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Archive for April, 2011

Tangled

…. in the magic woven by Disney’s Tangled. Wow….What an animated film!!!

I had thought that the era of Princess stories were well and truly over with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. And to think the tale was spun and adapted with so much flair from a dusty old fairy tale like Rapunzel was so breathtakingly beautiful. Made me want to believe in fairy tales once more. After watching the film, I was left with an immense sense of brimming Happiness and joy.

The Smoulder

Each character was so full of life. Flynn Rider aka Eugene Fitzherbert had me at his first smoulder. Rapunzel won me over when she turned a bunch of drunken thugs around into singing about their dreams. Maximus the royal horse was more a giant grown puppy. Maximus was my adorable apple munching hero in the story. And Pascal, Rapunzel’s chameleon with its cute bulging eyes and antics was a memorable sidekick too.

The hair of Magic Gold

There is some sort of unspoken fascination about dreams being painted on tall tower walls with vivid colours and a thousand floating lanterns alight in the midnight blue sky that tugs at one’s imagination. Not to forget the hair of magic gold touched by a drop of Sun bearing the magic of healing and swashbuckling was most endearing.

Rapunzel

The story line was equally bewitching although one might argue that a wicked witch and a young princess is an old school formula. But all that mattered to me was it was told brilliantly in a very different way. The movie kept me engrossed every minute of the way. Rapunzel’s guilt trips on leaving her tower and enjoying to her heart’s content and regretting crossing her mother was so natural and amusing to watch. And who would have thought that an old lady saucepan would make a great weapon someday!!!

The Adventurous foursome – Eugene, Pascal, Rapunzel & Maximus

And Eugene’s turning a new leaf was heart warming too. The lantern scene was so romantic. Romance can never get old and in true Disney fashion kept that trend alive. Also in the climax my heart very nearly stopped for a second during the ‘moment of reckoning’. What a turn! I honestly didn’t see it coming.

Romance of a thousand lanterns in the midnight sky

Truly captivating animation, colours, expressions, imagination and many more adjectives that can only merely give a glimpse of the charming Fairy tale. For those that love and appreciate animated films and Fairy tales, Tangled is one film that must not be missed. Watch it with your kids, or your grandchildren, or nieces or nephews. It is a great film with a great heart. I rate this movie a “Perfect 10”.

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Has always been one of my favoured dishes whenever I went to a Dhaba /North Indian restaurant. The Dum Aloo again is a special dish that has special memories that I associate with home and my childhood.

Racing against time to complete the end of the month reports, it was a tradition to not cook dinner on the last day of the month because all four of us would be busy as bees. As much as it was busy it was also memorable and a treat for us back then. We ordered our night’s dinner from the Kwality Riviera Punjabi Dhaba in Adyar. Our standard order used to be Butter naan, Palak Paneer/Kadai Paneer (there has to be atleast 1 paneer dish) and the Dum Aloo.

Realising it had been ages since I had tasted Dum Aloo, especially since I am now keen on making dishes that I enjoyed eating, but never made before, I decided that this would be something I will do for a get together. It is risky for a first attempt. But what the heck! What is cooking without a bit of risk and adventure? – I ask!

Yummy Dum Aloo

 

Ingredients

1/2 kg Baby potatoes/regular potatoes cut to the size of baby potatoes – boiled and peeled
3 tbsp Lemon juice
Chopped Coriander leaves
4 tbsp cup Ghee
Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup milk.
Oil

For the masala paste
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
2 Red Onions chopped
A small knob of Ginger
1/2 cup Desiccated coconut
8-10 Cashew nuts
2-3 Green chillies
2 tsp red chili powder
6 cloves of Garlic
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam Masala

Method

Boil and peel the potatoes. Prick the potatoes making 5-6 holes with a toothpick or a fork to allow the potatoes to absorb the flavour later. Shallow fry the potatoes until it turns golden brown to give it a crisp texture on the outside and set aside.

Grind all ingredients of the masala paste into a smooth paste.

Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Add the masala paste. After the rawness of the paste is gone and the ghee starts to separate from the gravy, add milk and water. Let it simmer for a while. Add the lemon juice to the gravy and then add the potatoes. Add sugar for the balance in flavours.

Cook covered partially for 8-10 minutes to allow the masala to seep into the potatoes.

Garnish dish with chopped coriander.

Dum Aloo

 

 

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Mum’s ‘Can never go wrong’ Veg Korma

I kept craving for the amazing Veg Korma mum used to make for us regularly which I used to take for granted back then. Korma was fairly regular back home. Not once did I think I would be missing this awesome dish sorely. So I decided to make it. If I can’t go to India, I said to myself ‘bring India home’.

