Do not go gentle into that good night

November 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

Fiona posted this on Facebook and I am happy to have read this poem tonight. I am not that old but every night surrounded by same thoughts of making the next day better. This poem inspires me never to give up.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet

 

Rice Cutlets with Mint Sauce and Chickpeas Curry – Cooking Experiment #3

November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

When stressed, I start organizing stuff ranging from my files on the computer, to closet, kitchen cabinet, etc. Organization is great to calm down but it takes a lot of time and is never finished for a person like me. What’s the next best stress buster? Cooking, and cooking along with some music. I take a lot of time and pleasure even with simple recipes. The result is that I eat good food and I relax enough to get back to work.

This weekend I decided not to go out except for my dance class. I invited a few friends to share their November travel stories over dinner. On the menu we had Rice Cutlets, Mint Sauce and Chickpeas Curry.

Rice Cutlets and Chickpeas Curry

Rice Cutlets and Chickpeas Curry

Cooking Rice Cutlets with Mint Sauce and Chickpeas Curry for Four People

For Rice Cutlets we need

  • 250 gms boiled Rice
  • 100 gms diced Vegetables (Bell-Peppers, Onions, Green Beans,…)
  • 100 gms Tofu Cubes
  • 2 tbsps Corn flour
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For Mint Sauce we need

  • 100 gms Mint leaves
  • 100 gms Coriander leaves
  • 1 – 2 Onions
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • 1 Lemon
  • Green Chilli
  • Salt
  • Water

For Chickpeas Curry we need

  • 300 gms boiled Chickpeas
  • 250 gms fresh Tomato Purée
  • 3-4 Onions
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsps Cumin seeds
  • ½ tbsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsps Coriander Powder
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • 2-3 tbsps Oil

The long list of ingredients is over. Here’s how we cook the meal.

We start with Mint Sauce to warm up

  1. Chop onions, garlic cloves, ginger and green chilly into small chunks. To these add mint and coriander leaves. Use a mixer to make a paste of the above ingredients, be careful with water such that the consistency of paste is not lost.
  2. Add salt and lemon juice.

This sauce can be stored in refrigerator for a week. Mint gives a bitter taste and to counter it we need some sour flavours. Instead of lemon we can use sour tomatoes or yoghurt (for non vegan version) to add the sour taste.

Let’s start some real cooking with Rice Cutlets

  1. Take boiled rice, finely chopped vegetables, salt and pepper and mix them well in a large bowl. Once mixed add corn flour and put the bowl in refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will simplify the process of shaping cutlets.
  2. Meanwhile heat some oil for shallow frying in a pan.
  3. Take out the bowl with rice. Make a patty with handful of rice and put a cube of tofu in the centre. Shape the cutlet as you wish.
  4. Fry the cutlets (2-4 at a time) at medium heat until both sides turn golden brown.

Tofu can be replaced with Mozzarella or Ricotta cheese. This has been easy until now and I haven’t forgotten any ingredients.

How to cook the Chickpeas Curry? It’s easy!

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds when hot. Put it to medium flame.
  2. Cut onions and green chilli into thin rings. Cut ginger into small pieces. Add all these to the pan and fry them until onions turn golden.
  3. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. Let the spices cook for 2-3 minutes and do not let them burn.
  4. Add tomato purée and chickpeas. Mix well and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes or until you can’t resist the delicious odour.
My happy meal!

My happy meal!

Cooking on medium heat, as my mother says, is very important. High heat often burns the food and always breaks down the food nutrients. Cooking must always be done with patience (except when you are a student and pasta with tomato sauce is your meal at least two times a day).

The background music for this cooking experiment was OneRepublic Spotify Playlist and I loved their Good Life song.

Have a great weekend!

Un soir du bonheur

November 20, 2013 § 3 Comments

I love my life! This was the phrase I kept repeating on Thursday evening in bed which explains the title of this post (an evening of happiness).

I have to thank Iva from IvaParis for organising the second Fashion Night at Les Nguyen (12 rue Saint-Paul Paris 4). Proudly sporting my IvaParis Ambassador badge I arrived at Saint-Paul to meet up with Missoco. Together we marched to the shop where we met Han Nguyen, the amazing person behind the French brand. The theme for the evening was how to stay feminine during winter and Han’s creations matched that perfectly.

The happy girl's accessory!

The happy girl’s accessory!

Han creates original dresses inspired from 30s and 50s with fitted waist and skirts just above the knees. These are perfect for working girls that do not shy away from feminine styles. I went in jeans and sneakers (and so for thinking before going out) as it was cold. What went on during that evening was a complete transformation. I was pampered and I loved it. Iva made us try a few clothes along with accessories. While giggling all the time we posed for photos. I felt like a princess (precisely Cinderella as I posed sans my sneakers) while trying out the beautiful dresses and learned a lot about what styles and cuts suit me well.

