Tag Archives: Vacation

Vacation Post – Nice & Monaco #3

27 Jul

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – ―  Anaïs Nin

Such startlingly true words.  With each vacation post, I managed to relive so many holiday memories.

The last leg of our vacation was spent at Nice and Monaco.

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view from our service apartment balcony

After our adventures in Paris and 1 hour flight, we found ourselves in the warm and bustling Nice (South of France). Paris was fast paced while Nice was laid-back.

NICE– Narrow streets and busy sidewalks flanked by quaint -looking  apartment buildings were the first sights to greet us. Shops with colourful wares from fruits to vegetables to crockery and fresh blooms; lavender, peonies, tulips and lilies. Pet shops with naughty puppies and mad hamsters scurrying about in their cages, set the mood for the rest of the day. Nice is like a place out of a children’s story book.  Misty mountains on one side and the azure sea on the other. The tourist season was just setting in.  The first week of May isn’t considered warm enough but for us it was quite warm. By the time it was afternoon, the sun was blazing down on us.  It was then we stopped loafing around and settled ourselves on the pebble -laden beach.

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Lavender

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Icy waves crashing against the pebbles drawing them back into the sea, seagulls racing against the winds and my little imp tip toeing on the pebbled shore are the moments in time I will forever treasure. Nice is beautiful. Beautiful is an understatement. I would say Nice is pleasant where pleasant is a superlative of all things beautiful and lovely.

Travelling with a toddler is made easy by service apartments and we got a service apartment that was comfortable. It gave us the flexibility of cooking our meals when eating out seemed like a hassle. I enjoyed cooking simple meals for us in an apartment overlooking stunning sights. Soon, I will post about one of the easier meals I had cooked while in Nice which was as filling as it was tasty. We had a super market right below our service apartment which made it easy to buy milk, butter, bread, oil, fruits, vegetables and condiments in small quantities. I was quite ready to settle down because in our 4 day trip we had practically made it our home.

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The restored fountain at Place Masséna

Sight seeing around Nice is made easy by a mini trains that leave  from Promenade des Anglais every 30 minutes or so. The mini train took us around the city and around the outskirts, up until the top of the Castle Hill. There it stops for 15 minutes for the visitors to tour around. I bought lovely water colour paintings of  lavender fields, sun flower fields and many more captivating sights on paper.

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Night time at Nice is even more exciting with people rushing to go clubbing or drinking. There were pubs and bars where salsa classes were being conducted and there were groups of boys performing their b-boying stunts for a visitors at Place Masséna. My daughter stood fascinated looking at the boys performing their stunts. She then coyly, asked me if she could go. I pushed her forward and imagined that she would shy away. But she wasn’t the one to be deterred by the 50-odd spectators. One of the b-boyers noticed her and took her to the forefront and introduced her to the crowd. Then they blared the music and urged her to perform. I was shocked to see my baby performing effortlessly whatever she picked up from observing those boys in front of all those people. She wasn’t in the least bit intimidated by all the crowd or the new dance form. For a 3 year old, she did well. I was a proud mum. All the people clapped and cheered for Mimi as she pirouetted and swirled around. It shall remain a treasured memory for time to come.

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The Cathedral on the left hand side; Lights that shine up the Nice nights on the right hand side

If you take a quick look on the right hand panel of my blog, you’d find a culinary bucket list that I had prepared at the start of the year. One of them involves me sampling some oysters. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s quote I had read sometime back –

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Books and great writers have always influenced me a great deal and hence this decision of tasting some oysters just to see if there was any metal in what Ernest Hemingway felt on tasting oysters.

