Every year we celebrate Ganpati festival for five days with lot of enthusiasm and excitement, Puja invites and festivities and Prasads and not to forget all the decking up in the traditional attire. However, this year it was a bit different. This year my Bappa was travelling with me to a very beautiful place in India.
The runner me had first heard of the Ladakh marathon in September 2018 when my running friends posted their race pictures. I was still recovering from a running injury and had been on a break from running for almost six months. To motivate myself to return to running and feel confident about it, I set my mind on doing the 2019 Ladakh Half Marathon race. So I registered for this race event as soon as the registration opened in March 2019, the race was in September. As Leh is at a higher altitude 3500+ meters and with low oxygen levels, we are required to reach there a week to 10 days in advance to acclimatize ourselves before the run. This was my reason to travel to Ladakh a week before my run and this is how my Bappa ended up traveling with me to Ladakh.
This in how I celebrated my Ganpati festival 2019 in Leh, Ladakh, a bit of a small scale festivity than every year. The Modaks and other Prasad as offerings to the Bappa are all homemade and were carried by me on the trip. I did get to see very big Ganpati Murtis and visit temples in other cities that I visited after my marathon event was over. It was a great time spent roaming around Ladakh, Bappa celebrations, and then more traveling to meet elders of the family. More about the Ladakh travels and picture sharing in the next blogs to follow.
Wishing you all a great day ahead, and thank you for stopping by.
Hello and regards to all my blogger friends and readers. After a long absence, it is finally time to return to blogging once more 😊. Before starting anything new I always seek the blessings of Bappa morya, hence this post starts with sharing some pics of the Ganpati Celebrations 2018 at my place.
Will be back with more posts, pictures, and my stories.
This is my entry for this weeks WPC-Liquid. These photographs are from my travel to Prague last year.
For me it is always a joyful experience to capture images of any water bodies that I come across. The play of the sunlight or the sunset on the surface of the water makes it an interesting subject to capture and one never tires of it.
For this photo challenge I am including pictures clicked from and near the Charles Bridge (famous landmark of Prague) of the Vltava river water that flows below.
I am happy to share here glimpses of my time spent on that Summer evening in such a beautiful place. Do let me know your thoughts about my entry for this photo challenge.
As soon as the school summer break starts most of the families living in this part take home-bound flights to their respective home country. With a recent visit in April I was not going to be travelling to India. The search for the summer trip destination started with many countries being virtually visited, and somehow until the end of June it was still not decided where we were heading for our holiday, some respite is a must from the scorching UAE summer. But during the Eid break it finally got decided to apply for a Schengen Visa and if obtained then go visit a few countries in Europe. Thus the summer in Europe happened in reality, and we visited Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. It is easy to tour these neighboring countries, see the many places as the rail and road network is very good and if we plan our sightseeing tour before landing in the country then it can be easily managed by ourselves (no tour operator is needed).
Plan your destination and then go through the sightseeing places online before landing.
Book hotel/accomodation near major sightseeing attractions, so as not to waste time and money in commuting.
Keep luggage to basic and minimum, we have to carry our bags ourself and be prepared as some accommodations may not have elevators. If using the metro, then at some stations it is a bit of hassle to haul big suitcases up the stairs.
Check for the day passes of the train/metro/trams, and plan your sightseeing for the day so that you can make maximum use of the day pass and cover the attractions along the route for which the ticket is purchased. (more on this in my upcoming Vienna tour post) Do check the various ticket options sold before buying any tickets.
The trip started from Prague, our first destination. We were here for 2 days,which I felt was sufficient to visit the many attractions in the city. Most of the places of interest are in the Old Town Square, so it is very helpful if we book out accommodation/hotel in the neighborhood. We landed in Prague in the morning, had arranged for the hotel pickup and by 9.30 am or so were at the hotel reception. But, as the rooms are allotted only after 2 pm, we had kept our luggage in hotel reception and straightaway started with the city walking tour. You will find offices of the walking tours in Old Town Square (they are free, but we should be tipping the guide) the guides tells a lot of history of the country, gives us a feel of the neighborhood and provides all the information about the monuments nearby. He covered the small guided tour of the monuments in and around the old town square, a stop-over for catching some coffee/ sandwich/ or a quick-lunch and then moving onto the Jewish town, the University and again back to near the square. The full tour usually lasts 1.30 hr or so. I had my first Bagel ever at the coffee shop, it was the best and now I have found a new favorite food 🙂 .
The Old Town Square and the nearby monuments and landmarks:
The umbrella holding people seen in above picture are the tour guides and the walking tour to Old town Square starts from here.
The walking tour proceeding towards the Square, seen above is the side view of Church of our Lady of Tyn. The front part of the church has two other buildings covering its view.
The above picture shows us the Old Town square and its numerous landmarks-in the center and all around it. It is a very big square, and full of many locals as well as tourists, we get to see lot of attractions and people showing their art here.
Seen below is the Jan Hus Monument.
It was very interesting to see the soap bubbles being made using the sticks and fun to see kids run and catch the bubbles. By the end of this Eu tour I noticed that we see the soap bubbles being made at every square, it is a very common sight, in other cities too.
It was funny to see this man suspended in air, the Genie from the Chirag!
The blue under renovation structure seen above is the Old Town Hall, and has the Astronomical clock.
Seen above the tall (behind the front two buildings) Gothic architectural structure is the Church of our Lady before Tyn.
The above two pictures show the Astronomical Clock, the most famous attraction of the Square. At every hour the small windows seen in the clock open, the apostles seen in the picture move, lot of crowd gathers and is seen waiting patiently in front of the clock to see this happen.
As we move ahead from the square, we come face to face with this below landmark.
Seen above is the St. Nicholas Church.
The few pictures seen below is the route we walked along with the walking tour, further away from the Old town Square,
The Tram cables seen hanging in the above pictures.
We see numerous cafe and tourists relaxing and enjoying snacks, lunch, coffee, beer, and other drinks everywhere as we walk ahead with the tour guide.
The Jewish town
I do not have the close front view of the clocks seen in above picture. The wall clock on the Jewish Town hall has Hebrew numbers and the hands of the clock goes counterclockwise (see the second from top), the one seen at top goes clockwise.
The cafe picture shows the Cubist architecture.
Finally the walking tour ends at the Old Town square, the tourists tip the guide and he bids everyone goodbyes. We roam around for some more time and explore this new city and marvel at the architecture and click loads of pictures, and finally return back to the hotel to go to our allotted accommodation to freshen up and rest for sometime before starting again to go and see the Charles Bridge.
It has taken up an exceptional long time to complete this post, it was a quite a difficult task for me to go through the numerous photographs that were clicked by all of us in the tour and separate a few to include in the post. Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the Old Town Square of Prague through my pictures 🙂
As I stood facing the river at one of the corner walls of the Buda Castle, (towards the Museum end) I got this beautiful left-side Panoramic view of the Danube river, the Pest side landmarks (on the other side of the river), the magnificent Chain Bridge that connects the Buda and Pest sides of what we know as Budapest, and hence thought of selecting this as my entry for the WPC-Corner.
For this week’s photo challenge I have selected pictures of the setting sun that I had captured from the beach of a hotel where my Jr. used to attend swimming coaching. As he attended his professional swimming coaching at this location and I waited for his coaching to get over, I have been privileged to enjoy many evening walks by the beach and see the most beautiful sunsets.
The view of the vast horizon and the setting sun with layers of varied colors, the gleam reflected on the sea water was breathtaking, and I had to freeze the moment in this image captured on my iPhone camera and posted here as my entry for this challenge.
This below picture is also from the same beach but clicked on a different day at different time.
Do share your thoughts about the pictures, looking forward to read them. Thanks.
This year the Ganpati festival was celebrated from the 25th to 29th August, we celebrate it for only five days at my place. Sharing with you all some pics from the festivity at home. It is the most happy time of the year for me, and it is a blessing to be able to celebrate the festival with all the traditional fanfare even when residing out of our home country.
I make all the prasad or Naivedyam for the Bappa at home, it is always a happy feeling to give homemade prasad to all the guests, friends, and visitors who visit our home for Bappas darshan during the five days. Also, it is a tradition in my house to eat food in banana leaves after the first day stapna and puja of the Bappa, this mother’s efforts to keep her kids connected to the traditions observed during the festivals.
