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Friday, 11 May 2012

A trip home is always the most difficult to pack for. I am otherwise a very prudent traveller who carries only so much and no more.

Travel light is my motto and I am always poking fun at my Fauji husband who amazingly carries a whole bag of shoes wherever he goes. His defence in this regard is so infallible (in his mind) that it is impossible to convince him to do otherwise. There are the formal shoes, the uniform shoes, the sports shoes, the casual shoes, the sandals and the chappals that need to be carried. And this is the bag of a person who otherwise doesn't care two hoots about what he is wearing . It is only the shoes that must be correct (not fancy, just occassion appropriate) at all times.

It is distressing to say the least to be ceremoniously dethroned from my proud position as a light traveller everytime I go home. The six foot high man of the house casts amused glances in my direction as he purposefully lifts my many bags, but in the interest of world peace refrains from comment.

The problem at hand is impossible to reslove.

Packing for a vacation is good fun and stress free - no one knows you there - you wear what you like and you do what you like. On a business trip again you have absolutely no doubt about what to pack because you need only work clothes. It is on a trip home that all the problems arise.

You want to be casually dressed, but there may be a formal occasion. You plan to lounge around so you need your club wear and swim wear as well. You never know there just may be a wedding to attend so you pack some finery as well. Then of course on some occassions you may need to appear like the doctor you often want to forget that you are - and so you need work formals. Excercise clothes are a must because the calorie intake needs to be atleast partially neutralised. One set of each of these is absolutely inadequate because they have to be approved by a household full of people with varied tastes and so most of everything I own gets packed.

 Of course much as I hate to admit this to my husband - this also involves packing ALL the appropiate shoes.

So when I'm finally done with packing, the fervent prayer is - that the scales do not show (too much) excess baggage. The prayer has its foundation not in the thoughts of the onward journey but in the return, when another three (at least) bags full of shopping are sure get added on.

With all these vital issues plaguing me - it has been really difficult to cook. After much procrastination when two pairs of hungry eyes began following me relentlessly , I decided on a quick pasta.

Pasta and quick should never be uttered in the same breath and so I really hope the champions of the slow food movement don't read this blog.

Fatafat Pasta

It is blasphemous to talk about pressure cooking pasta but blasphemy is what I have in mind today.

  1. Measure out 3 cups of pasta into a pressure cooker. Any pasta is ok - elbow, penne, fusisli - whatever you like. Add 6 cups of water to this. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon full of salt to this and close the cooker. Put the whistle on and cook on full flame until the first whistle. As soon as the whistle sounds, switch off the gas and cool the cooker by holding it under a running tap. When it has cooled sufficiently, open the lid and fish out one piece of pasta from the cooker. If it has cooked enough drain out the water from the pasta immediately using a strainer and wash the pasta in the strainer under running water. If you think the pasta is not done enough leave it for a few minutes in the hot water before you drain it out.
  2. Spread the rinsed out pasta on a plate
  3. Cook a creamy soup from a packet. My favourites are Cream of chicken and Cream of Mushroom but choose your favourite. The cooking of the soup is as per packet instructions except that instead of water its great if you use half water and half milk. This will make the soup thicker. A word of caution here - the  soup powder has to be dissolved in cold water or milk as the case may be. I know umpteen people who boil the water and then add the powder to it. This makes them wow never to make soup again.
  4. Mix the pasta into the soup .
  5. Your pasta is ready. Crush some fresh pepper in a pepper mill (if you don't have one you really need to get one) and sprinkle it over the ready dish.
Serve it up!
The only problem with this dish is that you can't stop eating it until the bowl is empty.



  1. Pasta ! My mouth is already watering! and that too
    We are certainly going to try this weekend for breakfast.
    A little modification that we decided to do -
    Fry eggs, cut that into small pieces and sprinkle over it.
    Thanks for coming up with such instant menus.

    1. Your suggestion sounds good. I am going to try it too