Is he Prince Charming? Maybe not!

Most women when asked about qualities they look for in a partner you hear things like smart, successful, tall, handsome, well educated, ambitious, etc. Thinking carefully about it now, I realize how none of these are important or remotely helpful in choosing a partner you are genuinely going to be happy with. 

To me the most important qualities are also the most under rated – sensitivity and sensibility. How tall or successful your partner is not help your relationship sail through if he doesn’t know how to understand and empathize. 

I believe the importance of these qualities are amplified in a family situation especially if you are a woman. In every society, tending and caring for the kids and the home is seen to be the woman’s job. With such ingrained and unspoken stereotypes it becomes more important to have a sensible man by your side. You need someone who can challenge the norm and ask himself “Does this have to be a Mommy thing” or take the backseat by saying “Mom’s are better at it”. To build a true partnership, it takes logic, empathy and coming forward to take more responsibility . 

A number of people I know are frustrated because they cannot find a partner but most if not all don’t even look to be in a relationship where you do justice to the word “partner”. A lot of times especially in Asian arranged marriages, when true partnership is discussed at the start of the relationship people ween out and say is something they wouldn’t be OK with. They tend to want that woman who comes on all those vacuum cleaner or baby food adverts on television.

Unfortunately, I have seen this hesitation or even hostility towards shared responsibility come from highly educated, well respected men in society who have dream jobs and perfect careers. At this point I can’t help but dismally wonder what will bring about the shift in thinking if education couldn’t…

My advice, if he is not sensitive or sensible  then don’t waste your time. He is one of the many toads you come across before finding your Prince Charming. Keep calm and move on…

Disclaimer : I don’t in any way mean to imply that this train of thought is only among Asian men but I don’t think it would be right to speak about other groups when I or my friends don’t have any personal experiences. 

Yucantan Chicken with herb rice

Mexican chicken recipes are very appealing to the Indian pallet (at least to mine), they are flavorful, rich in spice and delicious. After going time and again to my favorite restaurant in London Wahaca and ordering the same dish time and again, i decided to try it at home and the results were pretty impressive!


Chicken thighs – 3 (large)

For the marinade:
Oranges – 2
Lime – 2
Lemons – 2
Garlic – 5 cloves
Jalapeños – 2
Ground cumin – 1 tsp
Cayenne – 1/2 tsp
Dried Oregano – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

For coriander rice:
Coriander/Cilantro – 1 bunch
Mint – 1/2 bunch
Lime – 1
Salt – to taste
Rice (dry) – 1 cup

To prepare the marinade, juice the oranges, lemons and lime also getting some orange and lemon zest. Add the dry spices and minced garlic and jalapeño. Marinate the chicken in this and let it stand for 2-3 hours. Preheat the oven to 450degs and then cook the chicken at 400 for about 35mins.  I had gone for chicken thigh pieces so I did not run too much chance of drying out the chicken. If you decide to go with some other part of the chicken you will need to adjust the cook time and temperature accordingly.


After marinating for 3 hours


For the herb rice, clean and grind the herbs together with salt and lime juice. Then add it to the cooked rice & plate up.


My achievement for this one was that I also tried to butcher the chicken and clean the bones (look at the clean sockets on top). I have to admit that it took me awfully long to get there but it was a fun learning experience. I decided to use freshly juice the oranges, lemons and limes. I even went to the extent of roasting and grinding fresh cumin. Because of all this it was quite labor intensive but at the end it was well worth it. I am quite certain if I had used ready made juices, it wouldn’t have tasted half as delicious as it did – all in all a Sunday well spent!


Sex sells

Clever marketing, that’s what titles like that are for. I came across a coffee shop on Oxford Street in London, which had the below board that read “SEX SELLS, unfortunately we sell Coffee”. It sure made the tired and distracted me pay attention, marketing tricks…


I wonder if this same trick would work online. Maybe the number of hits on this post will tell us…

Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine

I have a special fondness for Turkish food and after craving Turkish food for a few months we made a visit to Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine in midtown Manhattan. We went for the prix-fix menu and my favorite part about restaurants was that as soon as we entered after an exhausting day at work, we were promptly served some hot bread & olive oil. It was comforting to munch on some bread while I made up my mind on what to order.


