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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Papas Bonitas

When in Tenerife, Spain, ‘Papa Bonitas’ is the tapa that I have always enjoyed. This is the potato snack served in bars. With a small dainty toothpick, you pick up the small potato and dip into the spicy ‘Mojo’ and munch it slowly savouring the hot and sour taste.

How to make ‘Papas Bonitas’

You take 1 kilo of small round potatoes, prick them with fork and boil them in 2 glasses of water and 6 tablespoons of rock salt. Discard the water.

How to make ‘Mojo’

You have to grind together 1 big green capsicum, 10 green chillies, and 10-12 pods of garlic to make coarse paste. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lime juice. For extra flavor, I add herbs like basil leaves and  spice powder.Heat 4 tablespoons of mustard oil and pour the steaming oil over the coarse paste.

While you enjoy your drinks, dip the boiled, salted potato in the mojo and masticate on pungent taste. When you are not concentrating on the conversation, it is natural. The snack is too distracting and tasty too.

ps: I used Snapin's Basil Flakes and Marks&Spencer's Mixed Spice

Friday, 18 March 2011

The week that was……mid March 2011 and my 'FB Status'

Much too much happened during this week, a fierce earthquake that ruined the town of sushi and whales and bombed their proud nuclear plants. Many lives were lost, houses crumbling like match boxes, sea animals suffered too. It didn’t affect me, because I have no one in Japan whose pain I could feel…

You would think that life in Japan came to standstill?. Nah! There you are wrong! It affected few people who lived near the shores, but for others life went on as usual.

I continued to update what was on my mind at FB status regularly. “Life goes on if it doesn't affect us....sensitive are those who ponder over solutions and meditate on how they could help and act accordingly without any expectations for recognitions”. I wrote.

Those who have powers to help were extending their support and if Starbucks was in India, I would have happily had few extra cups of coffee too.

But how could I have helped? I have always been afraid of earthquake and my fear is deep rooted. The fear was instilled in me when earthquake happened during my school days. The earth shook slightly, all children ran down the stair, shouting, screaming, some of them sliding down the railings, some rushing and pushing past me. I had missed my step and had fallen down on my knees, nobody cared nor saw me curled up on floor, they just ran amok in all directions, few children had walked over me, their shoes piercing through my ribs, the pain was intense at that time, my body ached, but I was too proud to cry. I sat still, curled up, till all the children had walked away towards the open ground. Senior nun had helped me walk and join the crowd. Nothing much happened after the earthquake (not that I know of) but the screams and fear had coated me with this emotion of fear, I was not afraid of earthquake but I was afraid of falling down once again and people walking over me,. “For many days after that, I tied my little finger to my mom’s pallu and followed her wherever she went”. wrote I on my FB status remembering that incident. It was the security I felt being close to my mom. Every time mom went to loo, she untied my finger, but I continued to wait outside, waited to hold on to her pallu again.

Now as I sit here, I feel the same fear for those children who will know the pain the first time, although I have not yet seen any pitiful faces of Japanese people. World is awed by nation’s quiet dignity.
"Yet, it is also the response of the Japanese to catastrophe, told to us in shards of stories of shared blankets, patient calm and decorous lines of waiting people, that has stirred us.

A petrol pump attendant apologises profusely for not having fuel to long waiting lines of motorists where no one cuts in or bellows in frustrated anger. Those in food queues take just enough so as to leave some for others. In everyday life this is nice, in distress it is astonishing."
Had it happened in India, we would see everybody breast beating, self-pitying “Why us?” cries openly on all TV channels. “Shame: an ornament of virtue to remain within boundaries, without which one stands bare of all its glory” was my FB status to express that feeling.

After the earthquake, many NRIs returned to India. Why didn’t they stay back and help the people in the best of their ability and show their moral support for people in need? Why run back to India? “How far can we run away from our problems? They have this cunning habit of clinging to us and following us wherever we go. It is only when we stand still, face it, snarl back, catch it by its tail and dust them off, that they decide to walk away...” said my FB status..

Life goes on…There is more political drama back home…but then that is another story.

Till then FB status continues to wonder what's on my mind “The little terrorists are back again with their fiercely looking water guns”…holi hai!!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Pass me the paper bag!!

I said 'NO' to polythene.

Today plastic bag stares at me,
"take me"
I say "No"
 disappointed, it crumbles,
Walks back into in another plastic bag...

Youth For Seva Environment Week - One Step a Day

Thursday, 10 March 2011

'The F Word' by Mita Kapur. (book review)

'The F-Word' by Mita Kapur is the book I am reading during my weekly bus trips from Bandra to CBD, Belapur (at home I am too obsessed with twitter n facebook, visiting links and blogs which hardly leaves me any time to read the printed hard bound book, Alas!) and Mita takes us through her food journey with memoirs that are delightful to read.


