Monday, January 31, 2011

Gobhi Tikka

I have been meaning to cook Paneer Tikka for a long time now. Today I decided to make Palak Paneer and Paneer Tikka but there wasn't enough paneer for both and so I made Gobhi Tikka instead.
I mixed Paneer Tikka and Arbi takki recipe as reference and used instinct. It turned out yummy... without frying. Healthy and tasty:
  • Cut cauliflower florets. Wrap them in cling film. Place on a plate and microwave for 4-5 mins. I made the mistake of using a non stick tava which is not to be used in microwave mode. The cling film stuck to cauliflower and tava but came off easily
  • Put some curd in a sieve. The recipe suggested I squeeze the curd in a muslin cloth. The idea is to remove excess water. I used a sieve with very tiny holes. Let it remain for 15- 20 mins
  • Add chaat masala, red chilli powder, haldi, orange color (optional), garam masala, kasuri methi, corn flour and salt. Adjust according to taste and mix.
  • Add cauliflower to the above marinade. Grease a non stick tava. Place the cauliflower on it
  • Place on high rack and grill for 5-6 mins. Turn. Grill for 4-5 mins.
  • Serve immediately
I also tried Palak Paneer but it was not perfect.

There were less tomatoes and more garam masala. Maybe next time.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Goa trip

Surprisingly, it was a good trip. We reached Goa at 6 am on Thursday and checked into Hotel Mandovi at Panjim. The hotel is not too great but located across the river. Day 1 was spent in meeting and working on presentation. We had lunch in the hotel which included a range of non-veg- chicken, fish, pork etc. The time after lunch was torture... I had a headache and wanted to sleep but there was the damn ppt to work on. At around 6 pm the meeting ended. The plan was to go to Brittos at Baga beach for dinner and drinks. We headed to St Anthony beach shack instead since they karaoke and seating on the beach. It is a good place but I did not drink. I was exhausted and knew liquor wouldnt agree with me.
Day 2 was similar except we left early for the same beach shack. I managed to get some shopping done. Everyone was making plans for day 3 which was free. I knew nobody would wake up before 9 am and that also 'coz b'fast is served till 10 am only.
On day 3 we drove on Activa to Anjuna beach. There were mostly foreigners there and we had a good time. In the evening we got on the train and it is back to the pavilion.
Some thoughts:
  • I have done the whole resort thingy at Goa... stay in a good resort, go sight seeing, rent bikes, enjoy at the private beach but never done the partying at the beach shacks and road shopping. Enjoyed it a lot and want to go there once again. Maybe, next month?
  • Drinking is not my thing anymore. Don't know why
  • On the way back there was a family on the train- husband, wife, 2 kids. I groaned on the inside. Kids around means constant noise and chatter. The wife started feeding the younger kid Maggi from a tiffin and I was shocked. The kid could barely talk and instead of being fed something nutritional she was eating Maggi. I know kids love it... but it is not healthy and the later they start on junk the better it is. Anyway, the husband was completely useless. He didn't help her anything. Even when we had to get off the train..he picked up 2 bags and stood by the door. The wife removed other 2 bags, woke the elder kid, made him wear shoes and sent him to the husband, took the younger kid in her lap and with a last look left. What an ass of a husband who thinks he is a guest in his own family
  • Why is Uncle Chips not available in Mumbai?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Black forest Cake

