Summer Fruit: Mangoes reign Supreme

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Summer Fruit: Mangoes reign Supreme

Though the summer in most parts of India is now in full fervour,  mangoes are yet to make their abundant presence in the market and in the homes it brings the lip licking and drooling. Last week I did go to the market to get my first batch…but I was not impressed with its taste.

Mangoes when raw are green, but on ripening turn orange or golden yellow. Raw mangoes find their way into many a recipe and cuisine across India and South Asia. Mouth watering chutneys, tongue tantalising Andhra pickles, refreshing cool aam panna from Gujrat and Maharashtra, sliced wedges of raw mango dipped in salt for a tangy roadside snack to mamudikaya pappu or raw mango laced dal, a tangy dal salad or snack called vaatli dal.

In Sri Lanka raw mangoes are blended with coconut paste and used in fish curry.

So, as you wait for the mangoes with me, here is an older post. See here. I’ll be back soon.

 

 

 

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Beachfront Weekend Market at Manly, Sydney

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Blue skies, warm weather, a long weekend in April were the perfect conditions to enjoy a day out at Manly beach, north Sydney. ( Yes, Sydney ‘Time Out’ listed its weekend markets, which was a bonus). Excitement and anticipation swelled as we waited in the long snaking queues at Circular Quay Ferry Wharf along with other tourists and Sydney siders for a ferry ride across the harbour.

At Manly wharf, eager holiday crowds descended on to the main street, heading towards the blue sea and surf. This quaint suburb had its very own distinct architecture. Art deco buildings of 1800 -1900’s had been given a fresh paint, buildings at street corners were shaped angular and balconies were round shaped. The main promenade or ‘The Corso’ has had multiple redevelopments. The local Council takes pride and interest in promoting local culture and heritage, which in turn stimulates business and tourism. The weekend market is one such project.

We passed many shops selling ice creams, sun hats, sunglasses and Billabong surf and beach wear. There were  travel agents selling flight brochures, a Cole’s supermart well stocked with groceries, and some other sundry items.

In the 1860’s there were just two or three hotels here and few cafes along the sea front. Today, Manly is a rich and bustling tourist suburb with many more charming beachfront bars and restaurants. White shade giving parasols and outdoor chairs made for a picture perfect scenic seafront.

Away from this frenzy quietly tucked away on Sydney street, was the colourful weekend market. With so many people there…it sure was a buyer’s and browser’s haven!

Care for a Hawaiian shirt or hand-made beaded jewellery? Soft smelling soaps or Art deco posters? The market had something for everyone! Else…head out to the azure blue waters and soft sands just across.

I took a carefree slow walk, peering almost at each stall. The open air market had a mixed smell – sea breeze mingling with aroma of roasted coffee beans wafting from the nearby cafes. How intoxicating! Stalls displayed a variety of loose printed shirts, beachwear in white, blue and coral colours, sunglasses, books and exclusive beeswax paper used to cover food items . There was handmade bead jewellery, bracelets of shells and raffia strings. Catering to the hungry crowds – the makeshift mobile vans at the far end of the street turned into fast selling food stalls. Caramel, boysnberry and pistacchio Gelato, Turkish Gozleme that are spinach and cheese wraps, burgers and sandwiches, hot fries, ham strips and Mexican nachos. “No one goes hungry. Come on, tuck in” called the vendors.

I settled in for a cappuccino and some handmade hazelnut chocolates. Hmmm…aromatic and the crunch complemented each other.

Want a Hawaiian print shirt? A soothing scented hand-made soap? Or souvenirs and paintings from locals ? Or just have a chat with one of the stall holders and hear about their way of life. Aren’t markets a great place to walk and talk?

Visit: http://www.timeout.com/sydney/shopping/manly-markets to know more and plan your trip.

Smelling the fresh seaside air, listening to live music in the background, smiling at children licking their ice creams while frolicking around water fountains, around this vibrant market was just so relaxing. I carried no bag, no intentions to buy.

But what is a place if you do not interact with its people? So…I introduced myself to the man behind the crafted books. “My name’s Bob, I’m a retired engineer” he said in thick Australian accent extending a friendly handshake. “Look, I have something special for you, Indian lady” he said as we exchanged more notes. ” Here is a lovely Indian dictionary for you, can you read it to me?” …..And as we re read…he turned pages to the discrete carved out hollow within! ” This is where you can hide your cash and put the book on the library shelf! ” he smiled and insisted he gifts me the book safe.

 

The lady at next stall was selling sweet-scented hand-made soaps and candles. “Making these is therapy for me, on weekdays I work as a Prison Manager” she said. “‘ The job is tough and compelling.” She has been a regular seller here for past two years and enjoys the market’s ambience and summer sea breeze. She is getting queries from customers for more product range and is planning to set up an online business. “Happy Easter” we wished each other.

I soon mingled into the ”other” seaside crowd. The soft sands, thundering waves and frothy foam seemed so magical. At one end were professional surfers and paddlers, at the other children and non swimmers gleefully wet their feet with froth and cool waters.

