At The Blue Rock RestoCafe With Alza

Once again, this time unexpectedly, I had a lunch outing with Alza. She was still in town and we planned on Friday night to meet up this afternoon. We went to The Blue Rock RestoCafe which is the lounge bar for Olive Downtown. I like this place and we had some good food – honey chilli potato, dragon chicken and a pizza. We ordered 3 beers, of which she had one and then switched to Coke.

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Honey chilli potato

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Dragon chicken

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There is me with the lovely lass

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Chicken pepperoni pizza

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And Alza with the plates of food.

Family Lunch @ Mercy Estate

Today I took the family out for a nice lunch at Mercy Estate. It had been a long time, Dec 31st last year, when I had actually joined for a meal with dad, mom, sis & her kids outside of the apartment.

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With my new nephews coming home for a few days from Bangalore, it seemed like the perfect time. I spoke to my sister a couple of days ago and we actually wanted to have a dinner at the club on Saturday night but I had to work due to an emergency.

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We then thought we’d have a big lunch at the club but it was crowded due to a function happening there and it would be hard to find some peace. Instead we went to Mercy Estate by 1:30 pm for a late lunch.

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Dad, mom and I reached first and we found their rather nice dining hall. Plush carpeting in the lobby and a nice elevator. I have never been to this part of the hotel but I have been to their roof top garden many times.

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A few minutes later sis and her kids came in and we ordered some starters and I had an ice tea.

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Honey flavoured crispy pork  was good as was the fish fingers and we also had some salads.

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For the main course I had a double roasted pork – delightfully juicy and soft pork with cabbage – and a naan. Butter naan was so good.

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We ended the afternoon with ice cream double scoops. So good. And then I came home.

We Ended Up At The Grand Hotel

Saturday evening and looking for a place to get some beers and good food. Unfortunately due to the elections on Monday, from 5pm it is as dry as a desert. So, to quote veteran rock band Deep Purple “we ended up at the Grand Hotel” and settled for just a nice dinner.

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The welcome poppadoms that they serve as complimentary munchies kept us entertained until the starters of spicy chicken wings came out.

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Being thirsty we also ordered a couple of cold coffee with ice cream, which was good and delicious though a little too sweet.

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Our spicy chicken wings came after a few more minutes. It’s not really wings but we were hungry by then and couldn’t be bothered. We also had tempura prawns (not pictured) along with the wings.

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We spent some time deciding what our main courses would be. I was leaning towards pasta or some steak while Sujith was thinking biryani or fried rice with some chicken or beef. We finally settled for American Chopsuey which lacked in flavour. It needed more seasoning.

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Finally before the cheques arrived, we asked for New York Cheesecakes. It was a bit too hard but it was quite cheesy and sweet. A very crowded restaurant and a nice ambience with some good food still didn’t uplift our spirits on a “dry” day.

King Of Candy

M&M peanut – oh man, how things have changed for me and my choice of candy. Snickers was king for such a long time but it hasn’t been the reigning king for a while now. Unofficially M&M Peanuts has taken over as the reigning champion and overall king in my life as far as candy is concerned and overall movie watching snack.

Take a bow M&M peanuts and here is your crown. The kind is dead, Long live the new king. Snickers you too should take a bow and enjoy the applause and the adoration and admiration. But yes, long live the new king.

I now cannot even imagine a weekend at home watching movies without a couple of packets of the awesome chocolate covered peanuts that M&M to enjoy as I watch the film or films. Now that it is Thursday, I need to see if I can buy a couple of packets of the joy giving peanuts by Friday night or Saturday morning.

My Breakfast Condiment Of Choice

My breakfast is usually non-existent in that since I usually work from a 6:30 pm to 3:30 am shift and wake up past 11:30 am I usually skip breakfast and have lunch by around 12:30 pm after some coffee. But there are other days when I do get to work a regular morning to evening shift or on weekends and I do get to eat and enjoy a breakfast.

