My experiments in the kitchen

Something that happens not very frequently, much to my foodie husband's dissatisfaction. We are like chalk and cheese in the matters of food. While I subscribe to the philosophy of "Eat to live", he's quite the opposite, salivating even at the thought of his favourite food. And, his favourite can be quite a wide spread. So, try as I might to satiate even a portion of his taste buds, I can never come close to what he'd like me to cook up in the kitchen. 

But, to be fair to him, I don't really try much ;-)

Despite all the disparity in our thoughts and actions, I do surpass myself at times to bring something different to the table (literally). So, here are a few snaps of what I tried out recently.

A cinnamon tea cake- As usual, I combined two recipes, and forgot which ones ;-). 
Turned out Okay.

Paneer Kofta curry- which turned out a little extra salted, because while making the gravy, I disregarded the fact that the koftas were also salted- classic case of inexperience. I'm improving, though, thanks.

Recipe from here

Paneer Do-Pyaza- Turned out so well that the husband kept saying 'awesome' in a loop for the whole day. I gained extra weight just hearing that. See, didn't I tell you, I'm improving?

Recipe from here.

The next time I hear some complaints about my cooking, I'll just do a re-direct to this page. This should work for at least a while ;-)

Bitten by the reading bug

So, there's something I'm happy about-my reading quotient has gone up in the last couple of weeks. The Flipkart guy has been a regular visitor. Although, I order in bunches, the delivery sometimes gets pushed to different dates depending on the availability. I feel bad that the person delivering has to travel the same distance, at times, on consecutive days to deliver just one book. 

That apart, it does feel nice to have that parcel in your hands with new, crisp books to delve into, to lose the world by drowning into them. The books I've read so far have also not let me down.

My current loot:

Additions have been made to the above, but they are mainly books for R- The Eric Carle collection I mentioned earlier, so there is one more person happy in the household.

So, what have you been reading? Will be happy to get some recos.

A musical delight

Anyone here who is tuned in to the Indian Idol Juniors this season? If not, and if even remotely interested in music, then I strongly recommend listening to these wonder kids. However, even if you can't understand music, it is a treat to see/listen to kids as young as 8 yrs perform with such elan, ease and most importantly finesse.

The last episode where Shankar,Ehsaan and Loy had come as guests was in particular a spectacular one when these musical stalwarts were so overawed by each of the 10 performances that they gave a standing ovation to every one of these kids. And, it was clearly not just a gesture of encouragement. It was a genuine and natural response to the outstanding singing talent. The songs sung by the contestants were to be a tribute to the musician-trio and had some of their best songs rendered to perfection. Every nuance, note and emotion was bang on and in certain instances surpassing even the original. Clearly the little contestants seem to have a divine connection with the Almighty, for I doubt if they even understand what it takes to sing flawlessly at such a young age. It does seem to come very naturally.

The kids on the show for this season have taken Indian Idol, for the first time, to a new and prestigious level in musical reality shows- something that the adults could not do so in the last 4-5 seasons. I've always viewed this show as one that is staged with a lot of drama and very less of music. The melodrama involving the social background of certain contestants, the tears and emotional outbursts before/after a performance or (especially) when eliminated have always scored above the music factor as far as this show is concerned so far, IMO. While there is a lot of melodrama in reality shows even where kids are concerned, the Junior Indian Idol has so far steered clear from these. The judges are people I personally admire for their talent in their respective fields ( Vishal-Shekar and Shreya Ghoshal). Their comments are encouraging even when the rendition has been a little off the mark.

My observation with the talent shows is that kids definitely score more on the talent chart as compared to the adult folk. Senior contestants have a lot to learn from these little champs- be it in the choice of the songs, or handling of complex notes or the easy demeanor with which they carry themselves, not letting either praise or criticism affect their being. I sometimes wonder if these virtues are because they are children and not yet affected by the dynamics of growing up in a tough and competitive world. Whatever the reason, this is a musical treat that is not to be missed. 

A video of one of my favourites here:

Chanakya's Chant

Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Pages: 448
Publisher: Westland
Price: Rs. 125 on Flipkart (on a discount)
My rating: 4/5

Oh, what a book!I never thought a combination of history and politics could be so mesmerizing. I'd never been a fan of history in my school days, so attribute all my ignorance in that subject to the bland manner in which we were dished out history lessons. And, politics is a sphere I started to take interest in only recently. This book however kept me hooked on both levels.

