still in a significant amount of pain

Day 59 (7/19)

Just a short update about yesterday. The pain seems to be lessening but not at a really quick rate. I’m hoping the sharp pains when standing will go away by this weekend. Luckily, I did not really need the hydrocodone since I spent most of the day with my legs up and iced (30 minutes on, 30 minutes off).

I can comfortably walk with one crutch now, so that’s another positive. I suspect if I keep doing my rehab exercises (which I did 2x yesterday instead of 3x) then by sometime next week I should be cleared to walk with just the brace. Monday is the day of my follow-up where I will hopefully get my stitches removed and get some doubts cleared about what sort of pain I should still be feeling.

On an unrelated note, my Mom cooked a wonderful dinner for the four of my friends who helped me out last week. We hung out and talked after dinner for about an hour and a half. This was one of my primary reasons to get a house–so that people can hang out and talk for no reason. Haha. There’s also looooots of leftovers in the fridge so I have delicious food to look forward to tomorrow.

When I woke up this morning my leg was far less stiff than before but I still couldn’t go back to sleep for more than short naps after the first time I woke up. It may even be a good idea to just get out of bed and take a walk to relieve the stiffness when I first wake up. I’ll try that out tomorrow.

I dropped my Mom off at the airport today. I’m sad to see her leave because she obviously knew how to take care of me, having done it for such a long period of my life. I’m very thankful for the love my family gives me.

recipe: tandoori chicken

I’ve decided to go ahead and post a few recipes on my blog on the prodding of a few people. Since I am not in the business of being a creative cook, I will duly credit the original proprietor of a recipe. 🙂 Photos will be added if I remembered to take them!

Name of Dish: Tandoori Chicken
Author: Meg(‘s mom)

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think we did about 3.75 lbs or so)
  • 1-1.5 onions
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 4-5 tbsp plain yogurt (low-fat is better than fat-free)
  • 3-5 tsp of Tandoori chicken masala (amount varies depending on spice required and strength of masala)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Oil

Directions:

  1. Puree the onions and mix everything else together until it is nice and smooth to form the marinade.
  2. Add some oil to the marinade so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the grill, later.
  3. Poke holes/cut slits in the chicken so that the marinade can seep in.
  4. Mix the marinade and chicken together.
  5. Marinate in fridge for 6-8 hours.
  6. While grilling, grill on medium heat for about 10 minutes on each side (may be more depending on size of the pieces). Taste to make sure it’s done!
  7. Serve with onion rings (not the junk food type) and lemons/limes. You may also want to buy some naan and chutney to make it authentic.

See, it’s pretty simple. Of course, the fact that I had a great cook (Meg) and professional grillmeisters (Meg and Bill) teaming up with me meant that the end result was, quite simply, scrumptious!

eurotrippin’ in switzerland (day 4)

On our last day in Luzern and Switzerland, we decided to be tourists on foot instead of doing one of the pre-packaged tours. After having another hearty breakfast, we set off in the same direction as we had on the previous days—towards the old city. This time we had brought our cameras with us and got some good photographs of the lake/canals/bridges and buildings. There were also a lot of swans around, a few of them still asleep from the previous night, which we also photographed. I think we had lunch somewhere there, as well, but since none of us was that hungry, it wasn’t too memorable a meal.


A building…


Admiring herself in one of those distorting mirrors


Too early in the morning for this swan

After ambling around old city, we walked back to our hotel and left in the other direction. Map in hand, we were aiming to find “green”, which is how my Mom described large, green expanses in the map, which appeared to be parks. We followed the map pretty well, but it seemed that to get to the “green” we would have to climb up quite a steep incline. This idea was quickly abandoned, and we instead crossed over and walked on the lakeside. This time we were heading for a beach, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, and on the way we saw many pretty houses that I did not photograph.

We walked about halfway to the beach before getting tired and heading back. On the way back we again stopped and sat near the lakeside, where there was a nice breeze (unlike everywhere else in Luzern!) which helped counter the heat. There were preparations going on for some music festival in the lakeside, and hence it was getting pretty busy. It appears that Heineken is the beer of choice for the Swiss, as this festival seemed to be entirely sponsored by them.

Finally, we headed back to our hotel, where we decided to have dinner. Everyone was tired from the day’s walking, but the food managed to revitalize us. I ordered a grilled chicken with a homemade lemon butter with a side of fries, my Dad ordered some sort of salad (which in Europe appear to be huge) and my Mom ordered a fish dish with a side of potatoes. The meal was pretty delicious and was a nice goodbye to Switzerland.


Man do I have a good choice in food!


I think there is salmon or some other fish hiding there, somewhere…


Choosing to be “healthy” with a salad

Once the meal was done and signed for, we went over to the reception and checked out, as we were going to be heading out early the next morning (as early as 5:45am to counter the traffic and the fact that we didn’t know the exact directions to the Zurich airport). We figured out all the details, such as when to bring the car out and where to drop off the key, and then paid and went back to our room. After having pieces of the various chocolates we had purchased, we finally rested our eyes in preparation for the, what turned out to be, long drive the next day.

eurotrippin’ in switzerland (day 3)

Day 3 began as Days 1 and 2 hadn’t—sleeping in. Instead of waking up to the first of many hours of Swiss sunshine, all three of us decided to skip the early bird routine and wake up late. As a result, by the time we were awake, we just about had enough time to make it to the complimentary breakfast that was provided by the Hotel Rebstock (which ran till 11am).

Breakfast consisted of mostly the same things that were available in Wilderswil, in addition to fresh(ish) eggs. There was a full-time “egg cooker”-slash-everything-else-do-er who was preparing eggs and adding them to a serving area. If you were quick enough to place your plate before the serving area, you would get a fresh serving of eggs. There were omelettes, fried eggs and scrambled eggs as well as fried sausages. The breakfast was probably better than the one available at Hotel Baeren.

Once we were done with breakfast, the parents decided to take a walk outside (this was mainly my Dad wanting to go out for a walk, then guilt-tripping my mom and failing to guilt-trip me). As a result, I had to stay in the room (which had to be locked from the inside) till they returned while doing nothing. The hotel had free wireless in the library, which was a room complete with an internet-connected laptop that had an absolutely unusable European keyboard. Luckily, the room had wireless as well (in fact the whole hotel, apart from our 13th century room, did) so I was able to use the internet on my iPod touch. By the way, it is sad if a keyboard is unversatile enough that I prefer an iPod touch to it.

After mucking about on the internet, checking email and Racing Live, and various other useless social networks, I grudgingly headed up to the room and waited. Swiss television isn’t anything to write home about, which is something I figured out during the next 30 minutes. Finally, the parents returned with gifts in tow, where gifts consisted of shopping for themselves. J I think there was some chocolate, but the main focus was a small cuckoo clock with Swiss elements on it. As we have found out since, the clock chimes “Cuckoo! (cuckoo)” (the parentheses indicate an “echo” effect) every hour much like a normal cuckoo clock and it is as annoying as a normal one, as well. =D

Once the parents returned from the shopping expedition, we decided to go ahead and do the Mount Pilatus tour. The recommended way of doing the Mount Pilatus tour is to take a boat to the bottom of Mount Pilatus (a place called Alpnachstad), followed by a “cog-wheel train” up to the summit itself. The descent should be made by gondola and then by cable car, finally culminated with a bus trip back to town. This way, one gets to experience all the different facets of the Swiss transportation system contained within the Luzern area.

The happy tourists that we were, we decided to go on this suggested itinerary. The boat trip was fun, as you can see from the following photos, as we were able to look at the various different mountains/mountains with houses along the way. The boat did have an (expensive) bar, for those who got bored, since the trip was about 90 minutes in length. Once we reached Alpnachstad, we hurried through the subways to the cogwheel train station, where we were instantly duped by a tour group who ended up taking two whole trains to themselves. The rest of us got on the third train and were on our way.


On the boat, on the way to Alpnachstad… that church in the background is the one near our hotel


The reason behind those grimacing faces is the heat!


One of the many beautiful views available on route to Alpnachstad

Let me explain to you what a cogwheel train is, for those of you who, like me, have no idea what it is. It is basically one of those angled trains (so that the seats aren’t perpendicular to the slope of the ground) that is basically made so that you can go up inclined paths safely. There are all sorts of “cogs” on the track so that no slippages occur. The train was known as “the world’s steepest cog-wheel rail” at “48%” which I can only assume to be “48% vertical”. My parents deduced it to be “48 degrees”. With the Europeans strange decisions about manipulating numbering systems, I don’t know which it was… but it was pretty steep.

There were some spectacular views provided along the way, of which I didn’t capture any because I happened to be seated in the middle of an 8-compartment box. Once we got to the top, there were a lot of trails to explore, of which we decided to go through one, which took us through a little cave. The cave offered some awesome locations for photos, of which I will leave you with some:


The view from a cave in Mt. Pilatus


A different angle from the same cave


A peek at the peaks!

So, the emblem for the Mount Pilatus tourist trip was a dragon and it turns out it wasn’t just some random mythical creature. There is a whole backstory behind the Pilatus mountain range, involving  humans and dragons and the latter protecting a member of our species. There were signboards throughout our mini trail (which was supposed to last 5 minutes but took more like 35) talking about the story. My Mom read the first few out loud before getting bored. We took a lot of photo s and debated going to one of the highest points before my mother announced that there were far too many steps. So we instead retreated to a restaurant (we carefully avoided the self-service option, here) where we had lunch.

This time I went with a rosti containing chicken, my Dad went with one containing ham and my Mom went with the unexciting dish known as “fish and chips”. I also had a local brew (Eichhof Lager) whereas my parents went with wine. The meal was pretty tasty and the highlight was probably the electronic ordering system wherein the lady punched our order in and our drinks were delivered to our table within a couple of minutes. It was pretty sweet, to be honest.


I thought this was a pretty sweet look at the bottle of beer


My choice of nourishment–ham rosti


Mom chose to enjoy Fish ‘n’ Chips atop a Swiss mountain…


Dad chose a slightly more German dish–Sausage with Rosti


These yellow-beaked crows were aggressive scavengers!

There were a ton of crows around, to be absolutely honest. The same, yellow-beaked, variety that we had seen while heading to Jungfraujoch. Except these guys were aggressive. My Mom made the mistake of tossing a few French fries on the ground, which instantly attracted a whole bunch of them crows. By the time we were finished, there was a whole squadron squirming to attack our leftovers, which they did, once we got up, before the waitress attacked them and scared them away (probably temporarily).

Once done with lunch, we were filthy tired, as well as sleepy (siesta, anyone?) so we decided to go ahead and head back to town. Our route this time consisted of a gondola (a large-ish cable car) followed by a personalized cable car for just the three of us. This offered us some great views, especially of cows munching on grass. Once we got to the bottom, we had to walk about a kilometer to get to a bus-stop that took us to the train station from where we walked back to our hotel. We did stop by in the kiosk at the train station to purchase a Swiss wine (forgot the type now, sorry). We also purchased two large bottles of water that later turned out to be aerated water (ugh). Turns out that the Swiss (and the French, too) sell three types of water: Natural (normal water), Eau Légère (semi-aerated water) and Eau Avec Gaz (normal aerated water). We learnt our mistake by buying the second. We also bought a few bars of Toblerone, which made up for our folly.

After having a cup of coffee outside our hotel and freshening up, we headed out to the old city, where my parents had purchased their cuckoo clock earlier, in search for dinner. My memory fails me as to what we did for dinner that evening, but I do remember finally settling for a restaurant in the middle of the old city. Once we were done with dinner, I think we headed back to our hotel and chilled on the edge of the lake (which was but a few thrown stones away from our hotel). Thus ended our last day of serious sight-seeing in Switzerland.

(one of) the final installment(s) of the indian (food) summer

About a month ago I had the privilege of eating some home-cooked biryani as well as one of my favourite vegetarian dishes—rajma and rice. I can say that I had no role to play in the preparation of either dishes, and probably fortunately so, since they would have ended up inedible otherwise. Ramesh, our cook, is a genius when it comes to preparing biryani and I’m more than happy to be pampered and spoiled by his good cooking!

Biryani is an Indian dish that basically comprises of rice and a meat (in this case, chicken) cooked together. As you can tell, I don’t really have any idea of how it is actually prepared but talking with people who do know how to prepare it and observing them passively, I take it the two main steps are making the (chicken) curry and then making the rice and mixing them together and perhaps cooking them a bit more. Ramesh’s version features a “layered” style, wherein most of the meat is at the bottom and then there are layers of rice and other various goodies above it. It’s breathtakingly good, especially when enjoyed with a side of raita, which is basically a yoghurt-based watery mixture containing onions, tomatoes, and sometimes cucumbers. Enough talking, though, let’s see some pictures!

A huge pot of Ramesh’s biryani
A huge pot of Ramesh’s biryani

A huge helping of biryani (that is a normal-sized plate!)
A huge helping of biryani (that is a normal-sized plate!)

A look at the biryani as well as the aforementioned raita
A look at the biryani as well as the aforementioned raita

This blog has been dominated by meat so let me remind my readers that I am in fact not a carnivore. In fact, I enjoy a number of vegetarian dishes, one of my favourite being rajma. Rajma is the Hindi name for kidney beans and the way I like it best (as almost anything) is as a curry with rice. I have no idea how it is prepared but its red and tastes delicious!

Rajma curry
Rajma curry

Rajma with rice and Kunduru Bhaja in the background
Rajma with rice and Kunduru Bhaja in the background

Finally, let’s take a look at some food from Orissa, when I was at my mom’s house in Cuttack. I’ve never actually lived there but all my cousins at some period or another have been living there so the feel of family and bonding is great. As a result, we end up with some pretty large meals enjoyed by about 10-12 people simultaneously (there are 9 cousins all in our range and 2 more that are slightly younger but still welcome :P). Seeing that this may be last time in Orissa for a while, I was pampered with one large meal (you’ll see what I mean in a moment) as well as some mutton curry… yeah if you haven’t noted by now, we Oriyas love our mutton!

The grand spread!
The grand spread!

Yummy in my tummy… notice the stark contrast between my plate area and Pinku’s (one of my cousins)
Yummy in my tummy… notice the stark contrast between my plate area and Pinku’s (one of my cousins)

Yep, the grand spread represented my first meal at Cuttack this year and consisted of no little than 10 dishes. There was the breakfast that I hadn’t yet had in the form of idli and sambar. Then there was lunch, which consisted of rice, daal, paneer curry, some dish that I can’t remember now, saag, kunduru bhaja, kakharu phula bhaja and salad. Dessert was served alongside in the form of mangoes. In short, quite a large meal and one that I struggled to finish but ended with a smile on my face! This meal alone was probably responsible for 10% of my weight gain in those 10 days in Orissa!

And now the mutton…

No need for words to describe the taste!
No need for words to describe the taste!

What was judged the “reddest” curry and thus the one that should be photographed
What was judged the “reddest” curry and thus the one that should be photographed

So there’s the end of another food-astic blog! I will have one more up soon about my parents 30th anniversary which featured plenty of scrumptious eating, but that deserves its own separate little post. Must separate home-cooked and restaurant-prepared food, because home-cooked is just so much more deliciously wholesome!

A huge helping of biryani (that is a normal-sized plate!)

more cooking escapades

The months of June and July were filled with more, thus far undocumented, cooking adventures as well as the enjoyment of delicious Indian dishes that I was not involved in the preparation of. I learned a few different bhajis and whatnot, but the main dishes I picked up were a couple of chicken preparations. I can provide recipes if necessary but I don’t remember them offhand so I’m not including them in this blog. Let’s have a look at each of these chicken delicacies.

The final chilly chicken preparation
The final chilly chicken preparation

Another angle of the chilly chicken
Another angle of the chilly chicken

This was a simple chilly chicken dish and basically comprised of chicken, capsicum (bell peppers) and onions. I don’t remember the preparation exactly but there was chilli powder, green chillies, soya sauce and some other stuff. It was a bit spicy and pretty tasty. It seems like a pretty easy dish to make, too, so hopefully I will be able to repeat the efforts once I’m on my own.

Pepper chicken being cooked in the pot
Pepper chicken being cooked in the pot

Serving of pepper chicken (notice the large green chilli!) with roti
Serving of pepper chicken (notice the large green chilli!) with roti

Another look at one of the more peppery angles of the pepper chicken
Another look at one of the more peppery angles of the pepper chicken

This was a pepper chicken dish that my mom and I made the night we returned from Orissa. Although there is a recipe existing, in theory, in the cookbook I’ve been building up this summer, in reality the actual preparation was very ad-hoc. My mom added about 5 different types of different pepper mixes from several tiny, oddly-shaped bottles she has collected. I am confident that I won’t be able to repeat this one on my own, but it was tasty enough for me to pretend like I can, for those who don’t read the words in this blog!

oh! calcutta—bengali foodie paradise

It is common knowledge to most of Mumbai that Oh! Calcutta serves some of the best Bengali food in town. Given Bengal’s geographical proximity to my home state, Orissa, the food is much appreciated by my family. Every time I visit home (usually multiple times) we make sure that we visit the restaurant to be treated to some of our favourite dishes, any lucky cousins who are visiting us, in tow. I know, in particular, that one particular cousin missed out and was more than a little unhappy! This time the fortunate party comprised of my parents, piusa (an uncle), Chiku Bhaina and, of course, myself. Let’s take a look at the happy time we had!

Anonymous Green Mango Cocktail

First, we started off with drinks. I chose a drink that I was to, over the course of the meal, regret since it’s nothing like I wanted it to be. The name escapes me, given that I went there over a month ago (yeah, this is a super-delayed blog post!), but it ended up being a cocktail comprised of green mango juice and, supposedly, vodka. I say supposedly since it tasted just like aamb-panna, something that I am not a fan of. Anyways, nothing like a poor drink to make an already delicious meal taste even better!

Luchis Galore

Luchi and Mangso Kasa

The appetizer of choice, by default, was luchi-mangso kasa. Luchi is a deep fried Indian bread which is similar to its cousin, the puri, but is a lot thicker and, as you can see, a lot larger. Mangso Kasa is a preparation of mutton (or lamb, goat or whatever) that is basically drier and with a lot more masala than the conventional curry. In short, mouth-watering deliciousness. And it tastes like heaven. I know you’re drooling just by staring at it (unless you’re vegetarian, in which case you probably aren’t a big fan of the food sections of my blog anyway!).

Bhapa Ilisi and Rice

The main course was Bhapa Ilisi, which is a preparation of fish with a mustard sauce. We also ordered some chicken dish, but like the photo above, it was simply in the background. The ilisi was delightful, as usual, and one of the reasons I love coming back to the place. It was gobbled up in great proportions and over-eating was very much achieved. As expected, there was no room for dessert or I would have gladly had a misthi-dahi (sweet yoghurt). Oh (man, I love food from) Calcutta!

If you want to visit Oh! Calcutta:

Oh! Calcutta
Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane
Tardeo, Mumbai 400022
Tel.: 022-23539114

a few notes

I don’t have time for a long post now, but here are a few slices of information as to what will be coming up on sohummm. There will be some spectacularly long overdue food memories–especially of mangoes, meat and some of my cooking escapades. There will be a couple of movie reviews, namely of Angels & Demons, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and New York. With regards to that, I’m going to try to be a little more standardized in my movie reviews in an attempt to make it a more common feature of this website.

So that’s what’s coming up. Maybe a few cricket-related things here and there, but don’t hold your breath. Don’t hold your breath, generally speaking, unless you’re swimming underwater or something.

chak de india(n) khana

And so I present to you my second food blog of the summer. The fine delicacies enjoyed this time were idli-sambar, rice and fish haldi-pani and, hold your breath, MANGOES! Yep. For the most part I’ve been too busy eating mangoes to be taking their photos, but I managed to break that trend sometime last week. So I present to you my first photos of mangoes. Unfortunately, they may be the last as well, seeing that mango season is ending quickly!

Idli-Sambar

Next up is some fish curry that my mom made. The preparation is called “Fish Haldi Pani“. Those familiar with Indian spices will know that haldi is something known as “turmeric”. The dish is basically a fish curry where the gravy is light, see-through, strongly haldi-flavoured and, of course, delicious.

Close up Fish Haldi Pani

And to end off this post (which I started a few hours back and then my computer died) I have some photos of the king of fruit: the MANGO. I’m so happy that this is the national fruit of India because it is quite definitely the most delicious fruit in existence.

Mangoes

More Mangoes

Even More Mangoes

So I went a little crazy with the number of photos here… unfortunately I just couldn’t narrow the photos I’d taken of mangoes down to just 1. Anyhow, I’m sure you’re not complaining, unless it’s from being extremely jealous. That’s all for now!