Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Black and White

This is my pick for the Black and White photo challenge.

I took this picture on a bright sunny day, when we had stopped for lunch somewhere near the Simplon Pass. Though Chi isn't her usual smiley self in this one, I simply love the way her eyes shine :)


The Paper Mama

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Fall

My last entry for the 'Mama and Me' contest wasn't a winner... so awful that I didn't even get a special mention! Grrrrrrr I was grouchy for quite a while, and I realised nothing has changed about me... I am such a sore loser! 

Trying my luck again this week with my entry for the 'Fall' Photo Challenge. 

Fall Fairy 

This is Miss Chi trying out her wings for her 'Fall Fairy' halloween costume. She wouldn't stand still for a moment... so this is the best shot I could get! well, what more can you expect from my Little Miss Flying Feet :)
Last Halloween Chi wore a pumpkin costume and looked adorable, but she was too little to be even wonder what the excitement was all about. So this year we are going to have our first proper Halloween.... yay!! I can't help but squeal :) 
I've been buying craft supplies and browsing costume stores. So far, I've given my little girl wings... but there is more to come :) Will update soon!
Till then, keeping my fingers crossed, and relying on my little fairy to cast a winning spell :)

The Paper Mama

Poodle, Potty, Packaging and Peaches

Ever since I've become mommy to Chi, I've been telling all my younger girl friends to have babies as quickly as possible. Mommy-hood is serious business people, you need all the energy and enthusiasm you can possibly muster. 


Unfortunately, I was 31 when Chi was born. So, along with being just plain old lazy, I wasn't very high up on the stamina charts either. I somehow managed to sleep walk through the first grueling year. At 15 months, Chi started sleeping through the night, going to bed on her own, walking, drinking formula milk... and life was looking really good. 

In Mama's shoes... well chappals actually!

Assuming the worst was over, I dared to put my feet up and take a well deserved break. And then... my sweet angel discovered what her feet were for! (Walking is for sissies says she!)

Simple things like shopping or even going outdoors is now a nightmare. Unless she is securely strapped (read tied-down) in her stroller, my aspiring athlete could give the likes of Usain Bolt a run for their money (no pun intended) :)

I had to act quickly! I did the worst thing any mother could do... I bought her a leash! Yeah a leash! Arrrghh, I know... but People, please don't judge me. You have no clue how fast this thing can move! 
To add to my concerns, Chi is a really friendly child... and she does tend to get carried away with her friendliness at times :) At any given chance, she starts chirping 'hi' to anyone who happens to even glance at her, and if they do not look at her, she continues to chirp 'hi' very enthusiastically till they do!!! The fact that she doesn't find strangers strange makes me shudder and tighten my grip on the leash!


I do get the most awful stares, and occasionally there is some pointing and giggling too. I grin like an idiot. So along with all the hip Suisse chickitas walking their fancy chiwawas (who I think are ugly cats pretending to be dogs!), there is me walking my pretty pink poodle :) Well actually she walks me, but then what the hell, I like pretending to be in control :) 

Amidst all the running away, we have made some progress in the potty department. Chi lets me know when she needs to go and is pretty happy sitting on the pot with a book. Once the job is finished, we say bye bye to the previous day's dinner and flush it away. Yay! Only problem is that, I now wake up with a start at the crack of dawn to a loud little voice announcing 'Kaka comingggggg'!!! (Kaka = poo in our mother tongue, Konkani)

Waiting for the day when she makes that trip to the loo alone! 

Leaving you with some recent pics...
We bought a new Nespresso machine. It was a necessity, cause in this part of the world people will drop dead if you serve them just good ol' Nescafe coffee (brings back memories of a train journey to Kolkata, and the shouts of ``Coffeeeeeeee Nes Coffeeeeeee")! I can't figure how anyone can drink such bitter-medicine-type coffee but since my husband is now one of them too, we had to buy one. Chi is the only one who really enjoyed the purchase... this is her crawling in and out of the Nespresso box :)

I do love this picture of my peaches eating oranges :) Chi tasted a sour orange for the first time and didn't even flinch! I think it is time to bring on the karela (bitter gourd). I do love bitter gourd but D refuses to even look at it. So, hoping that Chi has my taste buds and not his!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paper Mama: Mama and Me Photo Challenge

This is the first time I am entering a photo contest. Thanks to digital photography, we now have enough pictures of ourselves to fill a tiny galaxy!

So after sifting through scores of albums, here is my pick for the 'Mama and Me' contest...
I call it 'Colors of Happiness' :)





Menu Madness

We had this wonderful couple and their kids over for lunch yesterday.

