Tuesday, April 21, 2009

new veggies, old tastes

There isn't a huge variety of "known" vegetables in the supermarkets here. The staples on our weekly shopping are cabbage, cauliflower, french beans, spinach. Sometimes, I buy the vegetables I am not too familiar with, just to break the monotony. So, this post is about those vegetables which I tried to cook for the first time.

The first one is Brussels sprouts. The picture shows them raw and then cooked with potatoes.
I just quartered each Brussels sprout and cooked it like the usual cabbage aloo. Made a tadka of jeera, hing, turmeric, chilli and then added the cut up Brussels sprouts and potatoes, some salt and dhaniya powder. Then instead of cooking it up in the pan like usual. I thought this needed to be crispier than that. So I put the almost cooked vegetables in an oven tray and broiled them for a while. I didn't warm up to this vegetable a lot though Anurag thought it was good. I thought it had a strong odour and taste. I never had this problem with cooked cabbage. I thought this was way stronger.

Who wouldn't be tempted to buy these cute little chillies? I gave into the temptation and bought them. I was thinking of stuffing them but I finally made mirchi ka salan. It sure is a tasty dish and the best recipe is here.

If you don't concentrate on reading the label "tamarind paste concentrate", and read it only as "tamarind paste" then you can end up with mirchi ka salan that looks a lot more brown than necessary and you also have to add a lot of sugar to compensate the sour. If you didn't notice, thats the stupid mistake I made. But the positive side is that, I could still turn the blunder around into an edible dish. Though it didn't taste like a mirchi dish :) It could have been a spicier. I think I shouldn't have de-seeded these peppers. They were pretty mild even without the sugar addition.

I had been intrigued since I first saw asparagus on the internet when I was in India. I wondered what a stem like vegetable would taste like. So I took the opportunity to taste it first-hand. It does look pretty and tastes good too. It is nice and crunchy when baked. That is the only way I tried it. Need to buy it again one of these days.

I cut up 1-2 inch pieces of asparagus and carrots. Added olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli powder and a tiny bit of dhaniya powder and rolled it around to coat it with the spices and baked them till crisp. We had them as a side with dal chawal. Surprisingly, it also tasted great on the pizza I made the next day.

Next is the very traditional punjabi dish of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. I used a can of mustard greens instead of fresh ones. This one doesn't have a before and after picture as I didn't take the picture of the can :)

I followed the recipe almost as it is from here as I think this is the most authentic recipe I could find on the internet. My makki ki roti doesn't look yellow because I used white corn meal. I also added a bit of wheat flour as the corn meal was quite coarse. I also didn't add any radish to the roti. You know how I avoid strong flavour and odour. They make my stomach feel weird. This was super yummy. And don't forget to add ghee or butter on both the saag and the roti.

This weekend, we were just roaming around the neighborhood shopping center. We tried the ben and jerry's frozen yogurt. I had frozen yogurt for the first time and I thought it is an amazing idea. It is lighter than ice-cream and is not as sweet. So I loved it.

I almost feel bad writing about this after all the food stuff but I just need to tell this. We also went into a pet shop. We always used to see these cute rabbits and birds from the shop window, so we thought of having a look around the shop. There were so many beautiful fish in there and then can you believe it, there was a section of reptiles. Absolutely eww. There were snakes, and lizard or I should say gecko. eww. eww. Let me not get into their types and sizes . I ran from there into the dog section. What kind of people would want such pets!!! And here I used to think "wow, I live in a lizard free land" coz I had never seen them before like in India where they sneak into the house. Oh enough!! I need to stop before I have nightmares about them.
Lets talk about movies. It seems like a mandatory section here these days :) But I don't have much on this front lately. Just saw "Aa dekhe zara". It is an average movie in the thriller category. Neil's first movie "Johnny Gaddar" was way better. His next is going to be "Jail" I think but I don't have high hopes on that either.
I think I haven't mentioned "Marley and Me". Saw it long time ago. It is a beautiful movie. Nothing extraordinary in terms of story but it touched my heart.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

favorite website for deals

Check out http://www.deals2buy.com/ for great deals in everything ranging from electronics, laptops, toys, clothes, shoes, jewellery and everything you want.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crafty ideas and a trip

What does one do when one washes a pillow in the washing machine and it kind of gets torn? One can do some kind of patch work on it. That someone is me.
The pillow threads got loose and it was sure to get torn if we didn't do anything about it. Anurag said we need to do a patch on it. After thinking for many days, we finally went into a craft store. And instead of a real cloth, we bought a felt cloth. And some stick-on snowflakes and flowers and leaves. That made the task so much easier. Anurag gave the idea that one side of the pillow represents winter and other side represents spring. So we stuck snow flakes and flowers in seemingly random way, but I assure you I spent a few days (pretending to be) thinking the design.
I tried to sew on the felt on the pillow but the stitches didn't look neat. I should have expected that, since my sewing experience is in negative. So I took a ruler and marked dots on the felt so that I know exactly where the needle goes in and where it comes out.
I am not sure if I did a good job but guests, specially the ladies, say "wow, those are some unusual pillows" and I take that as a compliment :)

We also bought this small round mirror from the craft store. And the picture shows what happened to the mirror after I painted on the poor thing.

In other news, a few weeks ago we had gone on a small trip to sugar mountain resort for skiing and then to grandfather mountain. I think this is the first time I am writing about a trip so late after the trip. But honestly, I didnt have much to write about it. Except, skiing is hard :) It makes you feel like a baby who is learning to walk. You fall and you can't get up by yourself. It was kind of fun overall. Atleast, we did something new and exciting.
Grandfather mountain was good. We could only see the mile high swinging bridge. The nature museum was closed coz we were late for it. Some pics from Grandfather mountain below