Pigging out with Bonnie at The Hungry Cat Kitchen

Bonnie (Subhasree Basu) and me
The only chicken (or rooster) during our pork lunch was on my tee shirt

Note: This post was written on Sunday but I posted it on Monday

The measure of a good meal is the nap that follows after it. K is still asleep post our lunch this afternoon. I just woke up. Feeling happy as I thought of the glorious lunch that we had earlier. Which is when I thought of switching on the computer and blogging.

I have not blogged as much as I want to of late. I want to write about our Paris trip. Our Kolkata trip. My recent visit to Mumbai's Fort.

The posts are all in my head. Maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe I am waiting for the perfect moment. Maybe I am tired of writing all day through the week as I am working now on the edits of the book. Editing is tough work. I have to revisit stuff I had written more than a year back and then want to change everything. It's literally like writing the book afresh. Thankfully I have a good editor to work with and her sincerity and enthusiasm charges me up.

This however means that I am often left with no energy to blog. If I do sit to blog, I feel guilt that I am neglecting the edits. 

Then I read what I myself wrote to a young blogger on Twitter when she was fretting about the fact that PR and marketing folks were focussing on numbers when it came to the world of blogging and not content (her point of view).

I Tweeted to her saying, "enjoy your blogging and people will enjoy your blog".

Those words came back haunt to me this evening. I realised that I should just head to the study and blog and not think too much about whether I should blog, or whether what I am writing about should actually be on the blog. Finely Chopped was where I wrote about things that happened in my life and that's what I should do again. 

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I put pictures from my day to day life (in the context of food) on Instagram (@thefinelychopped) or on the Finely Chopped Facebook page, with little stories around them. 

That's what I once did on the blog. The truth is, I find it easier do a single picture update from the phone than battle wayward internet connections to do posts on the blog using the laptop.

Then I thought of my mother who battles BP induced giddiness, and spondylitis related neck aches ,and pushed herself to write on her blog. She writes she loves to write.

So here I am, back again on the blog. I wanted to tell you about the lunch we had this afternoon at the house of Bonnie or Subhasree Basu. 

Bonnie is part of a set of Bengali friends that I made in Mumbai a few years back thanks to my blog. We use to hang around together as a group, meet at each other's houses for meals, go out to restaurants together. We don't meet that frequently now.

I used to work in market research when we met and Bonnie was in the media sales space. We would occasionally crib to each other about our day jobs. 

When we would meet for meals at each others places, Bonnie would always be the one to make a fancy salad or some slow cooked bakes or roasts and curries. The salads would always be wiped clean though the group was that of Bengalis (and a Parsi) who were meat lovers.

A couple of years down the line I moved out of full time market research and made a foray into the world of food consulting and food writing.

In an unrelated incident, Bonnie too quit her corporate job at the same time. For a while she spent her time at home.  The world at large saw her post updates on movies and TV shows and her cat, Meowjit, on Facebook.

Turned out that she was cooking up plans a serious entry into the world of home cheffing with the support of her husband Jit. I am not sure what her cat's opinion on this was.

She took baby steps and got into the pop-up circuit Mumbai's in food festivals and flea markets. The first one was almost a disaster as the venue had problems & the event got cancelled. A friend of mine, Arpana who owns Gostana in Bandra, pitched in when I told her what happened and offered her cafe, as the venue for Bonnie's pop up and things worked out well at the end.

Bonnie did more pop ups. Got into home catering too. As far as I know she is not professionally trained in cooking but does read a lot of cook books and does cook a lot at home and does eat out a fair bit too. Her training in marketing has possibly held her in good stead in helping her build her  newly launched brand, The Hungry Cat Kitchen.

I had recently gone to a common friend's house for a lunch where she (the friend) had ordered from Bonnie and the food was pretty good. 

I think that she is onto something with her focus on slow cooked dishes. Many of us, or me at least, don't like to spend hours in the kitchen and don't indulge in slow cooking at home. A caterer who focuses on slow cooked food seems unique in a city where many home cooks are trying their hands at going professional.

