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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pear & Cardamom Smoothie~ For Blog Hop Wednesdays~ From Priya's Easy n Tasty Recipes

Priya's Blog needs no introduction. Most of us in this blogging world must have come across her blog. It is one of the most frequently updated, versatile and has hundreds of recipes. It is a marathon task to pick up one recipe to try from there because if you spend even  half an hour on that blog you will end up bookmarking so many of her recipes. She has a space with the most wide variety of recipes and I am glad to have been assigned her blog for this edition of Blog Hop. But the problem was how to choose one.


However, I did manage to choose one- Corn and Chickpeas Seekh Kebabs after long hours of shuffling through  her recipes. But, give it to my poor planning, I didn't even realize it is Wednesday today and to make things worse I was missing some vital ingredients to make these kebabs. I am not an instant blogger. I take my time to ponder and compose a post. So, trying these kebabs are put on hold for a day, but, I am going to make them for sure.

Then started another sessions of zeroing on another recipe and this time I wanted a quick recipe with the ingredients I had at hand. What can be quicker than a salad or a smoothie. So, I decided on this Cardamom and Pear Smoothie.

Ingredients:
2 pears peeled and chopped.
1/2 cup low fat Yogurt
1 cardamom pod crushed finely
Sugar to taste

Process:
Add every thing in a blender and give a quick whiz. Adjust the sweetness to your taste. Pour into a glass and serve immediately!

The smoothie was satisfying and the cardamom added a wonderful flavor and warmth to it.  I enjoyed my glass of smoothie.

Check out what other Blog Hoppers are up with.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Today I took the herculean task of updating all the posts in the separate pages tabs of my blog. It was then I realized that I had not posted the review of this book here. I had posted it on the bookreview blog and had some how missed posting here. This is the first book I read this year and it was simply soul stirring! So, if you had missed this post, here it is again.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by the Irish Novelist, John Boyne is a very moving and heart rendering story of a nine year old boy 'Bruno'. The story is set in 1942 during the period of World War II.

Bruno lives in Berlin with his parents and sister, Gretel. His father is a high ranking officer in Army. One day, Bruno returns home only to find that things were being packed as they were moving to some other place. Bruno feels devastated by this news and shows his displeasure to his parents to no avail. He fears the thought of leaving his three best friends for life and a lovely 5 storeyed house in Berlin for some unknown countryside.

Bruno hates the place from the time he arrives there. He hates the place as he has no friend to play with and the new house is not as grand as his house in Berlin. He does not get along with his sister too well as she always tries to show off that she is older than him. Bruno has a very inquisitive and curious nature. After some time of his arrival, he notices people far away surrounded by a high wire fence from his bedroom window. The strange thing he finds is that all of them are wearing the same types of stripped clothes. He ventures asking her sister who asks him to stay away from them. His father forbids him seeing at their direction telling that they are not even real people.

Miserable with his loneliness and curiosity, he decides to explore the place he sees everyday from his window at the back of the house. One day, when no one is around he sets out for his expedition and walk though the trees till he gets to the high fence which he could see from his bedroom's window. He spots a boy on the other side of the fence and is glad that at last he will have a new friend here. He strikes up a conversation with the boy whose name is Shmuel to find that they are in Poland now! Also, he finds out that they are of the same age and share the same birth date. Bruno visits him daily and sometimes he would smuggle some left over food from his house for him. Gradually, their friendship grew. Although, the boys were of the same age, they were from a very different background, different upbringing and at the moment in very different situations.

What happens to them and their friendship is the thing to read in the novel. I am sure you will be moved by it.

Despite all that the story seems like a fable. Whats makes the story fable like is the fact that even at the time of World War II, a curious son of a high ranking officer be so ignorant and unaware of the things happening around. How can he not know the appalling torture and atrocities inflicted to people (Jews) by his country men.

The story leads him from ignorance to revelation only to be subsumed by it.

To quote from the novel:


" And then the room went very dark and somehow, despite the chaos that followed, Bruno found himself that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Palak Paneer ~ Indian Cottage Cheese Cubes In Spinach Gravy

Do you love spinach? 

I don't!

