Thursday, November 26, 2009

Small towns and the likes..

The fun part of the trip is to be in a small town (ok, so i am out on a trip.. for a family function).. i have stayed in a village .. my family's ancestral house was in a small village in kerala. We used to visit that place every summers as children... it was an awesome place to be at.. no electricity.. a huge ground to play with a house smack in the middle.. a well.. no gas stove (a chulha)..and a forest(thats what we used to call it) surrounding the ground... it had jackfruit, mangoes, coconut etc trees..And oh we had this pool.. which had these steps leading into it.. the olden days type of pool!!!

So coming back to this one.. I am currently in a small town in Andhra called Samalkot.. its near Kakinada.. it would be probably be about a few kms.. 10-15 odd perhaps!! Thats it.. thats the length and breadth of the town!!

In the morning one awakens because of the huge amount of noise made by hens!!!! The house i am staying in is quite modern.. its been renovated.. pretty much like any of our houses!!

Its fun to roam around and see how the town is... the snack shops (hot chips shops its called)are these one box kind of a structure.. with a glass panelled table enabling you to see all the snacks... and a guy seated behind that!!!

We went to Kakinada the other day.. which is the bigger town.. the main market is one long road.. it has its titan shops and all.. we were in search of a beauty parlour.. an extremely funny or weird thing we discovered.. there is this one apparently very famous beauty parlour there.. for bridal make up they charge 10K!!!! And just for you to compare, Lakme charges 5-6K which includes trial session!!!!! I was zapped. For mehendi (henna), they (local parlour) were charging some 2.5 grand for the bride.. and to top it they wont let you select the design.. I was stumped!!! And said as much.. the lady literally showed us the door!!!

After this extraordinary experience we went hunting for parlours.. one person gave us some directions and off we went.. we got lost ..had to ask a few people.. the funniest bit was we bumped into these people (who we asked directions from) again as we were lost.. and they gave us directions, the shopkeeper of the shop near where we were standing overheard us and gave directions, the other customers at the shop also gave us directions!!!!!!!!!! And then one lady gave us directions from her terrace.. and actually came to down to tell us the right way when she saw us taking the wrong direction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The level of interest and helpfulness was totally a strange experience coming from a bigger city where nobody bothers really!!! Strange but quite nice an experience!!!

The post is not complete without mentioning the food!!!! The food here...... the amount of chillies they use in their food is no joke!! By the time you finish eating, you are literally on fire.. smoke coming out of your ears.. tears intermingled with sweat streaming down your cheeks.. it is HOT!!!!!

2 more days to go before am back to the sinful and the "cosmopolitan" big cities.. where no one pays attention to anyone.. Am i saying i want to live in a small not sure!!!!! But its an experience for sure.. and all of us should undergo it sometime or the other in life!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When in a crowd

I dont like crowds. I just dont. Be it in open spaces.. like a shopping street.. or at home!

I dont like going to parties / places where i dont know people. I am distinctly uncomfortable. And once i have decided i am uncomfortable, all i can think about is how to get back home quickly. It becomes literally an obsession - finding out of ways and means to get home OR get out of such engagements.

At these times, i feel like going back to being a child. At least i can raise my nose and walk off!!! Not much luck now... being an adult!! Need to smile and smile even more ....

I love my space.. cant be around people for long.. long meaning more than 2 days.. ok, this does not apply always :)

I am usually quite sociable.. i talk a fair bit.. but find it difficult to uphold things for more than a few hours!!!! But we try ... what to do... some perils of being an adult... :((

After some time, i need to be alone.. in my own home.. my own bathroom.. my own bed... my own computer.. my own everything!!!! A whiny child i am.... i know, i know..

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Coward.. meet moonshine..

When i compare myself to what i was earlier (pre marriage) and what i am now.. i used to be complete bindaas.. where now i am careful.. a worrier.. dependent.. thats whats describes me!!!

And believe you me, its got nothing to do with the person i got married to :)... its just me.. i have become so dependent for everything on him!!!!

As an example - earlier, i used to have my own car.. and i used to go everywhere without caring 2 hoots about parking, about not knowing how to get there etc.. i still remember i had just learnt driving and i had been invited to lunch at my boss's place.. his place was easily around 30 kms away.. and an area that was alien to me.. i just took my car and somehow managed to reach after warning people that i still not know how to park properly.. that was the first time i took the car out alone and drove such a long distance!!! I never used to bother about anything.. one fine day my friend invited me over to KL (Malaysia).. and i went.. lost my luggage at the airport.. found it.. and that was my first trip abroad.. when she went to work, i would step out , take a cab.. and roam about all over KL on my own!!! I used to travel for work.. traveled to Bareilly, ludhiana , patna everywhere without a second thought!!!! You get the picture?

A taste of me as i am now - "Should i take the car? I dont know if there's parking.. forget it, much easier to take a rick"... "how do i get to this place.. leave it .. will go when A is around".. " I am traveling alone.. should i take the flight from bombay where there will be others?"... " they are not sending a cab.. how will i get to the hotel".... etc etc etc

I have become totally dependent.. thats what it is!!! Or maybe i am growing old.. nahhh.. am becoming dependent..

So when i traveled alone to Singapore.. it was fantastic.. reminded me of how i used to be... I loved it when i was able to access the BIAL wireless.. all by myself... (i know its no big deal.. so what)..

And just to remind myself , i am still me.. i promptly threw my phone cover (a real nice black case) into the dustbin instead of the empty water bottle!!! And much to the consternation of the observing public, i fished it out of the bin!!!

And then i traveled in S'pore on my own.. the little bit that i could travel i.e. .. it was fun.. being amongst a group of people none of who you know from before.. it was so much fun.. though initially i was a bit unnerved!!! It was an amazing experience.. traveling alone.. one that i had forgotten about!!!

And this weekend again i find myself alone... so yesterday, roamed about in Blore!!! I have forgotten how much fun doing timepass by oneself is.. i went to this small hole in the wall kind of a lingerie place (there are many of these).. had fun shopping.. had a sub when i felt like it.. went to Crossword and browsed!!! Did all the things that i used to do!!! It was so much fun.

At times, its good to be able to do that... though here, i am not meaning to say that its not fun when 2 people do it.. its just that at times you need to remind yourself that you will do fine even if you are left alone.. you need to be on your own.. just do your own thing.. get out of the house.. and go wherever the mood (the auto guy rather) takes you!!! :)

I am happy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 8 course dinner...phew!!!

Back from S'pore ... We had this full non vegetarian dinner at a restaurant in the hotel where we stayed...

We walked in and they just asked us one thing - veg or non veg (I opted for non veg).. they seated us and then brought us stuff one by one to the table... so here's the course..

1) Scallops in mustard sauce - this one was really nice.. a very small portion though.. loved the mustard sauce flavour .. yummy
And after this dish, our happiness (all of us at the table) ended....

2) Item no 2 was shark fin and crab soup.. uh.. well, i tried.. it tasted ok.. very mildly flavoured.. there were onions slices.. which looked like fins.. could not get to eat that.. i had about 1/4th.. no no 1/5th of the soup!!!

3) Bacon and seaweed roll - bacon was nice.. i did not have the heart to try seaweed.. once had seaweed cookies.. i still get that taste in my mouth at times!!!!

4)Steamed live hock - before we got this dish, i went around asking everyone at the table if they had any clue of what this thing was.. it was fish they told me.. spent quite sometime wondering why was it "live" and was extremely curious to know what would we finally get... it was steamed "dead" fish (!!!).. hahahaha.. it was ok.. the sauce was nice but very less.. it was as good as eating steamed fish!!!

5) Roasted duck - someone at my table said" i dont like duck" - they did not mention any reason though.. of course i soon found out! When i started eating.. i was like.. hey this is like chicken, so tell me again why dont you like it.. but then i went on chewing it.. i chewed it for 5 mins.. and then could not get it down my throat.. i forced it down gulping lots of water and coke and fortunately i was able to keep it down as well!!!! Its after taste is soooooooooo strong!!!!

6) Some veggies and tofu.. I was so happy when i heard veggies are next.. as you can see i was almost done with the non veg bit.... but to my horror...the greens looked limp.. you wouldnt feel like eating it at all!!! the tofu.. 2 bites , thats all you can manage!!

7) Steamed noodles in shark bone stock.. whats with them and sharks!!!!! It smells like crazy.. its an achievement to be able to dig in!!! I was brave enough to try a bite.. but the smell is too overpowering!!!

8) Dessert finally... it was mango something with sabudana (dont know what its called in english) and another fruit that i havent heard of and now i dont remember.. i ate all the mangoes in any case!!!

A pat to myself on my back.. at least i tried!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A special.. coming right up : Cooking shows :)

Joy to the world!!! Comp has started working yet again!!!! Thank you thank you.. bless you.. muaaahhh.. A :)

Ok, so now that my life is complete and back on track.. :))

I like watching travel shows / food shows!!! I am very fascinated by cooking shows.. i dont know why.. maybe because many years ago, my mom used to watch these shows every sunday morning (and i used to watch it too for the want doing something better on sunday mornings)... and generally, i like seeing the entire process of chopping, frying.. making something delicious of things that dont look like much in their original state.. of course what helps now is that i like food as well!!! And it shows too!!! Some of the shows that i watch now or used to watch.. programmes you tend to stay on when channel surfing -

Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khazana - my earliest memory is that of this guy's cooking shows.. that my mom used to watch.. watches even now faithfully!! Actually that guy makes everything look so simple!! And i think it was he who changed the face of Indian Cooking shows!!

No reservations - But of course. I love Anthony Bourdain!! That man can eat anything.. can do anything!!! Its quite adventurous.. watching this show.. you never know what are you going to be seeing next!!

Lock, stock and 2 smoking tikkas- This one used to come on NDTV Good Times.. a chef called Marut Sikka and he used to make regional cuisines.. and would make it extremely simple.. in fact i have written down a couple of his recipes.. Murgh do piaza was one.. turned out ok too!! The rest i confess i am yet to try!!

Nigella Feasts - One has to, has to, watch this show.. it is all about her close ups and food close ups.. she is quite pretty.. and is always shown to be munching on something..

Top Chef - Honestly, i like this one better than Hell's kitchen (saying this even though do like Gordon Ramsay.. well , who wouldnt!!)... I like watching the challenges.. the competing chefs come up with such original stuff !! I love watching them put things together and come up with a totally new dish.. its very very fascinating. In fact i remember one the challenges to be .. to prepare breakfast for 40 surfers.. keeping in mind that they are had to come up with healthy stuff but enough to feed their hunger.. it was awesome.. just watching all of them in action!!!

Highway on my plate - This one is on NDTV good times.. there are these 2 men who travel on highways.. and eat at all the dhabas possible!! Its fun to watch them gobble up all kinds of food.. today i learnt (just now), there is a sweet called palangtod in Punjab!!!

Chak De India - How much does this guy eat, i wonder everytime.. again comes on NDTV Good times.. he visits various places.. and eats up everything in sight.. and he is lean!!! How???? Just 2 days back i was watching this show.. he ordered the entire rann (the restaurant ppl say that you can order this only if there are 4 ppl) .. mutton paya and some one more chicken/mutton dish and proceedd to eat every thing!!!! Geez.. quite entertaining though!

Foodie : Does this come on Times Now or CNN IBN.. not sure.. but this guy, Kunal Vijaykar, literally drools over the food being prepared.. you can almost see it!!! He loves his food and the name of the show is very apt too!!! :)

I also have watched Kylie Kwong.. Floyd's India.. and many many cooking shows.. remember Yan can cook? lol

Whats your favourite?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

can you believe it?

This is what i am reduced to... putting in a post so early in the morning!! Again from from husband's laptop.. which is available to me only in the morning..

But this morning has been kind of wondrous only.. also made breakfast.. that too doshas.. and some chutney for which i painstakingly cut onions, tomatoes etc... though one normal thing thankfully is that i am still not ready!! :) Usually the only thing that i can do in the morning is have tea.. and read paper!! I am barely human.

The world is upside down today!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tomato chutney / pickle... any takers?

My parents were over.. the last few days.. dad makes this delicious tomato chutney cum pickle kind of a thing.. which i love.. i can positively have it with anything.. i was pestering him to make some for me this time again.. and then mom took over .. she wanted to make it for me.. but then i decided to learn it for myself.. i was especially motivated by the fact that unlike regular pickles.. this can be had almost instantaneously!!! So i told her to give me directions.. while i made the thing myself!!

1) Finely chop tomatoes (about 8-10 odd).
2) Heat oil in a pan (easily about 3 ladles.. more if you so feel when cooking)
3) Put a teaspoonful of mustard seeds, about 15-20 cloves of garlic chopped (you need to, rather your spouse / BF needs to live with your hand reeking of garlic), an inch of ginger chopped, about 2-3 green chillies (i used the big ones, so i assume 5-6 of small ones.. as per your palate), 6-7 curry leaves.. toss everything into the hot oil..
4) Once it browns a little (a little, not even a full minute, dont burn).. add the tomatoes and fry
5) Add a knob of tamarind.. cut / shred it as much as you can .. it will anyway dissolve mostly
6) Add salt (as per taste), red chilly powder (about 2-3 teaspoons, again as per taste)
7) Add a teaspoonful of powdered fenugreek seeds (sabut methi as we know it).. i crushed / ground it by hand.. using that thing.. that i am not able to remember the name of.. the hand powdering thing.. anyway, i am sure you know what i mean
8) Fry till tomatoes are done

Voila.. tomato chutney / pickle.. whatever you want to call it is ready!!! Besides normal food, it also tastes nice with mathri..

One more dish to add my culinary knowledge!!! :)