Thursday, January 31, 2013

Turmeric Milk with Saffron-Haldi for all seasons...

Turmeric.
Health.
Omnipotent.
Panacea for all ills.
Cold.
Sniffles.
Cough and Congestion.
Warmth...
Make sense???
Double ,double, toil and trouble
fire burn and cauldron bubble...
Somewhere these are all related.

And when they are mom -made to alleviate all aches and pains and allow you to sleep snug and warm at night...any potion is good.
And when it comes with the goodness of turmeric and the warmth of peppers and the ethereal saffron adding another zing along with the blessings of Her Holiness Herb Basil in a sweet milky muddle, whats not good about it?

I know its a little late in the day , the winters are almost over, but the infection struck us all at this moment, so there was not a lot that we could do...
Sniffling blocked noses, sore throats and sleepless nights...
At this point in time,even a whole lot of anti histamines and cold lozenges don't work.
This is when all ailments need to be shot, with a shot of turmeric flavoured milk.
I eavesdropped.
I was part of a boring party, when I overheard strains of cooking milk and saffron behind me...I heard carefully as the lady(who dabbles in naturopathy )repeated the method and the ingredients for others benefits and came home and headed for the kitchen.
The first night I used turmeric powder, but I called for fresh turmeric the next day.
Same process, different flavour.
Try this concoction-I verified all the ingredients with my mum...
All good!
And feels good ,even if you are not unwell...just a nice feeling of warmth and satisfaction.

for the 

Turmeric Milk with Saffron-Haldi for all seasons...

you need

500  mils milk
2 tsp grated fresh turmeric or a teaspoon of turmeric/haldi powder
sugar to taste
7-8 black peppercorns
7-8 white peppercorns(I didn't have any so I doubled the black peppercorns)
7-8 leaves basil shredded-I used 1/2 tsp dried basil
a generous pinch saffron
sugar to taste
Start with the turmeric...fresh -this is what it looks like-available only in season-now!

Peeled-this is what  it is like-does stain your hands mildly while you are grating it...but washes off.If you are not able to get fresh turmeric, use normal turmeric powder.

Into a heavy based pan,add the grated turmeric,the pepper corns and the basil leaves to the milk and sugar and let it come to a boil.
That sthe basil I used...

Simmer gently,for about 5 minutes and turn it off.

Let the mix steep for about 5 minutes while you go about setting the strainer and the cups.

Strain out the milk into the cups and sprinkle the saffron. Let it sit and prettily shed its colour and inhibitions in the milk.

Sip the comforting elixir for good health...
Just make sure you don't head out into the cold soon after you drink this , it just might backfire. The right time to drink this would be before you go to bed, but in the mornings, just wait about 20 minutes before you head out.
Bask and feel warm.
And Kanchan Bhartari,if you recognise the Irish Coffee Mug, then Cheers!!!

So what cauldron are you boiling today???

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hair-Story...Gillette Satin Care

I'm finally home...
Finally happy to be surrounded by my own stuff...
Too many pictures hanging from the walls...
My books where ever I can place them...
Shoes under all my favourite chairs and seats(though I have yet to make them my favourite places)
My favourite chipped coffee mug at my elbow...
My clothes falling out of my cupboards -already??
And my favourite weird looking statuettes staring at me from everywhere...
It feels so good to be home!
Fortunately , I still have time to blog about the Gillette Skin Care Contest.
So the creative juices flow...
This post is a part of the Gillette Satin Care contest in association with BlogAdda.com.


