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Showing posts from 2008

Continuing the story

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Continuing my story from the previous post, I landed here in Charlotte with nothing particular to do. People had warned me "You will be bored out of your mind there, alone and jobless". Well, I am different. At least these 3 months have not had that effect on me. Does that mean I like being jobless and whiling away my time being lazy? Oh well. Bad question. Forget about it.
Now the first month was gone in trying to arrange the house and search for furniture. Every weekend, there was a shopping list to tackle. Well, that is still the case but now it focuses more on groceries.
In the second month, Harry Potter took over my life. I was with him day and night. That just means I read all the seven books. It was a crazy time as if I lived in another world. The author is one amazing woman. It was only after I read the books that I could understand why people used to go crazy when a new book was released. As always, the movies do not do anything for me, compared to the book. It bri…

Trying to start blogging again :)

Its been a long long time since my last post. I have had such breaks many times but because I am now at home most of the time, many of my friends and I had expected myself to blog more frequently. But I always used to freeze each time I opened blogger :) Writer's block? Maybe if I am a writer at all ;) Today I am determined to write. So, lets see. I have come to the US for the first time. And now its been more than 2 months that I am here. I could have written about the flight. Everyone told me they think that my 17 hour Mumbai to New York direct flight would be quite difficult and boring as it is so long. They had taken flights with a stopover in Europe. But the flight was pretty cool. Well, literally too. I had to ask for 2 blankets :). I boarded the flight at 12:30 in the night and then we were served dinner after an hour I think. I had to wake up from sleep to have the dinner which wasn't really worth breaking my sleep for. Then I was mostly drifting on and off sleep. And e…

Experiments in my mom's kitchen - upwas biscuit, baked pasta, baked bread roll

Some big changes happened in my life since my previous post. For one, I am unemployed right now and totally enjoying the break. I am at my mom's place for about 2 weeks and using her oven for my experiments.
The first experiment is not really an experiment. I made a baked pasta dish. Made it in 3 parts, first were vegetables, I sautéed onion, tomato, corn, cauliflower, basically whatever was at hand with salt and sugar. The second part was boiling the pasta in salted water. The third was white sauce. About a tablespoon each, of olive oil and butter. Some whole spices: pepper, cinnamon, clove. Added 4 tablespoons of flour and roasted it and added a cup of milk, some salt and pepper and a bit of water as the whole thing started getting thicker. Take care not to cause any lumps. In case you are lazy to avoid lumps, just run it in the mixie and you have a smooth sauce, just like me. :) In a borosil glass dish, add the veggies and pasta, mix and pour the white sauce on top and spread …

Read at your own risk!!

I didn't know what title to give this post written in the middle of a Sunday night (if 11 o'clock can be called the middle of the night ;) ) It might be a depressing read so proceed at your own risk!! So, I gave the warning in the title :)

Why is life full of difficulties? Well, it has its share of happiness too. But sometimes I think about this a lot: why life? I really cannot understand why millions of people exist on earth and each one goes through similar hardships and ups and downs, one birth after another, if the reincarnation theory is to be believed. It baffles me, why god, if there is one, wants not one or two but millions of people to go on living completely insignificant lives. I mean ok, some people have made history and all that, but fine, I fail to see the importance of all of this.
I wonder why I am alive. It wouldn’t make any difference to anyone if I was not born. But now that I have already lived for a few years, some people would be sad if I am not here but…

Weekend stress buster - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta

This weekend was not a long weekend. But the itch to go somewhere was strong. We had a few options - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta, Nagarhole and Irupu falls, Yellagiri and optional Vellore. Finally, at the last moment, we picked Bandipur and just packed whatever we could lay our hands on. We had had a lazy Saturday morning and an even lazier lunch of yummy mango custard and brown chana sprouts. It was 5:15 by the time we could leave home. We filled petrol and bought water bottles and we were on NICE road by 5:45. A break for tea and a dosa at the restaurant behind Coffee Day after Channapatna. We were at our hotel room in Mysore by 8:45. The room was small and nothing great but still cost us Rs 700.

