Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010....................Welcome 2011

A continuation from my last year's post........

2010 was a super year. I cannot complain again. I visited both the Andamans and Ladakh. Crossed a few things off my bucket list - an African safari, a sky dive, a river rafting experience and the Passion Play. Visited 3 new countries - Hungary, Norway and South Africa. Got promoted yet again. Worked on strengthening my team at work. Spent some serious time with my family.

What would I like for 2011?? I honestly don't know. But I hope and pray that I will be able to take anything and everything in my stride and have the courage to be the person I am meant to be.

So once again, Goodbye 2010 and Welcome 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Lights in Auckland

Twinkling fairy lights and stars and other glittering displays go hand in hand with Christmas. However in Auckland they take it to the next level where there are spectacular displays of Christmas lights in various suburbs.

We checked out Skilgate Avenue where most of the residents had decorated their homes and yards.

The Nativity scene was absolutely great.

Then there were one off ones where individuals had taken extensive trouble to display their skills and talents.

I love the Santa playground theme at Lanier Place.

But the best was the awesome display at Croydon Road which was in aid of Starship foundation. And guess what! It was the home of an Indian family. Indians are rocking the world! :)

I love the Santas on the see-saw!

There was a toy train that went around the snowmen!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A gastronomical experience at Nobu, Melbourne

Nobu is one of the most recognised brands of Japanese restaurants. I was delighted to have been invited to the one in Melbourne which is at Crown Entertainment Complex. Over looking the southern banks of the Yarra River, Nobu Melbourne offers a stunning view inside and out. River stones suspended in mid air, cherry blossom adorned ceilings, burnished woods, and rich hues create an ambiance of elegance and refinement.

The food was absolutely divine......................

The fish is one of his signature dishes and it was awesome.

Another signature dish.

Yet another signature dish.

And all the desserts were to die for. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The British Airways Aviation museum

British Airways have their own aviation museum at their headquarters in Waterside!!

This is my favourite.........the dress is made of paper and was the uniform on the Caribbean flights!!

Yum Cha and Bubble Tea

Yum cha, also known as Ban ming, is a dining experience which involves drinking Chinese tea and eating dim sum dishes. Yum cha in Cantonese literally means "drink tea".
 In the US and UK, the phrase dim sum is often used in place of yum cha; in Cantonese, dim sum refers to the wide range of small dishes, whereas yum cha, or "drinking tea", refers to the entire dining experience.

Recently in Melbourne, I had an amazing Yum Cha experience with my friend Meherangiz and her sister-in-law Layla.

Dim sum is a varied range of small dishes (a concept similar to tapas) eaten for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea, as part of the yum cha dining experience. Dishes are usually steamed or fried and may be savoury or sweet. They include steamed buns such as char siu baau, assorted dumplings, sui mai, and rice noodle rolls, which contain a range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, prawns and vegetarian options. Typical desserts include egg tarts, sai mai lo (tapioca pudding) and mango pudding. Many dim sum restaurants also offer plates of steamed green vegetables, roasted meats, congee porridge, and soups.

The dim sum are usually small and normally served as three or four pieces in one dish. The restaurant we went to served in 3s which suited us perfectly! The servers wheel the dim sum trolleys around and customers have to pick from the selection. The server then marks the order on a stamping card on the table.

After yum cha, we went to a place where they served "bubble tea" which is a Taiwanese innovation. Drink recipes may vary, but most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice blended versions of the drink are also available, usually in fruit flavors. Bubble teas usually contain small tapioca balls or pearls called "boba". Pearls made of jelly are also available in many places. These teas are shaken to mix the ingredients, creating a foam on the top of some varieties, hence the name.

The Tapas Culture and gastronomy in Madrid

Madrilenos live by a different clock. They commence their day with a cafe con leche and churros at the neighbourhood cafeteria. Their work day starts at half past 8 or 9 and ends quite late – post 7 pm or maybe even 8 pm. Most Spanish companies have a lunch break between 2 and 4 pm. It reminds me of Goa and susegad. Quite often people actually go home for lunch. And lunch generally comprises of 2 courses and a dessert with coffee. Wonder how they can work after all that food!!

Sausages which taste very much like Goa Sausages.

The famed Jambon

Salad with anchovies

Hake with crabmeat stuffing

Madrilenos are a very social lot and their lives revolve around their families and friends. The evening begins quite late – post 9 pm. They start off at a tapas bar, have a glass of wine and a few tapas, whilst catching up with the latest news and gossip. Then they move to the next tapas bar and the next and generally wind up quite late in the evening.

Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers or snacks and they could be either hot or cold. Tapas bars range from the traditional to the modern and there are hundreds of them in Madrid.

The word "tapas" is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, "to cover".

According to legend, the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or "tapa."

According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.

Tapas has evolved through Spanish history by incorporating ingredients and influences from many different cultures and countries. Most of the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Romans, who introduced the olive and irrigation methods. The invasion of the North African Moors in the 8th century brought almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices. The influence of their 700-year presence remains today, especially in Andalusia. The discovery of the New World brought the introduction of tomatoes, sweet and chili peppers, maize (corn), beans and potatoes. These were readily accepted and easily grown in Spain's microclimates.
Source: Wikipedia