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Story of My Tiramisu

I got the first taste of my now favorite dessert- Tiramisu, about 20 years ago right here in Kenya. I loved it the first time I had it in a small Italian restaurant in Hurlingam, Nairobi. It was made to order with freshly brewed coffee and liqueur, resulting in an incredible taste, delicate flavours and a hot and cold mix that I didn’t find anywhere else in the world for over 20 years. It was always different, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never as amazing. It had not occurred to me to try my hands at making it myself until I had a really terrible one at a new dessert outlet in the modern wing of Village Market in Nairobi. The dessert place was so fancy, but the Tiramisu was so bad! I could not see how difficult it could be for an expert desert chef at a high-end cafe to make a decent Tiramisu.

I started out by looking for various recipes available online, but all asked for lots of cream and cheese. I tried a couple and then came with up my own recipe that uses all the essential ingredients and follows the general process but makes a moderately less rich Tiramisu. Having made it so often for the last year or so, I now find it to be the easiest thing to make! I feel now it is time that I share this on my blog for my friends to try and enjoy. Check out the Quick recipes page on my blog to see the full recipe..Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

Gopesh Mehra, our papa, that’s you

Jan 25, 2018

 

It is 20 years today that destiny snatched you away from us. We have missed you since then. You have been in our thoughts each day. No words can describe what you were to all of us in the family. Your untimely departure from this world was not only a loss to the family but also to the Indian sports world. Here are a few words that Meizu has put together in an attempt to encapsulate your life and career.

Gopesh Mehra (born 12 June 1932) was an Indian publisher, journalist, and sports administrator. He was the founding Secretary General of the Archery Association of India.[1] and First Secretary of the Asian Archery Foundation. He served several terms as a member of the Indian Olympic Association[2]. He also founded and published the news magazine Sporting News from 1985 to 1987 and authored two books on international sports tournaments.

He was born in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi in India.

Career

Mehra began his career as a sports journalist with The Hindustan Times . He also reported for The Indian Express and The Motherland, an English daily newspaper published in New Delhi. During the emergency, he joined Samachar, the newly merged national news agency.[3] Samachar was closed after the fall of Indira Gandhi’s defeat in general elections.

Mehra then joined United News of India (UNI) where he would go on to cover major international sporting events including cricket series in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Mehra also traveled to Montreal for the 1976 Summer Olympics, Edmonton for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, Tehran for the 1974 Asian Games, Moscow for the 1980 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles for the 1984 Summer Olympics, Seoul for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and Bangkok for the 1970 Asian Games and 1978 Asian Games[4]

Mehra took early retirement from UNI after he was transferred to Calcutta as the Eastern Regional Manager for UNI. He covered the cyclone in Orissa in 1980.

He was a special correspondent with Associated Press for the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi.

Publications

Soon after the 1982 Asian Games, Mehra started a weekly news magazine Sporting News that ran for 2 years from 1985-1987.

Mehra also authored two books–Asian Games: A Book of Records (1982) and 1979 Pre-Olympic Games Moscow (1980). He also produced two TV shows for Doordarshan–Yoga for fitness and Asian Games preparations.

He was a member of the Press Club of India and Delhi & District Cricket Association.

Education

Gopesh Mehra attended the Ramjas School in Darya Ganj, New Delhi before completing a BA (Honours) in English Literature from Ramjas CollegeUniversity of Delhi. He then completed a Masters in History from Hindu College, University of Delhi. He was an ardent sports person and played cricket for both Ramjas College and Hindu College.

References

  1. http://www.indianarchery.info/history.aspx
  2.  http://library.la84.org/OlympicInformationCenter/OlympicReview/1976/ore103/ore103ze.pdf
  3. Mehta, D. S. (1979). Mass Communication and Journalism in India. Allied Publishers. ISBN 9788170233534.
  4. Mehra, G. N. (1982). Asian Games : a complete book of records. Rupa & CO: Calcutta.

