Chicken Kiev and All That Butter….

I must have been 9 or 10 years old when I first had a bite of Chicken Kiev and fell in love. It was an experience I never forgot and I never thought I would taste it again for a long long time, well until I reached Russia this year. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to the beginning first.

Continue reading “Chicken Kiev and All That Butter….”

Himachal Chronicles: Palampur and around

Earlier this year, we made a family trip to Palampur, to celebrate my husbands grandfathers 90th birthday. 90 years, can you imagine! And nanaji is a legend, if I may say so. Hale and hearty, and ready with glorious stories of his past, it’s always a treat to spend time with him. For his 90th, he wanted to visit his village in Palampur, the place where he grew up and went to school as a boy,  and his home where he had countless memories of play and family.

Continue reading “Himachal Chronicles: Palampur and around”

Farzi Cafe : DLF Cyberhub

Everyone in India has been raving about Farzi cafe, and this year when I visited India for my annual vacation it was on my must-visit-and-be-gluttonous list. Weeks went by and we got so busy with family functions, friends, etc etc that the Farzi dream seemed to be slipping away. And then the younger brother came-a visiting along with his adorable girlfriend. No more reason was needed. Husband, me, brother and girlfriend made our way there on a wonderful Saturday afternoon and sat down to eat.

And eat we did. With our eyes, hands, and minds.

Continue reading “Farzi Cafe : DLF Cyberhub”

Five Things To Do In Melbourne When You Don’t Know What To Do

#BlogAlong in March is all about travel. Our love for travel and of course your love for travel too.

Being an Army kid, as cliched as it sounds, travelling is in my blood. It’s what keeps life exciting, right? And every time I get extremely nostalgic about returning to India, Arjun always reminds me that I am a fauji bacha. ‘Ours is not to question why, ours is but to travel, and keep life on the fly

Excuse my extremely bad rhyme, but you know what I mean eh!

Continue reading “Five Things To Do In Melbourne When You Don’t Know What To Do”

Happy Birthday Dearest Ma

Happy Birthdayyyyy Ma……mwah mwah mwahhhhh…What a birthday to have eh.. Celebrating it with the wooky and the spooky..

And in a way you got your li’l monsters in Anuj and me..hehe.. we were quite a handful.. But you see mother dearest, you made our life so good that we took it all for granted. Righteously so. And since we thought you were always going to be around, we though that soon we could smarten up our act and show you how awesome we truly are, how ready to grow up we were, under all that brashness, laziness, and general all-around shmuckness…

But then one day you weren’t there, and since then we have had no choice but to grow up. All of a sudden. You think we did a good job growing up? I wish I knew.

But some times all I want to do is go back to being a kid.. your kid.

The young working girl whose mom would call every weekend, at a decent hour of 11 am, and I would still be snoring away, and to hear you exclaim You’re still sleeping?!’ Yes mom, I was always sleeping when you called. Had I known the future, I would have slept a little less and talked more..

The college going girl for whom you packed bags, no make that bushels of panjeeri, garlic peanuts, and pickles for hostel, and I would wail at the weight of the stuff, and forcefully make you reduce it all. Should have taken it all…

The school girl who spent her teenage years gossiping on the phone with her girl friends.. Should have told you all my secrets and juicy gossip. (well, I did tell you the FIRST time I had a serious crush :) )

The little girl who wore all the clothes you personally designed and stitched for her… Should have kept all those clothes…

The little girl who envied her mother’s lipstick collection, and you let me try them all. And now I have my own collection, but you aren’t around to share it… I know you wouldn’t have liked the shades I wore, so dull you would say, but to see that look on your face, priceless :)

Ma,

I know life isn’t fair or beautiful all the time. But you made it brilliant for us just by being there. And just by being yourself. There isn’t one like you nor will there ever be.

We love you loads, and wish you are truly happy wherever you may be.

 

Happy Birthday Ma!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Lantern Festival: A Photo Essay

It’s #BlogAlong time. 2 out of the 3Girls have already put their posts up this week and the 3rd one is finally ready with her story too. By the way, love the snapshots of Russia and Turkey, girls! Have you all seen them yet?

This month’s theme is a Photo Essay, and we aim to please you by writing less and visually trying to blow your mind. In a small way maybe.

While I haven’t been to anywhere as exotic as where the others went gallivanting, Melbourne does have some delightful festivals up its sleeves. Recently we visited the Dandenong Night Lantern Festival, where 30+ chinese silk lanterns were on display in the evenings, and what a sight that was. What amazed me was that each display was bigger and brighter than the previous one, and none of it was shoddy. Gorgeous and brightly lit pieces were such a highlight of the night, pun intended totally.

Sharing with you some of the pictures Arjun Singh took. And kinda showing off his some work too. Two birds. One stone.

Less talk. More pictures.

