Friday, May 29, 2009

A man and his knit crazy wife (and their pesto pizza)

Have you noticed how men hate shopping? My dad, uncles, cousins and now husband treat shopping as their nemesis. J usually finds a quiet place in the store and sits twiddling his thumb, while I go around the entire store looking at each and every garment. I visit all the sections;
*Men's clothing- I might find something for J
*Baby's clothing- I will have kids in future so might as well make a list on things to buy. Additionally baby clothes are SO cute!
*Jackets/wallets/ties/boxers/briefs/watches- Ideas for birthday/wedding anniversary/'OK whatever, lets make up' gifts.
*Lingeries/racy bras- Is this what Kim Kardashian wears?hmmmm....
*Perfumes/jewelry/purses- Gifts for me for being a wonderful wife/my birthday/'you are the greatest, lets make up' gifts.

Thus, I take approximately 1 hour to buy a tee shirt..ahem..time taken for the fitting trials not included. J can buy 4 tee shirts, 2 underwears and a trouser in 20 mins flat. Now if you think thats because he doesn't care for what he wears and is not very particular about the colour/pattern, think again. I wanted to knit a scarf for him so he picked out the yarn colour etc. When I was finally done, he said 'it's not like what other people wear'. I spent over 8 months buried in that yarn and needles, so you can imagine my state when he said that. Few beatings and "I am never going to knit anything for you" dialogue later, I knit a hat for my friend. It was my first hat so it was pretty simple and single colour. Here she is modeling in that hat,


When J saw that he bugged/threatened/basically ate my brain me to make a hat for him. He picked out the yarn this time also. "No fancy decorations", "no girlie designs", "no frills", "Should cover my ears in addition to my head", "Should not be too tight or too loose just right" and 100 other maddening demands. I spent about a week searching for the perfect pattern, I finally found the right one in ravelry. Took a week to knit it, he tried it on yesterday,


"Is this really a men's hat? Looks pretty girlie" he said. This time around I agree with him, it suits me more than it suits him ;). Since I already have a warm hat I am sending this to someone who I know will like it, my sis!! And because I am a good wife (read crazy about knitting) I decided to knit another hat for my boy. This time around I pick the yarn colour and choose the design. If this hat also gets rejected there might be some bloodshed in my house ;D

On the dinner table we had the famous A&N pesto pizza. The only changes I made was using bread flour to make the pizza crust and soy cheese.

It was out of this galaxy! Thanks guys!! Have a great weekend everyone!
PS- It took me 20 mins to figure out a title for this post, I played with everything from, "Men=fussy", "Men and shopping", "Men and hats", "The man, his hat and his wife" phew..hard work I say!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buns- fried not baked!!

My mom used to make this is an after school snack, but I learnt that this was a breakfast item, when I was working in Agumbe. Soft and subtly sweet they used to serve this with either chutney or bhaaji. I ended up having these buns for breakfast practically everyday during my entire 2 month stay! J is very fond of them and has been pestering me for about...ahem..3 years now to make them. I kept putting it off because its deep fried, cholesterol, unhealthy etc. Last Sunday I decided to give it a try and got the recipe from my mom. I got a total of 12 buns, J polished off 5 in a single sitting (do I need to stress again how much he loves these?!). These buns stay fresh for about a week.

If you have over ripe bananas and you are okay eating deep fried food, you definitely have to give these a try.

Mangalore buns:
1.5 C APF
1 ripe banana
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1) Mash the banana. Mix it with the APF, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix well.
2) Add the yogurt little by little till you get a soft smooth dough. (Its better to keep the dough slightly stiff because the fruit oozes water and the dough will get sticky)
3) Set aside for 1 hour.
4) Pinch off small balls of the dough and roll into small thick disks. Don't roll it out too thin. Thick is better.
5) Heat oil to 375 F and deep fry the buns till golden.

Its usually served with chutney or spicy bhaaji. But these were just delicious as is. The sweetness depends on how ripe the banana is, increase the sugar if you want it more sweet.


On a different note, we had a nice long weekend. Some people went camping, few others awaited their in-laws. We went to the National Arboretum. 2 acres of herbs plants, bonsais, enormous collection of trees and flowering plants, its any nature lover's paradise. A few pictures:





wind catchers





Have a nice week everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hips, dance, yoga and such nonsense

When I am home alone, I like to have my lunch watching 'Shimmy'. Its actually a fitness show where PYTs belly dance like there is no tomorrow. Then I secretly try some of those 'shimmies' in my bathroom. And I curse myself for being unable to do a single sexy jatka those girls do. My hips just refuse to move independently! My MSc mates can vouch of that. I was forced to take part in dances (for farewell, welcome and other such nonsensical parties the dept. used to host) and I was the worst! However loose I kept my body and tried to relax the hip never swayed, it remained stuck to my butt and the sexy jatakas and matkas came out looking more like a the movements of a 'Bangalore to Mysore' bus :( God knows how many people snickered behind my back. I don't blame them, I was so bad!

