This pre-fermented dough is perfect for making many French Breads like the baguette.
1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups unbleached bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup to 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water, at room temperature
1. Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading. It is harder to add water once the dough firms up.)
2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77° to 81° F.
3. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it swells to about 1 1/2 times its original size.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 months.
After a week long blogging hiatus, I’m back. The reason for this absence was that I was busy preparing for our first house guests. V’s friends gave us the news last week that they were planning to pay us a visit over the weekend- and when I say they- I mean 6 people ( 3 couples) in total. Now, we have a 3 bedroom house, but, one of the bedrooms is converted into the study. So effectively, there are just two bedrooms. So, accommodating eight people ( six of them and two of us) was a task- more so, since we just have one bathroom. Also, since it was the first time they would be tasting my cooking, I had to make sure it had to be good- my reputation was at stake! So, the cleaning, setting the house, cooking and baking kept me busy the past week and I just couldn’t get to blogging. And, boy, I missed it!
Finally, Friday evening our friends arrived and so began the weekend roller coaster ride! :)! It was fun! A little overwhelming at places, but fun, nonetheless.
The first night we sat outside and drank- after a long time all the guys were together drinking- so they maxed out their capacities!
The second day, V showed them the mine. Later, we went bowling (it was my first time! and I beat V 🙂 !). I also learnt a new thing about V- he is a good pool player.
Once back home, we played poker, grilled some paneer tikkas, watched a horror movie, drank, chatted and ate lots. I also inaugrated our new cocktail shaker- and made a darn good mojito for myself!
The next day, after a really heavy breakfast of the best dal paranthas I have ever made, these guys left. The weekend finally came to an end. Though both of us were happy to get some rest, the house does feel awfully empty now.
Overall, it was a fun weekend. It was also the first time my trunks were going to be seen by someone besides V!
Yes! After weeks of working on them, I finally finished them a few days back. It was time well spent!
I had quite a few adventures painting them, though. While working on the first coat on the first trunk, I managed to paint my hair too. Fortunately, I was going to the salon for a hair cut, so the mishap didn’t do much damage! The first trunk was a trial run and well, even though V thinks it looks great, it could have been better. But, once you put so much of effort in something, even if its ok, you still are proud of it.
The second trunk was much better planned. Plus, I was equipped with a little experience now! Resulting in a much much better trunk. I know I did a good job on this one because our friends who came to visit just couldn’t believe I made this- one of them thought I bought it! :):) That just made my day!
I know this makes this blog sound a dedication to V, but the weekend also made me realize again what a wonderful husband I have. And, without him I wouldn’t have managed to stay so calm and relaxed. V helped me with the dishes, cleaning, and well, by just being there, he helped me a lot.
The other day, the song “Main Jahan Rahoon” from the film Namastey London was playing. Now there are certain songs that remind you of a particular incident or person or just a time in your past. This song is an example. So is the song Backstabber. It reminds me of one of my friends and how she would dance on this song. I will always associate the songs from the movie “Maine Pyaar Kiya” with my family and our trip to US when I was 7. The song “Paro” from the movie Shastra reminds me of my sister’s wedding and how we all went berserk dancing on the song.
The way songs remind us of someone, some place or some time in our past, food, can also have the same effect. Mysore Masala Dosa makes me go back to my college days. Stuffed Tomato reminds me of my friend B and the times I have spent at her house. Scotch eggs reminds me of the times she has spent at my house. Freshly baked vanilla cake reminds me of my mom and her parcels to me when I was a hosteler. These parcels also contained my mom’s famous chocolate balls. They used to be devoured by my friends whenever they came. My girl friends and I also used to share a private joke about them;)!
These chocolate balls were a favorite of my brother. They were made regularly for him and were specially made when he used to get back from NDA. And, I remember how in just one sitting, he would gobble them all up. He used to be crazy about them and probably still is. So, today being Rakshabandhan- a festival in India to celebrate the bond between a brother and a sister, I thought of making this for him. I know its going to be a while before I meet him- he stays in India , I stay in US, you do the maths!
Over the years, my brother and I have grown close to each other. But it wasn’t always like that. It was only when he went away and joined NDA did both of us start sharing stuff. Before that, we just fought- at every opportunity. He practiced all his WWF moves on me. Thanks to him I became strong. I learnt to use my elbow and could give him a serious fight.
I remember the day he ejected from his plane. I never have strong intuitions, nor are they ever correct- but, that day I knew there was something wrong with my brother. I remember how that very day I woke up in the morning with his photo falling on the floor. I remember texting him that very moment to call me. When he did not, I called his girl friend (now his wife!:)), but she had spoken to him the night before and everything had been fine. I remember, taking a nap in the afternoon, relaxed to know all is well with my brother. I remember, my grandmother waking me up and crying and telling me his plane crashed. Those were the scariest few minutes in my life. My grandmother wouldn’t tell me whether he was safe. She just kept crying. I am happy today that he has fully recovered from that incident. Touch wood.
I remember how we both partied together for the first time at a pub in Delhi and blew up a lot of money. When I paid the bill, my brother, to show his disapproval, wanted to lightly tap me on my face, instead without realizing the force of his hands, he slapped me! I was shocked as to what happened. So was he. And, then we both laughed!
I remember he flew down and surprised me during my wedding by coming a day early. I remember how he broke his arm during my sangeet, due to complete exhaustion from working and taking charge of all the marriage proceedings.
He is my idol. Growing up, he was the one person I looked up to for everything. The music, TV shows I like were a direct reflection of his choices.
He stood by me at all times. He encouraged me with my dreams- believing in me. He helped me out with my problems- in academics and otherwise. He finally got to do what he always wanted- to fly, even though the odds were against him. He never gave up. His determination has taught me to never give up on any dream in life – to keep on trying till you succeed.
He was the coolest person I knew while growing up and he still is! He is the best brother I could have asked for and I love him a lot! Wish you a very Happy Rakshabandhan, bro! Wish you a lot of happiness, success and good health in life. Miss you lots! This one’s for you!
MAMA’S FAMOUS CHOCOLATE BALLS
3 cups Marie biscuits, powdered
5 tbsp cocoa
1 tin condensed milk
Crush the marie biscuits in a blender till they are powdery. In a bowl mix the powdered biscuits, condensed milk and cocoa. Once thoroughly mixed, grease your hands with a little oil and make small balls. They are ready to serve and eat!