Friday afternoon 3pm, I had just settled into a comfortable seat at the lounge and was checking out the hot food spread when I got a phone call from J. I had left from home with all our bags and checked in, and he was coming from the office to meet me.
"They won't let me check in. They said I need a visa, and it takes four days to get it."
Since when does J need a visa to go to India? He's been there on business trips before and never needed one. I, on the other hand, knew that Americans need visas to go to India, so I have applied online a couple of weeks ago for myself.
Well, visa rules change and what used to be visa on arrival for some countries now needs prior approval online. There was no arguing, no last minute penalty to get an expedited visa. The only thing left to do was to be "offloaded" from the flight and cancel the trip. The "offloading" took more than two hours, since our bags had already been loaded into the cargo hold of the plane.
Needless to say, I was bummed. It's a trip that I had been looking forward to for almost a year. The wedding was to be held at an old palace outside of Jaipur, same place where we would be staying. The hotel website looked amazing. I had two pieces of sari fabric that I bought years ago when I visited Mumbai made into dresses. I was to ride a Marwari horse for a few hours the morning of the wedding. I even convinced J to stay an extra two days after the wedding to do some sightseeing in Jaipur. Just writing about it makes me sad, and I feel horrible about missing the wedding.
A headless shot of one of the two sari dresses I made =o(
So I sulked for about a whole day, barely getting out of the bedroom, and refusing to unpack the bags. But life has to go on, and we have to eat...
When I go on vacation I make sure to empty the fridge of any perishables, so there's not much to work with in terms of cooking, and being in a sulky mood, the last thing I wanted to do was to go out to eat. This is when frozen things come in handy.
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
I made this a while ago and it yielded so much extra sauce. It felt wasteful to throw it away, so I froze it. It came in handy now. I always keep some chicken frozen in the fridge too. I grilled the chicken in a pan, and tossed it into the sauce and boiled it for a few minutes. It's a pretty decent dish considering the minimal amount of effort, and it's Indian. If we can't be in India, at least we can eat Indian food...
J bounced back much faster than I did, and went for his cooking class. He made four kinds of salad: avocado shrimp salad, Caesar salad, smoked duck salad, and potato salad with dill. We ate them with the butter chicken
I felt much better on Sunday and slept in a little. When I got up I was craving for a cinnamon roll, but didn't feel like going out to hunt for one. Thank goodness for iphone Apps I found a quick recipe while lying in bed.
It was really easy to make, and very fast. Because it has no yeast in it, it required no rising. I made the dough in a food processor and it took maybe less than 10 minutes. I used brown sugar for the filling and increased it by 50%. So far, so good.
The resulting rolls, however, taste more like biscuits than cinnamon rolls. I guess you can't expect much when there's only 1/2 tbsp of butter per roll, but I was still disappointed, because the reviews had been so good. I think they would make good biscuits though, so I'll try it next time.
Still not in the mood to cook yet but felt good enough to step outside, we went to the polo club for dinner. Polo season has just started and there was a game going on. The weather was cool, there was a nice breeze, I felt better instantly.
Many people don't know, but during the week the restaurant at polo club is open to the public, and you can watch practice games some weekday evenings. Food is decent but consistency is sometimes an issue. My favorites are the prawn paste fried chicken wing and linguine con le vongole. The fish and chips can be great too, as they are today, but sometimes they're over-cooked. On a cool evening it is very pleasant to sit on the veranda watching a game of polo while having a relaxed meal. If you have never watched polo IRL you should give it a try. It can be quite exciting.
Real cooking starts next week.