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We tracked down the best place in Nice through internet research.  Cafe Turin, our research pointed, served the best platter. Off we went with brave hearts to see what oysters might taste like. Cafe Turin is very homely and far from being posh but the people serving definitely came across as being extremely pretentious. This includes the cafe’s  Maitre D’hotel  who seated us without a smile on his face. It was as if he was being made to do it against his free will. The servers were of little help and we felt discouraged. I looked around helplessly once the platter of oysters was placed before us to see if I could just observe how others in the restaurant were eating/swallowing theirs. A friendly French lady saw me looking nervously around and smiled at me. So I approached her and asked her if she knew how to have oysters. She was having some herself, so she taught me. Here it goes:

1. Pick the oyster in your hands and  you will see a molluscan-looking stuff in some liquid.

2. Loosen the oyster meat from the shell with the help of the knife and squeeze some lemon juice on it. Do this liberally.

3. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and think of how much Ernest Hemingway liked this thing. Obviously there must be some merit.

4. Suck the oyster meat in your mouth and give a single, shallow bite and swallow it.

5. And keep it in. Yes, its a bit of struggle where your brain is figuring out whether to eject this lemony- squishy thing stuck in your throat or to swallow it and be a part of the world that adores oysters.

6. I swallowed one and then 4 more after that.  It isn’t all that bad. But it isn’t all that good either. It is, well, like nothing. Neutral. I don’t know whether I like it or dislike it. I am yet to make up my mind over whether I would ever try oysters again. So my verdict is: Oysters taste neutral.

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I proudly strike the oyster eating adventure off my culinary bucket list!

Out of the 4 day trip in Nice, we took a day trip to Monaco. It was a 20 minute train ride from Nice to Monaco.

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Monaco

Monaco – Principality of Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world, after the Vatican.  Stepping out of the railway station, we were greeted with an air of affluence and elitism. Herds of Rolls Royce and Bentley parked in a row is a common sight all over.

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Stellar yachts bobbing in the horizon created a picturesque view. It is easy to take stock of the state in the mini train that cruises around the city introducing us, visitors to the prominent sights in Monaco. Known world over for the Grand Prix races, visitors surround the race tracks to get a closer view of the stadium. Apart from that, the principality is adorned with perfectly manicured lawns and exotic gardens all over.

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The food as far as my taste bud memories tell me was the best of the trip. I can still recall the taste of the delicious goat cheese and honey salad and the fantastic cup of hot chocolate that I had at one of the road side restaurants in Monaco.

If Amsterdam was amazing, Paris was perfect. If Paris whet our wanderlust appetite, Nice only aggravated it. If Nice was like  the best chocolate cake ever, then Monaco was like the chocolate icing on the cake. That pretty much sums up my vacation. Phew!

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With this I complete my series of Vacation Post #. Writing about my vacation adventure has been absolutely exhilarating.  I can’t wait to plan my next vacation and celebrate my birthday in some interesting part of the world. Inshallah.

RAMADAN KAREEM TO ALL WHO ARE FASTING.

Photos courtesy : – Namit Bhatia (@namit93)

Vacation Post – Paris #2

15 Jul

A 10- day vacation is the just right amount.

More than a week and less than a fortnight.

It is just the right amount to fit a few places but not too many. Its good to be flexible like that. Exactness is exacting, I feel. Vacation stops feeling like one when one tries to over plan it to its last detail.

What is the stuff you have to plan and what of it do you leave it to luck, you ask?

Stuff that needs planning –

*Flight tickets

*Hotels

*Some must -see  and must -do stuff ( 40% of the itinerary should be planned)

With a toddler, you need to have a fair amount of certainty else it can turn into a chaotic situation.

Stuff that you can leave to luck-

*Some can-see and can – do stuff ( 60% of the itinerary should be ”at -the-moment” plan)

*Places to eat

*Places to shop

The discovery along the unplanned part of the trip is where the actual learning happens about the culture, people, the geography and the food.

Paris

After our Amsterdam stint, the next leg of the trip was a 5 day rendezvous in Paris. Recently, my biggest influences in planning this trip to Paris have been this book, this movie , this other movie about Paris and this grand movie too. And oh this blog and this blog!

