2006-08-31

Souvenir

As we were leaving Paris it seems our friends (whom we knew for a short while) has to give something as a memento. Gifts were extravagant and really worth mentioning as they chose something which we adore.

To start with gift Pamela got from François is very special. I am sure she can write a new post about the same. I am just going to give you brief detail on the same.

It is stitching project (cross-stitch) with 290 x 359 stitches using 70 color threads. François not only gave the design print-out along with instructions but also got the black piece of cloth which is not that easily available in the market.

If cross-stitch is not your cup of tea and you prefer coffee like me. Check her project to be started . It is going to be a very long and difficult project to finish. Hopefully, Pamela takes enough time as well as break in-between otherwise it will cost her eyes ;).Not only this, she even got bedside lamp of effiel tower & salwar-kurta from two of her close friends.


And now my turn, gift from my dear colleagues was all about Paris and Langue Francais. Best of all I liked the wrapping for the wonderful book on photography of Paris. I am sure it must have got lots of curious look from others while getting packed. On the flight there was a nice one page article about POST-IT how it was invented in 3M and how it waited for long time before marketed and sold to customers. I really can not think my office days without it like millions others across the globe.

Thanks a lot guys if you are reading it !! Well there will be more post on those last hours ..... keep reading.

2006-08-30

Last days in Paris

We moved from Paris to Bombay. Yes it is a big event in our life and we are still not sure whether things will fall in place at the end or not. We are trying our destiny – but we are not sure what will be there for us???????? Well lots of questions and raising eye-brows from friends and families.


But this post is not about why we left Paris and why moved to India. It is all about how we spent our last one week in Paris. Before leaving, we wanted to take pictures of those which makes Paris so desired destination for tourists. No doubt it is one of the most visited place in the world be it for Eiffel Tower or Champs Elysees.

As our time for departure was coming close we tried to visit few of the well known Brasseries or Bistros to hidden street corners to passages away from busy tourist area. We did our best, but weather was not very happy with our move and unexpectedly August was very grey with clouds and rain all those thirty-one days. It is a month when almost every thing stands still in Paris or France from bakery to fashion-store to office- “tout le monde”. As every one heads towards sea “au bord de la mer” for getting “bronzee” sun bathing. If you come back from vacation with out noticeable change in color your vacation is not well spent.

Not only, we took lots of pictures and uploaded to our gallery but we reorganized them. It was very long and meticulous process with thousands of pictures to sort and write their details as much as possible. In a way it was great to know more about Paris. All credit goes to Pamela for the same. With less than 16 hours to go before the movers were to arrive I rushed to La Defense to take pictures, 

YES!! It was crazy but its worth for people like me (amateur photographer) as it allowed me to capture those tall buildings with blue sky after washed by rain.

Although, I am not sure if any one going to visit Paris is going to read this post and check our pictures or not. But, somehow I got a feeling of “been there – did this…did that…” and I am very content from heart for the same

As we spent our last two days in cleaning after the movers left before handing over our apartment keys to our landlord. In this process with lots of small things to be done on other hand at last moment like closing the bank account, getting official papers from office etc. we got so tired and exhausted that we could not effort any long to run and take pictures of “Parisians in roller blade”.

This post is getting bit longer than I thought so I will split the last few days and hours in another one. Keep reading ….

2006-08-28

Making of Chocolate Charlotte

Today we have a dinner invitation; spent whole yesterday morning in thinking what would be good to prepare as I did not want to buy anything from supermarket. Since we are moving, wanted to clean the fridge without overstuffing it. So after lot of thought came to conclusion that charlotte might be best. Learnt this recipe from a friend.

A charlotte is any dessert that's moulded into a container lined with sponge fingers or boudoir biscuits (purchased at a bakery or supermarket). It’s normally easy to prepare; hardly takes 15 min.


Make the syrup by mixing equal amount of sugar and water flavour it with adding same amount of rum or brandy to taste.

First line the bottom as well as sides of a container with clean wrap & then with sponge fingers soaked in sugary alcoholic syrup. Now layer it alternatively with chocolate mousse and sponge fingers in a way that top layer should be covered with sponge fingers. Then cover with clean wrap tightly and lid. Leave it to chill for more then 12 hours.

To serve, invert dish onto serving plate and unmold charlotte. Carefully remove plastic wrap. (Variation can be done using vanilla mousse & chocolate mousse alternatively). While serving dust with icing sugar and decorate with fruits or with cold custard or whipped cream.