As an engineer I am mostly surrounded by men both at school and work. It is practical to wear jeans and pants and preferable to keep feminine dressing for parties. But I don’t like this practice, I love colors and dresses. European winter makes it difficult to be feminine in cold weather but Han’s creations are made from 100% natural fabrics like wool, cotton and bamboo each one for different weather. As I was busy being pampered during the evening, I didn’t take any photos. So, I am borrowing the photos from Iva’s interview with Han.

Pink is not my color but this is my favorite skirt!

Pink is not my color but this is my favorite skirt!

Iva is soon going to organise some workshops for personal styling. And if you like fun girly parties along with discovering the styles made for you, do not hesitate to register here.

Before wrapping up the night, Missoco and I went to the garden store Truffat (85 quai de la gare Paris 13) for some early Christmas shopping. The store was open from 8 pm well until 11 pm with some nice discounts, interesting workshops and free-flowing champagne (the reason behind my post party happiness). We parted as happy souls with some cute Christmas tree decorations. Une soirée inoubliable (an unforgettable evening)!

Christmas will be soon here!

Christmas will be soon here!

Masculine November

November 12, 2013 § 5 Comments

Every year since 2004, the month of November holds month-long event involving the growing of mustaches as Movember to raise awareness of Men’s health issues.

Personally, I am not a fan of men with mustaches, simply because the men (boys would be more right) of my generation do not know how to keep one. Generally they try low maintenance beards or worse experiment with a goatee (and I can’t understand why?). The only man I adore with a mustache is my father which leads to what happened during this summer at home.

Papa has been always had a well-trimmed mustache and it suits his personality very well. I had never seen him without his mustache in my twenty-five years of existence. He is now in his late fifties and becoming a little lazy to die his hair (he is still young not to want white hair or until I get married). So what did he do? He shaved off his mustache! My mum had already told me about it but I couldn’t believe it. So, when I reached home the first thing I did was cry for Papa’s non-existent mustache. I told him to get it back or I won’t talk to him. I didn’t for almost two days and pestered him continuously for a whole month until I got used to his face sans mustache. He didn’t give in and I can’t even until now think of him without his mustache (I never will).

This weekend I went to a bar called Le Petit Joseph Dijon just across the metro Simplon of line 4 in the eighteenth district for a Swing concert. This place is celebrating Movember and Thomas from the bar had a real man’s mustache. I somehow managed to take his picture (it is real weird when you want to take a person’s photo without letting them know) but there are many more and much better on their Facebook page.

Un vrai moustache (A real moustache)

Un vrai moustache (A real moustache)

The band was a real delight for ears. They call themselves Swinguez Moustaches (and so more on mustache). Swing, Latin, Russian, Klezmer make the perfect recipe to make you tap and dance. I managed a few photos from the spot I occupied for the evening. The place got a little crowded as the band was awesome. I am definitely going to find more gigs of this band and visit the bar for their special cocktail Le Petit Joseph.

Here’s a video, I found on their YouTube channel, of a song they played during the evening. Great music!

A fun evening on Saturday charged me so much that I finally went to see Orsay Museum on Sunday morning.

 

When I came out of the museum there was already a queue of at least one kilometer, I felt proud of braving the early morning cold and thus avoiding such long queues. As always I used my preferred mode of transport, the bus. The sun shone brightly. I took a few photos to save the clear blue sky view even though I missed my bus and had to wait for twenty more minutes. It was worth the warm rare sun Parisians get.

Pont Notre Dame

Pont Notre Dame

Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf

I am writing this post at the visa office waiting for twenty-six people before I get my renewed residence card. Even though I braved cold and drizzle this morning I have to spend more than an hour and I am using this time for summarizing my weekend.

Happy Movember!

Paris By Métro Project

November 6, 2013 § 4 Comments

Loving Paris gets tough when we get stuck with daily life chores and forget to cherish every moment we are living in this amazing city. This blog is my tool to go out and explore and then write about it. Ever since I arrived in Paris I made crazy plans to learn more about this city. But most of it is still on the to-do list. And I thought of my list when I found this YouTube Channel called Paris By Métro.

Michaël Hoellerer decided to rediscover Paris with a year-long video series, following all the metro stops around town. There are more than three hundred stations on the fourteen lines of Parisian metro. Each video talks about one metro station. I loved the idea and the work.

I have travelled on all the metro lines just for the fun of it. I then thought of taking all the buses but there are three hundred and forty-seven of them. So I dropped the idea. Paris By Metro has charged me up to work on another plan I have had for more than a year. I will write more on it when I actually execute it.

I recently found a gem of an app for my smartphone. I use duoLingo, an app to learn Spanish and practice French. It is an amazing app, no advertisements, simple and effective. One can learn Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. Learning Spanish is easier for me since I know French and almost ninety percent of my friends in Paris speak Spanish. I would recommend this app to anyone who has some beginner’s knowledge of a language. I would have loved it more if I could learn Spanish from French and not English as the languages are in the same family but I think the app developers are working on something like that. Until then I can easily manage phrases like yo hablo español (I speak Spanish).

Where Am I?

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