*"You are greying at the temples. Shouldn't you color your hair?"

"No. I want my age to show. It's about growing old gracefully"

I looked at him. "that quite an bulge in your middle" I saw the picture in his eyes- a girl in a floral white skirt and a flimsy blouse, waiting on the steps of her house. He would arrive the moment Ma left for the hospital.*
Memoirs like these and those of her trips through Lucknow/Jaipur streets savoring the kababs or her trips to Amsterdam, talking about her experience during her travels and their signature cuisine is what makes this book interesting.
*A warm aroma of cocoa beckoned to us from the cocoa-making factory, along with sink-into-the-mouth cream puffs at the charming local bakery. We saw different types of cheeses with their odours and overpowering tastes, and a live show on how wooden clogs are made. We tried them all, the cheese and the shoes. The cheese won, obviously.*
There are many recipes that I have book marked for future use and am planning to try some day, when I have some guests, or maybe when I am invited for 'Share a plate' party.

One another blogger, Monika Manchanda, who is now my friend after our Lavasa trip, also wrote a review at her blog, saying that she heard about this book from her friend Kiran, she quotes
“The first time I heard of this book was from Kiran who said that this book got her into kitchen she was all praises of the book and being a foodie having cooking as one of the hobbies it promptly went into my must reading list…”
But Kiran responded on twitter by saying “I was very upset because I mailed mita kapur a gushy gushy letter about how it had inspired me to try cooking & got no reply”

I had met Mita Kapur during the Jaipur lit fest and knew that she is quite busy woman and she must have recieved lots of fan mails after her book was launched but not replying to her fan mail is quite rude. I think so too.

Anyways, everybody have their own reasons for not replying to fan mails. *Pinching myself to reality*

Where was I?

Ah..this book on cuisine…I was impressed....

Just few more pages to go and then I shall be in the kitchen trying some of those recipes…..come over if you wanna try..I intend to follow the recipe and cook those Mita’s words that skip out from her book into the hot pot….of tasty meals

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Potato chipstixs

My co-bloggers and I, we walked on Lavasa promenade, whiling away the evening hours, watching the sun set, clicking pictures in Bollywood styles, freezing the smiles under Sayadhri hills when suddenly we were distracted by the lady at the far end, leaning against the railing facing the lake. She was eating spiral potato twister.

“Hey… What is that”

“let’s go there to have a closer look”

“I think it some kind of kabab on skewers”

“I dare you to go and try her stuff” I said thinking it would be fun if she dared. We were in crazy mood and R went halfway, had a closer look and came back.

“Nah!” she said, “Let’s go and buy it, I am sure it might be available some where on the promenade, there are some kiosks down there.”

And so we walked back towards the kiosk ‘Twisteez’, ah there it was. We watched in amazement as the chef took one large potato, poked a skewer through its belly and put it in the chopper. The potato auto-rolled on its skewer chopped by a sharp knife into a spiral shape. He submerged the spirally chopped potato into the fryer and voila.

A chipstix - fried potato with a twist.

“What flavor you want?” said the chef.

“Dried mango flavor”

“No, let’s try mint powder”

“How about mixing all the different flavors”

Confused, we decided on just salt and pepper

The aroma of the potato heightened the hunger pangs. Potato has a universal admiration from young and old alike. There is no reason to watch the clock or the diet when a lone potato stares at you. I plucked a tiny piece from the skewer and dropped into my mouth.

Hhhmmm! Yuummmmm!! Always the best!!

The crunchy piece melted in the mouth after a soft bite, coating the tongue with salt and peppery taste.

“I wanted more of that chipstik, actually all of it, maybe I should order one more? Huh?”

But the diet clock whispered at the back of my mind “Stop, you just had your lunch one hour ago, beware!”

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

‘Lavasa Women’s drive’ I was there too..but for a different reason...

Without women, this world wuld be a boring place

When I got an invitation from ‘Lavasa Women’s Drive organized by Lavasa in collaboration with the Times of India’ to celebrate the spirit of modern woman, telling me that my opinion counts, that people care to read what I write, and that there is someone out there listening to me, many random thoughts flooded my mind quizzing my position in cyber arena. I was elated with a false sense of pride for this achievement, thinking that I was filtered out from million of bloggers for some unique reason unknown to me and I happily debated with a bloated mind….thinking.. .. I am a strong woman, I am good blogger, I occupy the popular position in the social world, my writing has weight, bla, bla, bla....duh!.... My ego was in the fourth gear, speeding shamelessly. I wanted to share this news with all the people I knew. I was bragging near everyone who cared to listen, till I discovered the real reason behind this event and the seriousness of this ‘Social Cause’

This event was not about me or my ability to write......

