The Sleepy Minion 

An excerpt from Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost- “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep” generally sums up and epitomizes our current lifestyle for the present generation of ‘millennial’. We work hard, party harder, love deeper, socially antisocial, and technologically slaved sleep deprived beings on most counts. Sometimes I wonder and wish for an additional seven hours to a twenty-four hour day to get the job done. It’s harmful. I know it. What am I doing about it? Nothing really. Well not until I met Calin from Nebraska at the recent Saturday Night Market.

Calin works in the ER and goes without saying is a workaholic. She works twenty-hour days and while we walked around the grounds admiring it in entirety she had a certain sense of calm about her. She quipped of having been at ‘peace’ in a very long time, with her mind not racing in a thousand directions and being socially disconnected not to mention mentally traumatized given her work area. Having suffered a panic attack and anxiety attack almost simultaneously made her take note of her body and listen to it carefully. That’s something we both had in common. I had a panic attack but recently and that made me sit up and focus on certain ‘lifestyle’ choices that were plaguing me both mentally and physically. Over a cup of tea, notes were swapped as well as our common love for Minions- those nubby yellow henchmen of Gru from Despicable Me. Still clueless, Kindly Google!

 Now while the earlier version of yours truly would literally kill a Saturday Night in quick succession with multiple venues and a crazy all night party working towards the wee hours of the morning, the new and improved one choose a homemade recipe and a conversation to lull out a perfect set rendezvous. That’s the exact moment when revelation hit in this preparation as thunderous as Thor’s hammer and Zeus lightening bolt in unison- Banana Cinnamon Tea. Did you know? Bananas are one of the more well known sleep aiding foods. Aside from tasting great and being full of fiber, bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, which both act as muscle relaxants. When your muscles are relaxed, you are able to let go of stress more easily and drift into a deeper sleep. They also contain Vitamin B6, an important micronutrient that aids in the body’s production of serotonin, a precursor to the other sleep hormone melatonin. While they maybe rich in potassium and magnesium, what most people do not know is that the banana peel has, even more, potassium and magnesium than the banana itself, and it is often thrown away as trash. That was a new discovery for this preparation. 

Imagine the numerous times stress calls on us. That depletes Magnesium as a mineral in ones body first. Cinnamon apart from tasting amazing is great because it is one of the best ways to balance blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are balanced, your hormones can function in a way that allows for better sleep. If your blood sugar levels are off, then you may have energy at night, or be tired during the day.

 How does one go about this preparation? All you need is one yellow banana; I had to use five elaichi bananas present in my kitchen given the lack of a normal one. If you were using the Moira banana half of the same would do just fine given the size. A pot of filtered water and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you like. Cut off both the head and tail end of the banana and put the banana into a pot of bowling water. Boil for about 10 minutes and sprinkle some cinnamon into the water as well. If you’d like to add some stevia for sweetening, do so. Stevia helps to balance blood sugar levels, and will not spike blood sugar levels before bed.

 Drain the same and enjoy a hot piping cup of tea allowing you into slumber land shortly thereafter.

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To Banana or Bacon? that is the question 

I am on my ‘guilt weight trip’ ritual to devote some serious time to my crunches in the hope of toning up my mid rift. This happens every other quarter -wherein I decide NOT to abuse my body and focus on eating right and healthy. Even my nutritionist (yes I have one) gets on board to ensure my ‘love handles’ are handled to the best of their abilities.

Harped upon daily and constantly, about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is indeed all for good measure. However; eating right does get the better of me on multiple occasion. There is only so much ‘goodness’ I can take before I succumb to culinary ‘lust’. After almost a fortnight of eating ‘right’ – low fat yogurt with muesli and soy milk I decided to initiate protocol ‘Cheat Day’ well ahead of schedule.

I scurry over to meet a friend on the pretext of a simple ‘catch up’ – throwing a veil of deceit over my nutritionists eyes (did I feel guilty? Let’s leave it at melancholy) Of course the real reason was to sample what was cooking in her culinary mastermind. It’s theraputic, knowing the creative process of friends such as Vandana, who runs a lovely cafe -Cafe Bodega in the heart of an art gallery- Sunaparanta- in an old Portuguese house with a courtyard. The atmosphere so tranquil, one could lose track of time along with such an efficacious personality – bubbly and brimming with ideas all from the world of good food.

