Friday, May 9, 2008

These make you cook?..it does to me!

Secret Seven and Famous Five were what I grew up on. I fondly remember fantasizing myself as a sleuth and went around trying to solve mysterious! I don't know exactly how I was introduced to these books, but I was glad. I remember many afternoons spent pouring over these books. I loved the parties they used have. Secret Seven used to meet regularly and have fresh baked bread, jam cookies and Lemonade. I think I didn't know what lemonade was then, but knew something to do with lemon. So I used to make myself some chill lemon juice and have a plate of store brought cookies and settle with the book. But most times, I was more distracted by the cookies and the inviting juice. so I would finish it off and then immerse into the book. Nobody can disturb when I am with a fiction!

Then it was Tintin and Asterix. Oh, how I love my Tintin collection. I then moved on to Nancy Drew. My need to be a famous sleuth, increased with every book I read. And desperately sought a mystery even in a simple thing. hardy Boys followed, by Sherlock Holmes, Agatha christie, and much more complex Fiction. Looking back, I really wonder if I had ever given so much time for my studies than what I seem to have given to reading non-school stuffs. And on top, I had this bad habit of collecting all the books. So I have the entire collection of Edin Blyton, Nancy Drew, hardy Boys, Tintin, Astrix, Robin Cook and some Classic genre!

I was seen reading Nancy Drew ardently even when I was in 12th grade Its when I joined college that I was introduced to M&Bs. Well that's a separate genre in its own. I realized I was too late in getting to know these. And I saw an addition to these as most others. I brought them by double. And yes I have a huge collection of these too.And doing a major on English, educated me on so many wonderful writers. My favorite is of course Shakespeare. But I loved Oscar Wilde. His writing style and the prose that used to be followed, was something that I wanted to depict in my own writing. The satirical approach was so cool for me.

In my first year of college, we had 'The importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde. This has the famous character Algernon, who I sadly tried imitating for some months. The opening scene has Algernon talking to his man servant about cucumber sandwiches. And that caught my attention. Few scenes infact revolved around the cucumber sandwich and the frustration of the character not able to finally eat them is so funny. Imagine a room with 40+ young girls jammed in a room in a hot summer afternoon and all they can get to hear is about some chap's obsession with cucumber sandwich. My friends thought they had better things to do!

Though I am very fond of sandwiches, we make mostly indiansed. This was new for me. Going back home, first thing I remember making, was a cucumber sandwich for myself. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then, I have always made these for sandwich with cheese slices and everytime I remember that afternoon in my first year class room. Its strange how small facts like these stay forever in our minds. But then I guess, we are strange creatures!

Thinking of those days, I feel so nostalgic. Those many days spent with friends in the classroom, trying to be alert when most of them would be reading a M&B hidden in their class books. Since two of my friends were among the chosen ones to read out loud, I used to keep track of the paras for them. I know how dull it sounds, but then it was so!

For a person who was always seen with a book in hand, its so sad that its been years since I have taken a book to read. When Bhags announced an event to celebrate her blog anniversary, I was all intent to participate. But was sadden to see the theme. Yes, there have been many books that had made me cook, but sadly all of them were in the past! I was sorely thinking if I should venture a climb to the attic to get all those books down. But I know it will be an impossible feat! Then I suddenly remembered the book and its cucumber sandwich. So Bhags, I bring a simple sandwich to your party! Hope you like it!

Cheese Cucumber Sandwich

Ingredients needed

Cheese Slices - 1
Cucumber Slices - 9 small ones
Pepper powder

Method to Prepare:

If you don't have cheese slices, you can use cheese spread. Spread it on the bread slices. Slice the cucumber very finely. Place them on the cheese and season with pepper powder.

Even plain cucumber sandwich tastes great. These are best for picnics and travel. The memories of many train trips we made with a bag full of Cucumber Sandwich comes gushing in!

Since I was making sandwich, I thought I will make another classic at our home. Very Indiased sandwich at that!

Onion Tomato Sandwiches

Ingredients Needed
Makes 4 sandwiches

Bread Slices - 8 nos
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Green Chillies - 2
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Table Butter for toasting

Seasoning
Mustard Seeds & Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Chop Onions, Tomatoes and Green Chillies finely. Heat a pan with oil and add the seasonings. For more crunchy feel, add more of Urad dal. Once it splutter, add the onions and green chillies. Fry till the onions are translucent. They should not become brown.

Then stir in tomato pieces, ensure it doesn't become too mushy. Add in the masalas and cook well. Go easy on the salt as the table butter will already have some. Cook in simmer for 5 mins.

Transfer this to a strainer so that extra moisture drains out and not make the sandwich soggy

Meanwhile, heat a tawa. Trim the sides of the bread slices. I normally don't if its for myself. Place on the hot tawa and toast it on both sides with table butter. Make sure one side is more crispy than the other.

Once the slices are crisp and brown, place a spoonful of the onion tomato mix and spread using a knife. Place the other slice over this. And again press down using a spatula and toast for another 1 or so.

The result will be crispy sandwich with soft and spicy malasa inside. Since I have added both whole chilies and powder, this is quite spicy.


My plate of Sandwich is off to dear Bhags for her celebrations.


And to Anupama, who is hosting a Sandwich Festival. I can't wait to see the round up!

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26 comments :

satya said...

And Mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies......are what my kids demand now...:)

Srivalli said...

