I couldn’t actually believe that twodays passed off from our trip so fast! We were already on the third and last day of our wonderful meet on occasion of the 25th Edition of Blogging Marathon! Though it was pretty late when we all finally went to sleep the previous night, I was up early as we again had so much planned for the day. If yesterday was a day of learning and seeing, the last day was reserved for Demos by the BM Chefs and also revealing who was to be crowned as BM Chef!
During the Itinerary planning while Vaishali was mentioning about arranging demos for us, somebody mentioned that they would love to see some authentic dishes being prepared by the BM Chefs themselves. Then it really caught on and so many requests came about asking for authentic South Indian Dishes.
As I was somewhat preoccupied, I missed keeping a track and suddenly I realized this was the hot topic. I mentioned if we have time, I would love to cook too. And bang came the request from Pradnya that I could make Tomato Kurma for them. I was really surprised that she wanted to see this dish being prepared. A dish I make every Sunday and here I was making it again!
So it was decided that Kamalika, PJ, Padma and I would demo some South Indian food. There was a previous plan to make Idlis by Padma, but it was dropped as they do get a decent enough batter. Then she decided on making Pesarattu Upma. I asked Vaishali to arrange for Idlis. With so much activity about to happen, I wasn’t really able to lay down still. On entering the Kitchen, I was shocked to see trays of Idlis and heaps of Vadas already being done. We were told that they had a conference order for breakfast. Well we decided we could serve some with the tomato kurma for sure.
We set out to prepare the breakfast as we had called everybody for Breakfast at about 9.30. When we came back to hotel late night, Padma was wondering how to get the Pesarattu batter, as we completely forgot about it. We were told that Vaishali had got it soaked by herself. So the morning we got to work, we asked the staff to grind the batter. We were all set to work, we had two staff assigned to help us. It was fun getting them understand what we wanted.
Working in a hotel kitchen was a new experience. The huge stove top, with huge vessels and ladles was an art that one needs to get used to. For the Kurma, I had to get the entire onion, tomato and the masala paste along with coconut milk. The whole coconuts they were small, so we nearly had to break 4 to get the required milk from the coconut.
Padma had the Upma going and we had some of our friends coming over and seeing it being made. We actually didn’t tell them that the cooking was already started. We were in a hurry to get the dishes done, as we didn’t want to be late. Padma finished making the Upma, with Vaishali and Archana looking on. I was sure they were getting scared with the ghee that she was adding. Padma replied very sternly that for a upma to taste best, it has to be made with Desi Ghee. Well it did sound like an ad for Desi Ghee!
We wanted the tawa to be place in the dining place, so that we could make the Pesarratu hot. When they saw that we had completed the dishes, they were asking about Demo, I was feeling bad for not calling them. However I knew the kitchen won’t have been ideal to have so many of them inside. Anyway they had to taste the dishes so it was fine.
Soon all of them started on with their breakfast and were so generous with their compliments. Though I knew my Tomato Kurma lacked something, as I couldn’t make it as I normally do at home, I was glad everybody liked it still. I was helping out with making pesarattu and we were happy with the crowd enjoying the authentic Andhra Treat. While we were busy making these, Kamalika, not only was she clicking away pictures, she was trying to feed us Dal Pawan and Poha, which were the special dishes for us South Indians.
After a batch was made, we packed the rest to Vaishali’s daughter and Son to enjoy as home, as they were not able to make it in the morning. We sat down to enjoy our breakfast. Dal Pakwan and Poha Ragda that Vaishali specially got it from an authentic joint.
While the podi demo were happening, I was acting as the photographer what with Kamalika being busy. I also managed to click the cooking that was happening in the kitchen. I saw some Aloo Parathas being made, a breakfast platter for the staff and many more!
Once the breakfast was done with, we had lined up other demo on South Indian Podis, to be done by Kamalika and Padma. PJ was planning to do too but with Sid along, she dropped the idea. What followed next were some tantalising aromas, sniffing away through the dining area and a bunch of ladies, all very seriously hovering around the person, trying to capture everything that was being told. I loved the part when Vaishali called her head cook and showed him how authentic sambar podi was to be done. Imagine his state of mind, head cook and still had to listen to some amateur cooks..:)..Well for all that he was so humble and nodded his head and asked apt questions. It was indeed a lovely sight to see. Then it was followed by Pradnya, who did some very beautiful garnishing ideas, salads and presentation.
