Thursday, 9 October 2014

Cricket themed birthday cake!

How things change - to sound as cliched as possible - our middle child is 8, cricket obsessed and his siblings are practically old enough to make and decorate a birthday cake :) well almost.
This was my first attempt at making people, well cant really do much with a cricket pitch......turned out the eldest made most of the figure from the lovely tutorials on blogs online....good fun and then, with the fondant all finished, dug out the marzipan from the freezer and made the little figure on the right!
Wickets were marzipanagain on toothpicks, ran out of marzipan for the pitch so its incredibly misshapen and small.
The cake turned out to be the easiest thing - standard rectangle sponge with green fondant. Figures etc made with lots of help from the children, birthday child delighted with all the cricket themed things for his birthday - trying to stay away from Minecraft until we can- anyone with good things to say about it, send me a message!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Finding Fanny Fernandes review

Loved it! In summary.

Went to see 'Finding Fanny' last night, very different going out here without the children and being able to have a peaceful car journey. Cineworld on Broad Street shows a couple of Hindi movies - dont have to travel to Vue in Starcity the other side of Birmingham fortunately.
I loved the movie....went thinking it might be some caricature of a Goan community like previous Hindi movie portrayals, but, its actually reasonably authentic and, no beaches/drugs/etc shown. There isn't a Calangute or a Mapusa or a Panjim but lots of proper rural Goa.
Cant think of where to begin, all characters lovely and well thought many many many fantastic pieces of scriptwriting, lots of dark bits, some fantastic humour, well done by a Parsi director and non Goan cast.
Naseeruddin Shah stands out as the mad Ferdie, read that Homi A waited for him to have time to do this movie, well worth it. None of the cast come close in comparison to his acting.
Deepika P looks lovely in the movie, in a non jaw dropping Aishwarya Rai beauty sort of way.  (a couple of friends who've worked with her say she looks nothing like that in reality and she's had a lot of work done! Would have said being nasty but they are lovely and honest :)
Good to see Dimple K after ages on screen. In school, we used to think she was one of the most beautiful women ever.
Karamchand aka Pankaj K was very good as the lechy painter.
Not sure if the movie is classed as a comedy, but I laughed my head off at some bits, classic being Rosie's cat disaster and the fallout.
I can go on and on about the various scenes/bits/portions, but will stop and say go and see the movie! 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Finding Fanny Fernandes!

This whacky title I've been seeing on and off on my forays into the world of Bollywood gossip online - for a few months now - yes there actually is a movie called Finding Fanny Fernandes, and, surprise surprise, its in English, even more surprisingly, the trailer seems sort of good - dare I say it!
Have a look - the Adobe on my laptop has a hate relationship with Firefox so can't open it currently, but this is the right link

Going to see it this Friday, if H can be coaxed to come along - been telling him its set in Goa with a Fernandes et al. To post a review afterwards.

In other news (for lack of a suitable phrase), the middle child and H wold have loved to go to the 2020 cricket at Edgbaston yesterday, how is it possible that we could be so busy on the one day that it was just not happening????? Such a love for cricket in this household (not me though), Edgbaston is a few minutes drive away, on a lovely warm Sunday, reasonably priced tickets, yet, the multitude of previously decided things meant we were elsewhere - fabulous Sunday though!

Next post to be on the many lovely packs of prawn balchao currently in our house!!!!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Back from Bombay

A very long break from posting on the blog - a very busy July with my work taking precedence, then the children's school year finishing and the various activities associated, friends functions and then a long break to Bombay......just back, feeling refreshed and with enough of Elco's pani puri tasted to keep me going for another year!

So much has changed and so much hasn't. The autos still drive manically and have rigged meters, the above mentioned Elco's Pani Puri still tastes gorgeous at Rs60, Marks and Spencer still has inflated prices compared to what we pay here, prices of onions and tomatoes are still increasing et al.
The Range Rovers seemed to have increased and we weren't even in South Bombay, seen loads, our friends/family/fish lady/bhajiwala all upset about the condition of the roads, the prices of essentials etc.

Yes, I have brought back my beloved banana wafers, lots of pickle and masalas and, this time, lots of prawn balchao and bombay duck! Not sure if its new, but cured/dried/gutted fish is now allowed to be brought into the UK - from the customs website :) lovely Friday with sorak and prawn balchao.

