Category Archives: lifestyle

Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

Its an amazing dish. Super easy to make and healthy too. Its almost no oil except for the small amount used for the ‘tadka’, which you can omit if you wish. But the tadka is like the feather in the cap so I would go for it, using very small quantity of vegetable oil or substitute it with a good quality olive pomace oil. Khandavi is an Indian Gujarati dish made with besan (chick pea flour) and curd. Both of these are very healthy ingredients. The best thing I like about it is that it can be made ahead for any small get together with a couple of friends and is best enjoyed at room temperature (Store in fridge if you intend to use it next day). Further it can serve as an anytime snack or food. Hey , it should be an ideal snack for the festival of ‘Holi’! O.K. so enough of talking for now. I’m sure you’re getting a wee bit impatient. Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients for Khandavi:
1 cup besan
1 cup curd
2 cups water
1 level tsp salt
1/4 level tsp turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida (hing) which is optional
Paste of 1/2 inch piece ginger and one large green chilli

Ingredients for tempering (tadka) and garnish:
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
10- 12 curry leaves
chopped coriander leaves
1 to 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut or paneer (optional)

Method:
Mix together all the ingredients for the khandvi into a smooth paste. There should be no lumps. Pour this mixture into a heavy bottom sauce pan or wok and cook stirring continuously on low to medium heat till the mixture thickens but is still spreadable. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste a little to check that the rawness of the besan is not there. Take about 2 ladle fulls of the batter and spread evenly into a thin layer (approximately 4 mm thick) onto the back of a large steel tray, or baking tray or even kitchen counter. You may need several plates depending on their size. Let cool for 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile prepare tempering by spluttering the mustard seeds in the hot oil. Add the roughly chopped curry leaves and switch off the gas. Now using knife cut the khandavi layer into equal sized strips (about 1and 1/2 inch width) and loosen the edge with knife. Roll starting from one end and arrange into serving dish. Garnish with the tadka and grated coconut or paneer (cottage cheese). I like to add a dash of red chilly powder too. Enjoy the healthy almost no oil and gluten free Khandvi.

Note: 1. In first attempt, usually the layers turn out a bit thick.
2. If curd is not sour,add 1 tbsp lemon juice, for better flavour.

Source: Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

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Musings On Money- Do You wish For More?

At the breakfast table, my son reads out some recent news from his Iphone – “Just eight individuals, all men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, Oxfam said on Monday in a report…”Oh really? who are they? I ask goggle eyed unable to suppress my curiosity.”The eight individuals named in the report are Gates, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega, veteran investor Warren Buffett, Mexico’s Carlos Slim, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.” he continues to read.Astonishment apart this piece of news really set me thinking, entering into the age old debate (with my own inner self) on how much money is enough. There is always a  constant tug of war between our needs and wants. People often console themselves by saying that love is the utmost important factor in life and money ranks a poor fourth or fifth place maybe, if we were to do some rankings.  The Billy Graham quote we held as a gospel truth since childhood begins to rhyme in my head,When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.How true! But the desire to earn or possess more money is omnipresent for many of us poor mortals, isn’t it? And I’m not even talking about people below poverty line here. I’m thinking about ordinary middle/upper middle class folks. we always keep wishing for a better house, a better car, a raised social stature, all of which come at a price; that of being a rich person. But is having loads of money the real meaning of being rich? I get an answer from author Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morrie. “You don’t need the latest sports car, you don’t need the biggest house….. You know what really gives you satisfaction?What?Your time. Your concern.”

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Source: Musings On Money- Do You wish For More?

Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’. We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature. Click on the following link to see those beautiful pictures.

Source: Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’.

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We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature.

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

These pictures were clicked with an Iphone 7, and they came  out so good that no filter has been used.

George Santayana quote picture source: Buzzfeed.com

Faces (A Tanka Poem)

There are faces

And there are masks that people wear

Being politically correct

Happy faces, sad faces, pretentious faces

Hiding true self to inner confines.

(A tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables.

Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables

Line 2 – 7 syllables

Line 3 – 5 syllables

Line 4 – 7 syllables

Line 5 – 7 syllables)

Cover picture source:Typorama

Easy Recipe For Churros with Hot Chocolate Sauce for Cool Days!

My son had first tasted Churros at a Christmas market in Paris last year . When he was back from his trip, he just couldn’t stop going gaga over the doughy and chewy, yet succulent taste of the churros with hot chocolate sauce and insisted that we attempt to try making them at home. I looked up a few recipes from the internet and some from the cook books I had, and finally came up with my own version of an easy recipe for homemade churros with hot dipping chocolate sauce which is just perfect for the changing weather. My son gave a helping hand. My family and my son’s friends loved the churros! His friends said that our homemade churros were way better than those available in one of the best local bakeries here in Chandigarh. No not boasting , that’s exactly what they said. Now, as it has again started to become a bit cool, one yearns for a hot snack accompanied by a glass of hot wine which incidentally I also first heard about from my son. So here we go, lets get ready to make some piping hot churros!