I am heading to Goa with colleagues tonight and everyone will bring something for dinner. I asked what I should bring and all of them started laughing. All my colleagues are male. Because I am good at my job it is inconceivable for them that I can also cook... and cook well. For a second I thought I should prove them wrong but then decided against it. Whose got the time? And why should anyone else's perception affect me? Its not like I will be appraised on my cooking skills at the end of the year.
Even in engineering college when someone got to know I could cook they would look surprised. Cooking is still considered a domestic women's domain. I started cooking 'coz my mom was behind our (me and sis) lives for the same. She is ok with the job and career part but believes every "woman" should be able to cook. I took an interest in it to win her approval (which ultimately never came but thats another story). As an independent woman I believe cooking is an important skill. The least I should be able to do is feed myself.
Unfortunately, most men don't think that way. They never have to enter the kitchen in the parents house... the mother or sister cater to the gastronomic needs. Times are changing. More and more men are turning to cooking... I know very few of them. But the change is still slow.
Currently, most of my colleagues are male... only 1 or 2 of them have working wives and so do not understand the pressures of home and work balance. They can reach home at any time of night and hot homemade food is guaranteed.
Coming back to the cake, one of my colleagues suggested last night I also bring something. Finally, I decided on a cake. I had been meaning to try black forest cake on Sunday for KC but there was not enough time.
Here is the recipe:
  • Pilsbury chocolate cake mix (Sorry Anita... I will bake a cake from scratch one of these days). Add mix, 2 eggs, 3/4 th cup water and some oil. Mix well. Pre-heat oven at 180 C, grease baking pan, sprinkle some of the cake mix at the bottom. Beat the mixture for 2-3 mins. I use a hand mixer. Pour in baking pan. Bake for 25 mins at 180 C. Stick a knife. If it comes out clean cake is done. Let it cool.
  • Take 200-300 gm of Fresh cream (I used Amul) in a vessel. Place ice cubes in a bowl and place the cream wala vessel on this. Beat with a mixer for 5-10 mins. Add 3/4th cup icing sugar and 5-6 drops of vanilla essence. When baking a cake the proportion of all ingredients have to be exact but with icing there is a flexibility. I checked if the sugar was enough and added more if required. Beat for 15 mins more. It is a tedious process. Beat till icing becomes thick.
  • Remove cake on a wire rack or something flat... but not on a plate or thali. The bottom part should be facing on top. Use a knife to cut into 2 parts horizontally. There are special knifes for this but I use a regular knife. Apply a solution of sugar and water on the both cake parts where icing will be applied. Leave it for 5 mins. Orange juice, cherry juice (if using canned cherries) can also be used
  • Apply icing on the cake parts. Place one part over another. Apply sugar solution on top and apply icing on top. Again, there are special knives for smoothing the icing. I used a butter knife.
  • Take cooking chocolate (I used Dairy Milk) from fridge. Let it come to room temperature. Use a grater to grate on the cake. Decorate with cherries. Keep in the fridge to cool.
All said and done there is nothing sexier than a man who can cook and clean.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fingers crossed

Hi. It has been sometime since I blogged. Here is an update of what is going on:
  • A friend had come over last week. We were laughing over our old school pics and discussing people. It was good fun. I am planning to scan them, upload them on fb and tag people. My batchmates will kill me. Some of them are so much hotter now. Their school pic on fb will be the absolute killjoy
  • Recently I noticed that a lot of Gujju acquaintances are getting married to Gujju guys. Nothing wrong with that except... how is it possible that people travel far away from their homeland and fall in love with a guy of the same community? It beats all logic. And it is not just 1 person... 3-4 people. My above friend (who is a Gujju and dating a Marathi) did not have very good things to say about this. Her opinion is that Gujjus can only bond with Gujjus. I don't advocate this reason... but cannot find a fitting explanation.
  • I baked my first pizza in new microwave and it turned out yum...
  • I cooked bhindi veg in the microwave. When tomatoes are cooked on gas they turn sour... give a khatta taste to veg while in the microwave they give a sweet taste. Wow!!! I am fascinated
  • I am off to Goa tomorrow for an official trip with colleagues. Not really looking forward to it but got to do it
  • Got my increment and I am pretty happy with it 'coz my expectations are lower. I guess happiness and satisfaction is about lower expectations. It is all about 'managing expectations'
  • Got a Bose wave player as incentive. The music quality is damn good but I need to connect it to the TV and see. I can't think of any more electronics/gadgets we need... we have them all... 2 LCD TVs, washing machine, AC (another one on its way), coffee maker (packed and kept aside), rice cooker (useless), Ipod, sound bar (for laptop), 2 microwaves, toaster, blackberry etc. Whew!!!
There maybe some good news and announcements here next month. Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dhobi Ghat

