Shutterbug's Blog

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


Leave a comment

B-Roll , Inaugurated my first Lodge Cast iron pan and Electric grill , Extension to our tiny garden

B-Roll :

Heard about B-roll from my brother recently and since then I have been checking out Youtube videos on what a B-Roll is and how to shoot B-Roll videos. What I understood so far is that a B-Roll is a little diversion during the regular A-Roll which is the main theme of a video. There are several ways to plan , create and incorporate a B-Roll footage into your videos. The B-Roll will reduce the monotony in a video and will help in retaining the interest of the audience.

I have been uploading a few videos on my youtube channel but these videos have only the A-Roll 🙂 . Creating a B-Roll does require creativity and more time to edit a video. As of now i am just learning the ABCs of making videos.

Lodge Cast iron Pan :

My obsession with traditional cookware started a couple of years ago and during this process I also came across Cast iron pans made by Lodge. Wanted to own one since then . However, I actually placed an order only now after getting the confidence that I can maintain these cookware. I have been using a few locally made cast iron cookware which do not have a good finish. My first Lodge pan finally arrived and I inaugurated it by making Aloo egg masala curry.

Loved the piece. It is pre-seasoned and quite heavy. The best way to maintain this cookware is to clean it immediately after cooking , dry it well and season it with a little oil, warm it up for a few minutes and then put it away so it doesn’t rust and is ready for your next use.

Electric Grill :

I also wanted to do some grilling for a long time. Didn’t know what is the best type of grill for my requirement. Did a lot of research and found pros and cons for each type of grill. There are gas fired, charcoal based and Electric grills .Finally zeroed in on an Electric grill and ordered on Amazon. Inaugurated it by making Paneer tikka with capsicum and onions.

The result was beyond my expectation and we enjoyed the process and the final result too. Quite easy to assemble and use.

Extension of our tiny garden :

One hobby I developed during the Lockdown is gardening. Hubby and I have found a common passion in gardening 🙂 . We have been experimenting with different veggies and have been quite successful in growing a few veggies. We didnt have much space to grow more veggies and so decided to create more space by removing the cemented path along the compound wall. We dug out the existing soil which was rocky and filled it with red soil and manure.

We got an additional ten square meters of area now for our vegetable garden and we are happy :). Plan to grow more veggies during the monsoons. This space should be sufficient to grow a lot of veggies. We look forward to spend half an hour each day in the evening as both of us have to go to work and this is the best part of the day 🙂


Leave a comment

Lock-Down Dairies – 12 May 20 : Passenger trains restarted, Migrants moving from cities to their towns/villages during Lockdown , My mint harvest, Containers/pots made from empty plastic rice bags.

Several passenger trains started towards various cities from Delhi. Several citizens are stuck in other cities/towns during the lockdown and with this step they have some hope that they will finally reach their hometowns and meet their families. There are strict thermal screening tests at the Railway Station. Some of the destinations may insist on the passengers being quarantined but that would be next to impossible. Most like passengers will be told to self quarantine at their home for 14 days.

Meanwhile the number of COVID positive cases are continuing to rise while the number of positive cases that are recovering are also rising.

Mr Modi has addressed the nation and encouraged all to go local and be vocal. He also stressed on being self reliant. There is no other option but to go local and all countries eventually will do the same. That we should go ahead with building the economy while taking all precautions.

A lot of Migrants also moving to their hometowns by whatever means they can. They are even walking hundreds of kilometers. Unfortunately some have even lost their lives on the way.

Decided to harvest Mint leaves from my tiny garden. The easiet greens to grow by a beginner who wants to grow food is Mint leaves. Can be grown in very small spaces and in containers too.

I also made a short video on my Mint harvest. Here is the link –

There was no more space in my tiny garden to sow any more seeds. There was no way to buy some containers/pots too as none of the plant nurseries or online sites were delivering these items. Looked around the home so I can reuse/recycle some stuff and convert into containers, and came across some plastic rice bags.

Containers made with empty rice bags

I had red soil , sand , some cocopeat and manure and quickly took help of hubby to fill these emptly rice bags with this stuff. Before putting the soil I made small holes at the bottom of the bags.

Very happy to see these Lockdown Container s :). Am yet to decide what I will be sowing in these.

I am continuing to work from home and experiencing the busiest days in my life 🙂 .

~ Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ~


Leave a comment

Lock-down Dairies – 5 May 20 : Update on my garden , commencement of operations at work, my support system

I had sown Fenugreek seeds in a container. Today is the 5th day after sowing. This is how my Organic Methi looks today.

My baby Ridge gourd is also growing well and is now 4 inches in height 🙂 . This one is Organic too.

I have also harvested some organic curry leaves today. Should be sufficient for a week and more 🙂 . These leaves are a very healthy ingredient and are added in almost all South Indian recipes.

Yes, all my produce is Organic 🙂

Work has commenced today and those living very close to the Office premises attended . Almost 1/3rd of the employees attended which is a good sign. Will know the next plan of action in a day or two . I too have been making plans to go to work .Those who have kids below 5 years , are more than 55 years of age and have any health issues, those with any disabilities Appears I have no valid reason for not going to work . Unfortunately I am dependant on my driver which is the major hurdle now. Called my Driver and told him that he has to do his best to come . He lives almost 50km away from the city and not sure how he will be able to get back into the city. Waiting for the cabinet meeting to come out with a decision today as to the current Lockdown which is upto 7 May 20.

