I have spent the last few days - two weeks to be precise - vacillating from one extreme to another until I felt my head reeling due to the flagella like movements inside my brain and in the process I made P go mad too! The reason is that I was offered a Canon EOS 350D at a good price on second sale, and I was divided as to buy or not to buy
Our friend V (the guy who practically prodded and goaded me into getting adventurous, and still doesn't know that it is he!) has many friends who are professional photographers, and he knows that I enjoy photography, so when one of them wanted to give away (not for free of course!) his 'not so old' DSLR, V thought of me. I did not want to spend much, but really wanted to upgrade to a better model. When you are a shopaholic with a penchant for good bags, pens, shoes, wallets, caps, and spectacle frames apart from being crazy about books, cutlery, hair styles and movies you have to budgetise yourself and so, I prudently decided to invest in a hand down camera rather than an expensive new model that would really stretch my budget! I did not need to talk P into buying it as my birthday is coming up and he was quite happy to let me choose rather than wonder what to choose!!
I am still just learning to handle this baby, so please bear with my experiments! Any tips will be well received, and are most welcome. I am pretty good at taking positive criticism having been at the 'giving' end as a teacher at one point of my life - something I really regret not sticking too!
In keeping with my resolve of exploring International cuisine, I ventured into Thailand and then back to Italy recently. The Thai curry was liked by everyone in the family but something I did not enjoy much - OK! I am biased and I love coconut milk only in aviyal and olan! The taste of garlic with coconut milk is something that needs to be acquired so the deficiency lies in me rather than the dish! Meanwhile I saw Sandeepa's ''Thai vegetable soup"
which has caught my attention because it has no garlic and looks very doable and tasty. The day after the camera came into my possession for a trial period I tried a vegan red bean and brown rice risotto. I wouldn't call this very adventurous as it was not so far off from a rajma pulao made with boiled rice. I have made risottos before but never used unpolished rice or ukda chaawal. For this preparation I used brown rice from 'Nirapara
'. I like this the best as the quality is quite superior and I have been using it for quite some time now. When I cook it plain I just place it in the cooker with four times water and 3 whistles, lower the flame and cook further for ten minutes before switching off. However for the risotto I cooked it as the recipe called for in a vessel till done.
This was a super duper hit! All of us loved it, but again I prefer having it hot off the gas at home rather than the cold version I ate for lunch at my office. The reason being that the brown rice became a little dryish by lunch time, and I like my rice with a saucy gravy. My recipe is based on the Essential series starring vegetarian recipes. I liked this one as the recipe did not feature cheese which seems to be a must on most risottos.Ingredients
Olive oil (I used carotino) - 2tbsp.
2 small onions sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
Nirapara brown rice - 2 cups
Vegetable stock/water - 6.5 cups
Red pepper - 1 deseeded and chopped
Button mushrooms (use any kind) - 200g.
Soaked overnight, and cooked Kashmiri Rajma (Kidney beans) - 2 cups (Use 3)
Lettuce leaves - generously
Parsley or coriander - generously
Cashews - About 10
Salt and pepper (I used white)Method:
Heat a tsp. of oil in a cooker or heavy vessel. Add onions and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook till the raw appearance changes. Add rice stir, and add a tsp. of oil to coat the rice all over.
Add the water or stock and a pinch of salt and boil stirring constantly. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer till the liquid is absorbed completely.
Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add the pepper and cook till half done. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook till the mushrooms are just done (max. 5 minutes).
Stir the rice into the mushroom and pepper and add the beans with a little of the juice or creamy residue. Add the lettuce and cashews. Season with salt and a generous pinch of white pepper and cook until hot. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish and serve immediately.Note
Not advisable for packed lunch as flavors are lost unlike Rajma rice where flavors remain captured.
: This morning she opened the blog and asked, "What! You didn't post that tasty rajma risotto yet?" "It was so good!"Jr.P
: "I know, I liked it too!"I
: "I prefer rajma Indian style."Jr.H seconded heartily by Jr.P
: "Mummy! How can you decide? You should have asked us!"I
: Stumped! Kids!! I tell you!!
Verdict:Thumbs up! Besides, how can anything with Kashmiri rajma ever taste anything but great?:)