As much as I love having people over, the stress that comes along with the whole affair can give me ulcers.

The to-do list is always enormous... the house needs to be spotless (God help if a guest spots a stray cobweb or a fine layer of dust!), the setting has to be perfect (folded napkins, shiny glasses, cushions at the right angle et all), and the killer item on the list.... the menu!

The fact that our guests are 'white' didn't help much, it meant adding a few more agonising hours to the usual endless hours of pondering over the menu!

After consulting the not-so-helpful husband and wracking my exhausted brains, I decided on an elaborate Mangalorian fare - Chicken roce curry, panpale, pepper beans, a salad, sweet pulao and date chutney. But I was still in doubt... should I make a pork dish too? Will they like the sweet pulao? Will they be able to handle the spice? Are there too few items? (I don't think I gave my decision to marry D this much thought! :))

Anyway, before Doubting Daisy went shopping for groceries, something came upon me (I swear it was divine intervention) and I decided to kill the menu! (Shocking I know!!)

A relatively unknown 'Burmese Khao Suey' was picked instead. D was promptly informed and he was aptly horrified! Now it was Doubting D's turn. He said 'How can you make serve something you've never tried before?' To make it worse, he added 'I don't know, it's up to you!' But I did something very out of character... I didn't sway!

And here is the recipe for Burmese Khao Suey!

Ingredients
6 rounds of egg noodles
2 large onions finely sliced
3 large cloves of garlic chopped
2-3 green chillies chopped
1 inch ginger chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp chilli pwd
6 chicken thighs
400 ml coconut milk
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Garnishings:
6 hard boiled eggs
125 gms fresh coriander
5 sprigs of spring onions
Roasted and salted peanuts
2 Lemons
Chilli flakes/ green chillies
2-3 onions
4 -5 cloves of garlic

Method:
To make the chicken broth, first fry the sliced onions in some oil, once they turn translucent, add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the powders, and mix well. Now add the chicken and mix well so that the chicken is coated with the masala. Add enough boiling water to cover the chicken, add lime juice, salt and let the chicken cook.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the garnishings -

In a little oil fry sliced garlic till crisp. Be careful not to burn it. Or, you can save yourself the trouble and buy fried garlic at your nearest Asian store!
In the same oil fry finely sliced onions and till golden brown. Alternatively you can use store bought fried onions.
Quarter the boiled eggs
Chopped the coriander
Chop the spring onions - both the white and the green parts
Slightly crush the peanuts
Make lemon wedges
Chop the green chillies or simply use red chilli flakes from a bottle like I did :)

Once the chicken is cooked, take each piece out of the pan and roughly shred the meat with 2 forks. Add the meat back to the curry and discard the bones. Now, add the coconut milk and let the curry simmer.

Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside. Remember to under cook them a little bit. Just before you are ready to serve, immerse the noodles in boiling water and drain. 

How to serve:
Scoop the noodles into a deep bowl, top it with the chicken broth and load the garnishing as per taste.

Eating Khao Suey is fun since everyone gets to add their own touch to their meal. The lunch went off well, the conversation flowed and people ate well. I'm glad I changed my mind and the menu! It saved me so much time and was so simple.

And yeah, for dessert I served chocolate dipped strawberries with ice cream and chocolate sauce :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chi's Chatter and Cream Cheese

We've have been really busy with guests, lunches, dinners, BBQs, swimming in the pool and the lake, shopping for the India trip... summer couldn't have been better :)

Having my mom around has been a blessing. I have left lil Chi with my tried and tested baby sitter (aka Mom) and gone dancing on a Brazilian boat, chug-chugged on a jazz train, watched a movie after a century, gone drinking for 2 centuries and even taken french lessons!

Meanwhile, Chi has been busy growing up.
She now chatters non-stop. Her vocab now includes:

FAMILY
Dada, mama, Nana, didi (all older children... boys and girls included), dai (dollie), baby (the girl doll/ other babies), baba (the boy doll), daka (penguin pillow), hommm (home)

FOOD
joo (juice), mummm (food), dudu (milk/ water), goo (yoghurt), punu (spoon), bay (bread)

TRANSPORT
shunu (stroller), Car, tennn (train), bo (boat)

ANIMALS
Duckiee (duck), baiee (birdie), moo (cow), woof (dog), go (goat/ sheep and all other similar looking animals)

APPLIANCES
fannn (fan), phone, vooo (vacuum cleaner/ blender)

DRESSING UP
Popo (clothes), thocks (socks), Thoo (shoes), keem (cream), Combbb (comb), bathie (bath), Tie (tie), pan (pant), bae (belt), taka (hair clips)

BODY PARTS
nee (knees), Fee (feet), eye (eyes), tee (teeth), bai (bombli/ belly button)

TOYS
buku (Chi's kannada ishtyle book :)), bai (ball)

OTHERS
aafish (office), Noooo (No), dumma (hurt/ fall), aminga (amigo - spanish for friend), see (C - as in ABC), thee (tree), see (seat/ sit), dandin (garden), kaka (poo/ diaper), shee (dirty), hmm (yes) ... etc

She does frame short sentences like Q: 'where mama?' A: 'Aaaaaahh Mama there!' or 'Mama gone!' She understand a whole lot more than she can speak, and points to things when we ask her.