External links

http://vintagerarebooks.blogspot.ca/2016/07/asian-games-complete-book-of-records-by.html

 

Day 48

Day 48.jpg
Very few people would know or believe that you have had the ultimate, exhilarating experience of getting arrested on US soil. Sounds scary, but you also never underestimated the importance of having fun. So, yes we all had fun in that situation too.
It was when we were going to Canada for a holiday with my mum, dad and you. This was from our earlier days in Kenya and we were transiting through Amsterdam and US to Canada. The border security officer at Amsterdam airport was perplexed to see so many passports together and somehow missed checking if you had a US visa. We were not stopping in the US, so we did not think a visa was needed for you to switch between planes. My mum and dad had US visas, but we did not think they were going to use them for that trip!
So, you arrived in the US airport without a visa. The immigration officer simply said ”We are arresting you and you will be deported”. You just laughed and looked at us. We then explained the situation to the officer and he said they would hold your passport until we boarded the flight to Canada. Our layover was a few hours at one of the busiest airports in the world. There were no places to sit, and here you were- supposedly detained. You were held in a nice waiting lounge (though there were a couple people in handcuffs there), away from the crowds. We all followed you and the whole family enjoyed the lounge! We all had fun and enjoyed the moments when a lady Marshall accompanied you to the washroom. One could say to us- how stupid can we be to not get a visa, but no one looks stupid when they are having fun!

I was not ready..

I was supposed to be ready when my most loved and favorite person left us this past Sunday (October 15, 2017). We all knew she had been bravely battling cancer for three years. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye. After all, she was in her late seventies and had other medical conditions. I am not a child or even a young adult. At my age, I was supposed to be ready. The family and I knew the end was coming, so I was supposed to be ready. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye.DSC09280

But I was not.

I’m not sure how to cope with the grief of forever physically losing Sudha Mehra, my second mother, my mother-in-law, my best friend, and my favorite person in the world. I don’t know who to talk to for endless hours about everything under the sun. I don’t know who to tell about everything that I feel and do each day.

Even though we can’t see her anymore, I know that she is there with me, with all of us in our hearts. We were lucky to have such a great mother, and even luckier that we were able to spend so much time with her throughout her life and especially so much near the end.

Grief does not end. Rather, grief comes and goes. And then it comes again. The process does not have to be hurried. I will not let anyone belittle this loss, make me feel guilty for grieving deeply, or hurry me through my grief. I am entitled to feel all of grief’s intricacies and all of grief’s intensity. I want to take my time and live with her memories.

I want to remember her as the lively and loving person that she was and celebrate her life. There are so many memories of her that come to mind so it would be next to impossible for me to pick a favorite.

She was so keen to enjoy life to the fullest while keeping up with, and often exceeding, the pace at which the world was changing. She had the courage and desire to do things that even some youngsters have not done so far. A little motivation and encouragement got her to take computer lessons in a foreign land in a classroom setting, take swimming lessons at the age of 65, experience river rafting, try out a canopy walk at 200 feet above ground, enjoy dog sledding in minus 35 degrees temperature, and much more. She was one of the most tech savvy people at her age, well ahead of her time in many ways in using a smartphone, laptop and iPad. She played video games on a Game Boy almost a decade ago, and continued to maintain a profile on Facebook and Instagram as a way to keep busy and stay connected. The best way that I can think of paying a tribute to her is to post her memories each day on social networks for 77 days, one day for each year of her vibrant life.

The void created by her sudden death is still hard to grasp. She was someone that we took for granted would be around for much longer.
A vibrant soul, one who literally lit up the room whenever she entered. She was full of joy, right up until the end.

She thrived on social interactions. Her glow, her smile, her gentle touch made her friends easily and people didn’t forget her. All one had to do was start a conversation with her and she became friends with many a stranger in no time. Mumma was a popular lady and would welcome company with open arms.

