Ramblings on a Sunday afternoon

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Hiya… there is so much to talk about and so little time. Instead of being asleep, I am relaxing with a book and now the blog… Here goes:

  • I gained some weight in Goa (obviously)… too much food and rest and little exercise. So I went for a walk yesterday morning. The plan was to walk for 60 mins but I got 15 mins late. Now, how hard can 45 mins of walk be? Quite hard, actually. After 15 mins I got bored even though the weather was good and I had my ipod along. Thankfully, each round around my complex takes 15 mins so it was a matter of 3 rounds which I pushed myself to complete. I wanted to sleep on my return. Weird… I was supposed to feel refreshed but I was just tired and sleepy. There was no hope for that since it was time for work. All day my legs were aching and I had the Jazz classes today. Now, I am in bed trying to sleep off the pain. But, I plan to go for a walk everyday. I don’t have enough time to work out in the gym… I have been trying but cannot fit it into my schedule. Lets see how the walking works out.
  • Last night KC and I went for dinner to Big Chill in Saket. As I was leaving the Zara store after checking out the new collection (more on that later), the sales guy at Seacret caught me. I tried to avoid him since the products are expensive and I will never be able to afford them… ever. A year back I had been willingly led into the kiosk by a sales girl who showed me this amazing buffer. It was the best thing I have ever soon and I reached into my wallet to buy it. Price ??? Rs 3500… for a buffer!!! I smiled and fled. Yesterday, the guy showed me an amazing eye cream. Price??? Rs 7000… I laughed and told him I was not going to spend so much money on a cream. He persisted… showed me a scrub, night cream etc. And then offered 1 product free with the eye cream. Avoiding these guys is so difficult. I wish they would approach the people who purchase bagful of clothes from Zara instead of poor me- who only window shops there.
  • The new collection at Zara is… nothing new. Same old trousers (which were discounted earlier)… a top I bought  is available at the regular price (in a different color)… the blazer I have been lusting after is available at regular price again… it was discounted during the sale… same old styles… They really need to up the ante or will lose the charm.
  • I will reveal a secret- after watching serials like True Blood, I head over to tvrecaps.ew.com to read about the episode. Crazy, right? Not in USA… where people read about the episode and post their views on it. Their involvement level is higher than Indians. The difference is- in India, we (saas and bahus) identify with the characters in the event (not matter how over the top), in USA, they comment on plots, characters, point out things they liked or didn’t. I am sure producers/writers of the show are reading these comments. After all, it affects TRPs. Also, some actors are popular – they may have minor roles but ‘coz they were liked in some other serial. I guess, the writers/producers would want to increase their roles to increase TRPs. I read the recaps incase I missed out some part of the episode or could not connect what happened previously. Also, some of the comments are hilarious. Like, there are 2 black characters in True Blood… 1 is very popular but the 2nd one was a whiny character everyone was bored with (she has been turned to a vamp now). Some negatives comments against the character (not actor) started a racial war of comments. It was quite dumb actually. But, thats not the point. A lot of people were commenting how the serial ‘Game of Thrones’ is better than True Blood etc etc. I was intrigued. I downloaded and watched the 2 seasons (20 hours) in a week. Yep… thats a lot of TV/laptop. Game of Thrones is about kingdoms and war and maybe supernatural characters. It is based on a book by the same name by George R R Martin. I am waiting for the next season to begin in 2013. Worth a watch. Now I have downloaded Six Feet Under but its taking me some time to warm up to it. 6 episodes down and I am wondering about the tag “Best Serial created”…
  • I had purchased ‘Kitne Aadmi Thay’ by Diptakriti. I follow his blog and ordered the book from flipkart. It is a book about Bollywood trivia… only his blog made me spend that money. Disappointing. I don’t think I am going to finish it. Then I read the next part of True Blood… there is one more but its priced quite high. I will wait for a cheaper version before purchasing it. For the last 2 weeks, I have been hooked to the book ‘Game of Thrones’… problem is that the serial follows the book completely so there are no surprises. Its like I am watching the serial all over again. Hopefully, the 2nd part will be full of surprises.
  • I baked a cake on Rakshabandhan. I had the day off, was craving for something sweet but with fruits and wanted to carry something for my bro in Mumbai. I took the recipe for carrot, pineapple and walnut cake from Anita’s blog-  http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/a-birthday-wish-for-the-special-people-in-my-life-with-some-carrot-cake/. Its the best cake I have made at home… yum. My bro also loved it. Here is a pic:

  • Recently some school acquaintances have formed a group on whatsapp and chat all day. Its kinda fun… except most of them have kids… and all of them (except me) like kids. Which makes it very awkward and irritating. Now, I do understand that mothers love their kids and love to talk about them. We all pass through stages in our life which change us- school, graduation, losing virginity (not in that order), post graduation, first job, affair, marriage, kids. Full stop. Each stage is monumental but kids are the most of all. Also, it is the also the last stage. I can’t think of anything more significant… not for me atleast. Yes, I also believe life ends as we know it once we had kids – for better or for worse. What I am trying to say is (and maybe failing) that mother/fatherhood is very significant. I do not deny it and mothers talking about their kids is natural. There are 2 blogs I follow which talk about kids regularly. My problem is when these mothers expect me to follow their footsteps- have kids and love them. Now, to each his own. The mothers cannot understand how someone does not “want” kids and does not believe that they are the best things in life. I don’t believe in universal truths. What is right for someone else is not necessarily right for me. And then these mothers start advising me to have kids. And even male colleagues/friends cross all limits by asking me when I am having kids. Its like everyone is worried about my ticking biological clock (except me). A best friend used to advise me to have kids in every phone conversation. I have stopped answering her calls. I may or may not have kids… its not of relevance to my life right now… but I refuse to follow the stages of life set by society. I will not have kids because now is the time or because I am expected to have them. I am such a stubborn mule that I may end up not having kids just to show “society” that its possible and its normal… and not having kids does make me a half person. I do not need to have kids to feel “complete” or “fulfilled”. Unfortunately, none of the women/men making my life miserable read this blog. I hope they did.
Ta da.. I am off to the Game of Thrones while KC snores away next to me.


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.


New Recipe

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I will copy paste the recipe from Anita’s blog with minor variations:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + a little more when you roll out to make the crust
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter( or substitute 3 Tbsp of shortening)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Filling

  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese ( I added less than a cup… you can add more. It will add to the taste)
  • 1/2 cups frozen peas and diced carrots, beans cooked and well-drained. I used all cooked veggies- beans, peas, carrots, baby corn. Next time I will add sausages also.
  • 1/2 cup frozen paneer… I was reluctant to use this but liking it now
  • 3 tablespoons flour… maida
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder(optional)… I didn’t have any so used garlic paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten.. Used 3 and still had some leftover. I think 2 would have been ideal for the smaller size I made.

Preparation:

  • Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon oregano.
  • Cut in 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons shortening (or all butter like I did) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle with the milk, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to form a circle 12-inches in diameter. This is the difficult part. Mine didn’t reach the upper edges of the container. Thats why I had to use less eggs. I guess, the egg mixture should not be more than the height of the pastry.
  • Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; turn under edges and flute, forming a rather high rim.

For filling,

  • Combine cheese, vegetables, flour, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper; gently toss.
  • Place cheese mixture in bottom of pie crust.
  • Melt butter in a skillet; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle onion over cheese mixture.
  • Combine milk and eggs; pour over cheese mixture.
  • Add the paneer pieces
  • Bake at 350° 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked for 20 mins since size was smaller
  • Let vegetable Quiche stand 10 to 12 minutes before serving.
This is a simple dish but healthy (if you avoid the cheese) and can be eaten as light dinner or a heavy snack. I was not sure if eggs need to be beaten by a beater. I didn’t… maybe I should have.
Try it.