Ahhh...I forgot about them...so wonderful!..thanks for reminding me Satya!

Asha said...

Asterix, Arvind used to read them like crazy in India, now we have about 30 Asterix and a movie too for kids which we ordered online from Delhi book store! Kids will LOVE them all.
Love cucumber sandwiches, very proper British dish!:)

sunita said...

Sri, just yesterday, my kids, who simply love to read, were asking me about the kind of books that I read as a child...and yes, the Famous Fives and the Secret Sevens and the Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys etc. all came up...even the rest of the books that you mentioned were really up my sleeve...perfectly understand the sleuthing bit...I can read all those books even now :-)

Siri said...

Oh ya, the Famous Five and Secret Seven.. from my school library.. those days were so cool and carefree.. love the sandwiches Srii..:D

Siri

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

That was a lovley sandwich recipe... Looks YUM! and healthy...For me sandwich is a great go to meal....

bhags said...

Cool Cucumber sandwich, yeah I remember the conversation between Algernon promising them to Lady BRacknell....Thanks for the entry

kamala said...

Valli you have rekindled all my college days.I too was introduced to M&B in the college...English major me too.

Uma said...

lovely sandwiches.

Latha Narasimhan said...

I too read the entire series of Enid bylton from the school library! never thought they were worth owning! :) M&B OMG !! I just can't read even two pages! Asterix is very popular in my family too!
Enjoyed reading your nostalgic writeup more than the recipe! :))

Arundathi said...

oh loved enid blyton - she was my hero. grew up with amelia jane and magic faraway tree and then mallory towers and st.claire's! and i love cucumber s/wiches! very British and propah and perfect!

Manasi said...

Oh!! u are a fan of Enid Blytion too! ME too, me too!! I still love reading those!! Magic! I would read those books anywhere and everywhere! Famous 5, 5 find-outers, Magic Faraway Tree series, Wishing chair.. oh the list is too vast to put in here!! Oh yes , Asterix, Nancy Drew, 3 investigators, Sherlock holmes!! U brought back the most wondeful memories!!!
How I would love to curl up with an book (Enid Blyton please!) and those sandwiches!!!

ranji said...

oh i love cucumber sandwiches/..i make them often for snack..i spread a little bit of green chutney and some onions and carrots too...they taste delciosu!!!

Divya Vikram said...

Guess both of us share the same tastes..I read almost the same books when I passed from one stage to the other..Love those sandwiches too..

Simran said...

And how can I ever forget the tea time in Jane Austen world : cucumber sandwiches in thinly sliced bread, scones and clotted cream.

You bring back memories, Srivalli!

Cynthia said...

I am grinning from ear to ear and nodding as I read: Famous Five, Secret Seven, Tin Tin, Nancy Drew etc.

Nithu said...

I love sandwiches. Healthy and yummy...

TheCooker said...

Enid Blyton spells magic!
The things those kids (in the books) ate...scones, sandwiches, cakes ....
Your sandwiches look pretty darn good.

Namratha said...

Ohhh Valli, looks like we've been reading the very same books all along! Tell me about the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the description about their picnic lunches always had me droooooling :D I read those books even when I was doing my MBA :P I had a good collection and left them all behind in India, would love to read them all over again :)

Sandeepa said...

Yeah those were the days, but M&B didn't interest me much, all you needed to read is the first few and last few pages ;-)

Strange but Enid Blyton is not popular here and you don't get any of her books. i asked my parents to get the "Noddy" series for my daughter

Cucumber sandwiches, always served with the English tea, weren't they ?

vegeyum said...

Ah, white pepper on cucumber - I had forgotten how good this is. What a lovely duo - masala sandwiches followed by cooling cucumber. Yum.

Bhawana said...

This sandwitch looks so good... very delicious and healthy too.

Srivalli said...

Asha, oh thats lovely to know!..

sunita, so sweet..I am so glad that there are so many with the same taste!

Siri, wish they were back here right

Sukanya, glad to know!

bhags, heheh..now its all fine, back then...those scenes used to scare me!

kamala, thats so nice to know!

Uma, thank you!

Lathamma, hahah...thats so nice...glad you liked it..

Arundathi, me too , me too...just felt the list was too long!..

Manasi, oh I never thought so..now I can see...your profile looks like mine!..how I wish I can too!

ranji ..that will be so yummy right!...

Divya, thats so wonderful to know so many with the same taste!

Simran...Ahh...how can I forget those!...:)

Cynthia, heheheh...so glad!

Nithu, thank you!

TC, yeah its does even now!...thank you!

Nam, thats so wonderful to know!...yeah even now I can!..:)

Sandeepa, hhehe..yeah still I have seen many who used to gobble them in 10s...is it?..thats really strange...I have got to know Noddy only after my daughter did!...

Jennifer, so wonderful right...yeah they were

Bhawana, thank you!

Aparna said...

The first food my daughter wanted me to make (she is crazy about reading) after reading was Peanut Butter Jelly (jam to us) sandwiches! They are still a favourite with her.

Indranee said...

Lovely sandwich...can have them anytime!

Sanctified Spaces said...

I was trying to write a short story today.!!I mentioned cucumber sandwiches in it,and here I find the recipe for it.Thanx for the post,I felt so nostalgic thinking about Nancy Drew,Enid Blyton etc.I am so an English Literature student,I remember the character Algernon.Thanx for reminding me that I was a student of literature too. Kamakshi

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