So anyways, I recently decided to work out at the gym. The treadmill and that stuck to the ground cycle does not work for me. I can manage not more than 5 mins on those gizmos. I get bored and just want to run back home. I prefer group exercises and I knew the gym had those. Yesterdays schedule had something called 'kwando' and I decided to check that out ( I didn't even bother to google it!). To my horror, the Kwando class had been cancelled and in its place was...Latin dance class GASP!!! The teacher was a 40 something feisty lady who was swaying her hips like silken tofu.
"make it sexy!!", "sexy cha cha chaa...", "shake your hips", "shake it! shake it! shake shake shake it" kept saying the dancing jello. All I could manage was a pathetic shake that looked more like a slow jog (usually done by 65 yr old grandpas in the park)!

After an hour of my so called 'sexy shake cha cha', it was time for pilates. Now this was more like my style and I was confident I could do this with much more ease (since I had taken yoga lessons in India). I was so disappointed to see that I couldn't even touch my toes (something I could do so easily then) or balance myself on my elbows. In addition to having a immobile hip, my body had turned into a stiff wooden pole :( . I came home and checked to see if I had any yoga-ness left in me. Ladies I present to you Sirsasana by yours' truly,


Woohoo!! I have something still alive in me!! I have decided to attend all those classes and hope to bring my rusted body to some form.

Latin dance class? What the heck, might as well go and try my 'bathroom shimmies' there. And when I can't shake or sway sexy, I can watch those yummylicious men lifting weights!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garlic in yogurt sauce!

This is not any fancy Italian dish! Beluli thambli is common in Karnataka. It's made from garlic and yogurt and is usually a side dish (just like palya/porial/gojju) and is eaten with rice. It takes less than 10 mins to prepare and is very healthy (according to my mom!). Since this is going to Mahima's 15 mins cooking, I am not going to waste time with my non-stop yada yada..

Beluli Thambli:

2 garlic cloves
1.5 tsp jeera
2 tbsp coconut
1-2 dried red chillies ( I use something called North Indian chillie its spicy as hell. If you are using byadgi or something else you can increase the quantity)
1 cup yogurt

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add the garlic and saute till it turns golden. Now add the red chillie and jeera saute till it changes colour. Cool and blend the above with coconut and 1/4 cup yogurt to a fine paste. Add the remaining yogurt and salt. Mix well. You can do a tadka if you wish, I usually don't - did it just this one time!


Since I am anti-rice, I drink this just like that, it is cool (due to the yogurt) and garlicky!

PS- my kannada is kinda wierd, I write like how I speak- the spellings of thambli and beluli might be different!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

For rice lovers -Vegetable Pulao

I hate rice. I eat rice one time a day with great difficulty. Give me idli, dosa, vada, poori, roti, bread, chaat anytime of the day, anything except rice! The only thing J and I share in common is our hatred for rice! What is even torture is rice items for breakfast :| When I got married, my MIL made pulao for breakfast and I gulped it down in 5 mins flat with a big glass of milk!! Even though it was tasty, rice and morning kinda don't go together, you know what I mean? :P
But to me, her pulao is the best and till date I follow her pulao recipe -- i.e., when we have the once in a blue moon rice mela in my house! Today is one such day, lets get started shall we?

vegetable pulao

Vegetable Pulao:
1 C rice
1.5 C water
1/2 tsp jeera
5-6 cashew nuts halved
1/4 C (each) chopped veges - I use the usual beans, carrot, peas, capsicum, turnip
1 onion thinly sliced
1 tsp chopped ginger
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
few sprigs of coriander leaves

Pulao masala:
1 tsp khus-khus
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp jeera
1 inch stick cinnamon
3 cloves
1 elachi
3-4 green chillies
2 Tbsp coconut

Grind the above to a fine powder with no water. There is no need to roast any of the ingredients.