Can’t wait to show them all to you

 

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Here goes:

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I want a garden like this one day

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The Chinese Zodiac
Year of the Tiger: 1986
(Roarrrr)

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Reminded me of Dusshera in India
Reminded me of Dusshera in India
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There were animals from across the globe; elephants, lions, cheetahs, hippopotamus…

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Don’t miss the koalas in the background
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Penguins of Melbourne

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We found Nemo!
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What’s a Chinese display without Pandas see-sawing in the park

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Walk like a Panda!
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The gorgeous lanterned archways
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My favourite shot of the night
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:)

 

This post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up, hosted by Upasna from Life on My Plate, Pooja from A Bit of This and a Lot of That and yours truly!

The theme this month is … A Photo Essay!!!
So come join the party guys. Show us your photos, take us on a visual journey; your favourite city, a romantic restaurant, picnic by the lake…we’d love to see it all!

BlogAlong

 

To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish a new post or share with us an old post, if you will, on the monthly theme
  2. Link for posting remains open from the first Sunday of the month to the following Sunday, till midnight
  3. Don’t forget to include the #BlogAlong badge in your post. In order to get the code, click on the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong image in the sidebar on my blog or here itself, and it will lead you to the image URL
  4. We would also appreciate if you link back to your hosts, and follow us too. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and ofcourse on WordPress :)
  5. Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below any of our posts, and adding your post to the blogroll
  6. Comment on each others posts and spread the love
  7. Promote yours and others posts on social media using #BlogAlong with the 3Girls

The link-up will remain open from Sunday, the 4th of October till the following Sunday, 11th October!

#BlogAlong + Seal Pups of Kaikoura, New Zealand

Welcome to the September edition of the #BlogAlong party that Pooja, Upasna and I get going, month on month. Previously we shared our blog-stories about the food we loved, the travel must-packs and our growing up memories. However this month we want to invite you all to share your stories. In the month of September, the #BlogAlong link up is an OPEN HOUSE. Any and all bloggers can join in and link up their food stories, travel stories, me stories, you stories…..and so on. I have made some great, new friends through this link up and want to make and meet more awesome bloggers out there.

Keeping with the theme that there is no theme, I am going to share a travel story. I visited South Island in New Zealand, in the month of May this year and before leaving had prepared a long list of things I wanted to experience. Remember this post from the airport? The stories from NZ are long overdue on the blog and I am finally starting to pen them down. Yay.

Well, I am happy to tell you that I managed to tick off almost everything off that list. And I started my trip with the thing that I was MOST excited about: SEAL PUPS. in the WILD.

When we were planning for the trip and making a list of things that had to be done, everyone put in their 2 cents: Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy, etc etc and then I jumped in with Kaikoura. Kaikoura what? Why? Because you get to see seal pups in the wild there, frolicking around in waterfalls. This HAD to be done.

Kaikoura is a 2.5 hrs drive from Christchurch, but if you are a traveller like us, who stops every few minutes to marvel at the sights, click dozens of pictures, take a few loo breaks (it was winters, people), then you have to allow yourself the luxury of 3-4 hours for sure. But the drive is totally worth it. In fact, it is worth it in the entire country of NZ, but this was our first day on the roads there and we just couldn’t stop WOW-ing at everything we saw around us. The clear blue skies, the sparkling aquamarine waters, the striking greenery, it was all spectacular.

Also, on the drive from to Kaikoura, do also allow yourself some time for a relaxed and elegant lunch break at the Waipara Hills vineyard. It was a chance discovery for us, but would highly recommend it for the crisp whites, and the crisper, fresher seafood treats they prepare. Slurrp.

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Coming back to the subjects of my post, the seal puppies. To see these seal pups in the wild, you have to go slightly further ahead of the town of Kaikoura, to the Ohau Stream Waterfall, about a half an hour of a drive. It’s like a giant creche, for seal pups. The seal mothers give birth in the month of April, and from April till November, these pups stay in this general area; staying mostly in the Ohau stream, and swimming over to the other side where the stream joins the ocean, to meet their moms once in 15-20 days. Sounds harsh? Don’t be sad. It’s okay. it’s all part of their safety and growing up lessons. It’s because the moms go out hunting and foraging for food for themselves and their pups, and the stronger currents, plus the increased predatory nature of the ocean is not right for the pups just yet.

So they make the Ohau stream their home for the next few months, building on their social, swimming, foraging, and predatorial skills, with other young pups. Like I said, a wildlife creche where pups rule and play. Which is also a major tourist spot because who doesn’t enjoy watching animals untroubled in their natural habitat.

I was warned that seals aren’t the cutest things ever, but come on how uncute could they be, especially little pups. And as we approached the waterfall, I heard pup barks and squeals and saw this bundle

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The fact that I had just seen a giant-ass seal try to kill huskies in a movie last night was the only reason I stopped myself from leaping into the water to pick these pups up for a cuddle. Hey, I don’t want to mess with their mama, OR the fact they could bite me too!

But seriously, how cute are they? And those eyes. They were like floating sausages in water, with big button eyes.

There were a couple of pups playing at the entrance to the walkway and some of the tourists returning from the waterfall told us that there were many more right at the waterfall itself, so we should definitely keep going. And we did. As you walk towards the waterfall, the trees get taller, and it gets darker and much more shaded than the approach outside. As a result, what you see is what you might not be able to capture.

So we saw a group of 40 odd seal pups playing and jumping in and out of the stream at the waterfall and you would think that the humans would be loud and obtrusive, but na-uh. These seal pups were loud, wild, and as curious about us as we were about them. There were 2 pups, on the other side of the stream, and they hopped and swam across all the way to where we were to gaze at us, with their wide eyes, and then pose for some pictures.

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So they posed and we clicked. And they loved it. Hopefully. The social skills index went skyrocketing, Imma guessing.

Happy with what we had seen, we decided to head back but not before capturing some breathtaking shots of the beautiful Kaikoura sunset. That sky just kept getting spectacular with each day we spent there.

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Things to Make Note Of

  1. Factor in an extra 1-2 hours of time to your travel time to Ohau, simply because the drive is stunning and most of the road network in NZ is single lane. Account for that extra hour.
  2. Seals are spotted all over the NZ countryside, closer to coastal areas and villages. They are to Kiwis what the roos are to the Aussies. While the North Island will have its share of seal pup sights, Ohau is the most popular in the South Island.
  3. Refrain from petting or touching the pups. Remember these are wild animals and also the fact that you don’t want to scare them away from how comfortable they feel around you
  4. On the other side of the stream is the beach at the banks of the ocean, where you will see the bigger, grown up seals resting and sunning themselves on the rock. That’s a sight worth seeing too, but from a suitable distance please
  5. Fellow blogger Laia visited the seals too and she wrote a wonderful post about it here. Please do read if you want more information about Kaikoura and around. I was plainly obsessed with the animals only, as you can see.
  6. Also, Liz from Young Adventuress had a brilliant post on the seals which kind of led me to discover them too. So thanks a ton Liz! Read her post here

Hope you get to visit the seal pups too. And if you, please do let me know how was your experience. NZ is a delight, for all things beautiful; sights, sounds, animal, and I couldn’t get my fill even though I spent a luxurious-but-not-enough 7 days there. Will keep sharing the NZ stories as I have finally started. phew

This post is a part of the 3 Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up party, co-hosted by Upasna from Life On My Plate, Pooja from A Bit Of This And A Lot Of That  and Shruti from MszKnowitall. This month the forum is open for all bloggers to link up with their stories: travel, food, lifestyle, personal, animal; the link up is your oyster people and it’s time to dig out the treasure troves of memories and stories!

BlogAlong

To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish a new post or share with us an old post, if you will
  2. Link for posting remains open from the first Sunday of the month to the following Sunday, till midnight
  3. Don’t forget to include the #BlogAlong badge in your post. In order to get the code, click on the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong image in the sidebar on my blog or here itself, and it will lead you to the image URL
  4. We would also appreciate if you link back to your hosts, and follow us too. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and ofcourse on WordPress :)
  5. Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below any of our posts, and adding your post to the blogroll
  6. Comment on each others posts and spread the love
  7. Promote yours and others posts on social media using #BlogAlong with the 3Girls

 

Markets of Melbourne: The Esplanade Market, St Kilda

Hello there, lovely people. I realised that in all the absence and then some action, my Markets of Melbourne feature has been very badly ignored. And I feel horrible. Truly, I do.

So keeping you all as witnesses, this I solemnly swear that henceforth, I shall not ignore this series. As promised, every 2 months, I shall take you all on a jaunt around Melbourne via its charming and vibrant market life.

The weather hasn’t been all that great these last few weeks, and try as I might, I hadn’t been able to make a trip to the market that I really wanted to share next with you all. However, the gods were kind, and finally the week before last, the sun shone through and I ran to get my fill of the Esplanade Market. 

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With a location that adjoins St Kilda beach on one side, and the bustling Acland Street with its cafes on the other, the Esplanade Market couldn’t be a more fun experience for a Sunday morning. So read on for some of the things that make this market different from some of Melbourne’s other markets.

Esplanade Market, St Kilda

 Established in the year 1970, the St Kilda Esplanade Market was originally known as the Art Bank,  serving as a showcase venue for art and craft. The market is held every Sunday from 10 am onwards, and is one of the best places in Melbourne to source curios and souvenirs which are different from regular commercial establishments. Being purely an arts and craft market, you are bound to find interesting knick knacks as people showcase their super creative talent. Seeing all those wonderful stalls, I was quite amazed that there are such myriad ways of showcasing your talent to the world. Just goes to show that no idea is too big or too small. 

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Read on for the things that caught my eye at the Esplanade market. There were tons of delightful things but these were the ones I found the most unique. Head on over to the market in case you feel curious enough to discover the other quirky curios.

What I Discovered at The Esplanade Market:

I. Woodooldo

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Creative artist Imbi makes these cute and super quirky pieces from natural material like wood, gum nuts, and seed pods. She fashions these raw materials into cute little animals like owls, rats, or even little fairy huts, and mushroom homes.

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How cute are they? And in case you’re wondering how the heck do I pronounce the name of the shop, just wood will do real fast and you are there my friend. thatoldo too.

II. Jolly Wagtails

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Aah, the pets my dreams are made of.. Dogs. Whenever I come across anything pooch related and cute, I feel so happy. And the Jolly Wagtails (how adorable is that name) stall at the Esplanade market offers a myriad of all things nice, and all things bright for our pet pooches. Described as a Moroccan bazaar for dogs, the stall offers customised collars, pet coats, pet soaps, and the like. But what caught my eye was this colorful holdall that actually serves as a bed AND carry-all for your pet.

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Simply lay it down for your precious (and tiny) dog to lie down in, and when you want to stroll down the market, just pick ’em up. Brilliant. And so pretty!

III. The Timber Shack

Enlarged photo prints on recycled wooden frames. How ingenious is that. And environment friendly too. Plus looks quite vintage too. And that is all the rage nowadays.

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I want the one with the superheroes on them. How old am I!

IV. This yummy looking Banana Milkshake candle

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V. Anatolian food

Image Source: Kurbside Kravings Facebook Page
Image Source: Kurbside Kravings Facebook Page

Are you thinking what I was thinking? What is Anatolian food?? Well, I had no clue too. But there was a food truck there called Kurbside Kravings specialising in Anatolian food and I was curious. One look at the menu and I knew I wanted some. They were serving Anatolian street food with a twist, and the options were a good mix of lamb and seafood with the middle eastern type yogurt based sauces that I really love. I got me a grilled fish sandwich with tons of salad and a sauce that was very much like tsatziki, while Arjun tried a chicken and cheese burek from another stall. One bite of the sandwich and I was hooked. Anatolian street food has a new fan, me!

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VI. The Mug Men

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The market website says that these mugs are Lord Of The Rings inspired but you know what they made me think of? The little tea cup in Beauty and the Beast. I know I am definitely picking one of these up in my next saunter to the market.

VII. Flamin’ Signs and Boxes

I love wooden boxes. And especially wooden boxes with carvings. Reminds me of the stuff I used too buy with my mom in the markets of Srinagar, or the ones my aunt and cousins would buy for me from Lakkar Bazaar in Shimla.

But at the Esplanade market, I discovered a whole new type of carving on wooden boxes. Flamin’ carvings, made right there in front of you by Mick, based on a design you want or customised to any of the multiple stencils that Mick has to offer. The designs are carved on to the boxes and signs by using a hot wire, so we have a bit of the theatrics happening as designs are being made too. Quite unique, I must say, and definitely a good idea for a birthday or going away gift. Mental bookmark made.

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VIII. Flattened Glass Bottle Art as Cheese Boards

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I saw these flattened bottles way back in 2012, in a craft market at London, Camden if I remember correctly, and went crazy about them. Got them back for friends, got one back for my future house (unfortunately that broke :( ). However, at the Esplanade market, I saw them being used in a novel manner: as a cheese board.

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Looked gorgeous. My only concern was how functional were they really. While Arjun Singh was more curious about how they managed to remove the labels so neatly off the bottle and then adhere them back to the flattened bottle. (yeah, my husband has a thing for taking off bottle labels and pasting them all over the house. He was just trying ti get more professional about it!)

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So there you have it. My trip through one of Melbournes favorite crafts market, the Esplanade Market at St Kilda. If you liked what you saw (and read), and are curious for more, head on over there one of these Sundays.

Have any of you been to this market? What did you like the most? What all did you buy?

If you liked this post, please do let me know by leaving a comment below or sharing this on social media. I might be lazy but I do make it a point to acknowledge your appreciation.

I am  linking this post to the #TheWeeklyPostcard hosted by the lovely Lyn. This week she talks about beautiful Venice and you have to show her some love.

 

A Hole In My Shoe

Eat Your Way Through Australia: Seven Snacks From The Land Down Under

#BlogAlong April 2016 invites you to share food stories. This post has been one of my most favourite ones to write and got so much love so I had to share it again with everyone. Come along and #BlogAlong and share your FOOD stories, no limits or holds barred :)

Continue reading “Eat Your Way Through Australia: Seven Snacks From The Land Down Under”