While in my last post I lamented on friendships lost, today I will sing paeans of the ones that sustained, with no effort of mine. And this past Spring weekend we got a chance to spend time with two of them -- T and R-da. We have known T for a long long time, so long that she is practically family. My daughters love her and her husband much, call her T pishi and draw her and R-pisho in family portraits. T is an awesome baker while her husband R-da is the bong food connoisseur and official Italian in my bong circle. I mean he is not an Italian but he has lived in Italy and makes the best pasta to my knowledge.
Though we have had many meals at her home, this weekend we made a special request to eat only pasta, cooked by R-Da -- and yes a big "and" ---only vegetarian pasta-- no meat. When we reached their home on Friday evening their home was alive with Italian music which I had no clue existed and fragrant with a very Italian aroma which made my belly squeak and ask for "food".
Before I could start eating though, the girls were waylaid by a lovely surprise, a cute easter bunny cake with pretty pink dust ears, baked by T. Naturally they, the girls, started off with a dessert.
Next we started with an antipasti of caprese --fresh mozzarella with perfect tomatoes and fresh basil, and bruschetta -- bread rubbed with garlic and brushed with a very fragrant olive oil infused with black peppercorns. I had so much of it that it could have been my dinner. Then there were two Pasta dishes of Primo course and apparently no Secondi. Don't ask me "Whaat"? It sounded Greek to me but this is what T said was the order in Italian courses. I still remained clueless.
In plain Bong speak for the main course there was pumpkin ravioli in white sauce. The white sauce, home made with mascarpone and what not was mind blowing. R-da also made a vegetable sauce and served it with tagliatelle. The sauce is supposed to be meat based but because of our veg requirements he made it with grated carrots etc. Okay, we did not even realize it was supposed to be meat based it was so good and that from a moderately meat loving Bong.
With the second pasta they served an eggplant dish which again T kept harping on as "should be antipasto" and some such thing. It had exactly the same effect like saying to a Martian "Ilish er Jhol should be only served with rice at a sit down meal and after that you have to take a nap". For me Marinated Eggplants a la Ottolenghi -- was so delicious; the eggplants so soft and buttery; and so fragrant with herbs and a lovely Olive Oil that I could eat it straight from the bowl standing at the security clearance for AlItalia. I know I went overboard with "so" there but it was Oh so good.
By the time the meal ended we were brimming with good food and a content heart. It was then that T brought out her Tiramisu. Now to be honest I have never been a fan of Tiramisu. Or rather I have never had a Tiramisu that I fell in love with until the evening of 6th April, 2012. Mark your calendars. So I wasn't too excited and anyway I was full with the excellent pasta and therefore opted for a small piece. And then it happened. Shining lights, pushpa brishti and all that. That was the day all the loser Tiramisu's in my life were banished away by the prince, the real one, the chosen perfect Tiramisu.
Phewww what a relief.
Now since I can never ever do justice to such a thing, I asked T for the recipe--which she finally gave after
And we have to go back soon because Li'l A was mighty displeased to come back home and said she wants to stay at T Pishi's home for s-i-x-t-y days. "Sixty days thakbo", she shouted. "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday --s-i-x-t-y". Good luck kiddo, let me see which college gives you an admit. Till then let's eat some Tiramisu.
PS: Pardon the picture qualities, I was so involved in eating that spent minimum time taking pictures and that too in night light.
In her exact words
My exact recipe is not electronically available. So for "faaast" I am sending this from internet, which comes close to my recipe, and I modified it a bit to make it closer to my recipe.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup(8 oz) Mascarpone cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS Kahlua, or to taste
3 TBS sugar
1 cup strong coffee chilled
Italian Savioirdi (Lady Fingers) (available in Italian stores)
Shaved Chocolate for decoration
1. Whip cream and 3 TBS sugar to almost stiff peaks. Set aside.
2. Mix mascarpone cheese with 1 TBS Kahlua, vanilla. Whisk together.
3. Fold mascarpone mixture with the sweetened whipped cream.
4. Combine coffee plus a bit of Kahlua...to taste.
5. Dip savoiardi biscuits in coffee mixture and place in pan in a flat layer.
6. Add a portion of the mascarpone cream mixture and level out. Repeat layer once more or two more times if doing a 3 layer cake. You can sprinkle some cocoa/shaved chocolate between teh layers, if you like.
7. Spread shaved chocolate on top for decoration.