Her knowledge of Hindi, the proverbs or muhavaras was simply exemplary and so impressive. She was always quick to pull one out of her memory at the right time and make the conversations even more interesting. It pains me to think that all of that is gone with her. I learnt so much from her about our family traditions, religious rituals, cooking Indian delicacies, crafts like knitting, embroidery, shuttlework (which is almost extinct now) and much more. I will miss those festival times when we would all sit together, chat endlessly and prepare sweets and savories.

Thank you mumma for everything you’ve given us and the warmth we shared during your precious time on earth.

Mumma, I know you would surely have found a way in the heavens to check your Facebook account, let me say to you- I don’t know how I will cope without you and will miss you more than words can say.

Reason to be here..

lavina masand mehraIt’s taken me weeks and days to finally put these thoughts down. This is about a recipe that is THE reason why I endeavoured to start my blog Four Steps or Less. This simple recipe first hit me hard and then motivated me to do something about what struck me most. Looking at it positively, this recipe for चटपटा भुना मेवा – Spicy Roasted Nuts – that I will be posting later today is the source of inspiration for me to think about, and talk about green cooking or being energy smart. This started when a TV cooking show hosted by a popular chef was running in the background and my subconscious self was possibly paying attention to it while I was actually doing something else. I was dismayed and shocked to see that a conventional recipe of roasting nuts suggested that the oven needed to be preheated  to 300 to 400 degrees then left running for another 20-30 minutes to roast nuts. Considering that we are becoming mindful and feeling responsible about making the earth green and reducing our carbon footprint, this much oven time for the simple pleasure of enjoying roasted nuts seemed criminal to me. This subliminal viewing of a cooking show made me pay attention to the amount of oven cooking happening in this part of the world. After some research and observing more conventional recipes for most popular dishes I discerned that most recipes that asked for an average of 30-45 minutes of oven time could actually be prepared using alternate cooking methods in less than half the time that oven cooking took. That would mean if we are really serious about saving energy and time and genuinely trying out alternative cooking methods, we could reduce the carbon footprint of our cooking by half.

I fully recognize that oven baking is popular as it is convenient, it gives that scrumptious golden brown colour and a delectable crisp crust to savour. To add to these reasons, all of us are so used to conventional oven cooking that it seems like it is the only way to cook a particular dish. However, I honestly feel that the colour and crust both could still be achieved by using alternate green and smart cooking methods. I am determined to try out some conventional oven recipes by replacing the energy-sucking oven cooking method with alternate smart cooking methods or a fusion of green cooking being used for most of the cooking time with some time on the oven, if needed. I sincerely hope that this will contribute to minimizing damage to the environment. This recipe will be the first one in the series that I will try my hands at and post them on my blog in the days to come. If it makes even one of you try this energy efficient method, I would have achieved my purpose of starting this conversation about green cooking.

More Pondering

It has now been over a week since I launched my blog and website. All of the last week went by in the excitement of picking up a new technology and social media skills. I thoroughly enjoyed brainstorming how best to convey all that’s on my mind. The more I think about it, the more I feel that it is quite a task to be able to connect to people through writing. I am glad I am giving it a shot, though not sure how much time it will take for me to learn this craft. This is one thing I have not done much of in my life so far.

When I ponder over some reactions from family and friends on the blog, I feel, maybe I have not fully accomplished articulating my drive behind this initiative.  It is really not the recipes that I want to share,lavina masand mehra it is through the recipes that I wish to talk about some quick cooking methods, the urge to optimize time in the kitchen, and the zeal to save energy – both fuel and human. And through all this, to make this planet more green, use energies smartly, and squeeze more time out of our busy lives for the family to create some special moments and memories. Moments that are lost do not come back – गुज़र जाते है॑ जो पल वो फिर नही॑ आते, so we must seize the opportunity to enjoy precious moments with our loved ones. And, the best thing about memories is that we make them. So we need to find time to continue to create more memories. If my blog can help you save some time in your kitchen (to start with), it will be a feat for me.

