Thursday, 23 January 2014

A mouth watering post!

For a long time i have wanted to write a mouth watering post...nah, don't expect me to wallow over Sunny Leone and her biography or geography. All i want to talk here is FOOD! I discovered i was a foodie only, last year? Few years ago? After my marriage? Before my wedding? When i landed in a hostel? Before i was in the hostel? After i was born? Before i was born? Yes!!! Before i was born. Mommy used to say how much she loved to taste idlis and chilli chutney for the sake of her unborn daughter. 

And the daughter she bore hates idlis so much that she would murder anyone who came within a mile radius with a plate of idlis. And whoever invented upma has to be dusted with chilli powder and pepper powder and roasted alive in a tandoor! That thing called 'bread' is something i dread. So how to tickle the taste buds when you get a variety of food on your table? Here are some specials that you ought not to miss tasting in your life...

Macaroons of Tuticorin...the very thought of them make me drool. Made of delicate cashews and soft egg white, the delicacy just melts in your mouth. A sinful temptation that i indulge in which never ceases to amuse people around me. I say...just this last one and go on munching them, every piece being christened the 'last piece'! Try Ganesh bakery or Dhanalakshmi bakery of Tuticorin and dive into the goodie :)
Choco truffle of Cake walk, Chennai. Our family loves great food, especially great desserts. Born with a sweet tooth, we relish food. And man, there are so many many specials i would like to remember now. Cake walk Egmore produces the best choco truffle cake which just melts down your mouth in a soft chocolaty flavor that remains in your senses for almost a day..and it is pure fun to covet it from the fridge, digging into it at the middle of the night, unseen by anyone!
Choco truffle...
Muscoth Halwa from Mudalur... i bet you haven't heard of it. The delicacy has its roots from Ceylon, a rice flour halwa with flavour of coconut milk and taste of heaven. AJJ brand have popularised it, if you ever get hold of the pretty damsel in red and blue, just don't let her go. It is sinfully tasty! When it is shared with your cousins, God lives in halwa;)
Muscoth halwa
Fruit biscuits of Karachi bakery have joined the list recently, introduced by one of my uncles from Hyderabad. The crunchy biscuits dipped in vanilla scent, the dry fruits that you bite into and the cashews that have a hint of vanilla flavor...i am drooling now! Thanks to my uncle who had it couriered to me...i will die for it;)
Fruit biscuits
Baklava of Gulf! Anywhere you end up in the Gulf, if you haven't tasted baklava warm from the oven, it is a waste of life;) The multi layered sweet pumped up with roasted nuts and oozing ghee that glides down your tongue with aplomb on winter nights... and the best part is the display of this delicacy in sweet shops. One glance and you will fall for it- lock, stock and barrel.

Fried icecream of China town, Chennai...another to kill for dessert. The crisp warm outer layer of batter and when you sink your teeth into it, get ready for the chill ice cream that gushes out...then there is banana fritters with honey of Lydie's opposite Maya Jaal, Chennai, ilaneer payasam of dimora, Trichy, paaku ( arecanut) payasam of Shevaroys, Yercaud...the list just keeps growing...akin to the poor thin soul in a heavy body- me! What are you thinking? Just dig and be happy! For those who worry about their tummies, there is always tummy tuck pose for pictures and herbalife to tone down;) Who cares how many pounds you weigh anyway???

p.s.: As you all must now be wondering how much i weigh...i am a whopping 79 kgs of fun and frolic!
p.p.s.: Special dedication of this post to my cousins...we fight over the choco truffle and muscoth as if it were Helen of Troy!! Love you all guys and girls;)
p.p.p.s.: " I love to eat" and i wish you'd too, guys;)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Yercaud- Crown of Shervaroys

It has been a long hiatus. A short vacation with family, cozy dinners and sweet gatherings- I have enjoyed the short break. A fun filled trip to the Crown of Shervaroys and I feel rejuvenated and reborn! Yercaud- a quaint, picturesque hill station with moderate climate and greenery abound. Though secretly my hot favorite for the trip was Kodaikanal, with all its rolling meadows and cold streams, i had to settle down for Yercaud, due to the milder winter climate that favored the husband. 

With the whole family converging at Salem, we took the drive to Yercaud anticipating hair pin bends and bad roads, as is the norm for every hill station in Tamil Nadu. Surprisingly, the drive of 45 minutes from Salem was smooth, roads well cared for and traffic much less as we climbed more. By the time we reached the sign board "Yercaud" came the hotel that i had ticked for lunch- GRT's Salem Heights. The non vegetarian buffet was great, with an ecstatic view of the mountains and the valley below forming a romantic backdrop. Round after round after round, i kept refilling my plate until husband dear had to caution me of my forgotten 'diet' and i hood winked him by my usual "only one more" dialogue!
Sky walk at GRT Salem Heights, Yercaud

The family at Sky Walk, Yercaud
The glass sky walk of GRT is a thrilling experience for the kids and those kids at heart like me...ahem..! Loitering around the place and ignoring the "when are you guys going to leave" looks from the restaurant staff, we managed to stroll, run, roll and jump all over the place. From there we went directly to the lake. The lake is definitely a dampener, not much like the Kodai lake or Ooty's lake, a smaller one with boats almost rubbing one another for want of space. We made a very intelligent decision of not taking pedal boats...i can still remember my brother's face when he said- " No pedal boats puleeezzz!" A hefty meal always does that to you. We went a small round around the small lake rowed by a boat man who looked all work and no fun.

Yercaud Lake
By the time we checked in at the Waterfall Cafe's Homestay near Kiliyur Falls, we were bone tired. Nestled on a hill top, over looking the valley below, the place is too picturesque to be true.We had booked all the rooms and it was kids and slugs running all over the place! A hearty dinner served by the homestay, we were ready for the bonfire. A small "Happy Get together" cake cut by my little nephew and the party rolled on. We laughed, taunted each other, smiled and laughed again...until the last embers died. 
View of brook and estate from the Waterfall Cafe's Homestay

Ajit Homestay- serene location
The next morning we were taken on a small trek- the whole family with kids to a private waterfall inside the resort, snaking through the coffee plantation and thick forest. The trek was awesome and so was the waterfall that we came across. The ice cold water and slippery was all fun till i entered the pool. And hearing my shrieks, the whole place went still...God, such icy icy cold water! 
The private waterfall 
The trek back was lovely, exploring the property of nearby estate and running back, few beautiful clicks and cool breeze ruffling my hair. Luckily the Second Season's flower show was arranged that day at Anna Park and we decided to go visit the place. Nothing much to boast, but we were lucky enough to spot a live flowering Kurinji plant! 
Flower arrangement at Flower Show, Yercaud

Kurinji plant- the plant that blooms once in 12 years!
The decorations and floral arrangement were awesome and after a quick look, it was time for lunch at Hotel Shervaroys. Though crowded, we managed to dive into another non vegetarian buffet, much to the chagrin of husband dear! And was laughing my head off when daughter dear got pecked by a turkey in the hotel's garden!

And then we went quadbiking near the Grange resort. The charges are exorbitant, but the thrill is worth it. And as promised by homestay owner Mr Ajit, we went to a small herbarium and had a glimpse of lemon grass, peppermint plant and mountain tulsi. The family of Mr Ramesh Singh produce and sell a wide variety of natural oils and we bought lemon grass oil, citiodora oil and gulkand. 
Pepper mint shrub
Then started our adrenaline pumping drive at the back of Mr Ajit's jeep. Riding atop a jeep on hill section, standing and letting the wind whizz through your ears and blood drumming is a real thriller. And when we spotted herds of bison, we went giddy with happiness. The sunset view point inside a private estate was a beauty. Washed by the setting sun and surrounded by laughter of kids and family...what more can one ask for?

At the sunset point
The teak forest that is 20 kms away is a lovely forest untouched by civilisation and the calm surrounding the place is soothing. The drive back the next morning was peaceful and so were we, after a great family get together :)