Next morning, we left the hotel at 4:30 in the morning. We took a break by the roadside to eat the biscuits we had got with us and reached the safari office at Bandipur at 6:45. The van was already filled and ready to leave. The driver cum guide told us to join him in the van. We got to …

Welcoming the microwave oven

Last week, we bought a new microwave oven. So, this weekend, I made complete use of it. I baked a brownie using this simple recipe. I didn't use the brown sugar and orange zest and forgot the salt. I also used the normal wheat flour instead of maida. It was good enough but slightly overbaked. First I baked them for 15 mins at 180C but it was slightly undercooked. Then I microwaved it for 3 mins and it got overcooked. Next time, I will try out the eggless brownie recipe by Tarla Dalal. I also made rice in the microwave and I think it is better than the pressure cooker for making rice. The grains puff nicely and are separate from each other. I boiled potatoes in it and also roasted peanuts. I made mint flavored peanut butter also for the first time. It is pretty simple. Just put peanuts, mint leaves, sugar, salt. I added a bit of chilli powder and run it in a mixie with little oil till it looks spreadable.

Brownie Update (4/28/2008) :
I did make the brownie using Tarla Dalal recipe.…

Food updates

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Some of the things I made. There's gula chi poli (jaggery stuffed chapati), til gul (sesame and jaggery ladoos). This I made in January for Makar Sankranti. Too late to be posting it!! I know but I always fall back on the proverb "Better late than never" ;) Then there is the homemade equivalent of tandoori roti and chole. Also featuring my version of vegetarian momos with homemade sauce. I know they hardly look like momos...blame that on my poor photography skills....but believe me I followed the googled momos recipe I found on the net to a large extent. ;) These are half moon shaped momos which are steamed and lightly roasted on a tawa.

Ooty Conquered !!

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Good Friday holiday expects us to go on a long ride. How could we waste a good long weekend like that? But the weather was playing tricks on us. We had taken permission to leave early from office on Thursday afternoon and had decided to go up to Mysore and take a night halt. But just before our scheduled departure time, the rain gods were out in full force and there was much indecisiveness about whether to go or not. By the time we were able to get out of office and try to decide whether to go or not, it was already 6 in the evening and we didn't feel up to the ride with the tiring decision making and the fact that we worked overtime in office in order to leave early. So we decided we will get up in the morning and check the weather and decide whether to go or not. We filled up the tank and the wallets and went to sleep.
We are up and ready before 5. The weather looks good so we arrange the new cramster bags which we had bought to avoid any luggage problems which we had faced bef…

yummy soup!

These days I am trying to have soup for dinner so that I eat fewer chapatis and also eat something nutritious. I made this really yummy soup yesterday. I sauteed 1 onion, 1 long red carrot, half of a capsicum, 2 tomatoes, few cauliflower florets and half katori yellow moongdal in a little bit of olive oil. Then I pressure cooked it with some water and salt. Ran it through the blender and seasoned the individual servings with pepper. I absolutely loved it. I guess the cauliflower played a great role in the result though I didn't add a lot of it. Even the small bit of capsicum goes a long way. This resulted in a lot of soup and since I am the only one who enjoys soup (Anurag won't eat more than 2 spoons when forced), I am looking forward to drinking it again today and tomorrow :)

Its Spring!

I know I am noticing a bit late that spring is here. But at least I am glad I noticed. On my walk between home and office, I see beautiful purple flowers in full bloom, leaves turning red on the trees. Everything looks so beautiful! I am making an attempt at being a more positive person and so it is nice when you encounter something beautiful in the daily grind and more importantly, you notice and appreciate it, without being lost in the humdrum of daily routine. I will try to keep my eyes open to notice more of such beauty even if it might be rare in the concrete jungle.

Jodhaa Akbar

Yesterday we watched Jodha Akbar movie. The most heard statement about the movie is that, "It is too long". Yes, it is more than three and a half hours long. But I didn't feel bored at any point of time during the movie. I find it really funny to say that my most favorite part of the movie was the jewelry throughout the movie. The costumes were ok but the jewelry was amazing. Also, they shot some of the scenes in real palaces I believe.
I completely failed to understand how this film could create controversies because no one is shown in a bad light in the film. I read up the internet and found that some people in Rajasthan find the story inaccurate. Some interesting reads about Akbar during my search: Akbar the great and Akbar the not so great. I think the controversy is only regarding the name of Akbar's wife. It is a quite common understanding that Akbar's favorite wife was a Hindu and that he had married several Rajput princesses.

