Friday, 18 June, 2010

Gastronomy Domine - Pasta la Vista!

Simple toss-up using penne -

  • Boil pasta, drain and keep aside
  • Blend 1 tomato and 1 onion into a paste
  • Chop up 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow zucchini, some olives
  • Heat a li'l bit of olive oil in a pan - add chopped veggies and cook for a while
  • Add some salt, some oregano etc and cook some more
  • Bung in the blended so-called sauce and cook some more, till all the raw smell goes away
  • Put in some more spices - any random stuff, cook a bit more
  • Throw in the pasta, add ground pepper, etc
  • Mix it around, take it off the flame, allow to settle, marinate etc...
...and you're done! Pasta la Vista, baby!

Friday, 11 June, 2010

Gastronomy Domine - Gajar halwa, straight up

(I may start writing about another newly-discovered passion - food! Always been a fan, but developing a more geeky interest of late. Well, here goes...)

Tried my hand at gajar halwa - classic style - for mum's birthday yesterday. Here is a blow-by-blow how-to, with some nuances thrown in, to get it just-so...(and you can figure out the ingredients etc by just reading this through I guess)

  • Look for carrots that are large, bright orange and firm.
  • Volume - I began with four medium-large carrots (400-450 gm). They didn't look impressive at first, but when they were grated, they almost filled two-thirds of a large kadai. When cooked, the volume reduces back. This is natural, so don't be alarmed.
  • Heat up 1 tsp ghee in a dry kadai, roast cashews (split) and almonds...till the cashews turn golden brown. Toss in some raisins at the end, roast a bit more and take it all out
  • Add 1 more tsp of ghee to the remains in the kadai and bung in the shredded carrots. Toss around till the raw smell goes away (about 2-3 min on a low flame)
  • Slip in some milk - just enough to soak the carrots, and begin the slow and patient cooking process. Cooking the carrot in milk (rather than water) gives it that extra richness. If the milk boils down and the carrots are not done yet, throw in more milk. I used about 400 ml, and it took maybe 15-20 min to cook
  • The carrot is now a shrunken cooked mass. Bung in some sugar - I used about 200 gm, but it's to your taste. I feel that this dessert oughta be really sweet, and 200 gm just did the trick
  • The sugar will give out some water, so just keep cooking till it all boils away and the carrot cooks some more. In about 5-10 min of this, you'll be done
  • Add 1-2 tsp ghee on top and stir it in - more rich goodness! These 'touches' make the final product more heavenly, in my humble opinion!
  • Toss in the roasted cashew-almond-raisins. Garnish with powdered cardamom (maybe 3 pods)
Gajar halwa is good when served hot, but I feel it's better when served gives time for the milk and sugar to really sink in, and makes the halwa really rich. Came out pretty good in the end!

Made some improvised insta-bhel to go with it; and then the wife made pasta, which gran was adventurous enough to try - a first for her! Pics below...

The improv bhel (above) and the pasta (below)...(penne, fresh mint chutney, tomatoes, olives, corn, leftover hot-n-sweet honey of my own design etc etc)

...overall, fun times!

Saturday, 17 October, 2009

Bombay Notes

[I'm not entirely sure if I'd be starting things off again here. Let us see how it goes. However, for now, here's something I wrote about five years back, on a visit to Bombay with some friends]

...the low hills of the end of the Western Ghats; the Arabian sea; the lagoons, backwaters, some inlets; long islands on the coastline; waves and waves of the ocean; waves and waves of slums; touchdown; 38 degrees C on a November afternoon; heat waves off the airport tarmac; Andheri, in broad daylight!; the concretization of sidewalks; something-or-the-other-naka; oh yeah, Marol; flats, apartments; people, crowds; humidity; in search of an Orange; Traffic, Traffic in Andheri - peak hour; an auto ride for two - conversations; Bandra at night - sidewalk ladies' shoe shops and bangle stores reflecting the bright gold of bulbs, neon lights and silvery white of billboard hoardings - flashy, but essentially cheap; Hawaiian Shack - cover charge Rs.400 per head only - pretty cool, but essentially costly!; beer, breezers, screwdrivers, rum 'n coke, a lot of smoke; reunions; hot chinki waitress - what's her act? ;-); pop rock and loud conversations - mostly harmony, some discord; taxi ride in the night; Worli - Gandhi Nagar - Lady Ratan! - duplex apartment - home; eggs and noodles!; sleep...

...chai at home on a lazy Friday morning; afternoon taxi drive - the Flyover, Haji Ali, Pedder Road - in to Town!; Eros; Starters and More-or-less; sidewalk CD- and book- stalls - fountains of knowledge - science, art, wallpapers, cocktails, math, music, cooking, sex; fountains of entertainment - movies, remixes, magazines; the very end, a Fountain; Fabindia kurtas; Colaba; Rhythm House; mocha - coffee, Society, the Fez - a tall cylindrical red Moroccan hat, chinki waitresses!, smoke, biz plans and broadband, cutting chai; Marine Drive opposite Pizzeria; the Arabian sea; dusk; people, crowds; city lights in the distance; gujju teenagers in CRV's; nightlife - decisions decisions; beer, sangria, rum 'n coke, a bit of smoke; it's 10 - no jazz by the bay; samrat - gujjus eating; local train at night; Mahalakshmi; home; friends; old monk; friends; conversations; jokes; old monk; laughter; old monk; old monk; confusion; old monk; saturation; puke? no? decisions!; unease; a breath of fresh air; a walk; some conversation; sleep, blessed sleep...

...chai at home on a lazy Saturday morning; music, sweet music, soul food; hunger!; afternoon taxi drive - just get off at Kyani's :-); people, crowds; lanes, gullies, gaalis; Parsee bombay bawas; the Gujju restaurant at the end of the narrowest stairway in the universe - Bhagat Tarachand version 2; gujjus eating; chaach, tomato sev, paneer, ghi chapatis, 'binaghi' - (g)astronomical relief!; outside Rhythm House - the Enchanter with the Flute!; Crossword, the Sale; a borrowed marketing idea; home again; evening in Bandra - just get off at Boat Club!; from Lemon Grass, second right, first left; mocha - louuuunge; Dali - Persistence of Memory; coffee, chai, big cake; an analysis of Dali; letters to oneself; nice babes, man; huuuge cake - Attack of the Chocolate Brownies and Mousse!; uhh, Dissipation of the Persistence of Memory? - dont remember; on towards Bandstand - Mount Meri-flat-tumhari-se-expensive-hai; night sea (land?) breeze in the 13th floor apartment; the inauguration of a toilet; swank apartments, swanky cars, swanky women; to the Orchid - this auto driver needs direction in life; beer, conversation and karaoke; a farewell; a promise; some songs in the taxi ride home; sleep...

...reville at 5; hurry, hurry, to the Gateway; santoor strums up a soporific sunrise; eyes closed - santoor, crows, pigeons, santoor, the sea, santoor, digestive unease = nausea; take a run-up before puking into the sea; in search of Bisleri; walkers, joggers, meditators, bun maska, stray dogs, the faint strains of the santoor; breakfast at Kenai's!; paper, deep freeze; beans bread and bun maska; the waiter; an escalation to the management; the ruination of a French toast; homeward bound; a lockout - the transfer of keys at a railway station; an education about the Western line - it's Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri; a ride in a crowded train; people, crowds; bawling Hindi classics from a beggar child on a crowded train; santa cruz station kis side pe aata hai bhai saab?; disembarkation - the use of human masses as a means of propulsion; Okkaala mosque :-); lunch at a friends place; catch up conversation; a camera that breaks; the train to Churchgate; people, crowds; NCPA; Pune Highway - a well crafted slick bollywood play; hep crowds, people; a last walk on Marine Drive; horse-drawn buggies; dusk; solitude; people, crowds; city lights in the distance - a last look; a ride in a taxi with a bright blue neon light inside it; the train home; exhaustion; heat; fatigue; conversation; packing; Sukh Sagar - gujjus eating; people, crowds; idly sambar kulfi falooda; home and sleep, blessed sleep...

...up before the sun; a quick wash; sleepy farewells; a taxi ride for two - conversations; Siddhivinayak temple; the airport - a farewell; check-in; a take-off into the rising sun...

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007

The grass is greener...

It was eleven AM. Time for a coffee break. As was his wont to do everyday, he stood in the corridor, waiting for the elevator to take him up to the cafe. He stood looking down from the fifth floor, out the glass wall of his air-conditioned concrete office building, far below at the now-familiar scene in the lawn.

She was rolling around on the fresh green grass, now arched out belly-up on her back, now face down and stretching luxuriously. The gentle sun that she so casually took for granted beamed down on her in all his benevolence while her every fiber basked in his warm comfort. The two little ones gamboled about nearby - running about here and there, taking turns chasing each other, tripping over themselves playfully. They searched for hidden treasures beneath the odd clump of grass, often startling a beetle or a dragon-fly into sudden flight - and promptly gave chase with glee. They ran around in circles screaming in mock-terror as the sprinkler's jets watered the green earth, seemingly following them wherever they went and splashing them occasionally. She watched over them with eyes half-closed in maternal contentment, as she just lay there and lazed in the warm sun and the cool breeze.

He stood five floors above, behind his glass wall, and looked down at this picture of peace and solitude. It was a perfect world, this world of theirs. They had the whole lawn to themselves - just the three carefree souls, in their own private green universe. Not another human being in sight. Do they even care that there may be prying eyes around? It's almost shameless, the way they were luxuriating - a small part of him felt.

And then she saw him. Or he thought she did, as he could never tell by her reaction - she just paused mid-stretch as her eyes swept past his general direction, then came back to him. For a moment, he felt like a guilty voyeur, but it was clear she couldn't be bothered that he was looking. She just continued to look at him for a moment with those same half-glazed eyes - the only indication she may have actually noticed him being a gentle wag of the tail, and a sort-of quizzical look in her intelligent mongrel eyes. Was it an invitation? - he wondered to himself. But then the puppies came tumbling over in childish excitement, clawing at her and sniffing noses, and she bent down to them, rolling them over and over in the grass as they yelped happily, and loped off after them around the lawn.

He lingered on, looking down at them in their perfect world. The 'ping' of the arriving elevator shook him out of his reverie, and he turned away with a wistful sigh of longing, the words on the signboard at the edge of the lawn gently mocking him...

"Please Do Not Walk on the Grass"

Tuesday, 25 September, 2007

Knock! Knock!

Knock! Knock!

Who's there?


Misbah who?

Mis bah five runs!! :-)


[V - thanks for this email fwd!]

Tuesday, 18 September, 2007

What The Fork???

Signboard outside a restaurant on the way to Tito's Lane in Baga, Goa (pic taken on my cell-fone, earlier in January this year).


Thursday, 6 September, 2007

The singer's Song

I came across this amazing bhaava geethe last weekend. Its words are simple, but I think it completely epitomizes the true spirit of a singer. Here it is -

Edhe Thumbi Haadidhenu

Edhe thumbi haadidhenu andhu naanu
Manavittu kaelidhiri alli neevu
Edhe thumbi haadidhenu andhu naanu

Indhu naa haadidharu andhinanthe kunithu
Kaeluviri saakenage adhuve bahumaana
Haaduhakkige baeke, birudu sanmaana

Ella kaelaliyendhu naa haaduvudhilla
Haaduvudhu anivaarya karmavenage
Kaeluvavariharendhu naa balle adharindha

Haaduvenu Maidumbi Yendinanthe
Yaaru Kivi Muchchidaru, Nanagilla Chinthe
Yaaru Kivi Muchchidaru, Nanagilla Chinthe

Edhe thumbi haadidhenu andhu naanu
Manavittu kaelidhiri alli neevu
Edhe thumbi haadidhenu andhu naanu

[Poet: Dr. G. S. Shivarudrappa]