Random Ramblings

#169 : Milk Delight!

With Diwali around the corner, it’s high time one experiments with sample recipe so as to perfect making them during the actual festival. Preethi appliances gave me one such opportunity. I got to attend their very informative blog jam event last month which was conducted to introduce their new range of Wet Grinders which brought back the traditional mechanism of wet grinding. Apart from the introduction, there were two other informative sessions – One on SEO by the famous food blogger – Archana of Archana’s Kitchen and the other by Chef Umshankar Dhanapal on Food Styling. The company also introduced their range of choppers including the Turbo Chopper.

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The Turbo Chopper is one kitchen appliance that I swear by. I’ve been using this chopper long before I went to the event. In fact, it was one appliance that my mother personally gifted me for my wedding. Given my very limited chopping skills, I would probably take eons to chop one onion and in the process would also probably cut my fingers. Onions and my eyes don’t really go well. I’m ultra sensitive to strong fumes and tend to water up at the slight exposure. She wanted to make sure I didn’t shed tears. Literally.

It’s compact, it’s easy to use and it gets the job done very quickly without much effort. Peel off the skin, slice into half, dump it into to the chopper, press the motor and voila, you have finely chopped onions without shedding tears. This is one appliance that every woman needs in her kitchen.

This chopper is essentially a cross between a full fledged mixer grinder and a traditional vegetable chopper. However, this appliance is not as versatile as a chopper, but serves the purpose it is intended for rather well. Here are the tech specs

  1. A 450 Watt motor as the head. You need to gently press the motor to operate it.
  2. Stainless Steel blade ( 2 wings)
  3. An adapter to interface the container with the motor
  4. A sturdy container with level graduations

Here is a little tutorial I found online just in case you are in doubt as to how to operate this simple yet very efficient machine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkBlp8ClK1w

I’ve been using the chopper extensively for chopping onions, making tomato/steamed carrot puree apart from the occasional chopping of cabbage. This time around, I used it to chop nuts for the experimental recipe – Basundi.

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What you need :

  1. A heavy bottomed pan
  2. A liter of Full Fat Milk
  3. One Tin of Sweetened Condensed milk
  4.  Nuts – Pistachio, Badam and Cashew – Not chopped too finely.
  5. Strands of Saffron – Optional
  6. A lot patience!

The method :

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  1. Boil the milk well over the heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Keep stirring over the edges initially so that the milk solid doesn’t stick to the pan
  3. Keep stirring a bit more
  4. Stir a little more – Gently there!
  5. Yeah, you need patience for this.
  6. Now add the condensed milk.
  7. Give it a quick stir and let it settle.
  8. Now add the nuts/Saffron. Here is where the chopper comes handy. Chopping nuts can drive you nuts. Throw them into the chopper and press gently to chop coarsely.
  9. Finally you are done 😀

You can slurp away all the milk goodness once you’ve transferred the contents to a nice bowl and refrigerated it. A milk delight truly this dish!

Note : Thanks to my colleague and friend Ramakrishnan! You know for what I’m thanking you 😀

 

Random Ramblings

#168 : #FaveFridays – Fave Five Book to TV Series/Movie Adaptations

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I’m not much of a movie/TV series person, but I always sit up and take interest in if they are adapted from books I’ve enjoyed. Curiosity gets the better out me and I end up matching my visualisation from reading the book to the visuals from the movie/TV series.

  1. Heidi – The cartoon – This is my earliest memory of enjoying an adaptation. The cartoon is simply delightful and totally mind- blowing. The creators of this show have done quite enough justice to the book. Though I have read only an abridged version, I intend to read the unabridged version in German. I also intend to learn German for this very purpose. Heidi_zpsyauojrqs.jpg
  2. Sherlock – BBC TV Series – Benedict Cumberbatch – Need I mention more? Though the makers have tweaked the story a bit to adapt to the devices of new generation, that thrill of having read a good mystery is there upon watching the series.
  3. Harry Potter Series – We’ve all whined enough as to how the movie adaptation doesn’t do enough justice to the book, but on the retrospect, is it even possible to reproduce visually something as grand as the original book. I think not.
  4. Game of Thrones – I’ve just started reading the book. The TV series is actually way too good. It’s always been the other way round with me – I’ve always read the book before I watched the series. This is the first time I picked up the book after watching the show till date.
  5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Tom Hanks totally suits my image of Robert Langdon, Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing was also very convincing. Of course, as expected, the movie makers didn’t do enough justice to Dan Brown’s writing.

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Random Ramblings

#167 : #FaveFive – Book Siblings

When I was in my kindergarten, I used to bug my parents to bring home a baby so that I could play with her. Yes, I was that specific. I wanted a sister. A brother would be too difficult to handle, I reasoned apparently. My mother still laughs about it till date. God answered my prayers and I was sent a perfect package in the form a tall and witty human being – my sister. She is younger than me by 8 years, but that never translated to a mature relationship. We’ve fought just like any other pair of siblings, but at the end of the day, we are thick as thieves and  I miss her dearly.