Let me warn you... Dhobi Ghat is an out and out art movie. Just 'coz Aamir stars in it does not make it commercial.
There is no story... it is like reading a book of short stories... where there is no ending. I am finding it hard to describe it... if you read short stories you know what I mean.
The actors/actresses are not any of the 4 characters but Mumbai. The sights, sounds, lives in Mumbai are captured beautifully. You get a glimpse into the South Mumbai elite crowd, the artistic/intellectual people, the slum dogs (forgive the term) and the middle class.
I loved it... I think Kiran Rao is a brilliant director in the leagues of Mira Nair. My only problem is Aamir... he should not have been in it. He is out of place. Many people will walk out of the theatres 'coz they will enter expecting an Aamir Khan movie. Why raise expectations? Your movie should draw the targeted crowd and keep out riff raff. The movie should get good reviews from people who understand it rather than get trashed by those expectations are different.

I got thinking... what makes Mumbai so special? I do not find this city any greater or better... instead life is tough here. Is that what Mumbaikars are proud of? That they are tougher, more resilient? I don't know. "Mumbai" generally refers to South Mumbai and Bandra. Everything else came later. Living in suburbs does not make me feel part of "Mumbai crowd". There is nothing different about me here. It is better to live in another city than in the Mumbai suburbs.

What it has given me is a sense of freedom and security that I have not found anywhere. 2 years back when I had start living in Thane for the 1st time I was at the station waiting for the local train. A beggar was troubling me... he kept touching my arm and asking for money. I ignored him. Beggars can be irritating and incidents like them touching your feet, arm etc are common. A lady next to me screamed at the beggar; "How dare you touch her? Get away". He moved off. "Wow" I thought. Driving or travelling alone late at night is not an issue here. The day winds down at midnight.

Here is to Mumbai... to the dirt, pollution, poverty, slums, noise... and freedom.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfect Saturday night

Saturday night was perfect. After watching the match (him watching it... me on laptop) we headed to Barbecue Nation for dinner. I have visited the Bandra outlet and liked the one in Thane as well. Best part is it is close to my house. After dinner we headed for a drive and coffee to Hiranandani, Powai.
I purchased a microwave and have decided to try new stuff. Over the weekend it was cake (again) and today it was idlis. The microwave has pre-set 131 recipes which makes cooking convenient. Unfortunately, idlis are not one of them. When I put them on momo recipes they got burnt.
This is how I managed to cook them:
  • I use the MTR mixture. Take 1 cup of mixture in another bowl. Add 1/2 cup curd and 3/4 cup water. Mix well and set aside for 5 mins
  • Grease an idli stand... the one specially made for microwave. Add the mixture. Be careful 'coz the stands kept toppling over. No, it was not 'coz I am overly clumsy
  • Place idli stand in the container. Do not add water. I made that mistake the first time. Cover
  • Keep on microwave on HIGH (900w in my case) for 4-5 mins. Remove from microwave and let it stand for 5 mins
  • Serve
I have been reading how food cooked in microwave can be better than on gas. I did not believe it... but now I do. These are the softest idlis I have ever eaten and they were cooked in 5 mins. Cooking idlis on gas can be a pain. The time taken is high and I have to check every few mins to see if they are done.

