Dancing Queen

Sunday morning.

Wake up. Walk groggily to the laundry room, put clothes on wash, rinse, repeat cycle. Get back into bed. An hour later, wake up to the sound of the washing machine politely letting you know it’s weekend duties are done and now the ball is back in your court, (or the laundry back in your basket, hehe).

Make the morning coffee, sip it while rolling up the blinds to let the morning sun in. Leave a cup for Arjun Singh while he catches up with the news. Take the clothes basket to the clothesline. Still groggy.

Uh-oh sun’s still not out. And I woke up an hour early to wash these clothes.

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for the place to go

na-uh, not me. The girls in the apartment next door and their radio. Can hear them laughing, singing along to the song.

Continue reading “Dancing Queen”

Wholewheat (Atta) Pancakes with Homemade Berry Compote

Tis the season of berries.. tra la la laaaa!

I told you I love spring, right. Reason # 5001 in my I LOVE SPRING list is because this is the season when berries are a-plenty and a-cheap. And we buy them by the bushel. And then forget about them if they are lying around in the back of the fridge. Uh-oh. Mushy berry alert!

Sundays bring with them the most time for me to make a leisurely breakfast, and for both of us to sit together and be lazy and enjoy our way through the meal. Wanting to be healthy yet have an indulgent brekkie, I decided to make us some atta pancakes, wholewheat for y’all, topped with a homemade berry compote.

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Remember the secret formula that I shared that all of us pancake lovers should know by heart?  Well, i decided to test it with wholewheat flour and see if it still worked its magic. Well, I was using plain old atta, and it needed a bit more liquid actually, so tweaked the recipe by adding half a cup more.

To be honest, while I was cooking them, I was slightly put off by how boring they looked, and I was worried that they wouldn’t look pancake-y enough.

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But I was worrying needlessly. Once I made them all and stacked ’em up, look! Spot the difference, I dare you :)

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Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  1. Wholewheat flour: 2 cups
  2. Eggs: 1
  3. Buttermilk: 2.5 cups
  4. Unsalted butter, melted: 1/2 cup
  5. Powdered cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
  6. Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

For the compote:

  1. Mixed berries: 1 cup
  2. Water: 1/2 a cup
  3. Sugar, if needed: to taste

Method

For the compote:

  1. In a pan, mix the berries and water (and sugar, if using) and bring to a boil
  2. Simmer on medium heat and mash the berries in the bubbling water
  3. The consistency of the compote can be reduced to as much as you personally prefer; runny, or thick. The former should take about 20 minutes, while the latter should take about 30 minutes or so.

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For the pancake batter:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda) in a bowl and keep aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix your wet ingredients (egg, milk, butter).
  3. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and voila, your pancake batter is ready, quick and easy. (Also, this batter can be stored in the fridge overnight, so you can actually make it a day in advance and quickly churn out pancakes in the morning, although with the extra fibre that wholewheat flour has, you might have to thin out the batter before making the pancakes)

For cooking the pancakes:

  1. Cover your serving plate with aluminium foil to store the pancakes in, in order to keep them warm while you make the entire batch.
  2. Heat up good quality non stick pan, to medium heat.
  3. Once the pan is nicely heated, take a ladle full of the batter, pour into pan, and using the base of the ladle spread out the batter to flatten it. If you want thicker pancakes (like I do), add on another ladle-full, and then spread out the mix in the pan. Otherwise for crispy, thin pancakes one ladle of batter should be enough.
  4. In about 2-3 minutes, the pancake should be ready to flip over to the other side. Cook both sides to your ideal consistency. If you like well cooked pancakes, keep on for 3-4 minutes each side, while browning both sides. If you don’t want browned pancakes, ensure you cook each side for less than 3 minutes.

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To serve:

Layer up your pancakes. Pour the fresh compote and maple syrup on it. Serve with or without fruits. And maybe some cream? :)

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Notes:

You can put on the compote before you start the pancakes. Saves time and it should be ready by the time you have made the pancakes.

