Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Visit to an Organo Organic farm in Hyderabad

I had been trying to get a supply of A2 milk since a year but was unsuccessful.Finally got my first bottle of A2 milk delivered by Organo farm store a few days ago.Soon after I got a message that a Santha (farmer’s market) is being organised at organo Naandi and that we can visit their farms too.Organo is starting a concept where a consumer can adopt a farmer and grow veggies which are delivered fresh every week at their doorstep.Wanted to checkout what they were up to and landed at Organo Naandi this morning with Mom.Stepped into a store selling Organic groceries.I was expecting to see lot of fresh veggies and found that there weren’t any. When I enquired , we were told that we will soon be taken to a farm. Saw a few more families arriving.Thought that the veggies would be available at the farms. We were then led to the farms a few km from the store.Saw a few people marking and placing papers (with names of veggies written) on a freshly tilled farmland. Also saw a few cows and calves nearby.Very soon a Farmer and his wife arrived. They began doing puja to the cows that were tied nearby.It was then that we realised that the farm was being inaugurated that day. They hadn’t revealed this event to us.Soon a bottle of cow urine and tricodomas were poured in two dishes. Out came a few packets of Vegetable seeds.The seeds were rinsed in each of the liquids and placed on a jute sack for drying.A few Questionss and Answers were exchanged between the visitors and the Farmer and the caretaker.It was time to sow the seeds and the farmers wife took a few seeds and started sowing. The visitors were told that they can volunteer to sow.Some of us took a few seeds and walked across the field and stuck a few seeds in the soil. Was a different kind of experience. Felt good.Sweets were distributed .We were told that lunch is being served at the Organo farm store. Reached the lunch venue . Had a simple lunch made with millets.Picked up a few groceries and started back . We were disappointed on not getting veggies but were happy that we had a good time at the farm.The weather was great…cloudy with cool breeze blowing..Overall a wonderful surprise for me and Mom.


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Surya Organic farm , Hyderabad , a partner of Farmizen.

My search for Organic veggies led me to the discovery of Farmizen.

A concept where one can rent a piece of land for growing veggies. All the hard work is done by the Farmer who is a partner of Farmizen. A Plots of 20×30 feet can be rented for Rs2500/-. A variety of veggies are grown and delivered to our home every week.

I rented one such plot and have been receiving veggies every week.

Received these veggies this week.

It’s been more than a month that I have subscribed to Farmizen. The veggies are grown using organic manure and pesticides.

The Farmizen app is very user friendly. Status of the plants in our plot is updated frequently. Updates on watering of the plants, application of pesticides , time for harvesting  etc are posted . We can also request for photographs of the plants in our plot via the app.

A notification is sent via the app about the date of delivery of veggies . Facility to pin the location of our home address in a map is provided in the app.

We can also visit the farm 6 times a month. I have been to the farm thrice and it is nice to see the veggies growing . Love driving to the farm which is close to Himayatsagar lake.

Looking forward to visit again once the monsoons are here.


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Stir-Fry Vegetables with Chickpeas

There are times when I crave for a lot of veggies. I quickly stir fry whatever veggies I have , sprinkle salt, pepper, lime juice , Olive oil and enjoy a hot bowl of veggies. This is one such day and here is what I dished out. Luckily I had soaked Chickpeas in the refrigerator too which I added to the veggies.

Here is the recipe for Stir-Fry Veggies with Chickpeas –

Ingredients :

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Boiled Chickpeas – 1 Cup (soak dry chickpeas overnight and add a little salt while boiling)
Assorted Vegetables – 2 cups of Veggies (3 to 4 colourful varieties)
Salt – As per your taste
Pepper powder – As per your taste
Garlic pods – 3 chopped pods
Extra Virgin Olive Oil : 1 tablespoon
Any other cooking oil : 1 to 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice : 1 spoon

Method :
1. Add oil to the pan .
2. Add the chopped garlic before oil gets very hot. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add all the chopped veggies and stir till the veggies are partially cooked.

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4. Add the boiled chickpeas and salt . Stir till the veggies are cooked but not soft. The chickpeas too will get slightly roasted and that makes them yummier.

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5. Remove from the stove.

