The first day

Vanya started school.

OMG!  I know its not really a big deal, after all its playschool and its only 3 hours a day.   But it knocked me for a six, how emotional and weepy the whole thing was making me, though of course that could also just have been the PMS.

Thats Daddy and daughter just before we left the house for the big first day.  She’s got her backpack on and rearing to go already!

Thankfully my rockstar friend in Russia, J, assured me that it was a big deal.  What amazed me the most was that it didn’t faze Vava at all.  She just took the first day (and the second) in her stride.  She walked in, checked the place out, assessed the other kids, made some weird shapes with the play-do, painted a happy face and walked out.  It was so cool.


Just checking out the stools


Yep, play dough just bang it about and look like you know exactly what you’re doing…

Me – I am still completely unable to even write about the experience without tears in my eyes.  Its the start of her educational journey (one that if she follows her mother could take a LONG LONG TIME!). Its the start of her own decisions, should I talk to the girl in the yellow dress or the boy in the red shirt? Should I sit on the chair in front or the one in the back.  I know I know, not life-altering decisions, but seriously crucial one’s for a 2 and 1/2 year old in preschool.

Anyway lets see how Monday goes…when she has to be there ALONE! Its going to break my heart, I just know it.

As easy as pie…

So we’ve been having polo at our club everyday for the last two weeks.  Polo?  Our club?  Hmmm I guess I should step back a bit.  So the hubby is a professional polo player, he and my brother- in-law UD run the Haryana Polo Club just outside delhi.  Go to their website, check it out.  If you want a holiday in India and to learn to play polo you should come visit us, we have two beautiful guest rooms, 26 horses and beautiful grounds.  Go check it out here.  And if you come visit you get cakes specially baked by me :-)!!!  Yeah so when there’s polo at the farm little old me bakes cakes, after all when 16 strong, hard, sweaty men (stop drooling…I will post pictures later!)  finish a polo game they want nothing better than hunks of carrot, lemon and chocolate cake and ice-cold beers to wash it all down.  Its fun!  Most days I love sending cakes, it makes me feel all domestic and maternal.  But then somedays I have a Marie Antoinette moment and and feel like tossing my royal ringlets, sweeping up my skirts and sending the husband to the closest store to buy (oh god how awful) store bought cake!!!

So the last time I had one of these fits instead of  getting the cream filled concotions you get in bakery’s in India I decided to make something else….But what to make?  It needed to be sweet, it needed to be easy (since I do have a regular non-cake making job as well) and most importantly it needed to satisfy my husband’s tough talking, hard riding, polo buddies.  No tarte tatin here!  And then it struck me…the easiest peasiest (do people still say that?) pie on earth – it was so easy it wasn’t really a pie.  It was just four ingredients layered one on top of each other. BANOFFEE PIE!  Bananas, toffee, digestive biscuits, cream (chocolate optional).

Now as an aside.  Don’t tell anyone.  But I HATE Banoffee Pie…its all those bananas.  I just can’t stand it.  But for some reason everyone else I know just loves it.  I have a friend, who I supplied with Banoffee Pie’s all through her second pregnancy.

But it didn’t matter, I wasn’t going to be there, I would be safely esconsed in my office while my husband and his friends chomped through slices of Banoffee Pie.  Everything was going fine till I spoke to my mother, “Banoffee Pie” she said (extremely quizzically), “for tea!” (Now you’d have thought that I was about to commit some sort of cardinal food sin here).  But then I rationalised…I was after all the mother who allowed her daughter to eat apple pie for breakfast (it has fruit and wheat and oats!!!) and scrambled eggs for dinner (mmmm….breakfast for dininer the best thing EVER) so really dessert for tea was not a big jump.

If you do search for Banoffee Pie on the internet, you’ll come across hundreds and thousands of recipes all claiming to be THE definitive one.  I guess I’ve never been one for definitions…if it tastes good and everyone else likes it then whats the big deal?

Thats the finished Banoffee Pie sitting on my dining took a lot of convincing to stop Vava from eating it right there and then!
Thats the finished Banoffee Pie sitting on my dining table…it took a lot of convincing to stop Vava from eating it right there and then!

So here’s how you make it….

BANOFFEE PIE (the indefinite version)

You need:

300 gms Digestive biscuits (or you can even use Chocolate Hobnobs – very yummy)

150gms Butter (unsalted preferably)

2 Tins Condensed Milk

250 ml Heavy Cream

3-4 Bananas

1 Bar of  Milk Chocolate

What you should do

1. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan with water and place the UNOPENED tins of condensed milk in them (trust me!).  Bring it gently to a boil and let it boil for 2 and 1/2 hours.  I know this sounds crazy but you really really do need to boil the tins of condensed milk.  Nothing untoward should happen.  Just make keep checking that the water in the saucepan does boil off, keep topping it up every once in a while and when you’re done you’re going to have the most amazing deep caramel coloured toffee/dulce leche/boiled condensed milk!