KC warned me against blogging about the microwave but I am excited. It is like a whole new world has opened up in front of me. I wish I had more time to experiment. Next on the agenda is paneer or chicken tikka.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jessica Lall

I had been reading some blogs regarding NOKJ and people had some concerns about the movie. I liked the movie and felt it was fair to the actual events.
  • There is a perception that Sabrina Lall was a brave, spirited woman and Vidya's character was not fair to that image. Here is what she said to Tehelka in her interview: "the moment Manu Sharma got bail in 2002 January I stopped going to the court. I told my father I m sorry I am not up to it anymore; I am fed up. I grieved with my father." And her emotions after the judgement when Manu Sharma was acquitted "like in most of the situations one could presume somewhere in the back of your mind you can feel things are not in the right direction….but it still hits you. its hard because it puts a closure on something you were waiting for a longtime. Somehow you get above it. That’s it. There is no where else to go, then on. This is the end. Due to all the problems in my family, in my own personal life, it was terrible, you feel let down,…it was not like bolt of the blue…one was expecting it." I think the movie was true to all these emotions
  • Vidya is looking quite dowdy compared to Jessica. If you look at Sabrina pics anywhere she is nowhere close to her sister. I also liked that Vidya was de-glam in the true sense... without make up in maximum scenes. They have even show the open pores on her face.
  • NOKJ had NDTV instead of Tehelka. It is a movie... NDTV is known by common man. How many know about Tehelka? Due credit was given to it in the end. It is just a movie... not a documentary

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First cake in new microwave

Chocolate cake- Pilsbury cake mix. It tastes as good as the one made from scratch
Chocolate icing- Pilsbury ready icing... I think the consistency of the one made from scratch is better
I didn't have the patience to even the cake.

Reminders to myself:
  • Next time use a bigger tin container. The cake tripled in size and was shaped like a mountain. For icing it should have a flat top
  • Remove the top layer for icing and use the icing when it is still hot. Maybe putting the vessel on another one with hot water will help
I can't eat it 'coz of the calories and there is nobody else to eat. Want a bite? I will parcel it.

No one killed Jessica

Hiya... I watched this one alone and woke up 7 am to catch the 10.45 am show. It is a damn movie... reality based... less sensation... no songs (except in the background)... more facts... Vidya and Rani both are good. I don't know why they are having a cold war, they just have 2-3 scenes together. It shows that media can make and also break. In this case it overturned a judgement.
I love Amit Trivedi- the music director. Whether it is Dev D, Udaan or NOKJ the music blends into the movie. Generally, music directors have a style which is repeated in most songs- A R Rehman, Pritam, Bappi Lahiri, Anu Malik etc... not so with AT. The music fits the movie and not the other way round. And this coming from me who does not understand music at all is huge.
I was googling the Jessica Lal case and was surprised to read that Manu Sharma was found partying last year even though he was supposed to be in prison. Has justice really been served or can the rich and powerful get out of anything?
I was sad to know Peeya Rai Chaudhary (Kiran of Hip Hip Hurray) is married to the coward Shayan Munshi. I have always liked Peeya and love watching her in the smallest roles. Sigh!!! I think they are separating. Jessica Lal case is not definitely not the reason for it.
And yet I wonder- was Shayan really wrong? I mean... what would you do if someone threatened you and asked you to lie in court? If the mad person can shoot without provocation would he think twice before shooting Shayan if he has been honest?
We discover our true character only during such tests.
I hate this man- Ram Jethmalani. Many years back I was reading a book written by him about how he won cases. He had clearly written about how he manipulated the situation to let the criminal go scot free instead of proving what is right.
I had been following Ruchika Girhotra case and was saddened that despite all the uproar the accused was given a sentence of 1.5 years imprisonment. Were the 19 years of court proceedings worth it? A million dollar question. Does the fight ever end?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tasks accomplished

Tasks accomplished today:
  • Grocery shopping
  • Parlour visit
  • Gym
  • Cleaning of containers
I cleaned out all the expired food from containers. There was a lot of it- mainly spices. I need to go grocery shopping again tomorrow for the spices. Last week I started lower body workout. One of the gym guys asked me; "Why are you doing only upper body workout and not lower body?"
Me: 'Coz nobody asked me to
I assumed the guy was an instructor and have approached him 2-3 times for my workout. Today I realized he is probably another guy from the complex who visits the gym. I need to confirm this tomorrow.
I found lower body workout (lbw) quite easy and less strenuous... until the next day. My legs ached for 4 days... I could barely walk and climbing/getting down the stairs was torture. But, I still wore heels (no heels on 31st Dec??? No ways) and drove the car. After 1 day KC stopped believing me. I was in pain for 4 days and pretended to be on the 5th day... to harass KC. Thankfully, KC's friends who are regular gymmers were sympathetic.
Today was day 2 of lbw. After 40 mins of work out I was done but decided to stick around 15 more mins. I will probably pay for the over enthusiasm tomorrow.

