Posted in Food

#Foodie Wednesday – Chilli Paneer (Cheese)

A little late today and would like to keep this up once a week if I can. Unless you’re vegan, or have an allergy to cheese, who doesn’t like it. While mild cheddar is the order of the day, I prefer my cheese to have a kick, so like a Mexican cheese slice.

I also like Paneer (fresh cheese commonly used on the Indian Subcontinent) and you can get this either as a block or diced up. Chilli Paneer is a firm favourite of mine and you can make it rich in sauce or dry. Here’s my attempt at it.

Chilli Paneer

Ingredients and Instructions (click below)

Sharing the link to the site I used try and replicate this dish. As you can see from the puc my version was dry and so perfect with salad, as a starter dish.

Hope your version comes out nice if you cook it. Or share your version of a chilli paneer and I’ll happily try it. In actual fact feel free to share any dish you like to cook!!

Posted in New Year

Dusting off New Year’s Resolutions

How in advance of the chimes of Big Ben (if you’re in the UK) ringing through the start of another year, that the ink on your New Year’s Resolutions list was bone dry?

Historically we did it like this

Do the good people of planet Earth still use the phrase New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs)?  Apologies, I don’t mean to sound rude when I say this.  It’s just because in these very recent times we are good at re-visiting our trends at any point during the year.  Lets take the most common item on the NYRs list, joining a gym. Historically you may not have thought about this one in any particular detail, but it comes to the frontal lobe at the start of Christmas until New Years Eve.

Iterative evaluation

The alternative scenario is you’ve still managed to indulge during the festive period and who doesn’t.  One should always feel happy with themselves and not be coaxed into doing something for the sake of it. But a few months into the New Year someone you know is partaking in a sporting event for charity and Eureka, you decide to get involved and get fit! You evaluate and join the gym, or start walking more, running or even cycling. More importantly you’ve done it at the moment you felt ready which means you are more likely to stick with it.  According to the Fitness Industry Association gym memberships go up by 12% in January, with many quitting just 24 weeks later.  In fact many would quit earlier if they weren’t locked into 6 month contracts!

Let me dust off the NYRs cobwebs first

I was searching through my site the other day to see the last time I posted anything on this subject, as I don’t have any paper based evidence.  Patiently I watched the archive posts unfold themselves onto my screen and I chuckled.  Ahead of 2020, let me share what I noted as my NYRs all those years back:

Note: my profession involves a lifetime of applying a RAG (Red/Amber/Green) statuses to everyday management.  If it’s green, I’ve done it!  If it’s amber, it’s at risk of slippage. If it’s red, then it’s sadly slipped! 

On a dark December night in 2010…..

  • Develop my business ideaThrough a common interest (sport) a friend and myself decided to set up a sports foundation to help young Indian children.  Now you may be reading this and thinking, bit of a narrow take on things, what about everyone else. While we never turned anyone away, this particular ethnic group needed a push. Our foundation ran for a couple of years and helped kids in specialist sports such as cricket, go-karting, judo, squash and badminton.  We organised and delivered golf days to raise funds for equipment and private lessons where parents were unable to help.  With whatever we had left over we donated to charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital or Ellenor Hospice. I am sure we will rejuvenate the foundation again at some point.   
  •  Convert my audio cassettes – I had 300 back in 2010 and you’ll be pleased to know I managed to convert, wait for it, 75% of the lot to MP3.  The remaining 15% I managed to acquire from the web. 
  •  Convert my VHS video tapesApart from the nostalgia and need to preserve memories, the cost was a driving factor to do it myself.  At the last time of enquiring an external company would be charging me a tidy sum of £50 per 3hrs of footage. As I picked myself off the floor and blurted a few expletives, common sense prevailed. Now I have myself a borrowed VHS recorder, a SCART lead and all of my VHS tapes.  All I need now is a conversion kit and I am ready to go! 

What new joys do I have on my list for 2020!

  •  Complete my FINAL book draft and publish – this one is top of my agenda! I started writing my first novel in December 2015.  Click here to read a brief background.  Realistically, by September I am hoping it’s sitting on bookshelves somewhere and also available for purchase online. A new website to support the book and also other new book ideas to be created by end of February, you heard it here first! 
  •  Launch a short YouTube mini series for our comedy venture The Chucklesinghs – 4 years ago a friend and myself got into stand-up comedy by mistake.  It started with an open mic session on stage at a charity event, and just this November we hosted and performed our 12th show.  It’s time for a mix up and we want to plan and release a short series on the other side of the Chucklesinghs. See it as a working sabbatical. 

So that’s it!  I am confident these are attainable but two things are bound to happen; (1) re-evaluation (2) emergence of new items on the list.

If you’re reading this, then a very Happy New Year, wishing you a 2020 full of great health and year of new adventures.

Posted in Personal Observations

Cutting short your restaurant trip: How to read the signs

I don’t like to name and shame, but on this occasion I will endeavour to mention the establishment in question, it being “The Coconut Lagoon” (I will abbreviate it as TCL), in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. For this award winning restaurant, the clue is literally in the phrase coconut, yep, brown on the outside, white on the inside (not offence intended).

