Featured

No hassle-No sugar-Easiest Gajar Halwa

GLUTEN FREE- SUGAR FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Easy to make, gluten free and sugar free classic indian dessert made in less than half the time of usual conventional recipe. Saving time and energy thereby reducing the carbon footprint on our precious planet. 

 

gajar halwa 1
SERVES- 6
COOKING TIME- 30-45 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 kilogram carrots grated
1 litre fresh Milk (full cream optional)
½ tablespoon Ghee
2 green cardamoms
10-15 pitted dates(about 100 grams) cut in small pieces
15-20 almonds cut in slices (about 25 grams) (optional)
15-20 cashews halves (about 25 grans) (optional)
20-25 raisins (about 25 grams) (optional)
10 strands of saffron beaten on a cutting board or pastel (optional)
 
STEPS
1. Put ghee in the pan and add cardamoms after cracking them open so that the flavour is released.
2. After a minute or so add grated carrots and sauté them for 3-5 minutes until the colour changes to little dark (excess moisture will evaporate during this process).
3. Add milk and place the heat on low after the milk starts to boil. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring at intervals of 3-4 minutes. You will notice carrots cooking, absorbing milk, becoming more tender and getting cooked in milk.
4. Add cut dates , saffron and nuts and let it cook for another 10-12 minutes until all milk is absorbed and the milk dries out.. surface f the pan will greasy now without traces of water/milk…and it is ready to serve..
 
HANDY TIPS:
1. If you leave the heat on low all through the process you don’t need to stir as often.
2. I usually use low fat milk, you could use full cream milk to make it more creamy and rich.
Featured

Photo Culture..2

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are many changes happening in the world that I am just not able to fully grasp. Continuing on the trend of talking about photos, I wanted to share some thoughts and see whether my friends can share their experiences to help me learn more on this topic.

In today’s maddening photo culture, life seems to revolve around the camera. If you wear something nice, eat something good, go to a beautiful place, meet friends, celebrate an occasion or simply go to work, the first instinct is often to take a picture.

It commonly seems that if you go somewhere or do something without taking a picture, you have not been there or have not done it.

This and the innumerable selfies that people take worries me that this is a sign that society is moving towards more self-centredness.

I wonder — what are the unintended consequences of this phenomenon?

We have taken many technologies for granted without fully understanding their broader social impacts. In this case too, I fear that the easy access to taking countless photos, and the way this is promoted in the media and popular culture, is leading to society falling prey to the natural human tendency of narcissism, in some cases perhaps even bordering on a diagnosis of NPD (Narcissist Personality Disorder).

What do you think?

Do you think our photo culture enables/promotes narcissism?

Is this a problem? If so, how can we solve it?

 

Featured

Photo Culture..1

Continuing on with my musings, I wanted to share my thoughts on a subject that is very close to my heart: the changing trends in photo culture. I often think about photos because I enjoy taking lots of photos myself, especially of special moments with family.

I think one of the most dramatic changes to our society has happened because of the advances in technology that allow billions of photographers to use their smartphones to take trillions of photos every day.

Photos were once precious, and I still think they are. There used to be a time when we had to be very careful and conservative because of the cost of taking and developing pictures – they were reserved for those most special moments and printed to cherish the memories at a later time.

I still think that there are many benefits to everyone having a camera. This easy access has empowered many to showcase their artistic talents, capturing amazing images of new places or experiences and sharing them with useful information. This is so valuable for others that may not have a chance to travel or have those same firsthand experiences. Seeing such pictures is always a delight — it’s something I look forward to when using social media.

In my case, I love taking photos and capturing videos of my family. I think it is so important to keep these records of all the special events, family get togethers, travels and new milestones.

I also spend lots of time curating and archiving photos – many times getting frustrated with the Apple Photos app which I use to store and catalogue.

I like to revisit them to keep the best ones in my records and organize them in an accessible manner. I now have a reservoir of about 40,000 pictures capturing memories of 6 to 7 decades of the whole Mehra and Masand Families.

With many technological advancements over the years, I have found many ways to put these photos to use to create memories for family, friends and myself in the form of coffee table books, personalized daily use items, home décor items that carry pictures that we all love to see often. Memorializing pictures on these personalized items and coffee table books seems to be appreciated by almost everyone I know. Every time I have tried it, I have seen peoples face light up with that smile.

I am curious — how do others approach photos?

Do you take many photos? What do you do with them? Do you have any tips or tricks on curating or archiving the many photos we take? Any suggestions on how to best memorialize special photos or bulk photos?

Featured

Missing you so much..

mummy oct 2019.jpg
आज दो साल हो गए आपको miss करते हुए..
मेरे सामने की मेज़ पर आपकी यह फ़ोटो हर समय रहती है
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
फ़ोन पर तो बात नहीं हो पाती पर अब तस्वीर से ही बातें कर लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपको पुरानी विडीओज़ में आपको जीवंत देख लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
ढेरों कॉफ़ी table बुक्स जो बनवाती रही हूँ, उनमें आपको देख लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
हर त्यौहार मौक़े पर आपकी बातें याद करती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपके अक्सर बोले जाने वाले मुहावरे दोहराती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपसे सीखा खाना-पकवान बनाती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
पर असलियत तो यह है ना – कि आप पास नहीं हो।
आपकी सुंदर साड़ियों में आपकी प्यारी छवि बहुत याद आती है, मेरी हर साल की April fool tricks और मेरी बहुत सी और अजीब बातों पर आपकी हैरानी बहुत याद आती है, फिर पड़ने वाली आपकी प्यार भरी डाँट बहुत याद आती है, आपकी जीने की ललक बहुत याद आती है, आपकी हर नयी चीज़ करने कि चाहत बहुत याद आती है।
यह बात बहुत ही खलती है कि मेरी बातों का अब कोई जवाब नहीं मिलता।
कहाँ चले गए आप और इतनी जल्दी क्यों?
पच्चीस साल की थी जब आपके पास आयी थी। इतने ही सालों से कुछ ज़्यादा उम्र आप के साथ बिताने का मौक़ा तो मिला पर यह काफ़ी नहीं था। क्या है यार मम्मा …अभी हमें इतना कुछ साथ में करना था।
Your not being around is simply not acceptable- Come Back!

What makes me cogitate?

I strongly feel that our generation is living through some of the most dramatic changes to occur in a span of three or four decades. From technological advancements and infrastructural marvels to fashion and new social norms – change has defined our lifetime. My sense is that most of us have actually adapted to these changes quite gracefully, so kudos to our generation! Some of these changes, such as those in technology and innovation, have been easier to tackle. However, changes related to our traditions or cultural values, and things considered socially taboo have naturally been far more difficult to adapt to.
I feel privileged that I have been able to have some honest and frank discussions with the younger generation. They have helped me understand their point of view and accept that we need to change our thinking on many of these topics to be more rational and progressive. This has made me think that we don’t have to just take everything that we have been told by our elders as absolute values that must be followed. In the same vein, neither should we worry about doing things just to please the people around us.
I have always thought that I have been somewhat of a rebel, especially in my childhood and youth. At the time, I questioned and challenged many of the norms and systems that I didn’t agree with. Because of this, I think it has been easier for me to adapt to some of the more radical changes. The rational reasoning from today’s young rebels has also helped immensely. While I would like to think that I have made my best effort to understand and accept the rapidly changing world around me, there are a few things that have been widely accepted in society, that I still find bizarre.
To me, it seems that in some cases, people are following new trends not because they improve upon a past practice, but just because they’re hip. People seem to have such a desire to fit in and be chic that they forego their own comfort, happiness, or personal preferences. In these cases, I don’t think they are being honest with themselves, rather just following the crowd. This applies across the board, including in many cases to both my own generation and the next. I actually expect much more from younger generations as I find them to be more confident and considerably smarter than us. So, at times I am disappointed when I see them picking up trends that just don’t make sense to me.
I want to continue my own journey in learning more about and perhaps even adapting to those changes that I still can’t seem to wrap my head around. To do this, I am planning to use social media to share some thoughts, and I’m hoping to hear what my friends have to say. At the very least, I hope to use this simply as an outlet to write and share my thoughts. It would be even better if, by putting forward my point of view, I could get a sense whether others agree with me or if I am completely off-side. So, I also hope to use these posts to get input and advice from my friends, and perhaps even change my mind! I would especially love to hear not only from friends from my own generation who can perhaps relate to me better, but from my younger friends who are leading many of the changes happening in our world.
Featured

Torn Clothing

Following up on my last post, here are some of my thoughts on a trend that has baffled me since I first started seeing it many years ago. Would love to hear from you on whether you agree or if you can enlighten me on what I’m missing.
Why would you pay top dollars for torn jeans?
This seems pretty straight forward – we mend or throw away most of our clothes that have tears in them. Why doesn’t this apply to jeans and certain other kinds of clothes? With most of our other clothes we seem to concur that a tear, rip, stain or other damage isn’t acceptable — not just because it looks shabby — but also because in many cases the comfort and durability of the clothes are compromised.
I have noticed this trend rise and fall for many years and have been perplexed by how people blindly follow this “fashion” while ignoring their own comfort or rationality. Is it because some celebrity wore torn jeans in a certain way someday and that led to a cascading sequence where others followed, and now their friends followed as well, so now it’s our turn to follow the crowd to look cool?
Perhaps some say that they actually like torn clothing for its artistic value. This may well be the case for a few, but the vast majority of people I know that may say so, don’t seem interested in any other form of art.
Early in the onset of this trend, seeing ripped clothes would genuinely have prompted me to sympathize with the person wearing it. I might even have offered to help them out or share a good used pair of jeans with them. In fact, I still get this strong urge to sympathize with people wearing ripped clothes for fashion, even though I know they are financially able to buy a good pair of sturdy jeans or any other designer clothes for that matter. They are in fact sometimes paying hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars for the ripped ones when they could get a perfectly untorn pair for far less. This is especially ironic because this trend originated from a rejection of corporate society and the status quo.
This contradiction is even more clear if you think about how those less fortunate may feel when they see privileged people intentionally damaging their clothes — at best it may be blissful ignorance, at worst a cruel form of mockery.
Young kids blindly following a fashion trend could be forgiven to an extent, but what amazes me is when people who have seen the world for decades get into this follow-the-crowd syndrome and wear torn clothes while paying through their nose. Where has the sense of value for money vanished? Jean or denim fabric is iconically known as being sturdy — it is supposed to last long and provide durable protection from the elements.
To cap it all off, to me, torn and ripped clothes just do not look good on anybody!
So please let me know — what you think? Do you wear ripped jeans? And why? Help me decipher this bizarre trend! Looking forward to your thoughts.
Featured