Manly – a slice of life for each holiday maker. Shopping street and cafes, the market and the seaside. What’s your interest?Come, live it up!

For another Sydney market, at the scenic Sydney harbour see here

Have you been to a beachfront market place? What curios caught your eye there? Do leave your comments below.

Post Cards from Pune: Historic Tulsi Baug Market

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History, tradition, crowds! That sums up this market in Pune, India. From being a barter trade market, to a temple area adjoined with shops, to becoming a bustling economic zone and a tourist spot …Tulsi Baug market has evolved generously over the years.

Apart from the crowded streets lined with everything households need, the area evokes old charm and rings bells of the Peshwai buildings and wadas. Carved with timber ceilings and lattice railings, low arches and high airy balconies they dot the surrounding areas that were once home to the ministers and officials. Peshwas ruled and designed Pune territories under the rule of majestic warrior Sivaji Maharaj.

Bajirao road, Laxmi road and Shanipur road are the trio of entry points to this centrally located market area. Today each road caters to specific sale of items – vegetables and fruits, kitchen needs, puja items and traditional clothes.

At the heart of the area stands the Ram-Sita temple, built around 1756 by the then ruling Peshwa. Its 150 m golden conical shikhar or spire can be prominently seen from the adjacent streets. History and architecture students stand in awe to admire the simple grandeur of wooden pillar work and lime stucco work  ( the temple is now under renovation and re structure).The surrounding temple area or wada, tucked interior and away from the bustling street market exudes a calm, soothing atmosphere. Once abundant with Tulsi (Basil) plants in the gardens, it is now home to shops selling traditional items. Two smaller temples and a Nagarkhana (music store room) are part of the temple complex. Brass lamps, artefacts, antique door bells and knobs, traditional kitchen utensils and brass, iron woks and spoons as well as fancy toran or door decorations made of plastic flowers or wool fill every inch of the tiny shops around the temple complex.

Old meets new, nostalgia meets novelty, Art meets History!

Out through the low wooden darwaza, onto the buzzing streets outside one is greeted with congestion, traffic and chaos (especially during the festive days!) The delightful, historic place suddenly becomes a nightmare! Beware of pickpockets and curt behaviour of people!

Bajirao road street market caters to clothing – cheap woollen shawls and socks ( yes, Pune did get cold to 12- 15 degrees.), eco-friendly cloth bags or pishwi in different sizes, traditional parkar- polka or girl’s long skirt/blouse, dhoti, jhabba, topi or traditional men’s attire worn by local rural population from Satara, Sangli regions.

Many shops in adjoining streets cater to puja lamps, cotton wicks, decorated seating stools, wedding clothes, fancy gift bags or potli and festival jewellery.

Sankranti, is a harvest festival celebrated in January, heralding the Sun’s northern movement. Traditionally it is celebrated with exchange of til -gul   

and married women dress in quintessential black saree and young girls in black and gold parkar polka, adorning themselves with unique tilache dagine (sesame and sugar jewellery). Young girls and boys under 5 years of age are showered with til halwa and sugar beads. Making of this festive jewellery is a dying art ( tiny poppy or sesame seed is covered in white or green coloured sugar coating).

Tulsi Baug market is THE place for such traditional items.

In a quick turn around to the crossing I spotted the famous Chitale Bandhu store, famous for its Baaker Wadi, Pedha and Srikhand. For the Puneri non-resident Indians living in far away USA and Australia – THIS is the store! They must stop by for the delicacies or pack and carry home.

Long live Pune traditions and culture, the seat of Marathas and Peshwas is held up high with every new young generation that aims to hold on to its past, in this era of modernism.

Tulsi Baug holds a special place in the heart of every Puneri, and we hope the municipal corporation sets adequate funds for treasure and unique history.

 

 

 

 

 

Year End 2018: My Blogging Journey So Far…

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2018, another year comes to an end. How has my blogging journey been so far, I often ponder?

”Have you thought of blogging?” someone asked me a few years ago. I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone create one. I baulked, shyly but firmly decide a blog will be born!

That brought a flood of questions to mind. Why write? Write what? Should I share my personal stories with an unknown audience? How do I create a blog? How to upload photos? What are the basic techno skills required? Writing demands a certain discipline and a focus. Am I ready to sit on the magic carpet and take my audience around the world?

“The magic of traveling is a change of perspective. The journey is more important than the destination.”

~ Maria Lehtman

Finding a focus

The first daunting question before creating a blog and naming it was to find a theme or particular aspect of that interested or changed me! The numerous Kodak prints and Iphone photos covered in dust (in online folders) awaited proper organization. Phew!

Travel had taught us many a history, geography and cultural lesson. Should I write about people? Their language and peculiar accents? Should I write about cultures or some hilarious or scary incidents we encountered? While travelling, we often visited local markets to buy fresh produce, breads or local food. It proved a cheaper, healthier, novel experience each time, instead of a meal at a restaurant.

