Aloneness Accompaniment

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I’m sharing with you the various teas that have accompanied my aloneness.

Mint tea: Bring the water to boil. Turn off the heat and put some fresh mint leaves. Leave it for a minute, uncovered.

The cool-mint effect works great for summer evenings. It relaxes you in and out.

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Cinnamon ginger tea: Boil a few tea leaves (I use Tata Gold).Put 2-3 cinnamon sticks, minced ginger or ginger powder. For strong smell, go for the minced one. After adding all that is needed, lower the heat and boil it for at least a minute. Strain and put sugar.

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Lemon -grass tea. No tea leaves required. Simply boil some dried lemongrass. Add the lemon grass as to how much you want the tea to be strong. After the colour changes, add sugar and stir for few seconds. This tea tastes best with unrefined sugar.

Lemon ginger honey tea: Bring minced ginger to boil. Add tea leaves, preferably Tata Gold. Squeeze half the lemon into the tea. Strain and mix with honey.

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Perhaps you are thinking if I’m accompanied then I am not alone. For me, there are three things that complete my aloneness – book, tea and quick bites. This aloneness is not about being lonely but spending time alone by connecting with my own thoughts.

Prepare any of the above tea ,I’m sure it will be a great accompaniment for you as well.

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MAGGI WITH A TWIST

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It’s easy and quick. The recipe is more like how you would make chowmein but the taste is deliciously different.

What you’ll need: Maggi Masala, onion, oil, green chillies, and coriander.

How to cook:

1.Empty the Maggi packets and boil the noodles until soft. Put aside the taste-maker.

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2.  Wash the noodles in cold water and keep aside.

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3. Cut onions and green chillies into small pieces.In a pan, take two teaspoons of oil (preferably refined oil) and saute the onions and chillies.

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4. Now put the taste-maker, mix well and put the boiled noodles immediately. Be careful with the sauteed onions and chillies after putting the taste-maker as it can get burned easily.

5. Fry for about a minute and garnish with coriander leaves. Put salt only after tasting as the taste-maker is already salty.

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For healthy eating, serve it with salads. When sandwiches and cakes become repetitive in your evening teas, this fried Maggi can make be a delicious substitute.

How I know this recipe: Call it neighbourhood sniffs. As I came home walking the stairs one day, I couldn’t resist the smell coming from my neighbour’s kitchen. So I knocked on her door with a cute smile. The smile had to be cute. I was just on time as she had just finished frying the Maggi.  I didn’t know it was Maggi. I had guessed it to be fritters because she makes them often.

Usually we invite each other for quick bites but that day I went uninvited and she was still warmth as usual. She not only served the Maggi but was also happy to let me have two cups of Masala Chai . So then I left with a big smile, only after I know the recipe . Aah lucky I am to have a foodie neighbour, ain’t I?

Any neighbourhood sniffs? Let’s try recipes.

Vanilla Frosting Butter Cupcakes

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Cupcakes can bring out the kid in me. It does for all of us. Bake these scrumptious treats and feel good about sharing it with your loved ones. It’s easy and the buttery taste will make them ask for more.

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   Ingredients

                           200g unsalted butter, softened

                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

               1 cup caster sugar

       3 eggs

       2 1/2 cups flour

       1/2 cup milk

  1. Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition . Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the flour. Stir in half the milk. Repeat with remaining flour and milk until combined.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C . Bake for 15 to 20 mins. Stand cakes in pans for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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For vanilla frosting recipe, click here

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Have a heavenly treat !

Heartwarming Cookies To Your Rescue

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Aren’t we sometimes confused what to give as gifts? Each time we give the same gifts or we find them too common. We run out of ideas and asked others for some or even googled  “Unique Gift Ideas” only to find them too common. If not the cliched ones, we are suggested to go for personalized gifts. So be it birthdays, anniversaries or festivities, we all have been there; done that.

Now what can be a more personalized gift than gifting cookies that you have baked? You give your time, your own hands prepare the dough and you wrap the cookies; all with full of love. This whole effort is sure to make the heart melt.

Remember Diwali isn’t far away!

