Monday, January 29, 2007

Rav escaping the pappies

One of the best things about Rav joining Kraft is our daily carpool. We can use the HOV lane on the 403 which really improves the drive. I like to wave at the people stuck in the other lane but they can't see me because we are going so much faster.

Here is a picture of her trying to hide from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.

Here is another picture illustrating how crappy the drive is in the winter. Don't you love when snow/ice chunks fall off the roof of trucks and hit your car.

Here is a sign that makes me wish it were summer again. Perhaps they should put these on the back of trucks.

Oh Dinaz!

My work day is brightened by the wonderful lady who sits beside me. Her name is Dinaz Dastur and is one of the loveliest people I have had the pleasure to meet. My chats with her are so fun! They make my day. She advises me on my outfits and tells me what I can fix. This is always appreciated as I am getting ready in a rush in the mornings. She has the best rings and jewlery sets too. I enjoy admiring them and hearing where she got everything.

I also love hearing about her recipes and what she makes her family for dinner. She seems like a really wonderful mom. I know she will do anything for her kids. She reminds me of my mom! Thanks for being so cute Dinaz!!!

West 50

I went to dinner with my friend Noreen last Tuesday. We had a great time catching up. The food was so-so. I guess we were expecting it to be more exciting. The most interesting was the Mexican Fry Bread topped with beans and a tomato sauce. I think I would compare it to a beaver tail without the sugar (you know the kind you get at Canada's Wonderland). The nachos were ok….the guacamole looked like it was squeezed on from a tube which made it look weird- kinda Taco Bell style. Except I like Taco Bell. They have good vegetarian food.

The worst had to be my salad. It sounded like it was going to be really yummy with 'spiced chick peas' but it was really blah. The 'mixed greens' were mostly iceberg! Boo. It sounds good when you read it on the menu:

Grilled Vegetable Salad ~ with spicy roasted chick peas, peppers, tomatoes, olives and mixed greens, tossed in a savoury lemon dressing and topped with feta cheese 12.97

I was very disappointed in it…I mean for $13 you gotta bring some fireworks to a salad.

Mexican Fry Bread and Nachos with squeeze

Luckily, the excellent company made up for the lackluster food.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Scrumdiddlyumptious" Sugar Cookies

Last night Rav and I baked sugar cookies and decorated them with the new icing kit I bought from Michaels. It is the kit for Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1. I'm thinking about taking it.

It was fun but much harder than we anticipated. The sugar cookie recipe was from this Gay Lea recipe booklet/in-store advertisement Rav got from the grocery store. Here it is:

Scrumptious Sugar Cookies

We used margarine and it worked fine. I am a believer in the "pinch of salt" brings out the sweetness school of thought.

We had tried the recommended sour cream icing but it was terrible. It tasted really strange (sri kant-ish).
Aside from the batch we burnt, the cookies were pretty straight forward. You have to keep an eye on them. We put the dough in the freezer so it would stay cold longer when we rolled it out and cut out our shapes. Rav has some really great cookie cutter shapes. I thought the stars and hearts looked the best! The lips and arrow through the heart looked good too though!

While we were waiting for the dough to chill, we prepped the icing. We went on to the Wilton website to learn how to use the icing bag and tips provided in the kit I bought. I was really surprised it didn't come with a manual. The website is really good though. It showed us different techniques for the various tips. We practiced leaves. I tried to make a rose on the flower nail but it was really complicated. Plus the consistency of our icing was not correct. At first it was too runny and then I added too much sugar and it became too thick and fondant-ish. We rolled it out and used it to make some maple leaves.

Here are some of the results! The simple ones ended up looking the best. Rav's sister Jyoti and her friend were our official taste testers for the night. I'm sure we passed their extensive and thorough quality control process:)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Le Petit Cochon

I went to this really nice French cafe in Bath called Le Petit Cochon. My favourite part was the cute pig statue they had outside the restaurant. Isn't it adorable? I love the bowl beside it too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Zara Tapas Bar, India

Last year I went to India for my sister's wedding. My bro-in-law took us to some very cool places in Madras. This was a big deal because all of my other India trips were mostly to see family and going to temples. That is nice to a certain degree but I am glad I got to see part of 'modern' India.

One of my favourite places was Zara. It was a Spanish tapas bar! We had some great food and drinks there. I had a freshly squeezed watermelon
cocktail! It was awesome. We also had a cool appetizer called a "Potato Bomb". We also tried this paneer thing which was yummy. I forget the name though. I was really surprised but glad to see that there are cool, fun places to go in Madras.

We also went to a really nice fancy restaurant at the Chola Sheraton (below). The food was sooo rich and delicious. I think it was all butter and cream based. Good times!!


As per the request of my "Anonymous" commenter, here are some pictures of the henna Rav did for my sister's reception. Looks damn good! I can't believe Rav had never done henna before. It's really tricky using the store tubes because they are either too runny, get holes in them or don't flow properly. So that makes it extra impressive when you get a good design out of it!

I also enjoyed doing my 'Top Model' poses. If only I was a foot taller, I would totally go on the show. No I wouldn't. I would just pose a lot more. Yes, it is possible to pose more than I do. Strike a pose, there's nothing to it- Vogue.

Chocolate Art

Last year, I had given Rav a book on Chocolate for her birthday. She came over and we tried to use some of the techniques from it. Rav is very artistic and has a knack for these things. Look how beautifully her design turned out!

Since we were at my house we tried to make an eggless vanilla cake. We got a recipe off the internet called "Dinette Cake". Let's just say it was more for decoration than eating. The center didn't cook properly so I cut it out and decorated it. I am not as skilled as Rav in the artistic department. It was a fun night and Rav used it as an opportunity to practice the henna designs that she did for Kanchana's reception.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Magnifique Montreal

I went to visit my friend Adonia in Montreal. She is doing her Masters at McGill university. It is such a beautiful city and because of all the French I felt like I was in a different country!

The food was amazing. The first night I was there we went to a lively restaurant to hang out. We had this Quebecquois dish called Flamm that was so good. It is like a superthin crust pizza. It reminded me of the pizza I had in Italy.

The next night we went to this fantastic fondue restaurant, Fonduementale. I love the name. The cheese fondue was unbelievable. I liked the wild mushroom one and Adonia preferred the sundried tomato. I think we ODed on cheese that night. It was still damn good though. We also had chocolate fondue after. I wish I had pictures of the cheese one.

Here is what we had off the menu:

The Messinoise

Emmenthal, gruyère, oregano, and sundried tomatoes

The Sauvageonne

Wild mushrooms (cepes, morels, chanterelles) blended with the
traditional recipe

You can check it out at . I totally recommend it if you are in Montreal. Make a reservation. They are really busy. The service was kinda annoying because they made us wait a long time even though we made reservations but the food made up for it.

Here are some cool sculptures we saw!

Overall, loved Montreal. Awesome food, shopping(Simons is amazing!) and culture!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

I am Canadian

My office 'hosted' the Stanley Cup for a morning. We all got to take a picture with it. People went crazy for it. I must admit I am not a sports fan. I think it has to do with the fact that I am terrible at playing sports. Anyhow, apparently it's very cool to see the Cup in person so I jumped on the bandwagon. It's pretty big, eh?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Mmmmm Cheeeeeese

For Christmas, my company gave us cheese. To some of you that may sound like a crap gift. To me, it was amazing. For serious.

We got Kraft Premium Aged Chedder- Special Reserve. I don't think you can buy this stuff. And from what I hear at the office it is pretty pricey. Apparently, they make a limited quantity of this stuff and only give it to employees. It looks really nice and is packaged beautifully in red wax. Most importantly, it tastes unbelievably good.

(I am the hand model in above pic- I used to "practice" when I watched ' The Price is Right' at lunch in Gr. 7)

I took it with me to my sister's place and then to Cleveland. It did not last very long. Shankar made really good jalapeno cheddar corn bread and brocolli cheddar soup with it. We also put it out with crackers and scotch bonnet pepper jelly for the dinner party. In the words of my sister's adorable 2 year old niece Sandhya, "is yummie!"

This fine cheese can only be sliced by a fine knife. Pictures above show Shankar using his "Shun" (sp?) knife. It is from William Sonoma, therefore it is fancy.

Creme Brulee

My lovely friend Noreen gave me a creme brulee set for my birthday. It included a blowtorch (very cool!) and a set of 4 ramekins. She also gave me a recipe book with beautiful pictures. I hate cookbooks thats don't have pictures. What's the point without the visuals!
Anyway, I took the set with me to my sister's place in Ann Arbor, Michigan over Christmas. We picked the vanilla creme brulee recipe and made it for a dinner party. It turned out awesome! Everyone wanted to use the blowtorch:)

The only thing I would change in the recipe is to use regular sugar (not confectioner's sugar) to burn on top. We scraped the burnt confectioner sugar off and re-did it with regular sugar! The burnt sugar was yummy but it didn't look pretty.

The custard was really simple- Heavy cream, egg yolks, super fine sugar and vanilla. The only catch is that you have to make it in advance because it has to set for at least 3 hours. Overall, I recommend getting a blowtorch. It is really fun to use and you will impress all of your friends:) Plus it tastes amazing!
Very simple ingredients.

Ramekins in the water bath.

You can see how quickly the icing sugar burns and turns black!

Regular sugar is the way to go!

See, it's so yummy you have to savour every bite!
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