Tuesday, March 30, 2010


 March 27th 2010 Earth Hour was observed in the evening from 8:30-9:30  local time. The good news was, around 126 countries and territories participated in the event. So between the given time period most of the business organizations, households and institutions switched off the lights. Imagine the amount of saved energy just by going dark for an hour.

Next comes 22nd April , the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  Yet another day dedicated to Mother Earth . It is all great, but is it enough ...maybe not. But doing something on a large scale once or twice a year is just not enough. Creating awareness is fine, but how many really do something about it? We have inhabited this planet for thousands of years, and all that we have done is take from it. And after all this time we give back only a day or two. Can we not have Earth Day every month , or an Earth Hour every day ? Just an hour a day without electricity might not affect us that much but it will make a vast difference in preserving our planet, creating a better world for our children. If we have brought them into this world, we may as well give them a livable one.
Three cheers to WWF for organizing the event of Earth Hour, to the participating countries as well as the general public who took responsibility. Everybody talks about saving the planet earth and our leaders hold much publicized conferences to tackle this issue, but I guess most of us forget to simply switch off the bathroom light while talking on our cellphones. It is these small daily acts that will eventually help in making everyday Earth Day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SUPER SALADS......................6 and thats it for now!!

When we came to Indonesia , initially everything was new(obviously) and the only people we knew were hubby dears office staff. And they introduced us to the Indonesian cuisine ........starting with Gado-Gado(mixed vegetable salad with peanut sauce) and I still don't fancy it much. But what blew me over was the Rujak(mixed tropical fruit salad with sweet n spicy peanut sauce). And I ate it almost everyday (its not really expensive).Sometimes I find some foods very good if only for that one ingredient which does not fit well to my palate. This is why we actually love some foods and dislike some. Like the Thai Raw Papaya Salad.....its yummy if only it didn't have the dried shrimps or fish oil in it !! And the Malaysian Raw Mango Salad which has dried fish bits in it. For me it just isn't right (lots of people love it though).Even the Caesars Salad is great minus the anchovies in the dressing.

So taking ideas from the three South East Asian Salads I came up with my own version. I call it the Culture Mix  Salad, so named because it has some parts from all the three different salads to suit the Indian palate.

Culture Mix Salad Recipe :

1 whole raw mango (peeled n julienned)
1 small carrot (julienned)
5-6 baby french beans ( julienned)
1/2 cup bengkoang (peeled n julienned........again!!) ** jicama in English & mishrikand in Hindi
3 thinly sliced shallots or 1/2 red onion
2 tbsp grated jaggery or brown sugar
2 tbsp peanuts
1/2 lemon (for rind and juice) 
2-3 fresh red or green chillies
salt to taste
a pestle and mortar if possible!! 

1. Dry roast the peanuts without burning it and take off the skin ,cool and put in the mortar or blender and make a coarse powder.
2. Add the chillies (remove the seeds first) jaggery and salt to make a rough paste. Add the lemon juice and rind.
3. Mix all the fruit and vegetables in a bowl and top with the peanut dressing. Mix really well or put it in the mortar and pound it slightly( better results).
4. Garnish with a few sprigs of coriander leaves and peanuts.

P.S : This salad serves 2 . 
       Bengkoang-Bahasa Indonesia  , it has high water content and a good source of    carbohydrate as dietary fiber its other names are as below
         Jicama -English         Mishrikand -Hindi
        Shankalu -Bengali
        Kandha- Telugu

Thursday, March 25, 2010


These days I watch a lot of animated movies.......the little princess makes me sit next to her while she watches them!! Some of them I must have seen over 20-25 times. And she actually chooses the movie herself!! So one day she watches UP, the next day Shrek and the next Monsters Inc. The point being that my princess is turning into a movie buff( I hope its just kiddie movies).

Then last week a new movie released (animated ofcourse!) How To Train Your Dragon. And we wanted our princess to watch that one too. Here comes Saturday and there goes Sunday and nothing happened.......we didn't watch the movie! Finallly Hubby dear decided to come home a little bit early and take us to watch it......(wow). And as it turned out for 5:45 show we were stuck in the traffic until 6,obviously we missed that show!!! But living in city of malls (as I call it) we luckily had another theatre option, so we changed our direction and headed towards it(yippeeee!!). We reached at the nick of time an managed to not miss even the promotional advertisements.

The movie itself was not bad , it was quite good actually !! But coming from the makers of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, I expected a lot more( no idea what?? ........hubby dear liked it ). Again the movie was good enough for a single watch (kids might differ though).
Probably what didn't sit well with me was the fact that it was a 3-D movie ( dunno if normal version is available). 3-D gives me a headache.......so I was taking off the glasses at regular intervals, maybe thats why I did not enjoy the it as much. There was enough violence and lets not forget the sound-effects . However the plot and the characters were quite good , the dragon was cute and I really liked the character of Astrid. The friendship between the main character (Hiccup) and the dragon is sweet as well. In any case my little princess had fun(though she was scared a few times) and was mimicking the dragon later on.

All in all a movie which the kids( 4yrs-12yrs) might appreciate much more the their parents. And I still feel the 3-D effect was not really needed ( but i didn't make the movie!!)
But atleast we learn that compassion can tame even a ferocious dragon.........so watch it for the message !!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again : Planet Green

50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again : Planet Green

Posted using ShareThis

GOING GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As usual I was flipping channels yesterday, and came across a program on Discovery Channel. Well I just saw the tail end (thanks to flipping channels every minute), but what I saw was very interesting indeed. It was something to do with vertical farming. Vertical Farming weird  I thought.........but I could really see our future in it!! Very innovative and forward thinking I must say. Theoretically the concept really works. According to it a 30 floor building can produce food for a population of approximately 50,000, right in the cities. Great !!!! this absolutely reduces the transportation costs and not to mention the energy consumption as well as the carbon emission in the process. So I guess the cost of the products also comes down. And with that much greenery (if there are such farms spread throughout the city) the oxygen levels will increase and the temperatures will decrease to some extent. For your information, this project was a competition winner (Romses Architects), which was held by the City of Vancouver" to address climate change plans and to guide greener and denser development,reducing carbon emissions for the future". 

This was about the future maybe the next 20 years or so, and that too only the "rich and developed countries" might be able to afford the technology behind it. But what about today???? are we doing enough ......so that our children can breathe purer air, drink safe water or not have to deal with the ever soaring temperatures. I guess not, its sad i know. I am sure we all try to use less water, save paper, use less plastic, use energy saving electrical equipments  etc.. but the question is, is it enough? Maybe in a minuscule way...... thats all I can say !!
One of the reason I think is coz being eco-friendly is costly.....lets admit it. Plastic bags are cheaper than eco-friendly ones, at supermarkets we pay to get the eco-friendly bags but plastic ones are free.....this is just one example if one looks more closely we will find many more!!!
And double standards, last weekend we went out malling (hehe window shopping in a mall), and bought coffee from a famous coffee joint ( its really hip and has branches all over the world). While they served the coffee in plastic cups, they also spoke about saving trees and provided recycled tissues!! I didn't know if I should feel good about the recycled tissue or bad for using plastic which if not treated properly could end up in a landfill or even worse .......pollute the oceans. But atleast they are trying.

And during one of my flipping through the channels sessions I had come across another program which featured eco-friendly homes. Well that was something I really liked, people had actually cultivated gardens (it needed really solid water-proofing) on their rooftops. They harvested rainwater and some even had arrangements to recycle used water from the kitchen and washing machines for watering this garden. They claimed that the temperatures in their homes had reduced and the view on the roof was refreshing!!