There are only a few preparations of paneer I like and Palak Paneer is one of them, more so as it has paneer in it. Well, most paneer lovers can relate to me here. My DH is big on paneer and can eat it in any form. I make this curry often to incorporate spinach in our food. Spinach is loaded with nutrition, you might know it well if you are a Popeye fan, gulping down a spinach drink does wonders to it strength. 
This recipe has been sitting in my drafts for a long time and I realized it when I made this curry yesterday. With out much ado, here it is:


Ingredients:

200gm spinach leaves
200 gm paneer, cut in cubes and soaked in warm water.(I mostly use store bought paneer. Soaking them in warm water soften them)
1 tomato
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove of garlic pounded
1 tsp grated ginger.
 a small piece of cinnamon
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 green chili slit or chopped.
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp sugar, optional (I like to add it to ward off the bitter taste of spinach!)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp heaped coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2-3 tbsp cream.

Process:
1. In a large bowl add the washed spinach leaves and the tomato. Make a cross slit on the tomato. Pour bubbling hot water over it and cover it for 3-5 minutes.
2. Peel the skin off tomato and drain the water, keeping aside 1 cup of water.
3. Churn the spinach and tomato into a smooth puree.
4. Heat a pan and add oil. add the cumin seeds. Once they sputter, add the garlic, ginger, green chili, cinnamon , bay leaf and cloves. After a minute add the prepared spinach and tomato gravy. Add the salt and cook it on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes.Add the reserved water to give the gravy your desired consistency. Add all the dry spices except garam masala and sugar and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the paneer cubes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add garam masala and stir gently. Finally add the cream and stir gently. Turn off the heat.
6. Serve hot with roti, naan or parathas.


Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrating one year of 'Pages' with Eggless Black Forest Cake!

Time flies. It really does. Some times this realization hits me with a bang and makes me nervous as each seconds trickles away. On other occasions, it is a time to rejoice, to celebrate. Today's occasion falls in the later category. It is my blog's birthday! It was sometime in November last year I created this blog but, it was the 22nd of November when I wrote the first post. So that is the day for me.

So here are my wishes- 

Happy Birthday Blog! I am so glad I created you. 
Through you, I am able to show case to the world what I love to do,
Through you, I have come to know so many like me,
Who like to seek happiness in the simplest things,
Like sharing thoughts on books, food or everyday tales,
Through you I have discovered a new world. 
So, thank you dear blog and I hope we continue on this journey for years to come.


To celebrate this special occasion, I have something special to share today! Black Forest Cake! I had prepared it for by DH birthday, but didn't get to post it. Today is the perfect day to share this sinfully delicious cake. To know a little history of this German dish read THIS. This is off course not a very traditional recipe as it is tweaked to be made egg less. I have made it a couple of times and have  followed the recipe from a Nita Mehta's cook book.

Typically, Black Forest cake consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream decorated cherries, and chocolate shavings. So first we need to prepare a chocolate cake.



Eggless Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:

400gm condensed milk.
1 cup milk.
2 cup AP flour.
½ cup powdered sugar.
½ cup cocoa powder.
1 cup oil.
2 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp soda bicarbonate.
2 tsp vanilla essence.

Process:

1. Grease a 9 inch round baking tin and dust it nicely with flour. Preheat the oven at 175 C for 10-15 minutes.

2. Sieve flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda bi-carb together. Keep aside.

3. Beat oil, sugar and essence till well mixed. Add condensed milk and milk. Beat well till well incorporated.

4. To this mixture add flour mixture in 2-3 batches, mixing well all the time. Beat well for 4-5 minutes till the mixture is light and fluffy and of a soft dropping consistency. Add a few spoons of milk if needed.

5. Transfer the cake mixture to the prepare tin. Level it.

6. Bake it at 175 C for 50-55 minutes.

7. Insert a clean knife in the middle of the cake to check if it is done. If it comes out clean, switch off the oven and take the cake out. Remove from tin after 10-15 minutes, by inverting on the wire rack.

For the black forest cake we will need.

1 chocolate cake (From above).
150 gm glazed cherries.
1 tbsp rum (Gives the flavour, I encourage to use it or use rum essence).
2-3 tbsp sugar.
¼ cup water.

