Saturday, May 10, 2014

Husband-ji's birthday (food extravaganza)!

Yesterday was husband-ji's 33rd birthday - and I spent most of last week clueless of what to do for him. He was so sweet and romantic with organizing my office that I felt pressure to do something nice in return! Usually, he is pretty easy to buy something for. I usually get him cologne, shoes or chocolate (like a woman! Hahahaha!) but this year, he said he did not want any gifts so I was really stumped. Then I remembered the old saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" and decided to do something revolving around FOOD, since he is such a foodie.

We did his birthday in two parts - one without the baby and one with the baby...

For the first part, the day before his birthday, I planned a nice date night at his favorite vegetarian restaurant, Acorn. It is a really high-class restaurant that is really quiet, dim-lit and romantic. It serves all kinds of interesting vegetarian combinations on classic favorites - for example, the Beets Ravioli - instead of pasta, they use thinly sliced beets as the ravioli and stuff it with ricotta. With husband-ji being obsessed with his Food Network cooking competitions, he is continually impressed with this restaurant. 

I dropped Maya off at my mum's house and I got all dressed up for a date. I remember I used to spend hours on my hair and makeup...I used to love the whole process...but now with the baby and the constant demands of motherhood, it just feels so tedious to do it. Husband-ji always looks impeccable with his perfectly coiffed mustache that I told my inner voice to just shut up and get dressed up! I definitely looked good. I did my makeup in only 20 minutes and it looked great. Why can't I do this everyday? I thought. Well, maybe if Maya wasn't poking my eyeball out all day!

At Acorn, I had the Beets Ravioli, and husband-ji had a Fava Bean Crostini, for our appetizers. Then we both had for our main course, a beer-battered Halloumi cheese over a zucchini pancake and peas puree. Nevertheless, we were too stuffed for dessert! 

(Beets Ravioli / Fava Bean Crostini)

(beer-battered Halloumi cheese over a zucchini pancake and peas puree)

On all the date nights, I realize how important it is to have one-on-one time without the baby. Sometimes I think maybe we won't have anything to talk about other than child-rearing, but we always end up talking about something interesting!

Part two of his birthday celebration was on his actual birth day, but he had to work the whole day. Since I really wanted to impress him, I had this grand idea of cooking a 4 course meal, and then setting the table really nicely and dressing all up.

Well, back to didn't really turn out that way. Between taking care of Maya all day and cooking, I was exhausted. I did manage to cook the 4 course meal perfectly, but when he came home, I was still in my nightgown, sweating from cooking, with spices and batter all over me, the house was a mess, the baby was having a tantrum, and I looked like crap. Oh well, at least the food turned out, right...? The last time I did this was for Valentine's Day 2011, so it was long overdue. Somehow though, before kids, it didn't feel so hard to do!

For the homemade 4 course meal, I made the Andhra specialty of Mirchi Bhaji (husband-ji's favorite thing on Earth) which I brushed on the inside with tamarind and crushed ajwain seeds. For the main course, I made Chana Masala and Mixed Vegetable Pulao. For dessert, I made a giant vegan eggless Chocolate Cake with vanilla icing.

(Mirchi Bhaji)

I was really nervous to cook the meal - I wanted it all to turn out perfectly. I literally had to play Vishnu Sahasranaman and pray to my cooking goddess MIL that it would all turn out! (I am not kidding...I actually did that!!!!)

(Eggless vegan chocolate cake with vanilla icing)

Despite me looking so frazzled, husband-ji was very impressed. I was quite impressed by myself too...until it occurred to me how my dear MIL used to do the same thing FOUR times a day. And even when she was working, she still found time to do it TWICE a day! I couldn't even handle doing it one time a day - on a special occasion!!! By the time dinner was served, I was exhausted, I had a headache and my hips were hurting from standing so long. Jeez, I thought. It's damn hard to be an Indian wifey!!!



  1. Everything looks so delicious! I bet it is hard to be an Indian wifey. :O It's in my future and I'm doing my best to learn. Indian girls have years of experience while I have only months. Ahaha... ♥ But I'm getting there. :)

    That cake looks soo yummy! I'm adding you to my "Blogs I Read" list. :) Take care! ♥

    1. Thanks Crystal,
      OMG it was hard work! But with cooking I find, it gets easier with more experience. For us, it is like a lifelong process!

  2. I've always wondered how to manage cooking more than one dish at a time... How do you watch two pots? Or, if you cook them one ahead of the other, how do you keep one warm? -_- I still have a lot to learn.

    1. Ahhhhh that is Cooking 201! I can rarely do two at once, it is too advanced for me. But my MIL was trying to teach me last time but I need her to practice with me again. She showed me this trick of cooking rasam-sambhar or dal - curry at one time. I haven't been able to practice that one as much because I can't really concentrate while tending to the baby also. I have a lot to learn still too, sigh!

  3. Alex,

    Great Birthday dinner you prepared for husband-ji! I know he loved every bite, looks delicious. Happy Birthday husband-ji! To you and Alex, many, many more happy birthdays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Haha, my boyfriend's mother makes amazing meals like this multiple times every day too. She even did this while raising three young kids after just moving to Canada and running a day care - all while her husband was still in India!!
    Even making one completely-from-scratch/homemade dish is so tiring and time consuming for me lol. The only thing Indian I make on a somewhat regular basis is a dal soup. Auntie can whip something amazing out in like 20 minutes or less. Love her haha.
    Good for you for doing this! It's so hard to make so many things that are that wonderful, and the work involved definitely goes underappreciated by anyone who just eats it and has never tried making it! (myself included) :P


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