Everything I wanted to talk about…

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Hey, there is a lot I have wanted to talk about… movies, restaurant, food, books, dance…. this post will cover everything I have been upto.

  • Movie: We watched ‘I am Kalam’ last weekend. Loved the movie… don’t know why we didn’t watch it in the theatre. Worth a watch.
  • Restaurants: I went to Mamgotto in Select City Walk Mall last week with colleagues. It serves Asian food and has some very innovative dishes. We ordered Thai Basil Chicken rice, Veg pan fried noodles and Cantonese chicken noodles. The food was so amazing that I have been looking for another opportunity to visit the same. Maybe this week. The next day, after working in the market at Green Park we headed to Hauz Khas village for lunch. Hauz Khas is a different place. You have to park your car outside the gate and walk down lanes… so many lanes, you can easily get lost. It is full of artists, designers etc. We didn’t explore and headed towards Gunpowder. It is a South Indian restaurant on the 4th floor (stairs, no lift) of a building. It overlooks some ruins and a lake. Beautiful view. Sitting there on a summer evening will be amazing. On a weekday, the tables near the balcony were reserved. We had to sit inside. The food is yummy… we ordered a pork dish, rice, spinach daal, dry chicken and parotha. The pork was too good. I am going to take KC there this month.
  • Food: KC has been travelling every week to different parts of the country. It gives me a lot of free time… once I am home at 7 or 8 pm, I have little or nothing to do till bedtime (11 pm). I have spent the time baking… Chocolate chip cookies- the recipe was taken from here (Kalyan’s blog). The only problem was that I do not have the mould and when placed on a tray, the batter melted in the oven. What I got was a flat base of cookies. I had to cut them into uneven pieces. It did not look too good, so no pics. But they did taste good. For once, KC and I polished them off in a week. I tried baking mini fruit and nut loaves. Recipe taken from here (Anita’s blog). I went on an elaborate shopping trip for the fruit and nuts- cranberries, raisins, blueberries etc etc. The first time, the loaf was uncooked at the bottom. Same thing happened the 2nd time. The 3rd time, I baked it in large size muffin moulds instead of big cake pan (like I was doing earlier). The loaf turned out to be decent… but not as good as Anita’s pics were. I guess, I should have used smaller muffin moulds.
  • Books: I finished reading another part of True Blood series and have picked up Delirious Delhi. It is a book written by an expat on his experience during the 18 month stay in Delhi. Very funny. It is an eye opener… the efforts expats make to understand the culture and fit in.
  • Dance: Today was my first day in the class in the basic elementary. Till now my biggest problem was getting a full split. Not anymore… now, I have to worry about other exercises which are extremely difficult. The class was from 4.45-6.45 pm. Till 6 pm, we were doing exercises. I need to go to the gym from tomorrow to become more flexible. Practicing only on Sundays will not help too much. I had become completely comfortable with my current instructors… batch mates… dance routines. I could let go. I listen to the songs played in class all the time. I used to practice with my batch mates before class everytime. Now, everything is new. The new instructor has his own style… his kind of music is different… his steps are more hip hop. It will take me atleast 3 months to get comfortable. But thats ok. It is a new challenge.

 


Back to baking… with a vengeance

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People who do not like my cooking posts… ignore. Come back later.

I went looking for Superman or Batman tee shirts for KC. Don’t ask… he wants cartoon tees and has been whining about it for sometime now. During the workshop, one batch had to wear Superman tees. They all had purchased it from some shop in DLF Phase 1 market. I went looking for it last night and came across Modern Bazaar store. I have seen this store in Select Citywalk Mall. It stocks all the imported stuff. I picked up a few things and came across tutti fruti. Few months back I was looking for tutti fruti to add in cupcakes and could not find them anywhere. What a bummer. This time I was inspired- reached home at 8 pm and started making cupcakes batter. The recipe was taken from Maria Goretti’s blog (she was a VJ on MTV and is the wife of Arshad Warsi). The batter looked fab and I was looking forward to devouring the cupcakes. Unfortunately, I left the microwave on preheat for a very long time. It conked off and wouldn’t turn on. I had to throw away the batter. I was planning to get it repaired on Sunday and resume baking.

