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Feb 24, 2012

Just like that clicks

Sharing with you few shots clicked just like that when their beauty captured my heart.

A lone tree branch extending into the infinity .....




Bushes on the branch!!! I was reminded of the fairy tale characters,the gnomes and the pixies.... who knows, some little naughty eyes may be taking a bird's eye view of what's happening down! ;-)






A sunrise shot taken the day before we shifted from our previous house.




The couples sat on a cable and was enjoying the the swing when the breeze made the cable swing to & fro. The way they tried to balance themselves on it was a fun to watch. Learnt that these are called 'Drongos'. 


Feb 23, 2012

Ant & Grasshopper story - Indian Version :-)

Received this story as a forwarded message from a friend. Found it interesting, so sharing it with you.

ORIGINAL Story:


The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

INDIAN VERSION :-

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter .

Mayawati states this as ‘injustice’ done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven & Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh‘ in West  Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and
Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act‘[POTAGA] , with effect from the beginning of the winter..

Arjun Singh makes ‘Special Reservation’ for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it’s home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV, BBC, CNN.

Arundhati Roy calls it ‘A Triumph of Justice’.

Lalu calls it ‘Socialistic Justice’.

CPM calls it the ‘Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden’

Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later...........

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley ,

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation  somewhere in India



P.S: I have no idea whose creative mind this has come out from, but this piece is awesome!

ttyl

Feb 21, 2012

Paratha - I (Aloo Paratha)

Paratha :- A flavoured, stuffed thick Chapathi (Indian Wheat Bread) greased with butter or Ghee makes a delicious and filling dish for BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).

Sharing here with you a version without masala (made for guest who didn't like masala flavours) hence the flavour of potato will be dominating.



Ingridients :- 

For the chapathi, knead the dough as you do usually adding water, salt and little ghee to the whole wheat flour. Keept it aside, covered.

For stuffing :-
  1. Boiled & grated Potato - 2 Nos. (medium sized)
  2. Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
  3. Green Chillies - 3 Nos (finely chopped)
  4. Salt to taste
Ghee for greasing

Procedure :-



  • Divide the whole wheat dough into equal parts and shape into a round ball
  • Roll it into a small thick disk with the rolling pin
  • Place a ball of the potato mixture inside
  • Gather ends and press it, lightly roll into a ball shape
  • Dust the board with flour and place it over it, with the rolling pin spread it into a thick chapathi with very light pressure (so that the stuffing don't come out)
  • Heat tawa or a pan, grease with little ghee, place the rolled out paratha on it
  • Cook both sides till golden brown spots appears on a medium flame
  • Delicious aloo paratha (Potata Wheat Bread) is ready.
Serve the paratha hot with Curd / Pickle / Salad / gravy dishes



Feb 19, 2012

Satyavaan Saavitri

Saavithri the daughter of King Asvapathi was a very beautiful & intelligent girl.  She was born to the king after his dedicated prayers & devotion to the goddess. Once she set on a pilgrimage. On the way  in a forest she met a young man who lived with his blind parents. The blind father was king Dyumatsena who lost his kingdom and was forced to live in exile in the forest with his wife and son Satyavaan.

Saavitri decided to marry satyavaan seeing his devotion towards his parents. But Devrishi Narad interferes and tells savitri and her parents that Satyavaan was going to die in a year. Saavithri stood by her decision and finally got married to Satyavaan and went to live with him in the forest by supporting him in serving the old parents. Everyday Satyavaan collected wood from the forest, sold it & earned the bread for his family. Saavitri prayed to goddess regularly.Months rolled and the D-day came. Saavitri observed severe fast that day and requested Satyavaan to take her along with him and so both of them went in search of wooden logs.

After sometime, satyavan felt tired and decided to lie down with his head on the lap of his wife savitri. Suddenly, he felt breathlessness and saavitri kept praying to the goddess. She saw yama approaching them.

Image Courtesy : google Search

Yamaa is the god of dharma. He carried the soul of satyavaan and was about to leave towards his abode, when savitri saluted him and requested him to leave her husband's soul back to his body. But Yamaa being the god of dharmaa said that he was carrying out his duty as assigned to him hence he could not give the soul of satyavan back and carried on his journey. Saavitri followed him. When yama anoitced her coming behind, he said "child, you cannot come with me. as your time has not yet come. go back to your home" but saavitri refused to go back to her parents-in-law's place without her husband and continued following him.


Yamaa got impressed with the speech of saavitri and her dedication in getting her husband's life back, offered to grant a boon to her. to ask anything except the life of satyavaan. So for the first boon, Saavitri requests that her parents-in-law get good eyesight with a healthy life. Yama granted that boon and again carried on with his journey. Saavitri again followed him.


When yamaa turned back, savitri saluted and praised him. Yamaa pleased with her devotion, offered to grant second boon. This time saavitri requested that the kingdom lost by her parents-in-law be restored to them. Yamaa granted that boon, told her not to follow and again carried on. But saavitri, never gave up and again started to follow him.

Yamaa decided to offer her the last & final boon & tell her to ask for anything except satyavaan's life and that she should not follow him after this final boon. Saavitri requested him to bless her 'to have children with long life'. Yamaa granted her the final boon saying 'so be it' thinking that saavitri will now go away. 

But intelligent savitri again followed him. Yamaa turned back and said "child when I granted the final boon, I told you not to follow me anymore" to which Saavitri replied, "Oh the king of Dharmaa, you have granted me a boon to have children. But how can I have children without my husband?". Hearing this Yamaa realised the effect of the boon he had granted, not wanting to go back in his words, he finally impressed by the intelligence of Saavitri, grants the life of Satyavaan back and bless them with long, healthy & happy life and vanish.

The day in which saavitri kept her vrath (fasting) is observed as 'Karadayan Nonbu' during which day, the married women (for the well being of their husbands) and Unmarried girls (to get a good husband) prays to goddess observing fast, preparing special offerings and pooja. 

Satyavaan's soul enters his body back and his love for his beloved wife increased many times. They return to the forest to see their parents who got their vision back. Their kingdom was restored to them and they lived happily ever after with their children.

Feb 18, 2012

Pulissery

Pulissery is made using buttermilk flavoured with fruits viz., Ripe Mango, Ripe Banana speically the big kerala banana which is also known as 'Nendra pazham'. You can also replace it will normal ripe banana. It is such a lovely toungue tickler tasting slightly sour, sweet, spicy which will leave you crave for more, more and more.............

Here I am sharing the 'Pazha Pulissery'.



Ingridients :-

  1. Butter Milk - 1 cup
  2. Banana roundels - 1 & 1/2  cup
  3. Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  4. Green chillies - 3 nos
  5. Peppercorns - 1 tsp
  6. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  7. Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
  8. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Sugar - 1 heaped tsp (or to taste)
  11. Oil for tempering - 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Tempering :-
  1. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  2. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Procedure :-
  • Boil banana pieces adding 2 and 1/2 tea cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Once cooked, remove 3/4th quantity of banana pieces and let it cool.
  • Roast Fenugreek (methi) seeds till they turn light brown in colour, powder it using the grinding stone (or prepare it in large quantity & store in air tight container to use in khadis & other preparations)
  • Grind coconut, Cumin seeds, Green Chillies, Peppercorns together adding water to a nice paste.
  • Add this paste to the remaining water  with banana pieces.
  • Grind the cooled banana pieces to a nice paste and add it to the masala mixture, heat it adding sugar (adjust the sugar as per your taste)
  • when it starts boiling, add the buttermilk & cook on low flame
  • When foam forms on top, remove from flame and temper with mustard seeds & curry leaves.
  • Sprinkle the roasted fenugreek's powder on top, mix well.



Goes well with rice, roti, dosai
I used coconut oil to get that authentic flavour
Grinding the fruit will allow the aroma blend well with the gravy & enhance its flavour.

Enjoy the fruity gravy dish.

Feb 12, 2012

Lemon Rice

Another Variety Rice - easy to make, colourful with a lemon flavour.




Ingridients :-

  1. Cooked Rice - 1 Cup
  2. Oil  - 1 tbsp
  3. Mustard - 1 tsp
  4. Urad - 1 tsp
  5. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  6. Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  7. Green Chillies - 2 Nos.
  8. Ginger - 1/2" piece
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon
  12. Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp (optional)
Procedure :-

  • Chop ginger & green chillies finely.
  • Heat oil in a wok, add a pinch of asafoetida / hing powder
  • Add mustard seeds and Urad dal to it
  • After the mustard seeds splutter and urad dal turns golden brown, add the chopped ginger & green chilli
  • switch off the flame
  • Add curry leaves, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well
  • Add the cooked rice and mix gently.
  • pour the lemon juice over it and again gently mix
  • Garnish with coriander leaves



Feb 10, 2012

Seviyan Kheer / Semia Paayasam

Today made semiya kheer after a long time on my hubby's demand. As both of us prefer to have it with just cardamom flavour, I avoid garnishing with cashews or raisins. 

TIPS : cooking with patience & dedication will enhance the flavour & taste of the food. Kheer is one such thing where milk is boiled and reduced in the traditional way though it requires little labour.

Semiya Paayasam / Seviyan Kheer



Ingridients :-
  1. Milk - 1.5 litres
  2. Semiya - 1 cup
  3. Ghee - 1 tbsp
  4. Cardamom - 3 nos.
  5. Sugar - 6 laddles
this is the laddle (standard one for serving gravies like sambar)  I used to measure the sugar.

    Procedure :-
    • powder the cardamom & keep it aside
    • Heat a wok, add ghee and roast the semiya till they turn golden colour.
    • Add 3/4th cup of water, a pinch of salt, cover and cook till they are done. (I use drying method  & keep them covered for another 10 minutes after I put off the flame).
    • Boil milk and reduce it to 3/4th by cooking on slow flame stirring continuously.
    • When milk is done, add the boiled semiya and cook for another 5 minutes
    • Add the sugar and stir in till it dissolves.
    • remove from flame, add the cardamom powder and mix well
    • Delicious semiya paaysam is ready


    Optional Tips :

    1. You can fry cashews and raisin in ghee separately till they turn golden in colur and add it last to the kheer / paayasam
    2. To save your time and labour  you can pressure cook the milk for 20 minutes after pressure is built inside,  in low flame by putting a heavy spoon or katori (bowl) inside the milk,and continue with the process of adding semiya, sugar and cardamom powder as above.
    3. Use a wooden spatula to stir the milk which will prevent the sound & scratches to the vessel during that process.

    Feb 5, 2012

    Bovine Times @ Yeoor Hills

    Today a family friend visited us. We invited him to join us for a breakfast and it turned out to be a good start for the day for him as well as for us. Yes, made spicy red chutney, onion sambar and steaming idlis. All of us had our fill chinese followed by gulping a mug of piping hot filter coffee smileymade with freshly brewed decoction and freshly boiled milk.

    While the taste was still lingering in our mouth and we enjoying its after effects, the friend initiated some sweet talks about a goshala run by a charitable trust where he had adopted four cows. He offered to take us there which is a too good offer to avoid. The bonus info is that he had rescued a pregnant cow from a slaughter house couple of years back and that cow has given birth to her second calf few days back. So off we went to see those humble creature and ofcourse the new arrival......car

    After the drive through the busy crowded city roads & lanes, finally we touched a  lake area near which stood a check point at the foothills of the Yeoor hills which formed a part of Kanheri Hills (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) leading us to a place called Yeoor. I have heard about this place many a times hitting the news about leopards & leopard attacks (due to encroachment into forest land) . After the formality at the entrance, we proceeded through the winding tar roads of the yeor forest area watching the natives (tribals), partly demolished structures here and there on the way. Came to know that many people under fame list have built & owned farm houses which was later demolished by the government to protect the forest and the dwellers inside.

    When our vehicle entered the gates, we smelt the typical dairy fragrance (Tabela) in the air. yes I call it a fragrance because I loved the smell of fresh dung & green grass filling the air. Soon we heard "here moo, there moo, everywhere moo mooo - smiley a welcome mooing of the cows on the arrival of this man who adopted them. They have very good sense of identify their man amidst a group. The care taker of the farm welcomed us with a broad smile. Before we proceeded with our journey from home, we expressed our desire to take care of the food expense of that day. So the friend arranged for a mini truck loaded with fresh green grass and vegetable scraps & wastes. The vehicle loaded with the goodies for the residents arrived just behind us.

    When we got down from the vehicle, we were greeted by the humble cows & adolescent calves in an open fenced area. I picked a small bundle of grass and went near the fence. Soon all the scattered cows started towards the fence where I am standing taking the green grass from my hand  competing with one another. There was this cow which acted smart   by eating greedily and also taking the grass offered to other cows.


    After spending some time there, we went to the enclosed area where milking mothers with their calves happily munched on the grass safely cow. 3 calves welcomed us at the entrance. This one smells & licks the hand showing its affection.



    As the place is a forest, to prevent any attack by leopards on the new borns they have kept them in that area. Along with the rescued cows stood the jersey cows who earns revenue to the charitable farm by giving milk.



    On a corner stood a strong bull the father of the fit calves, busy eating and few feet away from it stood the new mother with her calf. The care taker said that the cow is very protective warning us not to go near it to touch the calf. We could understand the trauma that the mother would have undergone which makes her over protective towards her little one unlike the other mothers in the farm.

    wow! what a bond! see how close he is staying to his mother.





    The little one is dark brown in colour and has a very shiny coat of fur. the little nose smelling the air, its cute looks tempted us to touch & hug it but the protective mother made us to keep the distance and we enjoyed watching it for some time.


    He was very inquisitive to find out what his mother is busy eating, sniffing the grass.



    We came out and  went inside the open fence to feed them with the  fully loaded sacks of vegetable scraps, cut stem & leaves of cauliflower & cabbage. found ourselves surrounded by happy cows.
     Suddenly I noticed a Big Bull marching towards inside the crowd and I retreated towards the gate of the fence (as my past experience has left a fear inside me) touching the adolescent calves and very soft natured cows. This bull I was told that is left out inside the fence along with other small bulls to protect the cows from leopards as this man looked well built to keep the enemy at a safe distance. just with his look.

    next to the fenced ground lies the filed where cauliflower were planted. I could not get a good shot of the blooms.  Behind the dairy lies the farm land where cabbage, spinach, coriander and Fenugreek were planted. When I heard about it from the care taker my eyes opened wide and I followed him into the field followed by a caution from him that the place is infested with poisonous snakes & no medical facility in the vicinity of the hills. When he is bravely venturing why should I stay behind and miss the lovely sight, so prayed to all Gods for their blessings, followed him with quick steps amidst the field & quickly captured few shots.



    Coriander
    Spinach

    They were not ready for harvest, I could feel my hubby saying "thank God. otherwise my dear wife would have made me a santa  carrying a big sack of freshly harvested veggies" - a great relieved expression in his face.

    After we had a gala time with them, we started our journey back home.  While going all of us were excited about the visit to the farm and thinking about the new born calf so didn't notice much of the camouflaged creatures.  But on our way back, the friend noticed a macaque sitting in the corner of a bend, slowed the vehicle and stopped for a while. He made sounds similar to that of a monkey (he had reared a monkey brought up by a truck owner during his childhood at home against his fathers desire!)  but that guy didn't care for it much. Soon we saw him running into the woods. The reason we came to know only after we saw another 'he' a dominating male moving towards him. Wondering why only two monkeys?! Both the sides had thick trees with dried leaves covering the ground.

    when we were about to start...noticed a small branch moving...yes another small monkey, while I managed to take a video of that moving one, soon noticed that many leaves & branches sorrounding it started moving viloently... monkeys!!! yes, lot of them are there. So perfectly camouflaged, we found it difficult to spot all of them again as they again stood still in their place.


    Managed to get a shot ofcourse very cautiously because I don't want to part with my dear camera to those forest dwellers as my good old camera has to offer me many more good shots in future. We drove back and melted into the busy traffic of the city towards home rewinding the cherishable moments  we had at the yeoor hills.





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    Feb 1, 2012

    Amti / Amati

    Presenting another Maharashtrian Recipe. This one I tasted during our trip to Goa. Then during a chat with one of my friend got the basic recipe from her. Tried it out and wow! it came out nicely.




    Vegetables for this recipe :- Potato / Elephant Yam / Drumstick / Sprouted beans / green peas or mixed

    I used potato, greenpeas and sprouted beans in this recipe

    Ingridients :-
    1. Tamarind water - 1 & 1/2 cup
    2. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
    3. Jaggery - 1 tbsp
    4. Vegetable of your choice - 1/4 cup
    5. Boiled toor dal - 1/4 cup
    6. Salt to taste
     for tempering :-
    1. Ghee - 1 tbsp
    2. Jeera - 1/4 tsp
    3. Asafoetida powder - 2 pinch
    4. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
    to grind :-
    1. Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
    2. Green Chilli      - 2 Nos
    3. Jeera to grind   - 1/4 tsp 
    4. Peppercorn       - 2 tsp
    5. Coriander seeds - 1/4 tsp

    Procedure :-

    • Heat oil in a kadai, pour ghee. Add hing powder and jeera. When jeera splutter, Add the curry leaves folllowed by tamarind water.
    • Add vegetables, turmeric powder, Salt, Jaggery. Boil till vegetables are cooked.
    • Mash the cooked dal and add to it
    • Grind the ingridients given above adding water to a nice paste & add to it.
    • Bring to boil when the foam forms on top remove from flame.
    • Yummy amti is ready to be served with chapathi or plain rice

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