Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How to spend cold rainy days at home in Toronto

February 17-20 2018 Long weekend....cold wet..rainy
Alone at home as husband in India....
Nothing on netflix could hold my attention this weekend...but I did manage to finish seeing 2 guns.
Then discovered that old is gold! Watched  and still watching ALL episodes of ALL seasons of  REPUBLIC OF DOYLE on CBC TV.
This is just the sort of cosy show to watch on cold rainy days to lift one's spirits or just pass the time.

Republic of Doyle is funny...light and light-hearted...exciting. It has great characters...I loved the Doyle family and many of the recurring characters ...every one of them is lovable...even the villains are not too villainish(with a few exceptions of course).
The scenery of Newfoundland is nice. I liked the plots and the dialogues. The individual plots in each episode coupled with the longer threads running through the seasons were good. I loved the ending too. 
What I loved the most about the show is the empowered women and the treatment of women. Just for the way, women have been depicted in this show, people the world over, should see this... especially those from patriarchal societies. There are empowered women in many shows but the women in Republic of Doyle are different...I think the depiction of their independence and empowerment is understated. I think I loved the character of Rose the most. I enjoyed the ladies who acted in single episodes too especially in negative roles. 
If you want a cosy crime series, with good looking actors, a show which is light-hearted and happy, with nothing too depressing, you should watch Republic of Doyle.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Art on the streets of Toronto

The three above are of a box on College and may be at the St.George intersection. The government invited artists to paint these (electricity related?) boxes all over downtown and the artists were supposed to paint something which represents that area I think. I suppose Keight Maclean's submission got selected for this university area.

Below are art work on walls on buildings off Spadina between College  and  Dundas. This is China town and the art is mostly Chinese themed. 

The four art works above are together(next to each other) on one wall. 

Cherry blossoms at High park, Toronto, May 5th 2013

There are about a dozen or so Cherry Blossom Trees by the lake in High Park. They were in full bloom in the first week of May. On Sunday, May 5th, there were several people, photographing and enjoying the Cherry Blossoms.

I enjoyed my time at High Park. But one thing at High Park bugged me:

People plucking the flowers from the trees….some were putting the cherry blossoms in their hair and posing for photos; some were pulling out the smaller branches of the cherry blossom tree and giving it to their kids. Why do people pluck these blossoms? Why can’t they leave them on the trees?

 I am not being racist here but none of the people who plucked the flowers were Caucasians…..the people plucking the flowers were either south east Asians(Indians like me and India’s neighbours) and Oriental looking people…people from far east maybe. Maybe Canadian parks need to post signs such as  “Please do not pluck the flowers”.  Since people do not have common sense enough or civic sense enough to leave the flowers alone, the government needs to invest in these signs.

What I love photographing in Toronto.

  • The changing look of the trees in the different seasons...at the Don Valley,  High Park and so many other places.
  • The waters in several places where the rivers are flowing....Don river, Humber river and so on
  • The Toronto skyline from the island and also from the city
  • The people of Toronto especially those kids in Goth style on Queen ..i.e. near teh stretch of Queen near Spadina. The stylish looking folks on   on Bloor street near Younge; and the homeless with interesting placards, the sex trade workers on the Younge street which runs south of Bloor .
  • I also like photographing the designer shops decor on Bloor(west of Younge) which changes every season
  • The scores of modern sculptures outside many buildings all over Toronto
  • The interesting Graffiti on the downtown walls and the paintings
  • The ads for plays, music gigs, film feastivals, the posters, the photoes, the witty graffiti lampooning the politicians...they are so creative!
  • The interesting rocks and concrete and bricks smoothened by the Lake Ontario...on the shores
  • the fog in fall when it makes the street lights and trees look eerie
  • the icicles at the edge of roofs
  • the historic buildings of brick and red stone in downtown Toronto
  • the museums and whatever's inside
  • the exhibition, the summer feastivals, the

Monday, January 29, 2018

Dil rice, Fenugreek leaves rice and mint leaves rice recipes

I been cooking rice more frequently than the healthier chapatis these days as I feel too lazy to roll chapatis in this cold weather.

I discovered the recipe for Methi i.e. Fenugreek leaves Pulav on the internet and followed the same recipe for Pudeena /Mint leaves  and Sabsige soppu/Dill leaves and all three tasted great! 
It takes less than an hour to make.

Rice: One cup of rice with two cups of water in rice cooker. Any rice will do but I use Basmathi. Keep the cooked rice aside. Less than 8 minutes to cook rice in cooker and about 5 minutes for the cooker to cool down...don't open cooker lid as soon as you take it off the stove!