Did I do any homework beforehand?

In short, No! We should have, we were in a new town and trip advisor would have been a great start. However, after our experience I did check the feedback site and the majority of reviews were 4 stars and above (I rest my case). Our main driver was a craving for a Dosa and this place was the only one in the vicinity offering that. Also, it was voted Best Indian Restaurant Group in the UK by Chef Pat Chapman in the Good Curry Guide. Don’t worry, I did tweet Pat:

PC Tweet

 

Sign No.1 – Is the Chef Indian?

Earlier in the day, on one of our journeys into the local town centre, we visited TCL to grab their menu and get a view of the ambience. Front of house mentioned they had a Spanish Chef preparing morning breakfast, but it was definitely an Indian Chef in the evening. We had our first question mark looming!

Sign No. 2 – Where were the brown faces?

The front of house was managed by two ladies (for legal reasons I refer to them as Spiky Lady and Visible Lady)…well I think one as the other one (spiky hair woman) looked more like a guy. Again, no offence but you know which way this person swings if you ever get the pleasure of visiting TCL. I have nothing against who works in a restaurant, however not to see a single brown face in an Indian restaurant, come on. Our second question mark started looming!

Sign No.3 – It was “sorry” at every table

As we waited for someone to take our order (note the restaurant sits around 25 covers in total) visible lady was in charge of bringing out the food to the customers, as well as taking the orders. Every table she attended and delivered food, was followed by a “sorry for the wait”. I counted this occurring on four occasions. We remained patient, however it was all too much for a particular table, who after waiting nearly an hour, finally got up, paid for what they had already ordered and left – they were visibly pissed off! Our third question mark started looming!

Sign No. 4 – When front of house have no clue of their menu

So why did we venture for a munch outside of our hotel? Oh yeah, the dosa! Finally visible lady appeared at our table to take our order. We ordered our dosa’s, after which followed this esteem conversation:

Visible lady: Do you want bread with that?

Me: It’s a dosa, you don’t normally have bread with that

Visible lady: Oh yes, of course, excuse my ignorance

Our fourth question mark started looming! The kids had ordered Chick Peas with Parantha, I jokingly said to my wife, wouldn’t it be funny if they were Shana’s (these my friends are frozen substitutes and are a cardinal sin). Note* This parantha cost us £2.50 each!

Sign No. 5 – The Proof is definitely in the pudding

Realisation No.1 – The Parantha’s arrive..and yes, they were Shana’s. We all smiled at each other, I should have gone to my local betting shop.

My Wife to Visible Lady: Excuse me, these parantha’s are not fresh and have been cooked from frozen.

Visible Lady: Not really. I saw the chef cook this

My Wife: You mean you saw the chef warm them up?

Visible Lady: I will check with the chef.

On her return:

Visible Lady: Please excuse my ignorance; these were warmed up from frozen so we will not charge you for these.

The cost was not the issue; the fact that we were missing out on the authentic taste was just simply disappointing.

Then came out the chick peas…bone DRY and straight from the tin! We asked the visible lady to ask the chef to add some sauce. What returned were the chick peas with tomato sauce straight from a tin of chopped tomatoes! We didn’t know where to put our faces. Credit to our team, we were hungry and pretty much gulped up the food. The restaurant ticked off a few items from our menu, however a more bolder customer would have refused to pay a penny due to the lack of authenticity with the food served. OK, we didn’t order anything from the main menu, however what I saw being dished out to other tables didn’t bellow out the fragrance of that authentic taste..come to think of it..there wasn’t that Indian fragrance at all!

The surrounding area is very much populated with non-Indians, so I can understand the restaurant trying to pander to “the locals”! But don’t take the piss by cooking something you can acquire from a jar from the supermarket and then serving it up as if it was hand transported direct from India. My theory on the place, there is no Indian Chef, he’s definitely Spanish!

 

 

 

Posted in Personal Observations

Age of Wise Old Uncle-ji has Vanished!

Disclaimer: A couple of things to confirm here….

1. It’s the first day of 2013, so a bit of fun as I have put together a sketch and mish-mashed the images from the web

2. The following sketch applies to both male and female

3. Images plucked from….mentioned at the bottom

Post_01-01-13-ArrangedMarr_Pic1

Post_01-01-13-ArrangedMarr_Pic2

Images courtesy of:

Old man – forums.digitalpoint.com
Indian Dad – http://www.theoriginof.com
Indian Mum – http://www.theoriginof.com
Girl – clipartcandy.com
Sikh Boy – sikhtoons.com

Posted in Travel

India – Industrial Monster in a hurry

Note: This is not an exhaustive read, my views are independent and based on 5 days and 6 nights in the Motherland

“So when’s the last time you went to India?”

“What!”

“The country has much changed my friend; you are in for a shock”.

Continue reading “India – Industrial Monster in a hurry”