For appetizers, we went for Lebni and Spinach Tarator both yoghurt based and finger-licking delicious. Lebni is a thick homemade yoghurt with walnut, garlic, dill & mint; while spinach tarator is sautéed spinach mixed with garlic, cream of yoghurt and walnuts. To me the combination of yoghurt and walnut was new and exciting, there’s no Indian dish I can think of which puts the two together. I sure have a tweak in mind for the Indian yoghurt-based dishes.


Spinach Tarator



For mains, we ordered Chicken Shish Kebab and Skewered Ground Chicken. Both dishes were similar with respect to the way they were cooked (char grilled) & the fact that they were both served with rice and vegetables. I personally liked the skewered chicken better as it was better seasoned, there were peppers and the skewers were nice and moist. The kebabs were also cooked well, although they could definitely do with a little more seasoning. The sides I wasn’t sold on, the lettuce seemed far from fresh & the grilled tomato lacking seasoning. The sweet kraut side, I am personally not a fan of, so I don’t think it would be fair for me to say anything about it as I probably wouldn’t even like the best kraut.


Chicken Shish Kebab


Skewered Ground Chicken

For dessert, came a slightly caramelized Turkish Custard. I guess because I was told it would be a custard, I wanted it to be not so firm, the spoon would just not slide through. Added to that I thought it was too sweet for me to deal with. Unfortunately just an average dessert…


The other dessert was something that sounded extremely exciting on the menu but again was a sheer letdown. Kadayif, baked shredded wheat stuffed with walnut’s flavored with honey syrup, garnished with pistachios. I think it was the probably the bitterness from the wheat bran and the nutty flavor of the walnut itself which gave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Even the cloyingly sweet sugar syrup couldn’t mask this. This was the weakest link in the dinner for me.

The dinner started off on a great note with the refreshing starters, decent mains (good owing to the chicken skewers alone) but disastrous desserts. But if a place charges you as much as Akdeniz does, it is a let down the lettuce on your plate looks like it was chopped a couple of days in advance. Despite all these nitpicks, there was nothing more they could do to make the skewered chicken any better… I would still say it is overpriced and you would be able to find a better meal in Manhattan for less.

Most favorite dish: A no-brainer, the ground skewered chicken
Least favorite dish : Kadayif

Overall Verdict : 3/5
Pocket Pinch : $35 per person


Not sure how many of you are fans of savory breakfast, I sure am. I find the waffle, pancake and maple syrup a bit much to stomach in the morning. I am always on the lookout for breakfast recipes other than the usual omelette and eggs benedict. This Mediterranean savory baked eggs recipe seems to just fit the bill – its savory, tangy, spicy and healthy.


1. Eggs – 3
2. Onions – 2 (medium sized)
3. Tomatoes – 3 (medium sized)
4. Green bell pepper – 1 (large)
5. Garlic – 4-5 cloves
6. Cayenne – to taste
7. Salt – to taste
8. Cracked black pepper – to taste
9. Jalapeño – 1
10. Cumin seeds – 1 tbl spn
11. Coriander leaves (Cilantro) – 3 tbl spn

Heat some oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and the onions & sauté till the onions are transparent. Next add salt, cayenne, chopped green pepper. Sauté until cayenne is cooked. Next add the tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic and cook until the tomatoes are cooked. Then add finely chopped coriander leaves. Finally add the eggs and put the pan into a preheated oven at 350degs for 10mins. Add some salt and freshly cracked black pepper on the eggs and serve!


Drawing the line


Drawing the line between bending and bending until you break, that is what I am going to take a stab at. Though it may sound like its an easy distinction but when in a relationship, it really isn’t. The world is jaundiced with our obscure theoretical view of “love”.

This theoretical view of love bothers me… No, it doesn’t just bother me, it outright annoys me. People idolize and idealize love, they make you want to believe that differences don’t matter and truck loads of turd. Our literature, music and movies  ingrain this concept into us and this couldn’t be further from reality. If you hear anyone who says “Love is enough” (I am sure you will) punch them in the face if you can because this is one of those trashy lines you should just dismiss!

I think its unfortunate that people go starry-eyed and dump logic behind this theoretical love and ruin any shot they have at real happiness. When I was thinking this way, I thought maybe I am just emotionally numb but on reading Mark Manson’s article ‘Love is not enough’ I just felt re-assured that I’m not emotionally disabled. One of my favorite lines from the above article is “It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who sucks for us and our happiness.” and it hits you hard especially if you have something to relate to.

There is a fine line between adjusting and sacrificing yourself in the name of love – you’ve got to discover and define that for yourself else you’re going to be bruised through the whole relationship drill. This is one of those phases where you should dismiss what most people say because their views are tainted by the theoretical starry-eyed love. Love will not fix the underlying issues you have in your relationship. It may seem odd but I relate Taylor Swift’s line “Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes” with this thought.

You’ve got to sit down for yourself and decide where you want to draw that line between adjusting & self-sacrificing and there is no right place for it. Its what suits you the best.

Love, bliss and shining stars

Selfless love, bliss and shining stars are terms I’ve always heard and cringed a bit. For those of you who know me know I am not a mushy person. Never would I’ve thought that I would put up with someone’s shit and still love them. But as always I was proven wrong…

Expression of ‘selfless love’ is unique at different ages & phases of our journey. I think mine came at the age of 20 when my first niece was born. Kyra took over my position of being the baby in the family. In fact, the first day I met her, she was this tiny package of sheer perfectness. Seeing her that day I just couldn’t close my eyes and miss a moment of admiring how flawlessly beautiful she was. Of course, the next morning wasn’t great but I think it was totally worth it !

I lived with her for her first 2 years and I can without any doubt say those have been the best! Each day was a new lesson with her. My first lesson came in week 1 with her, it was when I realised that it is in fact possible to clean someones shit (literally) and still love them more each day. That’s when it struck me selfless love can have simple and humble beginnings like this. I know this may come across as shallow and even trivial to some people but this is the strongest emotion I have experienced.

The best things always come to you for short periods of time and so was my experience of living with her on a day-to-day basis. Kyra, I wish I could watch you grow up each day and spend all my time teaching you things and warning you of every personal failure so you can sail through this journey of life. Having said that, I assure you the distance will not save you from me chewing your ear advising you and teaching you everything even if it is not in person.

As you grow up and face challenges of your own, I want you to know there are a lot of us looking out for you. I cannot promise to have all the solutions to your problems but what I can promise is to be a patient listener. To be there for you if you need to make any 3am calls or sharing things without the fear of being judged. I assure you there is nothing at all that can change the way I feel about you in this whole wide world. :)

But I have to warn you there is a one thing I cannot promise you. There is a price to pay for all of that abundant love (selfless love is a bit overrated huh?). I cannot promise you that I wont be that crazy aunt who embarrasses by hugging, kissing & chasing you in front of your friends.

In the end of this post, I want you to know you were the one who taught me how to love and what being blissfully happy means. Not like I haven’t already embarrassed you enough, but I will still go ahead and say you were, are and always will be my shining star!


Zucchini rolls

Zucchini or Courgette is a very light veggie and goes well with pasta’s, salad’s and I personally think its lightness makes it a great starter for any party!

Here’s a quick (under 15 min) and delicious Zucchini rolls stuffed with olives recipe that is bound to be popular with any crowd.