Otherwise, I have always been fascinated about travelling to Paris just to see the Eiffel tower. A birthday under the shade of the Eiffel tower sounded dream -like.

We took a flight from Amsterdam into Paris which was short and uncomplicated. But upon landing, we were shocked to find that KLM hadn’t sent our baggage in the same flight. We were left with some hand luggage and a baby stroller. We were sent off by the airport officials, with a small kit of toiletries to explore Paris. With absolutely nothing except our passports and cash we roamed the streets of Paris with a bitter-sweet feeling. One thing about the officials in France; you can’t rush them neither can you urge them. You have to smile politely and pray that you get your baggage back as they promised. I prayed. Very hard.

The following day, the bags were at our hotel as promised.

It was cold and blustery even though it was April end. I wanted to know why this city is the most visited city in the world. I had read about it, heard people talk about it and here I was with my baby, hubby and a dear friend to explore and experience the magic of the city. Did I feel the magic? Well, at certain times yes, and many others absolutely not.

The Predictables

A large portion of my 5 day trip to Paris consisted of visiting popular tourist destinations such as the Louvre Museum /Musée du Louvre that houses the enigmatic Mona Lisa. Right outside the museum we spent some time gazing at the children sailing their little boats at the  the spectacular Tuileries Garden  – Jardin du Tuileries.

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On exiting Jardin du Tuileries from the Palace de la Concorde end with its unmissable Obélisque, we stepped  into the majestic Avenue des Champs Élysées. Flagship outlets of world renowned French and international high fashion, culinary and retail brands welcome you on either end and it calls for immense will power to resist the urge of not stepping in one of them.

 Eiffel Tower – The whole world travels to Paris to see the iconic Eiffel tower. Every few seconds, I felt like pinching myself because it felt surreal to be in the presence of this magnificent engineering marvel.  The sight of the Eiffel tower by night is a scene out of any romantic movie based in Paris. It is here that I found my happy place. I sat staring at the tower and wrote in my little note book about how thrilled I was to be here.

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Pastries and confectioneries – Every street in Paris has a crepe /pancake stall. The enticing aroma of browning butter on the hot skillet is everywhere; in the parks, in the malls, streets and railways stations.

McDonalds has a Pâtisserie and so does every single food outlet there is. It felt like a city that had macaroons for breakfast. Paul’s was ubiquitous and you could see people flocking Paul’s waiting for their pain au chocolat, tarte sucre, millefeuille and croissants. I was gobsmacked to see how much of these flour-butter-sugar-chocolate combination was savoured everyday by the French people  and yet everybody was far from being obese. How do these French women eat these delicacies and still look their best?

Well, the answer to that is very, very simple!

‘Portion size’

Tiny portions of your favourite treats = makes your day+ don’t affect the tiny waist size.

The Unpredicatables

Freebies

Shopping in Paris was an extraordinary experience. Everywhere I went and bought stuff, I got a lot of free stuff. There is no bigger incentive than free stuff in this world. I feel free stuff is better than a discount  or sale. Free stuff is like a surprise gift.  Free perfume samples, free mascara, free key chain and lots more. At 33, there are  hardly any surprises in life. Life is humming away at a predictable pace. That pace was pleasantly disrupted by this shower of freebies that I welcomed gratefully.

Make -over

At the posh, Avenue des Champs Élysées, I got my pre – birthday make -over at Sephora.  I  walked into Sephora, not knowing what to expect. I saw 2 people body painted and crystal studded. I stood there fascinated as hundereds of women swarmed the store to buy their favourite beauty products. Soon I was whisked away fora  make over. I sat at my seat petrified about how it would turn out. My only make up experience was at my wedding which remains my most painful dressing up memory. But I was in for a huge surprise.

At the ripe age of 33, I discovered the magic of the mascara. I learnt from the experts about applying make-up for the very first time in my life. All these 33 years ( actually 32, since it was my birthday eve when I got the make-over done) I lived without knowing the joys of applying make-up and shopping for beauty products. How utterly shameful is that!!!