Cream Icing:

300ml double cream- chilled.
4 tbsp sugar or to taste.
Chocolate Decoration:
200 gm milk or semisweet chocolate, as per your taste.
Process:
1.   Chop the chocolate bar into small chunks and place them in a microwave safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes in 4 steps of 30 seconds each. Stir every 30 seconds just to make sure chocolate doesn’t get burnt at the bottom and is evenly melted.
2.   Keep a parchment paper spread over a baking tray. Make sure it sticks to the tray, if needed use adhesive to make it stick. Spread the melted chocolate swiftly and evenly on the parchment paper. Let it rest for4-5 minutes is a relatively cool place so that the chocolate is firm enough to touch but not hard. Slice them into bars of equal sizes using a sharp knife. It is better to measure the height of the cake before spreading the chocolate and slicing it. Once sliced keep it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes till it is well set and gently take them off the parchment paper and store them in the fridge in an airtight container till needed.

Cream Icing and Assembling the cake:


Process:

1. Slice the chocolate cake evenly into 3 equal layers or more if you like. Place one half upside down on a flat plate.

2. Beat cream with sugar till the cream is thick and stands soft peaks. Keep it in the freeze till needed.

3. Dissolve sugar in water with rum. Thinly slice the cherries keeping aside 5-6 for decoration.

4. When the cake is completely cooled down, brush the sugar and rum syrup generously over the cake. The cake will soak it and will be moist. Spread a layer of cream over it evenly. Now spread a thin layer of sliced cherries.

5. Place the second layer of the cake. Brush with syrup generously and repeat the process of spreading cherries and then place the third and final layer and brush the syrup generously. Cover the whole of the cake with cream icing evenly.

6. Cover the cake sides with the prepared chocolate bars. Decorate the top with cream and cherries as desired.

7. Keep the cake in the freeze and take it out 15 minutes before serving

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second book of the much acclaimed Millennium series by the Swedish author Steig Larsson. I had read the first book of the series - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo last year and ever since had been meaning to read the rest next two novels and finally I laid my hands on this.

The second book is almost a continuation of the first book and the story starts from where it was left. It touches most of the loose threads left in the first novel and leaves some more loose ends which I presume will be addressed in the next book of the series (which I can't wait to read).The suspense and thrill factor is huge and the readers are hooked right from the beginning. The author makes you believe the unbelievable. The computer hacking and internet jargons went above my head and I wondered if such feats are actually possible. The story has all the elements that were there in the first and the plot is even more gripping than the first one.

The story starts with simultaneous stories from Lisbeth Salander i,e the girl with the dragon tattoo and the lead character of the novel and Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist and the publisher of the magazine, Millennium. Lisbeth is taking a tour round the world while indulging in her interest of mathematics. Mikael is working with a young journalist couple, Dag Svensson and his girlfriend who are working on a sensational subject on sex trafficking in Sweden which if published will shake the roots of the so called elite section of the society. Blomkvist plans to run the story on an upcoming issue of Millennium. But things goes absolutely hay ware when the the couple are found dead in their apartment. Things get more complicated when Lisbeth's guardian, Nils Bjurman is found murdered in his apartment with the same weapon. All evidence points at one direction- Lisbeth Salander. With her disturbed past, vengeful and unpredictably violent behavior, she is declared to be a threat to the society. But, the problem is no one can locate her. Hence, begins a search to find and locate her and in the process the story unfolds unraveling the dark secrets that had been long sealed behind closed doors.

This book is just un-put-down-able (if there is a word as such). The author has carved a story so addictive that you keep reading till you have turned the last page. A first rate crime novel, a fast paced page turning story that will be in your thoughts long after you have read it, not just for the story but for the meticulously etched characters and the message the author has tried to convey through the series. A must read!

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish Journalist and one of the world's leading experts on anti democratic, right wing extremist and Nazi Organizations. He had died unexpectedly in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts for three crime novels - The Millennium Trilogy to his publisher. All of them have been posthumous best sellers and have been made into movies.

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers

Friday, November 18, 2011

'Lucky Library Picks'- Come Play Along!

This idea had been brimming in my mind for quite sometime now and finally I decided to give it a go. I depend a lot on my local library for supplies of my books. Well, I do buy books but a large chunk of my reading list comes from the library. Sometimes, when I find a book in the library that I had been longing to read, I feel elated and it makes my day. That is how this idea took shape- Lucky Library Picks.