Again this turned out almost as perfect as mom’s did. Thanks Mom for sharing your signature dishes.

If you stick to the measures given, you will for sure get the taste and beauty of my mother’s Veg Korma which is unparalleled. And surprisingly quite easy to make.

Ingredients:

2-3 Medium sized Potatoes cut into medium square cubes
10-15 Beans cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Carrots into medium square cubes
2 Onions finely chopped.
3 Tomatoes cut into square chunks
1/2 Cup desiccated Coconut
7-8 Garlic cloves
10 Cashew nuts
3-4 Green chillies
1 tsp Cumin seeds
3 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
Oil
Salt

Method:

Heat 4 tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add jeera, cinnamon stick, cloves.  Add onions and sauté. During this time get your veggies (Potatoes, Carrots and Beans) steamed in the microwave. Add tomatoes, and fry till tomatoes turn mushy. Add salt and 1 cup water for everything to boil.

Grind Coconut, cashew nuts, chilli and garlic into a thick paste. Add this paste when the veggies comes to a boil. Add water as required for right consistency as cashews tend to make gravy thicker. Garnish with coriander.

Mum's delightful Veg Korma

 

Serving suggestions:

It’s a fantabulous combination with Aapam. Goes well with Pulao and Roti/chapatis too.

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Peas Pulao

 

Peas Pulao

Made this really easy and simple peas pulao recipe for a get together recently. Is a sure shot that would please everyone. The sweetness of the peas is really what makes the pulao a success.

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Oil
1-2 tsp jeera
2 onions sliced julienne
7-8 cloves of garlic
Whole garam masala [2-3 Cloves, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 1-2 Bay leaves, 2-3 Cardamom, 3-5 Peppercorns optional]
4 Cups Basmati Rice
2 Cups Peas
5 Cups Hot Water
Coriander leaves chopped
Salt

Method:

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add whole garam masala & jeera seeds, fry till aromatic. Add the onions and sauté until it turns translucent. Then add the peas. After a minute or so add the washed basmati rice and fry for a couple of minutes till the rice is evenly coated with oil.

Add 5 cups hot water to the rice and add salt lastly. Close lid of pressure cooker and let it cook up to 1-2 whistles. Remove off the heat. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Yummy peas pulao

 

Peas pulao is ready to be served.

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“Oi, You!!! Molaga looked up from his digging questioningly. Understanding that I meant for him to come in, he walked back towards the patio door. “Uh-uh…What are you supposed to do???”. He paused and looked up at me just as he was about to enter the house. He knew the answer all right. He just thought he could get away with it. Meekly Molaga swept his paws on the door mat and obediently stood on the spot waiting for me to haul the hose in to spray water on his paws. Once he was clean he pranced back as if he was calling it a day and clonked on to his bed, panting.

I shut the french windows and picked up the newspaper and pen, headed back to the bedroom with my Coffee mug. Setting the coffee and paper on to the coffee table by my bay window seat, I plumped up my “Eat Pray Love” Cushions (that’s what I call it) and settled my back into it.

Eat Pray Love Cushions

Boy I love those cushions. If you are thinking that these cushions bore the design of the book cover or Julia Roberts smiling on my cushion, you are definitely wrong. I call them that because they are just cushy and plump like the one in the movie when Julia Roberts reads a book relaxing against the cushions in Bali. Ahh…sigh!!!

The pleasures of life…..

I turned my attention back to the paper taking a sip of the wonderful brew. My eyes scanned a list of Vacancies available. I was looking for a part-time or casual job on the weekends that could teach me a bit about art or gardening or one of those areas that I class as ‘Nice to know’.

‘Mystery shopper for vineyards assessments”- Talk about getting drunk on the job.

‘Earn while you lose weight’ – Paper runs. Boring!!!

‘Community support worker for Children’ – Challenging!

‘Potter’s barn/Antiques store help required’ – That now caught my interest. I made a circle around the ad and got up deciding to give them a call tomorrow.

Antique love

Being a huge fan of learning on the job, I decided that I was not going to attend courses or seminars to learn something new. I wanted the rush, thrill and excitement of creativity flowing between my hands. And learn about things that one could only pick up on the job. To have the feel of my imagination turning into a piece of art. Or learning the secret mysteries and journey of a well travelled artefact held more excitement for me than sitting behind a projector with the tutor droning on a monotone.

I put out the lights and climbed into bed with memories of the day swimming back into my mind, the last conscious thought being my coffee with Brody while Molaga settled himself at my feet. I stared into the ceiling reliving our parting scene.