I would love to have such a home myself( though I do not posses a green thumb so to speak). Install a solar panel (supplemented by normal electricity of course) , and definitely grow my own veggies!!! Wow I am thrilled already ..........hypothetically speaking its really good( in reality its all about money honey!!) Needless to say these installations and all don't come cheap. Which makes me ask these questions.......why can't eco-friendly products be cheaper? Solar panels, biogas installations , rainwater harvesting equipments, hybrid cars etc..etc..do not come at subsidized rates (enlighten me if they do). Why don't supermarkets give out reusable carry-bags and no bags for smaller items or easy to carry stuffs. And why can't we take our own bags while shopping ( I rarely do it myself ...but will work on it). All these change will be unwelcome initially, and not convenient (convenience is the main culprit actually) but sure we can all get used to it. As consumers we do enough damage already!!

To sum it all up, I think the Vertical Farming is a great idea and we can all take inspiration from it. Lets not wait for some multinational to implement it, rather we do it all in our own backyards. As far as I am concerned , I try to follow the three R's ......reduce,reuse and recycle.
Reduce- Try my best !!
Reuse- Do all the time (an entire new blog topic!)
Recycle-Try to use the right coloured garbage bins (if they are available) 

Hope you do the same!!!


Friday, March 19, 2010

SUPER SALADS......................5

It struck me today that I am only giving out vegetarian recipes (dunno if you noticed), so today we will talk about chicken. According to me if vegetarians have potatoes then non-vegetarians have chicken.........its that versatile!! One can do anything with it fry, bake, boil, sautee and so on and it will almost always be a success.

My little princess likes to eat soup once in a while and without a doubt I give her chicken soup and add a few veggies to it. The boiled chicken is then used up for my sandwiches, pizza toppings, fried rice /noodles etc. On with those later, today we will continue with the salad series.This time round with chicken. So presenting to you Simple Chicken Salad.  As the name suggests its is simple ( most of my cooking is)..........

Simple Chicken Salad Recipe :

1 whole chicken
1 large carrot
1 large potato
1 cup cooked corn kernals
1 small lettucehead
3 tbsp Thousand Island salad dressing
1/2 onion
1 tomato
2 stalks spring onions finely chopped
8-10 pepper corns
1/2 tsp ajinomoto
salt and pepper according to taste
1/2 cup broccoli (optional.....I am not a fan but add it for the nutritional value)
4 cups water

And finally we cook!!!!!!!!!!

1. In a large saucepan put the whole chicken (cut in 4 pieces),onion tomato , peppercorns,ajinomoto,salt, peeled carrot and peeled potato, let all the vegetables be whole do not chop them add the water. 

2. Bring the above to boil and simmer until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Keep aside.

3. If using broccoli chop it to bite size pieces blanch it in salted water for 5-7 minutes and set aside.

4. Remove the carrot and potato from the stock(cooking liquid) and  cut to bite size pieces. 

5. Take out the chicken and get the meat off the bone, shred it to bite size. Strain and save the stock for soups.

6. In a bowl mix around 1 cup of chicken , the chopped carrot and potato, corn kernels, broccoli ( if using), spring onions , thousand island dressing and the salt and pepper.

7. Tear the lettuce leaves by hand and add just before serving. This salad can be served cold or warm. Serves 3-4.

P.S  : There will be enough leftover chicken to prepare something else as mentioned before.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SUPER SALADS......................3 n 4

What do you do when you don't want to do anything??? Feel too lazy to do go through the daily chores............just wanna watch T.V (flip channels) all day long or stare at the ceiling(quite a funny sight). Speaking of me I go through this weird phase every once in a while ( mostly when hubby dear is busy at work n little princess is playing on her own). And these are the times when the last thing I want to do is cook!! But since The Almighty has given us a stomach, its our duty to fill it right. Coaxing hubby dear to dine out is mostly successful though lunch is a different matter altogether. And these are the times when I attack my freezer with full force. In one of my earlier posts I had mentioned boiling large batches of cholay, well I do the same for rajma and kaala chana and I freeze them too. So I get through my lazy n crazy moments by making my own salad combination's. Here are two such crazy ways with which I beat my blues away (it also beats Monday Blues after a hectic weekend)..................