Pages is going to complete one year in a few days, so I thought it is a good time to start a meme.

Here is what it is - every Alternate Friday, post a list of the books that you picked up from the library and felt it was a lucky pick. Yes, it is that simple. You will have to link it to this page and leave a comment on my lucky library picks post that week with your link, so that I can find out what your lucky library picks are! If you share an picture of the same, it would be great but of course, it is not mandatory. However use of this logo is mandatory as it helps spreading the word.

So, here are my Lucky Library Pick for this week.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.
Last Man In Tower by Aravind Adiga.
Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer.


Come, play along and share your lucky library picks!

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake ~ For Blog Hop Wednesdays~ From Sin-A-mon

It's Wednesday and it is time for Blog Hop again. I am sure most of you are aware about this bi-monthly event. If not, then check this out.

This week I am assigned Monika's Blog Sin-A-Mon. I have been following her other blog for quite a time. She is a well known name in the blogging world with her interests ranging from food to books to social awareness. I chose a very simple yet indulgent recipe from her blog -Chocolate Mug Cake. I have tweaked the recipe to make it egg less and added vanilla instead of cinnamon. I have halved the original recipe to yield only one serving. The weather hasn't been great of late with grey clouds and cold days and occasional drizzle. The warm chocolate mug cake was perfect to lift spirits in an otherwise depressing climate.



Ingredients:
2 tbsp AP Flour
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp Nutella
11/2 tbsp milk
11/2 tbsp oil
11/2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla essence.
 Process:
1. Mix all the ingredients and pour the batter into a large microwave safe mug. Mine was big and the batter came 1/3rd of its volume. If you choose a smaller one the batter may overflow while cooking.

2. Microwave it for 2 minutes. Let it sit in the microwave for 30 secs before taking it out. Its ready to eat! I had mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Note:
1. The texture of the mug cake was brownie like. It is best to have it fresh from microwave.

Time to dig in!
Check what other bloggers are up with! Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

# 20 Teaser Tuesdays ~ The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

"He retreated into a solitude that grew in weight day by day. The solitude became a habit, the habit became the man, and it crushed him into a shadow."


Page:39

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

By The Water Cooler by Parul Sharma

By the Water Cooler by Parul Sharma is another book I bought during my India visit after my blogger friends recommended it to me for a light read.It was a very enjoyable read.


To give you an idea about the story line I am quoting the blurb from the back of the book.

Synopsis:
  
Restless and discontent at their jobs in an advertising agency, Mini and Tanya quit and make their way to JR Enterprises. Corporate stardom seems to be only a few PowerPoint slides away. This, however is before the HR Manager who hired them gets fired and reveals in a moment of rare honesty that the organization is a madhouse. The CEO, a committed megalomaniac believes that the two girls are perfect examples of recruitment error. With this first impression to her credit, Mini needs to manage a critical project while keeping her paranoid and obnoxious boss at bay. Tanya could have lent her a shoulder to cry on, except that she is serving time in the office boondocks and is slowly giving in to prenuptial madness. 

Join Mini and Tanya on a wild ride full of impossible deadlines, dirty office politics and espionage even as they lock horns with an office full of eccentric characters. A smart, witty tale of messy work, quirky colleagues and the wily attempt to tame both. By The Water Cooler is the hilarious struggle of holding down a job.
 My take:
It was an easy and light read. The story started slowly but picked up the flow as it progressed. The author has sketched the characters in good detail that the readers could easily make up their image in their minds, they seemed so real and relatable. I had an instant liking for Mini for her 'never say die' attitude. I loved the way she got hold of herself and managed to survive in her job against all the odd circumstances and amidst uncooperative  people. There are some hilarious terms used throughout the book like the nicknames used to denote a person of which 'Lardie' is one, I will always remember.I found Tanya a bit more melodramatic than I would have liked. All the other characters in the novel are distinct and add a different hue to the story. As the story progressed, there were twists and turns and the climax was just perfect. 
Overall the story has a perfect balance of spice, humor and thrill. The title is very aptly given as a lot happens by the water cooler in a corporate office. It is meeting spot for the people to take a break from their work and stretch their arms, to get update on the office gossip and politics etc. It is a breezy and hilarious read that will have you reading in anticipation at one moment and laughing out loud in another.It will definitely make you smile, worth picking it up.
 Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Reward by R. Singh


I received this book for review by the publisher. After going through the synopsis, I was interested in reading it and reviewing it.