The novel is actually two stories set in two eras ( one set about 2300 years ago and the other in the present) but connected wonderfully by a single thread-'Chanakya neeti' that is used to achieve a desirable consequence in the given set of political mish-mash. The parallel narration does more than fine justice to the stories from both eras, without compromising on the pace which is fast and gripping. I eased my way in and out of the two worlds without any jerk (in terms of waning interest or losing the thread in the flow of the story)-a proof of sound writing, IMO.

An insight into the blurb:
"The book begins in the year 340 BC, and shows how a young Brahmin boy is traumatized by the murder of his father. He decides to take revenge, and uses his calculating brain to plan it. Slowly, he becomes an expert political strategist and is known as Chanakya. He uses his skills to unify the country Bharat (ancient India). This unity, teamed up with his expertise, ensures that the army of Alexander the Great is defeated, and Chandragupta is crowned the king of the Mauryan empire. With time, Chanakya gets bored and decides to use his intelligence to pen down the Arthashastra.
Chanakya's Chant then shifts into modern India, two and a half millennium later. It focuses on Gangasagar Mishra, a poor Brahmin teacher. It turns out that this man becomes a puppeteer to people. He witnesses how contemporary India is riddled with corruption, greed, treachery, and hatred. He realizes that in order to succeed in this society he too must indulge is such malpractices. However, Chanakya's Chant highlights the possibility that this man could be a reincarnation of Chanakya. Gangasagar plans to make a slum girl the Prime Minister of India."

Interesting enough to grab a copy? Go ahead and you'll not be disappointed in all likelihood. And, do share your views if you've already read this one.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By: Eric Carle
Picture book for 3-5 yr olds
Price: on discount at Flipkart for Rs. 175
My rating: 4.5/5

I got this book through Flipkart last week and it is currently the hot favourite in our house with R demanding to read the book at every meal each day. Eric Carle has beautifully put together different learning elements in one simple yet captivating story, which is nothing but the life-cycle of a butterfly.

And, what an interesting way for 3-5 yr olds to imbibe such knowledge! The journey of the caterpillar has been captured with bright, colourful pictures and simple narration. Not only that, a child can learn the days of a week, counting, get introduced to different variety of fruits, and other types of food, all of this packed together in a great read.

I loved the book as much as R. I highly recommend this book to all parents with kids in this age bracket. Do grab a copy, if you haven't done so already. As for me, I'm planning to buy the other books in the series by the same author :-)

The Spinning Wheel-a store tour

Falling in line with my intention to bring to light exclusive Home Decor stores around Whitefield area, here's another store tour. I had come across The Spinning Wheel many times- in the flea market and other exhibitions- and always thought to myself that I'd go back to them someday. And, boy! am I glad that finally I made to their store? You can bet a million bucks here.

The unique part about this store is that not only do they house exquisite art items procured from various places in India, but they also specialize in refurbishing old furniture. They add lovely embellishments like tile-work or painted art- and convert a drab looking piece into a style statement. So, if you are bored of your old dining table but do not want to spend a fortune on another or have sentiments attached to the current one, you know where to head.

The Store owner, Rakhi Mutreja, is a very enterprising lady with a lot of passion for the work she does and it really comes across when she talks about each of her piece in the store. When every art piece is handpicked, it becomes a lot more interesting because of the story and history attached to it, says Rakhi. They completed their first anniversary recently but are already running short of store space-something that is not surprising considering the kind of response/orders they are getting not only from Bangalore but other parts of the country as well.

Now, for the tour:

Aren't the camel ones unique?

Pretty door knobs

The weaved bottle collection-so pretty!

The tile collection
Collectibles that will add depth
A customized upholstered teak chair with beautiful tile work

Signature items

The click does not do justice to the beauty of this lovely painting

Pretty vases

Isn't everything drool-worthy? Its no wonder that I'm so addicted to their FB page. I'm getting a few lovely stuff done from them and it makes me happy that there is an excuse to keep visiting their store often in the next few months.