0

Much ado about march 

02.03.2015

What a rain filled day in Dehradun which made me wonder how wet does it get in Cherrapunji! It was perfect weather for endless cups of tea, some in front of a cosy fire! 



Checked out this neat tea box with some herbal tea! Latter was ok but the box is super sexy! 

Watched Dum Laga Ke Haisha- a beautiful movie about simplicity of love, complicated with complexity of falling in love! No matter what weightage we give to the standards we set out for an ideal partner, love wins in the end! 

And of course we partook in some selfie love to mark the occasion!  Spending time with the next generation is so refreshing (sigh! I am getting on with my years!!!)

All in all another fabulous march day !!

0

A mad hatter in march

Since past couple of years, a new trend had emerged in my life as most of my friends, cousins, peers, etc had reached ‘that’ milestone of turning 40! Big celebrations for ‘THE’ 40th naming day with great pomp and show had become the norm around me. ‘That won’t be me,’ disdained the sensibility in me! I mean come on, this was ridiculous! Don’t get me wrong, I love my bday and have spent most of them in special ways. My grouse is with the overt hoo-ha attached to this number. My logic was I will celebrate it like the many before and also after this number!!!

Two months of twenty fifteen rolled by without so much of a glance and I find myself in March – my bday month! 

The tune has thus changed, (Ahem!) and I find myself contemplating ‘THE’ milestone as such with a reverence that is unusual for me. My resolution, nay wish list is to celebrate each day of this month with great zeal and gusto, build up the crescendo with travel madness, social-ness, selfies, pamper sessions, and more to lead upto an intimate dinner party with the innermost circle! (Yes I have succumbed to the glamour attached by many towards this turn of the decade.)

Have made my many plans to pamper moi and the first one on the list is a travel trip. I have also decided to keep a blog diary of sorts for as many days as possible (succumbed is an understatement , I know!!! ☺️)



The first day of the month started with me being on a train to Dehradun. Icing on the cake turned out to be the ultra gorgeous weather due to the unseasonal rains.

I travelled the six hours, earphones plugged in (mushy music  ) and nose pressed to the window to drink in the romance of the rainy countryside, imagination in hyperdrive.



Puffs of snowy white smoke gushing out of the big industrial chimneys at Daurala, reminded me of  cotton candy! The vista of thin wiry leafless trees standing tall and silent  in neat rows , seemed like a solemn meet of a clan to express solidarity!



The music went on while I merrily clicked pics and hummed away to glory – I could see the bemused expressions of my fellow travellers, most of who either dozed or read the newspaper or talked on the phone.  I also started to read and made a little headway into this book but the view and weather seduced me back again. 



I was greeted with a heavy downpour  ( which hasn’t let up at all) when I reached doon. The weather is wet and grey but not gloomy since I love the rains. Lunch was at home with Bhabhi and by the fireplace! Unexpected and luxury! (Reminded of my recent khabrar trip)



New Friends, warm conversations, good food and vino was the order of the evening. After ages I gorged on a very yummy and sinful portion of paneer shashlik. Needless to say the alcohol was flowing and found an easy way into my system in copious amounts!! Euphoric and high, I practically dropped on the bed with a big grin and floated off to wonderland …………… Z zzzzzzzzzzzzz



0

Berry oaty smash!

image

Intending them as some Valentine day love for thyself, I purchased a box of luscious strawberries. But the unusually warm weather and some neglect on my part, ensured a few of the gorgeous berries getting spoilt. Worrying over the waste, I sat down to surf the net for some  quick n easy cake/muffin recipe to consume them- gorged on a few while at it! Mmmmmmm!

Did you know strawberries are the only fruits which have the seeds on the outside?

Soon found one I liked a bit, and as usual the mad experimental baker took over, out came the oats & a bottle of coffee flavouring (which was discovered hiding in the essence box)!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup saffola oats

2/3 cup Brown sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp salt

1cup All purpose flour

8-10 strawberries

1/2 tsp coffee flavour

Method:

Chop and smash the strawberries in a bowl and set aside. Lightly beat eggs, sugar and oil in a bowl and then add the strawberries and the. The coffee flavour. Sift flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda once to mix well and then add to the wet mix. Add the oats also. Stir with a gentle hand till entire thing is moistened well. Don’t stir too much.