I was spoiled rotten by my hubby and friend at Sephora. They got me tonnes of make up (which now, I know how to use) and a special make up brush with my name inscribed on it. How cool is that!

sephora- make over

sephora- make over

A baker’s paradise Ofcourse, I knew Paris was about all the sweet stuff like macaroons, pastries and tarts. But I was in for a shock when I visited G. Detou and Mora to get my fill of baking supplies and ingredients. Such a fantastic array of the best of best should be seen to be believed. I could have spent 2 whole days just looking at the display. I got myself the best cocao powder, baking chocolates, vanilla extract, micropline zester, pastry brush, lavender extract, vanilla pods and other good stuff.

Mora for baking apparatus

Mora for baking apparatus

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Disneyland – Ideally, this should fall under the ‘Predictables’ section. But Disneyland is an experience. I don’t know if magical is an apt word. You need to be there to feel it. The vibe, the air and the concept brought alive all our childhood fantasies. Undoubtedly, my daughter enjoyed it but I have to say we, adults may have enjoyed it a wee bit more.

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Latin Quarter-  Latin Quarter remains one of the best kept secrets of Paris. This bustling district boasts of innumerable eateries with an array of cuisines from Greek gyros and Turkish kebabs to Mexican Burritos and Indian curries. The place has it all.  You can venture around the area and visit some of the famous landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Fontaine Saint-Michel to admire the gargoyles and the French Gothic architecture. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore, made famous in the recent Hollywood movie Julie and Julia is also located in the vicinity.

Fontaine Saint-Michel

Fontaine Saint-Michel

My birthday – when you are in Paris, there isn’t much you need to do to ‘celebrate’ your birthday. Every second of the day seems special because you are trying to absorb every bit of the magic and wonder that the city is throwing at you. I played out the day in my head so many times before I actually traveled to Paris but nothing prepared me for the joy I actually felt.  An Italian lunch and several glasses of wine later, we strolled by the river Siene. Under the Eiffel tower, I sat in a state of trance unbelieving. The icing on the cake  (actually a tart) was a lime and lemon tart from Ladurée and a box of scrummy macaroons.

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What I missed doing in Paris

* I booked for a macaroon baking class and couldn’t go because I chose to visit the boring Palace of Versailles.

* Watch the Moulin Rouge and the Lido and instead I bought a lot of place mats with their pictures on it.

* Drink more wine (because you can never have enough)

* Buy tulips and press them in my books to treasure the spirit of the blooming city for a long, long time.

* Eat good food. I was surprised that most of the meals we had weren’t really the memorable sort that you would expect to in France. It was not just with the French food but all cuisines. A shocking lack of flavour, I recall. Only the confectioneries and the sweets passed the test.

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Latin quarter

Sigh! It is the end of the post #2 and I miss Paris with such a fierceness. Thank God for these photos and my diminishing memories, as they are the only ones that will help me relive the enchanted moments spent in Paris.

All photos by Namit Bhatia – @namit93

The Happy Birthday Post – A Guest Post by Gayathri

29 Apr

While you read this Post, I would be at the Eiffel tower realizing my long-cherished dream of celebrating my birthday in Paris. But my blog shall not be neglected and for that my dearest friend Gayathri offered to do a  guest post for me. She knows how much I love my desserts where puddings and custards are my absolute favourite. She being the wonderful friend that she is, Gayathri made lovely Panna cotta for me to celebrate my birthday in her own sweet way. I will come back from my trip and come over to your place Gayathri to have my share of the luscious looking Almond- Honey Panna Cotta.

Thanks so so much Gayathri!

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So without any further delay, I hand this space over to Gayathri.

