Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My baby girl was born yesterday....but now she is 9!!!

My little girl celebrated her 9th birthday a few weeks before. Let me invite you guys to a small conversation that happened a few days before her birthday…
Me----- “Hey Leah, what do you want for your birthday?”
Leah--- “I can’t believe that you forget… You promised me that I can cook all by myself on my 9th birthday”
Me-----(In my mind) Yes, that promise happened a few months back… I said those words just to avoid her disturbing me in the kitchen while I was experimenting something… But I really thought that she will forget it until someone else, possibly her pesky little brother who selectively remembers and reminds everyone of anything that shouldn't be remembered and reminded, reminds her…
“Oh… are you sure that you want to do it? I will not help… I will not come near the kitchen… you will have to do everything by yourself…” (I have to make sure that I tried my best to make her drop the decision.)
Leah--- That’s exactly what I want… I don’t want anyone in the kitchen…. I want to cook by myself.
Me----O………….k…. (does that sound as unconvincing as I was then?)
So together we decided on the recipe… It is going to be a Brownie… from ‘A Tasty Challenge’. Together we made this Brownie a number of times in the past… But still I tried to impart a bit of hesitation in her mind…, mainly because I just can’t admit that my little girl has grown so much… I just can’t… It is not fair… she was born just yesterday…. I changed her diapers and put her to bed very recently… But as the conversation proceeded she convinced me that all these things happened 9 years ago…
Me----“So there is baking involved… you have to switch on the Oven… Will you do it?”
Leah---“Yes I will… You just stay there and see whether I am doing it right. That's it”
Me----O…..k… (I am still not sure about this whole idea; but it wont cost anything after all...)
Sure or not that day came and Leah was as determined as ever… And I have to say she pulled it off quite well…
I took a print out of my Brownie recipe and showed her where all the ingredients are…; left everything to herself and checked our smoke detector for proper functioning… you know.. just in case…)
I sat on the dining table, which is next to the kitchen and listened to Leah reading each and every sentence from the print out and making her own comment on the sentence as if she is 'The Next Food Network Star'… She even fired her little brother once, when he tried to sneak into the kitchen to swipe some Chocolate chips….
She measured, she mixed... I sat there at the table browsing....listening and smiling to the commentary from the kitchen....
She used a parchment paper on the bottom….
She poured the batter….
Her pesky brother volunteered to do the 'quality control'….
But I interfered when what started as a simple 'quality control' went wild….

After baking it came out good… But I was too skeptical about taking the brownies out of that pan… So I took a photo of it in the pan itself… I went back for more browsing while Leah let the Brownie cool down a bit….
But after sometime she came with this….
Then she cut it…; shared with her brother and us….
Oh forgot to mention… during this time, news went out that Leah is baking by herself and two of our friends with their families came to taste her Brownie… (Brownie tasting ended up in dinner and a long time of unlimited chatting!!!) Oh.. by the way....that painting on the table... Leah did it... I thought at least some of you would love to know...

Even though I started writing this post to portrait my daughter’s first attempt at cooking by herself, I would love you guys to sneak into her party too…

Usually we celebrate our kid’s birthday at home with some of our good friends, their kids, some home cooked food and a homemade cake of there preference… This time was also no difference…

For the first time in her life when Leah said she don’t want a Princess or a Fairy Tale character Cake, I realized with shock that my little princess is growing up… Her choice was a ‘swimming pool’ Cake... I sighed as she made her choice... she did not ask for a ‘High-Heeled Shoe Cake’ or a ‘Louis Vuitton Hand Bag’ Cake…. At least she is not a diva yet!!!


 
 It was a Rev Velvet Cale with a Cream Cheese filling and Butter Cream frosting... As you can see, I ended up covering the cake with fondant... Birthday Girl was more than happy to see my creation... and so were the guests...

Both of us were excited with the idea of an ‘all starters’ party’, as appetizers and soups being  her favorite… And this was the menu….

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches and Egg Tea Sandwiches… (Most of our guests were not familiar with Smoked Salmon and hence we made an alternative too…)

   
Alligator Samplers… (It was actually fired Alligator with Indian spices…; It was my husband’s idea to incorporate something adventurous and he simply hated when I called them ‘Alligator Samplers’… he told everyone ‘Cheenkanni Varuthathu’!!!)
Amazingly it tasted just like Chicken and a four year old girl in the party went crazy (in a good manner) over it and ate right from the bowl where I kept it in bulk. (See, I got some good foodie friends!!)

Chicken Chilly…
Pav Bhaji…. (For easy handling I substituted Pav with Bread…)
Chemmeen Kozhukatta…

Salad with Vinegar, Salt and Pepper dressing... I think this goes well with Chicken Kebab

Chicken Kebeb
Fruit Trifle

If God allows, there will be more fabulous birthdays for my daughter, but I know I will never forget her 9th Birthday… when she convinced me that she can cook all by herself…

And I hope she will never forget it either…. Love you Leah... love you a lot....

12 comments:

Julie said...

We too will never forget the fabulous virtual treat,Asha !! Belated Birthday Wishes & love to Leah.:-)
Hats off to your cooking n I see another budding foodie artist right away,Great going Leah..u can beat your mom in cooking..It was just great reading through the conversation n we moms always feel kids are small in our eyes,don't realise years passing by so soon,& when they actually take over as fully grown ups:-)
Cook in any recipe with Cilantro/Cumin as one of the main ingredients & rush it in my EP Series-Herbs n Spices
Erivum Puliyum

Lavanya said...

Happy Birthday to ur daughter. She baked it really good :). Do visit my blog when you get time.
http://lavanyasrecipes.blogspot.com/

Anisha Ranjit said...

Belated birthday wishes to you little grown up Leah. The pictures are so cute. Both the cake and brownie look perfect. Great work with the fondant. :)

Vimitha Anand said...

Happy birthday to ur dear daughter... Sure she has grown up and she is a budding chef

ann said...

Hi Asha,
Happy birthday to little Leah!
I was too planning my lil ones birthday...
last time it was a great hit with ur chicken wings and bread roll recipe...I was planning almost the same menu ....especially cicken kabob and trifle...Would you pls post the recipe ... I have planned the party for next week...

Laly Ashley said...

Heeyyyy... such a nice birthday party and Leah's cake came out perfect..... "Like Mother Like Daughter"
Belated Happy Birthday Leah Kutty
:)

sojo said...

wow...loved reading it... the painting is awesome... brownie... well, no words.... and again, why wasnt I invited????? :)

LiN said...

WOW..Amazing! belated bday wishes to Leah! this was such a cute post! The swimming pool cake u made too?

Jay said...

happy bday to your little princess...excellent pics..lovely..;)

Tasty Appetite

maha said...

yum yum, wat a super tempting pics..belated b.day wishes 2 ur daughter...
nice blog with yum recipes n i liked ur carrot n dates cake recipe vl try this soon.catch me in my space ven u free dear.
maha

Rajeswari said...

sorry i'm late but i read the post so early, despite of my busy schedule had no time to wish little Leah. My hearty belated birthday wishes baby. Children grow very fast, think faster n react easily. This is evident from her attempt no doupt shes gonna be a good cook soon..........my sweet kisses mollu.

Aanandlahari said...

Today I bumped into your blog and loved your recipes and writing especially read about your daughter Leah, who is equally talented in cooking like her mom.
My best wishes to you and your sweet family.

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