Embarrassed by my own gesture that I had reached out to a total stranger and having had a conversation of what felt like partaking on a very personal part of someone’s life, I rubbed my eyes trying to wipe the memory, mentally distancing myself. But the images just kept flowing ….fading into a black and white movie starring me and Brody, I could see the scene play out almost live.

I saw myself giving a moment to Brody to gather himself, I bent down and ruffled Molaga’s head and stood up prompting Brody to stand up as well. I coiled Molaga’s leash on my palm and gave Brody a half-smile and nodded my head to one side, shook his hand and said – “Thanks for the coffee…,and of course the Biscotti!”. “Rrrufff!!!” said Molaga. I guess he was saying thanks too.

“Hey I owe you remember???”, replied Brody. I waved him off and turned away with a smile, Molaga at my heel. Brody called out – “Hope to see you around sometime, my HERO”. He yelled the last word out for everyone to hear.

I got into the car my cheeks burning hot.

Side view mirror

I drove off without another glance at Brody but watched him on my side view mirror to find him staring at the back of my vehicle fading away into the distance.

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If you are like me so out of ideas and searching your brain for that inspirational quick and tasty fix after a long hard day’s work. The perfect answer to that sumptuous dinner is Corn Methi Pulao. I came across this recipe which sounded so good and lived up to its expectations every bit.

Corn Methi Pulao

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 3 cups
2-3 Onions chopped
1 Cup Methi leaves
1 Cup Corn kernels
1 tsp Turmeric
Whole Garam Masala – 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 3-4 peppercorns
1-1.5 tsp Jeera
2 tbsp Vegetable  Oil
5 Cups Hot Water
Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add jeera and whole garam masala to the oil. Once the spices turn fragrant, add the onions and saute until translucent. Throw in the methi leaves and corn. Add turmeric and salt.

Add the washed rice to the cooker and fry the rice for a couple of minutes on high. Add 5 Cups hot water to the rice and check level of salt. The water should taste a tad salty which would be about a pinch more than the saltiness that is just right for you. Pressure cook up to 1 whistle and turn off the stove.

Yummy Corn Methi Pulao

Serving suggestion and Tips:

***Serve hot with natural yoghurt or better yet greek yoghurt 🙂

***You can also add some garlic along with the onions and may be fried paneer(cottage cheese) too to make it yummy and indulgent.

***Reduce quantity of methi leaves if you do not like the bitter flavour of the leaves.

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Not even during my wedding did I feel this kind of jitters or leap through highs and lows that felt like a roller coaster ride. Resigning ourselves to the rather limp and stuttering version of online cricket live telecast, ordering extra data usage and getting prepared for the match lest we miss out on the nation’s verve, we waited for the hours to turn into minutes and minutes to seconds. So when our friends invited us over to watch the D-Day Final at their home joining in on the spirit, to watch the Historic match on Live Television, it was with both hands that we grabbed the opportunity. Now all there was to do was go through the pain staking wait for the match to start.

On one side there is all this historic data pointing to some supposed results, while the other side of unpredictability depicts the recent brilliance of the young talent within the team beckoning a new era in Indian cricket.

Superstitions and Hoping against Hoping rife in my mind, I read on my Facebook page, a friend write – “1983 and 2011 calendars are exactly the same. And the million dollar question – India won the World Cup Final in 1983. Can History repeat itself???” My childish heart grasped at the illusion of victory in India’s arms this time round.

For that Coveted gold trophy

So when the Indian team started off great with fantastic economy in giving out runs, sharp fielding by the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli saving precious runs, containing the Sri Lankans, there was much hope within me that the Boys in Blue (Indians) can pull it off with the stellar batting line up they had. My wishful thinking declaring that we had a positive chance of bringing back the World Cup if the Target was under 250 runs. With Zaheer Khan going great lengths for economy of run rate, it was an absolute shocker when the last of the power play resulted in India being thrashed taking the Grand Total to a formidable 274.

“No worries’, I told myself. We still have hope with greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Virendar Sehwag who if they built a partnership can crumble the opposition’s defence or attack to dust. But that was not to be, with the careless Sehwag being given out for an LBW (Leg Before Wicket) on his very second ball. Well we still have Sachin and the youngsters to rely on. Let’s not give up hope yet. Enter Gautam Gambhir who was being pressured by the Lankan attack, he started off shakily establishing a much-needed solid partnership. Sachin treated the crowd to a couple of boundaries and some classy shots picking gaps intelligently for the much-needed runs between the wickets. But alas, another punch below the gut, he was caught behind by the wicket keeper. The equilibrium was tumbling and so was the Indian confidence.

