Tag Archives: food

Life…and the joy it brings…..

24 Oct

Festive Diwali season is just round the corner and I will be getting some time on my hands so decided to get going on my Blog.

I’m less frequent in putting out posts I must confess, but I’m trying to change that. Actually, I’m trying to make a lot of changes like controlling my temper, letting bygones be bygones, trying not to please the entire world and learning to put my foot down and say “NO” when I need to. Another important change I’m making, is going after the things I want. I always wanted to travel more, so I recently took a trip to Pondicherry. I always wanted to have a dog with me in Bangalore and I adopted one a few months back.

OK now, I’m going to dedicate a separate a post to Pondicherry and all the things to do there, but for this post, I’ll dedicate it to Juno- My lovely baby.

So I finally decided that it was time I acted like the person I was meant to me!!!(The dog lady) and went and adopted the most adorable baby ever. Now, I know what you’re thinking…..ADOPTED???? Yes I mean adopted, like not going to a breeder but adopting a pet that really required a loving home.

These days, people buy pure breed, show quality dogs and then think they are some kind of accessory in the house and when they can’t give them the love and affection dogs need they either put them out on the street or abandon them. My Juno was one such dog.

The pic Jessica sent me of Chinnu

The pic Jessica sent me of Chinnu

She is a 1.5 yr old lab and has the prettiest eyes. Her owner didn’t want the trouble of taking care of her and dumped her in a foster care home for animals and when they had kept her too long, the owner took her and shifted her to another home for animals. Apparently, taking care of a dog in your own home is too much trouble. My Juno grew up with the name Chinnu and was shuffled from one foster home to another, never having a permanent home. The last home she was in was called “Jeru’s Loving Vacation Home for Pets”. Its run by this amazing lady called Jessica and Juno (or Chinnu at the time) was pretty happy there. She manages a home for animals like a holiday home where you can drop your pets off if you’re travelling or  on a holiday and can’t take your pets with you. Also, other than this, she also takes in abandoned animals and finds them new forever homes.

The minute I read a message saying there was a dog for adoption, I rushed to see her. And when I got there, I fell in love with Chinnu. She slobbered me with hugs and kisses and refused to let go. The day she came home with me was probably the happiest day of my life so far.

Dogs have a way of bringing joy and happiness in a home and the love they give you is unconditional. She was then renamed Juno suggested by a close friend as it sounded close enough to Chinnu and it was easier for her to adjust to it. She’s been the apple of my eye ever since. She understands every emotion and is never shy of jumping and showering you with licks to brighten up your day.

Having spent most of her puppy life in foster homes, she love people and animals around her, the more the merrier. She’s a joy to have around and will now complete 2 yrs n January and we plan to celebrate. So if you’re in town, give us a buzz and come for the party.

Helping me while I work IMG_1052 IMG_1054

P.S. To all those worried dog lovers, I’ve grown up around dogs, so don’t worry Juno is in good hands 😉

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Brownie Fever!!!!

2 May

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz

I love chocolate and love is like chocolate. I don’t think I’ve met a single person till date who hates chocolate. When I was a kid my elder sister Giselle would play this game with me and fooled me each time. My dad would come home from work on salary day and get us each a bar of chocolate (mostly Crackle). My sis would say, “OK Pia, let’s have a competition to see who can eat their chocolate faster and that person wins” and I would literally swallow mine down only to see my sister giving me that evil smile, still only on the first bite of her chocolate. In my house whenever there are any sweets either bought by us or gifted from a relative visiting India from abroad, it would be divided into 5 shares, one for Dad, one for Mum, one for Gis, one for me and one for my younger brother Shawn. This was an unspoken rule always…even till this day. Even if I’m in Bangalore, and foreign chocolates were given by someone, my dad will save my share and stash it away( just in case Shawn or mother get greedy). Everyone in my family has a sweet tooth, so needless to say I love any form of cooking that involves sweets.

Baking sort of came naturally to me. I was gifted an OTG for my last birthday and since then I Google recipes and make them (most come out surprisingly well !!!).I have been experimenting with chocolate quite a lot in my baking experiments. Baking is like therapy for me…along with some good music while I bake.

The past week, my office took the team to lunch at BBQ Nation and for dessert, I ate brownies there. This reminded me that I haven’t baked in a long time…not atleast something involving chocolate . So I decided to try it on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. It a holiday for most people in India I guess. Interestingly, I came across a recipe for brownies on the blog of the famous Maria Goretti. I love reading her blog for the amazing food she makes and the way she writes. Somehow reading her blog makes me smile.

Ok, so back to the brownies!!! I had to try this recipe and I hardly had patience. So I went home from work on Monday and decided to give my first try at baking brownies.Even if it was a fiasco, I could try batch two the next day. So I made myself a drink of whisky and began my “Experiment Brownie”!!! Since the next day was a holiday, I had some friends over for the night to watch the big Man City v/s Man Utd. match. So they too were excited will all the smells from my kitchen. After the brownies were baked n cooled down just a bit (I honestly prefer them hot n gooey) I cut pieces for all of them. One of my friends Mahesh took a bite and had this smile and glow on his face and then said” Wow Pia, they are awesome” and I was in heaven.

So I am re-posting Maria’s recipe here for all you guys who want to try it. Now I made a few minor changes here and there but the basic recipe is still the same.

INGREDIENTS
250 gm- Unsalted butter (I use the normal Amul salted butter itself)
200 gm- Cooking chocolate ( I used some kind of Swiss dark chocolate bars I found at Spar Hypermarket)
50 gm- walnuts optional (I love walnuts so I used 100 gm 🙂 )
80 gm- cocoa powder
65 gm – plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder
360 gm- Castor sugar
4 large eggs..I used 5 because we have normal small eggs…
I added a tsp of cardamom essence because I don’t like the smell of eggs to overpower the dish.

PROCEDURE:

Pre- heat your oven to 175-180 degrees.
Line a 9-10 inch pan with butter paper
Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler..Or then just zap it in a microwave, taking care not to over do it …..Mix it until really smooth and glossy..
In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients , sieve it and add it to the chocolate nut mix, stir it together really well… 
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the brownie mix, mixing really well.Then add the walnuts

Put it in a tray and cook it for about 25-30 minutes, or till the mix does not jiggle in the middle..
Be careful not to over cook this, as they should be a little firm n the outside but gooey in the middle..
Allow it to cool…and then Attack!!!

So I hope you like this one and so till my next baking experiment, Au revoir.

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