Another reflection that I would like to share at this time is that being creative with cooking is not just replacing one ingredient with an alternate one, or decorating or garnishing the dish differently each time. What it really means to me, is to be able to connect things. Some salty flavour mingled with a sweet or sour flavour, or a regular bland soup infused with a spice or herb can do the trick to tingle ones tastebuds. Creativity requires one to be bold and use ingredients from conventional recipes in an unconventional one, or experiment with something different and unique. Just like some people simply follow fashion trends and others create trends. Be the trendsetter not the follower. With confidence and creativity you will have won even before you have started.

I will continue to jot down more of my thoughts as I look at reorienting my posts and work on sharing my underlying thoughts for this initiative. I genuinely appreciate all the valuable advice and feedback some friends have offered and would love to continue receiving more.

Time is Precious-एक सलाह काम की

Time is precious, value your time. When in the kitchen preparing a meal, use the same time to do other preparatory things for future use while your food is on the stove getting tender. For example, as I mentioned in a previous post, you could peel and grind ginger and garlic to freeze for future use. Or you could prepare a broth or sauté chopped onions for the next day (as I will explain in an upcoming post). This will save cooking time for your next meal and you get some more time each day to spend with your loved ones!

Finding Myself

Something has been on my mind for the past few years as I have been in semi retirement mode. I’ve been thinking of going back to things that I really enjoyed doing years ago but lost touch with between work, kids and moving across the world every few years. So recently, and after a lot of procrastination I challenged myself to get past the inhibitions I thought I had developed, and really committed myself to painting, handiwork and other arts I used to adore. I alarmingly discovered that most of the things I thought I would love to go back to are no longer able to capture my amusement or interest. I thought of writing this revelation down so that I can reassure myself that how much so ever I think I am still passionate about these things; I actually may be not.

After a lot of introspection I now recognise that all these years have changed my choices, interests and passions to some extent. I used to enjoy painting, sketching, knitting, crochet, DIY projects, skating, dancing, beading and much more. However, something that I had not done much in my earlier years while studying and enjoying student life was cooking.

Over the last two decades and more, alongside practising my profession, raising the family, working in and traveling to more than 54 countries, socializing with friends and keeping up with my urge to do the crazy things on and off that I am so known for, I have had to cook for family and friends. This was new to me yet surprisingly never bogged me down. The satisfaction of creating something new, feeding the family, and looking at the content faces of people with stuffed tummies seemed to be the ultimate and most fulfilling reward. Fortunately, I found shortcuts to making complex dishes in a jiffy. Over the years, I realized that preparing four course meals for 20 people did not in fact take much time for me at all.

At the request of some of my friends I have been sharing a few of these quick cooking tips on a one-on-one basis. I feel now that I have the time; it may be a good idea to put my years of experience and experimentations in the kitchen on a public forum. Moreover, now that I have finally started using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, I can share effortlessly with a wider community, and hope that someone may find the tips useful. When I see people spending so much time cooking, or not cooking because of the time it takes for them, it really bothers me. I believe that 60 to 80% of the average time spent in the kitchen can be reduced easily. Since moving back to Canada, something that bothers me even more is the rampant use of the oven in this part of the world. The carbon footprint that oven-cooking leaves behind is horrendous. As a basic rule of thumb, cooking on the stove and using pressure-cooking methods can save more than 70% of the electric power and time taken to cook, while simultaneously retaining far more nutrients. So, after a lot of consideration of these ideas and discussions with people from all ways of life, I see that the need is not just for quick recipes but quick, healthy and green recipes.
With these thoughts, I am going to be writing down some “4 steps or less” quick and green recipes for popular Indian dishes (to start with) that some of you may already have tasted at our home. I plan to post them on a Facebook page on my account. This should keep me busy for some time, and it will still have to be seen how long this project will sustain my interest, but for now it seems I have found my new passion.