Something that stood out from our visit was my good friend from Sophia who I met after 20 years definitively telling us 'not to come back to India, its not nice here' :( We were talking about options and I was mentioning it was good to see my batchmates highly placed in Indian television and doing well for themselves, when she was very clear in her feelings). :(

These are some pictures, more to follow:
1) Rakhis on a roadside stall
2) A cow at Khar station ticket purchase area - on my yearly train journey to Churchgate.


Monday, 30 June 2014

Lego Cake

 Chose a Lego Cake to do for the littlest's birthday - why I have no idea and I wish I'd chosen something simpler! Its much harder than it looks and these *&^%$ moulds ate up half the icing until I realised oiling them might help. Other two children very much wanting to help and looking at me struggling with the icing decided to 'just watch Mummy' - sensible. Moulds very cheap on Ebay - Ive never bought tools to make a cake and should have stuck with a DIY job. Final straw was the cake sticking to the pan and half of it refusing to come out - whyyyyyyyyyyy. Never mind, overall was an ok job and didnt collapse, the youngest loved it and its all finished, other than some leftover lego icing bits! Stuck the icing on with jam, first time using it instead of buttercream. After the non stop disasters with the cake and moulds, didnt really want to try buttercream.....Jam did a fantastic job.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tiger prawns from Costco and Leicester's Indian restaurants!

How do people manage work full time and sort out a healthy homecooked dinner and children's activities and social events and clean the house! Managed fine before I was married and the children arrived, now struggling and dont want to give in to pizza on a daily basis.....
This picture is raw tiger prawns from Costco, its around £7 for 13 and they are gorrrrgeous, I've loaded them with rechade masala here (my incapable phone camera makes it look pink) and they tasted divine.......lovely for when you have a few people over who dont mind using their fingers!

H's Father's Day present of sorts was a cricket match in Leicester, so off I went on a search for a good Indian restaurant, and my extensive research proved that yes, the proper Indian restaurants are much better in Leicester than Birmingham!!!!! Shock horror.
This pav bhaji was the best we've had outside Bombay, dead serious. Other than the chunk of butter in the middle. I've never got it spot on and dont know anyone who has.
This is from Indigo on the main restaurant road in Leicester and it was lovely for less than a fiver. Also had chaat (99% lovely) and a few other things. Highly recommend a visit there, or a bit of research on the many proper Indian places to eat (South Indian, Gujarati etc). Much better than the balti oily stuff that passes itself off as Indian cooking here anyway.
Wish one of them would open a branch here in Birmingham......anyway, going to India soon and very excited about it, then realise there has been very little shopping done until now, cue panic......

Monday, 2 June 2014


13 Annoying Things NRIs Do When They Return To India
MAY 8 , 2014

1. They acquire a goofy "foreign" accent.

I always find it amusing how a U.S return can carry a Brit accent. Seriously?

2. The really corny ones start using American slang. Even though they've come back from South Africa.

"Yo! Sup dawg?" Wait, what? Don't you dare call me dawg. You are a dawg.

3. Sports for them is now all about N.B.A and baseball.

And as soon as there's a India v/s Pakistan cricket match, they forget everything go "Sachin! Sachin!"

4. They now find everything to be "too spicy."

All Indian cuisine is way too spicy for them now. Curry or no curry.

5. They drink only and only, bottled water.

And sometimes they demand sparkling water too. Whatever that is.

6. They crib about the pollution in India.

You should be glad we're not China. And if you've come back from China, you need to S.T.F.U.

7. They have a thing for "labels" now.

Even if they can't pronounce Gucci and Versace.


8. They need tissues. All the time.

Hehehe. We know what's going on here.

9. They now need industrial strength mosquito repellant.

Okay, we get it, we have mosquitoes. But you knew that already right? And it's not like you've never been bitten by one, right?

10. Stray animals are scary for them now.

"O.M.G! A dog in the middle of the street. Is this a zoo?"


11. It's always "too much noise" for them. Everywhere.

"Why are you talking to each other? It's too much noise ya!"

12. Everything is dirty.

"Chee! I can't have this Pani Puri. It's so dirty!"

13. Every sentence starts with a "back in the states..."

You know, back when you were sane, you weren't such a huge pain in the ass.