‘Lavasa Women’s drive’ was about the creating awareness for early detection of breast cancer in women….

A message with responsibility……


I was bribed into this event with the perks to cover this event as chroniclers of Lavasa Women’s Drive.  (Which I could easily have blogged for free,) since this is the ‘social cause’ very close to my heart, having lost my 3 aunts in a row and missing them terribly even now. But this bribe was no ordinary one. Besides giving me an opportunity to get free screening for Breast, Cervical and Oral cancers at Tata Memorial Hospital, it would also allow me to enjoy the new city called ‘Lavasa’ free of cost. (a place that I was planning to visit since a long time, and had neatly tucked aside twenty grand for this purpose).

I realized that I had a responsibility of posting my message across that screamed loud and clear that ‘Cancer is curable if detected early’. It was an event to help promote women empowerment.

So, on 27th February 2011, when I reached the venue.....

I discovered that there were very large crowd of women who, like me, cared.

I woke up early at 5:30am (which is quite rare) to be at Bandra reclamation grounds that was bustling with positive energies. There were 350 cars participating in the Rally from Mumbai and (I was told) 150 more from Pune. Every car had a message to share.

It was all about saving the girl child and promoting women empowerment.

Comfortably, we drove for 5 hours, in a specious Inova, following the participating cars, cheering the women drivers and their girl-co-passengers on route whenever we overtook their vehicle (they had a map and certain rules to follow. Later, eavesdropping at the promenade, I heard one woman speak about her fright at speeding at 140) We drove through express highway, some 211 kilometers, via Lonavala, Hinjewadi, Pirangut, driving up through western Ghats, behind the majestic Sahyadri Mountains, along the contours of the Warasgoan Lake to reach a complete new world, a planned city of Lavasa, a city with an European crown.
Warasgoan Lake

Once there, the atmosphere was emotive.

Women, women, everywhere.

A carnival of music and dance.

Many of the women enjoyed one day carnival and headed back home but me and five other bloggers (two bloggers went back the same day) along with the members of windchimers, discovered the blogging world as we exchanging our stories of the virtual world in the luxurious service apartments where we spend the night as room-mates. Twenty fours hours ago, we were strangers but forty eight hours later, we were blogger buddies who had exchanged stories worth more than thousands of words.......

On the first day, we walked down the promenade, meeting participants and asking about their experiences

All the women were having fun, dancing and singing.......

And bloggers were communicating in their tweeting world. The virtual world were kept abreast with all the events and happening by live tweets of @shaaqT, @anushankaran, @ideasmithy, @monikamanchanda @kiranmanral and @Cemonde

When they were not tweeting, the enthusiastic bloggers would go yakkiti yakkiti yak yak, making interesting comments, sharing their views of their blogging world, it was the best time ever for me. Thank you girls….you were sooooo very adorable.

Although there was much to see, our one-day-stay limited our tourism. We did drive up to Ekkant retreat which allowed me to commute with nature and we visited a bamboo factory called Bamboosa where I purchased a hand crafted walking stick. But apart from that, we just walked up and down the Dasve town, discovering the European architecture and the scenic natural waterfront. (I was told that there is Nature Trail, Christel House, Xthrill, Boating, plant Nursery, convention hall, and adventure tourism which offer camping grounds, rock-climbing, para-surfing, and other water related sports like jet skis, catamarans, motor and peddle boats, fishing and pool volleyballs.

The city was clean and refreshing, steps and potted plants everywhere, with hundred of steps to climb up and down the hills but unfortunately there were no railings anywhere, (I think they forgot that senior citizens and handicaps need support during climbing up/down the stairs) Being hilly city and easily accessible by road, many would also like to cycle around but there were no lanes for cycling, all the paths lining the driveway were filled with flora and fauna (which looked pretty, no doubt about that) but a thought for a lane for mountain bikers would be appreciated (anybody listening?)

And surprisingly, being an Indian town, there were no beggars! Strange!! But that must be because there were no traffic signals. Not as yet! Hahaa!

It is hard to believe that it’s an Indian city, easily accessible to every Indian, with no visa requirement. All one needs is just a desire to stay with the nature, away from the maddening crowd and screeching horns of busy streets.

Just few hours away by road from Mumbai,

A city of dreams where there is sound of music in the air...

I am motivated to go once again.

Maybe I will,

if travel bug bites……..under my tapping feet.


Co-bloggers who also travelled with me and then blogged
Anuradha one more and more
Nisha, one more
Idea Smith, one more
Lavasa Blog

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