But I tried turning the microwave on in the morning and it worked. Yoohoo. I returned from work, did the whole thing again and baked a bunch of lovely cupcakes.
Below is the recipe taken from MG’s blog: http://mariagorettiz.blogspot.in/2010/06/night-26-midnight-insanity-muffins.html

Cupcakes
1 1/4 cup , self rising flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
Tutti Fruti (not in original recipe- added by me)

Pre heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.. Mine took 10 mins only and then I turned it off.

1.Sift the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
2.In another small bowl, stir the milk, vanilla and almond extracts together. I used essence instead of extract.
3.In a large bowl, with the hand mixer on medium, beat the butter and sugar, until it lightens in colour about 3 minutes.
4.On low speed, add the flour to the butter mix in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, till its just about blended and set aside.
5.In another large bowl , beat the egg whites with an electric beater till it is nice and shiny white , smooth and nice and stiff. Stop beating when it starts looking like snow… you will see the peaks. This is the hardest and most boring part.
6. Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, with the electric beater , then stop and with a spatula , just fold the rest of the beaten egg whites in.
7. Take the tutti fruit on a plate… sprinkle some flour and mix them together. This will prevent them from settling at the bottom. Add into the batter with a spatula.
7. Put the batter into your muffin moulds , they make about 6 and cook them at 160 degrees for 17 minutes, and the little white poppykins are ready , take them out and leave them to cool….

Ta… da… they are ready.


Life revolves around food

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Hiya. I am sitting in the bedroom after watching a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory Season 5. KC is sleeping and there is silence. It is cold but bearable. Last night’s howling breeze is silent right now. Winter is saying goodbye and I couldn’t be happier.

This week has been hectic and I have not been getting enough sleep. No, its not work… its never work. On Thursday, my colleague gave me a free pass for the movie ‘Chronicle’ playing at Vasant Kunj Mall. I invited D, AB and KC. AB couldn’t make ‘coz he had to “sleep early”. KC was quite busy at work and we had to leave quite late. The traffic on Mehrauli road did not help and we reached half an hour after the movie started. Disappointed, we headed for a quick drink and dinner at Taman Gang. I had not heard about it but D had come for dinner with his family. He did mention that it is expensive but I did not realize then that our definitions differ. Anyway, since we were in a hurry D ordered for us. We did not even look at the menu. There was some chicken starter which was quite good. The chicken red Thai curry was yummy. The chicken was so so so soft. And rice was good. We had 4 drinks in all. The bill came to 5k. I was a little zapped. We have not done the whole get together with friends in a while and was not sure how much it is supposed to cost. Even then, it seemed on the expensive side. On checking the bill, I realized main course and starter cost 650 bucks each. KC and I do not have a budget but generally, anything above 350 bucks is expensive for us. I read the reviews on zomato.com and check the prices before going to a place. The prices are so high only in a 5 star. The food was good but quite expensive.
We then headed for The Descendants. I will write a review in my next post.
KC was working late on Friday night and we came home at 10.30 pm. I was in no mood to go out and we ordered in (with great difficulty since everything closes at 11 pm in Gurgaon).
Last night was great. We headed to Select Citywalk since KC wanted to shop. Dinner was at The Big Chill Cafe, as always. We visit it every month and love the food there. My only grouse is the waiting time. The first time we went there on a Sunday afternoon, we got a table at 3 pm (after more than an hour of waiting). At Khan Market, D had booked a table on phone an hour earlier. We were made to wait for another 45 mins. Last night was the same. 60 mins of wait and we finally got a table at 10 pm. Thankfully, the service was quick. Their Vanilla Oreo shake is to die for.
Last weekend was the workshop. I was happy to have no class on a Sunday and just wanted to stay in and do nothing. At 12 noon- after finishing all the chores, we were about to start watching TBBT when a friend R called. R and me live within 5 mins of each other and were together in engg college. Our friendship has lagged over the years and neither has made an effort to revive it. All my invitations to movies or dinner have mostly been turned down by him- for one reason or the other in the last few months. And I have basically given up. Anyway, he asked me to bring him some food since he is very ill and has nothing at home. I guessed he was in dire need of help to have called me. I packed some food and took it to him. He had been running a fever for 3-4 days and was surviving of D Cold and Crocin. His sister was away at a weeding out of town and parents had gone back to their home 2 days back. Basically, he was alone and there was nobody to look after him. After feeding him soup, I took him to the hospital. He had to be given a drip to bring down the fever. I brought him home, fed him lunch and returned home to a Sunday that was almost over. Sigh!!! I do not understand the reluctance of people to see a doctor. My father is a doc so advice is always available and I am quite used to it. For me it is very natural to see a doc when I am unwell. Most people wait and wait and wait till they are pushed by someone to see a doc. KC is like that. So, is R. Any symptom which lasts more than a week should be diagnosed by a doc; 2 days if it is fever.
And today I plan to do nothing. Just sit home and lounge around. I need to.