It was just another day ...
Just another day in paradise...
Was this paradise?
The counter top looked like a tornado had just passed through. Anne couldn't find the brushes needed to give the next model THE look for the ramp...
Where was the fond de tient??Where did the gel eye liners go??
It was time for Sunaina- the haughtiest dress hanger-err super model-honestly her eyes were the meatiest part of her body. She was just shin stretched on a very tall and narrow skeleton...Hmmph!
And she had to be slathered with the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick or else she would break out into a rash...
Hmm...Madame!
Sometimes the war painting was fun, Anne actually got to be creative and pant their faces pretty or pretty horrendous , as was the demand of the model coordinator.Honestly , only when painted in their true coloured did some models look their best..
Smirk, Smirk!
OMG!
Time already...
The model coordinator was screaming her lungs out.
The Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick...
Anne wondered...
I hope BB- Bag of Bones didn't feast on the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick to save on the calories...
A little more shoving around...
Come on, show your self...
Ah the show stopper...
She caught sight of the dress-what diabolical intentions...
Any one would faint just wanting to be in the dress...
What a neck line , what a plunge!
Anne wondered how Sunaina would be able to pour herself into that  dress...what was going to hold the dress up - bones?
Smirk, Smirk!
Looking down at herself...
Anne knew that she would be a perfect fit...In fact ,she had been verifying that before the mad search for the Bobbi Brown Foundation stick-clandestinely of course.
Some things are best left hidden...when the designer wasn't looking-Anne knew she could be his muse.
Save for her bear fur encrusted , unwaxed, unshaved arms and legs, that dress was made for her body only(the seamstress must have made a gross error of judgement and the designer must have skipped the trial session). What was the use of shaving the fur off her legs...no one was going to see them out of the jeans, anyways.
"Anne"
"Where the hell is the make-up?"
Hollering?
The coordinator and the designer together??
And here comes Bag of Bones...
"Yes Boss!"
Quick, work the magic, warpaint on Sunaina...
And my job is now to watch and laugh!
Off the hanger..
Slide on, Pins in, Zip up...
Wow!
Hands off..
Eewwwww!
And all of Sunaina's assets couldn't hold the dress up ...
Smirk, Smirk!
So this is what the Empress's new clothes look like. Monsieur le designer was howling in fury...screwed and all types of colourful vocabulary was being exchanged...
Suddenly all eyes on me...
"Anne -You wear this dress!"
"Me...ME?"
"yup...denims off,T shirt off..."
"Dress  on..eeeeewww..."
I could have hung my head in shame...
I wish I had opted for hair removal
"What the H... never mind."
"No fear when divine help is near!"
What??
Out came 2 divine...
"Just hold the dress up Anne baby."
Can you imagine...
Me!
Two people painting my face and two people at my feet ...making the Divine Gillette Satin Care Razors work their magic on me-Anne!
"You are so Divine Anne baby! Go rock the floor!"
So much pride in his voice...
And ...
"Introducing Anne!"
"Yes Ladies and Gentlemen...The Shop Stopper!"
Three Cheers for Gillette Satin Care...for coming to the aid of damsels in Distress...

Now that I'm home...the food and the blog posts will flow...
Till then

So what stories are you cooking up today???




Friday, January 25, 2013

Goodness of Coconut for Skin -Parachute Advansed Body Lotion

Almost South Indian...
Born in God's own Country-Kerala...
Love the smell of filter Coffee...
Adore Anything fried in coconut oil...
Love to walk barefoot...
Love the smell of fish...
Love the taste of anything coconut...
Love to slather coconut oil on my wet skin after a shower...
That's me...


I count my blessings...
Every time I get access to the purest coconut oil...
Coconut ...
The new wonder nut...
The world is just discovering...
But we are watching and smirking...with that I told you so look on our faces...
Actually...
Indians have been using coconuts and their derived oils and products for millenia..
No wonder those who live in the coastal areas of India have the most glowing smooth skin that is free of blemishes...
And wrinkles touch their skin really late..
Sun kissed and coconut slathered...
Those who apply coconut oil on their hair ,have gorgeous long,lustrous dark locks.
And here we are always looking for things to remove blemishes and dandruff from our skin...
I have a friend,who does not believe that her bathing ritual is complete until she is coated top to bottom with virgin coconut oil...
Other than adding coconuts and coconut oil to our diet-did you know that coconut oil helps in weight loss...
You should know that coconut oil is the best oil there is for your skin.
Present in coconut oil are ,medium chain fatty acids-MUFA -like Lauric acid, Capric acid and caprylic acid that are known to possess anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral properties.
It has anti microbial properties that help to cure acne vulgaris and the microbes that cause your pimples.
When applied to damaged skin-acne or pimples, it allows the body to heal faster.
Our skin is naturally smooth and elastic,containing connective and elastic tissues. Free radicals that are caused due to pollution cause connective tissues to loose strength and make our skin wrinkly and loose ...
Giving skin the old and mature wizened by age look.
The anti oxidants needed by our bodies to combat these can come from coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains Ferulic acid and P-Coumaric acid which are scientifically proven to be strong anti -oxidants.