The atta pancakes might have a slightly fibrous taste to them. If you think you might not be a fan of it, try masking it with some vanilla essence, or adding some dried fruits to the batter. I was brave enough and had them,with dollops of honey and compote :)

You don’t need to add butter or oil in the pan to cook the pancakes, as the batter already has butter incorporated in it. That is why the quality of a good non stick pan cannot be stressed enough.

Can you see bits of the butter bubbling away on the surface??
Can you see bits of the butter bubbling away on the surface??

These were an amazing alternative to the weekend fatty indulgence. 

If you try them let me know how it works out for you. Waiting to hear from y’all!

#BlogAlong + Things That Defined My Growing Up Years

drumroll Aaaaaaand it’s back… the monthly #BlogAlong link up. The 3Girls thought a lot about this months topic.. a lot! There were so many ideas in our head. We wanted to celebrate the fact that each of us is in a birthday mood, as Upasna’s went by last month, and Pooja’s is just around the corner, and mine will round it off closer to the end of the month. So we wanted to have a birthday flavour to the post. We oscillated between birthday parties, birthday cake (yumm), birthday memories, and from there we went on to places you celebrated your birthday. But try as we might, we just could not zero in on any one idea.

And then we decided to have a post around memories. We talked about comfort food last month, and it was such a greedy yet nostalgic ride through the memories of home, travel and leisure. So it kind of made sense to continue the nostalgia of our last months #BlogAlong by asking all of you lovely people to share some more memories with us. Hope you don’t mind :)

This month the theme is THINGS THAT DEFINED YOUR GROWING UP YEARS. The idea behind the theme is to share the poster moments in your mind-map of your growing up years. You can take this theme and go anywhere with it. Talk about the pop songs of your childhood, the movies that drove you crazy, the fashionistas you followed, the family moments, the vacations, the games we played, school times, college times. Whatever are the things that defined your growing up years, the things that you recall as the best times of the years gone by, let’s talk about them. It could be one, it could be many.

As I was getting down to write this post, I happened to see this video that asked 3 generations what they did for fun, when they were growing up. The answers that came from the youngest generation were sad but not unexpectedly so. The grandparents talked about blueberry picking, going fishing with friends, while the parents were in raptures talking about the forts they built in their backyards, or rounding up their friends and playing hours of catch, hide’n’seek and sports. But their kids talked about video games, texting, watching videos, using their tablets, and it conveyed an overall lack of curiosity about nature, and just experiencing the physical joy of being a child. I don’t want to sound boorish but I was quite dismayed about it.

Don’t know what the future holds for the kids of tomorrow, but I really want to keep holding on to my childhood memories that are a part of me. And bore my kids with them, when I have them (the kids, not the memories).

Read on for the Things That Defined My Growing Up Years:

1. The fauji trunk

Steel Trunk
Steel Trunk

I am a fauji kid. And a proud one at that.

My dad is an officer in the Indian army (army = fauj), and I am an army kid, and the most indelible part of my childhood years has to be this important piece of luggage. As is the custom with defence families, we had to travel to new locations, or postings as we called them, every 2-3 years, and these trunks carried all our precious belongings and the assorted paraphernalia. The most exciting part of a new posting would be when we started packing up the house (I am sure my mom would not agree). I would wait for the trunks with my collection of books to be opened, and then get lost in them for the next few days. My Grimms fairy tales, the Potter series, the classics….My brother and I would also attack the ‘toy trunk’ as we called it because it had such treasures that we hadn’t seen in ages (as per us, even though it was just a year or 2 since we had seen them last).

The other thing I remember about these trunks were that before every new posting, they would be repainted and my dad’s name and rank, along with details of previous posting and the new one would be painted on. Our very own steel boarding passes or travel diary. These trunks used to be all over the house and the balcony and the garage, and for me, when I look back to my growing up years, I always remember these trunks very fondly.

2. Chacha Chaudhary

Books are probably my first childhood love. My earliest memories in life are of reading. I would read everything and anything. The first classic I fell in love with, at the age of 7, was A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. And I will never forget the first signs of empathy that stirred in my heart when Sydney Carton sacrifices himself.

However, growing up, I was obsessed with Chacha Chaudhary comics.

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As a kid, I had the biggest collection of Chacha Chaudhary comics, I kid you not. For those of you who don’t know these comics, Chacha Chaudhary was an Indian comic legend, created by Pran. Chacha means Uncle and Chaudhary was his surname (given name). Chacha was the smartest man on the planet, and his ‘mind worked faster than a computer’  and  along with his sidekick Sabu (the man from Jupiter), used to solve problems and hunt down the bad guys. Sabu was so much fun too; every time someone made Sabu super angry, he would lose his cool and somewhere on the planet of Juipter, a volcano would erupt. Hah, what FUN!

My mom actually told me that the reason I had such brilliant Hindi speaking and writing skills at that age was because I used to devour the Chacha comics. So there you go, some good DOES come out of reading comics.

3. The Harry Potter series

How can I talk about my growing up years and not talk about the Harry Potter series, my first initiation into the world of a series of fantasy fiction and alternative realities. Of course I had read Enid Blytons Wishing Chairs, and Faraway Trees,, and then there was Tolkiens LOTR but Potter was the iconic read for me, the one that got me hooked to the whole concept of reading series and trilogies. I will never forget the memory of the first time I read it, back in 2000. And till 2007, when the Deathly Hallows came out, it was a constant companion from teendom to early adulthood.

The midnight discussions of whether Harry would survive, is Snape evil or good (I was always in his corner), are Harrys parents alive, crying my eyes out when Sirius died ( I am welling up now too).. Potter is such an important part of my growing up. And I can’t wait to share the excitement with my kids, when the time comes.

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4. The mandatory summer vacation trip to visit grandparents

As I told you before, my dad is in the Indian Army and we would be staying in far flung places all across the length and breadth of India. But come summer vacation time, and we would pack our bags and go visit the grandparents. One trip to Delhi to meet the maternal grandfolks, one trip to Shimla to meet my massi (mom’s sister) and cousins, one trip to Yamunanagar to meet the paternal grandfolks and my chachu (dad’s younger brother).

Summer days filled with reading, eating yummy food, listening to mom, my maasi and naani (maternal grandmom) gossip, getting pampered by the grandparents… aah, those were the days.

5. Madhuri Dixit

Main Madhuri Dixit banna chahti thi. There… it’s out now. For the unintiated, Madhuri Dixit is a Bollywood star and she was gorgeous. Brilliant smile, excellent dancer, and gorgeous, she was just perfect. Still is for me!

hum-aapke-hain-kaun-star-cast-madhuri-dixit

And for those of you who don’t know Hindi, I just admitted to the whole wide word that I wanted to be Madhuri Dixit. Like totally! But so did every other girl in middle class India back then. I used to dance in front of the mirror, on her songs and copy her expressions and dance moves. Ha-uh she was perfection to me. Still is. They don’t make them like this anymore.

6. Indi-pop

‘Made in India, made in India, ek dil chahiye that’s made in India’  Alisha Chinai was da bomb back then! The 90’s had some incredible pop music by Indian artists. Okay, maybe not incredible incredible, but that’s what I remember. Songs by Alisha Chinai, Biddu, Dj Aqeel, Bally Sagoo were what we danced to in our kiddie and teen birthday parties. The music used to be so funky, and on top of that the videos were so exciting. They would feature supermodels like Milind Soman,  Arjun Rampal, Jas Arora…. sigh all those dreamboats!

This is what I am talking about (Check out at 2:26 and 3:39)

I wasn’t into international music as a teen but give me a cassette (remember those?) filled with chartbusters like Boom Boom, Gud Nalon Ishq Mitha, O Sanam and I could dance on for hours. In fact I still can :)

7. My dogs

I miss having a dog around. A big part of my growing up years was the company of my dogs. I have always had a dog in the family, from age 5 when we got our first Pixie the dachshund, till age 27, when I lost my old cutie Caesar.  These Dachshunds and Dobermans of mine were family and I miss them so. Even my grandparents had dogs so these woofy brethren of defined a big part of my growing up years. I would talk to them, confide in them, clean up after then, and in their last days have taken care of them.

My brother has a Great Dane now, Mufasa, that even I stake a claim on, but for me the childhood years were about the family dogs. And sometimes it feels that with the passing away of my Caesar, the last of my memories of my childhood went by.

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I miss having a dog around….

Phew, so my childhood was defined by pop songs, gorgeous actresses, even gorgeous supermodels, books, and dogs. And I work in IT. Haha.. If there was ever a mismatch.

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed my ramblings on The Things That Defined My Growing Up Years. Now I can’t wait to read yours. So add your post now to the monthly #BlogAlong and let’s have a party this month.

I am going to leave you with another Indi pop classic until then

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’s theme is  Things That Defined Your Growing Up Years  and it’s time to dig out the treasure troves of memories and iconic moments!

BlogAlong

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

  1. Publish a new post or share an old post 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

 

#BlogAlong + My Top 5 Comfort Foods

Hello Hello,

It’s blog party time.. whooop dee dooo, and this month I am so excited because Upasna, Pooja and I are talking about FOOD!!

I love food, she loves food, we all love food.

This month’s theme is comfort food, soul-food, food that you eat while sitting in your pjs wrapped up in your blanket, food that reminds you of home, food that makes you sigh in food-gasmic delight…. food that makes you feel downright good!

For me, all food in itself is such a comfort. Actually, it won’t be a lie when I say that for me the fascination with food borders on the obsessive. I am one of those peeps who is ALWAYS thinking about food. What I am eating, what I am going to be eating, what others are eating… gahhhhh! My favorite activity on weekends is going grocery shopping at farmers markets! I can make everything about food. Childhood memories, vacation stories, people stories, weddings, visits to friends and family, days at work, outings to the park, day out gallivanting, gymming. People who know me well know this to be true of me, and love me for it. Hopefully. Or they are too sweet to say otherwise. Errrrr…

funny-weight-loss-cartoon-w630

Anyhoo, the 3Girls want to share their list of the 5 favourite comfort foods with you, and hoping we get to know yours too. I compiled my list of 5 items and felt bad for the ones that didn’t make it in. Because I love all food equally. Except for karelas. eeyuck

I. Kadhi Chaawal: This used to be the first thing my mom would make for me whenever I came home for a vacation during my grad and post-grad. She used to make the most amazing pakoda kadhi and would always fry up some extra pakodas which I could and would hog on later. For me, the best comfort food will always be ma’s kadhi chaawal, served with her freshly whipped white (unsalted) butter and pakodas.

Image Source: sinamontales.wordpress.com
Image Source: sinamontales.wordpress.com

II. Dal Chaawal: I am such a Desi, because when I crave comfort food I crave dal and rice, maybe some onions and some pickle, and I’m sorted. Ahh, the slurpaliciousness of it all. I love rice, and I could eat it with anything, and a big bowl of dal-chaawal hits the right spot. Always. Remember my obsession with pahaadi dal recipes, here and here?

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III. Seviyan: I debated a lot between halwa and seviyan. I could eat both by the bushel. However, when I was compiling this list, I was also making a batch of seviyan for breakfast, so knew which one was the winner. Sweet vermicelli roasted in ghee and cooked with water and sugar, mmm mmm mmm… I love it. I prefer the drier version to the milky one.

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IV. Muffins: Blueberry, raspberry, chocolate chip, apple, carrot-cake, healthy, savoury… I want ’em all. I see a muffin and I Have To T.R.Y it!

muffins
Image Source: http://www.threecheeses.com

V. Cheese

This is how I am with cheese…

eat the cheese

‘Nuff said!

Turns out my love for food is surpassed by my love for writing and gushing about it. Methinks we should do a list of comfort drinks too. Remember when I wrote this love song to Hot Chocolate? Or devote a section only to kebabs, maybe. I could add SO much to such lists :D

Now come on over and tell me what floats your comfort boat… is it a big bowl of soup, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, mom’s yummy chocolate cake, or a big pint of guinness, whatever be your fancy, I’am all yours, dear blogger.

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’s theme is  Your 5 Favourite Comfort Foods  and it’s time to listen to your tummies!

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

  1. Publish a new post or share an old post 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 Instagram, Facebook, 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

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”