So finally, here is it. Its been over a year that Anita has been asking me for a guest post. Please don’t jump to conclusions that I have been so held up and busy that I didn’t have time for the post. No, the actual reason is, ( confession time) I was not confident enough to post on this wonderful blog. I was just pushing my luck and postponing hoping that she would forget about it but she has a wonderful memory. So here I am with my post hoping that I do justice to her wonderful style of writing and her photography. I couldn’t think of a more suitable occasion than her birthday to do this.

Anu  has been the biggest motivator for my baking and blogging pursuits. It was about a couple of years ago that our common friend Ankur casually mentioned about Anu coming to Bahrain during one of our conversations when I was in India on vacation. I was already in Bahrain for a couple of years at that time having moved here subsequent to my marriage. When I was back from vacation I was surprised to see a mail from Anita along with her number. I was very hesitant and apprehensive at first. But I dialled the number and we haven’t stopped speaking till then. (Wait, this is just to say that we have been friends ever since. Please don’t take it literally. I had been thrown out of my house just for the telephone bill). I think many of her friends will agree with me when I say that she is  one of the sweetest and the bestest ( well , this is grammatically wrong but when you describe friends, you can safely ignore grammar) person one can have for a friend. ( Cue for Anu to get me a lovely gift from Paris). But honestly Anu, I really mean it.

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I hope you have a wonderful birthday In Paris atop the Eiffel while I celebrate by eating this Almond Honey Panna Cotta. I finally cracked how to use agar-agar and this is such a simple recipe to put together. You can prepare it the previous day for any party and the I assure you that the guests will be blown over by the taste.

Almond Honey Panna Cotta (Adapted from Easy Vegetarian)

Ingredients

 1.5 tablespoons agar –agar

3 tablespoons hot water

250 ml thick Yoghurt/hung curd/Greek Yoghurt

200 ml thick cream

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

5 tablespoons honey

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup ground almonds/almond meal

Method

  1. Mix the agar-agar in the hot water and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Take the cream in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix till smooth
  3. See if the agar-agar mixture has dissolved in water else, just heat the mixture till it forms a gelatinous mixture. Add immediately to the cream mixture.
  4. You can refrigerate it in the bowl or transfer it to ramekins for about 4 hours or even overnight.

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Happy Birthday, Anu and thanks for being there for me always ( though I cannot claim the same for you..:).

P.S: Sorry about the juvenile pictures.

P.P.S: If the panna cotta doesn’t set well, you can serve it as a pudding and it will taste still as yumm.

P.P.P.S: My panna cotta hasn’t set well as much as I would like it to set. But for all those puritans read it as the recipe for Honey Almond Pudding.

P.P.P.P.S: I guess this is the last time Anu will ever ask a guest post from me.

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Nai Appam ( Rice cakes sweetened with jaggery)

24 Nov

I am back from my vacation and it seems I need a another one to recover from the strain of this one. Travelling to meet relatives, performing social obligations etc are just what India is all about. Ofcourse it is exciting and there are so many stories to share and for Mimi to discover who her relatives are. She was such a hit with her grandparents (both sets), her uncles and aunts. She picked up new lingo on the way and has been chattering non stop.

After such a long hiatus from this blog, it seems like I need to start afresh. It is almost like I am lost and to find my footing again with my writing, baking and cooking is going to take some time. Being back at work has been even harder. It was almost like being thrown into a cyclone. They say the eye of the cyclone is where there’s no chaos and on the contrary, its the calm and serene. Everyday it is a struggle to find that eye or find my center in the middle of giant cyclones and carry on with my day.

The simple ingredients: Rice flour, fresh coconut, scrapped jaggery and cardamom

Perhaps I am not even making any sense and all my thoughts are scattered at the moment. But I am sure in the days to come, things would settle down as it can’t be this chaotic forever.

Well these depressing thoughts aside, I had the chance to learn how to make these delicious rice cakes sweetened with jaggery that we call Nai appam. Mostly we make them for special occasion and as offerings to our Hindu Gods and Goddesses. As a child, I remember devouring these even before they were offered to the special deity. There is also a savoury version of the same recipe which I hope to try and bring to this blog soon.