It also acts as a deodorant...
But hey, that does not mean that you buy a coconut and crack it open and make your own coconut oil or just start eating too much of it...
There is always a method in madness!
Start gradually, with a good quality oil...
A little at a time ...
Drenching a small portion of your skin with its goodness at a time...
Or start with something that comes with the promise of the goodness of coconut oil in a bottle.
Parachute Advansed Body Lotion...
The promise of coconut oil in each drop...
The lotion that contains the goodness of all the anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties...
The lotion that nourishes and gets absorbed into your skin and makes it so soft in seconds...
And fires up the mitochondria in your skin cells to glow so you can see the  magic and radiate it to everyone around you...
That glow that makes someone fall in love with you "Dobara".
Smell wonderful and divine ,get that beautiful glow and buzz on your skin and all with the goodness of coconut oil...
From a name that you have trusted ...
Forever.

This post is written for the PABL Blogger Contest 2013.
All images courtesy Google Images.
In continuation with my love for coconut in food...

So what oil are you using today???


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken Chettinad- North Indian Style

Good Friends and Good Food...
Sunshine and the smell of coconuts...
And Chicken drenched in curry leaves...
And a soft Appam to mop up the juicy gravy clinging to the spoon...
Chrysanthemums and my brass urli...
How much more south Indian can our repast have gotten??
We had vegetable (ish)stew,dosas,idiappams,idlis and vadas...along with a ginger and tomato based coconut chutney and sambhar and gun powder...
Just a tiny bite of cold in the air...
Last week of November...
Called for lunch...
Fixed by the friendly neighbourhood cook...Rao!
I learnt a few things and of course will share them with you...
Spicy...
South Indian...
Tamil Nadu- to be precise...
Chcken Chettinad...
A little north Indian..
My kitchen..
And totally Yum!
This was probably the last lunch we hosted for friends while packing up...so you see concentrated pics...Only concentrated on the food...no straying at all.
And service pics of a small amount of the curry...
But totally different in taste to what we generally eat...

The chicken was spicy and sweet and had a hint of spices we maybe never use together...But the combination was bang on!

for the

Chicken Chettinad- North Indian Style...

you need

2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp aniseed/saunf
1 star anise
2 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp cloves
8-16 dry red chillies
5-6 cardamom
1 inch piece cinnamon(I added powder while the mix was pureeing)
3 medium onions sliced
1 fresh coconut grated
1 large chicken-Dressed about 800-900 gms
salt, red chili powder to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
5 tbsp refined vegetable oil/coconut oil
15-20 cloves garlic
curry leaves
2 inch piece ginger

Start with the whole spices.
Pretty on a plate no???
These are the wet stuff...I almost used so many curry leaves...
Counted maybe 30 leaves...
In a non stick pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and ad the curry leaves. Once they splutter ,pop in the whole spices and stir till they change colour.
Add in half the sliced onions and fry till the onions caramelise.
Now add all the grated coconut, keep stirring till you get that toasted coconut smell...
And a beautiful golden brown colour.Cool.
Pop the chopped ginger and garlic and the cooked spice mix into a wet grinder and add some water and make a paste.
To look like this.
Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the onions till they caramelise.You can add less or more...oil is your territory!
Add in the chicken and sear till the pieces are browned all over. At this stage, add 1-1 1/2 tsp of salt the turmeric and about a spoon full of the red chili powder.Stir to coat the pieces and cook the spices.
Now add the paste and keep stirring.After the paste comes to a boil , reduce the flame and cook, stirring occasionally till the paste dries out. Add a cup of water and cook till the oil separates and the chicken and its gravy have acquired a beautiful colour .
I added about 1 tsp salt more and 2-3 tsp chili powder more...tasted as I went along...
The chicken smelt heavenly...
Not like what we usually make..



The pepper and the star anise were a wonderful combination and the aniseed went so well with the chicken...same spices almost in a rogan josh...but they work so differently here...
The appams were sweet and contrasted well with the gravy.
If you don't want to go the appam way...simple steamed rice will work well enough.

The lunch and good company worked well...
its the goodbyes that are the most pain full...
I am still living in the past.
This is still stuff from Ranchi...
But Whatever...
As long as the chicken was great ...
There will always be good memories...

Coming up...
Something more to do with coconuts...

So what are you baking today???

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nightmares and Reality-Write over the Weekend-Jan18,2013


Write Over the Weekend theme for this week

Begin your story using this ‘You wake up, go to the bathroom and look at the mirror.’