The books I read during my childhood, upon me the kind of relationship I ought to have with my sister. Here are some of my favourite book siblings

  1. Jack Trent And Lucy-Ann from Enid Blyton’s Adventure series : My first exposure to fictional siblings. Lucy-Ann cannot just stay away from her brother and he doesn’t mind her tagging along wherever he goes. The beauty of an innocent relationship between siblings when they are young – This series and this pair of character would be the perfect example.
  2. Fred and George Weasley from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter Series – The quintessential example for siblings who just stick to each other no matter what. It is worth pondering if this nature of theirs can be attributed to the fact that they are identical twins. The need to elaborate about this pair diminishes from the very mention of their names.
  3. Thor and Loki from Norse Mythology– Loki is Thor’s adoptive brother and also is the trouble maker out of the pair. Reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology changed my perspective about the brothers. They are the perfect example of how not to behave with your siblings!
  4. Anjini, Binodini, Chandralekha, Debjani and Eshwari from Anuja Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls – This is one relationship I wish to read upon. I read the sequel to this book – The House that BJ Built. These girls sound like fun and typically Indian. I ought to have the first book before reading the second.
  5. Mycroft And Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Works – Sibling rivalry at it’s best. ‘The Final Problem’ would my favourite work where Mycroft is featured.

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Random Ramblings

#166 : The search #MondayMusings

This weekend, the plan was to sort out a few things – The electrical wiring in my home, the bookshelf, my to read pile and my finances.

The Electrical writing – God bless my electrician to have sorted out the mess of a wiring some other harebrained electrician did. Can’t possibly thank them enough for giving me time to finish off Erich Segal’s Love story.  The frequent toggling of electricity had made it impossible for me finish off the work I carried from office. I was in no mood to do it on Sunday. However, the mess he left behind took up most of my time. I spent a good hour picking up cut wires, sweeping and moping off all the dust accumulated.

The Bookshelf – I still hadn’t arranged the pile of book I brought back from my mom’s place. I haven’t emptied my book shelf there yet. It’s been 8 months since I’ve been married and a piece of me still can’t believe that I ought to move everything here. I’ve left behind enough clothes, books and some of my accessories too. These books finally found a place below my tiny side table.

The To Read Pile – I have this habit of taking screenshots/pictures of books other people read and talk about. My social media feed is filled with posts about books. I had accumulated about 78 such photos. I decided to sit down and write it all down in my journal so that I can actually look up, buy and read. I had debated between making a note via Evernote and writing it down. Writing won hands down. The prospecting of using the beautiful ink pen and feeling it glide over the perfect journal I own seemed way too much enticing to give up on.

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The Finances – My mother has this habit of maintaining a journal to keep track of all our family’s investment. However, long gone are the times when she used to keep track of daily expenses. It’s become too tiresome to keep track of cash and card bills seperately. Her habit has rubbed off to me and given that I’ve been employed for the past 5 years, I decided to sit down and check my finances. I concluded that I needed an App or some way to track my money. Here are some features which I wish were available

  1. Picking up expenses from SMS alerts – I own an iPhone, iOS wont allow apps to read message texts unless I’ve jail-broken the iOS and installed the app as a system app. I do not want to connect my bank accounts by giving out my net banking credentials.
  2. Multiple account tracking – I need all my money in one place. Not that I own much, but I need to see what little amount is left cumulatively.
  3. Cash Expense – I need to track expenses into two categories – Digital expenditure and Cash expenditure. Having multiple categories like grocery, movies, food, fuel etc will really help.
  4. Receipt management – I have this habit of stashing away all receipts into my wallet. Would be nice to store them as photos before trashing them.
  5. Expense Report – Money in, Money out – Just numbers will do. Fancy charts would be a plus.
  6. Budget controls – I would like the data to shout out to me if I exceed the budget!
  7. Multiple users – It’s just essential if your partner is also working and you split the expenses.

If you look closely, I’ve not mentioned savings tracking to the list. Thank god for my financial adviser Mr.C Ravikumar to have partnered with an app development company to come out with the perfect savings tracking app. That app can help track SIPs, Insurance. stocks, Bonds. PPFs. RDs, FDs and what not! You name it, the app has it! He updates all the paper work done to invest on the app very regularly along with reminders to renew. I’d probably be all lost and confused trying to track complicated funds.

I couldn’t find a single FREE app for iOS which satisfied all this criteria! If you know of any, please do let me know!

PS. Thanks to Corinne @ Write Tribe/ Every Day Gyaan for inspiring me to write today 🙂

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Random Ramblings

#165 : #FridayReflections – Of Reading Books and Elitist Behavior

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Beautiful photographs with books as subject seems to be the fad these days. Instagram particularly, is abuzz with ‘book lovers’ uploading ‘styled’ photographs of books. These photos typically center books with pretty covers processed along with rich looking fabrics or props or even merchandise like candles, key chains and Funko Pop. Long gone are the time when the adage – Never judge the book by its cover made sense. These days, the prettier the cover, the more the book sells or so its fast becoming. Then there are these PR events in the name of book launches which specifically happen in one part of the country as that part is known to have a hip crowd, which can potentially make the event go viral with live videos, funky selfies and what not.