Now spoon into paper cases set inside a muffin tray. Sprinkle some oats on top to give an interesting texture. This makes about 10-12 muffins.

Ensure oven is preheated to 220C. Bake for 15-18 mts till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve slightly warm with some ice cream.

image

 

0

Poo’s Puppy love

Five little puppies, mewing in the cold of Delhi winters, found a loving heart – Poo! Much loved and adored herself, my niece adopted the stray dog and her pups with so much love and care that even her parents are surprised by it.

image

Such is her dedication that midnight howls would have her leaping out of her cosy bed to go check on her darlings; never mind the cold! And they love her too with all of their tiny hearts and being.

When a neighbour picked up a pup to play, it sent up such heart-rending cries that had Pooja running back from her car to check on them. Once she took him in her hands, all was wonderful in the little one’s world!

You can see the little ones frisking around, just waiting for her to put in an appearance. Having a pet of her own, she can still find heart for these strays is amazing to see. Not that her faithful mutt thinks too much of these ‘freeloaders’ who seem to be mooching shamelessly on his mistress’s affection and time!

image

Now she is trying to find good loving homes for them and mercifully a few have been adopted. With their caramel and chocolate color tones and melt -in-your-heart eyes, they are a little difficult to resist. On top of that their friskiness, never fails to put a big smile on anyone’s face! Three down and two more to go!

Kudos to such good Samaritans and their family who have instilled such hearty values in them!

In case you would like to adopt one of these adorable little tykes, you can drop a mail to poojasharan@hotmail.com

 

0

Food safety +Nutrition +Packaging = Healthy me!

2015 is my year of stepping into the fourth decade of my life; its apt that my new year mantra be Forty – Fit & Fabulous! A couple of resolutions towards this step is to buy organic, fresh and seasonal fruits & veggies and to bake my own breads of flours, other than processed flour or maida!

_MG_2388So when I got a mail to attend the #keepfoodsafe campaign; it seemed in keeping with my new mantra. Off I went to India Habitat Centre to an event organised by #TetraPakIndia. That #ChefVikasKhanna was the special guest, was of course the cherry on the cake!

Event started with the Emcee checking the #nutritionquotient  (NQ) of the audience, an educational initiative launched by #TetraPak to educate people to #keepfoodsafe.

kk#TetraPakIndia is also looking for ten safe food ambassadors for this campaign across India. So ladies you could register onto the website for your certified online course on Nutrition quotient and who knows you could be the one in ten.

You could log in here to know the details http://nutrition-quotient.com/

fgAn excellent presentation by Health nutritionist Ritika Sammadar about some key points on health and nutrition, found resonance with the audience since these are facts we are all well versed in but seem to forget in our haste, deadlines and convenience. Among other things, I learnt that boiling the milk (as is our norm) kills the nutrients in it!!!!!

You could connect with her more on this here https://twitter.com/Nutri_ritika edit3Next Mr. Kandarp Singh ( MD -Southeast Asia for Tetra Pak) took the stage to talk about “Tertra Pak”, the company and not to be confused with the packaging! He elucidated about the packaging techniques and UHT or ultra high temperature technique for preserving milk.

Do check out  www.keepfoodsafe.in

mmListening to all these people wax eloquently about packaged food and its goodness, was an eye opener for me. Like many others, I was convinced that packaged food means preservatives – right?

Wrong! The six layer packaging makes for a safe and secure environment for the foodstuff which can then be stored for months before consumption. WOW! So the fruit juices packed in Tetra Pak dont have added sugar and actually are as good as fresh juice.

_MG_2409The audience perked up when the debonair Chef walked onto the stage, sans the microphone. Hilarity ensued while he was being kitted out. He literally takes the world…er..stage by the storm and today was no exception. Talking about food safety with witty anecdotes of his own, he made heartfelt requests to all to sign up for the campaign and do their bit in spreading the word.

edit4He even prepared a “special” drink for the occasion. Grated sweet potato (shakargandi) with tea, milk, orange juice, honey and hold your breathe, chaat masala!!!!  There was a huge demand by the audience to “taste” the ambrosia created by Chef Vikas Khanna. Yours truly did take a sip – Eyuck!!! was my verdict. But then I am a milk hater. (Sorry Chef) I could hear the other taster’s comments:

” Could use more honey!” “Should have been chilled!” “Chaat Masala needs to be added more!”