I had found a theme. Writing about markets seemed apt.

Often walking along the cobbled paths in European towns, or dragging my shopping trolley in Singapore was the easy way to reach the local market. So ‘walktomarket’ seemed an apt title. I choose wordpress for its simplicity and support in technology.

Singapore’s 5C’s: What it means at the Wet Market

Hyderabad Two Cups of Chai at Monda Market

             Courtesy: Internet – Quotes on web writing.

Genre and Writing Style.

As the stories were my personal experiences, I adopted the narrative style, using first person while telling anecdotes. After studying the different writing styles, planning my layout (initially on paper, later more efficiently on the blog site itself) I slowly began posting online. But I soon discovered that to describe events or places in details, I have to use sensory language, make the place come alive actually. Was I able to deliver that to the audience? (Thank you readers for leaving generous comments sometimes). It required lots of writing and editing practice…and continuing determination.

Narrative writing is a way of story telling, personal, and yet conveying a moral or message. The reader must be able to learn, feel or gather a particular impression to remain interested. (Courtesy: Internet essays on writing.)

Throughout our life we learn from our experiences, and travel had given me a new perspective. THAT was the message I wished to convey. Thus my writing had to show that thought. I often had casual personal interviews with the cheese, bread or fruit or vendors while shopping. Including these was a wonderful way of projecting the human stories to a wider  audience. Other creative ideas like captioning photos, writing postcard stories and leaving questions for the reader helped support reader interest. And that’s important.

A Photo Essay – Al Mina Market, Abu Dhabi

The story and planning 

No work can be achieved without a proper plan or outline. Planning helps channeling of thoughts. In writing, after making a first outline draft, details are to be added.Then editing and proofing are next steps. Every narrative has a beginning, middle and end. Thus my narratives too required some structure. If I introduce a certain event or person, then at the end I must close this topic so. Learning to write, think and plan takes up energy, time and brain power, that at times left me happily exhausted.

“How should I introduce the place? Should I begin with an interview? Or describe the traditional attire? Whom should I highlight as main character? Should I focus on the historical aspect or pin point the road map for the next traveler?” So many questions to ponder and write about, to entertain the reader and keep him engaged in my story!

Mauritius – In search of an idol of Lord Ganesh

https://answershark.com/writing/essay-writing/how-to-write-narrative-essay.html

http://canuwrite.com/essay_parts.php

Read more to write better? What is a writer’s block?

Some days words would flow like a running tap, other times not a seed of thought crossed my brain. ”How can I be committed to blogging and my audience?” I grew worried.  Days would pass without writing even two paragraphs! That’s when I read about a writer’s block.( Dictionary meaning: the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.) Doing regular exercise, going for a walk helped me not only to revitalize, but also to literally think on my feet! At times, I rushed home to put thoughts on paper (laptop) lest they evade me later in the busy humdrum of life.

“It usually helps me write by reading — somehow the reading gear in your head turns the writing gear.” -Steven Wright

To write better one needs to read more. To improve vocabulary, to get creative, to improve grammar…read! So to improve my writing I began reading travel blogs, books, novels, biographies -anything to keep my mind in learning state.

ME Time. Hobby Time.

“It is important to have a hobby. It not only keeps your creative juices flowing it increases healthy mental activity. It even reduces stress, depression and loneliness. The secretion of good hormone endorphin acts as tranquilizer and is calming when one is happily engaged in a hobby.” (Courtesy: Internet)

http://docdreyfus.com/psychologically-speaking/the-importance-of-hobbies/

“Go away boredom and loneliness” I often found myself saying as blogging became my new hobby. As a beginner, I had to discipline myself to concentrate and write daily. “Yipee! another blog written and posted” I would cheer myself. “Has anyone left a comment yet?” Writing became therapeutic and I grew more responsible to my viewers.

Blogging provided me with ample brain food – writing, editing, saving my work, uploading and sizing photos, creating new sections and pages, adding widgets, changing the Header photo, responding to comments, visiting other blogs etc.

A new Category : World Palate Recipes was added to compliment my travel stories. Many a times our home kitchen was a culinary experimenting lab that reminded us of our different cuisines we had sampled across the world.

Finally, it’s been an interesting, enlightening and happy blogging journey this far. My aim of using the many photos and documenting some wonderful travel experiences  has proved immensely refreshing and satisfying. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs.

For Year 2017 see here

                 Happiness, Health and Friendships

                     to all in the New Year 2019. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festival Markets: Nostalgic Childhood Memories of Diwali Celebrations

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Image result for diwali images

Photo Courtesy:Internet :Holiday Spot.

Year 2018 Diwali comes knocking at our door. Whilst cleaning  the puja altar and preparing easy sweet treats, my cravings for the crunchy chakli, a lentil and spice based savoury and ghee laden karanji or khajjikaya bring back childhood memories. Did my old paternal aunt just knock at our door? I wish! Those were the fun-filled, aroma wafting days of a busy kitchen. Aunt used to help Mother to prepare big boxes of Diwali Faral treats. As children, we would patiently hide behind the kitchen doors, eager to hear the first call to taste the delicacies.

