Saturday, February 25, 2012

Best of Film and Food - Year#2 at The Weekend Epicurean

2 whole years of blogging! And just over 75 posts to show for it...

My blogging is like me – always lazy, sometimes funny, sometimes angst-y, and rarely without drama! So if I can’t find the drama that goes with a picture or a recipe, that dish will just languish somewhere in my folder without seeing the light of day. And it’s not just a problem with dishes I cook up; on all our trips away from home I click away food pictures like crazy... and then don’t find a way to write about them on the blog without making it sound too much like a travelogue :(

So that is what has happened to the photos of the Bedmi Aloo and Milk cake devoured in Chandni Chowk, the Rajasthani white chicken and Papad ki subzi sampled in Jodhpur, the amazing fine dine enjoyed at some of the most beautiful restaurants in Goa, and the simple Tambda Rassa and Chicken sukka savoured in Kolhapur. Huh. Now that I have actually written that down, they suddenly seem very exciting and full of drama! Damn...

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. Also, it would be rather strange to complain about my own laziness, no? Hmm... Anyway, I just like to think of it as Quality over Quantity. Well, obviously not quality of the recipes, because there are so many food bloggers out there who stump me with their regular qualitative and quantitative output... Ok, so quality of drama then!

So keeping up with the tradition of my First Blogoversary’sdramatic post, here is my Filmy version of the highlights of Year#2 at The Weekend Epicurean... An unhealthy mix of food, film and fantasy! The Best of 2011 if you will:

1.       Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

What is wholesome, full of yumminess, feels sinfully like a dessert but actually packs a punch of goodness and flavour? Well it is the ZNMD on my blog – Choco-chip muffins! Like the movie, it left me feeling happy, giggly, and satisfied, but not guilty about over-indulging in a ball of fluff. A perfect recipe for a happy meal and a happy me! My personal favourite film and favourite baked goodie of the year.

2.       The Dirty Picture – Korivi Kaaram
Make no mistakes, this Chilli-Garlic Chutney makes no claim of nutrition, health or low-cal! Just like The Dirty Picture... which I think had no great story, screenplay or sub-plot. But hey, both have a Red Hot Chilli so fiery and over-the-top that you cannot but smack your lips in anticipation :D And I think it’s just apt that I compare one South-Indian bombshell (Vidya Balan) to a fellow South-Indian scorcher (Korivi Karam)! Spicy, hot, and totally worth burning the roof of your mouth :P

3.       Shor in the City – Avocado Guacamole
Why am I comparing the beautiful, earthy, intensely Indian “Shor in the City” to the Mexican Guacamole?? Because I was pleasantly surprised, no... absolutely amazed by both. I had never tried Avocado before and was quite wary of how it would taste. And come on, “Shor in the City” had Tushar Kapoor  with a bunch of newcomers! It was wariness redefined! The only reason I watched this film was Senthil Ramamurthy and the song ‘Saibo’; much like the only reason I decided to make Guacamole was thanks to Nigella Lawson’s rapturous descriptions :D And you know what, both the adventures turned out to be well worth the risk. To be fair, the flavours of the film and this dip do share some similarities – a heady mix of the buttery soft avocado and the mushy romance, the tartness of lemon with the punch of the crazy characters, the crunch of the onions with the stark realism of the plot, the spice from the chillies mingled with the desi humour... Definitely one of the best dishes of the year :)

4.       Mere Brother Ki Dulhan/Delhi Belly – Poached Peaches
This is a very straight-forward analogy. See, I generally don’t like Peaches. But in this form, they were actually quite delectable. This dish doesn’t boast of a great recipe or fancy techniques... but it’s easy and great fun! And sometimes, that is exactly what you need. MBKD was a film where the title of the movie told you the entire story; And Delhi Belly survived only on potty jokes and silly humour. But surprisingly, I actually enjoyed these movies thoroughly! No analysis, no attempt at deeper meanings or larger social messages – here are two films that were a lot of fun to watch. Just peachy, I say!

5.       Shaitan – Wasabi flavored Noodle Broth

Shaitan is like a shot of wasabi in your mouth. It shocks, excites, tingles your tongue, tears up your eyes (not with emotion) and leaves you breathless! I loved this film. Just adored the style, the confidence, the music, the editing, the recklessness... everything. I know there are a lot of people who will say that it’s inspired by Tarantino or Scorcese, that Hollywood does this genre so much better than Bollywood, etc. But please, in the Indian context, no one has done this better. Like my noodle broth, it is a one-pot meal with every wonderful ingredient thrown in. Its wicked, delicious, spicy and you just want to dig in and slurp it all up.

6.       Rockstar – Raw Papaya Curry

Most of you Rockstar lovers must be shaking your head in disbelief. Rockstar and a Raw Papaya Curry??!! I must be out of my mind! But hold your horses, let me explain. My raw papaya “avakoora” is no bland fruit  dish. It has the kick of mustard, the spice of red chillies, the sweetness of coconut and the bite of a full-bodied curry. So go on. Judge me now!
Ha. I thought as much.
But let me make one thing clear – unlike this traditional Andhra recipe which is almost perfect,  I think Rockstar was an extremely flawed script. It was intense no doubt – a love story of star-crossed lovers that sets your spine tingling. And Ranbir was outstanding as the guy who achieves everything he ever dreamt of, but still finds himself lost without love. The story had the potential to bring tears to your eyes, to move you to despair... but it failed. For one, I couldn’t feel for Nargis Fakhri. No really, every time she came on screen and tried to act, I had to suppress my disdainful snorts! She was ridiculous... And I couldn’t feel for a guy who fell in love with this cartoon :/
But my reservations about the script and heroine aside, this film much like The Dirty Picture, makes it to my best dish list thanks largely to the actor – Ranbir Kapoor. He is definitely a fruit a in a curry. The surprise sweetness in a fiery hot mouthful...

7.       Ra.One – Caramel Custard
Ok, I’m not going to say any more on this topic.  I love Ra.One. I love caramel Custard. I love Shah Rukh Khan. Damn... here I go again. Go read this blog post again if you want to know more and judge me.

So there it is! A truly filmy celebration of my Blog's 2nd anniversary :) Hopefully this year will be as filmy, as delicious, and even more dramatic than the past year! *Cheers*