In came Virat Kohli who’s bullish attitude can be misconstrued for arrogance or false bravado. He and Gambhir started stabilising the Indian innings by running between the wickets and building a partnership and keeping the run rate under control. But my developing faith in them again was shaken by Kohli’s exit. What an unlucky catch being caught and bowled by the bowler it was! But mind you both Kohli and Gambhir had put in place a foundation, something for the rest of the line up to make up for the remainder of the runs. Something to build on!

The partnership that gave Hope - Kohli and Gambhir

If you had been following the World Cup, you would have expecting Yuvraj Singh to make an entrance. Surprise Surprise! The skipper entered the arena. MS Dhoni decided it was time he stepped in, came in ahead to put a stop to falling wickets and build on a quintessential partnership. Gambhir trudged on bravely taking in the attack while the skipper quickly settled into a rhythm to complement him. Dhoni the ice man known for his ultra cool composure, made calculated decisions and risks playing aggressively turning the plates of pressure back on the Lankans. Once both of them got going, there was no stopping them. The Lankan bowling couldn’t infiltrate the Indian batting. No chinks in the armour. Of course no match would be normal if it weren’t for a couple of lucky turns, one of Gambhir being dropped early on in the match and Dhoni having a just miss run out ruling him safe after a third umpire decision.

The match was finally turning in favour of the Indian’s side with the duo piling up runs and not cowering under pressure. Dhoni inched on with selfless play leading his team to victory, and the crowd praying for Gambhir’s ton. Such a shame, the young man missed out on his World Cup 100 when he was dismissed by being bowled out when he moved away from the crease to go for a big one. Shy of 3 runs to the ton, the youngster exited but with much pride for what he had done for his country. He had done what experienced batsmen couldn’t. Given the Indians a new lease of life and a chance at a possible victory.

The tournament sweetheart Yuvraj Singh came with his breezy swagger, those face lines creased with determination, grit and steely attitude of taking his nation to the victory stand. It was a run a ball situation and the match could go either way still. The fear that Lankans could capitalise on one sign of weakness and could change the fate of the game did not go without consideration. And what finally turned the fates was the couple of boundaries that became the nail in Lanka’s coffin. With one more run between the wicket, Dhoni took stage for what would be the moment millions of Indians would come to revere. He blasted the ball to a Huge Match Winning and World Cup winning SIX

The World Cup winning sixer

making history in style. Yuvraj broke into joyous tears of disbelief while the first of the Captain’s smiles broke out just then.

Yuvraj's cry of victory

India had WON!!! Made history. Sorry, repeated History! But re-scripted the definition of what it was to be on a winning team. It was no more a case of Tendulkar shouldering on the nation’s burden like Atlas, but every man giving it his all to make this win a possibility. The known story of Indians crumbling if the great Sachin fell was no longer true, it has been disproved. The Indian team has been resurrected by a captain called Dhoni whose leadership greatness has reshaped the team morale, calibre, with talent being given the right recognition that they deserve leading the team to a memorable victory.

But on saying that what a dedication to the legend named Sachin who played his last World Cup. And about to retire from ODI. Although he did not get 100 Hundreds at the World Cup it was a poetic sunset on his career going away with a World Cup achievement under his belt. He had waited with bated breath for 21 years of his career. What a glorious way to end his career! Thank you Sachin for being a perennial inspiration to the young generation for giving cricket such a priceless legacy that cannot be obliterated till cricket’s dying days. May your legacy live unto eternity.

 

The Legend - Sachin Tendulkar

Here are some of my emotions that I shared on Facebook immediately after the match.

“WHAT A MASSIVE WIN!!! I AM SO PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN!!! JAI HIND!”

“I am reeling from the dramatic win by India….you’d think hope started dwindling after the first 2 wickets fell…but Gambhir & Kohli stabilised the Indian Innings and Dhoni rose to the occasion and gave the innings of a CAPTAIN….Hats off to Dhoni for keeping his cool till the last moment and what a six to finish off in style…
And its such a poignant send off for Tendulkar…..”

“Can’t hold back tears of JOY AND UNCONTROLLABLE HAPPINESS!!!!!!! It’s so amazingggggggggggg……”

“And wishing that India wins the same way in the Down Under as well in 2015!!!”

“It was so worth losing sleep if my nation could win….
Am reading and re-reading the cricket team reactions and fans comments trying to relive those moments of cricketing greatness…every word drawn out from the players and the people is so emotional and passionate! One can never doubt the nation’s religion is indeed CRICKET!!! Such an edge on seat FINAL!!!!!!! Well played Indians!!!”

“The World Cup 2011 finale is one match that I wouldn’t mind watching again and again.
And there has been only one other match that held me in such awe….it was the match when no sandstorm on earth was going to stop the Zeus-like Tendulkar display his exemplary brilliance at Sharjah against the Ozzies!!!”

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