Here I share with you my home made Diwali Faral.

Home made Diwali treats

My friends and I ordered some dry fruit barfi and doodh pak online, keeping with the technology. We also visited our local store and bought some Faral off the shelves, that of course did not taste the same as home-made. Less cooking, less cleaning and no visit to the grocery stores are the choices of the day.  Weight watching, diabetes and BP have added to the lack lustre of relishing Diwali sweets, let alone preparing them.

Lighting of clay lamps and bursting crackers is an important part of the festival. Bright lamps signify light over darkness, good over evil. Traditionally clay lamps are made by the kumbhar potter communities. Life celebrated each person’s role in society and home – their ability, social involement and artistic qualities. Be it the simple kumbhar or the rich Bania merchant, the manual labourer or the wealthy household.

I rushed to buy some new clay lamps, traditionally old ones are discarded, another eco friendly concept. Roadside stalls, wheel carts, supermarket shelves, flower shops – all filled up every inch of space with different sizes and colours of these traditonal and modern diyas.  

As the sun goes down, rows of little oil filled diyas will beautify door entrances of every Hindu home, a symbolic representation to drive out negativity and darkness and illumine the home and heart. I filled out vibrant colours in the rangoli at the doorstep, inviting Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga – each one celebrated for wealth, learning and courage. I was once again reminded of childhood memories when mother, aunt and friends gathered together discussing Rangoli patterns, importance of placement of dots, lines and curves -it was fun-filled learning at the doorstep of each home.

Contrast that with shops in recent times, flooded with pre cut Rangoli plastic sheets, plastic flowers, crafted thermocol pieces to decorate the home. Creativity and business, a move away from the threshholds of home. Add Goggle websites and videos for up-to-date technology. Who needs an artistic neighbour or Aunt? Where is the time and interest? Demands of work pressure at office and nuclear families at home caves in to no involvement, no dedication and decreasing traditional spirit!

Rangoli –  Courtesy:Internet – happyshappy.

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Last but not the least – wearing new clothes and discarding old ones is customary. ”Declutter” – not just your home, body …but also your mind is the message given out through cultural knowledge. Wearing handmade ghagra or lengha and choli, bending over the sewing machine, learning how to thread the beads and laces on to the dress was another nostalgic learning moment, a time for bonding together with elder ladies of the house. A once a year gift to be treasured!

Instead, come visit the mall and revel in multi colours of the shelves and hanging sarees, see the extra-large street hoardings, newspaper advertisements spread over entire sheets during the pre Diwali shopping spree. Try buying online, there are dedicated FB pages. Designers are selling pre ordered clothing, that reaches every corner of India, and the world over, be it Toronto, or Melbourne. http://www.fabindia.com, http://www.utsavsarees.com, Naqshi, Chakor and Saree Speak on FB are some examples.

Fast cash and more incomes, internet connectivity and consumerism and other social pressures are fast changing the deep rooted traditions and symbolic meanings of the festive spirit. ‘Change is the only constant” and it applies here too.

Fancy dresses for Diwali sales

See here for an earlier post on Diwali

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

It’s time now to fill the oil in the lamps, light the diyas and prepare for arriving friends to share the sweets and festive warmth.

Happy Diwali to all my Hindu friends, family and blogging family. May you have prosperity, warmth and good health. May you share your goodwill and bounty with others.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

World Palate Recipes: Alu Patal Bhaji (Colocassia Leaves Curry)Maharastrian style

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Colocassia is popularly known as Elephant ear plant, Taro, Arvi, Arbi, or Alu (in Marathi). It is a tropical herbaceous perennial. It is a gardener’s delight – needs rich fertile soil and plenty of water, it is used in landscaping too as well as the leaves, stem and roots are edible. The Romans used to cook it with celery and pork, the Sindhi community deep fry the boiled roots and use it in Sindhi curry. In India and the subcontinent various communities have their own versions of cooking and use. In Nagaland fish is steamed in the leaves, in Maharahstra and Gujrat the leaves are coated with spiced gram flour Besan to make delicious Patra. In Sri Lanka the boiled roots are made into chips or a fried curry with fish.

To learn more about the immense goodness in nutrition ( iron, folate, magnesium, vitamins) see here:  https://foodfacts.mercola.com/taro.html

With such a rich volume of nutrition in just the leaves, we decided to definitely grow this plant in our vegetable garden. Look at the pretty, large triangular leaves. Today, I share a traditional Maharashtrian recipe using the delicate greenish purple leaves. Isnt’ that a treat?