Last week when KC was here I managed to cook a lot. The food was better than my cook's... alu onion paratha, dosa- I have never cooked such amazing dosas, red thai curry- which KC did not even taste, chapattis, tomato onion soup etc. I will experiment more now that the microwave is here.

The plan is to watch 'No one killed Jessica' tomorrow... wanted to go tonight but then there will be nothing to do tom.

Btw... sale in Zara at Phoenix... I wish it is atleast 70% off or better still the clothes are given free. I could kill for them. The clothes and fabric is out of this world. I will have a peek on Monday at Phoenix Mills. Zara is far better than Mango.

Chalo... good night. Here is to a peaceful Sunday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just some thoughts

Hey... sorry... I have been gone long. It has been a hectic week. I already need a break. Last night I was stuck in traffic for an hour. Thats what makes driving so tiring. I wanted to blog every night but the hectic schedule didn't give me time.
New Year's was bad... we went for buffet dinner to Park at Belapur. The food was horrible... we rushed out within 30 mins. I don't know why we try so hard to make New Year's Eve special... I think the best NYE was at home... watching late night TV and having Maggi at midnight. What bliss!!!
I just have 2 resolutions:
  • Grow the hair on my head (need to specify... there should not be any misunderstandings later). I have had shoulder length hair for most of my life so I want to grow them this year. It means no trim for next 6 months which means I will look like hell. The trend for 2011 is predicted to be short hair but... I guess like always I will tag behind
  • Lose weight... the target is 1 kg per month and it is not as easy as it sounds. I have not been to the gym for 3-4 days due to the schedule. But I will keep trying
Thats it. No other plans or resolutions. I am too pessimistic with my life to plan it now.
I am looking forward to buying a microwave this week. Any suggestions? I will be able to experiment with my cooking now.

Btw... the Hush Puppies store in Nirmal Lifestyle has a clearance sale- upto 50% off. Check it out if you are near Mulund. Good stuff for around 1000 bucks... for HP it is cheap and affordable.

The SRK episode on Koffee with Karan was awfully boring. All that crying shying... what nautanki.

Investments for 2010 are done... planning for 2011 has begun.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Band Baaja Baarat

Umm... I had heard and read good reviews about this one and was eager to watch it. Everyone knows what the story is about... Indian weddings.
The first half is good... Ranveer can act quite well... better than Imran Khan. Anushka also acts well... better than Deepika. All her movies have been a hit and yet she is not considered one of the top heroines.
The 2nd half is torture.... typical Bollywood stuff. I don't understand why sex is equated to love in Bollywood. They should know better by now. It is the same old formula where hero and heroine sleep around... heroine falls in love while it was just sex for the hero. I also don't understand how they have sex only once... why don't they do it again if they have enjoyed the act?
The end is extremely tacky like any Bollywood movie.

If you haven't watched it already catch on the telly.


Whatta movie. I loved it. A superhero movie with a twist.

I do not like 3d movies... the glasses are dark and when scenes are in 2d they are not clear with glasses on. So I have to wear glasses for 3d and remove them for 2d. Very irritating. In most theatres we have to pay a security deposit for the glasses which is returned on leaving. At Cinemax they made us BUY them for 30 bucks. They are cardboard glasses with 3d lens. We bought it for Gulliver's travels and forgot to carry them for this movie. Anyone going for 3d can borrow/buy them from me.