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October 2006

A Bout de Souffle


This morning I decided to teach N how to make something different for dessert. She usually makes either kheer or halwa. Rice kheer, vermicelli kheer, this kheer that kheer. We were all fed up of kheer. So I thought I'd teach her a chocolate souffle. We got all the ingredients together and then proceeded to put them together. I think it was as much of a breathtaking experience for her as it was for me when I saw 'Breathless' for the first time.


First of all Jean Paul Belmondo, and then those jump cuts! There we were, as students, trying to piece shots together, in continuity exercises , to make some order out of the disorder of life and then Godard turns it all on its head and us with it.This had the effect of making some film students think they had no need for the tried and tested forms of the cinematic language. They gave up, then and there, the effort of making sense; with the result that some never ever did. Jump cuts are now part of history, like morphing , and are used all the time in even the most ordinary films. They has become part of the language. You don't think twice if the hero is present in one scene one minute and in an entirely different one the next.Viewers are visually sophisticated enough to fill in the blanks of the story, to figure out why our hero has moved and even perhaps how he has moved from one to the other.They don't question the lack of continuity in space or even of time in cinema anymore.The visual world has expanded and grown so rapidly and with it our perceptions and understanding of it.
But that first time, even though it was a good two decades after the film had been made (so starved were we of new visual material in this part of the world) , -we were winded when we left the dark old Prabhat theatre and walked into the bright sunshine , all silent with astonishment after being exposed to such a fresh talent as Godard's. I will never forget it.
N must have felt the same with the chocolate souffle she made. I explained to her, as best as I could the meaning of souffle...and found she got it immediately when I acted it out. Like the yoga pranayam "sheetali.To fill with (cool) air.
Unfortunately she gave the whole mixture a jolly good stir, while it was setting, in what she thought was a a smart way to prevent the gelatine from gradually falling to the bottom, and when I returned it was absolutely 'A Bout de Souffle'.
Oh well. We will try again tomorrow.

PS: And heeeeeere's the recipe:


Chocolate Souffle Attempt 2.


1 tbsp sugar 4 tbsp water 2 eggs
3 tbs cocoa
2 tbsp butter
200 gms sweetened condensed / evaporated milk
3/4 tbsp plain gelatine
2 tbsp warm water

Heat water and add sugar. Mix till combined. Seperate the yolk from the white of the eggs. Beat the yolks and then add the sugar syrup.Now add the condensed milk to the egg yolk mixture and stir well. In a double boiler melt the butter and add the cocoa powder. Mix well. Do not let the cocoa burn. (You can also use 75 gms of dark chocolate instead.)Add to the egg yolk and milk. Stir well. Melt the gelatine in two tablespoons of warm water and add to the mixture. Last of all beat the egg whites and gently fold into the whole. Set in fridge. Do not stir.

Pyaz Bhindi Bhaji- Onion Okra Vegetable



There are all sorts of expert suggestions to stop okra from going slimy. One piece of advice is to wash and dry the vegetable well before cutting or slicing it. Thats what I do. Another is to sharpen the stem end to a point before you cook it. Never tried that. Sounds like too much trouble.
Some say not to puncture the pods else the juice will be released and the whole dish will be thickened and slimy. Not true if the recipe does not call for any sauce anyhow. I top and tail each pod and it doesn't make the slightest difference to the final result. But then most of the ways in which I cook bhindi is by sauteeing it or cooking it with a tablespoon of water at the most .
It is important to buy okra which is not old or limp or woody, too long or too dark green. 2-3 inch pods are the best.
As always what follows is an effortless recipe for okra, or lady's fingers, bhend,bhendi, dharosh, bendakai, vendakka, bendakaya,vendakai, or whatever you call it in your language.


500 gms bhindi / okra
2 green chillies
2 large onions.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp dhania / coriander powder
A pinch of haldi / turmeric
A pinch of salt

Wash and dry the bhindi. Top and tail the pods. Slit and deseed the green chillies.Chop onions in the length. Heat the oil in a kadhai, and fry the chillies first. When they are soft add the onions and fry till slighlty done and not too brown.The pieces should keep their shape and have a bit of bite at the end. Add the coriander powder and haldi and stir a couple of times. Now add the bhindi, cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes stirring in between if necessary to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the kadhai. Add a bit of salt and thats that. Yummy with rice or chapathi or bread.

Lila Cafe in Baga,Goa


When in Goa do as the Goans do. Eat prawn curry and rice or fish curry and rice or crab curry and rice or chicken curry and rice or pork vindaloo and rice or...anyhow you get the gist if it. I cannot get tired of Goan food as long as I make a huuuge salad from time to time. The cafes are getting a bit better in that they offer vegetables too, at least a few of them do. The management/ owners at most seaside shacks are quite happy to make up an order not on the menu. I tell them to lightly boil a mixed lot of seasonal vegetables and pour a teaspoon of chopped garlic sauteed in oil over them. Then sprinkle with a generous pinch of black pepper and bit of salt. It goes perfectly with the hot curry and you get your daily veggie intake.


There are those who tire easily of the hot stuff and want a serious change. You have little Italian pizza joints and so on but for something completely different head to Lila Cafe on the banks of the Baga river, going inland from the sea at Baga along the Arpora stretch via the tunnel bridge and past Micheala's banner. She used to be a midwife and now does piercings.


Lila Cafe is owned and run by Elisabeth Saal , who has lived in Goa for over 20 years and began the Coconut Inn at Candolim many years ago before it was sold. She is constantly around the cafe keeping an eye on everything . She does breakfasts, brunches, lunches and teas and makes delicious pumpernickel, whole wheat, and other German breads. Though the place sometimes seems to be a Lonely German Osho'ites Club, the friendly waiters serve other customers quite happily.


On the menu is simple, familiar Sour Cabbage and Mash potatoes, Roesti, Hungarian Goulash, Spaetzle, Sour Beef dumplings, Ratatouille with Rice, Brown Bean Salad, Smoked King Fish with salad, Avocado with Prawns, Aubergine Pate and other such fairly European dishes. The best was the Mango Cheesecake which I had to wait three days to taste as it was always sold out. They also have a Chocolate Mousse which is nice and several other sweet dishes.
The kitchen is spanking clean, the breads are worth buying to take home and there is a jewellery shop at the back for those who are fed up of food.


A nice place to spend an hour or two looking at the lazy river and the mad motorcyclists who cut like a knife through the perfect landscape on the road that, unfortunately, passes between the cafe and the creek.

Lila Cafe
Pumpernickel Health Food Pvt Ltd
House no 566, Baga
Calangute 403 528
Bardez, GOA
Tel: 0832 2279843
Open 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.