Girls in their summer clothes

Packing season is here again. For what seems like the ten thousandth time, I am back to making inventory and packing clothes, shoes and bags. By the end of this season, I shall have packed a few boxes in Singapore and few in India – these little boxes with bits of my life and the spoils of it will make their way across the oceans to my new home (can I call it home?) in New York. Ah… I feel so nostalgic today. Each shoe, each dress I pack makes me think of the memories associated with it – nights out partying with casa, romantic dates, those horrible days at work when the only thing that made me feel good was getting compliments on my outfits. Each one I decide to leave behind makes me think of how well it’s served me and how it’s time to say goodbye and make space in that new closet (no more wardrobes, US homes have closets, yipee) for new ones. Notice the beautiful song I used for the title – Bruce Springsteen’s recent track. Like I said, nostalgia central.

I’m trying to turn this into a happy move rather than a sad one, I am going to try not to cry even though I know I will eventually. And I will cry even more once I get there because cold weather, with or without snow, makes me feel ever so melancholy. Thank God for Juice – everyone needs an outlet even if, in this case, it doesn’t talk back.

I went on a date yesterday and a rather interesting and relaxed one at that. It was with Brendan. And it was at home. But it was not just your everyday dinner. I went to a butchery and bought raw rib eye steak. Beautifully marinated and very tender – they were just waiting to be cooked properly, not a minute more or less. To accompany the steak, I made golden, buttery mashed potatoes and a cold pasta salad. There was of course that delirious Muga – a highly regarded Rioja wine I picked up from Madrid to accompany the fabulous red meat I was making. For “dessert”, I invented a new cocktail. I call it a “Watermelon-opolitan” and it is made thus

3 parts (or 6?) of freshly strained watermelon juice (pass the slices through a seive – quite timeconsuming but the only way you can get a smooth, seedless liquid)
2 parts vodka
1 part cointreau
some sugar syrup or sugar
a splash of lime juice
slices of watermelon to decorate the glass

Mix all the liquids up (in a shaker or otherwise). Pour into glasses. Decorate the rims with the slices and leave it in the freezer, albeit not too long or the mixture will separate.

I didn’t wear my regular crummy teeshirt and shorts either. Special evening equals special outfit, in this case a new floral halter neck dress and a casual updo.

My life has been in the “tai tai” mode since July but only in the past few weeks have I started feeling good about it. The assurance that I will soon have my own salary has been comforting and I’ve really started enjoying this housewifey existence for all that it’s worth. Brendan makes tons of jokes about it as do my friends but I am truly enjoying this time off. I’ve cooked and experimented more than ever, I’ve mixed drinks, I’ve roasted and baked and made stuff I’ve never made before. Heck I’ve even started roasting and grinding MY OWN MASALAS. That is pretty hardcore, my dears. As I tell Brendan, where on God’s green earth are you going to find a smart 21st century woman who likes to make her own masalas, eh?

Today my errand was equally unique. After catching lunch with another tai tai friend (chuckles, she has a more legit excuse than I, so don’t judge), I went to hunt for the ingredients that go into sangria. Yes, my dear Brendan is taking me to a party hosted by his big cheese and he wanted to take something a bit distinct from the usual cheap 20$ wine that one is obligated to bring to such parties. So he issued me a directive to make sangria.

“Baby please go and buy the ingredients and make some sangria for big cheese’s party tomorrow”
“Uh, excuse me but aren’t you presuming that I have the time and the inclination to do this?”
“Well you’re my tai tai now so yes I am”

Grrr. He has a point and I do love a culinary experiment especially if there’s alcohol involved. As we speak, there’s a half-made jug of sangria peaking in my fridge waiting for the finishing touches of ginger ale to be added just before serving. Hic!tastic

And I do love being Brendan’s tai tai. He’s taking good care of me as I am of him. I owe him a huge sum of money but that’s fine. There is a part of him that wants to be in Singapore permanently (perma-tai tai, the dream of many!) but I have to choose otherwise. I daresay I need the money and more obviously, the career. But it’s nice to have a choice. Likewise, he has the choice of quitting and joining me in NY and being my Mr.tai tai of course. He is liberated enough to be a good sport about it and thank God for that.

To conclude, here are some delicious pictures of the things that have kept this poor little tai tai busy…

Deviled eggs – notice how I’ve piped the stuffing into lovely little swirls?

Roasted pepper rolls with feta cheese stuffing – you can never have enough of these
Date night: Wine!
Date night: Half a steak with mashed potatoes and pasta salad. We thought we couldn’t each eat a full steak. We thought wrong and ended up eating two half-steaks each!
Watermelon-opolitan ala Jups

Rajma Chawal – Lost a bet to Brendan and paid the price with this little piece of heaven

Home-made vegetarian Lasagna: Look how crunchy the crust is. I made a huge pot of it back in Bombay and it disappeared in ten minutes. This picture does not do any justice to the myriad colourful layers of this painstakingly made beauty.
Weekday Breakfast with Brendan: soft toasted muffins with egg and cheese
Insalata Caprese: Once you start making this baby at home, you’ll never want to pay 20 bucks for it in an Italian resto
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