I think this has to be the best stage ever. Being a mum has never been more fun! Of course, the fact that she now goes to bed on her own and sleeps through the night is just an added bonus :)

Ever since Chi was born, I have been meaning to maintain a scrap book.... but so far, all I have is scrap and no book! D doesn't miss an opportunity to remind me of my pending project. Well, maybe it'll be a great wedding present... what say? :D

I do have a knack for putting things off. But this time it has really gone too far... strange things have been happening in my house! The Philadelphia cream cheese which has been sitting in my fridge forever and is now close to its expiry date, has sent me a note! Check this out if u don't believe me...

I replied...


Though I can't help but think that if the cheese was smart enough to write a note, it wouldn't have been sitting inside a box in the first place! hmmm...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chocolate and Chi

Chi tasted chocolate for the first time.... well not exactly chocolate, but a soya yoghurt with cocoa! (her milk allergies don't allow for much else) 

She thought it was 'nummy' and wanted to eat it on her own. So I put the little one in charge, handed the spoon over to her and left the room... this is what I found when I returned :)



I think chocolate is a big deal and the first tasting should be a celebration! Of course the fact, that I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the gooey remnants of my daughter's first chocolate encounter... is another story :)

BEFORE 

AFTER


Friday, June 18, 2010

Mammas and babies

Now that my mother is here, I have happily gone back to being my usual lazy self. I have to keep reminding myself that I have a daughter who needs to be cleaned, fed and looked after! Though her Nana at times takes over those duties too! I do hope Chi doesn't have such high expectations from her mother!!!


Little Miss Chi is a busy body. She now walks confidently all over the house. We only need to keep our ears open for a little voice going 'dummm'... announcing an accident :) All falls are announced before they occur, so a quick moving parent may actually be able to avert any harm.

These days a bowl n 'poon' are her favourite toys.
She has been returning the favour with lengthy feeding sessions. Exaggerated munching accompanied by animated cheering can leave one with a sore jaw and hands... but the feeder persists!

Then there are her two baby dolls, who are constantly pushed around in their stroller.
Sometimes like a bolt out of the blue, the babies are flung to the floor in one swift motion! (WARNING: This is what happens to those who tick off Lil Miss Chi). Anyway, her new found love for her doll 'baba' is making her dada nervous already... last night she saw 'baba' after a while and was in tears after being reunited with him! Gosh.

The other day I yelled at her for sticking her fingers up her nose, she pouted and cried, violently shaking her hands in a 'why? why?' motion at same time! Only 15 months old and a drama queen already... wonder what the future has in store for me? Shudder!

But my favourite time with my daughter is just rolling in bed... tickling, giggling, hunting for her 'bombi' (belly button) or with Chi simply lying on my tummy, doing nothing. It is precious moments like these that make everything worth it :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fun with family and fondant

I've been super busy with a house full of guests... which is a wonderful feeling I must add :)

Even Chiara is enjoying all the company. She is so comfortable with everyone... which really surprises me cause normally she is quite a clingy baby. Guess the high octave voices remind her of her mama :)

To welcome the family, I baked a chocolate cake and tried my hand at decorating with fondant for the first time. I've been wanting to try this for a while now, but I haven't been able to find ready made fondant. So, when I spotted mini white marshmallows during a recent trip to Carrefour, I was thrilled!

After watching numerous videos on youtube on 'how to make marshmallow fondant', I popped the marshmallows in the microwave... only to have a horrible, gooey, sticky mess on my hands! I was tempted to throw the entire mush in the bin... but I persisted and viola! The trick is to really grease your hands and your work space before you begin.


The design was impromtu. I didn't have cookie cutters, so used Chiara's blocks for cutting out the stars! Working with fondant is really easy... it is almost like playdough and oodles of fun :)

Click here for a simple Marshmallow Fondant Recipe.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Miss you Lathika!

Looks like I am not one of those who updates their blogs frequently. I am currently aiming for once a week update... which I think is a decent enough target. Let's see how that goes.

Anyway, I've been trying to spruce up the house... rearranging and redecorating without investing in anything new! I have managed to make the guest room look presentable. Here is a sneak preview. Prospective guests hurry!!! Offer open only till June 2011!


Today the bathrooms were getting a facelift. So the day was spent scrubbing bathroom floors... that's when I so so sooo missed Lathika - my maid in India, who back then I thought was quite a kaam chor!

My excitement of moving to beautiful Switzerland died a quick death, when I came face to face with this mountain of housework that dwarfed even the Swiss alps!

Unlike my friend May, I have never been too fond of housework. (According to May's husband, her mother has raised maids :))
My mother did her best too. When I was growing up, she made sure that all of us did our bit around the house. So it isn't like I don't know how to do my laundry or roll perfect chapatis... it's just that ever since I left home (10 years now), I haven't had to move a finger! You see, one doesn't become lazy overnight, it takes years of practice!

Way back in 2000, I first left home to go to Pune for my Masters. Those days, we ate at the college mess and made an even bigger mess at home and no one could care a damn!

A while later, I moved to Mumbai and lived as a paying guest for 4 years... there too I did zilch! The landlady (slightly deranged one -  has the potential to be the central character of many a blogs) made me tea, breakfast and even dinner. The maid cleaned the room and washed my clothes, all I did was watch TV in my room and sleep. There have been times when a whole day has gone by because I kinda... didn't wake up! I had even mastered the art of sleeping standing up in the Mumbai trains! ... yea, I am really good at this sleeping stuff.

After I got married, I moved to Gurgaon and there too life didn't change too much. The only major difference was that now there were two of us sleeping till 2 in the afternoon on Sundays! The poor maid would be standing by the bedroom door, chanting 'Didi main kya banaooooon?' and we would be snoring!

So the move to Switzerland was like a heart attack. The horrible 4 letters words... cook, wash and dust, that I'd been avoiding like the plague, had finally caught up with me. Overnight, Sheryl had transformed into Sarla bai! Oh yes, and then I got pregnant. To add some variety to the otherwise dull routine, I now teamed crappy housework with notorious nausea! Cook, wash, sweep, Mop... puke... oops mop again! Oh what-e-fun!

Anyway, it's been 14 months since the baby arrived and I can't remember the last time I got a full night's sleep :( If there is something called sleep debt, then someone owes me BIG time!!!

Dreaming of maids and uninterrupted sleep...
This is Sarla Bai, Sleepless in Switzerland signing off.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's Special: Purple Cabbage Rice

I am not a very good cook and I don't particularly enjoy cooking, so I prefer rustling up dishes like this which don't involve too much drama in the kitchen. This was my lunch today, didn't take more than 15 mins to make!

Purple Cabbage Rice

You need:
1 cup chopped purple cabbage
1 cup rice
2 cups water
2 tsps ginger garlic paste
1 green chilli chopped
Vinegar and salt to taste

Here's how you make it:
Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped cabbage, ginger garlic paste, green chillies and mix well. Add washed rice and mix well. Add water, a splash of vinegar and salt to taste. Cook for 6-7 minutes stirring it occasionally. C'est tout! 
Serve with curd or raita.


I didn't realise that food photography was so tricky. I took a million pictures of the end result... by the end of the photo-session, the pulao had become a super model and I was starving! Incidentally, I have now posted the very first picture I clicked!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bags and Bums!

Well its been a busy week and I've been busy doing nothing!

Oh well, not exactly nothing. We did some spring cleaning and now have more place in our closets for shopping :)

Last weekend was particularly a good one. For one, the Tauros spent quality time together and secondly, I became the proud owner of a LV bag :) Yay! It was an awesome feeling walking out of that showroom, with a salesman handing me my purchase at the door, I swear I was walking on air... well, for that matter I think D was too, thanks to a lighter wallet :)




If this is how all birthday's are going to be, I don't mind growing old :)


I told my mum about the extravagant purchase and she said 'kaalein go thein?! Bhangar muni asa gi thanthun?' (What is that?! Does it have gold in it?). :) So much for Louis!


As for Chiara, she is showing no interest in walking but seems to be quite a chatterbox already (no prizes for guessing where she gets that from!):) Her favourite object the balloon, has time and again been re-christened. From Baiiii to Bungggg, and most recently to Bummm! I've been trying to tell the little one that a 'bum' is that humongous thing attached to her mommy's backside, that doesn't deflate as easily as a balloon! So, after all the pointing to my generous derrière, my genius child now calls a bum 'ba' and a balloon... 'bummmmm'!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mera piya ghar aaya!


After travelling for 36 hours, losing baggage, the man has finally arrived home in one piece and in good spirits :) Yay! I guess sometimes, a volcano is what it takes to make us realise how much we mean to each other!

Chi is thrilled to have her dada back and has been chattering away. She was so excited that she even did some strange MJ style moonwalk crawling (backwards)! Dada says she looks like a girl now... and also that he saw a little bit of her mama in her when she smiled :)... I was thrilled :)

To celebrate Nowro's return from Nairobi, I made good old Mangalorean Mutton Wedding Stew and Panpale. Since this is a very popular dish, I won't bother with the recipe.

I even made 'Vorn' (Mangalorian version of payasam) but it was awful!!! And I have enough to feed a wedding party! I am terrible at figuring out proportions, I nearly always end up with too much.

I remember the first time I ever cooked, I was holed up in the kitchen for 6 straight hours and at the end had made enough sweet pulao to feed a nation! Our solitary guest pecked on the pulao cause he had consumed too many snacks waiting for me to finish cooking! Well, we ate sweet pulao for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a very very long time!

Worst part is, I still haven't learnt. Now we'll be eating super crappy vorn till we die of an overdose! Might be the first ever case of Morn (death) by Vorn!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dheeraj, daughter and dinner...

So, as you all already know, my husband was in Nairobi while the volcano erupted. And as of now, he has set out on a complicated route to get back home. Nairobi-Istanbul-Budapest-Milan-drive to Vevey! Yeah! It's almost like that 'Around the world in 80 days' kinda thingie! Anyway, will keep you posted on the Tauroman's Adventures!
I have been a single mum for 8 days now! So Chi is literally attached to me at the hip! I've been forced to have bath with an audience, do the laundry with the little monster trying to dive into the washing machine, fold laundry with her promptly unfolding it, the sound of the dishwasher is like a gun going off for a 100 meter dash (never knew these little things could move so fast)!... well, u get the idea :S. 
But when it comes to cooking, I am quite paranoid about with my little one wandering into the kitchen. I am so sure I will scald her with boiling pasta or get spices in her eyes! So the only option left is to cook when the curious cat sleeps.... which means I don't end up eating my dinner until 10 pm! 
Anyway, I've been trying to clear up my fridge, so it was the cauliflower and broccoli's turn to go into the pot today. I googled the ingredients and this is what I found (I google most of my dinners!)... 
A simple Broccoli and Cauliflower casserole... very yummy I must add :)
For those interested, here is the recipe.
Broccoli and cauliflower casserole recipe with a creamy white sauce and Parmesan cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 500 gms of broccoli and cauliflower pieces
  • milk
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash nutmeg, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cook just until crisp-tender. Drain cauliflower, reserving liquid. Add milk to the vegetable liquid to measure 2 cups.

Turn vegetables into a shallow baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, stirring until smooth and bubbly (mine did not bubble!). Gradually stir in milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour sauce over broccoli and cauliflower. Dot with remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter. Combine bread crumbs (I didn't have bread crumbs so I just shredded some not-so-fresh bread), Parmesan cheese, and paprika; sprinkle over vegetables. Bake at 450° for about 20 minutes, until casserole is bubbly. 
Viola! Serves 4 (yeah I don't like cooking everyday :)).


Here's a picture of the end result, after I ate my portion :)
Toodles!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Volcanic Interruptions!

Crap crap crappity crap! (can I say crap on a blog?)

A badly named volcano in Iceland decides to erupt after 200 goddam years and co-ordinates it perfectly with my husband's first ever trip to Africa! What are the chances??? With centuries to plan its eruption, one would assume the lava spewer would pick a better time. Grrrrrrrr.

So while my sunny beautiful weekend has been ruined by a cloud of ash, my husband is making the best of the volcanic explosion, and has gone on a wild life safari, petted a cheetah, gorged on some sinful personalised dessert ...

                                                   (yeah I have pictorial evidence!)

... and is now getting a massage! More Grrrrrrrrrr

Here I am sitting in my PJs, on a mountain of washed laundry waiting to be folded... I can't help but spew venom! Much more Grrrrrrrrrrr

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blogging Virgin

Thanks to my friend May's excessive blogging, I've been inspired to get bloggity! Just that I have no clue what to blog about! Should it be a 'bored housewife stuck in beautiful Suisse Alps' kinda blog, or maybe more on the lines of 'going mental mother of a one year old' kinda thingie. I am hoping the blog will take shape once I get started. I'm more curious about how to make my blog look nice. Will figure that out first and then get back to writing :) Suggestions are welcome!

Toodles darlings :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vevey












A glimpse of Lac Leman from Mont Pelerin. Yes, this is where I live :)