January 31, 2010


When i was moving to Bangalore, the most prized possessions of my luggage were the gas stove, rice cooker and utensils that i had got from home. Apart from shifting base and starting work, the next most exciting thing for me was to set up the kitchen, experiment with cooking and also trying out food at different eat outs.
After being astounded by the prices on the menu in the various restaurants i visited and being not-so-happy about the taste, I have resorted to eating out only once a while when some place is very highly recommended.
These days, whenever my flat mates and i feel like eating something, we generally google the recipe or call back home to find out how it is made and then start work in the kitchen. Since cafeteria food is plain boring, lunch is also cooked and gets packed in the ubiquitous tupperware boxes. Of course, half of our ideas for the lunch box are borrowed from the friend whose mom packs delicious sabjis to go with his chapathis and paratha each day.
With so much cooking happening, the three of us at home end up spending half of our non office hours cooking and exchanging notes in the kitchen, over a steaming pot. Whether it is a full meal or just a cup of adrak ki chai, the pleasure of eating stuff that is a result of one's own effort is simply unmatched(even when it turns out not-so-great sometimes). So we thought we should start a food blog( here we go! Don't we have enough of them already?! Maybe yes, but we need to document our culinary achievements somewhere! ;) ).
Perfecting the art of cooking is a process that takes years. We are just starting off. And as long as i am, i will cook. And as long as cooking happens, i will post. Here is hoping that the blog is a document of our progress as cookers( that's what we like to call ourselves ;) ) And also hoping that the three many cooks don't end up spoiling the broth.

January 26, 2010

Phir Mile Sur? Nah!

I am a big fan of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. I remember watching it on DD as a kid and singing along with it, making up lyrics in the languages that i did not know. When i heard that it was going to be remade with the current actors, musicians and sportspersons, i was thrilled. This was last week. I have waited one whole week for its Republic Day launch. And in the meantime, i have watched its making on Youtube, told about it to friends, and when they asked if it was going to be on DD again, i said, No. Its on Zoom- isko dekho. ;)So i wake up early today morning to watch it on Zoom. It started off well with A R Rahman and Big B. But yes, like all remakes, as it progressed, it was disappointing. Despite the fresh faces and all the hype, it did not work for me. And this is why:
  • My personal grievance is that Hrithik was not featured in the video.
  • It failed to hold my attention after the first time. My dad asks me halfway through the video- is it a one hour program?
  • Suriya and Vikram should have in the same frame when the Tamizh bit came on. And what happened to Kamal Hassan?
  • Where are the cricketers?
  • The diversity came across very well with the multifarious actors but i failed to see the unity.
  • I could see that people on screen were acting in most parts. The effortlessness on screen that was in the original was missing. It looked like it was more about looking good than being a part of a national integration video.
  • Among the over-actors are Priyanka Chopra, Shahid and Deepika. The leggy Deepika, for God's sake looked like she dropped in directly after shooting for some ad! And you could have given the remix of Bakhuda Tumhi ho as playback for Shahid's part and not known that he was actually crooning mile sur into the mike!

But it also worked for me in bits-

  • Salman Khan with the deaf and mute kids. It was really touching.
  • The bit with Shobhana and Shaimak Davar doing some sort of jugalbandi.
  • Atul and Sonali Kulkarni- they looked real.
  • Amir Khan's taare zameen par inspired part.
  • Sivamani drumming by the lakeside.
  • The last part of the video with the sports persons- that was when i could actually see this feeling of National integration and pride of being Indian on screen. Thats perhaps because they were not acting!

The original had some really memorable parts:

  • The mahout on the elephant during the malayalam playback.
  • Amitabh, Jeetendra and Mithun, arm in arm, singing Mile Sur like they meant it.
  • Shabani Azmi's part. Where do we have actors like her these days?!

The older version, like most people are saying now, is untouchable. It is simple, charming and works because it has real people. This one is more bollywood centric, glamorous and a poorer cousin of the original. It so totally proved that Zoom TV is behind its making! Isko dekho par without any expectation!

PS: Bad day for me. Nadal pulled out of the Australian Open. Was hoping for a Nadal- Federer final!

January 24, 2010

Ooty- Sidewalk Cafe

Ever since i watched the Ooty episode of Highway On My Plate(HOMP), i have wanted to go
there for the sole purpose of eating at the places that were featured on the show.
Last weekend provided the perfect opportunity. It had been two weeks since work resumed after the shutdown and we badly wanted to get away someplace. Ended up rounding up a bunch
of people- friends, friends of friends and off we went to Ooty.

First stop was at Pykara and we stopped at one of the home made chocolate stores to pick up
an assortment of chocolates, tea and essential oils.
A long road trip from Mysore to Ooty and the walk at Pykara got us all hungry and we knew
where to go for brunch- The Sidewalk cafe. However, we could make only by lunch time and we settled down to order some pizzas that they are famous for.

After placing our order for the pizzas and sizzlers we asked their manager if we could take a peek at their famous firewood oven. The genial manager let us into the place where they baked the pizzas and let us all help the chef with the making and baking. And not only that, each of us was allowed to don the chef's hat, turn by turn and we posed away merrily for pictures!

The pizzas came out of the oven nice and hot( They had to.After all, we had helped them make it) and we wolfed down the Sidewalk specialty pizza, a spinach pizza called Popeye
something and a jain pizza. The sizzler had the yummiest and creamiest pasta that i had eaten till date.

The place has some really nice desserts on offer too. Not only that, you can also take your pick at some of their tasty chocolates- run and raisins, walnuts, almonds, cashewnuts and the like.

Sidewalk cafe is a laid back and warm place. I was delighted to see framed, old coca-cola
print advertisements adorning the walls. The baking place is modeled like a bar where you
can sit around on barstools and watch your pizza getting done. Apparently, the place gets really crowded during the evenings. Since we made it slightly early for lunch, we missed the rush. It
allowed us to sit back and enjoy the lunch at leisure. At the end of it, i knew that it was
one more name added to my satisfied-after-eating-here list. Seems the place has become more famous after it was featured on HOMP. I am gonna recommend it to all of you too. Do not miss it if you visit Ooty.

A heavy lunch and then it was time for shopping at Charring Cross- more chocolates,plants and woolens. Eating and shopping- the ultimate indulgence during an outing! :)

So much so,that we forgot that there were other places to cover before we headed back to
Mysore. Somehow wrapped up all the places before sundown and headed back. Spotted elephants on the way, in the bandipur forest, quietly grazing at night.
It was a single day out to Ooty but i got back with my batteries charged. And each time one of the plants from back there flowers, it is going to remind me of the trip and bring a smile on my face.