Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate chip cookies

Cookies are always a delight to bake and fits into 'any time preferred snack'.   My family loves to have these freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with warm milk, an ideal combination.  Once the cookie jar is filled, it just needs a few hands to just pop in, taste and empty the jar.  It was a delicate balancing act to stack these cookies :):)

Ingredients:

All purpose flour - 2 1/4 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Brown sugar (packed) - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 2
Butter - 2 sticks
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Semi sweet chocolate chips - 1 1/2 cups


Combine the dry ingredients viz.flour,baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Blend butter, sugar, brown sugar and the vanilla extract till it is creamy.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well each time as u add.  Add the flour mix and gently mix it.  Pre heat the oven to 375 deg.F.  Make into small balls and bake it for 10 minutes.  Remove from the baking dish and cool it thoroughly before emptying into the tin for storing.

Stays fresh for a week in an air tight container.

'Absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it's fun. It's exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.'- Debbi Fields

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Uncle Pai and 'Tinkle'



Certain things in life become a part and parcel of our lives although it does not belong to us on a personal level and to mention a few - Amar Chitra Katha series, Tinkle  etc etc. I can go on and on with my personal likes but I am sure the ones I mentioned is loved by one and all.  Writing on a sombre note and while paying tribute to Mr.Anant Pai, the creator of the same, would like to share with you the conception of his work.

It was during the 60's Mr.Anant Pai, fondly addressed as 'Uncle Pai' came into limelight with his Amar Chitra Katha series.   He was interested in starting a children's magazine 'Manav' in the year 1954 and the attempt failed .  He had a  stint with the  'The Times of India'   and it was at this time, the Indarajal comics was launched by the Times. But, it was during a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in 1967, the concept of Amar Chitra Katha gave birth.  Uncle Pai observed during the course of the quiz that the children were not able to answer questions about Indian Mythology although they had knowledge about Greek Mythology.  (Information Courtesy-Wikipedia)

He quit his job at the Times and concentrated in the Amar Chitra Katha comic series.  His concept was rejected  by many leading publishers but with the help of late G.L.Mirchandani of India Book House, came into effect these ever green Katha comics.    These series became a super duper hit in the Indian comic scenario.  In 1980, began the birth of the famous 'Tinkle'. 

Here, began the journey of Tinkle and us.  Most of us cherish the characters of Tinkle and would look forward for new editions.  The story kept simple and the language easy to understand, most of them would relate to our day to day life.  Shikari Shambu, Kaalia the crow, Kapish the monkey, Tantri the Mantri, Pyarelal and my most favourite Suppandi would live with us in this world forever.  These characters seemed to belong to everyone and the comical interpretations makes them a happy read for young and the old.  Amar Chitra Katha  or literally translating  'Immortal stories' takes  pride of making Hindu mythology well aware amongst the children, the stories well told with the beautiful depiction of the characters in sketch.   Did u know that some of these comic series have been translated to French,Spanish, Swahili, Fijian and Indonesian languages.
I still have tons of Tinkle magazines in my book shelf and it is a read anytime of the day, any mood and  peps u at times of stress and off-beat situations. 

Uncle Pai, you would  continue to live amongst us through your characters and fondly remembered for years to come.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

DO NOT DESPAIR

While you smile at someone and if she does not return it,
Do not despair
She is still practising to use the 22 muscles to smile,  instead uses  37 to frown

While you use kind words, if he uses harsh words on you
Do not despair
She is still exploring her vocabulary in search of kind words

While you do good deeds, if she thinks of only harming you
Do not despair
She is still shut into negativity and would soon hope to start think positive

While you wish the best for her, if she does not reciprocate
Do not despair
She has yet to experience the joyous feeling of wishing good to others

You  keep ur smile in tact, use kind words and always wish the best for her
You will soon find a change in her, for sure.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pasta w/Garlic,Basil and Tomatoes-yum yum yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is, by far the simplest and  the tastiest pasta recipe I have prepared of late and guess what, it disappeared within minutes, hence a hurried photograph thro' the iphone :):)


Pasta: Sphaghetti thick (I bought the Barella pasta)

Tomatoes: 6 ripe roma tomatoes

Garlic: 3 cloves

Olive Oil- 3tbsp

Parmesan Cheese

Oregano: 1 tsp

Fresh Basil: a few leaves

Salt to taste



Make a slit in the tomatoes and blanch it in hot water. Peel and finely chop it

In a wide base pan, put the olive oil, garlic and saute for few seconds. Add the tomatoes, oregano and simmer for 20 min in med-low heat.