6 o'clock already...
I woke up with a start...
Rather- a heart defying drum beat..
Groped in the darkness for the light switch and went into the bathroom and...
Opened my eyes...
To look at the mirror...
Aargh!
After an almost skipped heartbeat...
Oh thank god for small mercies!!
After last evenings shearing...
I fully expected to wake up bald or covered with a dirty grey ,smelly, dog hair.
And the only thing  I see are my puffed eyes,rimmed with yesterday's helping of Colossal Kajal and an unruly mop of bed head hair.
After the nightmares , normalcy is not to be taken for granted!
It all started with Romeo-no, not the Romeo created by the bard,Mr Shakespeare himself, but a shaggy haired Lhasa Apso gifted (with reverence and a lot of affection )to hubby dear by a lama from the Lachen Gompa(North Sikkim). This puppy came to us in December 2008 as tiny as the cutest white guinea pig.
Now this majestic animal has his own airs and graces...

Four years on,every spring is the time for nightmares.
Not for him, but for us the hassled owners,who have to routinely pick dog hair off their every belonging and self. Its only when dog hair begins to appear in food that f=drastic measures are sought.
The first quest...
The WHO!
This time I picked the shorter straw and was forced to comply.
The WHERE!
A corner of the garden, under the old gulmohar tree.
The HOW!
A clipper.
Now stinky dog..err Romeo had to be fed and caught...but life is never so easy...
See, the only time his eyes see light is when he is running...

























SO after the huffing and puffing and running after him...to photograph his crowning glory...
Time to get down to business.
On his back and in my grip the clippers were initiated into his hair...and sacrificed.Never to be used again.
Like wading through quicksand, hair, fingers ,clipper blades all battled together until the mighty animal growled and nicked my wrist.
One punch and a band aid later-Scissors.
And I had visions of shearing a Merino sheep...
Snip, Snip,Snip...
After two hours, the ginormous huge coat gave way to an ugly scrawny naked almost lab rat type dog!
The Undog!
The Ugly Naked Dog!
Time to wash off all the sins...mine!
Three showers later ,I emerged to partake of a  pretty picture.
The Undog,free from the burden of the winter ,in sweet child's arms.
But the nightmares of wading through the piles of matted fur and the struggle with the growling Romeo...
They lasted the whole night.
And the morning after...
Aargh!
Thank God ,I have my own hair...
I'm sure Romeo must be grate full to me...
Rid of his winters heavy coat...
All skin and bone and now ready to regrow...
All I know is that the next year ...
This nightmare has to be someone Else's...


So who are you shearing today???

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Friday, January 18, 2013

Super Potato Wedges McCains Style-Baked

Comfort Food...
Hot, crisp, fried...well almost- baked potato wedges...
When they come out of a zip pouch...
Wow!
The smell of a buttery new potato, baking n its skin...
Slathered in spices and then dipped in a cilantro flavoured yogurt sauce...









Yum, yum,yum!!!
The best way to begin and end a meal...
The easiest meal to make...
Wholesome and comforting and loaded with calories...
Satisfying...
I know,  I am ,in all probability going on like a  teenager...
However, even research supports me!
Baked potato is the happy smell: Research finds scent of food given off in cooking provokes positive memories

OK, this is all about brand loyalty...
But even brand loyalty goes off to play lawn balls at 11 at night, when your  entire family is craving super wedges, and there are only a hand full left in the bag in the freezer...
Which self respecting home maker will wake up a neighbour for potatoes...
This one did!
When the craving for potatoes  is so strong,it helps to have good neighbours like Kanchan Bhartari...
Seriously missing the friendly neighbourhood stock pile!!
Well, scratching through the notes in my mind,I remembered Sanjeev Kapoor's cheat way to make the wedges that fast food chains sell by the bucket to those addicted ...like us!

I remembered the par boiling, and the flour dusting and the spices...
The rest was all a little bit of kitchen experiment...
A bit of this and a bit of that...

