One life to love

Yippeee… i learnt swimming!

It was my resolution for 2009, which I could not keep.. however in 2010 i could learn swimming.

In june of 2010 I met my friends who inspired me a lot to learn swimming and at the same time I received some pamphlet advts of swimming courses., so I got out in search of some places with swimming classes near my locality and to my luck I found one pretty close to my home, which is just 10 minutes walk from my home. I enrolled and got myself the required gear. The classes were from 7.15 to 8.15 am which made sure that my routine job was not affected.

The class was fun , and I was joined by some enthusiastic lady students.. we learnt to float and do some swimming by holding our breathe in just 3 days… and then it was just a matter of practice and learning to breath at the right time. The back stroke is my favourite since I do not have to worry about my breathing. My legs easily ached when I try to cover the length of the pool.. I think I need to practice a lot to improve my stamina….I think its due to the clotting that happened in my legs and foot during my DVT episode that my legs have poor stamina… even now if I exert it aches as though they blood vessels in my leg is not getting enough oxygen.

I still have to practice a lot to become a descent swimmer, I know to do free style and back stroke, I have tried to learn breast stroke but not yet got the rhythm of it.. when I go to the pool ( i use my friends club membership and go to a nearby pool) and see small kids swimming so smoothly like fishes I am awestruck.. they do it so well….I wish I had learnt swimming when I was younger…but then it’s not good to crib over the past, it’s better to live the present and enjoy the future..

My hubby swims but in the conventional way, not the professional way.. so he keeps his nose above the water at all times and his capacity is poor, he doesn’t have the stamina to cover much.. my next agenda is to teach him swimming.. it’s not an easy task since he is very paranoid of hygiene and its difficult for him to find a good pool as per his standards..I will teach him soon…

Love u a lot my dear, you encouraged me to learn swimming and I am glad I finally learnt..now I wanna see you swim well as well..!

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October 31, 2010 Posted by | Visheshangal | Leave a comment

Kerala red fish curry

Kerala red fish curry is a speciality in the christian familes in kerala. I learnt this dish from my mother in law, and since the past year or so, I make this regularly in my home, cause it is easy, and stays fresh even when kept outside the fridge and also it is delicious and brings out the taste of fish.

We usually make this in a munn chatti or clay pot and then leave the curry in that till it is over and then daily boil the curry in clay pot to help it remain fresh.

Ingredients

1/2 Kg – any tasty fish cleaned and cut as curry pieces

2 tsp – turmeric powder

4 tsp – red chilli powder

1 tsp – salt ( salt to taste)

1/2 tsp – mustards

1/2 tsp – uluva, fenugreek seeds

karivepilla

4 – green chilli

4- kudampulli – slices soaked in water

2 inch -ginger – thinly sliced

15-small garlic cloves – thinly sliced

10- small onion – thinly sliced

1 tbsp – oil

Method :- Heat oil in kadai, do thadka with mustards, fenugreek seeds, karivepilla and follow it up with frying the onion, garlic , ginger and green chillies till they are golden brown. Remove them from the oil and then cook the paste of  chillie powder and turmeric powder in oil till the raw smell goes off. In an earthen vessel, place karivepilla in it and mix together the tadka, chillie, turmeric and add the kudampulli soaked in water. Place the pieces of fish in the vessel, add the salt and water as required and cook for 15minutes, till the fish is properly cooked.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Cookery | , | Leave a comment

Avalose Unda.

Comfort food … every one has something which makes them happy at any time of the day.. some ppl like rasam at all times of the year.. some others like kanji… i am not talking about the delicious food that we crave for .. but some basic food which we feel at home with…

Thinking about this. Mine would be kanji with payar and pappadam or kanji with Thenga Chamandi. Kanji is the kerala red rice cooked in excess water. Some others like having pongal with sambar, some others like masala dosa.. i know some other person who just loves sambar of any form or taste or state. People have their own tastes and comfort zones..

My husband has one such special comfort food. It is called Avalose poodi.. which is basically Powdered Rice + grated coconut + Jeera, fried for long and again powdered coarsely. This powder would be light brown  and dry .. and this will last for long if not wetted with water. We can have this poodi along with sugar and banana….My hubby can have this at any time of the day provided we have enough ripe banana’s in stock. Earlier he used to have this poodi along with equal or more volume of banana and few spoons of sugar all mashed and squeesed well with hand.. these days he has it along with just banana.. so it is basically 4 spoons of avalose poodi with 4 small banana’s that he has. This he is always happy to have.. be it break fast, lunch or dinner.. My mom-in-law makes lots of avalose poodi for us… so we always have stock.

My hubby has sweet tooth and so any kind of sweet is most welcome… and one of the specialities that his mom makes for him using this avulose podi is called avalose unda.. there are various ways of making it. I adopt the most healthy recipe from the lot.

Ingredients

Jaggery 1/2kg

Lemon – 1

Cardamom – 3-4 pods – powder the seeds

Avalose Poddi – around 1/2 kg.

Method : Heat Jaggery and make it dilute ( filter to remove impurities). Continue heating till the consistency is barely 1 thread ( on tapping between thumb and forefinger quickly, we will get a single thread. Do not over cook it, else it will lead to the final product being too hard. Add powdered cardamom, mix. Add the juice of one lemon and mix well ( this will help in making the final product soft). While hot itself, into this keep pouring the avalose podi while stirring continuously. Add enough podi to get a dough of consistency such that it can be rolled to sticky balls easily. As soon as the heat is within bearable levels, start making balls of the mixture and drop the balls into a plate with avulose podi so that the ball is coated and the stickiness is gone. Cool and store to serve as desired. This will stay fresh in shelf for long and will be soft balls. The balls can be hard to bite or brittle if we make any mistake in the consistency of the jaggery or the final mixture.

The same can be made with sugar syrup instead of jaggery. When sugar is used we mix sugar in water to make a saturated solution , add lemon juice so that it would not thicken and the heat it to make asingle thread consistency.

Avalose unda is also called “ammayiamma unda”. The story goes like this….

In the olden days when girl had to be married off, lots of alliances used to come from prospect grooms. Each time a guy comes to the house to see the girl, the official pennukannal chadanga, the would be mother-in-law ( the girls’s mother) has to serve many platters of palaharams or snacks, mostly home made ones. The guy comes to see the girl along with a big gang of uncles and aunties so lots of snacks need to be available to be served multiple times. Since the mother-in-law ( or ammayeamma) finds the process of cooking and serving snacks tiresome, she will make lots of avalose unda’s which are bit tight or hard, due to overcooking of jaggery. This way the vsitors would not try munching and finishing it off after the first person takes a bite and conveys to the rest of the gang that it is hard. Also the harder the unda is made, the longer it lasts to cover the many prospect son-in-law visits and hence the name -” ammayeamma unda”!!

 

July 16, 2009 Posted by | Cookery | Leave a comment

Thai vegetable soup, Chinese dumplings and vegetable fried rice.

Once in a while I get hooked to the thought of cooking only Chinese… and I have been dreaming about dumplings for quite some time… so I ventured into searching the net for the ideal recipe that can be followed ( and I did find some really good ones). Then I thought why not make the rest of chinese or near chinese items.. that was when I thought of making thai soup since I had some lemon grass waiting to be used and typical vegetable stir fry.

Talking about lemon grass….Once I happen to see some lemon grass stalks in the shop, I bought them and explored options with lemon grass. I looked around and saw some tips to make vegetable soup . Did you know that lemon grass is considered to be a very healthy item rich in vitamin C and good in improving our immunity against cold and fever during winter.

So we are going to have a full course vegetable thai soup, vegetable dumplings and Stir fry rice recipe.

Thai vegetable soup

Ingredients

Lemon grass stalk – 2, chopped to small pieces lightly mashed or pressed

Capsicum – one, preferably red, chopped to small pieces.

Tomato – One, chopped to small pieces

Carrot – one chopped to small pieces

Spring onion – few stalks chopped to small pieces

Beans – 3 or 4 chopped thinly

Coconut milk – half glass

Corn flour – 1 tsp

Lemon juice – 1 tsp

Glarlic pod  – 3 small

Ginger thinly sliced – ½ tsp

Pepper powder – as per taste

Salt – as per taste

Sugar – 1 tsp

Coriander leaves  – few sprigs

Any other vegetables like broccoli, baby corn, peas, cabbage, fresh basil leaves,  celery etc finely chopped can also be used.

 Preparation

 Boil the lemon grass in 2 glass of water for 5 minutes so that the flavour is extracted out, then sieve and remove the lemon grass pieces and use the stock

Boil and cook all other vegetables you wish to add to the soup in vegetable stock or water till the vegetables are well cooked and tender. Drop the vegetables like carrot, beans in water initially and follow it with tomatoes, capsicum etc, also add the lemon grass stock, coriander leaves, pepper, sugar and salt and cook.

Once vegetables are well cooked, add the corn flour diluted in 2 tsp of water, the soup will thicken on addition of corn flour. If we are adding American corn or baby corn, then we can avoid corn flour. Add coconut milk and switch off the fire and add lemon juice. Do not let it boil after adding coconut milk. Enjoy your soup which is ready to be served with chilly sauce and tomatoes sauce to be added to taste.

Chinese dumplings

I came across this interesting link with detailed description of steps for chinese dumplings. I took tips from here and made my version of dumplings with things available at my home.

Filling

Finely chopped vegetables – carrot, beans, ginger, garlic,spring onion.

Cooked and mashed potato, one egg.

Mix everything together along with salt to taste and some pepper powder.

Dumpling cover – Make dough with flour and make small balls and roll them into circular wrappers.

Make dumpling with 1 spoon filling and place them in idly vessel and steam cook to perfection.

Vegetable dumplings

Other possible variations for fillings

Minced vegetables like cabbage, spring onions, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, egg, minced meat ( or minced prawns) and little binder of corn flour, with salt and pepper to taste.

Fried Rice

Finely chop all vegetables, ginger and garlic and keep aside.

Wash jeera rice and cook it, do not over cook it, so that grains are separate.  Cook  in water flavoured with spices and salt. Drain water and keep ready.

In a wok, heat oil and add the minced ingredients and stir and cook them. Keep adding some tomato sauce or vegetable stock it gets too dry. Add salt and pepper powder to taste. Add a tsp of soya sauce. Add the cooked jeera rice to the stir fried vegetables and toss for another minute, add coriander leaves. You can also add scrambled eggs or cooked minced chicken and tasty stir fry rice is ready to be served.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Cookery | , , | Leave a comment

Embroidered Saree

all my M-I-L's work

all my M-I-L's work

My Mom-in-law is a creative person who does lots of embroidary and cross stitch. last time when I was at native, I shot snaps of many of the saree’s with her work…. below is a snapshot of them all.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Art work | | Leave a comment

Writer’s block

Since the past many days I have not posted anything on my blogs. My conclusion is that I am going through a writer’s block. a block in creative outflow of ideas or thoughts … Hope to come out of this soon and become active in blogging.

Or is it because i am busy with other activities? Days pass so quickly with me busy with my usual activities. I have also begun stitching some embroidary on saree’s.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Visheshangal | Leave a comment

My Resolution for year 2009

I have only one resolution for this year.. and that is to learn swimming.

Most of the other habits/goals I would like to incorporate/achieve in life, I am already following… small things like exercise regularly, keeping of accounts on spending, keeping house clean etc… ha ha ha.. am not bad. So I thought I should focus of try to enrol for some swimming course.

I realise that it is not going to be an easy goal. The reasons being… in order to enrol for a swimming course we need to identify a really good swimming pool where hygiene and safety is of highest priority. My hubby is very clear that if a course in swimming would lead to falling sick due to water born viruses or exposure to cold, then it is not worth learning swimming. If I can find a female companion to join me in this venture, then I would feel more positive towards achieving it.

Let me begin my ground work on identifying a good facility with hope and prayers that before the end of 2009 I would be comfortable in swimming.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Visheshangal | Leave a comment

Twenty 20

Onam 2008 saw the release of a superhit malayalam movie which was packed with all the superstars of malayalam “Twenty Twenty”. This movie was produced by Dileeep and I hear that 1 crore from the profits get contributed too “AMMA” and also that all the actors from the malayalam film industry who belong to “AMMA” were part of the movie for free.

I loved the movie. Saw it in Nov 2008. We went to watch it with my uncle and wife and daughter at the kothamangalam theater. There is this new theater there which never existed during my college days. This theater has got posh seats and good AC. Overall the entire movie was a great experience but for the fact that we missed few initial minutes of the movie as we were late in getting seated.

Mamooty and Mohanlal are the star attractions in the movie and they both have done their role so well…no one can beat them when it comes to acting. They both look so glamorous for their age. I also liked many other characters like Swaraj Venaramood, Jagathi, Innocent, Kavya Madhavan, Dileep, jayaram, Sureshgopi etc. The comedy, the twist in the story and the competition between Mamooty , Mohanlal and SureshGopi etc keep the fans at the edge of their seat.

I got one more chance to watch this movie in Dec 2008. This time with my hubby and his family. We all went to Muvatupuzha theater, I think its name is Issacs. Once again enjoyed watching all my favorite actors on screen.

Check out more details here

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Review, Visheshangal | Leave a comment

Tomorrow is yet another day

I watched the all time classic “Gone with the wind” once again recently. Each time I watch this movie it feels fresh and the character portrayed by Vivean leah – Scarlett O Hara, stands out with all its positive and negative characteristics.

Its been a long time since I blogged… was busy welcoming 2009 😉  which is yet another year…as Scarlett put it.

February 20, 2009 Posted by | Visheshangal | Leave a comment

Thoughts

“There is a protest march organised by the Citizens of Mumbai on 3rd December 2008 at 6pm, in front of the Taj Mahal hotel. It is our duty and responsibility to stand up and be counted, and force the government to take action. We are a city of 15 million people, and if we want to show our government, that this time we mean business, we got to turn out in large numbers. We have to shake our apathy, and our ‘chalta hai’ attitude. If a million of us come out on the street, the government will have to listen to us.”

Below are Jk’s (my close friend) comments on the Mumbai terror attacks and the protest march that was organized, some thoughts to ponder.

Guys you know what…don’t just target the politician…the real culprit is in fact are us….why do I say that?
Consider this……(this is a fact about me)

Our patriotism comes out only during sensational tragedies, I repeat sensational, only if it is made a media spectacle. After a few weeks or months it peters away. Our life becomes a routine. I go back home and watch my favourite show. I don’t remember when the first bomb blasts in Mumbai happened, when the train blasts happened, when the Coimbatore, Delhi and tens of other attacks or tragedies happened. They have happened to somebody else….not me

We blame the politicians, but haven’t we forgotten that in a democracy we deserve the leaders that we get. How many of us have actively participated in an election, what Naqvi said was right. I didn’t mean just vote (I have done it only once in my life) but participate. Have tried to find out who we are going to vote? His background? His capability? No, why? Because we are too busy with our lives. We have great problems to consider that are even more important.

What about the so called common man’s behaviour aftermath the Mumbai attacks? Taj Hotel was a tourist site. With people thronging to have a fill of the devastation, people taking photographs with their mobile phones, traders selling peanuts and corn and making brisk business. You call it the spirit of Mumbai. Spirit my foot! Its just our own fucking insensitivity. Whatever has happened around, I am safe, so let me think of my living. The rest has to be taken care by the Government.

We say it is the Government’s responsibility to give us protection. Aren’t we responsible to protect ourselves too. How many of us get irritated when we are subject to security checks at malls, airports, public places. You and me know that in some places the so called security checks are just an act, do we question that? We don’t, why should I bother, it’s not my job.

We do not want to follow the queue. If there is a way I can jump the queue I will do it. If I know that by dropping names I can shorten a procedure, I will do it. We believe and practice in the maxim “All animals are Equal, but some animals are more Equal”.

We wonder how could some terrorists get a Passport, Driving License, Bank account. We do it everyday, when we go out to get a license, if I pay 500 or 1000 bucks, I need not even take the driving test, I need not even have documents, I can get a driving license. Using this driving license, I can open a Bank account, no address proof no problem, because I have my targets for opening Bank account, I will ask somebody in my Bank to introduce. Because the person has got a Bank account and Driving license, he can apply for a Passport. When there is police verification give him some 200 or 300 bucks bakshish and lo behold you have a passport. I shrudder to think how many people such people I have opened accounts for. That point of time I had a reason….my targets.

Do we really think that such a huge cache of arms and ammunition could have found a way in, unless there are a few common people like us, who work in the Coast Guard, Police, Hotels, Hospitals, Banks, IT companies anywhere has not actively or inactively co-operated? Might not have taken the money, but have chosen to ignore about what was happening around.

Do we stop and help a person involved in an accident? We stare and wait to get all the details, but we will not help. Why? Anoop will answer that. If we do, we will be harrassed to such an extent that we think it’s not worth it. So what, we are troubled, its worth that saving somebody’s life.

Our anger and indignation should be against us too. These candle light marches should be taken out not just as a protest against the politicians but against ourselves. About how callous we have become. I am not saying that we go around and rectify the world. Just that we do our small bits. Realise that our anger can turn out to be a case of “The pot calling the kettle black”

Just poured out what I thought was right

Jk (menon.jaykumar@gmail.com)

December 7, 2008 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment