Trippin’ In Nimbin

Earlier this year I went on a road trip with my super awesome best friends (so many stories to share!). Truly the road trip of a lifetime, it had everything. Insomniac nights, sleep-in mornings, crazy laughter, ridiculous fights, some tears, epic car games, board games, silly road-trip rules, brilliant sunsets (we could never stay awake for sunrises), music, dance, fights to go last for a shower, and a gazillion bottles of wine/beer/vodka left in our trails. We even managed to view the famous Sydney fireworks at midnight, New Years 2015. What a crazy, crazy trip. Miss you guys.

Nimbin us

But those are stories for another day.

Our plan was to drive from Melbourne to Gold Coast, and take out time to visit Sydney, Canberra, and Byron Bay on the way. But the town that was not on our original intended itinerary was the town that we will most likely never forget. Actually, more than not forgetting, I doubt we will ever visit a place like that again.

Rastafari is not a culture, it’s a reality ~ Bob Marley

And what a reality it is in the town of Nimbin, in New South Wales, Australia.

Continue reading “Trippin’ In Nimbin”

Pole dancers and Robo cops

I joined a gym. In fact, Arjun Singh and I both joined a gym together. Kind of a first for him, and a first for us together. I am not one of those gym freaks, not even close. But with the right company, and the right incentive I can be a gym regular. Right company:him; right incentive: eat whatever I want to without guilting myself into denial.

For him, it was a first since he has never joined a gym. He is more of a run in the park, play football kind of a guy but I needed company and he was IT. He always is :)

So onward to the gym, ahoy matey!

The only class I am truly super excited about are the Zumba classes. All that dancing, the grooving, the funky songs, the Latino beats and moves… Aaooooo….

But tell me what is it about sexy dance moves in the confines of closed doors, or maybe it is the guise of exercise that brings out the inner pole dancer in all women, and makes us all feel like Dita Von Teese but the men, my oh my.. It’s like they are auditioning for Robocop 2015….

It’s kind of cute actually. Watching them try and do the shimmy, the Cha-Cha.. But the funniest are those who actually stop dancing right at that instant. They will do the full dance routine and right before the shimmy.. Full stop.. And then carry on with the rest of the routine.  Dance, pause, dance, pause, dance…

To these men, I think you are awesome for coming to Zumba sessions. Kudos. But go on; do that shimmy, jiggle that hip, no one is going to make fun. Do you not see me dancing uncoordinatedly to the hip hop routine, trying to be super cool. But failing or just flailing. Ha ha!

Overnight Oats with all things Yummy

Aah, the bliss of having my own space.. err… OUR own space. I get to display all my cute knick knacks plus collect all the polka dotted goodness the material world has to offer. We are so excited about setting up our bar, our living room, and even the bathroom (we both love bathrooms… phewww and hooray!!)

oo5.jpg

The moving in adventures continued with us getting our furniture into this house the last weekend. We did it all on our own and with the help of some super awesome friends , and I couldn’t be prouder. Setting up the space, lifting and moving heavy things around, plus post-road-trip-and-holiday-with-friends hangover (more on that coming soon), has got us both itching to get back to our healthy (mostly) eating habits. Plus, out of all my groceries, the first thing that came to my hand was the packet of oats and it was like a sign from the good carbs heaven up there.

I know what you’re thinking, when she has no recipes, she just goes ahead and posts about oats.. danganabit, they are so easy to work with :) Remember these super yummy Chocolate Oats? Have you made them yet?

But trust me, this is like the easiest breakfast recipe ever. And so pretty…. sigh

oo4.jpg

Overnight oats; also called Bircher muesli in some menus; the big deal about them is that there isn’t any cooking involved and you prep them the night before, and enjoy them the morning after.. ta-da…

All you have to do is mix up the oats with some milk in your serving bowl/cereal bowls, add your choice of toppings, and leave it overnight in the fridge. Come the morning, take out the bowl, heat up or eat cold. It takes like 5 minutes to prep the night before, and gets you an extra 20 minutes in the morning. Whoopie!

I loved this bowl of oats
I loved this bowl of oats

And just as it is with milk and regular cereal, the oats bowl is your oyster. Add whatever toppings you like and make your own oat-y goodness.

I tend to take 1 cup of oats (either kinds is fine, traditional or quick cooking), add about a cup and a half of milk to it. To this, I add pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dried fruits, dark chocolate chips, goji berries, chia seeds, dates, and leave it overnight. In the morning, it’s all soft and delicious, to which I add some fresh banana and other fruits (strawberries, blueberries). It’s such a massive bowl of breakky goodness that it keeps you feeling full and positively energetic till lunchtime.

oo1.jpg

And I can’t stress enough as to how much of a time saver Overnight Oats is. All you busy people (working or otherwise, men or women) try it (in case you have been living under a rock, and not tried it yet, and even otherwise).

You won’t regret it.

Ciao bella!

I am linking this post to the super awesome party happening at Angie’s blog, and celebrating moving in stories and the weekend vis-a-vis her fun link party Fiesta Friday.

 

”Fiesta

Moving In and How

We found a new apartment. Yay!

It’s so bright and airy. Yay!

It’s got a biiig bathroom and a suuper long corridor, with a roomy kitchen.. Yay!

We are moving from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished apartment and will now be able to decorate our house the way we want to.. Yay!

I can have big cushions as my personal sofa, books on the window sill, lamps and pretty lights all over the house, and our photo collages in the corridor. Yay!

We have a limited budget. Oops.. 

Plus living in Oz-land you are your own help, designer, mover, driver, all in one… Oops

But we have a crazy imagination, and Ikea and Gumtree to help us.. plus my Mister is the bestest ever (packer, mover, fellow-designer, listener to my decorating ideas)… Yay Yay!

Can’t wait to get this started :)

 

A Suitable Boy

Even though I am vehemently against the “Suitable Boy” in this book (all my romantic ideals down the drain…. bah!), the book was an immensely pleasurable read. Following is a list of my favourite quotes from the novella:

‘So, Dipankar,’ said Dr Ila Chattopadhyay, ‘have you changed your subject yet?’
‘ I can’t, Ila Kaki,’ said Dipankar.
‘Why not? The sooner you make the move the better. There isn’t a single decent human being I know who is an economist. Why can’t you change?’
‘Because I have already graduated.’

“Ah, Malvolio’s revenge-‘ said Mr Barua, coming up to them, ‘why have you made Olivia cry?’ he asked Kabir
‘I haven’t made her cry,’ said Kabir. ‘no one has an obligation to cry, any crying of hers is purely voluntary.’ SIGHhhhh This one is an absolute favourite…

‘what’s your name?’ asked Lata. The young man’s face broke into a happy grin. ‘ah! I thought you would never ask. I’m Kabir, but very recently my friends have started calling me Galahad.’
‘why?’
‘because they think that I spend my time rescuing damsels in distress.’

‘ being in love is good for you. You must do it more often.’
‘yes, I will,’ said Lata. ‘when you become a doctor, prescribe it to all your patients. ‘

“They agreed with each other violently and disagreed with each other pleasurably.”

“Meenakshi dropped in first with a question about whether it was possible to love more than one person—’utterly, desperately, and truly.”

At 1349 pages, and 591,552 words long, the quotes above are but a drop in the ocean that is Vikram Seth’s A SUITABLE BOY. But so many years since I read it, it’s these that always come to my mind when I remember the book. That and the flounce of chiffon… :)

The Perfect Pint

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy – Benjamin Franklin

Circa 2008…

My first experience with tasting Guinness was at a friends midnight birthday celebrations. The guy loved his beer, and his best bud had procured a can of Guinness. Now this is somewhere way way back when we all had just started working, and we were all newly exposed to

a) Pay-cheques, and b) Huge departmental stores that stocked international liquor

So come midnight, we all sing along the Happy Birthday song, cut the cake, mess up the birthday boy, the guys clink up the cans and we all line up to sip the ambrosiac Guinness, as the guys almost referred to it. I sipped, and almost spat it out. (Don’t hate me, this story gets better!). For the life of me, I could not even imagine the big deal the boys were making about Guinness. It tasted like ash. Give me wheat beer any day, I claimed. They rolled their eyes, and went back to their beloved can.

Cut to 2013..

It’s the Easter break in the UK, and I am on a backpacking trip across Ireland. (All alone for 5 days and that’s a story for another day, laddies!). Anyhow, I am in Dublin, and doing what you are supposed to do. Looking for Leprechaun gold, sipping the Irish coffee, laughing along with the locals, and I can see this land LOVES its Guinness. If you have been to Ireland, you know how much the locals love their ale, and Guinness is like the God of beers for them. It’s not just beer. It’s like super-beer or something.

So I did the touristy thing and signed up for a visit to the Guinness storehouse.The tour area is built like a giant pint glass, and within it there are multiple levels. At each level, you experience a particular stage in the beers life. You start your tour at the bottom of the glass, under which you see the 9000 year lease that Arthur Guinness took on the St James Gate brewery in Dublin. And you end at the top, the Gravity bar which offers you panoramic views of Dublin.

Taken from michellebates36.wordpress.com

Fun fact: If this pint glass was full, it would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness.

