Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let Me Take you Far Away- 2

We were on a short holiday to North Wales, and we are glad it turned out a surprise for us.This region has its own rich history and culture. I have loved picturesque and lovely South Wales particularly Gower Peninsula in this earlier post .This time we thought of going to North Wales. 

We were based in Conwy and had a chance to visit Llandudno, Bangor and Llanberis holiday resorts as well. The ruins of Conwy castle was intriguing, so was the smallest house in Conwy Quay.We even liked walking on the Conwy town walls that surrounded the entire Conwy City, something which is unheard of in present day context.I mean an entire city inside the walled area, to me it sounded  like a page out of those old fairy-tale books.I thought somebody has transported me to that authentic medieval era.

As we were visiting it on Sunday, there was a food festival with local food on display.We had Wales cakes and a salmon burger, salmon fish fillet was slowly smoked and then was put as a filing in between baps or may be something similar looking, but the flavor was amazing.I think I am going to make salmon burgers someday soon.

We were using public transport all the times, which involved little bit of planning but still doable if one wants to explore this way. The winter Sherpa bus ride from Bets-Y-Coed to Llanberis has breath-taking views, while you ride through; every turn that it takes leaves you in awe. There are many walks in between this journey as well, where you can hop-on /off, if one wants to explore the region while walking. And of course there is Snowdonia mountain railway in Llanberis if one wants to go mountain top using the cog-wheel train or even there is an option of exploring it by hiking which starts from Pen-Y-pass car park. Sherpa bus service also takes you to the Pen-Y-pass car-park, although my only regret is, this bus service is limited to 2-3 times a day.

Welsh are warm-hearted people and they sure do take pride in their own culture. The native language is different from English and once you start traveling in bus, you sometimes do get to hear some strange sounding words and language. So, Llandudno is pronounced as “Klan-Dudno” ……and so on...We were amazed and felt that we were visiting a totally different country all together. Great orme visit by Tramway was another interesting journey. This is very similar to San Francisco tramway that runs periodically in the city. As we had been to SFO before, we knew the similarity it has. But then the Great Orme visit was done on a windy day, and when I say windy day, I mean it. 

There we met some people, who made their way to the top all by walking and hiking, some were tired and told us the entire leg was very exhausting for them. No, we couldn't think of doing it, instead we thought tram is a better option for us. Lets’ see some day if we can pull it off.What ever way you choose, views on top are splendid.They even have a mini-golf course, in case you want to spend little bit more time.
Many greeted us on our way or when ever we need any advice about public transport, while we were out during our visit there. Some even went ahead and recommended us to visit local spots for history and culture. We were not aware about national slate museum in Llanberis, until we were recommended by gracious local people, who even showed another walking path towards Slate museum. It’s good to know little bit more about hard-working Welsh people and their ancestral history.

And there are many such creations which are revolutionizing as well, such as Menai Bridge near Bangor, which connects parts of the Northern Wales with Isle of Anglesey. Now that part we have left it for some other day. But this bridge had been made some 200 years ago and it’s one of world’s oldest suspension bridges.

 On one side is Parts of north Wales and on the other Isle of Anglesey.Our second Hooghly Bridge in Kolkata, is also a suspension bridge in case you want to know.

And when I write about Wales, it is compulsory to write about the breath-taking sea-beaches. This part is, I would say is blessed with beautiful sea-beaches. There is this view from our accommodation, sunset was beautiful to watch, almost had a calming effect on mind.

We also had similar experience in one of a coastal beach near Conwy.Now who wouldn’t love to spend some time over there, just sitting and lost in thoughts, surrounded with nature’s beauty. 

Wales thank you for making a memorable holiday for us.Hope to see you again someday........

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tinda ki Sukhi Sabzi with panch phoron and saboot masoor dal masala- Whole brown lentil dry stir/fry

We are into November? You would say am I asking or telling? Yes I know you all know it’s November, but it’s me who needs to confirm. Couple of days ago I heard a mention of “November Rain” some where...and from then it started echoing in my mind it’s November – it’s November. Well November reminds me, October is way past, it had come and gone- bye -bye .But then in October a significant history turning event was happening in my life. 
Now, I am telling you, not asking you .October meant festivals and togetherness, as we were away from our homeland then, feeling little sad that we missed out eating all those delicious festivals foods etc – I did wrote an absurd blog post just in half an hour and published it right here October 10th 2006, and then second right after two days here ,on this space which is now known to you as “Spice and Curry”, a blog name, which just came into my mind, right in a splash of moment out of no- where. 
I should say I have been here for 8 years , being sometimes active in updating this blog , some times passive- active( below normal updating) , sometimes active-active, I mean double active( super-action –packed updating) and sometimes total passive ( hibernating and sleeping).. ..But I tried to hang around here for 8 years, am I glad in doing it? Yes, absolutely!
Actually I should have wrote a big emotional  post on completing eight years of food blogging in October and blah blah but it looks like I missed the train, and I am not even a good runner like Geet aka Kareena Kapoor in “Jab We Met”, although, I liked the movie but that running part……

Anyways here I am with 8 years of food blogging and with lots of memories, especially food memories and blog post which I sometimes do go back and read, and wait, I guess may be I am not the only person reading those odd and absurd ,old posts. Sometimes I do get queries like this, this ,this and this …and many questioning the recipe like  this and this and then some appreciating the efforts like this and this ... and many more like these, makes my day, glowing and shining. Sometimes, I do read it aloud to dear hubby and also sometimes to my daughter who themselves have different opinions about these recipes…All in true spirits.

Anyhow, it gives me happiness coming here, writing and talking to you with recipes, pictures, food memories and our family memories, and I do hope you also share the same feeling. If you have been reading this far, may I ask you to drop few lines in comment section. As our leisure time slot is getting busy, but I do hope we shouldn’t stop doing things which gives happiness and spread happiness around us.
As  this blog is all about home-cooking  by a homemaker cum home-cook writing some of her recipes with food memories inter-woven.And home-cooked meal means simple stir/fry recipes that should accompany with rotis or rice, as that is what our main food is all about.

I have been cooking many vegetables and regular blog readers know that well and todays it’s tinda’s  turn.I was not sure what tinda is called in English or other languages  so goggled it and found that it’s Indian round gourd or apple gourd/Indian baby pumpkin in English.In Hindi it’s tinda or tinday ..Can anyone tell me other regional language names for tinda?
I am even tempted to add a whole brown lentil aka sabot masoor dal masala recipe as well.”Ek- ke- sath- ek- free” types of offer as its blog anniversary, sorry belated blog anniversary.We like the dry stir/fry preparation of whole brown lentils, and I don’t need to add the nutritious food values whole lentils are loaded with.
I know you all will be thinking where that cake slice or that sweet is. I will say, save it for some other day, soon it will be December, and you will find them everywhere in food blogosphere. As of now, it’s a tinda recipe and whole masoor dal /brown lentil recipe for you.

Tinda ki Sukhi sabzi with panch phoron
Recipe requirements
Serves – 3-4
About 500 Gms of tinda or large 3-4 /medium size 5-6 tinda-tinday
2 medium size potatoes
Half medium size tomato-or 6-7 cherry tomatoes
1 cup of green peas
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of panch phoron/or cumin seeds
Pinch of hing/asfoetida
2-3 dry red peppers
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbs of cooking oil- mustard oil or sunflower oil
Cut tinda and potatoes in cubes. Wash them in water well.
Now heat up a pan, add in cooking oil.
Now add in panch phoron, pinch of hing and dry red peppers. After half a minute later, add in cubed tinda, potatoes and green peas. Keep on stir/frying for about 7-8 mints. Add in dry seasonings-turmeric powder,red pepper powder and salt.
Now add in finely chopped tomatoes, and two ladles full of water. Cover the pan, and let it cook at medium flame for about 10-12 mints.
When potatoes are soft, with the help of the ladle, just mash and mix the potatoes with tinda.If you don’t want to mash and mix, leave them as it is. Sprinkle cumin powder now and mix.
Sprinkle dhaniya patta/coriander leaves. Take it off from cooking further.
A simple sabzi is ready to go well with rotis.

Saboot Masoor dal masala – whole brown lentils dry stir/fry
Recipe requirements ( serves 4)
2 cups of whole masoor dal/brown lentils
3 tsp of grated ginger
3 tsp of grated garlic
1 medium size onion chopped finely
1 medium size tomato
1 tsp of coriander powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
 1tsp of garam masala
5-6 tbs of cooking oil
½ tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp of ghee
Soak whole brown lentils in enough water for about 3-4 hrs. Discard the water.
Now heat up a pan/kadai/wok. Add in cooking oil, add in cumin seeds and fennel seeds, stir/fry them till they just starts to swell.
Now add in finely chopped onions, grated ginger+garlic and keep on stir/fry for 4-5 mints.
Add in salt and all the dry ingredients- red pepper, turmeric, coriander-cumin powder and salt. Coat well with the spices.
Add in soaked whole brown lentils and keep on stir/fry for 4-5 mints at medium flame.
Add in about a cup of water. Cover the pan/kadai/wok and let it cook for 15-18 mints at medium-low flame. Add in finely chopped tomatoes and garam masala.Check in between if they are cooked or not and if still needs to be cooked then add in ½ cup of warm water again if the water has dried up and cook for 8-10 mints.

When the lentils are cooked and the water has dried, take it off from the flame.Add in ghee now and sprinkle chopped herbs of your choice and enjoy. Alternately you can use pressure cooker to cook whole brown lentils, just one whistle at high and lower the flame and let it cook 4-5 mints. Take it off and when the pressure inside pressure cooker subsides, open the pressure cooker lid. And then temper it with the masala- spice that you prepare separately.Have it with rotis.And in case you crave for gravies with dal , then increase seasoning contents and add more water to make gravies, but then that's another recipe.

Happy Cooking and have a relaxing weekend everyone.