Sunday, August 25, 2013

Who Said Pizzas Are Junk Food? Part II

After convincing myself that pizzas aren't junk food, it was time to experiment further!
Yesterday's visit to Godrej Nature's Basket helped - we got pizza bases, pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, holy basil and mushrooms!
A good measure of spinach was blanched to bright green perfection! Next, the pizza sauce was prepared - we used three tablespoons of pesto sauce and blended it with tomato-garlic sauce that we picked up from FabIndia! This sauce was spread on the pizza base. The blanched spinach was drained and a generous amount was spread on the base. 
Next, vegetables were topped over the spinach..... alongwith a decent amount of cheese....

Once the pizza was half done, fresh holy basil was placed on top..... And it tasted heavenly!!!!!!
Truly today was an Italian Sunday, risotto for lunch and pizza for dinner! Viva Italia!!!!

Fortress Risotto Conquered!

After a long time, our creative juices we in free flow, and yes the digestive juices too!
After having a ham and pumpkin risotto last Saturday, we were having an uncontrollable urge to try our hand at a risotto at home - the risotto so far was an impenetrable fortress for us. 
But it was the D-day today!
We chose our own style..... we cooked up a pack of Maggi's mushroom soup with a cube of chicken stock. As the soup thickened, we added a cup of milk for extra flavour and creaminess.
Separately, some rice soaked for 2 hours and a small broccoli was blanched. A pack of button mushrooms was cleaned and chopped.
Now it was time to put all together. In a wok, onions and garlic were sauteed in olive oil. As the onions turned translucent, we added the blanched broccoli and then after about 5 minutes, in went the mushrooms. The rice which had been soaked for over 2 hours was drained and was added to the wok and was throughly mixed with the vegetables. Then we added a good measure of Chantilli cabernet sauvignon. In the next 5 minutes, the rice absorbed the goodness of the wine. After a good stir, the thickened milky mushroom soup was poured into the wok. We left the wok covered for 20 minutes, leaving the broth to thicken further to sticky consistency.
And then the magic happened. As we uncovered the wok, the heady aromas said a great deal - the impenetrable fortress had been conquered and our flag was fluttering on top of it. 
The risotto was poured onto the plates and was garnished with halved cherry tomatoes and sprigs of holy basil.

And as Neeti took the first bite, I knew our first risotto was a delectable success!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Paradise That Is Hyderabad....

We landed into Hyderabad on a cool and pleasant Monsoon morning. The drive into the  main city was a breeze through the PV Narasimha Rao Expressway - this is perhaps the only public facility named after the under-recognised architect of modern India. 
Once we reached Raj Bhawan Road at Somajiguda, my colleague and I were getting a little anxious searching for a decent place for breakfast. And there we found a small eatery called Swathi Tiffins, where we had the most delicious filter coffee I've ever had.

After a rather tense morning meeting, it was time to grab a bite. But for me ABC or Absolutely Broasted Chicken was a big no..... In the city of Nizams, a Nizami treat is what we deserved!
And so headed to Paradise Biryani's flagship outlet at Secunderabad....

Paradise occupies a huge building at a junction, which has aptly been renamed as the Paradise Circle....

We were quite late, it was nearly 3 PM, but Paradise was teeming with people!

The original Paradise was more like a small pigeonhole compared to massive building they have today...

But they have developed a clientele amongst the rich and famous....

And then came my chicken biryani
Delicious and delicately flavoured, a flavour that is distinctly Hyderabadi!

After the day's meetings were over, we checked into the hotel. Here I was pleasantly surprised to see "highway food" festival going on.... And I was delighted to have makki ki roti and sarson ka saag!
Indeed I deserve to be called a true Punjabi, for on the heart of the Deccan plateau, I gave the Nizami cuisine a miss and I stayed clear of the spicy Andhra delights!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Plane Spotting At DEL

We landed into a very wet Delhi yesterday, through thick Monsoon clouds, only to be welcomed by a Lufthansa Airbus A340, that was readying to depart for Munich. Landing at Delhi is such a treat, the airport looks neat and inviting, with an excellent sense of space unlike the slums around Mumbai's airport.

And it was Jet Airways and JetKonnect everywhere as we disembarked for a well deserved weekend break!

As we return back to Mumbai tonight, we try to beat the blues by indulging in some retail therapy at Delhi's Terminal 3..... It's a lot like Inorbit Malad!

Surya Namaskar demonstrated!

Views from the American Express lounge! And there is the Dreamliner!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Plane Spotting At BOM -- Part II

Our much awaited and long overdue trip to Delhi began early this morning at Mumbai. Withe overcast skies, BOM gave me some unique plane spotting opportunities. Enjoy and relive these moments with me...

 SpiceJet lands.... the Boeing 737 does look like a fat sausage.... unlike the sleek and slender fuselage of the Airbus A320!
An IndiGo A320 lands....
The ATR72 looks a bit funny, much like a kid waiting in anticipation....
An Ethiopian Boeing 757 departs for Addis Ababa

Holding on the taxiway, watching the activity on Runway 9-27.... 
Seeing the Air Mauritius Airbus A340 depart for Plaisance (MRU) gave me goosebumps.... a heady cocktail of nostalgia and excitement...

Rotate on full throttle..... with lovely views of the Juhu Versova beach.....

And finally Up In The Air..... that's where I belong!!!!
That reminds me of Joe Cocker's "Up Where We Belong....."

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