As part of the tour one gets to learn how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness and then drink it. I was kicked about the pouring but was worried about finishing it. I was thinking where could I find a secret drain to trash it all down. ( I know you all really want to kill me now). So all the tour guides around me kept telling the crowds that nothing could beat the taste of fresh from the tap Guinness and in my head, I am overly smug, and going blech blech and blech! I was just here to kick it off the checklist.

Reached the bar, and listened to the all-important mantra: Tilt the glass, fill it till it’s 3/4th full, wait till the froth settles and then top it up. My turn came up, and I went and poured me some.

20130331_170236

20130331_170607

20130331_170904

Seemed to do a good enough job. And there, I had it, my first pint of freshly poured Guinness ever. Time to sip it and smile with the others.

Ok, here goes… hesitant sip bracing for the ashy taste Hmmm.. that’s not ashy at all.. it’s actually nice..sips a bit more.. this is really yummy.. gulps half of it down Yowzaaa!!!

Where was this all my life? I couldn’t believe I had been in Dublin for a day now and this was the first time I was having it. Just 2 more days here to savour super-fresh Guinness. Gotta step on it right away. (I think I made up for it on the rest of the trip ;) )

I was hooked. And for me, till date, Guinness is the perfect pint of beer I have ever had. And that is the magic of freshly poured Guinness. Got to leave you with a cliche…

Google Images

I am linking this post to the weekly challenge my friend Pooja has going on in her blog.  Head over to her blog to know more about her and her diaries :)

Further Links:

Want to know more about the Guinness storehouse? Visit here

Want more exacting detail on pouring the perfect pint? Click here

And a fellow blogger has written a super wonderful post about Dublin and Guinness specifically. Click here to read more.

Happy Birthday Ma

I think of you, and I think of stories.

The stories I know. You zipping across town in your small little scooty. Climbing up trees when you had all gone to visit Renu masi’s future in-laws and staying put until they left, hoping they didn’t see you. Evening play-times in Shimla, and spending most of it asking passers by the time because you had to be home at a particular hour, and not before, or after. Nannu getting Afghan Snow creams for you and maasi. Your love for nailpaints and perfectly maintained hands and feet. Baking a rum-laden cake for dad when you weren’t married but keeping Bittu maasi around because it was just wasn’t right to be alone. Getting dogs into the house and then making sure everyone fell in love with them, nani included. You, Renu maasi, and Naani competing to finish embroidery sceneries one after the other, night after night, during lazy summer days in Delhi. Your favourite movie. Your favourite hero.

The stories I don’t know. Your stories about romance, the ones you read in books, the ones you dreamed of, and the ones you experienced with dad. The first dish you ever cooked. The first drink you ever tasted (and I bet you didn’t like). The plans you had for my wedding. Your stories about Anuj and me.  The recipe for the cake.

The stories you were still to add to the chapters in your life. Anuj becoming an officer. Visiting him in his unit and him addressing you as Ma’am. Me getting married. And you visiting me and Arjun. Us laughing into the night on how ridiculous husbands can be. And how awesome we are.

All these stories and  today is the most important story in your life. It’s your birthday ma, and wherever you may be, I fervently pray God showers all his love, and blessings on you. You deserve nothing but the best. I made suji kheer for you here, and the one wish I have is that you get to savour the kheer wherever you may be. You know I am going to eat your share here :P

Happy Birthday Ma…

 

 

Burger-ama

My favorite month of the year just got over and in all the excitement of my birthday, my hectic work days,car-hunting weekends etc etc I realised, it’s literally the last day and last hour of this month and I had to put up my Fabilicious August post.

Eeeee….

So without any of the flowery drama and nonsensical caboodle, presenting August’s Fabilicious Food star; The BURGER!

August Burgerama
August Burgerama

 

In my foodie book, a burger is just the most complete meal ever. (I said complete, not balanced, shhh). I mean, whenever I am confused as to what to order when eating out, the safest thing to fall back onto is a burger. And when that burger comes served with guilt-as-hell fries, or crunchy coleslaw, my day is made!

So to end off this month on a gluttonous, yet joyous note (coz come on, EVERYONE loves a good burger), leaving you with some of the most delectable-looking burger recipes I found online.

1. BBQ Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Slaw

It’s got the burger, the bbq sauce, and the slaw. What more could I want? Recipe by Danae at http://www.reciperunner.com

BBQTurkeyBurgers1
Image taken from http://www.reciperunner.com

 

2. Beetroot Burger with Crispy Kale

Aren’t beetroots just so divine… the taste, the color, the nutrition.I am all for more beetroots in my diet, and when it comes in the form of this amazing burger, say hallelujah!  For all you beetroot lovers, here’s an amazing beetroot burger recipe which comes served with an awesome tahini paste, and crunchy kale chips. All say thank you to Isadora at http://www.shelikesfood.com

Image taken from www.shelikesfood.com
Image taken from http://www.shelikesfood.com

3. Chicken Burgers and Yogurt Pesto Sauce

Aah, the classic chicken burger. Jovita at http://www.myyummyaddiction.com has this super easy grilled chicken burger recipe and her picture of the meal is so fresh and inviting, I just had to share it with you all.  Lettuce, tomato, cheese and the chicken: aah, classic burger heaven!