Boil water, add salt and cook the pasta al dente- just perfect (about 12 min). Don't over cook as the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce.

Drain the water from the pasta (do not run the pasta under cold water). Pour the pasta into the sauce and simmer for 5 min so the gravy mixes nicely with the pasta.

Freshly grate parmesan cheese and add some finely chopped basil to garnish.

Bon Appetit!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our nose- the perfect scent catcher

I recall the school days when I am on my way back home very hungry, could track all the delicacies being prepared for the so-called evening tiffin or dinner in our locality.  As soon as I would step inside my house, I would be able to confirm the cooking in the kitchen.  Of course, many of you would accept this verdict of mine and would have had the same experience too. 

Our nose is one of the most powerful organ of our body.  It is amazing to think how the nose can perceive the taste of a particular food item just by sensing the aroma.  As we pass by a bakery, the light molecules of the bakes mingles in the air and makes us drool even without visually seeing the product.  Such is the effect of smell. 

My neighbour  loves the divine smell emanicipating from my house during festival days. It would be a combination of agarbathi, camphor, elaichi and other delicacies especially prepared during those days.  The scents absorbed are so powerful that many can spell out the ingredients that went into the preparation of a particular dish in the neighbourhood.  I have seen many chefs, at first, giving a thorough inhale of the dish before tasting it which gives them the assurance that the dish is well cooked with great ingredients. 

At the same time, the nose is sensitive to stench too.  My grandfather can smell stench from a distance and would often complain of  burnt milk, dal in the kitchen or the blackened sabji.  Nothing can escape his nose.  Have you ever wondered how this happens?  At the top of our nasal passage, there are special neurons which are out in the open and they have small hair-like projections called cilia.When molecules from the odour binds with the cilia, we are able to perceive the smell.

I truly enjoy the divine, serine and unique smells, to name a few:

Damp soil of the first rain
Of the new-born
Freshly adorned henna
Just blooming jasmine

Sandal based agarbathi when lit
Freshly cooked food
Festive season
Fresh bakes from the oven

My favourite perfume
Freshly brewed coffee
Basmati rice while on the pot cooking
Mint and cilantro

Can go on and on but to agree in totality on one aspect - The natural smell of things created by Him has a divinity and that which cannot be recreated in its originality,  than the ones created by humans.

'If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fragrance of spices, the aroma of good fruits, we pronounce a blessing over the pleasure' - Shmuel Y Agnon

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yummylicious Crumbly Blue berry muffins

These muffins are so colorful and my family loves them. Posting a beautiful and a simple blue berry muffin recipe. (Courtesy - Allrecipes.com but made some tweaks to the recipe to suit my taste)

Ingredients:

All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1/3 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1 nos
Milk - 1/3 cup
Vanilla Essence - 1/2 tsp
Fresh blueberries - 1 cup

For the crumb topping:

Sugar - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour - 1/3 cup
Butter - 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon - 1 1/2 tsp


Preheat the oven to 375 deg F
Preparation of Muffins: Mix the flour,sugar and baking powder. Pour the vegetable oil to a measuring container which can hold one cup quantity. To this add the egg, vanilla essence, and the milk till it measures one full cup. Combine this to the flour sugar mixture. Fold in the blueberries. Grease the muffin tray and fill to 3/4th of the height to leave some space for the crumbs and also for the muffin to rise.

Preparation of Crumb topping: Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, 1/4 cup of butter and 1 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture over the muffins before baking.

The baking takes 25-30 minutes until the crust is nice and golden brown. Loved the extra overflowed crust which is very evident in the pic.

Bon Appetit!
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