Laughed out loud at number 12 and Imran Khan's hilarious avatar.
H takes shedloads of repellent and I hate to say that I've always thought it unnecessary until I had a bad case of malaria a few years ago which spoilt my trip.
Some of the things above are for people in America, no clue about living there, but can think of a few people living here who it would pertain to :)
 Other than the repellent, none of the above applies to me :) Gloat gloat gloat.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Driving on a Sunday to London's Natural History Museum and Science Museum

Yes, the post title is right, we actually drove from Birmingham to London last Sunday, all the way to Kensington, and drove around passing Big Ben, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square to boot!

Its much easier  than it sounds - it took us 2 hours to reach, there is free parking (yes actual free parking) a few minutes walk away from the Museums, free on a Sunday, in the pay and display bays. The internet forums I looked at say its free in resident's bays too, but we were too scared. A reasonable amount of free spaces even when we reached at 11:30am. Queensgate Road is the name of the place.
The Natural History Museum was jammed with hordes of adults waiting to see a mechanical TRex - no sorry that sounds so horrid and nasty. The dinosaur exhibition is impressive with a sort of giant TRex roaring mildly while shaking his head a centimetre - sorry again, I sound awful. As you can gather, I've seen it way too many times to be awed like my three year old. Its a lovely lovely Museum with lots to see, all carefully curated and presented. You can get free explorers packs at the entrance for the children, like a sort of treasure hunt, which the children can return for a stamped passport, also get loan of a safari hat and binoculars.
The children loved floor 3 of the Science Museum, with all the experiments - the best I have ever seen (not that I've seen loads)! Highly recommended.
Back out at around 4:30, for a half an hour drive of the sights, too much stop and start traffic but fortunately H was doing it all. And actually did it. Told the children how lucky they were not to have to walk miles etc.
On the way back, found a road with many Lebanese restaurants and bought some shawarma and baklava.
Back home at 8.
Yes, bit rushed, but very much do-able. These below are a few of the pics taken from the car! (Will upload in a bit)

Long time no posts......

Seems like ages since I posted, working from home and for yourself has its pros and of now, its half term and most of my work is being done in fits and starts, other than getting the children to paint a huge cutout!
I posted about Narendra Modi standing for elections etc, so now he's the PM. All I will say is that he is better than the alternative - still cant believe these two were the only option in such a huge country. Just read that a third of his cabinet ministers have a criminal record ( Suppose its not so different from before.......been seeing glimpses of the two main women leaders - Jayalalitha, Mamata Banerjee and, surprise - Hema Malini. yes, there are others, but in my few second glimpses, this has stood out.
And that's the end of my very limited knowledge diatribe on Indian politics!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Sat morning cooking - baked Kale crisps....?

 Sat morning, taking our lovely friend out to lunch for her birthday, house tidied/grass cut on Friday, so what do I do on a morning off - cook for Sunday of course!!!
Probably looking forward to going to India and replenishing all my masalas etc did it - I have been trying to assimilate all the various jars.....
Best bit of the cooking was the kale crisps - sounds very strange but they are gorgeous, taste like the Chinese seaweed in the buffets. They have about a tbsp of oil for the whole huge packet and some salt, and then baked for 8 mins in a single layer - lovely lovely lovely.......not as lovely as my aloo lachchas but better than 150gms of Kettle barbecue with 750 cals.

Lots of bhindi leftover so made some coconut curry with curry leaves, methi seeds and courgettes, with the bhindi - no grinding coconut but used the powder.
And some Parampara chicken Biryani - tastes heavenly, for Rs40, mix the chicken with the mix, water and yogurt. Lovely and no work.
As is obvious, Im trying to use all my Indian supplies.
All new food cooked on Sunday though, so much for Sat cooking.....whole new story.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Yesterday, driving to somewhere at around 11:30am, put the radio on and went to Radio4, which H listens to. Heard something about parenting and children playing instruments so stayed on there, its usually something I'm completely uninterested in when I do tune in.
It turned out to be a short piece by Rosie Millard on Pushy Parenting......among her talk on how she feels a parent must push children, and how good it would eventually be for the children etc was probably the most jaw dropping thing in parenting I've ever heard, notwithstanding the horror, scary unmentionables.
Our children have learnt some sort of instrument, because they want to, yes I have started it off and have repeatedly said if they want to quit, its absolutely fine. Personally, I dont think children under 8 need the rigours of daily practice etc, but each to his own. Having said all this, this is what I was zapped about, yesterday morning:
Rosie said she offers use of her house to a London Orchestra string quartet to practice regularly, in the hope that the music or ? rubs off on her children and they take to liking/wanting to play classical music...... She calls it eccentric, I am speechless........