Well, had our dinner in one Thai restaurant where we had duck in red curry coconut sauce and red curry chicken along with shrimps in green curry basil sauce. What gives Thai food its distinctive character is a harmony in its tastes - sour, salty, hot and aromatic. Mmmm....delicious!

Door code

This electronic device you are seeing in the picture is nothing but a door code of our apartment where using a scroll buttons one has to search and select the name and then press “appel” means “call” button which will give a ring to the concerned persons apartment and it is that habitué who will answer that call & unlock the main door.


Certain buildings will have only code with rarely names on front doors so without “Le code” you won't get past the outer door which usually leads to a small inner courtyard or a stairway. And then they do have an intercom between the front door and the individual apartments, but most of the older buildings do not. Thus, cipher block at the entrance keeps unexpected and unwanted guests outside.

In Paris, friendship without code is inexistent. When you give your phone number to someone that is personal but when you give your front door code that is intimate. Here, most of the buildings are code protected. Actually, in earlier seventies there was a concept of guardian who use to supervise the whole building but now there place has been gradually taken by these door codes just due to cost cutting. Though our building is old but both guardian as well door code is there.

In short, in Parisian vocabulary "Just dropping by" doesn't exist unlike those in India.

2006-08-12

Pardey key Pichey

From a good friend of mine I got an offer to help at backstage of Ritu Beri’s fashion show to be held at Paris on 5th July at Lido. At first I wanted to deny this proposal but with second thought that it might be a fun with friends to be there; I nodded my head giving my approval. Ace fashion designer Ritu Beri is the first Asian to have joined a French fashion house making a slow transition from Indian Haute Couture to Prêt-a-porter (ready to wear).

Believe me, it was only 30 minutes affair in 1 hour show the work was just to help models dressed in mélange of Indo-western meticulously designed outfits. The dresses along with accessories and shoes were properly tagged and kept ready for each model. As there is barely a gap of 15 seconds in which one has to change and be back on the ramp. So each of us were allotted with one particular model to help them in changing and getting dressed. Even sometimes the fitting may not be proper which needs special attention from Ritu’s assistant to get them stitched or tucked at last moment.

One can read Ritu’s face that how much stressed she was at that point of time but however she made it….bravura. For me, although not being a spectator it was no less fun being at back peeping through curtains to get the glimpse of the stage and making comments.
As my co-helpers forgot their camera, I was persuaded to take photos and in that process I ended up taking more photos then I thought. Thanks to all those unknown models to pose for someone amateur like me.
Anywayz, for that 30minutes help we were all given a token of gratitude from her collection “sequined crushed silk top”.

Me wearing Ritu Beri's sequined top @ Jardin du Havre
Though, this event took place in July first week and I posted the pictures in the gallery that very day but as I didn't got an opportunity to wear the top so kept pushing this post on backburner till today.

2006-08-11

Last Week


Watched lots of movies, uploaded some photos to Running and walked around Paris last week.

New in gallery - bibs from running . Well you must be wondering what is that ? For a person like me from whom the activity of sport was taken away by various pressures at young age it means a lot. The good side of it is that I am the very few fortunate one to run at this age at various places but rest remains as silent voice in vast population of India.

Tried lots of combination for uploading video to my website and found due to some mismatch between my Digital Camera and computer I could not get the precise result for which I was looking. Here is one from Paris - Metro. These are the few of those musicians who play for free inside the metro. Some of them are great who just play as they try to get a good number of audiences. Especially in Chatlet; the most crossed metro stop by people as it is the bull-eye of paris Metro Network. Rest plays for small money in the metro compartment and that some times sound hard on ears.
And most importantly have watched lots of classic and good movies recently. Here is the list that I borrowed - Merci Francois!!
    These three are adaptation from plays by Tennessee Williams
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
  • Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

    These two are so funny and witty you will roll on floor :D
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace(1944)

  • Dracula (1931)
  • The Rains Came (1939) - A movie set in British India
  • An American in Paris 1951

  • Sunset Boulevard (1950) - A Hollywood Story
  • All About Eve (1950) - A Broadway Story
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  • Dead Again (1991)
  • Howards End 1992
  • The Piano (1993)
  • Phone Booth (2002)

    British animation productions
  • A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit (1989)
  • Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993)
  • Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave (1995)
  • Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

2006-08-04

Swiss-Itenary, TGV and Gizmo

 swiss mapAnother Friday, thinking to write something for my blog ;) I think I should have kept a track of my Friday bloging or changes I made on Friday :D. Well, this post is not going to be about Friday but it is about our Switzerland itinerary, experience with TGV etc.

Might have noticed there are lots of posts by Pamela in recent time – wish she would have done before from our other trips also. It is GREAT that she is so active on this now a days.

Firstly, a PDF map pointing all the places we been in Switzerland. Thanks to Pamela again for her idea.

Secondly, while traveling for more then 3 days we carry Laptop - it serves to down-load the pictures as cards get full within 1-2 consecutive days of visit. While coming back to Paris via TGV one of the fastest train of Europe I found in the first class they have AC 220V power socket to connect laptop.It helps in doing pending work or seeing photos like us or watch film on DVD without being worried on recharging battery. It was great as my current laptop battery does not last more than 15-20 minutes. So here is the picture while Pamela down-loading photos from card.

Photos from Golden-Pass train which we took that morning. In the 1st compartment of TGV another difference is seat size with enough leg room as they only have 3 seats per row compared to 4 in 2nd class.
Lastly, though I like to have all the latest and the greatest gizmo but normally I run quite behind in reality compared to others. The biggest reason is of course financial and other is it cost a lot in Europe with the ugly VAT system.

My laptop is an old Pentium-III, digital camera is a 3 mega pixel, my mobile phone is 4 years old. Hmm....for mobile phone although is not really true as I lost the new one within 4 months of use.
So here are my next gizmo lists

I hope to upgrade my camera to a new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX2 as soon as it is released and gets real good review from other users, not those blur image its current sibling has. I hope to carry it all the time compared to my current bulky one.

Get an Apple MacBook in black when apple removes the current $200 premium – hope apple does that soon and before X-mas.

A cell phone that can sync with I-Sync and Outlook something from Sony Ericson k750 which has all that but no rush let the price drop.

2006-08-01

Italian aroma…

"Daney Daney Pey likha hain khaney waley kaa naam"- which colloquially means each grain has the name of the person who will eat it (it is the fortune of the person to have certain meal or not). Well the same with more of spice in Hindi movies "goli goli pey likha hain marney waley kaa naam" which means in each bullets it is written the name of the person who will die.
Before I take you along this blog I will try my best to keep the suspense why the introduction to a culinary adventure got its inspiration from Hindi muhavra & bollywood film.
Today we tried to prepare a Pasta dish bit different from our normal standard. Initially, Pamela did not showed much of interest maybe due to bit long procedure... must have thought to leave on me. But at the end, she seems to have willy-nilly enrolled in Italian cuisine and did all the steps to prepare this awesome dish - recipe to die for without killing for.
Spinach and Ricotta Conchiglie - Conchiglie which means large pasta conch (a kind of shell) designed to hold delicious stuffing in our case it was mixture of chopped spinach and ricotta cheese. Having concave shapes they are one of the most useful shapes as they trap any sauce. Till far we have prepared-long pasta like spaghetti, spiral shaped fusilli, butterfly shaped farfalle, stuffed ravioli either with fresh crème sauce, tomato sauce or pesto sauce. Even we have tried flat pasta lasagna designed to be baked between layers of sauce.
Pasta is one of the staple food of every authentic Italian meal & most versatile food too. It is considered to be low-fat food and rich in complex carbohydrate. But, it is important to take care while choosing sauce as overloading it with cheese or cream sauce will change pasta into high-fat food and of course the number one rule of great Italian cuisine is fresh is best.
Actually, prima facie on the colorful picture of the recipe in the book on Vegetarian by Nicolas Graimes, drew my attention and I thought why not to try it. Well, with out going to reveal the secret of this recipe here are the pictures as the cooking progressed. In other words, let me try to limn an entire procedure through photos taken by me. Hope silence speaks the volume in that way I will not be infringing coyright as Pamela did in previous post.
Finally, the suspense-what made me wrote “Daney Daney Pey .... naam” - is actually I invited one French friend (person who taught us to prepare any pasta ) for dinner and due to some miscommunications he did not showed up. So, it was two of us who had our mouth-watering irresistable pasta, supple in texture and deliciously sauced and stuffed (bit of boasting on my part may-be). But truly, it came out so good that we two were left licking and relishing every morsel. It would have been our pleasure to share a meal with our friend :( but surely next time :)
Ready with all the PasteAll set with ingredients Draining the cooked pastaStuffing with Spinach and RicottaTopped with ParmeseanAll set to serveBon Appetite

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...