Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
One of our day jaunts in the Douro was to a place called Quinta de Romaneira. This Quinta is tucked deep in the valley and we got thoroughly lost trying to find it. The gentleman who owns this luxury farmhouse is an avid collector of all things unique which include interesting artifacts from various Portuguese colonies, an insect collection from Brazil, a dining table made from a huge African tree truck and old carved chairs from Goa. One of my favorite things about this place was the infinity pool that overlooked the valley – I could laze there for hours. Click below to see some pictures from the Quinta:
We tasted a lot of wine in the Douro Valley. Wine from Portugal is not as well known; but they can stand up to some of the best wines in the world. The Douro valley was relaxing and surprising; sprinkled with many treats along the way. The next stop was Porto where we would discover the lovely world of Port Wine.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Evora was the first destination we drove to. We stayed at the best Bed and Breakfast. It felt like I was at home; sitting on the comfy couch reading my kindle with a glass of red wine. The organic food they served was scrumptious. The B&B is run by a couple from LA (Nina & Peter) who spoke fluent Portuguese as a result of their Brazilian descent. It was the perfect home away from home. Evora is a cute little town – the one ‘must do’ is to find a restaurant called Botequim da Mouraria it seats only 8 people so get there early if you don’t want to wait. A hole-in-the wall place that is run by an old man – Domingo; who charms the front of the house while his wife – Florabel; cooks with much agility and skill at the back of the house. You will taste authentic delicious Portuguese cuisine here. We visited the city of Monsaraz that is not too far from Evora. The white washed walls and cobble stone roads set against the beautiful vista of lakes and mountains were breathtaking. There was not a person in sight and almost felt like I was in a movie – beautiful and surreal. Herdade de Esparoa is one of the biggest privately owned wineries in Evora and a must visit. We got to crush the grapes, walk in the fields, drink the wine and eat one of the best meals of the trip. Below are pictures that I took along the way:
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
We spent fourteen days, driving one thousand eight hundred and ninety four kilometers from one end of Portugal to the other. I highly recommend driving through a country – it is the best way to see all of its nooks, crannies & idiosyncrasies. The highlight of our trip was the food. We (I mean .. mom) had done some serious research on restaurants and chefs. Our gastronomical experience spanned "hole in the wall" establishments to simply sinful tasting menu's at much acclaimed Michelin star restaurants. The hotels we stayed at were varied and added to the entire experience. In Lisbon and Porto we wanted to be in the center of it all and stayed at a typical city hotel; while in Condexia a Nova we chose an old traditional Portuguese house. We stayed at the best bed and breakfast I have ever been to in Evora; and in Pinhao it was a farm house (Quinta) that made amazing Port Wine. Finally, we ended our holiday in the Algarve at a Spa Resort right by the beach. Complete relaxation before getting back to reality. Driving, eating, drinking, taking it all in - It was quite a trip. Below is a glimpse of what is to come as I take you through my Portuguese journey in pictures and words.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
What is the fascination with wanting to live another life? Why do people want to escape the present? Be curious about what was and what may be - but enjoy your now because it isn't coming back. Below are some pictures from Governors Island that capture the 1920’s era that was.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
I bought a bike last year and I absolutely love my 2 wheel wonder. Riding a bike reminds me of my childhood - being carefree with not a care in the world. For the few hours that I am on my bicycle I forget the million things that are looming in my ever fertile mind. My favorite ride in Manhattan is along the west side highway. The Hudson River keeps one company along the bike path that leads to either Fort Lee or the Cloisters (depending on the turns you take). Swerving in and out of traffic also is thrilling; the cab drivers are your worst enemies on the road - so you have to be careful; but the adrenalin rush of beating traffic is so worth it ! Nothing better that riding in the summer and then sipping some lemonade to cool off.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Ingredients: 1/2 an onion finely chopped, 1/2 a tomato chopped, 1/2 a cup minced fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon ginger chopped, 2 teaspoons turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 2 curry leaves, 2 chopped green chili's, 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, pinch of red chili powder, salt to taste.
Method: Heat the oil, throw in the curry leaves, onions, ginger, chilies. Let the onions brown. Add the tomato, turmeric, pinch of red chili powder, salt, coriander (powder & leaves) - mix well for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat; add in the whisked eggs and stir so that it does not stick. Turn the heat off when cooked. Make sure that it is not overcooked and still moist. Serve with hot roties or bread. Enjoy !
Saturday, March 26, 2011
455g best-quality cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50ml (less than quarter cup) hot espresso or good strong instant coffee
125g butter, plus extra for greasing
6 eggs, free-range or organic, separated
200g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g rice flour
1 small handful chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Melt 125g chocolate with the coffee, then pour into small ice-cube moulds and freeze until hard. Take 6 small 3 inch pastry rings, dariole moulds or cappuccino cups and grease well with some butter. Place in the fridge while you make your sponge mixture. Melt the remaining chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the sugar until firm. Fold the yolks into the cooled chocolate and butter mixture, then add the almonds and flour. Finish by carefully folding in the egg white mixture. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Take your moulds out of the fridge and spoon a little mixture into each one, then push in a cube of the frozen coffee and chocolate mixture. Cover with the rest of the sponge mixture so each ice cube is completely enveloped. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18–20 minutes, then remove carefully from the moulds while hot. Serve immediately sprinkled with hazelnuts
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I am very passionate about eating and cooking food; but most of all I love to cook for people who enjoy food. After a late Friday night what was much needed was a scrumptious breakfast. I cooked a typical Parsi dish called “Wafer par Ida” – Eggs on Chips. It is yummy and really easy to make.
Ingredients: 1 bag of potato chips, 4 eggs, 1/2 a cup of minced coriander, 1/2 a cup of caramelized onions, 1 teaspoon of diced green chilies, a pinch of cayenne pepper powder, salt, a pinch of garam masala powder.
Heat a medium sized skillet.
Break open the bag of chips remove them one handful at a time – dip the chips in water for 30 seconds (you should have a big pot of room temperature water ready) as you remove the wet chips smoosh them together and start creating a layer on the skillet. Keep doing this one handful at a time creating a thin layer on the pan. Pat it down so that it is even. Let this layer simmer for 5 minutes.
Break the 4 eggs on this layer sprinkle the garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper, caramelized onions, green chilies and coriander. Cover the skillet till the eggs are cooked.
I paired this with a simple avocado, radish and tomato salad with olive oil, salt & pepper. It was the perfect breakfast!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Amigo’s – located below the Nerul bridge near Candolim. It is a small place specializing in Goan food. The menu changes everyday as it depends on what fresh fish is available; so you know the food is going to be great. Call ahead if you want something special. I highly recommend the fish curry rice and crab with garlic butter sauce.
Thalassa Greek Taverna located above Vagator Beach – it is a spot from where the sunset looks absolutely gorgeous – reserve a table and get there before the sun sets (duh!) – the views are breathtaking.
Lila Café is located in Baga; we went there each morning to get our fill of the amazing coffee, breads and pate’s. One can spend an entire morning being lazy - reading, relaxing and eating the fantastic food.
Savoi Plantation: I could write pages about this place. It is located about 25 km from Panjim (center of Goa). On the day you decide to go (for lunch preferably) make sure you do not eat – you will need your appetite to enjoy this gastronomical delight. The first course consisted of mussels, lobster, tiger prawns and crabs. We then took a break and walked around the plantation’s lush greenery to return to a 15 dish main course. Eating on banana leaves in a tree house only added to this truly unique experience. The food was phenomenal as was the kokum juice that we washed it down with. This is an experience you do not want to miss.
Some places that have a fusion theme to it are J&A’s, I 95, Poisson Rouge & Fiesta. Go to these spots if you are yearning for some Italian or French with a Goan flare to it. Below are a few pictures that I took along the way.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
As we were exploring Hampi I could not help but compare it to Machu Pichu. We had visited Peru earlier in the year. Both were built around the same time – one was a learning and religious center way up in the mountains and the other was a sprawling capital of an empire that had temples and monuments at every turn. Machu Pichu is made from stone and is a glorious salute to Incan architecture and engineering. While Hampi has beautiful carvings adorning every aspect rich with art and culture. Sadly, I also noticed was how the Indian government had maintained Hampi; plastic bottles everywhere, graffiti on the walls tarnishing history that goes back thousands of years. In comparison, The Peruvian government has taken the maintenance of Machu Pichu very seriously; restricting the number of tourists that can visit and not allowing visitors to carry anything that would tarnish the the premises. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites that I was fortunate to visit in the same year. Below are some pictures.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
We joined the train mid-way at Hassan; from where we had excursions to Shravanabelagola famous for the colossal statue of Gommateshwara in the morning; and in the afternoon we visited Belur and Halebidu - cities that are the epicenter of Hoysala architecture. All three places were simply breathtaking. It amazes me how much history, culture and beauty there is in India - we had only barely scratched the surface. Click below to see pictures from the first day aboard GC.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
|PEDDAR ROAD TRAFFIC: No matter what time of night or day always expect a traffic jam|
|VICTORIA TERMINUS: Now called Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus; will always be VT to me|
|FLORA FOUNTAIN: She has been observing Bombay since 1864|
|ANTILIA: The worlds most expensive residence|
Monday, January 17, 2011
I am going to start with a picture that I took in Karnataka at Shravanabelagola. It is one of my favorite pictures of the trip. I captured a moment when I look at is calming and serene; but in reality there were hundreds of people around us. Photography is all about what you see and not about what exists. Hope this whets your appetite for the next few posts.