Monday, 5 May 2014

Sunday evening cooking

Sudden urge to make potato chops on Sunday evening, odd or what.....maybe to do with the glut of cooked mince in the fridge staring at me, and the love for the things the whole family have.
Id forgotten how time consuming it is - boil, peel, mash, form, egg, breadcrumbs, fry on low etc, but turned out lovely.

Next was the pannacotta, loved the mix H brought back from Milan, looked it up and supposed to be dead easy. So got the big container of double cream from Costco and all set, only to discover there was no gelatine.....cue looking for no gelatine pannacotta recipes on a Sunday evening. This is with egg white, baked and is gorgeous, other than the fact that mine turned out more like a creme brulee.
This picture is the fun that turned out to be the caramel topping becoming like sun sugar. The kids had a blast with it and tried weaving their own strands with the bits on their spoons, before it all turned cold and hard and set.......I have promised to do it again as a fun activity, so they are waiting for a date.....Need to experiment more with caramel - spun sugar, toffee sauce, praline etc.......
We are going to India :) delighted.....

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cherry Blossom and Mario's Goa Sausage Masala!

 Trying to capture on film, the beauty of the pink cherry blossom carpet on Mr W's carefully manicured front garden, cant do justice without standing in his drive and using H's complicated camera.....this will have to do. Its gorgeous and lovely, on the tree and as a carpet on the grass. Next door's is even prettier but my pictures arent looking 10% as nice as reality.
The council have kindly planted a similar tree on our front grass, making it very difficult to mow around it, but hopefully will be as pretty in a few years.
Now, to my Sunday delight of Mario's Goa Sausage Masala! Its been marinating in the fridge for 2 weeks, the pic on the left is the raw version and the right is the cooked version - its much darker when fully done - there's about a teaspoon left so no point taking a pic, and, the conclusion is, its worth the effort of looking in Mapusa market, or Newtons in Candolim, where we bought this one, for.
Rs50 for the pack, used 2 tbsps, cut up some Costco pork and marinated.
Boiled it with some onions and potatoes and its, in H's words, a cross between vindaloo and Goa sausages.
For us, who have sausages only when in India, this will do for now,hopefully someone in Birmingham will start making the things soon......

Friday, 25 April 2014

Hatton Country World

 This is part of a review posted elsewhere...

Heard about Hatton's since our children were born, this was our first visit. Yes, the prices are steep, which was out first thought, however, there are 241 vouchers around with a good look online or booking in advance, and, with these vouchers, it was much better than expected.
We were there from opening 10am until 3pm and the kids didnt want to leave.

Their Easter thingie is lovely, lots of little choc eggs given out at the treasure hunt which kids thoroughly enjoyed finding the colours etc. Other than that, there was loads to see and do, for under 10's. Lots of toddlers around, funfair rides more suited to them. Our children loved the sheepdog running after the ducks demo, milking the cow, holding the guineapigs, stroking the goats who popped up over the fence, the tractor ride (bit of an anticlimax but still good), the magic show, the steep red slide in the indoor play area which was spotless etc.

All in all, lots to do, I think it was full value for what we paid.
Plan and follow the schedule given at the entrance, go on a sunny day (99% outdoors) and look for vouchers!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter from a house with too many eggs!

All went good with my first set of events.......thank God. Now the rush to plan the next set soon and so on.
Anyway, no thoughts of work since the past couple and for the next couple of days, its Easter soon and there are way too many chocolate eggs in the house.......I remember the inlaws coming in summer and enjoying the leftover eggs.
We are fortunate to have lovely friends who spoil our children with lots of goodies.....below is a pic of the little goodies one of their special aunties here gave them, well the contents of two bags, one was hidden by the youngest, upset he couldnt eat chocolate on Good Friday.
BTW, the eldest carefully arranged the things 'because she was bored'. This is at 8:30am because she woke up too early.....
My hunt for non chocolate easter eggs with marzipan continues, I miss the big marzipan eggs with sweets inside my dad used to order from Delhi when we were little. All I've found for the past 10 years is chocolate and occassionally marshmallows in a bucket for Easter......Aldi do a marzipan and chocolate bar but no Easter eggs,......the hunt continues.....
Happy Easter to all, not posting for a few days.....