Crunchy cauliflower……marinate, microwave

Cauliflower is best eaten raw. There are some concerns about raw veggies, as the water and manure used to grow it are a reason for concern. Some farmers use pesticides as well, which do not allow us to enjoy vegetables in the raw. The next best way? Clean the cauliflower throughly, soak in clean water used for drinking, for thirty minutes. Dry, marinate with yoghurt, salt, red chilli powder and roasted cumin. After an hour, put in the microwave for four minutes. Take it out, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on it and enjoy. As discussed in the post on cauliflower, it is has antioxidants, anticancer ingredients, anti-inflammatory nutrients and strengthens your heart and immune system.IMG_4493

Enjoy your warm, crunchy cauliflower…….


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Birds of prey-the hunt is on

Yeah, yeah, the ecological balance in the universe necessitates that some beings are devoured by others………….but does it have to be in a cruel, public execution? I have mistakenly clicked pictures from afar of a bird of prey eating something out of the water….one can not see what it is….it makes me wonder about my own hypocrisy …..I did not mind when the beautiful Kingfishers showed me the fish as large as them dangling from their ruby red beaks….do looks matter that much???? would I be as disgusted if a beautiful bird ate an ugly worm full of protein as I would be if a large, grey-brown bird of prey consumed a pretty bird???? these birds make me think and re-evaluate my attitude….we are meant to learn till we perish….

 

 


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Bitter Gourd – Tasty and Easy

Bitter Gourd is supposed to be healthy and even used in traditional medicine to control diabetes ! Even if it’s not a ‘wonder vegetable’ with medicinal properties, it is beneficial for all. The only problem is the bitter taste which can easily be neutralised by following this simple recipe. Take the whole bitter gourd pieces, wash in running water and soak in water for 30 minutes. Dry and rub salt on the external surface. Wash well after 30 mins. Cut into small, equal pieces.

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For 500 gms, chop 2 small onions, take 2 tsps of chopped ginger, 2 and a half tsps of chopped garlic, 4 green cardamoms ( deseeded and coarsely ground), 2 chopped green chillies, 1 tbsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of turmeric, salt to taste.

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In a heavy pan, take 1 tbsp of ghee, add the chopped garlic when hot. In 20 seconds, add the ginger, stir, add chopped onions after 20 seconds.

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Stir continuously till the onions are brown.

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Add the green chillies, mix well for 30 seconds and add the chopped bitter gourd.

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Stir well, add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt to taste. Some people prefer to add salt at the end, but in my experience, it doesn’t matter when you’re cooking bitter gourd.

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Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coarsely ground green cardamom seeds and mix well. Cooked covered for another 5-7 minutes, till the vegetable is tender. Taste before taking it off the flame. Enjoy!


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The Koel that flew at me!

I know the Koels live in the trees in our garden….they hide in the dense foliage. One can hear them loud and clear but they rarely come out in the open. I have written about the Koel that flew in front of me while I was photographing the sunbirds…..this time, I was captivated by a couple of Coppersmith barbets that stay in our garden for only 2 months every year. The Koel flew right at me…..I could get only one shot with the camera as I watched it come to me and fly overhead….woah!!!!


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Alexandrine Parrot-using claw to eat!!!

Yesssss….just when I thought the Alexandrine parrots in our home had done all they could on film for me…..one of them actually stood out from the rest by using his claw to stuff the berries in his mouth and eat!!! he came back after the flock had left and mesmerized me for hours……a delightful and beautiful bird……just when we think we know someone, they surprise us…hang around if you find someone intriguing, and never assume they’ve shown you all they have……sometimes they disgust you, at other times….they captivate you for life…..


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He/ she loves you….??

Ah, that intoxicant called love……the reason we live, die, improve, degenerate, thrive, survive, dance, sing, fight…the emotion that can elevate, depress and take us to hell and heaven within a second. That thumping of the heart, trembling of the lips, dryness of the mouth, that hunger, that thirst, which requires quenching, no matter what the cost. Women often wonder if a man is ‘their one true love’ or ‘soulmate’ or if these men or terms are real. Are there any pointers to see if he is as besotted ?

