Have you got your kitchen strategy in place for cooking during the lockdown? Finely Chopped Covid-19 Journal 16

Akoori toast & espress #finelychoppedbreakfasts #stayhome

"I have some good news for you," messaged my friend Manoj yesterday. "La Folie breads are available again. At Koinonia Coffee Roasters, Bandra. It is listed on Zomato."

My love for their breads is well documented and I do miss the cafe a lot. K called in for the La Folie Harvest Grain wholewheat bread today through Swiggy.

Taking the loaf out, putting it on the kitchen counter and slicing it gave me such joy. Reminded me of happier times. A sign of things to come?

Chef Sanjana Patel, who owns La Folie along with her husband Parthesh, told me that she bakes the breads herself every night and then Parthesh distributes them in the morning. This was in response to my playfully chiding her for not telling me about the bread being available. "I am exhausted at the end of the day," said the poor girl. Well, she brought us a lot of joy through her efforts and for that one is grateful.

La Folie Harvest Grain bread

I made akoori, the Parsi version of scrambled eggs, with the Mangal Parsi dhansak masala from the fridge for breakfast.

I heated oil. Then added the masala. Then finely chopped onion, tomatoes and green capsicum. Then added two eggs and some salt and beat it together. I went for a slightly tighter texture than normal to ensure sanitisation.

The breakfast brought back fond memories for us as K would often order akoori when at La Folie. The blue plate that I used for breakfast was made by our young neighbour, Inzia Jivan, who retails her pottery under her brand Magic Hands Ceramics. It is of the sort that would be at home at La Folie where everything is so aesthetic. K approved of the akoori.

Akoori toast

It's all about strategising

Apart from trying to cook in bulk, we have hit upon a few other practises that make us more productive in the kitchen during the lockdown when we have to manage everything by ourselves.

One is to cook both meals for the day at one go. Usually during the day time when I make dinner first and then lunch before we sit to eat. The other thing is to keep cleaning as one cooks, so that one is not hit by a storm later. We also try to plan what we will cook the night before and that helps start the next day with a clear sense of purpose.

This is what I did today. Caveat: Most of my cooking is low effort, seat of the pants cooking. No recipe books were touched in the making of these so follow at your own risk.

Lunch: Vegetarian wholewheat spaghetti aglio olio with no cheese

Spaghetti aglio olio

  • Heat extra virgin olive oil on a low flame.
  • Add finely chopped fresh garlic (1/2 teaspoon), some chilli flakes and crushed black pepper
  • Then chopped vegetables and a bit of salt. Stir till well cooked. I used mushroom, yellow bell pepper and broccoli. I cooked them more for usual as we are more cautious right now because of the Covi-19 pandemic.
  • Once the vegetables are well cooked, add the boiled spaghetti and a bit of the water it was boiled in in (3,4 tablespoons of water for a 2 people serving). Sprinkle salt and toss it together for a minute or two,
  • Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil at the end.

Dinner: Kerala inspired chicken stew with red rice

Kerala stew

This recipe hinges on some generalisations about south Indian cooking I admit, but turns out to be delicious. I have made this before. It is really easy to cook.

When I went to Kochi I was told that there are more than 200 variations to a chicken stew. Who knows? Maybe this one is legit!

  • Heat coconut oil in a wok.
  • Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli or two. Sir till the seeds sputter.
  • Add some finely chopped ginger and garlic and a couple of large chunks of onions. Ginger, garlic together should not be more than half a teaspoon.
  • Add chicken and veggies. I used some carrot chunks and red bell pepper slices today.
  • Add salt, black pepper, coriander and cumin powders.
  • Stir for a couple of minutes till the chicken loses its pink colour as it begins to cook.
  • Add 100 ml coconut milk (for 4 medium sized chicken drumsticks) and then an equal amount of water (as we do not want the curry to be too thick).
  • Bring the broth a boil and then reduce the flame. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Poke the chicken with a knife to see if its done.

As you saw, both were very easy to cook and the advantage of cooking both meals before lunch was that I was rather footloose and fancy free in the evening.

Stew with red/ matta rice
Who am I kidding? I did make myself a toast butter cheese sandwich for dinner and boiled the last of the red rice to go with the stew.

Purry Purry nights

Baby Loaf has been reasonably quiet  this evening. I sang 'I am a Disco Dancer' and did Mithunda steps when he meowed a bit and played with the stick rope and feather toy that my brother had sent through Amazon for him. He quietened down. Ate. Drank water. Went to sleep. Fingers crossed. 

I had let him out last night and then today too as he was meowing a lot. He stayed out for quite some time and eventually went to our neighbour Erika's house on both occasions and she brought him up. We had gone down to look for our little Dennis the Menace in fact last night before Erika messaged us. I was then up till 4 am last night reading up on cat psychology and this evening I just chanted for him to feel at peace and at home and well loved. He seems to be more peaceful so far even though he has just woken up.

Stay home. Stay safe. Wear a mask if you go out.

Later tonight before he got onto the bed and then woke up at 1 am

Here is something that I did with La Folie recently and I hope that you will contribute too.

Seeds India site
Links to my Instagram recipe stories from today: