Showing posts with label Food and Beverages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food and Beverages. Show all posts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The guy next door and Baby Potatoes Masala

The first time we met was in the elevator of our apartment. I smiled at him and he too did shyly as our eyes met. And even before we could steal glances the elevator stopped and we departed. And I secretly wished to meet this guy again. We had shifted to our new home ..... a newly built apartment overlooking the swanky IT hub of ITPL. And I got on with my work, running around the interior guys, fixing things and settling down that I almost forgot about this guy. 
It was a lazy sunday morning and I was sipping my morning tea when I heard some voices in the corridor. Eager as I was to make new friends and socialize I rushed to open the door. It was the same guy ..... Good Lord we are neighbors, I said to myself. As I picked up the newspaper and the milk packets from the front door I greeted him with a "Hi" and so did he with some reservations. 
It's been over a month now .... and we meet often. He is no longer shy but demanding ....... We have opened up. And we love to spend time together especially in the evenings. And on days when we don't we both get anxious. 
And yes ....... I do share my special meals with him as good neighbors should. So last time I made potato finger chips, I sent a plateful of it. It was late eve and J was back from work and I was in the kitchen prepping for dinner. The door bell rang. My husband answered it .... and there he was standing at the door. He conveniently ignored J and peeped inside to see if he could find me around. I knew it was him. I wiped my wet hands and rushed to the door. I kneeled down so that I could see his face clearly in the dim ambience lights. He kissed me lightly on my cheeks and said "Thank you Aunty, the finger chips were yummy and then paused to say "just like you" ! Meet him he is lil D ( a six year old) my next door neighbor and my secret admirer. 

So here I am back after almost a year of blog break. And nothing fancy but a comfort meal as one can never get wrong with potatoes. 

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Serves - 2 
Baby Potatoes - 250 gms
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Bayleaf - 1
Cumin Powder - 1 pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 

Method of Preparation

1.  Prik the potatoes with a fork and boil them in a pressure cooker adding some salt to it. When done      peel and keep aside. 
2.  Make a paste of Onion, ginger and garlic. Puree the tomato separately.
3. In a wok add about 2 tsp of oil and a pinch of turmeric to it. When the oil gets smoking add the potatoes and toss it for few minutes till lightly browned. Remove and keep aside.
4. Take another 2 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Now add the onion ginger garlic paste to it. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add tomato puree, turmeric, cumin powder,chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. Finally add a pinch of garam masala to it.
5. Add the potatoes to the masala and mix well so that the potatoes get coated with the masala.
6. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves. (Optional).

Serve warm with your choice of roti/ paratha/ naan. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cheena Tarkari aka Cottage cheese dumpling curry .....

I WAS a fussy eater ...... well not any more. The list of things that would not make it to the plate far more out numbered the ones that did. Milk and it's bi-products were a BIG NO for me. The milk had to be religiously strained before adding a liberal amount of Bourvita to it. There should be NO malai in the milk and it should taste anything but not milky. Paneer was also in the DISLIKE list. I had my own criteria ...... Paneer (Cheena) as rasogolla was fine, even Cheena Poda (another traditional sweet from Odisha) was fine but not Cheena Payesh or even for that matter steamed paneer cake. Forget about Paneer Curry and all that ...... 
And I am sure you would not want to go through the long list of vegetables ..... Except for Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas, and a select few everything else !
Not just that I would sit with food on my plate for hours. My tantrums were unlimited.

Either my parents had given up on me as a hopeless case or had loads of patience. I have to go with the later ..... not because I am biased but because it was their patience and perseverance of not giving up on me that I am a foodie now !! Yeah Rome was not built in a year. 
My parents would constantly worry about my eating habits especially when I would have to leave their nest and go out to make a life of my own. No matter how stern mom looked she wept like a baby when she left me at my hostel. And the real world beckoned upon me ...... Bitter gourd curry was served for dinner the first night at my hostel along with some other greens, curd, rice, sambar and chappati. Tears welled up and was chocked. Either I had to eat or starve. I served a small spoon of rice and sambar and tried to swallow it. And I have to say that my stay in the hostel taught me many lessons of life .... including food !! And I changed my habits for the better. 

The next time I visited home after my first semester break ..... my family was quite surprised to meet the no more fussy eater. I ate all and with delight. And today my list of food that I don't eat has shrunk and if ever I am made to do a thank you speech on who changed my food habits, it has to be the horrible cook of my hostel ...... lol

About the recipe ........

Cottage cheese is called Cheena in the eastern part of India. This curry is very typical to Odisha/ West Bengal. Goes well with Indian Flat Bread ( Roti/ Phulka/ Chappati/ Poori/ Paratha etc ). Best when consumed fresh.
Preparation Time - 30 minutes

Serves - 2 
Cottage Cheese - 250 gms
Baking Soda -  1 pinch
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Fennel - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1 pinch
Cashew nuts - A handful
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 
Method of Preparation
1. Knead the Cheena/ cottage cheese after adding baking soda to it to make a soft pliable dough. Pinch out small balls of the cottage cheese and roll between your palms to make smooth balls.  Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok to medium heat and fry them till they are golden brown. Remove and drain on a kitchen paper towel to remove excess oil. Keep aside.
2. Make a paste of Onion, ginger and garlic and cumin seeds . Puree the tomato separately. Make a paste of cashew nuts. Keep aside
3. Take 2 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add cinnamon, cardamom and fennel seeds. Now add the onion ginger garlic cumin paste to it. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add tomato puree, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. 
4. Add the cashew nut paste to it and simmer. Add garam masala. If needed add water to adjust the consistency.
5. If you are making this dish in advance, heat the gravy and add the Cheena balls to it just before serving. Else they tend to soak the gravy and make it dry.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Candied Orange Peels ....... Childhood Memories of a hairy tale !!

When it comes to experimenting with my hair I am a little conservative. So as I walked down the aisle of one of departmental stores displaying an array of brands and variety ..... I knew what exactly I had to choose.

Those days were different when my grandmother had all the patience in the world to warm oil and add some herbs to it and rub it in my hair and give it a hundred strokes. But at that age I really didn't appreciate all that hard work of hers. I wanted to look like one of those girls in the television ads or glossy magazine cover who flaunted silky shiny neatly braided hair ..... not oily sticky hair !! She would soak "Reetha and Amla" overnight and apply it to my hair until one day when it ran into my eyes and created havoc !!

And that saw the end of using home made hair wash. The next era belonged to my mother. Yah she was a crowning glory in the true sense, jet black hair braided neatly ..... It won't be wrong if I call her the "Desi Rapunzel. It's true that my dad had a thing for her long beautiful hair ....Being a working woman she neither had the time nor the inclination for following my grandmother's path. She rather choose the convenient path of walking across the street to the opposite grocery store and buying a bottle of shampoo.That's how I graduated from the home made "Reetha Solution" to a "shampoo".

But getting my hands on the bottle of shampoo was not any easy. The bottle would remain in her custody. Those were the days !! Sundays was the ritual "hair-wash" day, when she would squeeze a little amount of it on my tiny palms. Occasionally I would get into a squabble with her demanding more shampoo .... I would grumble and tell her ' When I grow big and start earning, I will buy my own shampoo and will wash my hair as much as I want'. I would love the froth running down my hair and the lingering smell of it. Many a times I would stand in front of the mirror gazing at my hair, parting it and styling it in different ways. I would rub the ends of my braided hair on my cheeks .... yes I was obsessed if you may say so.

But this time I instead of picking one bottle of my favorite brand "Dove" I picked three , each for the three generations of beautiful hair. I thought it was time to shower some love for my mom and grand mom who have changed with the times but have become victims of split ends, hair breakage and hair fall. Sometimes it doesn't need much to show how much you love !!

This post is especially for Dove’s “Beautiful Ends to your Beautiful Braids!”contest on Indiblogger. 

And Childhood tales are incomplete without those orange candies. So here is a simple recipe of homemade orange candy peels ........

Orange Peels /Naval Oranges - 4
Cane Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 1 Cup

Method of Preparation

1. Take the peel of four naval oranges and cut them into thin strips. Remove the white skin carefully.
2. In a saucepan add some water and get it to a boil. Now reduce the heat and add the orange peels to it and blanch till they turn translucent. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and put it into an ice bath. Drain the peels and keep it on a kitchen towel.
3. In another vessel stir 1.5 cups of water and sugar and heat. Add the orange peels and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
4. Remove and drain excess water. Roll the peels on the remaining sugar. Leave it to dry for about half a day. When dry, store in airtight container.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Indianized Spicy Chicken Wings

The mehendi from Jaya's hands had just started to fade.The new bride was glowing in the gorgeous red salwar kameez. Sanjay was looking at his watch, waiting for the train to arrive, his leave was getting over in two days time. Sanjay's mother was still briefing Jaya about the do's and dont's. It was a typical Indian arranged marriage for Sanjay and Jaya. The train rolled into the platform. The coolies ran towards the bogie carrying their large suitcases. Those bags carried their entire household,everything starting from spices to utensils and clothes. 

Jaya bent and touched the feet of her in-laws and got into the coach. The train whooshed out out the platform gaining speed steadily. The young bride blushed as people stole glances at the newly wed. 

 After a few hours of train journey, Jaya was in this entirely new city ready to embrace a new life. Sanjay was explaining her about the place as they passed through market areas and crowded streets. Being a small town girl, she was amused to see the huge buildings, multiplexes and shopping complexes. Soon they were at their rented apartment, which they was going to be their first home. Sanjay opened the door of the house and let Jaya in. As they kept the bags down, she inspected the house.
 Dust had settled on the windows and their were little cob webs, she could see her footprints on the cold and dusty tiled floors. The bed sheet on the bed looked crumpled as if it had not been washed since ages. There was a pile of clothes at one corner of the bed room. The kitchen platform was greasy and the opened masala packets were randomly placed on the shelves.
The house was far from what is shown in our Bollwood movies where the hero takes his newly wedded wife for the first time !!
She sighed and started cleaning the house being quite optimistic that she would change Sanjay for the better with her love and patience.
A month ago Jaya and Sanjay celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary. She no longer is that timid and shy bride.But things otherwise has not changed much. Sanjay is still messy ...... but he vouches that he has changed much in these years. Jaya has her side of the story. According to her, nothing has changed much for Sanjay except for the few more grey hair. He still leaves the cap of the "namkeen" bottle open, and the wet towel hanging at one corner of the bed, neither does he stack up the newspapers after reading it, nor does he arrange his shoes on the rack, he sits before the TV changing channels all day on weekends and is fussy about his food ........
Despite all the differences they are crazily bonded with their love for each other ....... which they vouch has only grown over the years.

Chicken wings (skin on) - 500 gms  
Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Vinegar -  2 tsp
Chili sauce -
1 tbs 
Ketchup - 1 tbs
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
For the sauce
Oil - 1 tbs
Green chilies - 2 chopped finely
Tomato paste - 2 tbs
Hot sauce - 2 tbs
Cumin Powder -  1 tsp
Minced Garlic - 1 tsp
Chopped coriander to garnish

Method of Preparation

Marinade the wings in the ingredients listed for at least half an hour or more. Broil in the oven on high heat until cooked and just beginning to char.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce by heating the oil. Add to it the chopped green chilies and minced garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds. 

Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir fry for 2-4 minutes until cooked through. You can add up to 1/4 cup of water at this stage if you want a thinner sauce. Add the grilled chicken wings and toss to coat. Garnish with coriander.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Palak Paneer Laasuni ....... memories of Diwali

That morning was unusually calm. The marigolds that decked the front door had wilted away. I could still sniff the gun powder in the early morning breeze. The oil from the diyas had left a mark on my expensive floor tiles. The color of the rangoli had bled into each other. The municipality workers were back on the streets sweeping tattered papers and remnants of the crackers. Moti the neighborhood street dog was so much at peace with himself after yesterdays bombastic night. The garlands of electric lights on the opposite balcony swayed gently in the morning breeze.

Although I am not a very traditional person I still love to light up diyas instead of those electric light garlands. Yes I like those earthy rustic ones. Each Diwali when I light those oil lamps, there is a storm of emotions that stir up within me. 

Some how Diwali is not quite the same ...... things have changed for the better or for the worse. I just buy enough diyas to deck up the tiny winy balconies of my apartment in this distant city that I call home...... not like hundreds of them that my grandma used to buy every Diwali to light up our ancestral home. I miss washing those diyas in buckets of water and that earthy smell. 

The giggles of cousins in the courtyard has faded away with passing years. So have the clanking of the cauldrons that were usually taken out during festive season from the attic for making huge batches of 'boondi ladoos' and namkeens. Now there is no hurry to pack and distribute these goodies to the neighbors.

I simply make a trip to the neighborhood shop to pick up some dry fruit packets. Things are much more convenient than they used to be ...... but still I am not enjoying this easy life. I am missing those cumbersome afternoons when the women of the house would make batches of boondi soaked in sugar syrup and we little girls trying to shape the warm boondies into ladoos with our tiny hands. 

I miss making those trips to the neighborhood darzi for getting that simple dress stitched ........ I feel I  had rejoiced wearing that simple dress more than the designer ones I own today. 

Somehow I felt more of a spectator than a participant in the festival this year.
Yes I did wear festive clothes and I was happy to meet with people but somewhere inside I don't quite get it. May be I am just a little weird !!

Preparation Time - 30 Minutes
Serves - 4

Paneer/ Cottage Cheese cubed - 2 cups
Spinach Leaves shredded - 3 cups
Garlic Minced -  4 tsp
Finely chopped onion - 1/2 cup
Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 2
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric -  1 big pinch
Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste 
Method of Preparation 
1. Heat about 1tbsp of clarified butter/ ghee in a kadhai. When the oil gets warm add minced garlic to it. Reduce the flame   and stir constantly to make sure that the garlic doesn't get burnt. 
2. Now add the chopped onions and green chillies. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till the onions get mushy and have no raw smell. 
3. Add in the shredded spinach leaves and mix well. Now add the cubed paneer cubes. Sir intermittently for about 5 minutes.
4. Lastly add garam masala.

Serving Tips

Serve with any bread/ flat indian bread. You could also make a sandwich with this filling. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mushroom Curry Puffs & The Devil didn't wear Prada

Errr ............ and you thought that the Devil wears Prada ........ well yes she does in the movie, otherwise who knows !! 
I folded my jeans quickly and hurriedly closed the car door and ran towards the steps of this store. It was raining cats and dog that Sunday evening. I had waited the entire day for the rains to stop ....... but no ! And it was the final day of sale at one of  the clothing outlets. Not sure if a sale means anything to you but for me it does ........ a lot !!. Especially if it is clothes n shoes. Yah I am like every other girl next door who has never enough clothes or shoes.
This one I met was nothing close to Meryl Streep, not even her age. May be in her early thirties. Jeans and a short kurta, kohl laden eyes, bold shade of lip color and silver toe rings is what I could capture in a glance. We women have to agree that we are equally good at scanning the same sex if not better. And I am no exception. She pushed me aside and barged into one of the rooms caring little of the ones waiting outside for their turn, including me. I wished to give her a piece of my mind but sometimes it's better to let go.
So here I was waiting with a pile of clothes at the trial room along with few others. The wait seems exceptionally long when you are on the other side of the trail room.

I was getting impatient with an equally impatient husband. And there were many more tortured faces (read husbands'/ boyfriends') a little far from the women's trial room. It seemed the perfect occasion for the ladies to take revenge. A tired looking sales girl with a fake smile stood outside counting and folding garments. My eyes were glued on the doors of these rooms ........ the bolts would turn from "Occupied" to "Vacant". And at the door would be an anxious lady waiting for a positive remark. Every remark appeared the same irrespective of the person ......... an affirmation. There were only  few brave men who would still had the guts to go back n scan women clothing's and again get into the loop of an indefinite wait outside the trail room.

Suddenly the clothes picked by the women next to me started  looking prettier than mine ....... happens with me many times. And I would start cursing myself for not having picked that. But would not go pick that even if it is hanging in the hanger next to me. That's called typical "women syndrome". 

"Thud" ........ opened one of the doors after a long wait. The sales girl outside counted the garments and handed  those over to me. I took my own sweet time checking myself out in every angle possible in all the mirrors  ......... I  was in no hurry. I was finally inside the trial room !

Preparation Time - 45 mnts


Frozen puff pastry, thawed - 2 sheets
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tsp milk for egg wash

Mushroom - 1/2 Pound
Onions - 1 (Medium Size)
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Soy Sauce - 1 tsp
Chilli Sauce - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar- 1/2 tsp
Tomato Sauce - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 pinch
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1.  Clean mushrooms and pat dry. Chop finely. Finely chop onions.
2.  Cut pastry sheets into desired shapes after thawing.
3. In a wok add some oil. When hot add finely chopped onions and saute till they get caramalized. Now add the ginger garlic paste till there is now raw smell.
4. Add mushrooms and  saute till all the moisture evaporates and mushrooms get cooked.
5. Add salt and garam masala.
6. Add all the sauces and vinegar one by one starting with soy sauce. Stir in. Remove from flame and let it cool.
7.Roll out the pastry to one inch wider on each side. Cut 3 inch circles of the puff pastry. Place a bit of filling in the center. Brush the edges with egg wash and cover with another circle of pastry. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes but serve warm. Store in an airtight container. They are yummy cold too :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nothing political about this Vegetable Cutlet

I am not a person who is interested in politics ........ Long time ago I did learn about the political system of the country in my Civics lessons . I was left with no choice but to mug it up for the heck of passing my exams. I am aware that people who make it to the parliament and like wise are called "politicians". And in the recent times the common man who elects and empowers such people is called a civilian.
Every alternate day there are scandals, corruption is rampant and then of-course inflation.There are a lot of things to complain about.
And then there are forums and discussions about various issues across TV Channels where people scream their lungs out to make a point. But I have never been able to pull these kinda discussions together. But the man in the house is quite my opposite, he gets it all ....... not something unusual huh !!
These days our self proclaimed mullahs and messiahs (politicians) are debating on a bill about women's rights on the husbands property after separation. Quite a fancy topic to grab any persons attention ....... I believe the men would be equally interested as much as the women about the outcome of this proposal !!

In a country where it's still unsafe for a woman to walk on the streets after dusk, where women have nowhere to urinate when they are in a public place .Women are supposed to exercise yogic control over their bursting bladders, especially when they travel.Can we please first talk about our "basic" rights !!
Subhadra who has studied only till the fifth standard and can hardly write her name is in the same boat as me. She has much to bother about and is least interested to know what these Neta's across political parties got to say about the women empowerment bill and women property rights after divorce from her husband. But she knows her mathematics well .......... Give her a hundred rupees note and she will hand you the exact change without faltering.
Widowed at a very young age she was left alone to fight with her destiny with two more hungry mouths. Her days were long and nights dark ........ no political system in the country could get food to her plate. She ran errands for the affluent class in her village and worked on their farms. With the mere savings that she had, she gathered enough courage to leave the village and head towards the city. She is a fruit vendor in the city market for many years now. She looks happy and content with life.
There are many more Subhadra's in every nook and corner of the country. And let me tell you, they are not left to the mercy of the lawmakers who are fighting over it on the name of vote bank politics.
I know I am a bit too late to mention about "Women's Day" The world celebrated it with much glee ........ March 8th to be precise !! And with women holding the highest office in this country ....... My demand is for "Basic Rights" !! Are the women in power listening ??

This is a vegetable cutlet that you can eat guilt free .......

Preparation Time - 1 hour
Serves - 4
Boiled and mashed potato - 2 cups
Carrot - 1/2 cup
Beetroot - 1/2 cup
Green chilies - 1 tsp finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Semolina - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method of Preparation

1. Boil all the vegetables (carrot/ beetroot) till they are soft.
2 Cool and mash them. Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
3 In a pan, add some oil. When warm add chopped green chilies and ginger garlic paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly on medium flame.
4 Add the above mixture and mix well. Add salt and garam masala as well. Stir for 4- 5 minutes and remove from flame. Let the mixture cool.
5. Pinch out small amount of the mixture and give desired shape. Roll on the semolina
6 Take little oil in a shallow pan. When hot, shallow fry. Make sure the oil is hot enough else the cutlet will break.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bruschetta & Some after thoughts

I prefer the road side Chaiwala to CCD or Starbucks any day. First because the Chai tastes much better here …… plus it is hassle free. There is no need to add milk and sugar and stir it. Convenient enough for me. Tea to me has to be Chai, Masala Chai or Adrak wali Chai. I still don’t understand the lingo of Green Tea, Decaf Tea and all that. As soon as Chotu handed me my masala chai I dunked a biscuit into it and slurped it noisily without the fear of being judged. Irrespective of the city or the tea stall, there is always a lanky looking Chotu in every stall. Much said about Chai and Chotu ……. I was there at one of the oldest Chai stalls waiting to catch up with a friend of mine…. It was the same small noisy place where the common man pays five rupees for a chai …….. a place where you can shout out to Chotu for another cup or for fetching u a packet of biscuit ……… nothing fancy !

This used to be my favorite hangout spot during college days. A place to unwind and talk about the day and muse about useless things. Now there is a mall across the street. The place looks busier than before. I leaned against my scooter sipping chai while I waited for a friend of mine. I was distracted by an old woman and a kid at the other side of the road. They were like two playful kittens playing with a bundle of clothes, totally ignorant of the crowd around them.

But then this black Audi that vroomed in was good enough to distract me from the playful duo. I checked out the car. Driving an Audi in this part of the country is a big deal I tell ya. Also you dare ignore the lady who stepped out from it ……… she was flawless. Designer Clothes, handbag and six inches stilettos! I smelled Dolce n Gabana too. I believe the other girl who stepped out with her was her domestic help, Maya.

Memshaab would have uttered her name a thousand times in the last five minutes. Maya this …… Maya that , without giving that poor girl a chance to breathe. Certainly she is the most indispensable part of her life ……. which is pretty much understandable. Memsaab will not be able to bear the loads of her shopping and walk in the six inches had Maya not been there. All hells would break loose without her. Not to forget the cranky toddler in the stroller she had brought along who was constantly licking a piece of chocolate and poor Maya wiping his face every time with a fresh piece of paper towel. Well this fiasco went on for a while till Memsaab handed a thousand rupees note to Maya signaling her to take the kid to the play area.

My attention shifted back to the playful duo on the footpath. They were bubbly and playful. My phone beeped. This friend of mine had to drop out in the last moment for some urgent work. I saw the kid running after a Gubbarewala wanting for a balloon …….. like every other kid she longed for one. The Gubbarewala shooed the little girl away. She was scared and disappointed …… tears rolled down her cheeks. I saw her hide behind one of the parked cars staring at the balloons from a distance. I handed the Gubbarewala a five rupee note and asked him to handover a balloon to the kid as I watched from a distance. The duo again burst out into laughter as the balloon fluttered and danced in the air.

I started my scooter, heading homewards and with a lurking thought ……… Can happiness be bought ??

It's Spring time and with Summer just round the corner, this is a perfect recipe that can be done in a jiffy. Great for those fun filled family picnics or even as a camp food. You can also eat it if you have those hunger pangs and when you are so not in the mood of cooking.

Preparation Time - 15 minutes

Brushetta (can be replaced with any other bread) - Cut into 8 medium slices
Ripe Avocado - 1
Cucumber Sliced - 1 Cup
Red Onions Sliced - 1/2 Cup
Red Cherry Tomatoes cut into halves - A handful
Cilantro - for garnishing
Red Pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Lime Juice - 1 tsp
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Salt per taste

Method of Preparation

1. Drizzle a generous amount of Olive oil on the sliced bruschetta and sprinkle some pepper on it. Put it inside the over at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
2. In the mean time drizzle 1 tsp of oil on a pan and pan roast the cherry tomatoes till they turn soft and mushy.
3. Scoop out the flesh of Avocado. Give it a rough mash. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and lime juice and mix well.
4. Once the bruschetta is out of the oven, top it with mashed avocado, slices of cucumber, onion and tomatoes.