Staying at home has not been quite the relaxed time I envisioned when I left the agency, and it certainly does not leave me with time to sew or bake, but I have learnt a few new dishes these last few weeks.
Pulao-kosha mangsho was acceptable, but only just (I'm a stern critic). I need practice, but at least I have gotten over my fear of working with mutton. I cooked it entirely in the kada so it took time, and the onion-tomato paste got a bit scorched, but V and the MIL were kind enough to not criticise it! The pulao, my first ever stab at it, came out less sweet than it should have been but I daresay I will learn that one by trial and error. It's an easy dish in the microwave.
Mutton stew came out well and both the boys dug in with gusto, especially Master Niyogy. I have made it once before, exactly a year ago, and put that success down to beginner's luck but now I'm starting to suspect that it really is that easy.
I have also learnt to make matarshuti'r kochuri and paratha from scratch. The pea paste came out under-spiced the first time, but the second time was perfect, and now I feel very comfortable with it. I am planning to make the paste and freeze some to see how it lasts.
I made cauliflower samosas from scratch (with help from Dipali) one day. Funnily enough, when I made them with Ma earlier, I was the one who made the dough and it came out perfectly, but when I made the samosas at home, I used the kochuri dough (I had some in the fridge and was running short on time) and working with that supersoft dough was such a pain...
Yesterday, I learnt to make labanga latika from my grandmother. One of my favourite sweetmeats. Didima made the sugar syrup, dictated the proportions and method and shaped the first one. After that, I shaped them and Ma fried them in ghee. They came out delicious. All in all, time well spent. I will make them again, once with narkel naru mixture for a filling. Sinful will not describe it.
Oh, and how could I forget. For New Year's Eve at DrD's I made little pastry parcels filled with a mixture of, let me see, cheese, olives, corn and tomatoes tossed in mixed herbs and olive oil, I think. Little circles of pâte brisée folded in half and edges crimped. Brushed with butter. They took forever to bake, but did taste good.
The women in my family have always been formidable cooks. My grandmother, great aunt, aunts. For that matter my other grandmother (maternal) may not be much of a cook but she is a mishtimaker par excellence. Anyway, Ma says I am finally showing my cooking genes. If she is right and I hope she is, my aunts will hopefully finally stop worrying about me starving Vicky and more importantly, starving Rahul.