1) Heat 1 tsp ghee and 2 tbsp oil, in a pressure cooker add 1/2 tsp jeera and 5-6 cashews. Saute.
2) When the cashews turn golden add the onions and saute till soft.
3) Add the ginger and the vegetables mix well.
4) Add the masala and saute for 1 -2 min.
5) Turn the heat to medium and add water and salt mix and cover the cooker.
6) When you see steam raising, add the rice. Turn the heat to low and cover, place the weight and cook for 10mins. I got this tip from Namrata's blog. I never get mushy rice!
7) Once it cools down, open the lid add the lemon juice and coriander leaves and mix.

Pulao 2

This is a pukka southie pulao. Its heavily flavoured and tastes very different from the usual pulaos. God knows where my MIL got this one from!!

You need a raitha to go with it no?
Cucumber tomato raitha:

1/2 cucumber diced
1/2 tomato diced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 green chilli chopped
1 Tbsp peanuts, roasted, deskinned and crushed
1 cup thick yogurt
salt to taste
Chopped coriander

Mix them all together and serve.


This next picture is exclusively for Mr. J who has abandoned his wife on a Friday evening. So there, J ask Mrs. Dell PC to cook for you, I am having dinner.

Veg Pulao

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Samosa anyone?

I got up at 7 am on Sunday (yea, I am super weird!) had a glass of milk and saw if my plants had any new leaves. J was still snoring away to glory, so I switched on the TV and Essence of Emril was running. He was making international appetizers and it included samosa (or samOOsa as they say!). In the list of ingredients he kept repeating, 'gram masala is an important spice in Indian cooking'. Now, I am not a person who sings 'jana gana mana' every morning but I just cannot tolerate it when people pronounce Indian things differently or when they say curry (this one makes my blood boil!). I have told numerous people there is no curry or curry powder in India and that 'curry' is a British invention! Emril my friend, 'gram' is a unit of measurement and 'garam' means spicy/hot. He then proceeded to make the potato filling and stuffed it in a maida dough. He made it look like more like curry puff than samosa! Anyways, you got to give credit to the man for trying out an Indian dish! I still love you Emril and your lovely paunch that looks like half a watermelon!!

So anyways, I had an instant craving for samosa-I am like that. There are times when I would have kept things ready for making pulao or bisi bele bath. But if I am on the phone with my mom and she tells me she had pooris for breakfast, I dump all the veges and pulao masala in the fridge and make pooris and potato masala instead!!!
I decided to look into Tarla Dalal's 'Chaat' book for the recipe. We were not disappointed!


For the covering:
1/2 C maida
2 tsp ghee
salt to taste

For the filling
1 C potato (boiled and cubed)
1/2 C green peas, boiled
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp hing
1 heaped tsp ginger-green chilli paste
2 tsp amchur
1 tsp daniya-jeera powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

1) mix the maida, ghee and salt with water to form a firm dough. Cover and set aside.
2) Heat oil in a pan and add the jeera. Once it splutters add the hing and ginger-green chilli paste.
3) Saute for 1 min and add the potato, peas, amchur, daniya-jeera powder, garam masala and salt.
4) Mix well and mash lightly.
5) Remove from fire and cool. Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

Lets fry some samose!!!
6) Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll each portion into a 5 by 2 inch disk.
7) Now divide this disk into 2 halves.
8) Make a cone from each half and stuff with the filling. Seal all the openings with water.
9) Deep fry in oil till golden brown in colour.


This made for a very good lunch!

1) The filling is very spicy-good for me not so good for J!
2) The crust is just ok not 'OMG it's just like Dilwale bhaiyya's samosa!!'

I think I gave the wrong message in my post- it takes time but not difficult at all. And Nags, you won't mess up trust me! Pavani, 1 egg beaten= 4 tbsp so just divide equally between the 2 dough.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Guess who was jealous of Brutus and his cookies? Yep, J!! He sulked the whole weekend, "How come the dog gets home-made biscuits but I don't?" "Aa naayi-ge mathra madithya biscuit nange illa". I decided to make him a something better than the doggie biscuit- that ought to quieten him for few weeks!

Cokies 2

Spiral Cookies:

for the vanilla dough-
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
1/2 egg yolk, beaten
1 1/2 C all purpose flour, sifted

for the chocolate dough-
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 egg yolk, beaten
1 1/4 C plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
1/4 C cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the butter and sugar till creamy and soft. Add the vanilla, egg and flour into the creamed mixture and stir nit till forms a sift dough. In a separate bowl, make the chocolate dough in the same way. Knead each dough separately till smooth, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins. Roll out both pieces of dough to 10 by 7 in. rectangles. Brush a little milk over the vanilla dough and lay the chocolate dough on top. Press down gently. Roll up from the short side to make a spiral log. Wrap and chill for 30 mins. Cut the roll into 24-30 slices, arrange 4 cms apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 mins till pale golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 mins. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
1) Don't even dream of making this, if you are short on time. It takes a lot of time and rolling the dough is a real pain in the ass and needs patience!
2) Add 2 tbsp milk if the mixture does not form a smooth dough.
3) The baking time depends on the thickness of the cookie. If you slice your cookies too thick, the edges brown fast but the inside remains raw. So make sure you slice at least 24-26 cookies.

