Planks And My Modest Milestone!

I was doing just about 2 minutes on planks when I started intermittent fasting in January 2019. And I was not regular at it.

I looked at planks again, just a few days back when I stopped my practice to do 30 push-ups in one go, due to a slight niggle with the shoulder.

I was seeing better stamina and endurance with several kilos down on weight and was recording minutes 2.30, 2.45, 3, 3.30, 4.

And today I was on plank position for over 5 minutes. That’s a milestone.

Planks And My Modest Milestone!

The Queen’s Gambit. Completely Watchable.

I liked this Netflix series very much. It’s not only that I am a sports enthusiast. There’s much to the story.

The competitive spirit, will to win and the passion are all there.

There are somethings more to it. Resilience, free will, comradery, addiction, sex are all portrayed brilliantly.

The friendship and support from those players who were defeated hollow, are amazing.

And finally the fantastic gesture of the world champion who surrendered to the young female champion.

Everyone played their roles well. It’s interesting how the nine year old orphan, Beth Harmon, learning chess from the Janitor Mr. Shaibel who is a solid character in the drama.

I am most attracted to the way Beth playing the game in her mind, visualising the game board and the moves on the ceiling.

There’s something for me to take away here. I am going to picture the Kansai world Master Games swimming pool and practice my strokes for a gold medal.

Queen’s Gambit, by the way is a chess opening with the white attacking, forcing the black to defend correctly.

Highly recommended to watch.

The Queen’s Gambit. Completely Watchable.

Early Morning Skyline

The sky looked interesting from the kitchen window of our Bangalore Jayanagar place. This is at 5.46 AM and the building with blue light is the Accenture building in Koramangala.

Quite early for the sunrise which makes me wonder if it’s the handiwork of the departing moon.

I know, it’s imagination going wild.

Early Morning Skyline

Many Things in Common in Maths, Music & Cooking.

A friend of mine quoted his professor as saying this. Mix different ingredients and you get different products.

There’s immense happiness in mastering any or all of them. And the variations by mixing different ingredients add to the thrill.

That’s why I am so happy to read his message. It encourages me to try different things.

Actually it’s not exactly the way I wanted though here, as I am following my favourite youtuber Zaikastreet for this peanut barfi.

I am talking about the sugar that I really wanted to avoid. True, most pleasures come through a sin.

Perhaps one can do penance by burning the glucose and fructose with some heavy workout.

The recipe is in the link. Since it’s in Hindi, I am briefly describing it here.

Heat one and half cup of raw peanuts in a tawa till it’s mildly roasted and ready to remove the husk.

Not an easy job, and a moram would have been handy.

I just imagined how it was done in the childhood days and managed to get the thin husk fly away without the moram.

Allow the toasted peanuts to return to room temperature. Then grind them in a mixer. One has to be careful here. Grinding too fine will make it into peanut butter (I almost did it with the result it had an oily tinge)

Heat 3/4 cup of water and add 3/4 cups of sugar. Stir the mix to a consistency when it becomes sticky.

Add the powdered peanuts and continue mixing till it reaches the thick consistency. I added 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder for the flavour.

Take two tablespoon of the mix and add some crushed nuts and kismiss. I had cashew, almonds, pumpkin seeds and kismiss in it and mix well.

Roll the mix into a long shape on a greased tin foil as shown in the video. Roll it up and keep in the freezer.

Add food colour (ideally yellow) to the remaining mix and knead it well for the colour to mix well. Spread on two greased tin foils. Place the frozen pieces on top and carefully roll as shown in the video.

Keep in the freezer for sometime and cut into desired sizes.

Many Things in Common in Maths, Music & Cooking.

Alternate Healthy Gourmet Cuisine. Ragi Ada.

Ragi (finger millet) is better than wheat or rice for someone looking for lower glycemic, calorie efficient food.

That’s why I took ragi powder to make some snacks as the last meal of the day for my 20.4 (20 hours fasting and 4 hours eating window) intermittent fasting.

There are recipes for ragi ada, and here’s my modified version.

Pour a tbsp of coconut oil into a tawa and add half a sliced onion. When it starts to turn brown add two cut green chilies and some crushed coriander leaves. Allow it to cool down.

Boil sweet potatoes. I have the orange colour variety. Peel the skin when it cooled down.

Take one and half cups of Ragi powder. Mix with the sliced (ideally mashed) sweet potatoes. And salt as required. Add the onion mix and mix well with hand.

It was mixing well, but some water was needed. That’s when another innovative idea struck. I had ripe and cut papaya. Added a few pieces and the mix became soft enough to make into balls.

Grease a foil or banana leaf and press the balls into ada shape carefully with hand.

Pour one tbsp of oil into a tawa. Place the flattened ada on hot oil and fry on both sides. Repeat for all the balls. The healthy ragi ada is ready.

Note: I didn’t boil the sweet potato well enough to mash properly. Mashed potato will help in making neater and evenly rolled adas.

Carrots or beetroot or even a combination can replace sweet potato. Ideally they are to be boiled thoroughly for perfect mashing which will help in making shapely adas and for better presentation.

One combination that I am looking forward to is using boiled Kerala bananas to ragi. And I will fry it well for a unique snack.

Alternate Healthy Gourmet Cuisine. Ragi Ada.

Under Armour, Finally

‘Price is Premium’ is something that we used when selling banking products. But I couldn’t live up to the concept when I was in US last and was looking for a premium running shoe.

Everyone at that time was crazy about Under Armour, but I found them too expensive for someone who was looking for a bargain at the store sales.

I thought about it again now, when I was searching for running shoes with plans to take part in a forthcoming marathon, actually no, a 10 kilometre run.

Amazon Festive Season sales show discounts of over 50%, but it’s still expensive.

What if it’s just a craze and the good old brands like Nike would just be the same or sometimes better!

And there are far more selection with matching discounts. As such I settled for this Nike with colour matching the age that I want to be in.

Then the T-shirt which could be ‘cool’ in the literal sense, can do the job.

My first Under Armour.

Under Armour, Finally

Khandvi, the Healthy Delicacy:

This one is healthy and a wonderful snack of Gujarati and Maharashtrian origin.

My favourite recipe Youtuber ‘Zaikastreet’ recommended it, knowing that I am fond of making things which are relatively healthy.

Khandvi is healthy and delicious. Zaikastreet video is very easy to follow, but since it’s in Hindi I am giving the details of how I made it.

Take one cup of Besan (gram flour), one cup of fresh curd, two cups of water, one tbsps of ginger paste, two crushed green chilies, one tsp of turmeric powder and one tsp of salt into a mixture. Mix for about 10 seconds.

Strain into a hard bottom vessel and heat the contents on slow fire. Keep stirring till it reaches a thick consistency.

Take out from the fire and spread the paste over a smooth platform. Even a cleaned kitchen platform will come handy. Spread nicely, evenly and thinly and allow it to cool down which would take about 15 minutes.

While waiting for the spread cooling down, heat one and half tbsps of oil in a pan. When hot add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Once they start breaking, add half a cup of freshly grated coconut and heat for another two minutes.

Cut with a fine knife or pizza cutter the spread into blocks of size 2.5″x2″. Spread the coconut mix sporadically across the slabs. Add some fresh coriander leaves along.

Now roll each slab carefully into a fine cylindrical shape. Spread the remaining coconut mix on top with coriander leaves.

Delicious Khandvi is ready.

Of course, mine didn’t roll well as the spread was thicker. I am sure to get it right next time.

But the taste is super. Thank you Zaikastreet, whose link is below. I recommend subscribing and trying out the recipes there.

Khandvi, the Healthy Delicacy:

Is This Tree With Beautiful Flowers the ‘Sacred Tree’?

One of the most pleasing features of my time on the terrace in Bangalore for yoga, is the view of these trees with beautiful flowers.

Is the name of the tree ‘flame of the forest’! Can’t be as another flowering tree is also called by the name. Flame of the forest then is not the name of the tree, but just an expression of the fire like feeling, seeing these colours on green.

Google tells me that it’s Butea monosperma. There are several names for the tree in india. One is Agni, God of Fire, sacred tree etc.

But then there’s this ignominious one, bastard teak.

I am fascinated with the sacred features. Butea monosperma is a sacred tree, called as a treasurer of the gods. Sacred utensils are made from its wood. The flowers are used as in place of blood in sacrifice rituals to goddess kali. The dry stem pieces are offered to make sacred fire. Butea monosperma is an anthropogenic tree of several castes. (Searched results).

The flowers are used to prepare a traditional Holi colour called “Kesari”. It is also used as a dye for fabric.

Good to know these amazing features of these trees and it’s very beautiful flowers.

Is This Tree With Beautiful Flowers the ‘Sacred Tree’?

My First Act on World Stage Postponed. World Masters.

World Masters Games to be held in Kansai Japan in May 2021 is postponed by one year. I was to complete in a few swimming items in my age group.

Covid is the reason for the postponement.

Though my first opportunity to perform in a world stage is delayed, it may be a good thing as any practice in a swimming pool has been stopped for about 8 months now.

Moreover there’s more time to get some proper training for someone like me where the current strength is in extensive river swimming. I hope to improve by a few seconds with coaching under experts like the Thoppans.

Right now the objective is to survive the pandemic.

And then to some serious training for the games in 2022.

My First Act on World Stage Postponed. World Masters.

കിളിമീൻ (Pink Perch) Fry. Kerala Style.

The fish vendor delivered some pink perch which triggered nostalgia of childhood days of enjoying kilimeen fry, red hot from the tawa.

In my childhood days an Indo-Norwegian project brought fish from Kochi within three hours of trawler landing to home in interior Thidanad.

Sardines, Mackerel and Kilimeen were popular buys as we had to buy a fairly large number to feed in the house with 10 children. I mean, they were less expensive as compared to other fish.

Kilimeen fry, hot from tawa was the most delicious with rice for lunch.

So I took my wife’s permission to try and make the fry.

Essentials

• Kilimeen 4 large (one Kg)

•  Ginger/garlic paste-2tbsp

• Turmeric Powder- 2tsp

•  Pepper Powder- 1tbsp

•  Kashmiri Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp

• Lemon Juice- 1tbsp

• Salt- to taste

• Coconut oil – for shallow frying

• Curry leaves- A few springs

Wash the cleaned fish and make deep cuts on both sides with a knife.

Make a fine paste of the ingredients.

Apply it on the fish making sure that the mix goes evenly and into the cuts made on the fish.

Keep the marinated fish in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Pour coconut oil (must for the Kerala taste) sufficient for shallow frying onto the heated pan. Allow it to boil.

Place springs of curry leaves on the tawa and carefully place the marinated fish on top.

Cover the pan and allow to fry for about 5 minutes.

Turn carefully to the other side and fry again for five more minutes.

Kilimeen fry is ready to be eaten hot with rice.

It turned out well and tasty though some lack of fine skills made the presentation somewhat wanting.

കിളിമീൻ (Pink Perch) Fry. Kerala Style.