26 November 2009

A book review (Scavenger by David Morrell), some unfinished business and lots of crappy weather

Long title, you think? Well, by now you should know about 'me and my laziness' (its on the same lines as Amitabh's 'main aur meri tanhaiyee'...looks like my laziness and AB's tanhaiyee will never ever leave us!)...well, I am feeling too lazy to split up the updates..hence the combo post!

Now, a part of my laziness (just a small part..most of it is God's gift..sigh!) is because of the crappy Vancouver weather we have had to endure in the last 2-3 weeks...its as dull as the Ranbir-Katrina starrer Ajab Prem ki gajab kahani (sorry if I hurt any sentiments there...but the movie was a total bomb for me)....and to add to the grey skies, we have had visits from Aunty Bigdrops Rain and Uncle Gusty Windy all week long....a recipe for foul mood, I tell you!..as for me, I am okay on the mood swings...just a little more lazier-than-usual.

Picture taken from: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/

Now for the book review...well, I finished reading it last week. It is a New York best seller and a thriller-mystery kind of book by David Morrell, a writer apparently quite well-known in the world of fiction thrillers (this was the first time I read his work). Morrell's hero, Frank Balenger is forced on scavenger hunt for a 100 year old time capsule by an unknown 'Game Master' in order to save his love Karen. Overall, the book is a pretty fast paced, interesting read, though I found it a bit too fictional in some parts....a video game gone extreme!Read the book to find out more about time capsules, scavenger hunts, Frank Belanger and the Game Master.

That brings me to the final part..my unfinished business...there were two mammoth books I started to read over the last few weeks and inspite of loving the story lines, could not finish them...library timelines, you see:
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (936 pages....I loved the part I read and have promised myself to go back)
- A suitable boy by Vikram Seth (1349 pages...finished reading just the first 150)


P.S. Even as I am writing this post over lunch, the sun seems to have come out of the clouds outside the office windows....yipee!!!

16 November 2009

Breakfast idea: Banana buns

Breakfasts feature pretty high on N’s-and-my-argument list…like any couple, we have a long list of issues about which we fight and debate…and breakfast is pretty high on our list. If you are wondering how such a seemingly benign meal can spark debates, you should see N and me!

Well, pre-marriage, N was used to lovely breakfasts each morning....N’s ma is an amazing cook and one of the most tireless people I have met..she wakes up early in the mornings and makes sure the family has a lovely breakfast to start the day with…circa post-marriage, N has to be content with bread-butter-biscuits-kind-of-breakfast....sweet thing that he is, after three years of marriage, he has now come to terms with it!:)

Anywho, I am now getting a little better at this meal than I was three years back, so I guess I can say I am trying to bridge the divide!...during one such search for easy breakfast ideas, I came across Ashwini's banana buns....these are not-too-sweet, deep-fried banana puris and go amazingly well with a garam cup of chai!..the best part about making these is that the dough is made the previous night so all you have to do is roll out the puris and fry them in the morning (it took me just under 20 mins in the morning to make them from start to finish) and even though they are deep fried, they were totally non-greasy!...perfect, I say!!

For the recipe, please click here to go to Ashwini's blog.

For my breakfast, here are the pics:
Needless to say, this was one morning N and I didn't bicker over the big 'B' :)


13 November 2009

Let's take a moment to remember

It was Remembrance day in Canada yesterday...once a year, on this day, Canadians remember and honour their soldiers lost in wars & battles. Everywhere all around poppies are sold as an act of remembrance to fallen soldiers at war.To read more about Remembrance Day, click here.

'Poppy' picture taken from here

I wish we had something like this in India...could we not add one day to the long list of the existing religious holidays where we honoured our brave soldiers? It need not even be a holiday for that matter!...if we can adopt all the Mother's day/Father's day/Valentine's day from the West , why not inherit something more meaningful like the Remembrance Day? (dont get me wrong, I think these are great too...but I dont really need just one day in a year to take a step back and let my loved ones know that I love them!)

Anywho, whether or not we ever end up spending a full day commemorating our brave soldiers, lets at least take a moment to thank:
-all the brave soldiers who gave up their lives so that we can be safe
-all the brave soldiers who continue to live a life of hardship and danger so that we can be safe
-and finally, all the families who let these brave soldiers go so that we can be safe

An Indian soldier at the Taj hotel, Mumbai on 26/11 last year, picture from here.

Lets be thankful. That's the least we can do anyways.


06 November 2009

'A'mazing Chicken curry

Last Sunday we had our dear friends-cum-family, A and A over at our place for lunch..the As also brought along their lovely little son A, who is now a chirpy, chweetie, totally-adorable-two-month-old..with so much 'A' involved, I had to make sure I made something that would be of 'A' class!

So I sat down with my laptop to search for some interesting chicken curry recipes, and then (cant believe my luck) in just some time stumbled on Sailu's blog 'Sailu's kitchen'...this is a goldmine of Indian food recipes and if sailu's recipes don't make you drool, her photos will!!..I don't know how she manages to have an unending treasure of recipes...totally cool, I say!

I ended making Sailu's 'Spicy Chicken Masala recipe' but with some changes to the recipe...please do see the original recipe here!


2 lbs chicken, washed and cut into small pieces (I used just the legs and thighs)
3 tbsp curds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp kasuri methi (my tweak; omit if you don't like it)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (again, my tweak)
Marinate in the fridge- preferably 2-3 hours or at least for 3o mins

When you are ready to make the curry:
Dry roast and make a fine powder:
1” cinnamon
3 cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black pepper seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
(I tweaked the recipe just a little here: went in for some fresh coriander and fennel seeds. I LOVE the flavour of freshly ground coriander and fennel seeds in chicken curry. Also, Sailu has 10-12 curry leaves in her recipe- I omitted these simply because I am not a fan of curry leaves in chicken curry)

6-7 cashew nuts
4-5 tbsp milk

Rest of the ingredients:
3-4 tbsp oil
2 big onions finely chopped
1 large tomato finely chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
3/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1tbsp coconut milk
1tsp lemon juice
coriander leaves for garnish

-Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a cooking vessel. Add the onions and saute till pink. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute further for another 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
-Add cumin powder, pepper powerd and combine well and fry for another minute.
-Add the tomatoes and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Combine well and cook till oil separates.Turn off heat. Cool and grind the cooked masala, along with the soaked cashews and milk. Keep aside this masala paste.
-Heat 2 tbsp oil in a cooking vessel and add the marinated chicken and cook on high flame for 4-5 minutes, reduce heat and cook covered for another 4-5 minutes.
-Add the ground masala paste, and the freshly roasted masala powers and combine well. I also added a tbsp of coconut milk and a tsp of lemon juice for some flavour.
-Cook till chicken pieces are soft and you get the desired curry consistency. Adjust salt.
-Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

The verdict? This is one 'A' class chicken recipe..the cashews-onion-tomato paste gives the curry a superb consistency and the freshly ground spices add perfect flavour and heat...my guests loved the curry....this one is definitely a keeper!


P.S. Dont go by the pics; unfortunately, they just dont do justice to the curry!