Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Oven baked Bread Croutons .... and the stars don't shine down anymore

"Don't sweat the small stuff.
... and it is all small stuff."

I had picked up this book when B had forcefully taken me to Crossword one weekend, a few weeks after we had returned from my home.
I had given up talking to anyone, not even on the phone, going out, eating, sleeping.
Walked around or just sat for long hours in a daze.
It was difficult on B too. He was with me throughout the ordeal that had stretched into several months.
It was  one of his endeavours to bring me out of my shell and reintroduce to normal days again.
So, inspite of being surprised, he had kept quiet when I had wandered to the self help section of the book store and picked this book up.

Never, in my life, had I imagined that I would need to read self help books.
I am the one people came to when they needed something to share ... more of grievances than happiness.
I am the one who used to leave one shoulder free for my friends, even strangers, to cry on.
Now I needed self help books, assurances from anyone or anything, that this was all a nightmare and I will wake up again to my old, comforting world.

The family was there ... the whole, huge one,  complete with near, far and extended relatives.
Friends were there ... both from the real as well as the virtual world.
But I did not want anybody.
I did not want to hear anything; from anybody.
I needed assurance. But I kept pushing everyone away.
Those who genuinely cared stuck around. Never left me for a moment.
Subtly, but surely, they were around ... without intruding. Gave me my space.
Yet kept sending messages, mails.
I am grateful for them.

Progna, who is more of  a soul sister and a tremendous positive personality herself, warned me, along with other warm words .... "It's okay to be sad. Just don't let your sadness push away ppl who care."

That line struck sense into me. 
I took her advice seriously and slowly started to take interest in moments again.
It is not easy.
But I have started taking small steps ... watching the rice boil, feel the water running through my fingers under the tap, listen to B speaking and listening to it too, open the door to the bell and talk to whoever it was ....
I have called three people so far ... on my own. And spoke to them for a while too.
Earlier, all I did was hold the phone and keep staring at Bapi's number, afraid of calling and not getting to hear his voice.

I could not bear to hear someone else's voice on his number.

I am trying hard to come out of my daze. 
To look, hear,feel and search for my old world again.

Aparna, who I idolise,  wrote  .... "Time heals Sharmila. Just doing the normal regular things helps. Start writing again. Even if they are fb posts."

Preeti, the sweetest person ever, has been in constant touch with me through messages on fb.
Encouraging me to chat, to rant.

And then there are others, all gems of people with loving hearts, who have come over and written on my posts and have sent messages on fb, noticed my absence and wrote on my timeline that they have missed me, been with me always.
I am trying to write again.  
And just writing this post has already helped me. I feel I am talking to you, my friends, who have always been there for me.

I have started to cook again.
Slowly, surely, cooking and all the paraphernalia that comes with it, seeped into me.
Deciding on what vegetable to buy, the menu, when to cook what.
My mind is coming back from numbness.

Of course, there are break downs still.
There are times when I just leave everything and go back into the darkness.
Evenings are difficult.
Every evening I look up to the sky, searching among the stars that smiling face of love.
All I see, through my tears, is a blurred sky. The stars do not shine any more.

But I am trying.
I, honestly, am.

Today, I will not leave without a recipe ... that is what my blog is all about after all.
I had made some croutons a few days ago, when both B and I were down with the sniffles and fever, to go with some tomato soup.
Baked them with a dash of olive oil and some dry herbs.

They are  very crisp, crunchy, full of your favourite flavours and absolutely guilt free.
Ma used to deep fry them ... but these turned out great.

I make these often and store them ... they make great snacks with a cup of tea or coffee too.
This time I wanted to click some photos, and so here goes the recipe.
Not much actually, but is a great help when it comes to munching on something and not having to worry about what you are snacking on.

Need :

Bread slices, preferably those that have been sitting in the fridge for a few days
Olive oil
Mixed Italian herbs
Freshly crushed black pepper corns
Garlic cloves (optional)

How to :

Cut the bread slices into small cubes.

Mix the herbs and the black pepper into the oil.
You can use butter too.
Toss the bread cubes in the mixture.

Spread them on a baking tray and set them in the oven at 100 degrees C for 10 minutes
and then 150 till they turn golden brown.
I threw in some garlic cloves that turned beautifully crisp and brown too.

Remove and cool.
Store in an airtight bottle.
Serve with your favourite soup.
Or just munch on as a snack.

I had made a light, oil free, fuss free, tangy Tomato and Carrot soup.
Both were perfect together.

Hope to see you all around soon. 


  1. Glad that you are back with your lovely recipes Sharmila. love and hugs.

  2. Welcome Back sharmila.Hope you are in your good health..Time was tough to you.but glad that u have people to share your sadness..Missed you here. Mona(Kolkata)

    1. Thanks Mona. I am fine and hope the same for you too.

  3. Soooo happy to see you write a post! Remember life throws loads at us but with a positive attitude you can wade through my dear. Keep it up!

    1. Huge thanks to you Preeti. You have been a rock.

  4. Soooo happy to see you write a post! Remember life throws loads at us but with a positive attitude you can wade through my dear. Keep it up!

  5. Hello,

    Great to see you back

    Warm regards,

  6. It's difficult but forge ahead.. The ones we lose are with us always. In dreams, in thoughts, in memories. We never lose them. They are with us in spirit.

    I have learnt the hard way too.. Self help books help. Sometimes we need that something which even our closest ones can't provide and books never fail to provide.

    Take care,


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!