This is a post to toast Rajesh, one of the most conscientious and hard-working people I’ve ever met.
Rajesh is a great guy, I’d love to start a parasol factory with him and perhaps one day I will. He has a sweet tooth and loves Rasmalai which is a sweet along the lines of the most solid and sugary cheesecake you can imagine. There’s a recipe at the end of this, intended to cheer up a post that was heading towards a political rant as I've just returned from India and the effects of the surprise de-monetisation... but I've decided to shelve the rant for the moment.
All I will say is that it is very important that people are given the opportunity to take pride in their work, to feel good about what they do and to be rewarded for what they do. To be recognised as a human by other humans for what they do and have done is surely a step to empowerment, a sense of decency and responsibility to each other. I have no idea how to change this on a macro-level but my personal mission is to spend time
recognising and honouring the other humans I encounter in the world. I try to think about the human ingredient list in the things I do, it’s another human on the end of the phone at Vodafone (even though it doesn’t feel like it) and a whole plethora of humans have made possible my daily breakfast of hardboiled eggs and hot sauce.
It’s a small step but a privilege for me to be able to tell people about the human hands which have made these parasols, perfect in their hand-made imperfections.
Back to Rajesh, who’s sister got married on the day I left India. Who loves rasmalai and the pink parasols. And who’s best present ever was his daughter, even though she is very naughty and always dancing, and even though everyday she wants a new dress.
Rasmalai (a recipe cross-pollenated from google)
Squashed balls of curd cheese soaked in sugar…. To be enjoyed in moderation.
Buy some paneer (Indian cheese)
Form it into balls
Think about the people who made the cheese
Boil a pint of milk. Squeeze a lemon in, and stir until it curdles.
Put muslin over a big pan and pour the curdled milk in. Leave the lumpy mess to drain off the liquid (whey) and then tie in a knot and leave it for a couple of hours.
Et voila. Paneer. Made by you.
Make into mouth sized balls and flatten them.
I would drink the drained whey or do something cheffy with it like this pot roast cauliflower with whey.. no waste here… https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/16/rene-redzepi-cookery-masterclass
Make a sugar syrup 3 x water to 1x sugar and add cardamom power.
Boil the sugar syrup and carefully plop your paneer blobs in. Cover the pan and boil for 5 mins.
Remove the boiled sugar cheese balls (yum) and squeeze out some of the sugar syrup. Put them on a plate to cool.
Then the crowning glory, drenching the sugary cheese balls in more sugar and milk.
Make a milk sugar syrup like you did with the water- 3x milk to 1x sugar.
Add the juice of half a lemon and some big pinches of cardamom or saffron strands.
Boil it all together until it thickens.
Bung the sugar/milk/cheese balls together and sprinkle with chopped almonds.
Serve chilled with emergency insulin.