Triple Bean Salad Recipe :

1/2 cup boiled rajma
1/2 cup boiled kaala chana
1/2 cup boiled mung bean  
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes 
1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
1 tsp finely chopped green chili
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 tbsp lime juice 
1tsp dry roasted coriander seeds (coarsely ground) 
1tsp dry roasted cumin seeds( coarsely ground)
salt to taste.

Yes you guessed it right ..........as always, going by my tradition of 'assembly' mix all the ingredients (life is soo much sweeter when the gas is not turned on) season and savour!!!

And as for the second recipe just add 1cup of thick yogurt with some chopped mint leaves to the above (omit the mung beans for this version) and you get a Minty Beany Raita........  enjoy!!!! ( I also find them both to be a better replacement for chaat cravings!!!)

Its quick, easy, filling and healthy .....what more does one want anyways. After this satisfying treat I usually take a catnap!!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

SUPER SALADS ..........2

Does it ever happen to you?? Sometimes we go to a restaurant and eat something(obviously) thats simple yet amazing.  You can see the ingredients right before your eyes, but still can't figure out that special flavour. Must admit ......happens to me all the time!!!  A few months ago we went out dining with a couple of our friends and there was this salad (amazing). Garden Salad ( or so the restaurant called it) which had onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, red kidney beans and some macaroni ....simple right, but it tasted so good we were all blown away. Definitely we were tasting the dressing, which changed the entire dimension of the salad. Well that was another day,and the memory lingered.

Last Thursday I was buying groceries and got a nice plump avocado not yet ripe though. Thought it will ripen in the two next days and I will prepare a nice dip (guacamole) for a weekend snack. But since that didn't happen, the now ripe avocado ended up in the refrigerator. I had to do something before there was a tree growing in my fridge, hence the twist on the Garden Salad that I had tasted months ago. Hubby dear liked it (of course he gave a few valuable suggestions) and so did I !!!  Thus was born Avocado Delight.

Avocado Delight Recipe :

1 ripe avocado (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup shallots or red onion(chopped roughly)
1/2 cup capsicum (red or yellow) chopped roughly
1/2 cup red kidney beans or edamame beans (boiled)
1/2 cup tomatoes (you know how to chop it)
a few sprigs of coriander leaves 

Dressing :
1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin if possible)
1/2 lemon (for rind and juice)
1/2 fresh red chili finely chopped (seeds removed)
salt and pepper as per individual taste 

1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing thoroughly and refrigerate.
2. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour the dressing on the salad and mix well (bare hands do a great job!)
4. Garnish with a few more coriander sprigs. 

P.S : Please chop all the ingredients in more or less similar size .
          Eat within half an hour of preparing for maximum flavor.

This salad is extremely healthy as well as filling. Serves 2. Preparation and assembly 10- 15 mins.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SUPER SALADS ..........1

Beginning today I will be penning as many (I hope there are many) salad recipes as possible. I love salads and find them extremely easy to make (assemble). Mostly healthy , usually colorful, and definitely tasty, thats my definition for salads.

Today it will be Pineapple Salad. Yummy, I like it and so do my friends n family (or so they say). But one thing I have noticed is that the kids really love it. Its a staple at most of my do's, and hope it becomes a favorite at you home too. So get set to cook!!! (ha ha there's no cooking involved)

Pineapple Salad Recipe :

1 cup sweet pineapple (chopped to bite size)
1 cup apple (chopped to bite size)
1 cup boiled potatoes (chopped to bite size)
1 cup macaroni (boiled and drained)
1 cup capsicum (red, yellow , green mix and chopped ..you know what size)
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp milk
salt and pepper to taste

Once all these ingredients are ready simply mix them together in a large bowl add the seasoning and keep it to chill.
Before serving if the consistency is too thick add some more milk and enjoy.
Serves 4-6, I like it as a meal in itself or a mid -meal snack. But no matter how you savor it do try it out and let me know what you think.

