Monday, 7 November 2011


I'm sitting with my laptop, in D's corner, and standing diagonally in front of me is the garden door. And through its glass, I can see seven shades of the same colour. Brown.

There's a beige, a tan, a terracotta. Auburn, burgundy, chocolate and rust. But it's all just a tinge, a tint, a tweak away from being utterly brown.

When I first moved to England, I remember being overwhelmed at the amount of brown that was always within my range of vision, at any given time of day. Which is a laugh, considering I'd flown in from a sea of brown arms and legs and faces.

This was different - there were men in brown tweeds, and women in brown hats. Cushions in brown covers. Sofas in brown leather. Fences in brown varnish. Roofs with brown tiles. Then, soon after I arrived, autumn followed. And what little there was left of other colours disappeared. The landscape slowly changed till it matched the tweeds and the tiles. 

I didn't like the onslaught of brown on my senses, not for a long time. But it has grown on me since. In India, I took the warmth of brown for granted. It was common, like toast, nothing special. But in a place where the cold wind blows, it's different. Here, brown is more than a colour. It is an attempt at warmth. Like wicker baskets on a flagstone floor. Like brown paint around a faux fireplace. It adds warmth where there is none. So this year, when I saw seven shades of brown outside my window, it felt like nature's way of cupping a mug of dark, hot chocolate in its hands.


Here's a healthy little brown something from my kitchen. It's a new love - Lentilles vertes du Puy, or Puy Lentils. Firm, and full of rustic colour and texture, puy lentils stand out from all their other lentil cousins. I tossed them with some olive oil, a sprinkle of cumin powder and a dash of pepper. Added a few pumpkin seeds, a blob of mascarpone. And stuffed them into little parcels of wholemeal flour. And baked them into these glorious little pockets, filled with spiced lentils and melted mascarpone. They were so good, they had to be blogged, and passed on to you. 

Cumined Puy Lentil & Mascarpone Parcels


1 cup puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups wholemeal flour
2/3 tbs pumpkin seeds
100 gms mascarpone
1 tsp cumin powder
Olive oil
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper


Boil the puy lentils in water with the crushed garlic, bayleaf and salt till it's soft and almost all the water is absorbed. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil, add the boiled lentils and the cumin powder. Toss till any remaining water has dried up. Keep aside.

In a large bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the wholemeal flour, some pepper and salt, and mix well. Slowly add water and knead till you form a firm dough.

Roll out the dough, and with a round cookie cutter, cut out a few circles. In each little round patch, put a heaped teaspoon of lentils, a few pumpkin seeds and a blob of mascarpone. Fold your patch in half, and press along the rim with a fork to seal. (I made a few of these pretty parcels, then I did away with the cookie cutter, and folded the stuffing in simpler, and quicker, triangle pockets. Both tasted as good.)

Brush your parcels with olive oil, line them up on a baking tray, and bake them in the oven at 180 degrees C, for about 35-45 minutes depending on your oven, and till the shells are brown and crisp.


  1. I just love your style! beautiful photos and writing once again :)

  2. That recipe is wonderful! I really like such savory pastries.

    Great clicks too. Brown is a wonderful color to photograph.



  3. Yum, these look so tasty! Definitely need to try them out - perfect for fall! :)

  4. thanks chinmayie :)

    thanks rosa, i quite enjoy going out and photographing things in a particular colour, on a particular day :)

    do try them, sara. They're delicious!

  5. Lovely way of writing about a colour and a season and a country... a beautiful post and makes me re-evaluate. I love brown but never thought about why...

  6. thanks kavey! i think it took a sudden shift in countries and cultures to start noticing things that i would not have otherwise seen or sensed. i'm glad you liked it :)

  7. Great find for the day :) Like the simple but attractive parcel idea. Goes to my this week's TODO list :)

    - Soumya

  8. Love your writing style rich and alive. And the photographs are a visual treat. So lovely stumbling across your blog.

  9. thanks soumya :) i hope you like it!

    heetal, it's lovely to have you here. welcome! and thank you for such a nice comment :)

  10. I don't know what I find more inspiring, your writing, the pictures or the recipe. Thank you.

  11. @lacaffetierarosa: thank you so much! i'm thrilled you like it :)

  12. recipe sounds so healthy. I must try it.

  13. @ anita: you must let me know if you like it!


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