Or sometimes I just want a quick sandwich. And I usually just eat toasted bread or chappathis with mayonnaise. I don’t really bother with tomatoes or cucumbers or anything else. No meats. It’s just bread with mayo. Or just chappathi or porotta with mayo. Since I love mayo a lot and depend on it for my meals, and since I am already overweight, I go for eggless mayo. There are many brands that make mayo here and many of them have the eggless variety.

My brand of choice is Sangi’s Kitchen that makes a few ones along with their plain old regular eggless mayo which comes in bigger jars. They have some in tandoori and spicy mixes as well But the one I love is theor roasted garlic and jalapeno mayo which is so delicious. I love that one though I usually just get the regular eggless. There is another brand called FunFoods which I recently tried and they have one with a garlic mix and it’s pretty good too. They call it veg mayo.

Beef Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can Italian-style crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 lasagna noodles
1 egg
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 (16 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

  • Brown sausage and ground beef with onion and garlic in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat, cooking and stirring until meat is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and discard grease. Stir tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, Italian-style crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, 2 tablespoons parsley, brown sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, fennel seeds, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese into meat mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce for at least 1 hour (up to 6 for best flavor). Stir occasionally.
  • Place lasagna noodles into a deep bowl and cover with very hot tap water; let soak for 30 minutes.
  • Beat egg in a bowl and stir ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg into egg until thoroughly combined.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Cover bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with 1 cup sauce. Layer 4 soaked lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in the dish. Repeat layers twice more, ending with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover dish with aluminum foil.
  • Bake until lasagna noodles are tender and casserole is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese topping is lightly browned, 15 to 20 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Top Breakfast Choice

Share your favorite breakfast recipe.

I am a simple guy and I prefer a simple breakfast in the morning that isn’t too complicated. I want coffee, ofcourse and if they don’t have milk but there is sugar then I am fine.

Now, I would want a 2 or 3 egg omelet. Some chopped up onions, maybe some finely chopped up tomatoes and a bit of green pepper, also finely chopped. Other than the onions the rest is optional. Some people add cheese and/or mushrooms to the omelet.

What I do is I add a little bit of milk to the omelet while it is being cooked. It adds a lot to the omelet. Again, it is not needed but it helps.

Now, toast four slices of bread, cut and put the omelet in between the two sandwiches as such. Wanna add some mayo? Sure. Or now add a slice or two of cheese? Great! Or just some plain ole ketchup? Mighty fine! Any which way you cut it, I will enjoy it.

Sit back with the plate full of goodness and enjoy the meal with the coffee and relax!

M&M Peanuts

My fav snacks while watching movies, whether at the theatre or at home on my telly, is popcorn. Flavoured or just butter/salter popcorn is the way to go. But if I want sweeter stuff then it’s chocolate or candy. And while many brands will do, there truly is only one winner in my life and that is my current fav ones, M&M peanuts. Not the chocolate ones but the chocolate covered peanuts! There is a big difference.

I rediscovered M&M peanuts a couple of years ago after almost 30 years when I saw them on the shelves in one the grocery stores I frequent. And for the most part, they are always there and every 2 weeks or so when I do go to that store, I eventually find myself reaching our for a bag or two just before I head to the check out counter. Once I get home I store them for the evening or late night when I will select a movie or tv show and I settled down for the night and watch my movie enjoying munching on my M&Ms.

So is there a better movie snack? Not sure. Oh wait, there is chocolate covered popcorn! Now there is a snack!

New Cafe 17 Outlet In Ravipuram

Today was the day after almost a month that I was able to go out and enjoy the day. With the work going on in my apartment and then my foot injury/minor tor fracture. The last day I went out – enjoying a movie and dinner – was on July 6th. Since then I have stayed in, mostly not due to choice. Even last week I thought I might go out but the heavy rains and cold weather plus the fact that my feet was still tender. That would change today. I thought if I woke up earlier yesterday I would have gone out but I ended up waking only by 11:45 am and decided to stay in.