 


Lots of cooking

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Hiya. We didn’t go for a movie on Friday since there was a damn IPL match. I am sooooo glad its over and I can actually watch TV without guilt. On Saturday we headed to Noida for house hunt after which we caught Kung Fu Panda 2. I was very exhausted and too keen on the movie but went ahead anyway. I mean.. I liked Kung Fu Panda 1 but was not crazy about it… atleast not like KC who can mouth every dialogue. How different could part 2 be… there is Kung Fu and there is a panda. It was definitely better than watching a boring Bollywood flick.

We also fought like any married couple on Saturday… me, complaining about the lack of involvement in household chores and him, about me wanting to go out too often.

Sunday was relaxation time… we just went mango and chicken shopping during the day and spent all day indoors.
I tried my hand at Tandoori Chicken. Somehow I have been unable to cook good chicken till now and almost given up. All the food blogs I read these days gave me hope. If a normal housewife can do it, why can’t I? I purchased good chicken drumsticks from Le Marche at Galleria. It is a heaven for non-veg shopping.
Here is the recipe:
3 tbsp hung curd. I do not have a muslin cloth and don’t know where to purchase one… so, I use a colander (used for sieving milk) and leave the curd on it for 15 mins. I did not leave it long enough due to which it was slightly watery. Please ensure it is kept for atleast 30 mins
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp tandoori powder… more if you want it really spicy
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp red color (I didn’t have any)
1 tsp red chilli powder (to give it color)
1 tsp garam masala
salt
oil/butter (I used butter)
1 tsp chat masala (I didn’t have any)
Mix all above. Make incisions on the chicken… this is the most imp step if you want flavours to enter inside. Add chicken to the marinade and keep in the fridge for an hour.
Now, my microwave has automatic settings for tandoori chicken but recipes suggest microwaving in a greased tava for 10 mins. Brush with oil and butter and grill for 15-20 mins. Flip pieces in between. Please ensure excess water is removed else marinade can burn and cause fire. My microwave almost caught fire.
I don’t have pics ‘coz we were too hungry and didn’t have patience for pics.
Tonight I am trying out Paneer and Veg quiche from Anita’s blog: http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/a-vegetable-and-paneer-quiche-from-scraps/
Will post the pic after tasting it.
This is really nice… it feels good when something turns out well. Next on my list is mango cake. I find it easier to follow recipes from blogs instead of books.

Brb…


Mission Accomplished

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One fine day while looking for recipes for different desserts I realized I cannot try most of them ‘coz I need gelatin. I could not find the ingredient in any super/hyper market. After more than a month of search I managed to find it in a small shop in Chandivali. But then I could not find the recipes. The same thing happened with another ingredient- cinnamon and also muffin moulds.
Anyway, I have wanted to try muffins for a long time now. After hours of waiting for KC I started baking with a vengeance. The recipe is from Anita’s blog (www.sliceofmylyfe.blogspot.com).
  • Oil – 1/2 cup (you can use butter also if you want)- I used butter
  • Eggs – 3 large
  • Flour – 1 cup (Maida)
  • Whole Wheat Flour – 1 cup (Normal atta)
  • Sugar – 2/3 cup
  • Milk – 1 Cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Dark Choco Chips – 1 cup (milk will do too) – I used blocks of Cadbury’s dairy milk and chopped them to bits. I used Bournville dark chocolate. Bring the chocolate at room temperature and break into small pieces
  • Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Oats- 3/4 cup
  • Baking Powder – 1tbsp

Preparation

  • Whisk together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla essence. Whisk as you want, but it wouldn’t turn fluffy and creamy as a mixture with butter would. But I would suggest that you whisk it well for about 15 minutes or more. I used a beater (attachment with Morphy Richards) for 5 mins
  • Mix together the dry ingredients i.e flours, oats, sugar and baking powder and chocolate chips
  • With a spatula fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Try not to over mix and thats the key to good cup cakes/muffins .
  • Pour into a lined cupcake moulds. Bake in a preheated oven for at 180C for about 15-20 minutes till the skewer comes out clean
They taste good and are healthier ‘coz of oats, wheat flour (instead of only maida).
Waiting for KC’s verdict.
Next weekend: Cup cakes with tutti fruti.