Food… food… food

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I wanted to write about some restaurants we have visited in the last few weeks:

  • Barbeque Nation: I have been to the Bandra and Thane outlets. Finding the outlet in Gurgaon was a major pain. It is located in a residential area so my GPRS could not locate it correctly. And asking for directions is not an option here since most people do not belong to Gurgaon. After searching for 45 mins, we found it and it was full. There was some private party and waiting was for atleast an hour. Starved and pissed, we turned back. But some other day. Btw, it is located 15 mins away from my house
  • Crazy Noodles: I had seen the board at Galleria but never tried it. The place is quite different… it has a glass exterior. The walls are all glass and the view is quite good since it is located on the 1st floor. They have these funky glasses which stay tilted. For a place called “Crazy Noodles” there is very little variety in noodles. We had stir fried noodles and liked it. A place we will visit again ‘coz it cost less than 500 bucks for 2 people
  • Choko La: I have walked by this place many, many times ‘coz I thought it sells chocolates. I entered it in Subhashnagar mall and ordered the tiny, expensive cup cake- cream, cheese and cherry cupcakes. It has a cherry stuffing and cream cheese topping. Lovely. Pricey at 90 bucks. This Sunday we went for their all day b’fast. Good part is that the b’fast is not till 11 am… but all day. We ordered omlette, scrambled eggs, toast, muffin, croissant, tea and juice. Omlette was great… scrambled eggs were served with a parmesan wafer on top and mushrooms on the side… masterchef quality. The muffin was nice and warm. We had a filling b’fast and it cost less than 500 bucks for 2 people. We will go there again… maybe, every month.
  • Asia 7: This restaurant is located in Ambience Mall. The first time we went there, we had the buffet and it sucked. The problem with most buffets is that most items are mediocre and the menu has items which will appeal to most. In Gurgaon, we stay away from buffets after 2-3 bad experiences. This time we went a la carte, we had Thread chicken with cherry dip. It was masterchef quality… a really, soft juicy chicken was covered with threads of wheat batter. The dip was a good complement. For main course, we had Pad Thai noodles. It was genuine with the bean sprouts and peanuts. Please don’t try the cocktails there- we didn’t finish ours and wasting liquor hurt our pocket bad. Cost is 1700 for 2 people with liquor.
All in all, a good food experience in the last one month.


Back with a bang

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Hiya… I had gone for a sales conference to Pune. I dislike conferences, corporate parties etc etc… I used to hate them. The hatred has lessened. I do not understand the fun and joy in drinking, dancing and interacting for 4 hours and more. 1 hour is my limit… after that I am ready to shoot myself. Anyway, 3 days were spent in Pune attending presentations at the end of which I won an award for best sales performance in my channel. It felt good.

On Sunday I met my brother and Mom. I treated them to lunch at ‘Out of the Blue’, an amazing restaurant in Bandra. The first time I went there was with an acquaintance from B-School. We ate 3 courses… pasta, pizza and fondue. KC and I have been there many, many times. Do visit it if you are on Carter road.
I also met another acquaintance from B-School in Pune- H. We used to be good friends but it didn’t last. I don’t remember our last conversation in college. But, thats the thing about friendship… you can pick it up any time anywhere. 2.5 hours passed away in a jiffy.
And now it is back to the cold…. mornings are foggy, I can barely spot the next building. We come up and tuck ourselves in the blanket with soup… KC likes to sleep by 10.30 pm which is a shocker since his normal sleeping hour was 1 am.
More … later… adios…


One chapter closes

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Hiya. I just finished with my appraisal. It was a sham… ratings have been sent 10 days back and yet there butterflies in my stomach. I think a good appraisal is one where you know what feedback to expect. You should know what is going to be said. So, I guess it was good. Another challenge beckons tomorrow… I need to accomplish it else consequences will be devastating.