The Reward by R Singh is set is Tijuana where the protagonist, Antonio spent his childhood. Before Tijuana became a murder capital, it was a land of stereotypes for tourists. For many, it has always been home. The novel starts with a flashback to 1970 and builds to a cartel killing in 2002. Along the way, kids grow up, live their dreams and face their nightmares. Scattered details turn out to be pieces of a frightening puzzle that locks together perfectly.

Antonio is dying of kidney failure and it is in his end moments that he writes this memoirs for his loved ones. Reading it today we realize how it was to be growing up in Tijuana in a tumultuous period, how the surrounding shaped the mindset and future of the people like Antonio and his friend Ramon. The author takes you through the changes that has occurred in the region over the years and how the transformed Mexico shaped Antonio's destiny. The author has given such vivid description of the regions, of the roads and the coastal areas that you can actually visualize it in your mind. I enjoyed reading about the childhood days of Antonio and how he took pleasure in surfing in the sea, walking and running on the beach. It seemed refreshing. I could well understand why his mother wanted him to learn English, as she could foresee that in future that would be language through which he would be able to communicate with the world.

But there was something about the novel that did not appeal me. It constantly takes you to the darker side of life and makes you feel helpless to the point that it is depressing. Perhaps that is the reason that even the book was of only 145 pages, I took around 6 days to complete reading it. It is a thought provoking story that kept me engaged and I had to keep coming back to it to read it till the end.

A evocative and well paced story that takes you through the journey of a young Mexican who grew up in a place that transformed radically with time and so was his destiny.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coffee and Chocolate Pudding (Eggless) ~ For Sweet Punch

I had somehow missed the mail from Divya about the November Sweet Punch but as the time came mails were pouring into my inbox with links from bloggers who participated in the punch this month. The first thought that came to my mind that may be I was thrown out of the group for not participating in the event for the last 2 consecutive times. But, then I scanned my mails and found the original mail from Divya which I had probably inadvertently missed. Baked pudding is something I had not tried yet and I was very tempted to try it as soon as I saw beautiful pictures floating around in the blog world. And I did give it a try and it came out great!


The recipe chosen for the month is Coffee and Chocolate Pudding from here. I have used only a quarter of the measurements given to get 2 medium size servings. Also, I replaced the egg used in it with yoghurt and a pinch of baking soda. The result was awesome! The pudding when warm was gooey and saucy. I had mine with a generous scoop of Vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. A chocolate lover can't ask for more!



Serves 2:


1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cocoa
Pinch salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp butter, melted
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp yoghurt

A generous pinch baking soda
2 tbsp hazelnuts, chopped.



For the topping 
2 tbsp brown sugar.
2 tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp instant coffee powder mixed with 1/4 cup of water.
Process:
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Sift together dry ingredients.
3. Stir through butter, milk, yoghurt, baking soda and hazelnuts until well combined.
4. Spoon batter into 2 greased ramekins.
5. Sprinkle over brown sugar and cocoa then pour over coffee but do not stir.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Serve with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce if you like.
Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik

Sometimes back when I was trying to make a list of books by Indian authors to buy from India my blogger friend Vibha suggested this title to me. I bought this book from India and recently finished reading it. Firstly, I would like to thank Vibha for recommending me this fabulous book, I am so glad to have read it.

Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik, as is evident from the cover of the book, is an illustrated retelling of the great epic Mahabharata. I have not read the original Mahabharata but I have fond memories of watching the TV serial by the same name on Doordarshan when I was a kid. The closest I have come about reading any literature relating to Mahabharata is the novel, 'The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (this was also recommended by Vibha), a take on Mahabharata through the viewpoint of Draupadi. The Mahabharata is the tale of the terrible war between the Kauravas and Pandavas over the ownership of crown of Hastinapur, that changed the course of Indian history.