P.S : The pineapples have to be sweet or use tinned pineapples instead.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Hey Everybody,
                           So what did you do last weekend??? I for one watched movies and two really good ones at that, at least according to me. Some movies really do leave an impact on us, they force us to think about the way we live our lives or conduct ourselves. I had heard somewhere that 'art imitates life' and then we are inspired by movies......whoa thats deep I guess!! In any case, these two movies that I am talking about both have the leading men in their twilight years . Its about seeing things from their perspective (I know that it already sounds boring).
The first one is called 'Road To Sangam' starring Paresh Rawal, a very well made movie with a message of communal harmony(whats new). But its a good watch for the sheer simplicity with which the story was handled. The characters are very real and believable as well as the plot. I wouldn't want to say much about it, coz I much rather you watch it.......though I must say that its not like MNIK  and  might not really break any records at the box  office, chances are that you might have heard about the movie just about now (I hope not).

Now for the second movie, this ones a Hollywood flick by the name 'Everybody's Fine' starring Robert De Niro. It also boasts of Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell (big names huh!!). This one is for parents and children and when the children become adults.  A recently widowed father (DeNiro) travels all over the country to meet up with his kids ( four of them).  And in the process he realizes that not only are they trying to avoid him they are also lying to him. In fact what he doesn't know is that they are doing so to protect him from hurt and disappointment.  A beautifully made movie, with deep emotions subtly portrayed. It got me thinking, if I had lied to my parents or elders so to speak just so they wouldn't worry too much and in the process hurt their feelings for an entirely different reason. I am sure we all must have at some point, but speaking for myself I suffered a major guilt trip, shed a few tears too.

But also isn't it true that when we lie with a good intent at heart its not a lie ??

Well then, when we say 'Everybody's Fine' so that somebody else stays fine and stress free then I think 'Everything's Fine' !!! 

One more movie I would recommend is  Gracie's Choice (Kristen Bell, Anne Heche) its an Hallmark T.V movie based on a real life adaptation ................on the occasion of Women's Day!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010


     Wondering where I was..? Resting !! We all enjoyed a long weekend. And I am sure many of you must have partied hard and had a great time. It was Holi yesterday so I assume the merrymaking was inevitable through the weekend. Some of my friends were out of town for Holi celebrations, while some of us preferred to stay put at home and have some unadulterated family time and later meet up with friends.

This long weekend was quite simple as compared to usually what we do. Most of the times we get-together go for movies, picnics, arrange pot-lucks and of course one of us definitely throws a party. Thats because someone or the other surely has a birthday to celebrate or an anniversary coming up. So its party time...... Hoorraayy!! I love parties, whether I am giving them or am invited to them. Organizing a party is a thrill in itself. What new food will you cook, how will you present it , what dessert etc.....I love doing all that !! And when I had organized my daughters first birthday the preparations had started two months in advance. But even if its a dinner party at home with ten or so guests my excitement is the same. And as a guest too I have seen that each one of my lady friends puts her heart and soul into her own parties. I guess all of us thrive on it, showing off our culinary skills and efforts that is, and its an added bonus if we are well appreciated.

Some of the foods I have eaten at my friends places fascinated me ........the presentation and the thought behind it. Simply cannot forget the veggie sticks with the unique yogurt dip (want to know more about it), veggie skewers and chicken malai kebab. Or the veggie canapes (what was in the filling I wonder) and the yummy gajar halwa.  And of course the roasted eggplants, enchiladas (can i get the recipe) and chicken cordon bleu (hubby dear still thinks of it).
All in all I gather that we love to have a great time with good company and amazing food. These are the times to be cherished , having a long weekend to do the same is an added advantage, coz you don't have to worry about office and school the next day. So we all are relaxed. Children have a great time too. Plus the leftovers help you survive the next day!! And then after a restful weekend we are ready to face the real life, fully recharged (Monday Blues is another matter). 

So I say three cheers to weekends (long or otherwise), a great bunch of friends to enjoy them with and the spirit to celebrate, at any given time for whatever reason.