6. Add pepper powder, drizzle lemon juice and Extra virgin Olive oil . Stir all the ingredients well.

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A nice hot bowl of Stir Fry Vegetables with Chickpeas is ready to be served.
A very filling, nutritious and yummy dish which can be had as dinner too.

Choose vegetables that are colorful. Red / Yellow/ Green bell peppers, Purple cabbage , Green Broccoli or Asparagus, White Baby corn / Cabbage , Carrots  etc. Select a few that are in season and to make the dish colorful and appetizing.

Include roasted or Boiled peanuts, roasted sesame seeds if you wish.


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Appetizer : Cucumber bites

This sunday I wanted to make a quick snack using readymade Canapes. I had bought Monita canapes from the supermarket a few days ago.

I remember my Mom making a yummy recipe using the same Monita canapes when I was a kid. Mom had learnt the recipe from a cookery class that she attended about 30 yrs ago . I did not want to ask Mom right away.

I started checking out some youtube videos for Canapes. I did not find any recipe that appeared similar to what Mom used to make.

Meanwhile I ended up watching canapes made with salted biscuits , toast, crackers , cucumber etc.

I liked one simple recipe and I had all the ingredients at home.

However, this recipe is more of an appetizer rather than a snack.

Here it is –

Ingredients :-

-Cucumber peeled and sliced into half centimeter thick pieces.

-Greek yogurt

-Salt

-Pepper

-Tomatoes sliced

-Cut cheese slices into squares or use grated cheese

-Mint / coriander leaves / parsley for garnish

 

Procedure :-

Curd/Yoghurt is usually watery and hence cannot be used , it has to be thick.

Place the regular curd in a strainer and let all the excess water drain.

Add salt n pepper to the thick curd.

Slice the tomatoes.

Place a little Yoghurt on top of each of the cucumber slices.

Place a slice of tomato and a couple of pieces of cheese on the yoghurt.

You can also use grated cheese instead of cheese slices.

Garnish with a mint leaf or coriander leaf .

 

You can also add chopped jalapenos and olives to the yogurt mixture .

A bright , colorful and healthy appetizer is ready.

This is my first canape recipe and I am definitely fascinated by Canapes. There are loads of recipes on the Internet. Numerous varieties of canapes can be made in a jiffy to treat your near and dear ones 🙂 .

Get creative !


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My Kitchen Garden

Rains are finally here and I am excited to do some serious gardening. I do not have a lot of space for plants ,but I hope to make maximum use of the available space and will be using containers too. I will also be using home made compost and pesticides. Basically trying to grow the organic way 🙂 .

I got a few Chilli saplings from an Organic Store that I visit often. I was surprised to see a few chilli saplings sprouting on their own in my little patch. A few dried/ripe chillies from my chilli plants in the previous season must have got into the soil and were hiding there till the right moment 🙂

Removed the whole Mint patch that I had and planted fresh stems from a bunch of Mint that I got from the store. The previous patch was getting sparse and started drying up. I harvested the leaves several times during Summer.

My Malabar Spinach is growing well. I grew them from the seeds of a lone plant that I had. I have already harvested the leaves twice and is ready for harvesting again.

I successfully made my first batch of Organic Compost during the recent summer months. I have started using this compost for my plants. Feeling good .

Thankfully my plants are not infected with any pests as of now.

I also put a few pieces of ginger and Turmeric in the soil. Got to wait and see how well they do.

I am also experimenting with Coriander cuttings. Replanted a few root cuttings from a coriander bunch that I got from the store. Growing coriander from seeds is a long and slow process. Hope this trick works though I am not confident it will work. Will probably sow the seeds directly in a couple of days.

I sowed seeds of Bitter gourd , Ridge gourd , Snake gourd and cluster beans . I see that a few seeds of cluster beans have sprouted , the rest haven’t . Don’t really know the reason. Either the seeds are not good or I watered a lot. Will continue to sow them again and again until I succeed.

Also sowed a few seeds of Khatta palak (Hindi) or Chukka Koora (Telugu) .

Will also sow Fenugreek/Methi seeds in a day or two . These seeds sprout real fast.