To lure you a little more here are some one liners from the back of the book to give you an idea of the plots and complexity of this epic saga!
The Mahabharata is an ancient Hindu epic where:

A son renounces sex so that his old father can remarry
A daughter is a prize in an archery contest
A teacher demands half a kingdom as his tuition fee
A student is turned away because of his caste
A mother asks her sons to share a wife
A father curses his son-in-law to be old and impotent
A husband lets another man make his wife pregnant
A wife blindfolds herself to share her husband's blindness
A forest is destroyed for a new city
A family is divided over inheritance
A king gambles away his kingdom
A queen is forced to serve as a maid
A man is stripped of his manhood for a year
A woman is publicly disrobed
A war is fought where all rules are broken
A shift in sexuality secures victory
The vanquished go to paradise
The victors lose their children
The earth is bathed in blood
God is cursed

Until wisdom prevails

In Jaya, the author has meticulously tried to retell the epic saga, the events that lead to the war, incidents that happened during and post the war and how it affected the people around and those involved in it. The author has not only retold the epic in simple words but has also provided the readers with insights in to the stories and the lessons we can learn from it. Overall, a very well researched book, a must read for any one is remotely fascinated by or interested in Indian Mythology.

After reading this book, I can definitely say that my knowledge about Mahabharata has improved and that was evident to my Hubby too, when I could answer Mahabharata related questions asked on the show Kaun Banega Crorepati, of course, we all play KBC while watching it! My hubby looked impressed(although he would never say that) and I just smiled!

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pav Bhaaji

While going through my drafts today, I found that I had not yet posted some of the recipes which I intended to post during my India visit. In an attempt to use the vegetables in my pantry prior to my India visit, I was making something or the other every day. Finally, one of those recipes is seeing the light of the day!

If you have a number of vegetables lying around what could be better than making this famous street food -Pav Bhaaji. It is very popular dish in my house and I make it quite often. I prefer having this bhaaji at home as most of the time the bhaaji served in restaurants in laced with too much oil. You can use store bought buns or these home made buns will go very well too.

Pav Bhaaji is one of the most popular fast food served through out India right from the roadside vendor to the most upscale restaurants. The dish originally hails from the state of Maharashtra, India. It is basically a mixed vegetable potato curry served with pav buns, chopped onions and a lemon wedge.


Serves 4:

4 large potatoes.
1 carrot
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 onion finely chopped.
½ capsicum finely chopped.
½ cup of green peas.
3 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
3-4 tsp pav bhaaji masala
1 tsp garam masala
2 green chilies chopped finely.
1/4 chopped coriander leaves.
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing.
½ tsp grated ginger.
2 cloves garlic chopped
Salt to taste.
Water as required
1 lemon
2-3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter.

Procedure:

1. Boil the potatoes. Once they are cool enough peel the skin off and mash them into a smooth mixture. Set aside
2. Pressure cook carrot and cauliflower till one whistle. When cool enough churn it in the mixer (not into a smooth paste but somewhat chunky).
3. Heat a frying pan. Add oil. When heated add the chopped chilies, chopped garlic and grated ginger. Stir for a few seconds. Then add the chopped onions. Sautee for 2-3 mins till the onion is slightly golden.
4. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till it melts into a liquidy form. Then add the chopped capsicum.
5. Then add the spices, salt and pav bhaaji masala and heat well for 5-7 mins. Keep stirring continuously to prevent it from over burning. The spices on being roasted will give out a nice aroma.
6.Add the cauliflower and carrot mixture, peas and mix well. Heat for 2 minutes. Add mashed potato paste and mix thoroughly. Add water to give it the desired consistency. Heat for 5 mins.
7. Squeeze out juice of one lemon and add to the bhaaji. Add the chopped coriander leaves and stir it nicely. Heat for a few more minutes. Transfer in a serving bowl. Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and butter.

Pav:

16 buns.
Butter.

Procedure:

1. Heat a tava. Spread butter on the plain side of buns and heat them on the heated tava.
2. Serve the bhaaji hot with warm pav along with finely chopped onions and a wedge of lemon.

Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am Papa by Pranav Bhattacharya

I first read a review of this book at Veens' space and it made it to my TBR list. That is why when I spotted it in a book shop at Mumbai Airport, I bought it. I am glad I did as I spent a good amount of my time on my Mumbai-Kolkata flight reading it. It has been quite a while since I read it (yeah, this review has been long due), so instead of racking my brains to remember the whole plot, I am quoting the synopsis from the back of the book.
Synopsis:


Sometimes, life presents you with a problem so huge,that you are forced to ask : “Where do I start?”
Prof. Arya came back home to enjoy a quiet, retired life. One fine day, his son disappeared, without a trace.All he left behind was a note addressed to Papa.
What would you do if this happened to you?Would you know where and how to start looking for him? Would you be scared stiff and just freeze?
Would you stick to the notions of morality, legality and political correctness?
Every situation needs a Hero, and every adverse circumstance gives birth to one. Who said that a retired Professor can’t be a Hero?!
Join the protagonist of Pranav Bhattacharya’s debut novel as he embarks on a heart-throbbing and
perplexing journey,armed with nothing but his quiet determination and unfailing sense of humor.



I enjoyed reading this book from the very beginning till the end. There was no a single dull moment in the story and after every chapter, I was anticipating what would happen next! The writing style is plain and simple and yet, the author has been able to create  suspense throughout the novel. I really liked Prof. Arya for his unfailing love for his son, no matter what, for the determination with which he took the task of finding his son and bringing him back. There are some unfinished plots in the novel which makes me curious. But, then I feel in real life too there are stories left incomplete, questions that are left unanswered. However, I have heard that there might be a sequel to it and I will surely look forward to it.


I had passed on this book to my younger sister and the book did rounds in her hostel and all her friends loved reading it. Overall, a good read, an engrossing story full of twists and turns. If you looking for a quick read pick it up for sure.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spicy Corn Chaat ~ For Blog Hop Wednesdays~From Sizzling Tastebuds

It is time again for another edition of Blog Hop Wednesday. This week I am assigned Kalyani akka Mom Chef's blog- Sizzling Tastebuds. I would like to express my heartflet gratitude to Radhika for creating such wonderful event. It is indeed a pleasure to visit blog and try recipes from there. In this process I have discovered so many fabulous blog and I believe I will continue doing so. If you too want to be a part of this event check out this.

Coming back to the recipe I have chosen today, it is Spicy Corn Chaat. It is for them who are craving for a spicy chaat and yet are worried about junk food getting into their bellies. In my case, I have already put on quite a lot on my India visit, so I am trying to avoid anything that will add to my already increased waistline..:-(!

I too prepare a similar version often, but this one has loads of vegetable and hence for colourful and healthy too! Thank you Kalyani for this wonderful and healthy recipe.


Spicy Corn Chaat:

Ingredients:
1 cup boiled corn
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp chopped green pepper.
Handful of chopped coriander.
1/4 tsp Black salt
1 tbsp lemon juice.
1/2 tsp chat masala
a dash of freshly ground pepper.
chopped green chilli to taste.

Process:

1. Add all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and mix.
2. In another large bowl, add all the other ingredients and corn preferably warm/mildly hot.
3. Pour the dressing over it and mix well. Serve immediately.


Check out what other bloggers are up with!
Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I too had a love story by Ravinder Singh

I chanced upon this book at my sister's place in Kolkata. On inquiring, I found that my brother had left it at her place while shifting places for his job. Now, my brother is not much of a reader and that he was interested in this particular book intrigued me. More over, the past tense in the title of the book made me curious. I was sure, it was going to be an easy read. It is the debut novel of the author, Ravinder Singh. I borrowed this book from my sister and finished it in two sittings!

The author tells his love story through this book. It has a tragic end, which explains the past tense of the title. It is the love story of Ravin and Khushi. The author tells how he met the girl of her dreams and how their love bloomed. But, things doesn't happen as he had thought as destiny had other plans for them. Giving out more about the story would not do justice to any aspiring readers. So, read the book to find out more. Having said that,I must add that if you are looking for a literary piece than it's not one. If you are looking for a meticulously crafted plot in the story, it doesn't have one. What catches your attention in this book, is the simplicity of the book and the honesty with which the author has written it, and that this story is based on his own love story makes you empathize with the author for having gone through a difficult patch in life.

The story is plainly written yet beautifully executed. All emotions conveyed through the story are delivered. It is indeed a touching love story and it did struck a chord in my heart.

It is the kind of book I would prefer when I am in a mood for a light read.

The author has put his heart and soul in writing this book.It will stay in your mind long after you have read it.
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