Image taken from www.yummyaddiction.com
Image taken from http://www.yummyaddiction.com

 

 4. Chicken Teriyaki Burger

Kudos to the blog, http://www.portandfin.com, I am actually tempted to try grilled pineapple with my chicken burger. Hmmmm.

Image taken from www.portandfin.com
Image taken from http://www.portandfin.com

  5. Herb and Cheese Burger

How delicious does that sound; herbs and cheese. Its the middle of the night and I am so hungry. This burger recipe has the cheese stuffed into the pattie. My God, my God! Head on over to http://www.catzinthekitchen.com for the details.

Image taken from www.catzinthekitchen.com
Image taken from http://www.catzinthekitchen.com

 

6. Chipotle Burger with Corn Fritters

I have definitely saved the best for the last. Just look at this burger beauty.How scrumptious is this! Its got the yummazing patty, some lovely flavors and best of all, it comes with this amazing recipe for corn fritters. You have got to make these today. I know I am. Thank you Tieghan at http://www.halfbakedharvest.com

Image taken from www.halfbakedharvest.com
Image taken from http://www.halfbakedharvest.com

So, which one of these beauties is gracing your kitchen today?

I Love Hot Chocolate and I cannot lie

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you July’s Fabilicious star: the ever-warm, always-sinful, but oh-so-feel-good HOT CHOCOLATE.

deviantartcom
http://www.deviantart.com/art/I-love-Hot-Chocolate-330337882

What’s not to love about this drink, Chocolate: Good, Milk: Good, Marshmallows and Whipped Cream: oh-so-Gooooood!

Hot chocolate is the definitive go-to drink in winters. And since it’s the middle of winters out here in Melbourne,  it is also the coziest companion. Snuggle up in bed with it, have it alongside a warm flaky croissant in a café, or just sip it while carousing across the city; spouses/partners have a lot to live up to :P

There are multiple schools of thought as to what makes the perfect Hot Chocolate.  Home made, instant, full cream milk, light milk, soy milk,  chocolate slab, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, with milk, in water, with cinnamon, without cinnamon, some like it foamy, some like it thin.  Whatever be your fancy, there’s a hot chocolate mug for everyone out there.

Sure, there are numerous ways of making this drink; one can be a hot chocolate snob and make it by melting chocolate slabs into full fat milk, and topping it off with marshmallows and whipped cream. That’s when you get that amazing thick consistency and rich chocolate taste that stays on your tongue.

Of course you can also stay true to your healthy self, and use cocoa powder with skimmed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon to get your very own light hot cocoa.

And of course there are hot-choc gluttons like me, who will top off their melted chocolate into light milk, and then top it off with marshmallows AND Cointreau. I want it ALL!

One of the easiest ways I used to make hot chocolate back home was heat up Cadbury’s cocoa powder into milk and add cinnamon. Oh, the deliciousness! In fact the other day I had a mug of cocoa at Brunetti’s and god, it transported me back. You think they use Cadbury’s too? Hmmmmmm.

My Indulgence at Brunetti
My Indulgence at Brunetti

I am planning to do a series on the top spots for a Hot Chocolate in Melbourne, but until then let us all say Hallelujah and be thankful for this wonderful creation. To celebrate this love, let me leave you with some super-yummy imagery to celebrate a Fabilicious Hot Chocolate-y July.

Aaah, hot chocolate, how do I love thee, let me count the ways….

 I love you Spicy!

Mexican Hot Chocolate http://www.restaurantgirl.com/spiked-mexican-hot-chocolate.html
Mexican Hot Chocolate http://www.restaurantgirl.com/spiked-mexican-hot-chocolate.html

 I love you Dark!

Image taken from www.purlbee.com
Image taken from http://www.purlbee.com

 

 God, I love you Spiked!

Kahlua Hot Chocolate http://damndelicious.net/2013/12/03/kahlua-hot-chocolate/
Kahlua Hot Chocolate http://damndelicious.net/2013/12/03/kahlua-hot-chocolate/

Oozing with cream….

www.starbucks.co.uk
http://www.starbucks.co.uk

….and of course,  with tons of Marshmallows!

www.abeautifulmess.com
http://www.abeautifulmess.com

 

How do YOU love Hot Chocolate?