I have been supported by two maids , one cook and a Driver during the last 8 years in carrying out my daily chores. Thanks to them , I am doing well and able to manage work and home. I informed all of them to take a break after the COVID was declared a Pandemic. It is now my responsibility to take care of them by doing my bit. I decided to pay 50% of the salary to them. Hopefully that should take care of their expenses to sail through these tough times. I wish them and their families good health. Will definitely help them as much as I can. Our salaries have been reduced too and no one is cribbing.

I am a bit apprehensive as to how i will manage home and go to work even with the help of hubby .Will be very strenuous preparing and packing breakfast and lunch everyday.

Hoping for some miracle to happen.

~ None of us is safe untill all of us are safe~


Leave a comment

Lock-Down Dairies – 2 May 20 : getting rid of Ants Ants , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – a leafy veggie

My ixora in full bloom.

After using several methods to get rid of ants in our garden , this plant is blooming well. I am feeling very happy today 🙂

Here are the different ways we adopted :

Using Laxman Rekha – A chalk ,with which we draw lines whereever there are ants. Quite effective.

Using Neem oil – One spoon of Neem oil mixed with few drops of liquid soap is added to one litre of water and sprayed all over and around the plants.

Using Boric powder – one spoon of Boric powder and 4 spoons of sugar added to 2 spoons of water and made into a paste. This paste is poured into small containers and placed wherever there are ants.

Last but not the least , using Talcum powder. I sprinkled talcum powder on and around the plants.

Next weapon is to use camphor. As of now it appears there is no need for this.

Really tough to protect plants from these ants.

I harvested my leafy veggie called ‘Ponnaganti koora’ in The Telugu. Recorded a video and uploaded it. Very easy to grow these greens. Here is the link to the video-

My first Ridge gourd of his season seems to be growing, after I hand pollinated the female flower using the male flower. Another reason to be very happy today 🙂

~Om Shanti~


Leave a comment

Lockdown Dairies – 19 Apr 20 …it’s a Sunday !!Yummy Salad with beets, spinach , cranberries ,nuts for my breakfast .

Yayy it’s a Sunday !!

The only day during the week when I get an off from work. Usually this too is another busy day. A day to do some pending clean up , to cook something special for the family, talk to neighbours over the gate/compound wall , catchup with extended family and friends.

I have been spending sometime each morning and evening with my plants. Have very little place. Yesterday I harvested some spinach and shared the picture with some whatsapp friends . All were happy seeing fresh spinach and I got several suggestions as to what I should do with the spinach. These days everyone is experimenting with new varieties of cooking at home and sharing pics of their culinary skills all over social media . No one wants to order food from outside though very few options may be available.

This is the harvest 🙂

Dal with spinach and raw mango, salad with cranberries and walnuts , veggie omlette were some suggestions by friends. I finally decided to make a salad for my breakfast today using the tender spinach leaves that I harvested.

Here are the ingredients:

Veggies :

Chopped Beets , grated carrots, chopped tomatoes, roughly chopped spinach and lettuce, dried nuts, dried cranberries and slices of raw Coconut.

Salad dressing:

Lemon juice ,honey, salt, pepper and Olive oil.

Mix all the veggies in a bowl.

Mix all the ingredients to make salad dressing and pour over the veggies.

Your salad is ready to dig into.

You can add whatever veggies you like and have at home. Red/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, microgreens , dates, any other dried nuts are some of the other options. You can also sprinkle a few pomogranate seeds, small pieces of pineapple etc.

Yummy salad is ready in a jiffy. This I my breakfast today and I enjoyed it thoroughly…. tummy is happy too.

I did share pics and videos of my preparation and got some compliments on my presentation and photography skills.

Also made Veg Biryani , Stuffed brinjal and Raita for lunch. Used store bought Biryani powder and the Biryani turned out just like the one we get in restaurants.

Used the recipe from Cookingshooking channel on YouTube. Link was shared to me by my son. I picked up the recipe for Stuffed Brinjal (gutti vankaya) from Hebbars channel on YouTube.

Both the dishes turned out just like those in the restaurants. Hubby and son helped me a lot and we enjoyed the whole process. I think the best part of this lockdown is that families are getting together and helping in all the household chores.

Had a great day and another busy day today

Situation in India is worsening day by day as people are not serious about staying at home. The counts are doubling every 6 days. Not enough testing being carried out and many asymptomatic people going around ,which is dangerous for the high risk population.

Hope people get serious.

~Sarveshaam shantir bhavathu~


2 Comments

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.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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 :

img_20181120_195429368841816949.jpg

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.

img_20181120_1958534621300008399.jpg

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.

img_20181120_2007539361185313869.jpg

5. Remove from the stove.

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

img_20181120_2012213761854967861.jpg

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.


Leave a comment

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.

 


Leave a comment

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.

img_20180204_142639563-1649388560.jpg

img_20180204_150006955_hdr-11675321368.jpg

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’.

img_20180122_174008645506498888.jpgimg_20180122_173531731-11436611988.jpg

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.