A concept that I remember from doing ad testing using Millward Brown products was that of 'branded recognition'. Which meant testing whether the ad tested seemed unique for the brand advertised or whether any brand could have been used in the ad. This concept applies for any field in life, be it for home chefs or even bloggers. Is what you do distinctive? Can people look at your work and immediately recognise your voice in it.

From what I know of Bonnie so far, slow cooking could be her niche. 

We were at Jit (her husband) and Bonnie's house this afternoon where Bonie conducted a Swine Dine pop up meal and that's what sparked off this post.

K and I were floored be the food that we had. 

I loved the nachos with pulled pork because of the variety of flavours and contrast of textures that came through in the dish with with the crisp (store bought) nachos and the melted cheese and the rajma beans and the well cooked pork with the wicked bits of smoky pork fat in between.

My top pick: pork nachos

The pork pot pie, which Bonnie said she had cooked for the first time in her life, was brilliant because of the silken flaky phyllo pastry crust and the small chunks of moist, well favoured, beautifully textured pork inside and once again, those seductive bits of pork fat.

The pork pot pie was getting over before one could click it

There was an egg potato salad where I was blown away by the quality of the fried  bacon in it

Everyone asked Bonnie where the pork was from and she said she buys it from a place called Poona Farms at Dadar Parsi colony.

Brilliant bacon

Sometime back we were at a dinner hosted by Baba Ling at Ling's Pavillion. I told Baba about Bonnie's catering plans and asked him to give her some advice for her new culinary business.

He told here, "the first thing to remember is to use very good quality ingredients.""

The quality of the pork that Bonnie had bought sparkled in every dish. This was embellished by a great cooking acumen as the texture of the cooked pork that we had this afternoon would match any that I have had in the best restaurants of Mumbai, and outside too.

We saw an example of how well the pork was cooked once again in the afternoon in the Kerala inspired coconut milk based pork stew that she did for the mains. 
The beautiful Keralite pork curry

The stew and the pork pie were K's favourites while for me it was the nachos and the pork pie. It was tough to choose though.

As we returned from our place, K and I kept talking about how much we enjoyed our meal and how each dish hit the spot in terms of flavour, texture and balance.

This is what K posted on Facebook:

The trick in life is to surround yourself with friends who find cooking to be therapeutic.
What a swine table you laid out Subhasree Basu
Kissing your fingers
‪#‎swinetable‬ ‪#‎piggy‬


 As for me, I am so glad Bonnie acted on her angst-filled Facebook updates on work from her media servicing days and decided to chase happiness instead. 

I think she is on to a good thing.

The 'we are so happy Bonnie quit her job' smiles post the lunch

PS: We were invited over home by Bonie for today lunch, as we have many times in the past, and she is a friend. If you live in Mumbai and (I am sure she is open to being flown down to London etc) want to engage in Bonnie's culinary services professionally then here's the link to her company  website.


vijju said…
Hi Kalyan ya what you said is very true. Even I felt I am not seeing the old Kalyan here & you are not very active in the blog as you were before.So please write more .
Coming to Rekha auntie's blog Didu's childhood life in Dacca was so similar to my grand mom's in Andhra Pradesh a village very near to Nellore which is very famous for quality rice except they didn't wear sarees as young girls going to school. Please convey ny love to Rekha Aunty & Didu.

Kalyan Karmakar said…
Thanks so much for writing in Haritha. I have never held back my feelings when I write and I so glad that you could reached out to me. I am sure I will be back as the blog is the core to what I do. Finely Chopped has always been about enjoying what I do rather than writing with an objective. of course, one needs to push oneself at times. But I do know that a bit of this is because I am extended across tasks and social media...need to work towards a better balance...will convey your wishes to mom and grannu. Regards, Kalyan
Pinku said…
ah the Knife at what he does best.

Am sure instagram and FB bring in instant likes and shares and whatever else one measures success by in the digital world. But the happiness of writing and reading a genuine from the heart blog post is something totally immeasurable.

Loved the post. Good luck to you for the book. And to Bonnie ....may she feed many many Hungry cats...forever.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Thanks Priyanka. so good to see your comment. I miss comments on the blog. That's one thing that drives me to other social media where people still comment