But at the end of the day (m…

Updates - Mysore Trip and bhindi sabji

Last weekend we went sight-seeing to Srirangapatnam and Mysore. This time not on the bike. My in-laws had come and so we hired a car for a day. Tipu's tomb in Srirangapatnam is worth seeing. Then we went to the Mysore zoo. We had no idea that the zoo was so good. Definitely worth a trip but the zoo is really huge and would take 3-4 hrs of your time if you want to see it completely. Electric cars are available there, similar to the ones at Lalbagh. It is recommended to use those when you have older people or less time with you. After the zoo, we didn't have time left for Chamundi hills. Then we saw the palace. We were really tired by the time we finished seeing the palace. We had been walking for more than 4 hours now though not at a stretch. But we didn't want to miss Brindavan Gardens. The garden is without a doubt beautiful.

Now for the food part, on our way back, we had dinner at Kamat on the highway. Loved the jowar roti and brinjal and everything else that was on the…

I am Sleepy

Its a Friday afternoon and I am feeling so sleepy as if I have been drugged. Well actually...I think I am drugged. I am taking a drug (medicine!) for pain which the doc warned makes people drowsy. Or could it be because my house help has suddenly gone on leave and its been nearly a month now....hmm....not really..its been a little over two weeks but I am completely pulling out my hair. And to top it, my in-laws are coming tommorrow!!! So I have been working hard at home and office...maybe I am just tired. I am sleepy..............zzzzzzzzz

'Sunday' and Gramin

After removing the frustration in my previous post, I am back to my 'fun and food' self. Friday morning I won tickets for 'Sunday' movie on Fever 104 FM. Yesterday evening we went for the movie with virtually no expectations (not even expecting it to be bad). We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi, and Irrfan Khan's performances stand out in the movie. Arshad Warsi pairs really well with male co-stars in comic roles. Ajay Devgan as a cop is impressive as he goes about solving the mystery of the missing Sunday from Ayesha Takia's life. She does need a new dress designer and a new personal trainer at her gym. I can hear my friends laughing at me giving out suggestions related to weight. But hey, I ain’t no Bollywood actress. And I try sometimes ;) to control my weight! It definitely is a good movie. Very well made and a nicely told story. There are a couple of illogical things like Arshad running a few days after getting shot on the backside …

What’s the world coming to?

I should have rather said what’s India coming to? Just when we thought India is poised to become a great power, we hear news which is as disturbing as it is disappointing. If anyone watched the news channels yesterday, they would know what I am talking about.
First, there are the Mumbai clashes. It was disgusting to see the so-called guardians of Maharashtrians in Mumbai go about beating poor hawkers and taxi-drivers. Just because they have come from some other state to earn their bread in Mumbai? What have these so-called guardians contributed to the growth of Mumbai that they think they own the city? It is an utterly childish and completely illogical behavior on display. They are doing a lot of harm to Mumbai rather than protect it if that’s what they feel they are doing. The image Mumbai had, of an accepting city where everyone can come and blend into the crowd, has taken a hard beating. Even Mr. Laluprasad said that why are they spoiling Mumbai and creating a divide across Mumbai…

Pav Bhaji meets Pasta?!!

Sounds like a weird combination and it’s not what I had in mind when I started making it. All I wanted to do was make it taste completely different from what I have tasted before :) After thinking about how I should make the pasta this time for the whole day, this is what I did. I boiled a combination of bow and spiral pasta in salted water. While it was boiling, I added a small onion, two small tomatoes, a small capsicum, walnuts, olive pickle (made by me), some olives, and garlic into the food processor and made a coarse paste out of it. Then I heated olive oil in a pan and added the paste into it and sautéed it for a while. Then added some milk, cream, oregano seasoning and chilly flakes (the small packets which you get at dominos, I put them to good use) :) Added the pasta and some corn, covered it with cheese slices and covered the pan and let it warm for 10 mins till the cheese melted.
The verdict: Anurag says it is kind of like pav bhaji meets pasta.
I say it was one of the be…