Known for my love of waffles,(I pride myself in sampling the likes of the Belgian, Liege (Eastern Belgium),Flemish aka Gaufres a la Flamande (Northern France and western Belgium) American, Stroopwafles- my favorite (Netherlands) and the Bergische waffles  (German region of Berg country) all these have been ticked off my bucket list) – a simple question posed, I find myself caught like a deer in the headlights when asked for my preference that day – sweet or savory? With a calorie count weighing on my head, I obviously was stuck in a conundrum and her  explanation of the construct definitely did not help (yes tough decisions indeed).

Factoid: Waffles are preceded, in the early Middle Ages around the period of the 9th-10th century with the simultaneous emergence of fer a hosties (communion wafer irons) typically depicting imagery of Jesus and his crucifixion on hosts- Oubile in its basic form comprising of only grain flour and water.  As a product it evolved around the 11th century with The Crusaders bringing new culinary ingredients such as orange blossom water and locally sourced honey predominantly used during that time. 

While i resigned myself to fate and simply let her choose on my behalf- a mischievous glint in her eyes, and seconds later shes off to the kitchen. I decide to soak in the sun and ponder over what was to unfold. A whiff first presented itself – an aroma of Nutella and deep fried bacon, emanating from behind kitchen doors on to play catchup to the speedy plate being carried over to table for its visual appeal. Voila!! 

Belgian waffles with her twist on a complete breakfast. Masterclass indeed. Crunchy strips of bacon covered half the side and gooey Nutella covered bananas on the other. It toyed with me to leave table manners and just gorge on the feast laid in front of me. Let’s not forget a swab of butter, a ladleful of maple syrup and drizzles of sugar powder and it sure was a home run in my books. ‘Cheat Day’ devoured and successfully accomplished.

With affable conversations a few cutlery clinks later it was time to bid adieu only to plan my next meal there the minute I departed.

Off to the gym now.
Waffles with crispy bacon, banana & Nutella

 Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

Original Sin 

There are various purposes to ones travel. Some for pleasure, rest and relaxation and some for business. At times I like to mix both when I come across such delights.

New Delhi, often referred to as the food capital of India apart from it being the nations capital -does live up to its name. The people you meet and come across are affable and hearty foodies who centre ‘food’ at the heart of any discussion. Believe you me, I’ve been witness to food chatter thrown in the middle of business deals as to where lunch needs to be sampled. It’s part of their culture and I love it. After all, some of the best people one could ever meet – are well – lovers of food. 🙂

I am usually a light eater on travel – especially pit stop travel when there is a quick agenda involved, however, I happened to stop over to meet the lovely folk of J.W.Marriott at Aerocity and was pleasantly surprised with a new addition to the menu. It’s amazing how they have the knack to identify and remember a customer at the door. A returning one at that, I am told -would never be presented a menu as given the pleasure of serving me something ‘unique’ on ever visit was paramount. A class of touch. I feel privileged.

I have a standard rule of asking my server (in case I don’t have the good fortune of knowing the chef personally-which is seldom rare) to “Surprise me” and quite often it’s reaped huge rewards to my ever evolving palette.

I present -The Banana pancake with crushed berry compote (they didn’t want to add the fresh whipped creame and burbon maple syrup -as they thought it would be a mouthful!!! Hmm thoughtful of them much?)

Simple in name, voluminous in bite. However don’t be misled, its stratospheric in taste tingling your senses with hints of butter banana mixed in the pancake batter, that first hits followed by a sneak hint of the blueberry compote that wishes not to be forgotten. All in all the ‘true wife’ – fresh cream and the maple syrup comes into play to ensure its original dominance lest be forgotten in the midst of all this adulterous behaviour. Consumption tip: A strong unadulterated (minus sugar and milk in my dictionary) coffee preferably of African blend is best recommended with this harmonious concoction to disrupt the heady honeyed senses just to revert back to them with the next bite. 

And as all good things must come to and end I’m Up in the Air once again.

Breakfast of champions indeed. The stomach agrees.

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography