In the effort to become a self sufficient adult who knows how to feed herself, I’ve started learning how to cook this summer and I have to say it’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Maybe just as good as eating the food.
Recently I learned how to make one of my favourite snacks, paneer tikka and was pleased that it turned out well (high five to self) 🙂
I’d pledged a while back that I wanted to learn the art of baking and my first attempt at baking cupcakes was a disaster to put it mildly. Never having baked them before, I’d gotten hyped up about the cute cupcake holders’ I’d bought at a shop called Itsy Bitsy. After buying the cupcake tray and all the ingredients, I successfully managed to botch the batch. Thankfully I tried again and it all worked out. With a little icing and sprinkles they were all set and best of all they taste delicious! (Not that I can take full credit for that since I used the Pillsbury Vanilla Cake Mix and Vanilla Icing).
As a night owl, I have this sudden burst of productivity in the wee hours of 2 or 3 in the morning and so I wander into the kitchen, curious to cook up something new. I find I do much better in the kitchen when unsupervised since I’d rather make mistakes and learn from them than listen to my mom’s meticulous instructions. This is how my sporadic interest in cooking began and now I feel like cooking more often especially with my new found love of chopping vegetables. Starting out with basic level food, I’m not as terrible as I’d envisaged. I’ve come to realise that there’s no better feeling than cooking for the people you care about ( if the dish turns out well, that is) 😀
This weekend I’d gone to Hole in the Wall in Koramangala, Bangalore and had an amazing lunch. This place is known for its breakfast items and I certainly understood why. Their Complete Veggie Omelette is delicious, light, fluffy, loaded with cheese and vegetables of your choice (I had jalapeños, mushrooms, olives). I also tried their deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pancakes with caramelised bananas and hash browns. Only the hash browns were pretty disappointing. The watermelon juice was nice and refreshing so all in all it was a great meal that had me absolutely stuffed!
It wasn’t even just the food though, I loved the minimalist decor and the fact that it’s a house remodelled into a cafe. I preferred its outdoor seating more than indoor and thankfully we got a table on the balcony. The fresh air was great! Perfect way to spend the weekend.
So since I wanted to learn how to bake, I thought I’d start off with a simple and quick recipe to boost my confidence. A microwave mug brownie was perfect for this reason! I found the recipe on a blog called Cooking Classy and I definitely recommend trying it out!
If your kitchen is organised and you’ve got all the ingredients ready, then it shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes ( I know the recipe says five but I think it’s a little optimistic when you’re first trying it out).
The best part about it is that you don’t need any other cooking pots and pans, all you need is large mug. It’s also convenient for those who want a quick fix to their sweet tooth cravings. All you need is a microwave and this is why it’s perfect for college students who don’t have much time to spend baking elaborate cakes and fondants.
Now, when I tried following the recipe, I got caught up in the cluster of directions given in a single paragraph. So I broke it down into simpler steps when writing down the recipe and made some changes to make it work with my Panasonic microwave oven:
1. Add butter and sugar to a large mug. Heat it in the microwave for 40 seconds. Then remove from microwave and stir the mixture with a fork.
2. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Add cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until well combined.
3. Heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.
4. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top!
*All credit for the recipe goes to Cooking Classy though.
Although my mug brownie didn’t turn out to be as photogenic as the original, it tasted really good 🙂
I found this TED talk a while ago and decided to test out the premise on which it was based. The gist of the talk is this:
It takes 20 hours of focused concentration in practicing a new skill (applicable to anything).
So with holidays and free time, I decided to see if this is in fact true, thinking it’s the right time to learn something new. Since my mom just bought a new oven, I thought it would be appropriate to learn how to bake, maybe even cook! Hopefully it’ll work out according to these 4 simple steps to rapid skill acquisition:
Deconstruct the skill. The more you break apart the skill, the more you improve your performance
Learn enough to self correct ( books, courses, dvds)
Remove practice barriers (TV, internet etc.) It requires will power.
Practice at least 20 hours.
Now, on to Step 1!
I’ve got my mom’s cookbooks and the aid of internet recipes to help me out so I hope to update progress soon! Who knows, maybe I’ll soon be able to actually bake something delicious 🙂
If you were travelling in an exotic land and wanted to soak up all the culture that the destination has to offer, where would you go to eat? Would you reserve a table at a reputable four or five star restaurant or would you amble over to the street food stalls where delicious flavours waft in the air?
I personally feel that street food, low-key eateries capture the essence of the particular culture more so than fine-dining restaurants. Especially if you’re in India where pani puri and dahi puri are best made at the small chaat stands you can find on the corners of the street, packed with bold flavour and decently priced as well!
Recently, I tried a place called Momo Hut near Jyoti Nivas College, Bangalore and it was fantastic. The momos are to die for and let me tell you, the sauce is bomb. Quite literally, it explodes in your mouth with its sheer spiciness so if you have low spice tolerance I would recommend caution but if you’re like me and you prefer that exhilaration of eating something really hot, go for it! I’ve also tried the veg noodles and veg thupka (noodles in soup) and both were amazing. The thupka was my favourite, steaming hot and fresh!
If you live in Bangalore then please go and check this place out! Here’s more on Zomato 🙂
It’s interesting to note that pizza was once a peasant’s meal and now due to global chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s it isn’t anymore. Yet, that doesn’t stop pizza lovers from binging on these delicious pies topped with melt-in-your-mouth cheese and an assortment of fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoni, olives and onions. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
After having eaten at Pizza Hut almost everyday for an entire month during my summer internship and then eating pizza every Wednesday in my third semester at college, my question is whether or not there is such a thing as too much pizza? I have decided that there is not.
But when it comes to the best places to eat pizza, I’d have to say it’s small town pizzerias instead of global chains. You get the best pizza for a much lesser price.
Back in Ottawa, I used to eat often at Pizza Pizza, one of Ontario’s largest pizzeria chains. The best part is how you don’t have to buy the entire pie. You can order a couple of slices and they’re huge. That’s why small town pizzerias have an advantage over places like Pizza Hut where pizza tends to be overpriced and also serves small portions. If I want a large pizza, I sure damn want it to be large not puny. ( As you can see, I’m overly attached to my pizza.)
Another pizza place I’d recommend if you happen to be in Ottawa is Topper’s Pizza. I can’t explain how good it is. This is one of their greek pizzas:
One thing that’s guaranteed is that they don’t skimp on the toppings. It’s delicious value for money, if you ask me. Papa John’s, however, is not.
So if you have a chance to stop at a small pizzeria, go for it! It’ll be lighter on your pocket and heavier in your stomach!
When it comes to food, minimalist ad campaigns have certainly proved successful in Zomato’s case, as you can see from their ‘There are two kinds of people’ campaign. With a clean and plain background featuring simple graphics, these ads are a good example of how effective a print advertisement can be in the midst of eye-catching viral videos.
Following the KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!) methodology, these ads are relateable to everyone. We’ve all got that one friend who hates pizza crust (or you are that one friend) or those who eat all the cherries from the cake and those who detest them and pick them off their piece. We all have different food habits and preferences which is exactly what Zomato is playing to in its advertising strategy, hence widening its target audience.
So check it out and answer me this… which kind of person are YOU?