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Today I decided to go check out the new outlet if Cafe 17 which is in Ravipuram. Their original outlet is in Kaloor on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road, which is the one I have gone to a few times, and they also opened one in Edapally which is around 45 minutes away from me in heavy traffic. I thought this outlet would be better and wanted to check it out as it was bigger – the Kaloor one is very small with just a a couple of couches and 4 tables – and their food is awesome.

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I managed to find the place after a bit of trouble. It wasn’t showing up on UberEats or Swiggy’s apps when I tried booking a ride so I googled the building it was in and then tried guiding the driver to the area. However I made a mistake as there were two Dell outlets in that part of the city and I went to the one about 10 minutes away and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Cafe. Then I walked back and realized that it was on a parallel road and walked again for about 10-12 minutes before I found myself there. I wiped my face as I was sweating buckets and then went straight to their washroom on the 1st floor.

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That’s right, they have 2 floors although the ground floor section isn’t that big. But I like their new digs and quickly ordered a cold coffee with ice cream and the Crazy Beef burger but first asking for some cold water which the attentive staff quickly gave me. Nice place and plenty of place to sit. Loved the cold coffee and the beef burger was pretty good too. More than decent French fries on the side. The total bill came to around RS. 525. Overall happy that they have expanded.

S’mores Is Heaven!

Hmmm, s’mores! Them melty marshmallow and chocolate all swirling together in the perfect “sandwich.” I have only had them a couple of ties but on a cold evening like today it would be a perfect dessert. The basics have always been the same, graham crackers, chocolate (milk is by far the most popular type of chocolate) and as much marshmallow as you can stuff into the s’mores!

HOW DO YOU MAKE A S’MORE?

The most basic answer is you break a graham cracker in half and lay the two halves on a plate. Top with a square of chocolate (If using a Hershey’s bar this would be 2 rectangles). Then have a marshmallow, heated up that you add to the chocolate and top with the graham cracker. Press down slightly and enjoy while warm and melted.

HOW DO YOU MAKE S’MORES ON THE STOVE?

On a plate add the graham cracker half, cover with a square of chocolate. Top the graham crackers with a marshmallow. Using a skewer, turn you gas stove onto high heat and hold the marshmallows over the flame. Let the marshmallow “catch” fire for a couple of seconds before blowing it out and turn off your stove. Using the second graham cracker square, put the marshmallow over the chocolate, press the graham cracker over it while taking the skewer out.

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt (full fat or low fat)

1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable, canola, safflower, or corn oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 – 1 1/2 cups (240-360 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries (If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw before adding them to the batter.)

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined and moistened. (The batter will be thick.)

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 12 muffins.

Galitos Restaurant Review

Founded by Louis Germishuys in the sleepy town of (then-named) Nelspruit in 1996, Galito’s has been consistently expanding in South Africa as well as opening international markets. They say their unique flame-grilled, fiery, bold African flavour is their claim to fame. They serve 100% flame-grilled chicken, marinated with only the best ingredients, in a range of flavours – lemon and herb, mild, hot, and extra hot piri-piri. They have one outlet here in Cochin, which is in Lulu Mall on the 4th floor next to the food court.

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My cousin Sujith and I have been there a couple of times together and I have been there a few times alone and once with a friend. Last night we started with the excellent drinks that they have. I ordered my usual Peach Lemon Ice Tea, which pictured here, almost looks like a frothy amber beer. He had a green apple spritzer.

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Then came our starter dish which was the chicken wings. These are amongst the best wings in town and certainly the biggest I have seen. A plate of 4 is more than enough since these are the full wings. And they are delicious! We choose the mild spiced sauced on the chicken wings.

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The main dish we chose were chicken quarters with a side dish each. He picked the potato wedges and I went for the regular french fries. Again we went with the mild sauce that you see dripping on the huge pieces. So good! I could go one spicy level up but beyond that is crazy. You would not, or I would not atleast, enjoy the meat if all I can taste is the higher spices levels.