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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Good quality dry yeast, now in India

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know about the issues I have with dry yeast in India. Branded yeast available in stores plain old SUCK. There is probably no word strong enough to describe how I feel about what is available in supermarket without resorting to foul language.
It doesn't rise, sometimes doesn't even dilute right and it can even make you doubt your own baking skills at time. This is how bad it has been for years. So bad, that I used to ask family and friends to bring me dry yeast packets when they were visiting me.
I had quite a stock of these, a stock that finally ran dry, leaving me with few alternatives. The wisest, being to head down South to Crawford market to buy fresh yeast in bulk and freeze it. The other often cited alternative being to find a reliable baker in your neighbourhood to supply you with fresh yeast (none exist in my neighbourhood).
This is when I remembered a website called CCDS that cater to bakers and sells cake decorating tools and baking supplies. Including this :
Baker's yeast! They sell it in packs of 125g for 150 rupees and ship accross the country. I figured out that I had not much to loose trying that one out. After all the worst case scenario would have been that the yeast didn't work.
It turns out that this is a very good quality yeast, that gives an excellent rise and makes for soft elastic bread. The only thing to mind, is that the pack needs to be stored in the freezer once opened. Yeast gets activated by heat and humidity, two things of which there is absolutely no shortage of in Mumbai.
You need about one teaspoon to one teaspoon and a half yeast for each 500g of white flour (more if you are using whole weat).
These past few days have been ridiculously hectic for me, to the point of feeling stressed out. Baking bread is therapy, kneading and pounding dough alone is an amazing stress buster, and the smell of freshly baked bread melts the remaining tensions away. This is yesterday's baking session that reminded me I had this picture on my iPad and the potential for a blog post ready.
I'll probably be a more regular and grounded blogger once Ishita's birthday party will be over, and school days will become longer than 3 bloody hours early in the morning (don't get me started just now, I might spit a novel on that). Truth be told, I have a million ideas, projects and draft going around (nothing unusual) and not enough quiet time to work on them (Introvert problem).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another kind of Ethnic

When you think about ethnic Jewellry in India, chances are the first thing that popped into you mind was 22k gold necklaces and glass bangles.
And sure, this is the most obviously Indian style of Jewellry. The majority of the country has a love affair with gold. Gold is an investment, gold is timeless, gold is a woman's old age insurance...all true to a wide extent (though time have changed and investing in gold shares might be better than investing in bangles).
But, the intricate gold pieces and delicate glass bangles are just not all that there is to India's ethnic Jewellry world.
One of the reason I love shopping when we are in the Himalayas is that there is a whole lot of other jewellery that is far more my style on offer.
Above is my finds while my MIL and I were shopping together in Kassauli : silk thread bangles and a chunky bead necklace. The kind of thing that has little in ways of monetary value but makes as much a statement as a precious metal piece. The kind of piece that is pretty much "me". I wear these funky, bright and colourful necklaces a lot.
If you happen to tour India at one point, do visit trinket shops and ethnic emporiums. In my opinion they have the most interesting ethnic fashion accessories you can find around.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pet Blogging Friday

As cute as cats can be (and they are most of the time) they also come from a family of mighty predators. An instinct that runs deep into their veins and souls. Unlike their bigger cousins, they will chase small time very small.
Here is Mittens in action hunting She is quite good at this game, but most of the cats I had growing up were. They don't always eat or kill the fly, but they sure hit it all the time. They seem to take a sadistic pleasure in keeping their prey alive as long as some fun can be had out of the experience. This of course is a side effect of being a pampered pet on a luxurious diet of kitty food, with no worries about food she can hunt for sports. It wasn't always so, when I rescued her last year she was a tiny, scrawny 2 months old kitty surviving on cockroaches (first few stools as a proof of said diet).
On other news, my last weekend had been busy, and so was this week. I grew a year older this Wednesday and to mark the occasion we decided to treat ourselves to a movie and a dinner last Staurday (can't do it on a school night anymore).
I then had a nice lunch date with friends this week, and a play date the next day. All the while planning Ishita's birthday party which will be next week. She is obsessed with the movie Frozen and Queen Elsa, so the theme for this year's party is pretty obvious...
Last weekend I also gave the boot to my old Microwave and Convection oven. It had been a tad bit dysfunctional for a while now, ok almost a year. The defrost mode was not working, the dial button was temperamental, the turntable wasn't working, the light in it was broken...all the signs of age of a device bought in 2006. Most of these problems were unfixable, but I could still live with them.
What made me kick it out of my home was that in the recent past it would suddenly emit short circuit noises and at time even let me see some sparks in the back.
This, in my book, is a fire hazard and a disaster in the making. Such issue have no place in a kitchen that has a gas stove next to the oven!
Fortunately we were prepared for the death of said oven and had planned all along to keep all our credit cards reward points to convert into a Croma voucher. So much so, that I got the new Microwave/convection oven for FREE. The icing on the cake being that I managed to get a bigger one out of the deal, and at a discount for being the display piece.
I've already put it to work a lot this week. I never realised how much I missed having a fully functional and performing oven in the kitchen.
This weekend should be a bit quieter, which is a good thing considering I am a bit under the weather and could use some rest.
Wishing you all a lovely weekend ahead.

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