Sometimes I think life was so much easier for women like my mom… they had to deal with home issues and not so many other people like I do- clients, bosses, sub ordinates, colleagues, distributors etc etc etc. So many complications… and having to always come up with right solutions… give your best… be on top of your game… whew, it is exhausting.
Some days are so relaxing… and I can’t wait for others to end. This and last week has been like the latter.
KC and I have been waiting for the winter to arrive. I was disappointed to know that winter lasts for only 1.5 months. Now I realize that 1.5 months will seem like 3. It is so so so cold… I sit/sleep in one position till I become warm… KC and me are constantly cuddling next to each other to share the warmth. Right now, we are gathering courage to open the balcony door, step out and dry wet clothes. Clothes take 3-4 days to dry completely and by then there are 2 more lots ready to be washed. Also, checking to determine whether clothes are wet or just cold is a challenge.
I am leaving day after for Pune for the sales conference. Saturday night and Sunday will be spent in Mumbai. Looking forward to meeting my mom and brother. I am planning to treat them at Out of the Blue in Bandra. Do visit this restaurant on Carter Road for the most amazing food. I had gone there for dinner and drinks with an acquaintance. We had eaten so much… pasta, pizza, fondue. Amazing food.
Tata… see you guys next week.


Love thyself

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Hiya… I have been gone long… really long. No, I was not busy… atleast not last week. No, I was not out of town or stressed… atleast not last week. I don’t know why I didn’t post. I did have things to say but could not bring myself to type. I cannot even call it writer’s block.

Anyway, I am back…
  • Monday evening/night was great. I had the greatest time dancing. I have had a love hate relationship with dance. I was loved to dance as a kid… I would perform in school, at weddings, participate in competitions. The affair came to an end when a friend in school remarked that I don’t look good when I dance. Don’t ask me why. I was taken aback. I stopped dancing. Now when I think back it was not the remark but the fact that I was entering my teens and felt awkward in my body. I could only let go on the dance floor after a few drinks at B-school parties (never touched liqour before that). When I joined the Jazz class 3 years back I didn’t enjoy it one bit but went anyway since it was some timepass on the weekend. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t even stick around for 3 months. This time I had no intention of learning to dance. It was something extra to do… a hobby, also an activity to help me keep fit or even lose weight. Nothing more… For 3 months, I felt awkward. Our instructors always tell the new students that for 3 months we will look like chimpanzees and its ok. It is only in the 4th month that things change. So true. We were made to do exercises like- looking at our self in the mirror and saying “I love you”. No kidding. It was so silly at first. Now I understand the importance. We were made to Jazz walk (something like Cat walk) in class. Now I can walk with confidence and look at myself in the mirror. I have come a long way. On Monday, the seniormost instructor- P had taken class… she is damn good. Our regular instructor- S was out of town. Before leaving, she told me that I performed really, really well. I am actually moving my body and should stand in front instead of middle. Everyone clapped for me. It is a long, long, long way for someone who did not want to learn dance and could not imagine enjoying it. I love the dance classes… I can let go… the music does amazing things to my body. I don’t know why but my regular instructor- S has never appreciated me even once. Its kinda disappointing.
  • Watched Dirty Picture… It was pathetic. There was no heart, the dialogues were just dialogues… Vidya has not acted.. she has just spoken dialogues… I didn’t understand it… I don’t understand the character… one moment, she was ok with her sexuality and flaunting and next moment she was craving society’s acceptance. Only Nasseruddin Shah was tolerable… the others were horrible.
  • Watched Puss in Boots… loved it. The 3D was superb. This is what it should be like. I hate it when the movie is 2D with 3D thrown in… I have to keep removing the glasses and putting them on. So bugging. KC didn’t enjoy it too much but I liked it. Worth a watch.
  • It is appraisals week and it makes me tense. I know whats done is done… but yet. I finished off my team’s appraisals yesterday and I hope it has been fair. Now, I am waiting for mine. My career decisions for next year will depend on this appraisal. I am a little de-motivated right now. Last 2 days have been exhausting. Thank god, the week is almost over.
  • KC has been unwell. It is weird living with an ill person…. it is quite frustrating when someone insists on going to work and refuses to go to the doctor when ill. Finally, he took the day off yesterday and we visited a doctor.
  • Money problems are looming over our head this month… LIC is screwing with us… the long waits at the phone calls… stupid processes… so many demand notes… oof!!! Frustrating!! Dealing with all of this on the week days is tiring.
  • I cooked schezwan fried rice and noodles on Sunday. Its quite simple… same cooking method has to be used for both. For schezwan I added the ready made sauce available in the market. It was quite good.
Catch you over the weekend!!!


