“In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted.…And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.
Eat, Pray, Love….. I can watch it forever. It is light, enjoyable, I can relate to it and it always leaves an impact on me that lingers on for days. The reason is an incredible journey of a woman, who has had enough in life and she needs to shake up her soul. She needs an appetite for life to add the much-needed essence of fancy for food, a feeling to love and to be loved and making that eternal bond with the almighty. I think we all need it sometime or the other in our lives.
In the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert travels the world to rediscover herself. She decides to embark on a journey of self-realization starting from Rome, then to India and finally ends it at Bali. Liz, as everyone calls Julia Roberts in the movie, is reeling from a messy divorce and unbearable depression. She finds nirvana in three simple words: eat, pray, love.
Liz finds immense pleasure through Italy’s cultural delights where she experiences the ‘no carbs left behind’ food and simply loves it. The once calorie-conscious Liz indulges in a gelato any time of the day without feeling guilty. In Italy, Liz has an epic dinner that starts with Spaghetti alla Carbonara with a side of sautéed spinach and garlic. She tastes fried zucchini blossoms filled with cheese and feasts on Tiramisu for dessert. There is warm bread dipped in olive oil, veal and red wine too, ah… sounds epic.
Her spiritual journey in Varanasi, India, takes her to an all-new level. Here she tastes the slow-cooked vegetable curry, which we make all the time in our homes. She learns the nuances of meditation and finds solace doing so. Her last stop is Bali, an Indonesian island, known for its splendid beauty and oriental appeal. She finally finds her love for food growing and quite satisfying indeed while in Rome, she quenches the thirst of her wandering soul as she gets closer to the almighty in India and she finds a reason to love and to be loved in Bali.
Every time I watch the flick, I think of food and out of all the food shown in the movie, two recipes that I have made often and added my own twist to, are my all-time favorites. I am sharing them with you. They are simple, appetizing and can be termed as ‘comfort food’.
Spaghetti all’amatriciana (You cannot go wrong with this one)
- 2 red onions
- 7 large tomatoes
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp bottled jalapeno
- 1 Tsp crushed garlic
- 20 leaves of basil
- 1 Tsp oregano
- 200 – 250g spaghetti
- Olive oil
Peel the tomatoes and chop them up in small pieces. Take little oil in a pan and add the chopped tomatoes. Cover it and let it cook for 10 mins on low flame. Chop up the cherry tomatoes as well and finely chop the onions and the basil. Start boiling some water and boil the spaghetti according to instructions.
Once the tomatoes are cooked and tender, grind them in a grinder and keep aside. Take another pan, add oil, add garlic and sauté for 10 seconds. Add oregano, pepper flakes and chopped onions. Sauté till the onion starts to turn light brown, add chopped bell pepper and jalapenos. Cover and cook until the bell pepper gets moist and soft. Add cooked tomatoes paste, cherry tomatoes and basil, mix well and cook for about three to four minutes. Add salt to taste.
Place spaghetti pasta on a plate and add sauce on top and serve.
1 package cream cheese, softened (250 grams)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light rum or whiskey will also do
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
Plain sponge cake (you can either make it or buy it from a local bakery)
½ cup black coffee (keep it strong)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat whipping cream in chilled small bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
Cut the sponge cake horizontally in strips. Arrange half of the cake strips on bottom of an ungreased square pan or round pan. Add rum to the black coffee and drizzle some of it over these strips. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over this.
Arrange remaining strips on cream cheese mixture. Drizzle with the remaining coffee and rum mixture. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture. Sift or sprinkle cocoa over top. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until filling is firm. Store covered in refrigerator.