Watching a seed sprout,  the first leaves , the budding , the flowering , the fruits/veggies growing bigger and finally the harvesting , all the activity makes me more energetic . I feel like I am absorbing Energy from nature. I look forward to the next morning to see how they are growing. There is an underlying hope when you are into Gardening . No wonder my Doctor told me to do some Gardening way back in 2012 🙂 . 

That’s it for now. Will post pics of how these babies are doing , in a few weeks.

 


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Random Musings Feb 2018

A long drive:

Time for another loong drive a little away from the city.

This time we chose to drive towards Vikarabad.

So glad that our Driver agreed to come on a Sunday. A cool guy who almost always  agrees to come even on a Sunday, whenever I am in the mood to go out. Went with Mom and dragged my brother too.

We drove via chevella , reached Vikarabad … continued to drive towards kotpally reservoir/dam. We didn’t go close to the dam but got a glimpse of the reservoir. Very beautiful serene place. It is unbelievable that such a beautiful lake exists on the outskirts of the city. A few folks from the city seem to get away from the hustle bustle of the city to spend a day here. Do take a lot of food and water when you plan to visit this place. Don’t expect to find any food or water anywhere near the reservoir. Came across groups of bikers who seemed to enjoy an early morning ride to the reservoir.

All through the route we noticed that it was mostly forest like area with hardly any cultivation. Came across very few villages and hardly saw people in these villages except for a few shepherds with their flock.

Not much greenery during this time of the year.

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I liked the way the houses were built in some of the villages around this area. They were built in the shape of an L or U or a square with a central courtyard. All the houses were creamy/white in colour as they use the famous Tandur stones to build the walls and roofs of the houses. This place named Tandur is very close from Kotpally. Tandur tiles are very popular in constrcution of houses in Urban area s too. These stones are mined around this town.

Was tempted to go and knock on one of these houses but didn’t 🙂 . There is always another time.

We decided to drive back home via Mominpet and Sadashivpet.

One doesn’t have to go very far out of the city for taking a break once in a while , to breathe in some fresh air and to soothe the soul.

My Garden :

I was lucky this time with growing ‘Chukka koora’.

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A green leafy veggie which is also called ‘khatta palak’ in Hindi. I harvested the leaves three times so far. This leaf is used for preparing dals , chutneys and other recipes.

I also got a few Petunias, Pansies and Dianthus for my Sunny balcony. Love these flowers . They bid farewell in the morning and welcome me back home in the evening.

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I lost a few of the Petunia plants due to over watering. The roots of these plants  rot due to water logging . Learnt my lesson 🙂

Fell sick :

Was down with  runny nose , Sore throat, Bronchitis again. Had to take Antibiotics  😦 . I have been avoiding supermarkets,Malls etc. This time the reason for the attack is a visit to one of the manufacturing shops in our factory. The meeting was in the Conference room inside the shop floor but there was no escape from the dust.  

 

 


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My first Avocado recipe : Guacamole 

I had been watching recipes made with Avocados on YouTube , but did not dare to buy them. Wanted to prepare Guacamole one day.

They are not a commercial crop in India. However they are being grown in a limited way in a few parts of South India and North East India.

Few days ago I spotted Avocados in the Supermarket and bought one for the first time.
I had read about picking a perfect Avocado , letting them ripen at home and the procedure to determine if they are ready to be eaten.

The one I bought was dark green but not the almost blackish colour that I saw in the YouTube videos. I left it outside to darken. This morning I noticed it was soft when I pressed it gently and saw a few blackish spots.

I was excited and decided to prepare Guacamole. I had also bought a packet of Nachos on the same day 🙂

I had all the ingredients at home except Jalapenos. I used a green chilli instead.

So here are the ingredients for one serving

Avocado : 1

Tomatoes : 1 medium size (I had cherry tomatoes that I used)

Green chilli : 1

Salt to taste

One small 🍋 lemon

One small onion

Coriander leaves (optional)

 

Method:

Scoop out the pulp of the Avocado and mash it up using a fork.

Chop up the onion and 🍅 tomatoes.

Chop the green chilli into fine pieces.

Mix all of them in a bowl and add salt ,lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Stir well.

Guacamole dip is ready. Enjoy with Nachos.

It was yummy 🙂