Saturday, February 28, 2015

BM # 50 Chennai Meet - Day 1 , Day 2

Friday 20th Feb
BM Meet begins 
Dress code Green 
Wake up time 5 a.m 

Scene in the kitchen

Breakfast cooked by our host Padma
Hot idlis ( batter grinded by Veena)
Kanjeevaram idlis

Friends started coming in by 9.30
Lot of commotion as all come in.
Meantime preps for lunch in process.
Drinks being made by Kamallika.

The lunch Menu
Korma with idlis by Padma
Chaawal ki Bhaakri with Zunka and Thecha by Pradnya.
The thecha was made in mortar and pestle and Kalyani did the hard work.
Fresh green garlic rice with fresh green peas by me.
Cucumber raita by mixed hands.
Ginnu by Archana
The meal that was prepared was as good as a demo  for me as I was very keen on learning the chaawal ki baakhri and the kaanjeeveram idlis .
Frankly speaking I did not bother to see how the dessert was made, and truly repented, it had turned out awesome.

Next a display of the variety of bananas available in Chennai, thanks to Veena, who got a huge pack of these , Nandini sweetly labelled them all. The Chennaites giggled away, amused that I had no clue about this variety...wonder if it was my ignorance or their mischief which made them giggle.

Celebration Time begins!!
We have birthdays of two members in this month, one had already passed by, the other was yet to come!! 

Happy Brthday Kalyani!
Happy Birthday Valli !

Time for the BM photo shoot!!
Dress code - white with the BM # 50 aprons , yes the aprons were designed by me, and I want to make for BM # 75 too, but of course hope to make many many more..which means we want more participants . Are you girls listening? Get ready, time will fly off.

A photography class by Usha.
It was interesting to see how she had placed the luggage bags as reflectors.
She had saved some korma from the lunch menu and showed us how to click.

Time to get dressed in a traditional attire.
All in beautiful saris, adorned in beautiful jewelry and of course how could we miss the flowers in the hair.
All dressed we wanted to give a toast to the BM , and could anything be better than some shots! Hey wait...these were non alcoholic pani puri shots , which really hit all of us, since they were dead spicy!!

It was about time we all headed for the beautiful traditional dinner arranged by PJ at Anna Laksmi.

Since Valli sat next to me she kept guiding me on the details of the meals served.
All I know is that it was beyond me to eat that heavy meal, I totally skipped the desserts.
On getting back home it was time to give and receive the goodies. A lot of effort had gone in planning these and all we could hear was Oohs and Ahs! There was a special gift for our host Padma, who blushed like a little girl on receiving it.

The only concern was to carry the gifts back, but guess a solution comes up automatically !
It was time to sleep, but the girls wanted some mid night fun and we had little Ishku entertaining us and Nandini giving us tips and some briefing
 on sour dough.
A lot more entertainment, with all telling their own stories, a lot of giggling, lot of blushing..finally around 4 we knocked down only to be up by 5 as we had plans to go to the beach.

Day 2
21st Feb, Saturday
Color code - pink
Time - 5.30 a.m

The Beach
Groggy faces, Sleepy eyes, yet everyone had to get up and get ready to leave for the beach.
By the time all got into the cars, everyone's faces lit up.
A few went into the water, but a few preferred to just to be together and gossip.

Breakfast at woodlands

Since we did not get one big table, all got divided into groups.
Veena , PJ and I shared one
PJ was busy with little Siddhu, and Veena and I caught up.
Once again I felt we shared a strong bond.

After getting home
Dress code Blue
Back into cars
Shopping at Waltax road- bakery products
I really didn't need anything, just picked a mini cookie cutter set.
Nandini took some of us for prop shopping, which was amazing, Thanks dear!!

Off for Lunch
Venue E Hotel
Hosts- Padma and her hubby
It was a buffet and quite elaborate
I just had some Daal with weak point, as I prefer roti to rice.
I wanted to gorge on the desserts, which were all eggless.

The desserts
Mocha pastry
Pineapple mousse
Walnut Banana Bread
Gulab Jamun
Ice cream with various toppings

Time for Usha to leave
The first member was leaving, everyone got emotional.
Welled eyes:(

Next some super demos by the chefs
Chef Balaji
Chef Hari Babu
Adai with drum stick leaves, Keppai Roti as it is called
Steamed rice dumplings, Kara Kozhukattai

In the dessert section
Chocolate mousse
Toffee filled chocolates
I could just taste with a lick, as the tummies could not accept any more food.

Back home.
Rushing to get ready in Red for the dinner.
The dinner was arranged in a banquet hall.
It had a surprise element, which some how I had guessed, but kept mum.
Ah the Chennai traffic!!
We were late .

Chennai friends families were there, which was the surprise element.
It was wonderful to meet everyone in person.
I was very keen on meeting Atthama and Amma, (yes Vallis mom and mil, )and take their blessings. I felt I knew them so well as I have been associated with them through Vallis posts.
It was fun meeting the kids , though they were a little shy.
Again the menu was rather elaborate, but by now tummy had reached its saturation point, and I could only taste a few dishes ...just by teaspoons.
Once we were back home most of the members conked off, I got busy packing my excess luggage as I had to hand it over to my son in law who was in Chennai for a day.
Finally made to bed around 2ish, only to be up by.....come back and read tomorrow:))
and yes this my Day 2 post under special theme .
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM # 49
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

On your mark get set - Chennai BM # 50 Meet !!

By now most of you friends know that we have a group where we post recipes every month under different themes, and this group is conducted by our leader Srivalli. The group is called the Blogging Marathon group.The members of this group live all over the world and this month we complete 50 months of this marathon. To mark a celebration , we decided to celebrate and have a meet. The BM # 25 was a big hit when some of us met up in Ahmadabad. The BM # 50 was even a greater one.Let me give you some glimpses of this meet.

The participant Bloggers

The little participants

The planing for the meet stared almost five months back. I remember the day when the Jet announced some cheap tickets in all sectors. My hubby immediately asked me to book my tickets, but without finalizing the Meet dates, it was not possible, so I called Valli and we quickly on the spot finalized the date. I booked the tickets, unbelievably these were low cost ticket, so I told the friends about it, and Archana booked them right away. Time flew by and during this time lots of mails wats app messages were exchanged to organize the meet. We wanted to make the most of this.

Well for us it was just to prepare the goodie bags, but the Chennai Team had lots to do. Time flies by and the BM dates were approaching, I stopped eating all junk, I simply could not afford to fall sick, my hubby was amazed at all the preps that I was doing, he felt I was preparing for a family wedding. Well sure was a big event.
Since Pondicherry is so close to Chennai , I was very keen on visiting it, so asked Archana if she too was. I got support and next we asked Padma, she was in too. Finally a trip to Pondicherry was decided .

Ok I was planning on giving you glimpses but I have been jabbering non stop, I am sure if I go on you guys will end up thinking what a crazy person I am!!
Ok now the actual glimpses.

My departure for Chennai
18 th Feb

Pick up by Veena.
Met Veena for the first time, 
A little about Veena
A beautiful tall lady with a very very warm heart. I instantly clicked with her and some how got close to her in that one hour. Veena, you are a beautiful person and now a stronger bond has developed between us.

Joined in by Archana around an hour late.
The three of us gossiped non stop while going on the heavy traffic Chennai roads.

Scene at Padma , who was our host!!
Warm Welcome!!
 We have more blogger friends waiting.
What do we have ?
Warm big hugs.
Padma's vibrant lighted face in happiness.

Dinner prepared by Padma
Aaloo fry
Potlakaya Kura
Dosakaya Pappu
Later Usha and Pradnya joined in.
Valli came in with Konda to receive us.
More hugs and lot of chitter chatter. 
After Valli and the the other friends left we started organizing our goodie bags and finally slept with an alarm of 5 a.m. 

19th Feb Thursday
Pondicherry trip by road
Innova arranged by Veena

Pondicherry is a popular tourist destination and about 3 hours from Chennai. The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues which, combined with the systematic town planning and planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance.


The most popular tourist destinations are the four beaches in Pondicherry, which are Promenade Beach(also known locally as the Rocky Beach), Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Strangely, this place had some kind of magnetism and we loved sitting there with pin drop silence. We also visited their paper factory and their weaving unit. 

Auroville (City of Dawn) is an "experimental" township located 8 km north-west of Pondicherry. It is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Their organic natural handmade products caught everyone's attraction. 

There are a number of old and large churches in Pondicherry, most of which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. A number of heritage buildings and monuments are the centre of attraction for tourists.

We left early and before we could stop for breakfast we munched some snacks which Usha had got . These were new for me , called Appalu and Sinallu. We stopped for breakfast at a place called Aarya. it had amazingly soft idlis, Pongal and crispy crunchy dosas.

We had lunch at one of the cafes, which was built in a rather rustic French style. 
And here is something that we did just for fun!!

On the way back to Chennai we stopped by at Taj Fisherman's clove to get the feel of the beach and our last halt for the day was Savarna Bhawan for dinner.

I enjoyed a typical Tamil meal, where as the rest were happy with their dosas and mini meals.

It had been a hectic day and we all needed rest. The BM meet was to start the next day and we had loads planned up. 

So shall see you guys tomorrow.
This is my Day 1 post for the last week of BM # 50

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Peanut Masala

BM # 49 Week 3 Day 3

The peanut Masala is a tit bit for which we get maximum orders. While people are waiting for their orders to be executed they normally order Peanut Masala. This is as good as a chat, minus the chutneys. It is crunchy, it is spicy and it is also tangy. People simply love it. This Peanut Masala is quite addictive and one just can't stop at one portion. The minute you think of a second portion order, guilt strikes you. Absolutely no reasons to be guilty, you could even roast the peanuts and proceed in the same manner.This Masala Peanut is my Day 3 post under restaurant accompaniments.

1 cup peanuts
11/2 cups onions, finely chopped
1 cup tomatoes, pulp removed, finely chopped
2 green chilly, finely chopped
Coriander leaves
Chaat masala
Lemon juice
Salt to taste
Deep fry the peanuts till golden.
Add all the ingredients and mix well.
The lemon juice and Spices can be adjusted according to taste.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tangy Spicy Salsa

BM # 49  Week 3  Day 2

While on my holiday to US , I remember when ever we visited most restaurants we got a bowl of salsa with nachos. I remember munching on this Mexican tit bit and spending lot of time gossiping till our meal was served. Yes, for this week I am posting restaurant tit bits. Well this is not the typical salsa but a cooked version which my daughter in law makes. Yes it is a little oily but trust me delicious to the core. It can also be stored for a good few weeks in the refrigerator.
Let's check the recipe....

Spicy cooked Salsa
1 /2 cup garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, roughly chopped
2-3 cups tomatoes, finely chopped
2_2 jalapeños chopped
1 tsp ketchup
Salt to taste
Olive oil
Add garlic to olive oil.
Saute for a minute or two.
Add onions and Saute for another minute.
Add tomatoes and let them cook.
Once the tomatoes are done and oil starts separating, add salt, ketchup , jalapeños and a few drops of lemon juice.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Masala Papad

BM # 49  Week 3  Day 1

When we go down to restaurants and by the time we place our order and it is served we always order some quick bites which can be served right away, yes this is the theme for this week of BM . Accompaniments at a restaurant.

For the first day I am serving Masala Papad. This is something which I really like, for me I relish it quite often . I normally have my lunch at home and while coming back from restaurant , yes that's my work place I sometimes order a masala papad, so it keeps me going by the time I reach home. This papad is normally fried, but I prefer it roasted.This should be served right away as it becomes soggy . So the next time you go to an Indian restaurant don't forget to order a masala papad...or wait, why don't you make one right away it will take only a few minutes.

Masala Papad
2 papads, fried or roasted
1/2 cup mix of onion, tomato, cucumber.
Coriander leaves
Chaat masala

Roast or fry the Papad.
Sprinkle theonion mix.
Sprinkle coriander leaves, Chaat masala .
Serve immediately.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chettinad Biryani - Tamil Nadu Special for ICC

I missed the last months ICC and Valli told me that it had turned out really delicious, and I repented. This time I did not want to miss and planned to cook the Biryani as soon as Valli announced it. The hitch was the Jeera Samba rice and the whole spices which go into this Biryani, but after trying at the Kerala store, which was my only resort , I gave up. I did get the shallots but not the marati moggu . After speaking to Padma and Valli I decided to use the short grain rice that we get here.

While the biryani was cooking the house was filled with a wonderful aroma, I was so tempted to try it right away, but waited for everyone to get back home so we could enjoy the dinner together.Iserved onion raita and a simple cucumber tomato salad.
Normally the Biryanis that I prepare are made with basmati rice, which is really aromatic and has a long grain. A Biryani with short grain rice was new to all, but everyone relished it as it had awesome flavors. The combination of onion raita along with the biryani was a hit and I have been asked to include this in our regular menu.Thanks PJ for suggesting this Biryani.

Chettinad Biryani
2 cups mixed vegetables
3 cups rice, any short grained
300 gms Sambar onions, shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tomatoes, large, chopped
4 green chillies, slit and break into two
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 bunch mint leaves
1/4 bunch coriander leaves
20 cashews, fried
2 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
41/2 cups water

2 bay leaves
1" piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 cup oil

The original recipe calls for
1 no marati moggu
Annachi poo
( I could not get them here so I made the Biryani without these)

Dice the potatoes,carrots into cubes
Slice beans into 1" pieces
Cut cauliflower into small flowerets.
Some washed fresh peas.
Wash the rice and soak in 4 cups water for 30 mins.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
Add whole spices under tempering.
Add onions and green chillies, Saute till onion turns translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add coriander and mint leaves leaving a few for garnish.
Add all the vegetables, dry spices and tomatoes.
Cook till the tomatoes are tender.
Add 1/4 cup of water and let boil.
Once the water and veggies boil, add the soaked rice along with the water.
Add salt.
Stir well .
Let cook till half the water is reduced by half.
Close the lid of the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 7-8 minutes on slow fire.
This should be about 3 hisses.
Let the pressure drop and then open the cooker.
Add fried cashews, ghee and garnish with coriander and mint.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chawaran ji Koki

BM # 49  Week 2  Day 3

 For day 3 under Indian breads I have a very interesting bread for you guys. This could be prepared with left over cooked rice. I am sure this must have been a innovation to use the left over rice. The rice could be pulsed, but a potato masher can be used too. The idea is to get soft rice which is slightly mushy.I have used just the basic spices , but one can try with different spices and herbs too.

The Koki is soft and delicious and actually one can just roll it up and eat . You could serve this roti with Sindhi Aaloo or curd or pickle .


Chawaran ji Koki
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 green chillies
1/4 tsp dry mango powder
Few coriander leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Using a mixer, add green chilly and rice and pulse till the rice is mushy.
Add flour, oil, salt and dry Mano powder and pulse again.
You could use your dough maker or mix with hands too.
Add coriander leaves and mix again.
Make 4 even sized balls.
Roll just like a chapati, you will not require any flour for dusting.
Cook on a non stick gridle.
When both sides are partially cooked apply ghee and flip over, again apply ghee and roast the other side too.
Serve hot with curd or pickle.


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