Monday, March 31, 2014

5 Step Easy Recipe - Honey Garlic Potatoes

I love cooking. I find it to be therapeutic. But not the normal roti sabzi kinds (thank god I have a cook for that). I like trying out something new everytime. Most of the times this is also because I have some vegetables that need to be consumed so I just try mixing them together, or do an ingredient based search on (such a blessing for vegetarians). And yes nowadays, I also draw inspiration from my favorite tv channel - Food Food (they make cooking look so simple and interesting).

So here's one such recipe that I made as a side dish with fried rice and stir fry vegetables. It is quite quick (as long as you use pre boiled potatoes) will not take more than 15-20 minutes of your time.

The pictures have been taken with my Iphone 4 so excuse the quality.

You will need:

2 potatoes - preboiled chopped legnthwise
3 cloves garlic - crushed
2 tsp honey
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp chilly garlic sauce/ tabasco
1 tsp sesame seeds
A handful of chopped cashewnuts - these are optional but add that crunch to the taste and is my favourite ingredient for any oriental recipe
3 tbsp sesame oil - can be substituted by groundnut oil
Salt as per taste

The process:

Sprinkle the cornflour over the potatoes. This helps the sauces to coat over the potatoes better.

Then pour the sauces and the honey as well as salt

Take a  non- stick pan and heat it. Dry roast the sesame seeds and the cashewnuts for sometime and pour some of the oil.

Toss in the garlic. Tip : The later you add the garlic the stronger the flavour you get

 Finally once the nuts, seeds and the garlic get sauteed well add in the potatoes.

Voila! Your dish is ready in just 5 simple steps.

Do share your ideas. I would love to hear and try them out!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

There you go again! - Time to make her feel special

If you are a woman reading this then send the link to your man and if you are a man reading this then go ahead  :)

First of all - I am no feminist and I believe if you want to be respected you have to earn it. And that is why I take celebrated days like these with a pinch of salt. But for you my dear man, I have a message -I really feel for you! 

It all starts with Dec - Jan, when more than half of India has it's wedding anniversaries, then comes Valentine's Day and just when you thought you are done planning and gifting and making your girl feel special and loved, you are bombarded with women's day ads on TV and newspapers talking about sales and gifts meant just for this day.And there you go feeling pressurized once again, and to top it all she drops not so subtle hints asking you what's your plan for the day (guilty as charged!).

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But incase you have still not planned anything.. Do not fret, just tell her you have a lot of things planned and  here some quick and pocket friendly ways of fixing things up (Yes! you can thank me later!):

Plan a movie date at home:

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Nothing beats the good ol charm of watching a chick flick with some pop corn, cola and icecream. Incase you have no DVDs a home, just browse through your TV guide. I'm sure Star world, Movies, HBO and alike have lots of women's day shows and movie marathons on their schedule. Just pick one up, let her enjoy the movie while you cook up some popcorn and call for a pizza

Chocolate Indulgence:

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Go give some business to one of the gazillion cupcake shops that have recently sprung up in your neighbourhood. Add a small personalised note - And poof! You are the best boyfriend in the world.

Book her and her BFF a salon appt

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This may not be that easy on the pocket, but  think long term -it's like killing two birds with one stone. Not only will your girl love you, her BFF will feel grateful and love you too. You'll be the new benchmark for the "best husband/boyfriend" in the group.

Be her slave for the day

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I know you are always ready to help out, but for this one day just let her not leave the bed. You do the running around, serving food, get a magazine or two, while you do all the shouting on the maid. Bring the spa at home, give her a nice massage while she relaxes to the ligh fragrance of some aroma scented candles.

There you go. Hope your girlfriend/wife has a great day. Well as for me I thought I would wake up to some great smelling coffee and roses, but nothing of that sort happened! So I went ahead and planned the day for me on his behalf - some shopping and a dinner date coming up. Yayy!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Monsoon Getaway to Goa! Busting all the Myths

I had started writing this post and had saved it in my drafts when I was half done. On a long drive from Pilani to Jaipur, I realized I should get back to my long abandoned blog. I’m back with lot of travel stories (some trips within India and some International) to tell. Let’s first finish the Goa one.