Ingredients:

For the churros

  • 1and ½ cup flour
  • 1 and ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 and ½ tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
  • ½ litre to 1 litre oil for frying

For the sauce

  • ½ cup chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chopped well)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp Nutella (optional)

Method:

      Add the 1 and 1/2 tbsp of sugar to the water and boil. In another bowl place the flour, salt and baking powder, making a well inside. Pour the 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil into this well along with the boiling water. Mix using a wooden spatula till well combined and there are no lumps. The mixture will look like a sticky gooey mass. Fill the dough into a cloth or plastic icing bag. Attach a star nozzle to the piping bag, in order to get the distinctive lined texture on the churros. The hole in the icing bag should be of at least 1 inch diameter. Let the dough rest in the piping bag for a few minutes. Heat the oil for frying in a wok. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, but do not boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let rest for half a minute. Add the Nutella and whisk till the chocolate melts and all ingredients are well combined and the sauce looks smooth and glossy.

Now hold the piping bag vertically above the hot oil and squeeze till the dough comes out like a thick rope. Cut with scissors to 4 inch pieces and deep fry to light golden brown. Drain and place the churros on a kitchen paper. Next drench them with the icing sugar (to which some powdered cinnamon has been mixed in).Serve the piping hot churros with hot chocolate dipping sauce!

 

Book Review: Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani

Right from the beginning I was intrigued by Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying to be me, after I had seen an interview of the author on a Philippines news channel. In fact I was literally dying to read the book for two reasons. First it was the title of the book, Dying to be me which is I believe every person can relate to and is well justified in the book. As Anita Moorjani rightly points out, we are conditioned right from our childhood on account of our culture or religion to live in fear. Fear of what others may think of you. Fear of not being able to live the life you wish to live. Suppression of the self and being made guilty about not always yielding to others’ commands slowly stifle one’s persona and the fear manifests itself in the form of disease. So in a way the book strongly suggests that in order to live a disease free life one should learn to overcome fear of any sort and be the real person you are, with no expectations of pretense.

The second reason I wanted to read the book was obviously to know how she bravely overcame a near death experience and came out victorious after a fierce battle with stage four lymphoma. After suffering for nearly four years she went into a coma, with the doctors almost declaring that she would not survive. But then, something magical happened. She became aware of her own infinite self. Unconditional love of her family and her own understanding of her self brought her back to life healed and cancer free. 

The book is quite interesting, written in simple language and is very easy to follow and does not bore you with details of complex medical procedures or jargon. The best thing about the book is that it brings a message of hope to millions of people suffering from cancer. In general it also inspires you to live your dreams, be bold and live a life without fear. Have No Fear!

P.S- Most of us fear God. Why not befriend God or the Spiritual being you believe in? Listen to your conscious and then do what you think is right. I can assure you life becomes a lot better. This is my personal conclusion. What do you think?

A Walk Through Minet Country Park, London

Down with the common flu today, I was feeling a bit under the weather and so missed my customary walk to the nearby park in my home town Chandigarh. It was then that the idea struck me to go back down memory lane and revisit The Minet Country Park in the London Borough of Hillingdon (virtually), which I frequented last summers and really loved!

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Entrance to Minet country Park, London

As the name suggests its a country park, kept as close to its natural state as possible, albeit well maintained. There are wide open areas of grassland with rabbits sprinting in and out of the hedges and the area is alive with cheeky chipmunks’ chirp calls.

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Family of ducks at Minet Country Park, London

The meadow is scattered with an array of vibrant candy coloured wild flowers which are very inviting. As soon as my husband and I entered the garden we were greeted by a family of ducks swimming in the waterway. We followed the walking track and waved at some little kids enjoying themselves in the play area and smiled at the mommies who had brought their babies out for a stroll in the pram. From the distance we could also see a Gurudwara at the boundary of the park which we visited later. img_5566

Minet Country Park, London

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Array of flowers at Minet Country Park , London

The Minet Park is spread over 36 hectacre and was awarded the Green Flag for the first time in the year 2009. Our walks to this garden were truly refreshing and energizing and we hope to visit it again in the near future. img_5573

Minet Country Park, London

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Play area at Minet country park, London

 

img_5568Minet Country Park, London

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Master of all I survey at Minet country park, London
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Ivy covered

All these pictures were clicked with an iPhone and believe me they are so beautiful that no filter was needed to improve them. I hope you enjoyed reading this post:)

Addicted to My Phone? Sorry, I Refute This Charge!

An ode to my friend,(my lovely mobile phone) in the form of a prose poem:

My phone is my notebook, my postbox, my gaming station, my book stand, my news reporter and my business supporter! My phone is also my camera and my pictures album folder. My phone is my banker,my meeting place with friends and a place to look up the latest trends. The device even doubles up as my vanity mirror and my music system. My phone is my dictionary and spelling corrector, it can teach me to strum the guitar and teach me mandarin if I want. Its also my magnifying glass you bet! Use your imagination and you’ll know how. It takes me to far off places and is a small doorway to the big bountiful world which I can hold in my fist or my pocket. The big bonus is that it can also be used to make calls! Yes you heard that right.I can also make calls. I need all these facilities in my life, so when my phone is my true friend indeed, when in need, why do people call it phone addiction? It’s not just a phony phone after- all; its much more!