    Am so sorry Gayathri, somehow havent visited your blog in ages! But have been trawling through it today and catching up on all the recent posts :) And hey, thanks for your lovely comments on my blog...

  2. This's a truly wonderful post! Makes my heart happy to see two of my dear bloggie buddies together. I second what you have said about each other, you two are truly amazing, and I'm so glad to know you! 

    The couscous recipe looks delicious, Anu. And I can't wait to try your  spaghetti and meatballs recipe--thanks for the shout Gayathri! Love ya both!

  3. Thanks so much Gayathri for this wonderful opportunity. I am not saying much at the fear of being reprimanded by you. Hope we get a chance to meet soon :-) until then.. bbm zindabaad.. :-)

    @nashira - thanks so much for introducing us. Ever so grateful to you. Much Love. 

  4. Fabulous post! And I must say, this is one of the prettiest Pressure Cookers I have sene in a long time. :D

  5. Congrats on your guest post n lovely post!!
    Erivum Puliyum

  6. nice to meet u gayathri! =)

    oh yumm. I have been planning to change my couscous these, so your recipe anita is going to come handy.

    Great guestpost girls!

  7. Gayathri Ramdas SreekanthFebruary 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Thanks Julie and hope you enjoyed reading our posts...!

  8. Gayathri Ramdas SreekanthFebruary 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    I should be the one thanking you dearie..! I know you should come down SOOOOON and this time around I can drive you around.. :) 

  9. Gayathri Ramdas SreekanthFebruary 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Awww Nashi..we should be one thanking u for introducing us to each other.. and you should definitely try her meatballs and spaghetti...! Muah..

  10. Gayathri Ramdas SreekanthFebruary 27, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Hey Helene..nice to meet you as well..!! Off to your space.. :)

  11. i loved all ur post.. very interesting to read as well :)

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