Whats this Sunday about…

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¬†Well, I got a lot done and am not even feeling exhausted…
  • Woke up 7.30 am and wanted to go to the gym but had to supervise the cleaning and cooking in case the maids turned up early… Relaxed with a book, newspaper, Nescafe Vanilla Latte, True Blood, face pack, hair pack
  • Cleaning and cooking started at 9.30 am. The plan was to cook dal bhaati. My native place is 3 hours from Rajasthan and I have grown up eating this dish at home… there are numerous dhabas also which serve it in Gujarat (close to Rajasthan). The bhaati is cooked on coals… in bhattis… at home we cooked in a special tandoor. I cooked it in a microwave today. For recipe scroll down
  • Once KC woke up, we had b’fast and I headed to the gym. I do not understand the guy… how can someone complain of insomnia at night and sleep so much during the day.
    *Shaking head*
  • The AC was not working in the gym… there were only 3 of us working out which was a change ‘coz peak hours are packed with people on all instruments… there was 1 instructor only… I was sneaking out after an hour of cardio and he stopped me… I had the shame to do my leg work outs for another 15 mins
  • After grocery shopping, lunch, a bath which ended with cold water (geyser does not work during power back up… my electricity woes are going to start)… I am now relaxing in the lounge type room. It is not cold but it is cool… I cannot sit on the bare cold floor without a mat… just finished reading latest part of Diary of a wimpy kid and will pick up part 2 of True Blood now.

I will begin with recipes for jam filled muffins which I have taken from Anita’s blog

(http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/muffin-monday-jam-filled-muffins/). Ok… not posting it here… you can hop onto the link for the recipe. Having some issues with the font color.
I baked around 4 muffins- 4 with jam and 3 without jam. The ones without jam taste less sweet… I guess you need to increase the sugar measurement if not using jam. Just stick to the jam.

And here is the recipe for dal bhati:

Bhati- nos 7 small ones
  • Add 1.5 cups flour (regular one), lots of oil (triple the quantity you would use when making regular chapattis), some salt and little haldi. Knead the dough with little water. It has to be very, very hard… as hard as you can make it. Make flat oval shapes (you can even make round ones)
  • Boil water in a big vessel. Put the bhatis in them. They will be done once they come on top. It takes around 10-15 mins. Ensure that the water completely covers the bhatis
  • You can either cook them in a tandoor (available everywhere) for 10-15 mins. Heat a tandoor, put the bhattis on the grill, cook covered. Once the top becomes firm and brown, turn and cook the other side till they also become brown
  • For microwave, mine has an automatic setting and cooked in 15 mins. For others, I guess the convention mode will have to be used. Put bhattis on a tava, place tava on high grill and cook on high for 7-8 mins. Turn the bhattis and cook for another 7-8 mins
Dal (serves 3-4 people)
  • Boil 1/4 cup tuvar dal, 1/4 cup urad dal and 1/2 cup moong chilke wali dal. The idea is to use 3 types of dal in this ratio
  • Crush the dal once boiled. Add the water leftover from boiling bhattis (why throw away nutrients?)
  • Add 1 chopped tomato, salt, green chillies, salt. Boil
  • In another pan, heat oil. Add jeera, hing, 1 small chopped onion, red chilli powder, haldi.
  • Add the mixture to the dal and let it boil
  • After 5 mins add nimbu/tamarind paste
Serve the bhattis with ghee.
Years ago, some guests were invited to our house for dinner. They brought their relatives along who had just come from Australia to visit. We were not aware extra people were coming (Indian culture!!!). Mom had cooked dal bhatti. There were 2 NRI kids who did not know how to eat it. They were dipping the bhattis in dal and having it. It was quite funny. We taught them to crush the bhatti, pour ghee over it, dunk dal on top, mix it well and then eat.
Yum!!!
Disclaimer- There are many, many recipes for bhatti and dal. I don’t know how genuine this one… this is how my mom makes it and its good enough for me.


