A Blade of Grass
Full of life.
silently melts away.
to split the rays,
into a million colours.
to the wings
of a dragonfly.
Day is done.
Full of life.
Weekends are cooking days. Sometimes the daughter joins in but mostly it is alone.
Bahrain feels like the best-of-Europe with it’s mild weather. While sunny and bright in the day time, the temperature stays at around 12-14 deg C. The weather was never lovelier before than today.
Rib-eye Steak with Mushroom Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes and crisp, sautéed Mangetouts for the lunch.
Thai Green Seafood curry with Jasmine Rice for dinner.
[Ed: Those posts are for another day].
But the highlight of the day was Moroccan Almond Cookies or Ghriba.
The sweet from Marrakesh took everyone by storm.
Most of the dishes tried at home were tried before in a restaurant or at a baker’s.
Ghriba was an exception. Came to learn about the sweet from a beautiful blog in WordPress https://thetaste0flife.wordpress.com/
Ghriba is something unlike any of the sweets.
It does not use any flour (wheat or rice, eg.)
Sites those talked about Ghriba mentioned the Moroccan Mint Tea that goes well with the sweet.
[Ed: Forgotten to make mint tea, by the way].
Almonds eggs caster sugar lemon zest lemon juice almond extract orange blossom water.
The taste was much beyond the realms of any sweet tried so far.
Started off with zesting the lemon after keeping the oven to heat-up to the required temperature of 350F (180C).
Prepared the baking tray with parchment paper and kept aside.
Almond flour and sugar were then blended in a food-processor briefly.
Baking powder, vanilla extract, almond flavour, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest were whisked in.
Egg yolks were then added to the above mixed using fingers taking care not to knead towards bread consistency. However, as the four eggs were added, the dough was bit like a bread dough.
Added less caster sugar though the recipe asked 125 gm as the cookies are going to be rolled on icing sugar before baking.
Baked at 350 deg F just till cooked… a cookie unlike any cookie. Inside the oven, the cookies began to crack about 12 minutes into the baking process.
The oven was switched off soon after the cookies started to crack.
Rest of the baking happened in the subsiding heat and for about 18 minutes.
Mildly crunchy outside and soft,chewy inside, the Ghriba was loved instantly at first bite. There sure is a lot of room for excelling and the pursuit of excellence makes the baking process more challenging and therefore enjoyable.
Reviews say that the cookies can be stored in airtight containers for 2-3 weeks. May not be applicable at our place. Confluence of flavours will take several hours was a maxim seldom listened to by the end users. Thus, the cookies finished fast. But their taste remains.
“We, the rustling leaves, have a voice that answers the storms, but who are you so silent?”
“I am a mere flower.”
One Saturday afternoon.
Cooking lessons in progress at home.
Instructor? Your’s truly.
Student? the daughter.
How to boil water was a good lesson.
Pan with water: Check.
Nothing at first.
Except curiosity at its best.
Bubbles rising to the surface.
Tell me the temparature by what you see.
No using a digital IR temperature gauge.
(or an analogue thermometer-one with a red needle and a face)).
Natural progression from this is to brew tea.
To add tea leaves to boiling water and then steep
Or take tea leaves in a cup and add boiling water?
Karak (or Kadak) tea.
Chai tea, maybe?
Coffee comes next.
Dried Ginger coffee.
Turkish coffee, in which the spoon stands tall.
Turkish coffee story.
Man with his team awaits.
Girl (soon-to-be-bride) makes coffee.
Girl likes Man.
Adds salt instead of sugar.
Tense moments pass by.
Man drinks it all without a word.
Asks for more.
Coz it’s three yes-ses!
Man marries girl.
End of story.
Finally, graduating to the perfect, fluffy, non-sticky rice.
Cakes (n) are just that.
A cake (v) to bake.
Instructor: Use your nose (points to the nose) to ensure the cake is done; not the skewer.
Student: Wont your nose get burned then?
(Ed: Hmmmm… that’s so true)
Instructor: (just grins)
Kid was more happy to use the cookie-cutter.
Now the variables.
Sugar helps retain water content.
Butter or shortening.
Long time at low temp
Short while at higher temp.
Crispy or softer.
May be chewy.
Roll, refrigerate and cut
flatten using a rolling pin and use a mold.
Eggs or no eggs.
Mix. Whisk. Fold. Add.
And when the home gets filled with the aroma of cookies…
even the neighbours start to drool.
Cookies never gets to make it to fill the cookie jar.
Door bell rings…
Must be the cookie-gang.
Someday she will make an Omelette.
On her own.
On a clear day, one can watch the sun rise from behind the Western Ghats mountain chain, from either the bedroom or the balcony…
Older than the Himalayas, the mountain chain is recognised as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. Appearing in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, at least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats. The Ghats act as a key barrier, intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer. Of the total 325 globally threatened species in the Western Ghats, 129 are classified as Vulnerable, 145 as Endangered and 51 as Critically Endangered. The component parts of this serial property fall under a number of protection regimes, ranging from Tiger Reserves, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Reserved Forests. All components are owned by the State and are subject to stringent protection under various laws.
(Details courtesy: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1342)
Fog is a rare phenomenon is Bahrain.
Recently, fog descended upon the capital Manama.
While the traffic on the roads and highways resumed as normal, the Bahrain International Airport was closed.
Several flights were either diverted or cancelled.
Fog cleared, eventually.
The photographs were captured from West 23rd floor of the Bahrain World Trade Centre, Diplomatic Area. The old Manama city is now visible.