Thankfully for me, my friends love to eat the simple things that I bake and whenever I’m out of ideas for birthday gifts, I would bake a cake.

Last week I gifted a friend some vanilla custard powder cookies. Fed up of cakes, I baked cookies and chose vanilla flavour as it is her favourite. I also like the same flavour and my mouth watered while still kneading the dough.

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I have taken the recipe from a blog which I have been following.

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Brown & Polson vanilla custard powder are easily available in local stores. Choose a flavour of the person’s choice to whom you are gifting the cookies.custard collage 3

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I simply followed the food blog’s way of pressing the fork on the round dough balls. You may just press it a bit with your fingers or try anything as long as you stick to the same size of the dough balls and flatten them a little.

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custard collage 6Wrapping is easy. You need a parchment paper (available in big departmental stores )  or a tissue paper to wrap the cookies in a cylindrical manner. Napkins will also do. Then a final wrap with a transparent plastic sheet (I got them from a stationery store) and stretch to the top to tie; first with a rubber band and then comes the ribbon.

Use printed sheets if you find the plain sheet dull. For creativity, you can paste beads, roll the ribbon over the body or use glitter pen for drawing. Less is more, so I chose the glittering ribbon which goes well with the plain plastic sheet.

So it’s not just the custard powder cookies but also your creative wrapping that will bring warmth to the person’s heart. And you know what; I had received a text from that friend asking me the recipe!

Thanks for dropping by. See you soon.

Spicy Manipuri Salad

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chutney 1Salad or Marchadeng (meaning – Chilli, veggies, etc ,.with fermented fish paste )  is always a delicious  accompaniment to the usual traditional rice and curry in Manipur.

The basic ingredients of Marchadeng: Chilli (dry or fresh), garlic, salt and fermented fish. When raw vegetables and herbs are added it can be taken like a salad .Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, fenugreek, eggplant, etc are commonly used. Even raw papaya is used.

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I made Marchadeng using a not so common vegetable or plant as you may like to call. It’s known as Jongtâh in the local language. Its scientific name is Parkia speciosa (bitter bean, twisted cluster bean or stink bean). It has edible beans with bright green seeds the size and shape of plump almonds and a rather peculiar smell.

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We get this only in winters and it is a delicacy.  Trees that bear these seeds take about eight to ten years to grow and apparently, there are fewer trees now. It is possible that they might become extinct too in the near future.

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Why not try? After all, salads are healthy!

Flaxseed Madness

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On one of my visits to my sister’s place, I was offered a packet of roasted flaxseeds and since then I have become a devotee of these tiny fatty seeds.

I called it flaxseed madness because I eat at least a handful of it every day. As I write this, I’m nibbling. I have used flaxseeds in cakes, sandwiches, salads and even advised my family to eat them. My aunt is slowly catching up with the advice. Looks like I’ll become a flaxseed expert.

I have read a lot on flaxseeds but was hesitant to try until my sister offered me. Certain food items are difficult to get and apart from anything to do with baking, I certainly won’t hunt for flaxseed in Delhi markets.

So the flaxseeds made it to my place and it was devoured in two days. I remember that packet weighed about 200 grams and cost 70 rupees. If you think this is tad costly, then go for the not-yet roasted ones. I got them from INA market and roast it myself. They are sold loose but cheaper; 150-170 rupees per kilo.

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flax cakeWhy you should not neglect flaxseeds?

  1. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  2. High in Fiber
  3. Low Carb
  4. High in Vitamins

To know more about the benefits of flaxseeds, read here

With flaxseed madness soon I should be able to come up with yummy recipes. Till then, get your dose of these healthy seeds and do share how you eat them.

 

 

 

Delhi’s Best Dhaba

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Rajinder Da Dhaba in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave area is one of those eateries you must surely visit. Soon it shall be your favourite.

This dhaba comes alive in the evening after 5 p.m. For those who plan for a fine dining; they have a bar cum restaurant. People often choose to stand and eat in the open. You’d find people stepping out of their BMWs & Mercs and get their food packed or eat on the parking space.