It is kind of an annual ritual for me to make a trip to Goa. I just love the place besides every time I go there, there's something new to explore.  However, I have always been to Goa during the winter or the onset of summer. But never during monsoon. I was always under the impression that Goa shuts during monsoon. And there's not much to do ,the only attraction being getting off season discounts in five star hotels. But on the insistence of a friend we decided to go there in the peak of monsoons - during the end of June and no, it didn't feel like a bad decision not even once.

Goa in the monsoons blog
Goa in the monsoons

Myth 1 – Goa in monsoons is shut

While you may not be allowed to swim or do water rides, the beaches are open for people to take a stroll, Most of the restaurants and bars too are open.Everything that is super crowded and expensive during season time is available at steep discounts during monsoons in Goa be it hotels, flight tickets or even club entries. Let's not forget extended happy hours at every restaurant you go to :) Besides Goa does not receive that heavy a rainfall during June. It showers for 5 minutes and then stays dry  and cool for an hour or so followed again by a 5 minute shower and so on. We hired bikes through out and wasn't difficult to travel on them in spite of the rains. Do carry a windcheater though to save you from the occasional showers

Goa in the monsoons blog
My Goa Outfits

Myth 2 – Stay at a five star as there is no activity outside in the Monsoons

This holds true only if you go to South Goa. North Goa on the other hand is pleasantly buzzing especially the Baga - Anjuna stretch. We wanted to stay in a boutique-y place by the sea side that was not very expensive and yet was semi luxurious. After looking for ages on trip advisor, we finally hit the nail through good 'ol Google search. Surprisingly this place is not that famous as yet.  It felt like finding a hidden treasure - The Aryan's cottages is right on the Little Vagator beach. A resort can't get any closer than this to the sea and all at an affordable price of just Rs 3000 per night (after some bargaining by yours truly). This place is beautiful (you have to see the pictures to believe me) and both service and the food are excellent as well. Infact we hired our bikes also from here again at a very affordable rate. 

Goa in the monsoons blog
Aryan Cottages Goa - Best discovery so far

Myth 3 – A vegetarian can’t enjoy Goan food

You know the first reaction I get when I tell people about how excited I am about my Goa trip is “But what do vegetarians eat there?”  So this bit is to all my carnivorous friends. This is what we eat. Honestly, it is not so difficult to find vegetarian food anywhere in India and Goa is no exception. Although, the local cuisine mainly caters to sea food lovers, the restaurants would be more than willing to cook up some veggie food with the local gravy. 
Out of the four of us one is a sea food lover, the other a chicken eater, and the two of us vegetarians who also eat eggs. So whenever, we would go to any place, we would end up ordering almost everything from the menu.
We went to a good mix of shacks and restaurants for all our meals. This trip has been all about hogging.

Goa in the monsoons blog
Enough choices for veggies like me

Places we went to:
·         Infantaria
·         Sunny side up
·         Brittos
·         Cavala
·         Suza lobo
·         Thalassa (this is open only during season time)

Myth 4 – All shacks and party places are shut in Goa

While this may be true to a certain extent but all the popular shacks in the Baga stretch (Baga- Candolim- Calangute) are open all year round. Order your beer, with a hookah and some small bites and enjoy the myriad colours of the sky while the sun sets. While we were not keen to party in the two days that we were there, all the bars that we know of were open.

Goa in the monsoons blog
Curlies & Sunny Side up

Places we went to:
·         Curlies
·         Andy’s (This place has Karaoke every night)
·         Sinq
·         LPK
·         Club Cabana

 If a nice quiet holiday with some bursts of music and partying is what you want then June is an ideal time to visit Goa.