Rewind…

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Hiya… this week has been slow… less hectic… more laidback… I gave myself sometime.

But lemme talk I most comfy with… in bullet points:
  • KC was gone for 2 nights… he was supposed to be back after 1 night but his stay got extended. I had a hard time falling asleep… thinking about Paranormal Activity part 1. When he left home at 4.30 am, I told myself “Now I am alone… if there is something, it will happen now”. Nothing did. I should have been convinced but… I didn’t find PR 2 as scary… PR 1 is what gives me nightmares
  • I broke into my new Allen Solly red colored jeans. I bought it for 50% off on fashionandyou.com. Love the buy… so worth it. I have bought skinny jeans after a very long time. Thank god, it fit perfectly.
  • My left foot had been aching for the last 2-3 days. Strangely, I didn’t feel the pain in the gym or Jazz class. It was always in the morning. Yesterday, I could not even put my foot on the floor. I limped my way throughout the day. The thought of going to the doc crossed my mind but I remembered the last experience. I had a skin infection, the doc gave me 99% guarantee that it is incurable but she needs to do a biopsy. I was charged 2500 bucks after which she said that it is curable and I just need to apply ointment. Next time, I will go to a hospital in Gurgaon when I am on my death bed
  • Lesson learned today- Do not wear heels when your left foot is aching. Fashion can kill
  • We went for dinner to Ambience Mall. The soup and starters- dimsums were at restaurant ‘Dimsum’… and main course and dinner was at Kobe Sizzlers. KC was about to pay without checking the bill but I always check the bill, just to know how much we have spent. I was shocked to be charged for 2 main courses. The waiter was called for and he rectified it. We would have overpaid by 300 bucks. Checking the bill specially at retail chains has become a habit. Twice I have been charged extra or charged for a 1+1 promo. Since my work involves dealing with chains, I know how screwed up they are. Once there was a 1+1 promo running at 50% off which means, on buying 1 unit of a product you get another free and are charged only 50% of the value.
  • I baked muffins today- jam filled muffins. The recipe was taken from Anita’s blog. I share the pics tomorrow. Finally… next I want to try cupcakes with cheese frosting. I had them at Choco La (priced at 95 bucks each) and sooooo yummy… Cheese frosting is not sweet or sour… it balances out the sweetness of cupcakes.
Thats about it… more updates on books read and movies watched.


The week in pictures

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A pic of the muffins. I experimented with a strawberry sauce filling and nutella topping. Both were tasty. Just need a good recipe for a proper muffin now. I need to try cheese frosting next Sunday.

My library has started stocking Calvin and Hobbes… I am so happy. The comics are really, really expensive and being able to rent them is a dream come true. I ordered one book and was surprised to receive the biggest book I have laid eyes on. It took me a few days to finish it… but I did. Every minute was spent on it… KC called it my Gita since it is so big and I laid it in my lap to read.

I have started reading the book after watching season 1 of ‘True Blood’. I had heard a loooootttt about this series, specially from people abroad. Its quite a rage. An acquaintance had read horrible reviews on facebook after watching 1 episode. That got me intrigued. I watched the first few episodes… and was “WOW”… its full of blood, violence and sex… loads of it… dirty sex. Nothing like I have seen on television and I have seen a LOT. After completing 3/4th of the season, I gave up half way since the download speed is too low of the torrents and so is the buffering on tvduck.com. I picked up the book and liked that the series does not follow it strictly. Now I have picked up the 2nd book and am downloading season 2… no matter how much time it takes. Not for everyone. I looked for the book in Om Book Shop in Metropolitan Mall, then at Ambience Mall, then at Reliance Time Out and finally found it in Landmark. Sadly, at every shop the guys helping out were looking for it in the kids section. I would have been mortified if they had stocked it there. I mean, a book about vampires, sex and blood in the kids section? Wow.