2. While your condensed milk tins are bubbling away undergoing the magical transformation from boring old condensed milk to heavenly caramelly toffee you need to make the base for the pie.  Crush the digestive biscuits into what looks like coarse meal.  You can use a food processor or just dump the biscuits into a ziplock bag, close tightly and bash away with a rolling pin – immediate crumbs!

3. Melt the butter gently and then mix in the crushed biscuits.  Press the mixture into the base and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan or pie plate and put it into the fridge to set. It takes about 2 hours.

4. Once you’ve boiled the tins of condensed milk, remove them from the water and let it cool.  Once the tins are cool enough to handle, open them and spoon all that lovely gooey caramelly toffee into your pie base which should have set by now.

5. Slice the bananas and layer them on top of the toffee.

6.  Whip the heavy cream to about the soft peak consistency and layer that on top of the bananas ( you can mix a tspn of coffee powder or kahlua or vanilla essence or caster sugar into the cream when you whip it – whatever gets your pulse racing)

7. Grate the chocolate on top as desired.  And serve!

I don't know whats more delectable...the finished pie or Vava's eyes just begging for a piece!
I don’t know whats more delectable…the finished pie or Vava’s eyes just begging for a piece!

Pros and Cons

We’re going to have to move…there is no way around it.  I just know it my bones, we’re going back to Gurgaon.  Damn, I thought I had been able to delay the inevitable, but I don’t think so.  This is going to be a tough one.  I love my little city flat, right in the heart of South Delhi, even though I am on the outer ring road, I can hear the birds in the park that buffers my little home from the madness that is the Delhi traffic…I never expected that I would have any reason to wax eloquent about Delhi, I usually hate this city, but suddenly when the prospect of moving to Gurgaon seems to real, its hard to remember the things I don’t like about Delhi, only the things that I love.  

Yesterday we went to see “THE FLAT” and I went with the full understanding that this was where we were going to be living soon, but as we drove out of Delhi, onto the highway it started to sink in just how much of a change this was going to be.  But with a recession knocking on my doorstep and a landlord who thinks that he can RAISE the rent this year I think I have to go back.  Go back to the little flat in the middle of suburban HELL, but its a flat thats owned by us.  Where NO-ONE can raise the rent, where I can paint everything in mad colours, and my daughter will have her own room and I will have my OWN study and maybe we can get a puppy and we won’t have to pay rent (did I mention that before)…


Reasons to Move:

  1. Save money
  2. Three bedrooms instead of two
  3. Its our place so we can do what we want to it – including paint the walls pink if I want
  4. Good for Vaava
  5. Bigger kitchen
  6. Save money
  7. We can get a puppy
  8. Save money so I can go shopping
  9. Close to the farm
  10. Close to my parents
  11. Far from “she who shall not be named”
  12. We will have a bigger bedroom and so I can finally get my dream bed
  13. Save money so will be able to afford dream bed and macbook!  And hubby can buy his fancy shmancy plasma-TV
  14. Hubby can take me to Sunday brunches at the Trident
  15. More time together


The Reasons I am Resisting the Move

  1. Far from Delhi and my friends and our social life
  2. We might have a bigger place with a guest room but maybe no guests will want to stay so far
  3. Will cost money to do it up
  4. Far from my office
  5. Smaller living and dining rooms
  6. Will Phool and Thomas shift? 
  7. Vaava will have to change playschools
  8. Far
  9. Far
  10. Nowhere to buy decent vegetables, fish, meat in Gurgaon

I think I am moving….


Ok so Vaava finally got her wish, we’ve coloured her pink….currently she has pink toes (they are truly the cutest things) and pink ears, and a tiny smidgen of pink just above her left eyebrow….

Yesterday was Holi…the happiest, hippiest, maddest festival in the Indian festival calendar (and we’ve really got our share of festivals).  But seriously, you’ve just got to love a culture which has an entire day devoted to getting as hammered as possible.  Its divine debauchery!  It was also the dear daughter’s first Holi.   Well not exactly but  the last two years we thought she was too young to really “play” Holi and plus her mother wanted to get hammered but this year we decided she was ready!  And was she!  My gosh, I have to admit I was a bit worried at first, though I dared not even admit this to the hubby.  But I was thinking, all that water, all the strange colours, people on bhaang (more about that later) this could be good…or this could be very very bad.  And you know what, bless her darling heart, she was fabulous about it.

Just look at the picture….!  holi73

She played and danced and soaked her father in water, and ate and danced some more and soaked her father once again and whirled and even let her mother get some quiet time with her friends to have a bloody mary and a illicit cigarette and it was just fabulous.

I’m so proud of her.  She didn’t even blink an eyelid when she saw both her parents looking like this….