These cookies go to J (I have to mention his name lest he say I made these for the blog ;) ) and to Sakshi who actually wrote in her comment "I have no probs in munching anything in the shape of a cute bone!! so maybe while packing for Brutus you can send another lot my way too and I can send you a pic of me with my tongue out to prove it's taste...bow bow!!" Sakshi, I hope you like these (IMHO- these are waaaaay better than Brutus' biscuits!!!).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pet lovers only!

May 2nd 2006
I came home from work tired and hungry only to see him happily pee-ing on my 350Rps Bata sandals.
What? Who? How? When?
"Two men came on a scooter and gave him to your sister Su" said my mom
How dare she get him! And how dare he pee on my 350Rps Bata sandals! I vowed never to talk to him for the rest of my life
I managed to keep my promise for just 1 day.
His soft tongue, those soft paws that went pit-pit-pit when he scampered around the house, and his small tail which formed the cutest question mark ever, melted my heart. He was throughly adorable and totally irresistible.
'Lets call him Surbramani, like the dog in Moondram pirai', said I
'You name your kid that' said Su and proceeded to give him a very English name- Brutus.
She never really uses that name, "kutta, appu, dodda, domma, appi, appanna..." are more like his names!

Brutus (or kutta, appu, dodda, domma, appi, appanna) turns 3 today. He is no longer that cute small dog, he has grown like a big fat cow!


I really wanted to send him something , I ruled out toys, because he tears them to pieces in just an hour (I ain't going to waste my money for that!) and decided to do something I am good at- BAKE! Yes people, I actually spent an hour or so searching for vegetarian dog biscuits recipe and found a suitable one.

Vegetarian Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits:
1.5 C wheat flour
1 C maida
1/2 C oats
1 C vegetable broth
1/2 C peanut butter

Mix all the ingredients to a smooth dough. Roll it out and cut using a cookie cutter. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Cool and say BOW!

Biscuits this is not going to Click! And we didn't taste this- its going straight to Brutus! If Su sends me a picture of him relishing these, I will definitely post it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vegetable Pilaf A La SJ

Its 6pm already?!
Rice or roti? Had roti yesterday. What do I make with rice? Sambar? nah, gojju? nah, Lemon rasam? Made that just three days ago...nah. Lets see what the ice-box has shall we? Drags herself to the kitchen, opens the refrigerator.
Hmm... comatose capsicum, oh my! those methi leaves are in real bad shape, what do I do with them? Scratches head...bites nail...scratch head again 10mins pass by...
Mmm...maybe its better order Chinese or call Pizza hut..mmmm, pizzaaa...
"Have you gained weight? you look kinda plump..." J's very 'concerned' comment brought me back from my cheese dreamland.
I threw out the pizza hut plans, and continued rummaging the refrigerator.
Ah, 1 tomato- little soft on one side bah who cares just cut that section out. Finally, something that looks healthy- 1 carrot. Just mix all this with some ginger-garlic paste, some spice and dump the rice and give it a fancy name - Vegetable Pilaf a la SJ and dinner is a done deal.

you need,
1 cup rice- cooked till soft, not mushy still separate
1 big bunch methi leaves rough chopped
1/2 onion sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
1 big carrot grated
1 capsicum chopped (you can add red bell peppers and baby corn)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sugar
lemon juice
1 inch ginger, 2 garlic cloves and 4 green chilles- blend this to a fine paste
1 tsp saunf

1) Heat oil in a pan and add the saunf, when it splutters, add the onions and capsicum. Cook till soft
2) add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and saute for 2 mins
3) Add the tomatoes and cook till soft
4) add the methi leaves, sugar, red chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Cook till the leaves wilt.
5) add the grated carrots mix well
6) add the rice, mix and adjust the seasonings.
7) Take the pan off the heat and add 3-4 tsp lemon juice (adjust this to your taste)

Pilaf 4

It does not need any fancy raita, plain curds goes very well this. And its supposed to look real fresh and green, but my methi leaves were in real bad shape (I am talking withered and unrecognizable!).
The real name of this dish is carrot-methi pulao. Its my moms dish, she ain't going to sue me for changing the name!