The thought was unrestrainable, the moment someone mentioned her all I could think of was cheese. Stringy, gooey slices and cubes of cheese. Grated over chutney sandwiches, slices stacked in vada pao or rolled between paranthas. Before I tell you more about her let me just say I’ve not posted for a long time now. Twenty five days Facebook tells me and milord before you send me the summons, let me say I was traveling and looking for inspiration. Looking for inspiration, such a cliche isn’t it, but don’t yawn just yet. Inspiration can be quite a mysterious bitch but maybe that’s a part of her job description. She is random and unpredictable. Sometimes waking me up at nights and somedays keeping me alluded all together. She’s like my hip neighbor who promised to meet me in the park for yoga and didn’t turn up (yeah I was stood up) and then one day randomly met me at a party and played best friend. So during the days that I did my vanishing act, I travelled extensively and I found her, my inspiration, my muse my very own Yoko Ono, who inspired this post.
So without further ado let me tell you about her now. To picture her, think of Molly from the sitcom Mike and Molly. Now dress her as an indian, in a suit and patiala salwar with silver sneakers (since we are trekking) and to accessorize add rug sack of Gujarati snacks. I met Molly’s Indian doppelganger in the swizz alps and then she became the precise reason why despite hours of walking indecisively from one window display to the other in shopping malls, despite trekking glaciers ( just one to be exact) and dancing to singers playing roadside I only gained weight during my alpine adventures if not come home looking like Kate moss.
To tell you how that happened let me give you a quick overview of my time with her.
Scene – Hiking with molly
Mr. incredible (my guy) and a panting me are pushing through the raging winds and climbing rock by rock, scaling a relatively tiny, snow laden peak. As romantic as it looked, all by ourselves in the middle of a Yash Chopra film, I’m being a typical heroine and praying to the man above to either grant me powers of telekinesis or just make me stumble upon some divine elevator.
Oh ! I realize but this is not the Himalayas are we out of jurisdiction, my lord? And also no Sanjeevani booti to bring me back if I’m gone how will my imaginary children live without me. And so I begin negotiations with the big man over coconuts and rose malas or whatever is in trend these days. Mr Incredible on the other hand, oblivious of my physical and spiritual struggles has effortlessly made it to the top and calls out to me. At that painful moment I look at him with eyes bursting with so much expression and legs shivering so hard people would have thought I was performing bharatnatyam. Oh god, I pray, how will I make it ?, show me a sign, give me some motivation.
And as though at that very moment, the big man was having a free day, I see her. My Molly dressed up like a Neelgai in an indigo salwar kameez, stands next to my man, cheering me up. I dig my feet harder into the snow and leap and then I spot it. My motivation, nestled atop Molly’s padded, tiny hands is a packet of khakhra and jalapeno cheese dip. It had been over two hours in the trek and I was at the verge of a huge emotional upheaval but then when that cheese dip could climb all the way up why couldn’t I. I race to the top like the hero in the end of a flick with superhuman strength, dodging the treacherous rocks and just before I make it, I twist my ankle and nearly fall but a pair of gloved hands pull me up. I’m in my safe haven in the arms of Mr Incredible and before we wrap ourselves around one another, I spot a mound of haldiram packets over the the pristine snow.
Where are we? I think. ” Molly” I call out to her, “did you see that”? “Is someone selling Indian snacks here” ? She gives me a you are so dumb look and says “I brought it, “thought you guys might need it after the trek”. And as I wrap my mind around how much stuff she has dragged up the mountain and how the hell she might have done that she says, “I should have got my camping stove too and made some chai”.
I am zapped my mouth is hanging open thinking of her dedication to food. I’m so ashamed of myself for cribbing on the trek and now partly also because all the people on the top are now eyeballing us. But Molly is a rock and completely engrossed in her khakhra and cheesy dip. An hour later and ten packets lighter Molly is packing her goodie bag for the descent. I brace myself once again and stand up to begin my battle against the elements once again. Molly turns around and starts walking towards the other direction and yells “bye”.
Which route are you taking, I say. Do you know an easier track ?
She just laughs and points towards a boulder.
Im confused at this point and look around it till I spot it.
“The Cable Rail” a signboard says, a rail all the way to the bottom. I look at Mr. incredible like people stare at the ones who stop on red lights with no hawaldars.
And then without a word I borrow Molly’s cheese roll and quietly we walk down to the cable rail.
Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits ( For Molly )
These biscuits are best when eaten for breakfast. Split it into two and shove your omelet between the slices. They are soft at the centre and crisp on the outside with cheesy layers.
What you need
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 th teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4th cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cold butter ( I used Amul garlic and herbs butter)
1/4 cup butter milk (i used Amul, which i already spiced)
1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander
1.Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
2. In a big bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. then lightly mix butter and cheese in it with your fingers. Do not work the mixture too much or you will built gluten.
3. Our the buttermilk gradually and prepare a soft dough, again do not knead, just bring the mixture together lightly.
4. Wrap in cling film and rest the dough for at least an hour
5. Now make a thick one inch chapati with your hand or roll it out lightly with a rolling pin.
6. Cut it into circles like i have with a cookie cutter, alternatively you can cut 1″ * 1″ squares with a knife.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on 170 degrees.
8. Serve hot with a mayonnaise dip.