  • He looks into your eyes, while the more ‘interesting’ parts of you are glanced at for milliseconds. 
  • He does not pick up the phone that rings in the pocket…does he think it’s the ringing in his ears because of your presence? …..Nah, let’s get real, don’t over-analyze, he’s interested but not crazy 🙂
  • He does not check out the amazing women all around.
  • He listens to you, not watching the television behind you.
  • He remembers your babbling of childhood pets, and does not roll up his eyes when you talk about you both watching a romantic movie together.
  • He offers a bite of the delicious food he’s eating.
  • He is polite to your family!!!
  • He would rather talk than message you.
  • He offers to carry you….or your bag, when you are tired.
  • He goes out of his way to make sure you are in touch, your connection is a necessity. 
  • He leaves his ‘unlocked’  phone when he buys you a coffee.    
  • He calls you up from whichever part of the world he goes to for work…he finds a way              Beware…a lot of the most charming men have been psychopaths, take it really slow, give it time before you go out for that long drive in the dark with him…….                          When is a woman interested ???
  • She shares her dark secrets or future plans.
  • She giggles, plays with her hair and widens her eyes.
  • She accepts a sip of your drink…
  • She talks about her fears.
  • A call in the middle of the night to tell you about the book she’s reading or movie she’s watching.
  • The dark side of her personality and her imperfect physical attributes are revealed…it is a test 🙂
  • She makes promises and keeps them.
  • Your past is of interest to her.
  • She asks about your family history of disease or mental illness.                                               Life is too short, take a chance, once you find someone who makes it worthwhile, hang on through disease and disaster……do not cheat, be true ….and walk out if you are threatened or abused…….

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Spiced Tea Eggs! by team Sheraton , Jaipur

4 points by Sheraton, Jaipur is a delightful place to stay at…because of the staff….from the Reception to the dining area….clean, spacious and tastefully decorated…this place is perfect……for the first time ever, I have tried the Spiced Tea eggs made by the Chefs here…..along with the signature dal baati churma, gate ki subzi, ker sangri ……the list is endless and since they were magnanimous enough to share their recipes….many blogs will honour them…..for now, the recipe for the Spiced Tea Eggs,,,,,boil eggs in water which has  tea leaves, cinnamon, bay leaves and star anise added to it…when the eggs have been in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove them and gently crack them from the top……strain the spicy water and pour into the crack….Voila ! 


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Easy Kadi Pakora

This is a dish that is made in various ways throughout India. What makes it great is that it tastes as good, whichever way it’s cooked. The trick is to cook it well enough. It’s an excellent accompaniment to rice or rotis.

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Take 1 cup of besan (gram flour), 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tsp of red chilli powder, salt to taste and boiled and chopped spinach ( 1 bunch). Mix all the ingredients together and add half a cup of water. Heat oil in a kadai or wok and add small bits of the mixture, using your hand. Fry till golden brown, any of the two sizes shown can be used ( I use the smaller pakoras for the curry, and the larger ones to eat right away ). Place the pakoras on an absorbent paper.

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For the kadi, the easiest way to get the mixture ready is to use 500 ml of buttermilk that has been with you for two days ( it gives an amazing sourness ). Add half a cup of the besan. Mix in a mixer to get an even consistency. Add salt to the mixture (1 tsp). Take a pan, put 1 tbsp of ghee and heat it. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds, then 1/2 a tsp of fenugreek seeds, followed by 11/2 tsps of chopped garlic and 4 whole, dried red chillies. After 30 seconds, add 1 onion which has been cut into thin, long strips. Fry till brown, Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of red chilli powder and mix well.

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Add the mixture of buttermilk and besan. Let it boil on a medium flame, add 2 cups of water. Let the curry boil over a medium flame for 15 mins ( 9 times of boiling, as my grandmother used to say). The curry becomes more yellow. Add the cooked pakoras, mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: Yoghurt can be used instead of buttermilk, but it’s easier to use buttermilk. When it has been put in the bowl for serving, you can take 1 tsp of ghee, heat it and add 1/2 a tsp each of ground cumin and red chillies. Pour it over the curry for an extra bit of deliciousness.


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Peridot and Obsidian…..My precious stones

The most precious stones for me are the stones collected by us as a family from exotic locations. The peridot and obsidian collected by us from the Wahba Crater, Saudi Arabia are special because they bring back memories of a special treasure hunt by a crater. It was just the three of us, my husband, our son and I, on a wonderful trip that will always make me smile. I will write about the uncut gems from the Gemstone beach in New Zealand later. It is not a case of sour grapes because I own the diamond solitaires that most old women have 🙂 The best things in life are free…………and in the game of rock, paper, scissors, Spock and family…family wins every time. (apologies to TBBT )

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This picture was taken at the start of our hunt. We had nowhere to store the stones, the hot afternoon air was playing havoc, taking the stones back to where I had picked them from……my guys found a small plastic glass in the car and we filled it with our stones…and memories.

 


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Trees-unique? weird? alien? Mandu

Not only are the monuments in Mandu unique, the trees were eerily beautiful too! Upon being asked what the bulbous, thick trunked, weirdly and uniquely captivating trees with the round fruit hanging on them were, the locals looked at us, and said ‘Our tamarind trees are like no other. Outsiders like you keep clicking pictures of them!’. So we followed the tradition of clickety-click! They reminded me of some of the trees which form part of an alien landscape in Socotra………DSC01010 DSC01227 DSC01229 DSC01237


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