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You enter the place and the smell makes you hungrier. Food is amazing and I have loved whatever I ate till date. You might like to compare with Karim’s.

What we did: Packed mushroom tikka, chicken hot wings, butter naan, spicy mutton curry and dal makhani and ate on the lawns near India Gate, followed by the ritual of having an ice cream.

Given the crowd at Rajinder da Dhaba, ambience doesn’t matter. From families to couples and friends in group, everyone seems to enjoy the food. Try the Mughlai section of chicken and mutton items with some heavily buttered naan. It’s yummylicious.

Take note: You can never go wrong with the chicken hot wings accompanied with generous servings of onion and coriander sauce.

This place is also a favorite for vegetarians as well. Mushroom tikka and paneer based items are to die for!

Their service is fast and efficient.

So for your next eat-out, you know where you must go. Eat lots and do let me know your experience.

To know more about this place, click here

Healthy Rainy Day Soup

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It’s the rainy season and a warm soup is so much comforting and relaxing. With a minimum set of ingredients I tried a healthy soup which turned out so good that I took a second helping.

How this soup is healthy?

# Mushroom is a low-calorie food . Apart from valuable nutrients, it contains proteins and vitamins.

# Broccoli is packed with nutrients. It is a good source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.

In the coming months, the heat will slowly fade away and I shall experiment more with soup. soup                                     Mushroom Broccoli Clear Soup

                                                        Recipe

                                      Ingredients : 5-6 button mushrooms

                     7-8 broccoli florets

                     3-4 cloves of garlic

                    1 maggie magic cube

                     500 ml water

                     salt  and pepper

Instruction : Bring the water to boil. Put the cube and stir a bit. Now add the sliced mushroom and chopped garlic cloves to the boiling water.Let it cook for 8 minutes and add the broccoli. Put salt and pepper. The broccoli should be cooked for not more than a minute.

Try adding lemon grass and have the soup to your heart’s content .

Have a Soupy Monsoon !

Must Try In Mussoorie

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Whenever I go to Mussoorie, I make a point to eat at Kalsang. This Tibetan restaurant has never failed me and each time I visit , I fall in love with it more .

The chilled mountain weather goes well with their steaming  bowl of thick Tom Yum soup. A seat on the top floor is advisable if you want a view of the busy Mall Road while waiting for the food to be served. Make sure you try the mix ‘thukpa’. It’s the best bet here .

For  meat lovers,  each bite of  the lemon chicken (they put pineapple and it’s amazingly yummy) and the pork ribs will give you a feel of heaven on earth.

Read more on Kalsang here

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In my last visit  to Mussoorie, I came across Emily’s which is the cafe at the quaint resort called Rokeby Manor(apparently owned by Sachin Tendulkar) . Located at the peaceful Landour, the view  from the cafe is simply breathtaking. From ambience to food, service and decor; everything at Emily’s has been nicely done. It’s a tad expensive but worth the experience .

We ordered Chicken Ceasar Salad, Grilled Chicken Platter and Alfredo Pasta. The food was made complete with Peppermint Tea.

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I fell in love with this wooden shelf. Can’t wait to have a cafe of my own.

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Posters like this adorn the walls at Emily’s

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And here comes the Peppermint Tea which was freshly prepared !

To know more about Emily’s, click here

Ten Minutes Easy Pasta

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This pasta is really quick and simple. It took me just ten minutes and it itched me to share it. I usually follow a recipe from cookbooks or blogs but today the brain helped. Hope you’ll like it.

 Recipe

Penne pasta boiled for 7-8 mins

1  tomato tossed in olive oil

Grilled for 3-4 minutes

Salt to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese

Toss and serve hot

Garnish with mint leaves (optional)

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The story behind : I got up really late today. It was already afternoon so instead of breakfast I tried to cook lunch. There was hardly any food in the fridge and to go out and buy vegetables under the heat was unimaginable for me. With a few tomatoes in the house , I then decided to make a pasta. Few days back, a friend , whose dad deals in cheese import business, had given me a block of Parmesan and I had not opened it yet. So I got cheese and tomatoes and it was Two To Tango !