 

Alu Chi Patal Bhaji ( Colocassia leaf curry)

Ingredients:

6-8 leaves (preferably tender with stems)

half cup gram flour (Besan)

1 inch jaggery ( brown sugar)

1 spoon tamarind or tamarind paste (as desired)

salt and red chillies to taste

1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional) or cashews(optional)

water as necessary

1-2 cups of buttermilk/lassi/ Aiir/ liquid yoghurt

1-3 tbsp. cooking oil

few seeds of mustard and jeera for the splutter

The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Method:

Wash the leaves and stems – notice how the water runs off the surface. ( Spiritually it reminds me not to get entangled with our possessions…just let go of moods and anger). 

Cut the leaves finely, pare the stems gently to remove the tough,non-edible outer layer of stem. Chop finely, discard any tough bits.

Place all the above in a large pot of water (1-2 cups) and boil. Keep aside to cool, do not throw the nutritious water, use to adjust the curry consistency. Soak the tamarind and jaggery in little water to soften well.

In a large bottom pan /wok heat some oil and add seeds, red or green chilli, peanuts, asafoetida (hing), and let it splutter, lightly toss the oil mixture for even heat. Add the boiled leaves, coat them with gram flour (adjust required thickness), add salt to taste. Add tamarind and jaggery juice. Keep stirring the mixture as it begins to thicken. Add buttermilk and left over boiled water, adjust the thickness to a pouring curry consistency. DO NOT let the mixture boil – keep stirring. The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Adjust the taste – a tangy, sweet, spicy, leafy taste. Serve warm with millet Roti, wheat roti or just plain rice.

No traditional Maharastrian wedding is complete without this delicately sour, sweet and nut filled nutritious curry! Yumm…i can remember my childhood as we sat down in a Pangat ( sitting cross legged on mats, laid in rows) waiting to be served the steaming hot rice and patal bhaji, along with other Maharastrian food like koshimbeer, batata bhaji, usaal and Shrikhand. Mouth watering colourful and aromatic food.

 

As they say in Marathi – ‘Savakash Jeva…Anna he poorna Brahman’ which translates as – Eat slowly, for food is revered as Poorna Brahman.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in Canada:Maple Syrup,Summer Fruit and Outdoor Kiosks

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It’s summer time in the Northern hemisphere. On our recent visit to far away Canada we filled our stomach with lush summer fruit: golden peaches with hints of red blush, tangy sweet strawberries and juice dripping plums. Slurp! slurp. Snow covered streets was a thing of the past season.

London, Ontario

An easy walk down Talbot street, at corner of King street, London Ontario, was the iconic Covent market. Established in 1845,the brown stone building is a popular landmark. It’s large clock dial at the entrance, high ceiling and noveau glass panes make the architecture of this two storey building. The ground floor is home to local vendors, some who are here for more than 20 years, everyday! From gourmet cheese from south Ontario, fresh seasonal groceries, award-winning meat cuts to locally prepared breads and pastries, the market hall caters to all. Come summer, there’s even a special weekend outdoor market in addition to indoor stalls. ‘Want a special Maple syrup, Canadás very own?’ inquired a vendor, noticing my touristy attire and inquisitiveness. The early Aboriginal settlers taught the arriving Europeans (Canadians) to harvest maple sap from the trees, boil it in clay pots and use syrup to lace sweet treats.

‘Coffee and raisin bread?’ asked my friend. we quickly opted for the outdoor wooden benches at the street level, rather than the quietude of the first floor indoor coffee shop. ‘Just like other Canadians…soak up the sun, while it lasts, listen to the summer time live music bands playing in the background’ I chirped with a smile.

Courtesy: Coventmarket.com/outdoors

Montreal: Marche BonSecours

The old city cobbled walk was picturesque and informative, magnificent stone buildings dotting both sides of the street. On Rue St. Paul Est (yes, official language is French, in this Provence) the Marche BonSecours stood majestically. We stood in awe at this architectural grandeur!

The building almost occupied the entire street, perfectly symmetrical on each side of its imaginative central line.The six Roman columns make an imposing front central facade above which a triangular plaque bears the name of the market. We soon learned about the Palladian style architecture (perfect building symmetry, perspective in all round view and values) brought here by British architect William Footner. He copied from Roman and Greek styles so true to the time period. The central dome and rotunda was so high…almost touching the clear blue sky!

A very popular market in the 1800’s, it served local and regional population with produce coming from far away. After being shut down as a market in 1964, it served as Government office. In recent times, the large central hall and majestic first floor rooms and corridor are often rented out for community projects, marriage functions and exhibitions. It’s no longer functions as a produce market.

To cater to the summer tourists and locals (schools close for summer holidays) nearby streets stretched out with a variety of stalls. Souvenirs, exotic sugarcane juice, rows of Maple syrup, locally painted canvas Art, handcrafted jewellery, candy floss and ice cream treats, straw bags, handcrafted dolls…the street market was brimming had a very vibrant mood!

Ottawa

Very near the Parliament buildings and historical buildings in Ottawa is popular, bustling ByWard marketplace. With over 400 unique shops that fill this area, there is something for everyone! There is NEVER a dull moment here, come winter or summer. If not to shop, at least we can capture a memento photo at the iconic signpost, I thought.

The red stone buildings here have much history. In the yesteryear they were private residences of many officials and merchants. Today they have become business houses: shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries and garden equipment markets. By the day the place attracts many a home maker, casual tourist, office goer looking for quick bite.

But as the sun sets …the sidewalk cafe, restaurants and beer shops attract another set of consumers! At times though…. sadly the street is strewn by glass bottles thrown by drunk people, it’s a place for small time robbery and fights too.

 

‘Don’t forget the maple syrup bottles,there is a special kiosk here’ called out a vendor. I noticed the ‘fleur’ blue and white flag, indicating the flag of the region.

My friend pointed out to some fresh strawberries and Rhubarb. Those reddish-purple stalks were unique, I thought. We picked up a bunch to make rhubarb compote. Then move on to sweet treat and cross cultural friendship hugs. The Óbama cookies reminded us of cross border friendship:) For the sugar treat  the big French Bakery was a perfect place.

It was time to head home, taking back memories and photographs of the city markets. It was time to ponder about  culture, food and seasons in lands far beyond. It was time to value what we have in hand and what we get…beyond.

Au revoir…till we meet again.

World Palate Recipes: Raw Papaya Avial (Kerala Style)

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Our small patch of vegetable garden is blooming, thanks to much planning and effort of hubby dear. This morning’s bounty was: purple brinjals(aubergines), fresh green mint and some gourds. Indeed it is so gratifying and therapeutic, as we work in the garden. A very relaxing, yet rewarding exercise!

My friend from Kerala ( southern India) visited me recently, and admired the papaya tree. ‘Wow, can you give me one green papaya, please? I’ll cook you a delicious Kerala curry.’ Smiles exchanged, papaya given!

 

Raw papaya is often used in Kerala cuisine, not so much in other parts of India though. But in North India it does find its way into chutneys and masala parathas. It’s relatively bland flavour makes it versatile to combine with other vegetables like potato, carrot, peas, beans, bottle gourd, chow-chow etc.

Being a powerhouse of enzymes it has many benefits from cleansing the internal system, to making face mask and to providing papain for good digestion. No wonder it’s very sought after for medical and skin care products. (I rub the ripe papaya skin on my face and hands, for a cleansing effect, then wash after 10 minutes:)

https://food.ndtv.com/health/4-remarkable-raw-papaya-benefits-from-internal-cleansing-to-glowing-skin-1679908

Raw Papaya Avial (curry with coconut paste). Serves 5-8.

Ingredients:

1 raw papaya( with a slight yellow tinge)

1 raw plantain / banana

2-3 drumsticks ( not chicken, but a long green slender vegetable)

1/2 coconut grated

1/2 inch ginger

2 tsps cumin seeds lightly roasted

2 -3 tsps Coconut oil for cooking /or other oil

2 sprigs of Curry leaves

4-6 green chillies

1-2 red chillies (for garnish)

1 cup thick yoghurt

salt to taste

Method:

Wash well and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into 1 inch squares or lengthwise as prefered. Put a large pot with 2-4 cups of water to boil, place vegetables in it, add some salt and cook till almost tender ( 15- 20 mins. approx.)

Till then, make a paste of grated coconut either in blender or traditional method of using stone mortar. ( this is a wonderful arm exercise, but needs rigour and skill to keep pushing the coconut to the centre, as it tends to spill on sides). Crush and paste the roasted cumin seeds- a burst of aroma fills the kitchen! Make a paste of ginger and chillies, add salt while crushing.

Check the boiling vegetables, reduce heat!

Now add the ground paste and coconut to the vegetables, lightly stir. Adjust salt and chilli as required.

In an iron pan / or non stick wok pour oil and heat. When warm, add a few cumin seeds, tear and add curry leaves and 1-2 red chillies. As this splutters, pour on top of boiled vegetable mix. Reserve some for garnish.

Now take off the heat, add and stir thick yoghurt with care. Mix gently. Heat for 5 minutes. Its’s ready for serving with a bowl of steaming rice.

To serve, take some Avial / curry place it in serving bowl. Garnish with spluttered oil, cumin, red chilli mix. Enjoy the meal.

What have you planted in your garden? How do you enjoy the flowers or vegetables?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

Crochet :Versatile, Easy Granny Squares

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Ever wondered why those crochet squares are so-called? Granny squares is something of the 1970’s. It is a crochet square worked from the centre outwards, in multiple rows and well-formed corners. A ‘solid’ granny square will have a dense stitch done in single colour, where multiple colours will add variety, colour and pattern to the simple solid granny square. Because they are portable, simple and a great way to re-use yarn, it’s so Granny!

The Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares (Fawcett, 1975), is a collection of granny-based designs and notes (checkout on Google).

Solid Granny square

Here are my recent granny square projects using new yarn.

Girl’s handbag

Begin with the magic circle and work 5-6 rows of double crochet to make the classic pattern. In each corner chain – work 3 double crochet, 2 chains, 3 double crochet. This will give the corner a good finish. Add an all round double crochet border stitch to complete and make a neat square. Make another similar square for the other side of bag.

Now join both squares at one end using a single crochet stitch. Measure a soft fabric, choose a matching colour or make it contrasting bright. Lay flat, measure adding extra 1 inch all round for hem. Cut, fold hem inwards and sew fabric to the inner side of crochet square, using a big eye needle and thread.

Now turn the square ‘right side on right side’ and using needle and yarn sew the other 2 sides of square, leaving one side open for top end. (There are many You tube videos that explain this in detail.) Add tassels or beads on a string as embellishments.

To make the handle – make a chain stitch as long or short as you wish for the size, then crochet 2 rows of double crochet into each. Finish off by sewing both ends to the top edges of the handbag.

A crochet dress

This dress will fit a 2-year-old girl. It is slightly modified from a pattern I saw on Etsy. Remember that thickness of yarn, needle size, hand tension, pattern – are variants to the outcome.

I used multicoloured blue /green yarn (2 balls), yellow and turtle green.

I made a two varieties of Granny squares : Classic granny square and mitered patterns with blue and yellow.

Join the required number of squares by sewing together or using single crochet and make 2-3 rows lengthwise. Measure a sample skirt for desired width and length. When using different colours and patterns, first lay them out as desired, change positions as preferred, then join one by one to make a horizontal row. Add another 1-2 horizontal rows as required. Make similar for back part of skirt.

 

To begin the body, single crochet into each chain on the top end of skirt. Next 1-2 rows you may need to decrease stitches to get a narrow waist.

I experimented with few rows of basket weave stitch and double crochet to produce a designed effect. Continue working upwards till you reach arm hole.

Find the centre of the body (front and back). Mark with a pin.  Now mark for arm hole on sides of body, counting exact same number of stitches.

Crochet double crochet bands of desired width as shoulder straps and attach to body part, taking cue from the marking of arm hole and centre. You may need a bit of adjustment here.

To finish the skirt end – I did 3-4 rows of simple double crochet using body and skirt colours. This is the time you may wish to try learning an edging, picot or lace design.

http://aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com/2013/10/book-reviews-crochet-titles/

For the girly effect: beads, satin or glazed ribbon, lace, crochet flower brooch will all add that extra sparkle and ‘oooooh’ effect. I kept my dress simple, due time restraints.

Do share photos of your work if you make a granny square dress. Good luck to creativity! 

 

 

 

Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

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Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

Remember the nostalgic moments of countryside folk markets popular for food and street plays? Remember as a child you almost got lost in the crowds while buying an ice cream? Remember tapping to the live band and sharing some laughs with school friends at summer festival markets?

Well, recently Randwick, Sydney had it all at their popular festival market.

At the end of the summer (in the southern hemisphere in March) this event takes place annually. Randwick is a suburb in Sydney. It suddenly becomes a great cultural melting pot during this event. ‘The Spot Festival’ proudly attracts not just the local Aussies( as they are called locally), but Greeks, French, Indian, Sri Lankan, Eastern Europeans and Lebanese that make up part of Sydney’s cultural melange. It’s amazing and interesting to hear so many dialects just on one street in Sydney’s suburb!

Music, entertainment, food and craft stalls. The festival market has it all – Enjoy the outdoors in summer, as long as it lasts.

The Spot Festival Market, Sydney

Perouse street, a short walk down the main street of Randwick begins pulling in crowds from 11 am. The dress sense is casual and summery: T shirts, shorts, flowing skirts, a sun hat and eye shades and sandals or flip-flops. ‘The Spot’ building and adjoining restaurants and cafes become a convenient meeting place where a cacophony of voices rise with the growing crowd.

For details see here  http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/community/whats-on/the-spot-festival/about-the-spot-festival

The market boasted a wide array of local craft. Home made scented candles, jars and bottles of fruit jam and tomato pickle, exotic fragrant soaps – all made by women entrepreneurs. The packaging, hygiene and display were excellent, perfect for gifting a hamper or present! Other stalls had paintings, caricatures, French linen and Indian block print summer wear.

Exotic scented candles

Exotic things don’t come cheap. And cheap things don’t smell or taste so good! Go shop local ware.

A stage was set up at the end of one street. Jazz Blues, popular beats, Karaoke and stage plays kept the crowds entertained.

The opposite end of the street was a ‘children’s zone.’

Photo courtesy: easternsuburbsmums.com

Gleeful children enjoyed face painting, chasing rainbow soap bubbles, lifting Helium balloons into the air and licking candy, slushes and Ice creams. Loud, happy laughter filled the air, and colourful festoons hung above from the trees and shop terraces. However, for a little quiet time (if baby or pregnant mummy wanted a rest on a hot day!) there was a nappy changing room and a mobile ‘Library on Wheels’ filled with big bright children’s books.

Wait…don’t miss out on the food! That’s half the reason to be here. Fancy a burger and chips or Mexican burrito and salsa? The Turkish Gozleme (spinach and cheese pancake), Lebanese bread, South Asian sugarcane juice and Indian /Sri Lankan chicken rice and Naan stood up for the competition too.

A fun day full of vibrant atmosphere and colour. A day to tickle the palate with variety of cuisines. A day to enjoy a temperate summer. A day to meet up with friends and family for free live music and dance. Or, a day to sip an Expresso or Latte in the nearby cafes and write about the crowds.

Next year, BE THERE! The Spot Festival, Sydney 2019.

 

Crochet:Learning a New Stitch

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Repeating any action is always easy, learning something new is a challenge. To keep the brain healthy and active it’s important to keep learning new.  ‘In learning, there is growth.’ Information and knowledge is changing and increasing everyday and the brain must be stimulated. Whether we read a book, learn new strategies for managing our expenses, experiment painting or learn to cycle away…its all about being mentally active and alert. Besides, doesn’t it boost your self-esteem?

So what am I starting on as my first stitch for the New Year? The shell stitch or fan stitch. It’s so aptly named as it fans out, thus  It increases body volume. If you want a bit of  dainty or delicate touch to your piece then this is the stitch. It can be used for the entire body of the work or as a dainty border for a blanket, scarf or table-cloth. See here

Shell scallop edging for crochet blanket

A shell stitch is formed by inserting about 3-5 double crochet or treble crochet into one chain of the foundation chain, then working on the above rows. Thus it looks narrow at the bottom and spreads out like a fan or shell at the top end. There are a variety of shell stitches like lace, crazy, reverse. It’s a good idea to work on a small sampler first to accommodate trials and errors 🙂 Believe me, it saves time later, and you have neater work!

The pattern I’m working on requires 9 dc into one chain, the shell fans out almost 180 degrees. Since it fans out, it is essential to leave out the next couple of chains(refer to required pattern) else you will land up with many more chains on the next row.

Here are some sites I browsed. Thanks to all those wonderful crocheters who share their knowledge with all of us. Due credits!

http://www.bellacoco You Tube tutorial/shell stitch

https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2016/03/crochet-shell-stitch/

https://persialou.com/2016/09/how-to-crochet-the-shell-stitch.html

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-crochet-shell-stitch-979103

What are you going to make with this stitch? Do leave your comments /photos to share with others.

World Palate Recipes:Til Gul Laadoo(Sesame and Jaggery Balls)

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It’s the Indian festival of Makar Sankranti from 13- 15 January. As the Sun God begins its movement northwards away from the southern hemisphere, it brings in warmth.

This is the first festival of the year and is celebrated all over India for abundance and health. India being an agrarian country festivals evolve around crops, harvesting and the farm animals. The paddy having been harvested and sold, brings in cash and joyfulness.The farming community celebrates Sankranti or Pongal for three days preparing feasts for family and friends, praying to Mother Earth and decorating and feeding the cattle.

Paddy field after harvest

Pongal o Pongal‘ – as they traditionally say in South India. A rice and milk kheer (pudding) sweetened with sugar cane juice is made in a clay pot. The milk is allowed to overflow signifying abundance.

Credit: Internet / dgreetings.com

In Maharashtra cane sugar is the main cash crop. Jaggery/gul and granulated sugar is made from the juice. Fresh jaggery (chikki gul), a golden orange -brown solid is abundantly sold during this season. Today, I have specially made Til Gul, a traditional Maharashtrian recipe for my ‘virtual’ community. The ingredients are proper to boost health and provide warmth to the body during the winter.

‘Til gul ghaya, god bola’ …Take sesame and jaggery sweets and speak sweet words.

Til Gul – sesame and jaggery balls

Ingredients

1 cup sesame seeds/ Til roasted

1/2 cup peanuts roasted / coarse grind

10 – 15 raisins (optional)

1 cup chikki gul / a jaggery with lighter hue if available

1 tsp. ghee /clarified butter

1/2 cup grated dry coconut or desiccated coconut (optional)

1/2 cup roasted gram dal (optional)

 

Method

Warm a non stick wok /deep pan on the stove, add the ghee. As it melts add the jaggery and keep stirring continuously. To test if liquid is ready for setting: Take a drop and plunge in to some water – it should make a blob. ( This is the test, needs practice).

Meanwhile prepare the dry ingredients in a large plate and keep handy.

As the jaggery begins boiling, add the dry ingredients one by one, as much as the semi liquid can take. DO NOT pour all at once! Keep stirring to mix evenly. Switch off /on heat, if necessary. As the mixture begins to thicken and leave the sides of the wok it ready to be removed from heat.

Dip your hands in cool water or pat them with ghee /oil and take small portions of (hot) mixture and roll quickly into balls, of required size. ( makes 25 small ones).

Else …grease a flat plate or tray. Pour the mixture evenly and pat. Let it rest and cool. Cut into squares and serve, or keep in airtight box.

Til Gul ghaya, god bola’….and share with friends and family.

Til Gul – sesame and jaggery balls

 

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.