The apparatus: Nai appam chatti

Melting the jaggery

The batter

Heating the oil/ghee in the Nai appam chatti

Flippity-flip

crowns of golden brown

My mother and I made these in the kitchen of her new home while the clouds gathered outside and threatened to pour any moment. It was the perfect moment that signified harmony and the very purpose of our (my mother’s and mine) existence – being creative. It was her thorough conditioning and my dad’s too, that I sought to be creative in anything and everything I tried to do in life. Probably, it is was a survival skill that they taught me which I hope to pass on to my daughter. Being creative and finding beauty in the most mundane of tasks has helped me get through life’s slowest and dreariest periods.

I also take this opportunity to thank everybody who voted for MIMI on FACEBOOK because she WON THE CONTEST. She is the cutest Kid in Bahrain and as a prize she would have a photoshoot done by Summer Weeks here in Bahrain on the 22nd of December. Only thing is Mimi hasn’t clue about all of the above because the only thing she was concerned during the holidays was to have a lot of fun… There is so much she teaches me everyday in her own little MIMI way.

Home Sweet Home

31 Oct

It has been a very hard October. My job has consumed me, my life and everything there is to consume. I have burned out in the process. We had our vacation planned around this time to celebrate Diwali with our folks in India. It was to be a 4 week, much deserved vacation but due to work pressure and such wholly silly reasons, we had to cut it down to less than 3 weeks. But atleast we got some break.

Packing was a nightmare in between  finishing the last of my assignment and a sick child. I thought I might not make it to the airport at all. But we did and it was such a relief to sit in the Bahrain airport lounge sipping my green tea and watching Mimi play in the family room full of toys. She was on antibiotics and hence experiencing some temporary relief.

Finally we did board the flight and it took us many hours before we landed in God’s own country – Kerala and more so to my mum’s and dad’s new home. We were spellbound by how beautifully this house was constructed and it radiated such tranquility and positive energy that its indescribable. Just the right place for burnt out souls like us. Whats bonus is, it was my parent’s home and it was waiting for us with all the  love and affection.

My parent’s new home in Kerala (India)

The gate and the compound walls are still under construction and my parents are planning to have a beautiful garden and a vegetable patch too. They have their own well to draw out sweet tasting water and coconut and jackfruit trees in their backyard.

My daughter who was recuperating from an ugly bout of ulcers in her mouth and throat seemed to forget about her pain and enjoyed frolicking around in the mounds of sand in the front yard. She lay on it, built sand castles and pretended to be on the beach. I sat watching her enjoy herself in the mild drizzle and enjoying the feeling of the wet sand between her fingers and toes.

Our everyday routine goes like this :

  • Wake at whatever time we please and find that a sumptuous breakfast is ready
  • Mid morning- laze around reading or finishing some writing project while sipping on some green tea
  • have a sumptuous lunch over conversations and loud laughter
  • take a nap or read some more
  • go and meet my granny and my uncles, cousins and aunts in the evening or a visit to the temple
  • come back and watch some tv- reruns of Masterchef
  • have a light dinner and then retire to bed or browse the internet.

Stone art by Mimi

I could do this forever or atleast for the rest of my vacation. But from here we are off to my husband’s homeland in the north of India- Delhi. Being in Delhi during Diwali is absolutely exciting. I am extremely pleased for Mimi to be a part of these festivities as it would be a new experience for her.

I have two more weeks of family fun and excitement waiting for me before I return to Bahrain and to my stressful job. Blogging has taken a back seat and I miss it terribly. I hope to keep up even on my vacation else you’ll can imagine me having fun shopping, eating and enjoying my vacation with my folks here in India.