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

Featured

Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

SERVES- 3-4
COOKING TIME- 20 minutes

TiramisuINGREDIENTS
2 eggs
100 grams Mascarpone cheese
50 ml brewed coffee
25 ml Irish cream liqueur (optional)
50 grams sugar powder
20-25 lady finger Italian biscuits (or left over bread or cake)
50 grams whipped cream(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

PREPERATION
-Brew coffee and put it in the fridge to cool down
-Keep Mascarpone cheese outside the fridge to bring it to room temperature
-Separate egg yolks from whites and keep whites in the fridge until you need them in the recipe

STEPS
STEP 1. Mix egg yolks and sugar and put it on a double boiler pan. Keep stirring it until it gets a little thick and sugar looks cooked (about 4-5 minutes). Put this in fridge to cool down. You will start making Tiramisu once this is cooled down.
STEP 2. Beat egg whites with electric beater to a point where whites are drip free and form soft peaks. Similarly, beat whipped cream to a point where is becomes thick and soft NOT to make butter, stop just before that.
STEP 3. Fold in egg yolks mixture, egg whites mix, cheese and whipped cream softly.
Step 4. Mix coffee and Irish cream liqueur in a shallow dish, dip the biscuits in a quick motion into this mixture (do not dip them in the liquid too long as the biscuits are very light and may melt away) and layer them in the serving dish. Spread the cream mixture as per step 3 over the dipped layered biscuits, place another layer of coffee dipped biscuits and then another layer of the cream mixture. Sprinkle cocoa powder and cinnamon powder over this using a small sieve.

HANDY TIPS:
1. As a substitute to Italian lady finger biscuits you could use left over bread or cake and dip it well in the coffee and liquor mixture before spreading the eggs and cream mixture. It comes out quite close to the original taste.
2. You can avoid putting whipped cream if you are counting on calories. I have skipped it quite a few times and it has come out well.
3. I also use reduced amount of sugar and cheese at times.
4. You could also sprinkle nutmeg powder as per you taste buds.
5. Irish cream liquor can be substituted with any other liqueur like Amarula, Baileys or other cocoa /coffee based liqueurs.

Featured

Easiest Homemade Dhokla

SERVES: 4

GLUTEN FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Quick to make, great to store, quick to steam in a pressure cooker or in microwave. 

Dhokla is chickpea flour steamed savoury cake. It is one of the most healthy snacks to have at a time when you carve for something savoury but do not want to have some off the shelf that has pastry flour or shortening in abundance.

COOKING TIME- 5-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoon oil
100 grams Besan (chickpea flour)
½ cup yogurt
150 ml water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 inch frozen or fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon of sugar
3-4 figs of fresh coriander or parsley
1 tablespoon mustard seeds(for garnish)
2-3 green chillies

You will need a regular vegetable steamer or a microwaveable dish that you can use steam the dhokla.

dhoklaSTEPS
1. Mix oil, yogurt, 50 ml of water, chickpea flour, turmeric powder and salt in a mixing bowl and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
2. This mixture has to be steamed for 8-10 minutes in a regular steamer or 5 minutes in microwave. Just before pouring the mixture in the steamer mould, add antacid powder to the mixture and stir it for a minute, you will see it will start coming up because of the soda in antacid powder.
3. While the steaming is on, take a separate small pan and add 1 teaspoon of oil, mustard seeds and split whole green chillies, once splattering starts, add 100 ml of water and sugar to it. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
4. Let the steamed dhokla cake cool down for 5-10 minutes and then pour this sweetened water mixture on it before you cut it into pieces to serve. Sprinkle fresh coriander or parsley before serving.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Dhokla goes very well with spicy hot and sweet chutneys and home made dips.
2. This snack is considered one of the most healthy and nutritive ones as it is steamed.