Ingredients :
Zucchini – 1
Green Olives – 5-7
Oregano – a couple of pinches
Salt – to taste

Get thin ribbons of zucchini, I used the old school grater cum slicer that I have. Season the ribbons with a little salt. Ideally you need to grill these for a couple of seconds to get a lovely charred colour and taste but since I don’t have a griller I stuck to use a non-stick pan with almost no oil so as to get the charred effect. You can add a drop or two if your non-stick pan isn’t really non-stick anymore… Turn the ribbons and it would only take 30secs on an extremely hot pan. So you would need to be quick…

For the filling, throw some chopped olives, oregano and tiny crumbles of cheese or cheese shavings. Ensure the cheese is much smaller than the olives in size so olives dominate the flavour of the rolls and also you can make it that tiny bit healthier ;)

Next stuff your filling into the zucchini ribbons and roll away!

Zucchini rolls

Babies bring joy!

As of 12th February ’14 we have a new baby in the family, my niece baby Mehr! Yay!! Am an aunt again…. Mehr means ‘blessing’ in some languages, it’s also an alternative name to the Zoroastrianism divinity Mithra. I can tell you this little bundle is truly a blessing…

In just these few days I’ve seen the new parents on the block beaming with pride of their creation. Grandparents who just can’t get enough of admiring how perfect she is. A little 3yr old cousin who can’t wait to share her toys with her new playmate. And us aunt’s claiming our right’s over the little one always demanding more pictures and video calls to see those teeny-tiny yawns and dreamy smiles…

The atmosphere in the house is so upbeat & all the cloudy grey days seem a little less grey now. Let’s hope the happiness continues *Touchwood*. Here’s to you baby Mehr and all the joy you’ve brought us!

Below is what Mehr’s grandparents whipped together for her homecoming, I melted with the warmth of the gesture. 

Beechwood Cafe & Bakery

This is my first restaurant review for NYC (NJ) and I wanted to start with my absolute favourite, so here I am reviewing Beechwood Cafe and Bakery. I L.O.V.E Beechwood & I refuse to tone down the emotion just in case you are unsure about visiting this spot. 

Even when it comes to their decor there is hardly anything you can pick fault with. From the cosy feel, to their striped canopy, Marilyn Monroe poster to juice served in mason jars it’s all perfect.

Almost every component in the dishes I tried was spot on. Will start listing out my favourite dishes @ Beechwood.

The freshly squeezed orange juice in the mason jar was indeed fresh (no behind the scenes Tropicana I assure you!).
Orange juice 1

Berry Mix Pancakes – These are by far the best pancakes I have had with real berries even in the pancake. Cherry on the cake (or here pancake) was of course the berry compote. Loved the fact that there was no berry jam thrown in. With real berries and lovely (non-soggy) pancakes one cannot ask for much more…

Berry mix pancake 1

Fried Tofu Eggs Benedict – I was a little weary of ordering fried tofu as a lot of places serve rubbery chewy tofu in the name of frying it, thankfully that wasn’t the case here. The tofu was breaded, very light in texture & not oily. The soy based sauce with chillies for the tofu was another stunner. Eggs were of course done to perfection (as expected).

Fried Tofu eggs benedict

Home fries – This was the next surprise Beechwood had in store for us. They were crispy, perfectly seasoned with peppers and scallions, most importantly they were not oily or soggy. Though I have to confess that the home fries were not consistently as good on multiple visits… Sigh!

Home fries

Belgian Waffles – These looked welcoming like the other dishes but I just had a bite so I cannot tell you much more than my friend definitely ate her plate clean and claimed it was good.

Belgian waffle

Pecan pie – Spot on, the pecan nuts were perfectly roasted and caramelized. The pie itself wasn’t overpoweringly sweet which was a welcome change.
Pecan pie

Cranberry Walnut Tart – This was just an ok dessert. I guess it was the freshness that it was missing…

Cranberry Walnut tart

Overview :
Where : Grove St, Jersey City
Meal : Brunch
Pocket pinch : $$
Ambiance : Cosy
Links : Yelp (Please do not judge by the reviews on yelp alone as this place was recently renovated or so I hear)
Will I visit again: Having visited 4 times in 6 weeks I think this is a no-brainer… YES!

I was itching to give it a 4.5 but owing to the lack of consistency with the home fries, I had to hold myself back. 

Rating : 4/5  

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