Nearly some 5 different podis were made and left to cool down, while Vaishali decided it was time for a trip out. We were again on the roads of Ahmedabad. It being a Sunday, most shops were closed, she wanted to take us to some farsaan shop so that we could buy something back. On the roads we saw some Strawberry cart and stopped over.
Everybody wanted 6 – 7 packs and within minutes the entire cart was cleared! All of us bought about min 3 and some the entire box that had eight! Well imagine travelling back with a pack of strawberries.
Anyway our destination first were some Vada Pavs, so Vaishali took us to the joint where she frequents. We saw in action how Vada pavs were being made, when the guys knew we were clicking pictures, he even danced for us. We had ordered Vada Pav, Dabeli and jam buns. Nobody knew how the Vada pavs disappeared! This was my first time and trust me, I am going to be making them soon again.
The vada pav, had the lasson chutney and a huge bulb of butter, but who really cares! Dabeli again was my first time, however when compared with Vada pav, it wasn’t so spicy, so I went on a Vada pav bite. Vaishali was saying she wanted us to taste an authentic Cholafali, remember we made it for ICC. So I was so eager to taste how the original does. I was happy knowing my cholafali tasted almost like the shop one. With heavy heart we left the place.
Imagine travelling to a place and coming back home with vegetables! That’s exactly what we did. Vaishali also took us for vegetable shopping. Archana was telling us that she hardly gets good fresh vegetables, so we had to shop for some. We entered into a vegetable shop and wanted to buy most of them. They had delhi carrots, Colacassia leaves, Red and Green Jalapenos, Green Garlic and what not! I got a bunch of green garlic as the rest would be impossible for me to tag along.
Though we were running out of time, we had to shop for some farsaans, and picked up Kakhras, mathris, fafdas and chutneys. The shop was huge and had so much. We had tough time deciding what to buy. We asked Vaishali to help with selection and ended up buying a load of things. We rushed back to the hotel and all of us were literally running around. We had just about an hour or so to leave.
We saw the podis were all nicely ground and packed!
Pradnya was running around to get the votes for the BM Chef to be selected and announced.
After trying to get everybody around, she announced that instead of one person winning and taking the entire gift hamper, they decided to have some categories and called out everybody, so that all of us won something or the other. That was such a sweet thought. So all of ended up being winners in some category.
What to know who was crowned BM Chef? Well no doubt about it, it was Vaishali!
She won hands down for this, for her presentation, creativity, and the taste. She had us all hooked her six different panis with the puris! She was demanding for her crown. Well oops we forgot about that! Next time for sure..:)
I was literally upset not knowing how to pack, Vaishali helped me unpack and repacked everything in my backpack. I came in light and was going back with two huge baggages! Not sure how she stuffed everything in, but I was able to close the bags. We were already running late to report and had to leave right away. We didn’t even have proper time to thank the hotel staff for having put up with us for three days.
Somehow we were all ready finally, however I didn’t want to miss out the Ferrero Rocher Cake and we all did the honour of cutting the cake!
It was as if we were leaving our maaki to sasural! Only thing left was the bawling and crying out the heart out! Pradnya was staying back as her flight was late in the evening and PJ was to be moving in with Vaishali as she had an early flight to catch. On whole it was such an emotional send off!
Five ladies with a baby, everybody bustling out with huge baggages, one holding a cart of strawberries as if her life was depended on it, saying no strawberry crush! one with a forlorn look at the bag that carried the strawberry and was being booked, while the one who carried on the back, knew if there was a crush, it would happen with knowledge!
Well we finally bid goodbye to a lady who has come to mean so much to us! We were showered such love and hospitality that can’t be expressed with enough words, I will not even try to do that. Even after nearly twenty days I am able to recollect and remember those three days that felt like a decade of time we spent. Three days with friends, a bond made with love for food and love being called foodies. Those three days will remain forever the best days of my life.
If somebody asks me what blogging gives me, I can so proudly say it gave me friendship beyond imagination!
These are the final shots at the take off, to reality again, back to work, family. Yes things were more coloured because I spent wonderful time with friends. Hubby dear was happy and listened patiently to my non stop banter about what we did and what happened! I had to thank him again for nudging me towards this trip, if not for him this wouldn’t have happened!
Thanks for reading along a long account, I know I could have made it short. I didn’t want it though. I know I still missed out some account, well that’s fine!
Here’s what my other BM friends had to say about their experiences.