For the mix: 

  • Cooking oil :Four table spoons
For taste: (Hot, sour and salty)

  • Lemon juice :half of one lemon
  • Salt:half to 3/4 tea spoon.
  • 3 Green chillis: chopped (I was using hot Thai chillis in the past; due to stomach issues now switched to large green mild chillis)
For the flavours:
  • One Bay leaf:whole
  • Half inch of cinnamon stick: whole
  • One table spoon of black pepper: whole
  • 4 cloves : whole
  • Cummin/Jeera : one tea spoon
  • Mace:one strand: whole
  • Dry or fresh grated coconut: one to two table spoons.
  • Fresh ginger: half inch, grated
  • Garlic: one large clove, grated.
  • The reason I say whole is that the taste is different if the spices are crushed. For this recipe, I want a gentle flavour and so I do not crush the spices but use them whole.
For the body:
  • Peas: one cup or less
  • Onion : one medium size, chopped
  • One bunch of Methi leaves(100gms) chopped fine or Pudeena leaves(50gms) ground in blender or Dill leaves chopped fine (50gms) 
To be added after taking off the heat:
  • Coriander leaves :chopped, about 25 grams.
  • Juice of half of one large lemon

Heat cooking oil
Add whole Bay leaf, whole cinnamon stick, whole black pepper, Cummin, whole cloves whole mace, whole cloves. Saute for one to two minutes
Then add onion, green chillis and peas. Saute for three minutes
Then add salt.
Then add the grated garlic and ginger(if you add these earlier, they stick to bottom)
Then add whichever of the three leaves you are using today : Methi or Pudeena or Sabsige. Saute for about 4-5 minutes
Then add grated coconut.

Take it off the stove. When it cools slightly, add lemon juice and coriander leaves and stir.

Mix as much of this mix as needed with rice to eat. Tastes better hot than cold.
You can add a tea spoon of butter or ghee to this hot pulav, and it tastes great!
It would be really comfortable for the eater, if you took the trouble of removing the whole spices before serving the rice, so that one does not bite on them. It's a bit annoying to pick out the whole spices (pepper, cloves, cinnamon, mace and bay leaf) from the mix. If you remove these whole spices, then you don't have to eat 'carefully'.

I do not use an entire bunch of Dill leaves as I find the Dill flavour overwhelming. For some reason I do not find the Pudeena flavour overwhelming. Maybe the Pudeena in Canada has lost it's strong flavour after all the hybridization?
My tongue is so burnt out after years of eating hot spicy stuff that I cannot really taste the fenugreek flavour. Fenugreek leaves are bitter and so, for those of you, who cannot stand bitter taste, add more lemon juice.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

MORT WALKER , creator of BEETLE BAILEY died January 27th 2018

Beetle Bailey, one of my favorite comics strips, came in full color in the Illustrated Weekly of India during my childhood in the 70s and 80s (If my recollection is right).

I  waited eagerly by the gate for the newspaperwallah on Monday mornings for the Illustrated Weekly. It was such a pleasure if the magazine came on the Monday and not delayed. My sister and I would rush out to grab the magazine and dive into the comic section. I loved all 4 comics which were printed in two pages i.e. Beetle Bailey, Phantom, Hubert and Beau Peep. I think when Beau Peer started it became my favorite but Beetle Bailey and Phantom were definitely  long time favorites.

It is sad that Mort Walker is dead. I do know his son is continuing the strip. I was lucky enough to find Beetle Bailey comic books on sale (25 cents each!) at the Toronto Reference Library book sale in the summer of 2004 when I had just come to Canada and still looking for jobs. Toronto and Canada were still a mystery which I was slowly figuring out at the time. I happened to see a flyer about the sale and my husband and I, being unemployed and free, went on the day. I was one of the first in line and I spotted these books as soon as I entered and I could not believe my eyes! I grabbed all the Beetle Bailey books and was prepared to pay a dollar each and then saw they were 25 cents each!  

One difficult experience as a new comer to any country is trying to understand the 'value' of that country's currency. At that time, I was not sure how much goods or services I could expect for a dollar(I am still unsure!). I have still not figured out how a cup of coffee in Canada can cost more than a litre of petrol. These sort of values sort of throw me off balance!

I subsequently acquired a few hardcover Beetle Baileys (Titan publications) from Amazon. But they were not in colour like the strips in the Illustrated weekly of India which I loved. The colours were vibrant and poured life into that page. I loved all the characters and Mort's drawings were excellent and his lines drew the expressions and emotions of the characters. Many of the strips were almost silent but the lines did all the talking that was needed. 

Beetle Bailey was a part of my growing up. I am so thankful that the Weekly could afford to buy and did buy this strip from USA. 
I had torn the Beetley Bailey pages and bound them into a book. Like a fool I loaned this book to a kid who never did return it. So now I have these black and white comic books which are funny but not colourful.

Thank you Mort Walker. For bringing joy to your readers.