Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Bread Blogathon begins!

I am on a journey towards turning out that perfect loaf of whole wheat bread(and I'm going to blog about every loaf of course ;)), and to first figure out all the touchy feely aspects of baking bread I was advised to start with white bread :)! Felt a bit weird to me as I try a lot to minimize white flour/maida in my cooking and baking, and a packet of maida lasts for ages at my home, but considering that the store bought ones are nearly completely maida anyway, this didn't sound a bad idea at all.

My first attempt was using the famous James Beard recipe for white bread that I found online here. Most recipes seem to be for 2 loaves, so instead of tampering with the amounts to adjust for one loaf, I decided to play it safe and follow the recipe. I then made a part of it, and refrigerated the rest for the next morning. The only tweak was using Olive Oil instead of butter of course ;). This is what it looked like:

I found that the first rising did not take as long as the recipe mentions, probably because of the warmer weather we have here. When I checked after little more than an hour, it was nicely fluffed and double in size already!

The loaf looks brilliant from the outside, but I found that the insides were a little underdone, especially in the centre. Still trying to figure this out, as I have a convection oven, and even using a lower temperature seems to brown the loaf on the outside very fast. On browsing I found that using foil to cover up the bread after it's half done will stop it from browning/burning on the outside, so got to try that next. Also need to see some videos to learn the correct kneading techniques I guess :).

The dish accompanying it for dinner was Fish Moily - a dish from Kerala that I learnt from my mom-in-law. It's made with seerfish, and has a nice sweet/spicy/tangy combination because of the coconut mik and tomato combination along with green chillies for spice.

Friday, July 06, 2012

They make life fun :)

Yes, I do try to write about them too once in a while ;).

A few days back, I was rushing S to put on his socks and get ready for school.
S: Yes, I won't delli(delay) you any further!
Me: Wow, where did you learn such a sentence from S? (expecting to hear - from D!)
S: Chota Bheem !!
Me: :x !!!

About D, so so many things she says that I don't write down Grrr! But some of the things that amaze me the most:
  • She insists I must wake her up at 5:45 for school (she needs to leave by 6:50 or so). And on top of that, I just have to call her once for her to wake up and get up out of bed (not my genes at work there definitely ;)!). 
  • She's getting so mature - we went for a Spelling Bee competition yesterday which in any case I hadn't prepared her for much as I didn't see the point of putting her through too much tension at this age, so there were a couple of things she didn't know well at all. She comes out and very soberly tells me "I don't think I have done well enough to go to the next round Amma!". I would have been either angry or bawling I'm sure, but she was quite accepting of it, I hope some of the reason was that she knew I wouldn't be angry or upset about it too :). When it comes to schoolwork I am a bit of a witch to her, but I really feel extra-curricular activities should be fun for children - unless they reach the age when they really understand competition and "want" to win on their own.
And here's a quote just as I was about to publish - "How I wish you were my friend not my parent, then you come with me to school everyday :) !"
Some pics of both of them with their current favourite - the iPod (can be occasionally replaced by the iPhone or my android phone too ;))

Looking up for the click

And back in action :)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Zomato Restaurant Guide 2012 - A review!

It had been a while since I heard from the book review program at BlogAdda, and when I saw the Zomato Restaurant Guide up for review I knew I had to go for it :). Been a while since I bought one of these, since so much of information is available online nowadays, so I thought it would be a nice change to hold a book in my hands instead of feverishly trying to find a shaded place to be able to see/view my phone screen and search with 3G ;).

The book arrived a few days back, and the first impression I got was that it's a great size for putting into your handbag and taking out with you. Sorry guys, it won't quite fit into that pocket though ;), but quite handy to leave around in the car and sneak a peek when you need to. On opening, the categories were the first to catch my eye - for some odd reason (probably living in the past) I was still expecting a "Place-wise" listing other than the usual alphabetical one, but the one that this Zomato guide was a nice surprize! Other than the usual cuisine wise listings such as "Asian and Oriental", "North Indian and Mughlai", there are some very interesting and useful ones like

  • Dining with Kids - Kid friendly places (I can vouch for a couple of these!)
  • Girls' Night Out - Places that are considered safe for women to have a night out - I definitely need to try a couple of these sometime ;).
  • Sunday Brunch
  • Best Wine List
and so on.. You get the idea.

On to the alphabetical listing: Each restaurant is accompanied by its category, address (multiple if it has branches), cuisine, typical cost and timings. Sometimes an additional heading of "facilities" if there is anything specific. Some interesting additions like "Don't Miss!" and an accompanying user review, help to give a feel of what the place is like. Each entry is also accompanied by a QR code which you can use on your smartphone to view the menu of the restaurant on the Zomato site.

I thought the entries for each restaurant were quite concise and useful, without being too wordy they conveyed the basic points needed by a user to decide where to go. The user reviews also sound quite authentic, with not all of them singing praises of the place, but also providing some grounding comments. The use of icons to provide a quick view of points like Vegetarian/Non-vegetarian, Use of credit card and providing delivery services is also a nice touch. The list of restaurants is quite comprehensive and options from street food, as well as fine dining are offered. The odd miss-out may be there of course, but I suppose the book would turn into a phone directory and lose its compact USP if it tried to include every restaurant in Bangalore.

One cannot expect to find a newly opened restaurant in a book that may already have been in the publishing house by that time, but other than that minor issue, this is a very handy guide to have around, and it can always be supplemented by checking further on the internet when looking for a specific place. For a quick look at finding a place when you want to eat say "Street Food", I would absolutely recommend the Zomato Restaurant Guide 2012 :) !

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!