Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Comfort of Mulled Wine and Cinnamon Bagels...
With leisure comes the will to appreciate wining and dining... One thing I'll forever be thankful to England for will be the opportunity it gave me to experiment with my cutting boards and knives, spatulas and masalas... The first day that I lugged in my two suitcases into my new residence, I remember my flatmate asking me if I wasnt carrying any kitchen stuff...And like an airhead diva, I laughed my professional laugh and said, I think I will just maybe grab a sandwich or a salad perhaps..Don't think I will be using the kitchen much really....She had smiled wisely at me then- little was I to know that in under two days,I'd be eating my words, literally... When all I could see on menus in eateries around Brighton was Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash..and supermarket aisles filled with red meat, redder meat and some more red meat...realisation dawned that making my own sandwiches and salads along with a little rajma and a few rotis and some bhaaji in the little cozy kitchen that five of us share... might suit my taste buds and (more importantly) my rather constricted student budget better...Moreover, when the weather gets really cold, theres nothing like a spice-soaked curry to pull you out of the blues... I can't say I endorse the Brit motto of keeping their food far away from the salt and the spice that yearn to cling on to them..But then, when Im not tucking into my cooked-at-home fare I have discovered some things here that are to die for... Coming right at the very top of my favourite comfort food these days is a hot toasted cinnamon and raisin bagel...best fresh out of a bakery.. but even the supermarket ones can be made to taste like chunks of divinity if you cut it perfectly into two equal halves, spread a neat layer of butter and toast it brown inside, slap on some blueberry preserve and eat it even as the buttery vapours rise from it.. And ohh...one of those little fluffed up omlettes..not that they are essentially Brit, but the lack of too many breakfast options like what's rightly demanded by my South Indian palate, makes my mouth water these days for a well done omlette filled with little bits of mushroom, garlic, peppers and maybe even some slices of chicken... also could you please toss on a couple of potato wedges by the side, provided the salt that I add over them is not frowned upon... and while they do that, How I wish to introduce the Brits to the marvels of sprinkling Chat Masala onto anything and everything.. And that brings me to my humble declaration...Im in love...I'm a sucker for the festive spirit already in the air and one spirit in particular...mulled wine...and this is just the season to indulge in one too many glasses... The other day, I went on an expedition literally to taste mulled wine across Brighton..from the little eatery outside Churchill Square which served me a really mean one to the pubs of the city, where the measly glass served got a frown - that was chased away by a smile as the hot drink glided smoothly down my throat.. So now I have decided that through the month of December, I shall have a little pot bubbling on my stove...a few barks of cinnamon, some cloves and some brown sugar caramelised before the red wine is liberally added along with orange juice and some chunks of fruit and mulled right....Has anyone got a better tasting recipe? So next time someone says British food like the weather is insipidly unpredictable, Ill ask them to try my favourites..And then, let them tell me I have not discovered the best things British yet...Oooh talking of which, I have not even talked about the cakes and the assorted English tea accompaniments...Lets save that for another rainy day, shall we... Cheers to the festive spirit and the warmth of the mulled wine in my system..