Holiday in Kuwait Part 1

I’ve been off twitter and haven’t blogged in a while and I truly apologize for it! but I’ve got so much stuff to tell you about it might take a while to tell you all about the fantastic/foodastic time I spent in the City/State of Kuwait.

2 months back on yahoo messenger a convo with my uncle in Kuwait went something like this:

Uncle: I want you to book tickets to make your stay last at least a month.

Me: A month?? you mean 30 days?? But mamu (that’s what I call my uncle) that’s too long! I’ve got a pile of work to do, a ton of exams to give so much other stuff I’m swamped! hows does 2 weeks sound?

Uncle: 2 weeks will just fly by! trust me you have no idea!

Me: (thinking: err the whole Country is about the size of my city, Mumbai… how long will it take to see?) Err Ok mamu, lets meet halfway.. how does 3 weeks sound?

Uncle: It’s still short but as you wish!

Well I was proved wrong. Really wrong. Kuwait was awesome… a ton of places to see a ton of food to try and I went crazy! It’s a small country with a lot of style and a lot of food. I came back with 10 gigs of photo memory (a sizable chunk comprising of food+me eating it).

The entire holiday went by so fast and I have a blurry collection of images in my head (thank God for digital cameras)

Where do I start? from the start perhaps..

It was a short flight; 4 and half hours, night flight + economy ticket = get your own food! but the view was pretty satisfying.

Leaving home…

This was when we were flying over Daman. It was something like 5.30 am

By the time we reached the Kuwait it was 45.C and the hot desert sun showed no mercy. We needed nourishment! motadella and egyptian cheese.

A teaspoon tablespoon of Labneh and some stuffed olives thrown in and it didn’t take long for it to become my daily fix.

Shopping! This is Avenues, it’s the largest mall in Kuwait. It’s freakishly big.. we spent eight hours in there and barely covered one section of it!

I spent a lot of time in supermarkets and really did a lot of research on different types of spices and local ingredients.

And not to forget the awesome yet not so traditional things.. cool tools at Ikea.

Traditional food converted into fast food? we’ll this is  supposed to be Shawarma, but it’s in a bread roll.. verdict: delicious.

I think one of the highlights of the trip was the visit to the Kuwait towers. I mean just look them!

The biggest tower is the viewing one and you can see the entire city from up there..

But probably the best part of the Kuwait towers is the complementary ice-cream with the entry ticket… and you can’t eat ice-cream alone…

Then there was the day we spent on the beach.. seaweed (not edible but so pretty)

Followed by  a barbecue.. (totally edible)

Failaka island was beautiful.. nothing much to do there though… a lot of ruins from the war.

The hot desert sun made me really hungry. Well I just reached out for a quick snack… a word of advice: unripe dates aren’t particularly palatable.

There’s a lot more!

I’ve barely scraped the surface of my foodie escapades..but I’d like to break it down for you to digest! this was just part1.

August 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm 4 comments

Oyster Sauce Stuffed Mushrooms

I absolutely love mushrooms. Not only are they yum but they can be made in a million creative ways.  Stuffing mushrooms is so easy and makes  for really fancy-shmancy appetizers.

I wanted a steak-like taste. My answer oyster sauce.

So oyster sauce + dark soy + mozzerella cheese + veggies + mushroom = Pure delicious joy.

Stuffing is not possible without “de-stemming” the mushrooms. You need to be really careful when you do this. (I admit there were a couple of casualites on the way)

What  you need:

1 small red onion, chopped

1 green chili, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

25 med sized button mushrooms, “de-stemmed”

1/4 cup green peas, semi cooked

4 tbs oyster sauce

1.5 tbs dark soy

1 tsp vinegar

Just a  bit of salt

1/4 tsp pepper powder

1tbs Oil to Sautee

1tbs olive oil to drizzle

What to do:

1. Heat oil in a skillet.  Fry the onions, garlic and chili.

2. Add the peas when the onions appear translucent. Add 1 tbs of the oyster sauce, all the vinegar, soy, salt and pepper. Sautee briefly and remove from heat.

3. Toss mushroom heads in the rest of the oyster sauce and olive oil,  and a bit of salt and pepper.

4. Place mushrooms in a deep baking dish, heads down and stuff with the onion and peas mixture. Place a small cube of cheese on top.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes on 180 C  or pan-fry, covered for 10 minutes till the oyster sauce starts sticking to the skillet.

On the pan… just about to melt..

Ok now they have melted.

One word sums it.. YUM.

July 24, 2009 at 6:08 am 2 comments

Miniature Pancakes

OK why miniature??

I don’t know! just a whim! but they were super cute. I like pancakes once in a while. If I crave for pancakes as a main course, it’s got to be the paper-thin no rise kind.

But If it’s a  decadent Sunday Morning breakfast, I go for the fluffy baking powder kind.

What you need

1 large egg (the fluffier the pancake, the better)

1 cup flour (I used whole)

3/4 cup milk (I used soy)

1/4 tsp baking powder

Salt to taste

What to do:

1. Sift flour with baking powder.

2. Mix everything in a bowl and whisk till a thick-ish consistency is obtained

3. Pour in small ladleful’s onto a hot greased skillet

4. Cover and cook on low for a minute on each side.

5. Serve warm

July 11, 2009 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Glucose, Sucrose, Lactose, Fructose…(My books are here!)

That was the title of the last email that Tapas from flipkart sent me.

If you are totally clueless about anything in this post, let me explain in brief (or click here for the full story). A month back, I was frustrated with my excessive sugar consumption and decided to do something about it. I put myself on a “Sugar free Challenge” for a month and promised my own self that I would buy two books as a treat if I stuck with my challenge for the whole month. The two books were linked to www.flipkart.com. Now Flipkart.com is this great online bookstore based in India with virtually every book under the sun available on it and I recently discovered it. So Tapas from Flipkart graciously offered to sponsor my challenge! yes he actually did that! 🙂

So we’ve been exchanging emails over the past one month, checking on my progress. His hilarious emails always crack me up!

I opened my mailbox this morning and saw a new email from Tapas. I just started replying when the door bell rang. Any guesses people?

I was handed a neat cardboard box with flipkart printed in loop all over it. Talk about perfect timing 😀

I don’t know how I even managed to click a photo of the carton because I was DYING to rip it open!

Once I DID rip it open I started clicking photos right away.. even before I could remove the plastic cover!

So my books are here! 😀

Ahh!! I still can’t believe it! Molecular gastronomy.. (I could cry with happiness like right now)

and Small Batch baking! (something tells me I’m going to read this one first ;))

More publicity shots of my Bee-auti-ful books.

So this past one  month has been AWESOME…

Thank you sooo much Tapas and Flipkart.. this has been absolutely wonderful! 😀 (I’m really at a loss of words :))

July 3, 2009 at 7:29 am 9 comments

June Top Tens: Blog Envy + Mushroom and Red Cabbage Momos

A Bountiful Kitchen’s Flaky Pineapple pastry http://abountifulkitchen.blogspot.com/search/label/dessert
world foodie Guide Momos
simply recipes bruschetta with tomato and basil http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/bruschetta_with_tomato_and_basil/

Another fun Top Tens event by Caitlin at Food Nerd. This one’s called ‘Blog Envy’  This month we had to compile a list of the recipes from blogs that we’ve been ‘meaning to make’..So I pulled out my bookmarks folder and sorted to arrive at these top ten recipes… Oh there’s more, we’ve got to make one of the recipes from the list! but before that the list!

1. Bruschetta with tomato and basil from Simply Recipes.

2. Sweet/Savory Pies by Culinarty

3.  Chocolate Cherry muffins from Passionate about baking

4. Creamy Oreo Pie by the Purple Foodie

5.  Dulche Le Leche from Cafe Johnsonia

6. Fruit Soup by Sweet Basil

7. Sheermal by Health Nut

8. Flaky Pineapple pastry by A Bountiful Kitchen

9. Chicken of the Woods with Walnut Mayo by Eat like A Girl

10. Momos by World Foodie Guide

And I made the momos! World Foodie Guide’s blog doesn’t quite have a very detailed description of the recipe so I made my own just getting the general idea from the site.

‘Momos’ are a Tibetan version of the dumpling. It’s basically a wet flour wrapper that’s filled with any stuffing you like, mostly ground meat and spices and the dough is folded over the stuffing and pinched together to form a dumpling. These dumplings are steamed and eaten with a dipping sauce.

I had this beautiful red cabbage in my vegetable draw and I tossed it up with equal portions of mushrooms to make the juiciest momos that I’ve ever tasted.

What you need:

for the momo wrapper

2 cups whole flour (wayyy better results with all purpose.. but you know me 😉

water to knead

oil for greasing

For the filling:

1 cup chopped red cabbage

1 cup chopped mushroom

1 green chili

1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1.5 tsp Chinese five spice powder

1 tsp lemon juice

salt as per taste

What to do:

1. Make the wrapper: knead the flour and water to make a soft, elastic dough. Shape into small balls. Cover and keep aside.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl

3. Roll out each ball and spoon a bit of the filing in the centre

4. Pinch the edges together and secure on top. Ensure that there is absolutely no way for the filling to get out of the wrapper

5. Steam in a greased steamer for 20 minutes. That’s it!

I just loved the color till I noticed my stained chopping board…

Oh who cares about the stains? the finished result was soo good!

So you’re wondering  I know she made the momos but what in the world is that white/red thingie?

It’s Hummus with paprika!

Now you’re thinking what kind of person eats a middle-eastern condiment with a Tibetan dumpling?

well I do. Great combination btw!

I’m really enjoying the top tens event! thanks again Caitlin! do hop over to her blog and check out the next top tens!

July 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

Wormy

Remember that episode on Spongebob Squarepants about Wormy?

Sandy leaves SbSp and Pat in charge of her cute pet worm who becomes a pretty butterfly in the morning (and almost destroys bikini bottom)

I had a similar episode today morning when I sat down to eat my (frugal) breakfast (of Champions).. today I picked Corn Flakes (99% fat free please) and exactly 200 ml of (Skim) Milk.

OK so maybe I didn’t sing “a friend is a friend till the end of the end”  with a worm but he was in my bowl! 

So I’m already doing a no sugar challenge and all I ask is for a decent breakfast to keep me fueled for a bit. So this little guy shows up in my bowl before I could place a large spoonful right into my mouth. I almost threw up.

A barely broken-in carton of Kellogs Corn flakes. But in the midst of the grief  and shock, I thought, hey maybe I could expose these MNCs for what they were.. money sucking worms (pun not intended).

I first read the Carton for expiry. Long time for that.

Then I looked for a helpline number. But before I could find that, I saw a sign on the tab  “Store in an airtight container to prevent infestations” 

There you go. Damn you wormy, I still lost my breakfast!

Oh I also discovered that corn flakes have sugar! (note to self: read the labels!)

So wormy are you the good guy or the bad guy?

June 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Flipkart.com : Flipping Nice Guys!

* Update on The 30 days NO sugar Challenge!… I got Sponsored!*

flipkart_india

I prefer buying books online. It’s so convenient.

You want to hear something really stupid that I do? I browse about for hours in bookstores but end up buying online.

Maybe its not so stupid actually. First of all buying online is convenient and cheap. Second you can buy just about any book ever published. Third you get to read reviews before you buy them. Fourth you can find newer/older editions and buy what you want.. not just what’s available.

I’ve been buying books from a website called Indiplaza.in for years right from the time it was Fabmall.com. I can’t even count the number of orders I’ve placed there. They didn’t have a large collection and often the book covers would be “no image to display” but since there weren’t any other better websites, I thought it was the best.

Sometime back however I had a pretty bad experience. I ordered a book that never came. No one even contacted me about it and after a month I get a lousy apology letter and a idiotic “customer experience improvement survey” link (like that’s going to be pretty!) So I stopped buying there.

In my first sem at college in 2006 I borrowed this book from the college library Moment Of Truth: Redefining The Ceo’s Brand Management Agenda. The Biggest mistake of my life. I accidentally dropped it on the railway tracks (smart ha?) and I had to return it. They didn’t want the money! they wanted the book! Apparently it was an imported book and impossible to get. I have hunted all over the city for that book! I’ve googled it a million times and never got an Indian website that sold it.

So I ended up buying a second hand copy from barnes and nobles and the shipping was more expensive than the book. It costed me 3 months worth pocket money.

Remember Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Well I saw it on amazon and I really wanted to buy it. After my fallout with Indiaplaza.in I wasn’t going there. So I decided to google ” Baked: New frontiers + India + online book store”

flipkart.com was the first link. A new site? I suppose so but they have it! yay! I searched for more books. And more and more.. they had them all (with images and descriptions please)! OK time for the acid test… the moment of truth.. (pun not intended). I punched in the name of that damned college library book.  I FOUND. THAT. BOOK.

Where were you in 2006??!

I ordered Baked and Ben&Jerry’s Ice Cream book and you know how much I’ve been raving about those books.

Okay now back to the point..

This is actually and update on the 30 Days No Sugar Challenge.

Remember I linked two books http://twurl.cc/11lo

and http://twurl.cc/11lp as what I get for winning the challenge?

well guess what? some really nice people at Flipkart.com actually decided to sponsor my challenge!

Oh wow! all I have to do is NOT eat sugar and I get two great books!

That as Tapas, a nice guy over at flipkart mentioned is ‘the icing on the cake’.. I couldn’t agree more ( even though I can’t eat any of that! 🙂 )

Wish me luck people! Its Day 7 of the challenge and I’m going pretty strong! (touch wood)

Thank you (oh so much!) Flipkart and Tapas (no issues with me using your name right?)

And if it really wasn’t clear enough I’m a fan + customer for life 😀

Oh and do visit http://www.flipkart.com/ it really has a great collection of books and free shipping in India!

June 9, 2009 at 2:40 am 10 comments

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