The belated Eid Holidays Post

8 Sep

It is past Eid holidays and I have taken my own sweet time to do this post. Like I had mentioned, I wasn’t looking forward to this 5 day break as   we had no vacation planned like many of my friends. It was disheartening and unfair. But  to my great surprise, the holidays turned out a truckload of fun. Here’s my day by day brief of how wonderful these holidays turned out for me.

Day 1 : Watched Salman Khan’s ” Ek tha Tiger” with great trepidation. I am not a fan of this big Bollywood star and my general opinion is that his movies are rubbish. I had hoped to watch Pixar’s “Brave” but got late and missed the show. Finally I settled to watch this Eid big release – Ek tha tiger and to my utter astonishment, it was quite enjoyable. The script was tight and Salman Khan was quite bearable. I came out of the movie hall with a good feeling of having watched an entertainer, not to mention how beautiful Katrina Kaif looked in the song ‘Mashallah’

Post this entertaining watch, we had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant- Beyroute and ended a perfect day with good food memories.

Day 2: This was more relaxed and I spent the day doing chores at home and spending some quality time with my daughter. Post lunch, I took off to a cafe and spent that time until dusk working on my novel ‘ The Come Back‘. I am yet to wind up the pending chapters and nearly done with my first draft. I am excited as it nears the end and it feels like a dream that I managed to do a 50,000 words plus novel. Never thought I had it in me to write so much. Ofcourse this is just the start, as I would have to spend time editing it; adding and deleting chapters to make it tighter.  That same night, we had a small wine and cheese tasting party at home. Nothing elaborate but it was fun to do it between us and enjoyed the different tastes as they came together to create a wonderful culinary experience. It was educational as it was exciting as I got to know about the different cheeses; their names and tastes. In conclusion to this wine and cheese tasting event, I realized, Blue cheese was completely unpalatable and the stench was so overpowering that I doubt I am ever going to try it again. Rest of the cheeses were quite appetizing.

photo courtesy : Namit Bhatia

Day 3: Eid was declared and we were invited to my dear friend, Farheen’s home for special Eid lunch. I baked brownies for Farheen and her lovely family. These are Nigella’s BEST brownies ever and I have to admit, they are mine too. These brownies were received well and I made 3 batches already. One of which I took to Farheen’s home. Each batch makes a minimum of 48 pieces. Even if this recipe makes so many, you don’t have to worry about a thing as they would vanish just as quickly. I guarantee that.

Photo courtesy : Namit Bhatia

At Farheen’s home it was wonderful to catch up with my other writers’ circle pals – Melissa and Dhanya. Conversation flowed about books, about writing, styles of writing and hours just passed by. In between, we pigged out on Farheen’s delicious Chicken Biryani, Chicken curry,  Gajar halwa, Sevai, and so many other goodies. It was a wonderful lunch and fantastic time spent together.

extreme left onwards( Dhanya, Farheen, me and Melissa)

all the yummy Eid food

Photo Courtesy: Namit Bhatia

The same evening, we watched Pixar’s Brave and it was so enjoyable. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Day 4:  This day was a bit slow and I had planned it such. Post lunch, I took off to a cafe closeby to spend some time writing and it turned out to be quite a productive pursuit. Took some time out in the evening to shop for some props and managed to get a good deal at Daiso. In the posts that would follow this one, you are likely to see many props in my food photos. So excited already!

Day 5: With the 5 day holiday coming to a close, it was quite depressing to think about going back to office. But on the whole, I was content that all the 5 days were spent well doing all sorts of different things which made the vacation really wonderful. I decided to spend the day making jammy dodgers. The post of the same will be out soon. They turned out lovely and I took them to office to share with my Bahraini colleagues who had spent the entire month fasting during Ramadan.

In between I did do some shopping and INVESTED in some office wear but I can’t quite place which day that was.

So that is how Eid vacation came to a close. I wasn’t disappointed at all and on the contrary, it felt like a holiday well spent. Having said that, as I type this post, I am still craving for a vacation. Hopefully, I should be able to plan for one soon.

 

 

 

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