Friday, November 28, 2003

Whatever happened to the Turkish Beans?

For those of you who are interested in the fate of my Turkish beans, here’s an update: Well they have been cooked. But not eaten. Not yet. Not as I write this. They were not cooked on Wednesday. I was too busy inaugurating my journal turned blog.

Yesterday, Thursday evening, I finally got down to cooking half a kilo of beans, 'andajey'. Yup that’s how good a cook I have become, unlike in the earlier days when R’s lovingly handwritten recipes were my life-line and if by mistake she had forgotten to write, season with salt, I would happily cook the 'aloo gobi' or whichever recipe it was, without salt. Infact, had she written, 'this recipe is best cooked standing on one leg', I would have probably done that)! I took 3 tomatoes, 2 onions, 4 cloves and begun as the recipe suggests, by napping off the ends of the beans. (Actually, I have to confess, I find it easier snipping them off with my lavender coloured kitchen scissors).

A decided it was time for his evening walk. He doesn’t really have a scheduled evening walk, although we do take several unscheduled walks per day, in and around our residence. This one (this evening walk of his) I would say is one of his clever ploys of how to get out an uninteresting dinner situation without angering his “domesticated bliss” of a wife. He uses this unscheduled walk to get out of all sorts of sticky (for him) situations, but that’s for another blog.

There I was snipping the ends off the beans, when A rang. He was calling from outside ‘La Moulin’, our favourite ‘resto’. The daily menu (as is the norm here) is chalked onto a tiny blackboard which hangs outside the shop.

A: Bhalo menu achey aaj. Veau sauté avec champignons.
Me: Taholey amaar beans?
A: Kaal khabo
Me: Okay…Kay kintu ranna ta koray rakhi.

I went ahead with the cooking. One central bright red tomato in my trusty green ‘dekchi’, surrounded by long, uncut beans, topped by beans cut into one-thirds, grated garlic cloves, slices of onions and more tomatos. Half a cup of hot water and olive oil liberally sprinkled and instead of the salt, I cheated (was not taking any chances after singing such paens to this recipe) and sprinkled two cubes of chicken stock (good taste guaranteed). Covered it and left it to simmer for an hour or so. It cooked well, looked good and tasted good too. And then we went out to La Moulin!! The recipe calls for eating it cold. So just as well, I refrigerated it. The recipe also calls for inverting it on a dish so that the beans are on top and the onions and tomatoes below. I couldn’t do that. I spooned it out in one of my plastic containers and so we will have cold mix of beans, onions and tomatoes this afternoon with rice.

So obviously, the beans weren’t eaten last night. This is such a favourite ploy of A’s. He never openly disparages my choice of cooking. Choices mind you and not the cooking itself. If I cook something badly, he spares no effort to give a constructive criticism of it.

If he is not keen on anything I have suggested say cabbages (unless made into his favourite soup with tons of ‘lardon fumes’), or repeats of any other veggies like carrots or cauliflower etc, he will keep quiet till the last minute and then suddenly spring up from whatever he is doing and announce:

- Ekta begun bhejeynichi
- Duto deem baniye nichi
- Onek din aloo bhaja khai ni
- Aaj bairey kheley hoy naa?

So maybe or maybe not, yesterday’s evening walk was one such ploy of his. Beans, Turkish or not…are not so high up on his list of favourite foods!

I have to point out here that it didn’t turn out all in favour of A either. This going out to La Moulin. This is a small pop and mom resto, neat and clean, not too fancy and has its own dedicated lunch time clientele. Evenings are mostly empty except for couple of old die hards. We included…but that too once a month or so and not on any particular date (and therefore don’t count as evening regulars). They therefore concentrate on the quantities etc for lunch. Often, we have found in the evenings, items we ordered from the blackboard were over and something else was suggested in its place. So to avoid that, I asked if everything on the menu was available and not finished. The amiable owner “nodded his head and said everything was available”. Fine!! We took two menus:-

Entré – saussicon sec – five thin round slices of dry sausage with cornichon(dill) and a blob of butter and slices of French bread.
Plat – two roundels of rice and veal with a mushroom sauce
Desert – A slice of brie cheese

When we were nearly at the end of our delectable meal, the owner walked up to me and whispered his apologies about the tiny quantity of ‘veau’. It seems they had enough only for one person and since we both asked for it and he had expansively told us not to worry, everything was available, he had to divide it into two. Had we not known this, we would have been quite happy and satisfied with our meal, but once we got to know, A looked a bit put off at the idea of being done out of a nice meal. He declared ‘Let’s not go there again’. Again would be, till the next time. He has made this statement several times before!!

But aaj to khetei hobey!! The hour approacheth.


Half an hour later: We have finished our lunch. I thought it was plate licking good and I indulged in good bit of it (plate licking) and then stopped when I remembered that the family next door with the attic windows, can look straight down into our apartment! Eeks.

A ate some as well. But he thought there was no need to do any song and dance about it and said it could be improved by adding vast quantities of ‘mouton’. Hmph.

Glossary French Words
Veau – veal
Resto – Restaurants Popularly
La Moulin – The Mill
Champignons - mushroom
lardon fumes- smoked ham
mouton – Mutton

Glossary Bengali Words
andajey : by hunch
aloo gobi : potato and cauliflower dish
dekchi: hindi and bengali for pan
Ekta begun bhejeynichi: Am frying an aubergine
Duto deem baniye nichi : Am frying two eggs
Onek din aloo bhaja khai ni : Its been a long time since I ahve eaten potato chips
Aaj bairey kheley hoy naa? : Could we not eat outside today?
aaj to khetei hobey : we have to eat (it) today.
bhalo menu achey aaj : There a good menu tonight.
Taholey amaar beans? : What happens to my beans?
Kaal khabo : Will eat them tomorrow
Oook…Kay kintu ranna ta koray rakhi : OK but let me do the cooking

No comments:

Read if you will

Blog Widget by LinkWithin