Wishing you all have a blessed year. Ganpati Bappa Morya 🙂
Finally, after a very long Summer break, the schools here have reopened on the 10th of September. This reminded me to make this post of my regularly cooked recipe, the most preferred school lunch snacks/meals, read it as food that is readily welcomed by my fussy eater. To keep lunch box as healthy, nutritious and as well as filling, I always have preferred to pack different types of parathas or wraps or rolls as part of the afternoon meal, using the ingredient list that my kids like. Sharing today my Paneer Paratha recipe, one of the favorite food of my kids.
I use the fresh paneer for making the filling and the wholewheat flour dough for making the outer paratha coat. The parathas are made thin and medium-sized and ghee roasted to make them crisper. I don’t like very big and thicker parathas, keeping them medium and thin helps to control the portion size and one avoids eating in excess. One should use these simple and useful tips and watch the quantity intake of the food they eat at any given meal. It is a general tendency with all of us to eat in excess when one likes something or is eating a favorite food.
INGREDIENTS: For Paneer Filling:
Fresh Paneer (cottage cheese) : 300 gm
Onion: 1 Medium
Green chilies: 2-3 nos
Green Coriander: few leaves
Cumin : 1 Tsp
Salt & Pepper : To taste
Ghee/Cooking oil: As per taste preference
Dough: (Click the link for fulka to make the dough)
Wholewheat flour: 200 gm
Water: 100 ml (or as needed)
Note: Follow the above given recipe link to make the paratha dough.
Filling: Grate the paneer and keep in bowl. Finely chop the onion, green chilies and the coriander, and mix with paneer. Add the cumin as it is or use a coarsely, roasted powder. To make the cumin powder, dry roast the cumin and coarsely crush it using mortar and pestle or simply ground it using the rolling pin. Season the paneer with salt and pepper as per taste. One can also add chat masala powder if preferred.
Make the medium soft dough of the wheat flour, and use lemon-sized dough balls for making the parathas.
Roll the ball to make a small puri and fill 3 tbsp filling into this.
Hold the ends of the puri and giving a circular twist close it tightly and cut away the excess dough from top.
Dust this paneer-filled dough ball lightly in flour and then using a rolling pin roll it into a medium-to-thin paratha.
Heat a Tava or fry pan on the gas burner, put the paratha on the tava and cook on both sides.
Then using a tsp of ghee on both sides, roast it to make it crisp and golden. One can also use any cooking oil for roasting the parathas.
Serve the parathas as is or cut it into triangles using a pizza cutter and arrange on a plate as shown. Serve with any chutney or tomato ketchup as per preference.
Give this paratha a try in your kitchen to find out if you all like the taste. Happy cooking and eating homemade food.
The beauty of nature in my surroundings always draws me towards it and distracts me, I have to stop and capture it in my camera.
During my recent trip to Budapest, this Ivy creeper was seen covering most part of one of the buildings in the Buda Castle area, (not sure if it was History Museum).
The ever bright afternoon sun was giving a fantastic shine and shadow effect over the leaves. (the pictures may not do justice to the beautiful scenery I saw, but I still had to frame it in my camera.) 🙂
For this week’s photo challenge: Textures, I have selected the photographs from my recent travel to Vienna.
Can you guess the picture seen below??
These pictures were clicked in the Palm House Schoenbrunn, Vienna.
The textures seen on this log of wood that was lying on the floor in one of the sections of the Palm house caught my eye and I had to click this beautiful image. The bark of the tree with areas covered with moss, the growing Mushroom, the dried and decayed part of the log, and the pebbles made it too fascinating to click and here I am sharing it with you all.
For me traveling to different places necessarily also includes tasting the local cuisine and getting to know the names of their food dishes. During my recent Budapest visit, one of the days we ate at the local street food restaurant and the sight and taste of their flatbread totally made me think of our very own Bhaturas. They called it Lángos, it is the Hungarian street food that is a deep-fried flat bread made using refined flour, yeast, water or milk. They also use potato and sour cream or yogurt to make this and the name changes accordingly.
Through this post I wished to highlight the similarities of the breads that go by different names in two different countries, which are geographically far away from each other. In North India we have our Bhaturas that are made using refined flour and yogurt (I make use of this). I have been observing this very fascinating food fact about breads in different countries that I have traveled so far. The basic ingredients of the breads is very much common around most parts. (You can check out my older post about the Georgian breadhere.)
Sharing my Bhatura recipe and also the pictures of the Hungarian street food from my recent travels.
Refined Flour: 250 gm
Sour curd: 100 ml
Ajwain/Carom seeds: 1 Tsp
Water: 100 ml
Salt: 1 Tsp
Cooking oil: for frying
Take the refined flour and add the salt and Ajwain to it and mix. Add the curd and mix well, we get a lumpy flour mix.
Using the water make a loose dough, it will be sticky. Use some oil to prevent it from sticking to the palm and make a round ball and keep this in the bowl and cover with kitchen towel. Keep this bowl in a warm place for 2-3 hours. For these bhaturas I do not keep the dough in warm place over night. I prefer the taste and flavor of the bhaturas with short leavening time. (had seen a north Indian friend keep the dough overnight and then made the bhaturas).
Note: (I prefer to make them a bit smaller than the regular bhaturas seen in restaurants as then I do not need to pour too much oil in the Kadai for frying. It is not a healthy habit to keep the leftover heated oil for reuse)
Heat cooking oil in a Kadai and deep fry the rolled out bhaturas until they become puffed up golden on both side. Pressing them with the fry ladle skimmer while frying in oil helps to puff them up.
These were served hot with spicy masala chole.
Sharing below pictures that I clicked of the Hungarian Lángos displayed in the restaurant in Budapest.
This plate of the bread with the chicken goulash was very tasty, very close to my cooking style and taste preference. We enjoyed tasting this new dish and loved our dinner at this Budapest restaurant that evening.
I hope you all liked this post as much as I loved cooking the bhaturas and writing and sharing the pictures with you all here.
Enjoy home cooking and eating with the family at the dinning table and create memories 🙂
This morning I made these quesadillas for breakfast and as it is a much liked recipe in my house, I thought of sharing it here with you all. A few basic ingredients are a must to make this at home. We need ready Basil pesto and mushroom filling to make this. I have already shared my recipes of the Basil pesto (click here) and Mushroom filling (click here), check them as previous posts .
I first tasted quesadilla in Chili’s Restaurant in Dubai, something which I would love to eat regularly was the thought that came instantly to mind after the first bite. New food or menus that I loved eating outside first time always end up being tried in my kitchen and getting included in my regular cooking/menus. Like in most Indian houses, I too make fulkas or chapatis or parathas on a daily basis, and hence I prefer to make use of these instead of the Tortillas that I would need to buy from the supermarket for making this recipe. I prefer our regular whole wheat flour to make them. Chapati (without oil) that I make is just a bigger size of the regular Fulkas that I make for our daily meals. (You can check my Fulka recipe here).
Before we start the recipe I would like to share that I prefer the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses more in my cooking over other cheese used by the specific recipes. I stock on the Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, whichever I find available in the supermarkets. I have used the cheese that were stocked in my fridge.
Cheddar Cheese slices : 6-8 slices (or you can use freshly shredded as per availability or requirement)
Parmesan Cheese: as per preference
Cooking Oil: 4 Tsp (use more if preferred)
Take 2 chapatis at a time and apply the basil pesto on both of them on one side each.
Take 2 tbsp mushroom filling and spread it on one of the chapatis, cut the cheese slices in smaller pieces and spread over the filling, grate the Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese as per preference and cover it with the other chapati with pesto facing side and press firmly.
Heat a tava or pan and put these chapatis on it and press firmly with a wooden spatula so that both sides get roasted crispy, melting the cheese inside. We can make use of 1 tsp oil to make them crisper.
Remove them from the pan once both sides are reddish and crispy. Cut them into fours and serve hot with more of the Basil pesto or they can be eaten as it is.
We can even dry roast them and avoid using oil if we want, I did make some without using oil.
You can make the rest of the quesadillas in this way, with or without using oil. Apply the pesto, mushroom filling, and cheese as per own taste and enjoy these healthy and delicious Quesadillas for any meal of the day.
Tip: You can even make use of any leftover chapati or plain parathas to make the quesadilla with any filling of choice.
I enjoyed writing this post and sharing my simple homemade recipes with you all, hope you enjoy trying it out.
Greetings to all my fellow bloggers and my readers. I am very happy to thank all the new followers of my blog and the visitors whose daily visits to the blog bring on the cheer in my day to day life. It has been quite a while that I have posted my recipes.
The Summer has been quite disappointing and sad in terms of my personal dream and goal that left me disinterested in anything for a while, but one has to move on and keep dreaming. These past months have been busy with family as well, and I have just returned from a European Holiday. Mid July was spent travelling through Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, & Budapest. The travel diaries post will follow soon as and when I start writing them, but until then will post a couple food recipes that I wish to share this month.
Sharing below my recipe of the Basil pesto, the method I use to make this recipe.
Basil: 1 Bunch (small potted plant as sold here)
Pistachio slices: 2 Tbsp
Green Chili: 1 (small or medium as per choice, I used a small hot chili)
Garlic clove: 1
Olive Oil: 2-3 Tbsp (I prefer more hence add 3 tbsp)
Salt: To taste
Wash and towel dry the basil leaves, and assemble all the ingredients together.
Transfer the roughly chopped Basil leaves, green chili, garlic clove and pistachio slices in a mixer/grinder pot and grind to make a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and oil to help grind the paste to smooth consistency. It is totally acceptable if a very smooth paste is not achieved, little rough nutty bite of the paste works fine. Adjust the salt and lemony taste to own preference, add more lemon juice if required.
We do not add too much of the green chili and garlic as the distinct delicate basil flavor is desired, the little lemon juice adds the required zing and perfect tang to tickle the taste buds. It is a favorite pesto of mine and I absolutely love to mix it with Italian Olive oil and drizzle my homemade pizzas and calzones 🙂
I also use this chutney/pesto for bread Sandwiches, Wraps, Quesadillas, stuffed Parathas, as well as dip for a variety of fritters, momos etc.
Note: Check out the Archives for recipes mentioned above for which I use this dip.
Eat healthy, homemade and stay happy and smiling always 🙂
For this weekly photo challenge I found this picture that I had tried capturing in my iPhone camera, but was not very happy with the result as it was not very clear. I was trying to focus the Bee Hive that was formed on one of the young tree in my friend’s garden, but with the bees flying in all directions and me avoiding being stung, it was difficult to go more closer for better focus.
But I was happy clicking this picture as it sure is very fascinating to see the bees working on the hive and to see it grow this closely, a rare sight for city dwellers 🙂 .
My entry for this Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting.
The pictures are from the Kundala Dam Lake area in Munnar, Kerala, India. I found it to be a very beautiful spot that instantly charmed this city dweller who got drawn to this serene, peaceful place and felt the perfect nature’s paradise. I wished we could stay longer and explore the area, do the boating, but we could not. The boating was closed and we could not enjoy the water more. The extremely tall Nilgiri (Eucalyptus) trees all around, and the thick forest with different variety of trees some with colored leaves (we had visited Kerala in March month) reflecting in the water below, it was a very silent and soothing time for me, perfect escape from bustling madness and traffic chaos of the place where I live.
The Houseboat stay and ride through the backwaters in Alleppey in Kerala too was thoroughly enjoyed, calming and soothing with fantastic view all around, a must include.
I would highly recommend a tour of Kerala, rightfully called as Gods own Country, if you have not yet visited it.
This picture is from my most recent India visit, returned home just last week. This was clicked when visiting my dad’s village near the banks of the river Wainganga, around noon with the summer temperature being above 43+ deg C. The huge tree provided the must needed shade when we got down from the AC cars and took shelter under the tree. Most were unawares of the danger lurking around with the creepy crawling creatures moving nearby, my eyes caught this little fellow changing color and I quickly captured the picture.
(Can you all spot the Chameleon in the picture ?!) 🙂