Suffice to say, the entertainment was full on!’

edit5All the bloggers got a special one-on-one session with the chef where he once again elaborated on the need for food safety. Our “chalta hai” attitude of shrugging off important things needs to change with respect to health and nutrition. “Food safety is no one’s concern , but my own”, was the underlined message from the Michelin star Chef.

We agree Chef and do raise a toast (of the deadly concoction prepared by you) to further this campaign onwards.

edit6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Avian visitors in my garden!

Winter mornings are generally fogged out these days, creating shadowy figures out of buildings and trees. The sun peeps out late or not at all. All the reasons for not stepping onto the terrace but for the bird song that reasonates around.

I am an avid bird watcher and love to capture them with my camera lens. One of the birds that fascinates me loads is the Kingfisher. The iridescent blues of its feathers lure me to click the shutter umpteen times. Imagine my delight when I spotted this white breasted kingfisher swooping around my terrace. It comes almost everyday without fail to grace me with its azure presence.

edit2Another visitor who surprised me was the Rufous Treepie that belongs to the Corvus family and has an amazing musical call which makes it quite conspicuous. Love this bird for its cinnamon colorings and the long whimsical tail.

edit1

_MG_2361A purple sunbird comes without fail to prance among the night jasmine flowers while its wings glint the sunlight prominently. It’s a delight to see it hovering and fluttering while draining the flowers of its nectar.

_MG_2371A laughing dove which is basically a smallish pigeon with varied colours in its feathers. I found this one flitting around on the railing the other day.

_MG_2387Bulbuls with their characteristic traits of red and yellow vents on the underside of the tail, have quite a charismatic call and evoke a musical note in me every time I hear them trill out.

editAnd then there are the Indian Robin with their erect tails, held high and continuous being pumped while they hop around.

_MG_2284Well! here is to wishing more and more of these avian creatures flit around my tererace and backyard all winters long.

 

 

 

 

0

Banoffee Pie – a whimsical gluttony!

photo 4

On a recent trip to nainital, I happened to order a banoffee pie at the famous sakleys restaurant on the Naini lake front. Mmmmmmmmm was the verdict with mouth filled till the last bite.

I decided to replicate this dessert, purely on taste and of course whim! “How difficult could it be”,mused the gourmand in me! Superemly confident on my tastebuds, I collected the ingredients and set about assembling the greatest banoffee pie ever created!

INGREDIENTS

One packet of digestive biscuits crushed with a knob of butter

Four medium size bananas, sliced

cocoa powder

Vanilla essence

200 ml pack of Amul cream

2tbsp of powdered sugar

1 can of milkmaid

Choco chips, berries, dry fruits as optional for a sprinkle

METHOD

Crush the digestive biscuits in a mixie with a knob of butter, till its  crumbly and slightly holding. Press this into a shallow square dish ( glass / metal/ plastic) and chuck this into the freezer to allow the butter to set and firm up the base.

photo 4

Now lay a layer of the cut banana slices on the biscuit base in a random manner till the entire base is covered. You could use more bananas if you are fond of them.

photo 1

Sprinkle a tbsp of cocoa powder on the banana slices to add some chocolate flavour in the dish. Again, you could increase this quantity. I know I will next time.

photo 2

Now comes the best part!

Its time to spread the DDL or the caramalised milkmaid onto the bananas. If its too thick, loosen it a bit on a double boiler, till slightly runny in consistency.

photo 1

Whip up the cream with 1-2 tbsp of powdered sugar and 1 cap full of vanilla essence til its stiff.

photo 3

Spread this over the DDL. Do ensure that the DDL has cooled down or else the cream might split or become runny.

Decorate with some chocochips or cranberries or dryfruits of your choice for an added crunch and texture to the dish.

photo 3

Let this set overnight or 6 hours in the fridge before digging into it.

Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!