And wow...
We got the taste..
Almost!
Night time cravings were satisfied, but then the experiment had to yield some results...
So we tried again...
A few more additions and ....
Success!
Proud to share the recipe with all potato junkies...

for the

Super Potato Wedges McCains Style-Baked...

you need

500 gms medium sized new potatoes
2-3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 tsp dried herbs-I used a mix of oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram(all out of a bottle)
1 powdered soup cube/flavouring -Maggi or whatever is available
1 tsp grated frozen butter

New potatoes...
New -they have less starch-so sayeth Jamie Oliver...and they don't need to be peeled.
Just scrubbed well in running water.
All approximately the same size, and cut at a slant...
To get the wedges.
These are the soup cubes or flavouring cubes available...
Use whatever...
Into the flour, I added the powdered cube, the grated butter and the spices.
And mixed it all WELL!
Water at a rolling boil...
Pop the wadges in and cook till just done.
You should be able to cut through them without any resistance...
Drain and pat dry and cool.
Get your oven heating to 230C-240C around 450F...
Or oil boiling in a cauldron...
We have a simple philosophy..eat less if you fry and more if you bake...
So we bake!
Place the wedges in the flour and mix till the flour coats...
I saved and froze some for the next day...
Coated and ready to bake...
All ready to be put into the oven...
8-10 minutes in the oven...
For the dip, hung curd, chopped coriander or parsley...salt and pepper



Ready to dunk and dip and slurp...
Fried or baked...
Whichever way..
Next time my bag of super wedges gets over or no...
No problem!!






Adjust according to your flavour profiles...
And enjoy!

So what are you baking today???

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Til ke Laddo Til Phugga-Happy Makar Sankranti -Homemade and Microwaved...

As the Sun transmigrates and begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern hemisphere, let all your lives be filled with resplendent joy and may you all have an year of success and prosperity.
Happy Makar Sankranti...

Happiness and sunshine..




OK ,I may be a little late...
OK,I may be a lot late....
But I am here.
I am not cribbing about the cold...that is being done to death...
I am cribbing about the binging that the cold is making me do.
I hope it is making a lot others do too...
Its cold and I feel peckish ...like always!
Like a bird ,I peck on seeds, but my appetite is positively garangutan compared to a birds appetite...
The worst part about Ranchi , was that there never was much available to binge ,so I baked and made and binged.
Here, there is so much...
That I now need to make the gym my second home,seeing that my new home is not yet ready for us to move into..
That explains my sorry state on the blog list...
I'm barely managing to make the daily food...
So, these are pictures from my past...
well, only the last months in Ranchi...
I was preparing...

Til Phugga or Bhugga...whatever you call it ...
Supposed to be auspicious, healthy,sesame seeds and milk and nuts...
Wow!
The ancients preferred to ignore the sugar and the cholesterol causing khoya...
Ignorance is bliss!!
And life was blissful then!
Essentially they are til laddoos made with sesame seed and Khoya(reduced milk).
Amazingly yummy-as Sanskriti says...yummilicious!!
There was this big brouhaha about the khoya and adulteration...so we skipped that and used condensed milk instead.
Condensed milk and milk powder.
Simple.
And microwaved!

for the

Til ke Laddo Til Phugga-Happy Makar Sankranti -Homemade and Microwaved...

you need

1/2 cup or 75 gms milk powder
1 can or 400 mils condensed milk we used MILKMAID
1/2 cup sugar ground with 2 green cardamom
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
handful of nuts and raisins
A little ghee to grease your hands
A little extra sesame roasted and coarsely pounded to roll the laddoos in

Measured out the milk powder in a microwave safe bowl.
You can do this in a pan on the gas...but whatever...If you do, take a heavy bottomed pan and cook on a medium to low flame.Keep stirring and cook till this all comes together like a ball...
Then do the rolling...
All the condensed milk in..
The sugar and the cardamom...
The til or sesame seeds, dry roasted in a pan, cooled and just buzzed in the mixie...don't powder the seeds you want the crunch.
Mix all the stuff well and nuke or microwave at 80%...you need to stir every two minutes...
Add in the nuts and raisins midway...
The total nuking time will be about 16 -20 minutes...take out a  little on a teaspoon,when a little cool ,see if you can make a ball and it holds shape...its done then...
If it does not hold shape, you need to cook it a little further...
You can pour it out on a greased thali or plate to set it, or cool it in this bowl itself...
We wanted authentic laddoos...
Grease your hands with ghee or oil and roll..
Warmth comforting little balls in the hand...roll the in the extra sesame ...

This was one of the last things that I made with friends Ritu Sharma and Kanchan Bhartari in Ranchi...
Sweet memories indeed.
Enjoy with a cup of hot ginger laced tea in front of a bonfire...
Happy new year...
Makar Sankrant is the Hindu new year...
Wish the new year is as sweet as this laddoo...

So what are you baking today???

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