As a matter of fact, it has become fashionable to carry around and read books. It has also become fashionable to put up a picture or status about the same. Eventually, that thread will contain a lot of comments which gush at books or probably some full blown argument will happen criticizing/favoring the book.

The direction at which the whole business of books and literature is heading, seems dangerously  elitist. Even the publishing houses prefect that very segment of people who are online and can increase their visibility. At the end of the day, it’s just another business where everyone wants to mint money.

Fair enough, but what of the experience of reading a good book? All this feels like gas inside a helium balloon. The balloon which stays afloat as long as the gas is still in there. It is err to stereotype that the beautiful cover, the promotions and the pictures are for books which aren’t that good, however, the point is that, not all people can be a part of this group. This is where the elitist behavior creeps in. If one hasn’t purchased or read a certain famous book or even a classic for that matter, they are looked upon with a tinge of mockery. It’s hard to differentiate between the pretenders and genuine bibliophile these days. Some people read for the sake of it while others, read to click pictures and boast about it.

The purpose of reading or writing or any other form of art of that matter, is to satiate the soul. That was how it was looked upon earlier. Unfortunate people who don’t belong to this borderline elitist group often wilt under the pressure and try hard to belong, thereby losing the very purpose of reading a book. Reading is not like eating, one cannot possibly acquire a certain taste over night. It takes time to read certain genres of books. It is okay to not have read a certain popular book. It is okay to read books which drives you into a different world. A world, one truly likes.

Note : This write was inspired by an article I read and a discussion that happened on Facebook. I’ve chosen to be superficial for the sake of leading a peaceful life.

Random Ramblings

#164 : Rare Book Collection – A Bibliophile’s heaven

It was just another day off for the likes of me – the working class. With all cleaning, dusting and shopping done over the weekend, I had a day for myself yesterday. As I scoured my social media feed for book recommendations, I stumbled across this article about a rare book collection shop based out of a garage in Chennai and la! My evening plans were made. After a quick call to the person running the shop about the direction and working hours, I set out with my husband with feverish excitement. We reached the place and the found the store locked. The watchman of the building offered to call up the store owner who lived in the same building.

As we waited for him to come down, I spotted a Premier Padmini (the car) parked a few. meters from the store. An octogenarian, clad in a simple white dhoti and a shirt walked up to us slowly with a smile and opened the store for us, beckoning us inside. Just as I stepped in, the smell of old books hit me with a blast. A simple parking garage was converted to a bookshop using a couple of steel doors. I fell in love with the place immediately. It was one big chaos with books literally everywhere. His smile widened when he noticed my dreamy expression. I timidly asked him if the books were for sale. With a throaty laugh, he replied that the whole place were for sale if I could buy it! Stunned by his reply I went about silently, picking and reading books in no particular order. I just couldn’t decide what to pick. There were books of all subjects – Literature, Poetry, Spirituality, Law, Politics and what not! After much deliberation I picked two Readers Digest condensed editions and one book by William Faulkner. The books were reasonably priced and he gave us a fair discount. Just as we were paying, I noticed that he was carefully pulling out a picture Ad of Raymonds featuring Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to sit down for a conversation.

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The owner of this shop, Mr.Govindraju is a qualified lawyer and has worked primarily in Personnel Department. He has been collecting books for the past 40 years. His craze for books began when Penguin Publishers first started publishing paperbacks which were affordable and easy to carry. He managed to collect all the books published by Penguin back then. He sold his entire collection few years ago, but has begun collecting rare books and editions not in print again now.  Upon prodding a bit he reveals that his sources are primarily hawkers who source books which are discarded.  His present clientele include people from all walks of life including students, established professionals and actors too. He collects not just books, but rare paper clippings, comic strips, magazines and articles.

To know more about what we spoke, please listen to the audio below! This conversation can’t be possibly transcribed.  Please do visit his store. It is totally worth the effort. You can reach him @ 044 24936152 or email renuka_govindaraju@yahoo.com to plan a visit. He simply wishes that his books reach a owner worthy of it.

PS. It’s my first audio interview. Constructive criticism welcome.

Random Ramblings

#163 : If We Were Having Coffee 

For starters, I’ve managed to kick the caffeine addiction and have switched to healthier and fruitier options. Baring the perfect cup my dad brews when I visit him, I hardly take coffee these days. More over it’s just hard to get that beautiful perfect flavourful filter Kaapi. Oh yes, I am a proud Tamilian who loves fliter Kaapi! 

Then I’d probably make you talk. That’s who I am. I am a listener. It takes time for me to be emotionally attached to a person within days of knowing somebody. 

Tell me about your dreams, I’d lend you a hopeful voice.

Tell me about your sorrows, I’d lend you a comforting shoulder. 

Tell me about your happiness, I’d celebrate with you. 

Let’s ponder over differences and similarities.

Let’s bond over mutual love for things. 

Beware, flattery and gossiping will not beg you anywhere! I’d rather close my ears and gulp down the coffee (or any drink). 

Oh and if you talk about books, I’d sit and talk all day long! 


PS. Just completed a week for write tribe’s festival of words!