Tag Archive | shopping

CRAB – 20 Minuten!

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Today my dear friends I invite you to Bangkok – for a visit to the largest outdoor market in the world – to be precise; to Chatuchak Weekend Market on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road.

This market, also known as JJ Market is offering, with over 15,000 stalls, an eclectic variety of goods, from antiques to pets.

Going there is as much enjoyable as tiring – this place is literally huge, very crowded (even in the early mornings) and one can easily get lost in this rabbit warren of very narrow lanes.

But not to worry, there is always a smiling face helping you out and a place where to sit for “people watching” and, most of all, to enjoy one of their delicious foods.

My friend Yui one day invited me to accompany her to this Market since she wanted to buy a few items for her house in Bangkok. Good enough reason for me to have yet again another look at some of the stalls I was interested in on one of our previous visits to this vibrant city.

We arrived early, hoping to beat not only the rush of visitors but also the heat – but of course many people had the same idea and we found the place already somewhat crowded, but it did not spoil our fun at all.

After a few hours!! of walking, talking, bargaining and buying the items Yui had wanted, our feet started to object. What better idea than to go and have one of those wonderful foot massages, for which Thailand is famous for, amongst other things. I just love to have my feet massaged by a Professional that I, without fail, always fall asleep, but waking up totally rejuvenated.

Soon it was lunchtime and Yui took me to one of her favourite food stalls where she suggested I must try her friend’s Crab and Sweetcorn Soup. I do so love soups, of all kind (or nearly) and especially Thai soups.

Gratefully we sat down, ordered and very quickly a steaming bowl of my Crab soup arrived. It truly was so good, that I tried to make this at home once back here in India.

This dish is so easy to make and in fact only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

So I will not let you wait much longer, but share with you my version of Chatuchak Crab and Sweetcorn soup.

(for 4 portions I used here…)

½ x pack of frozen Crabsticks (finely chopped)
¼ x pack of Thai Glass Noodles
½ x cup of frozen sweet corn
¼ x cup of the green only part of Spring Onions (finely chopped)
¼ x cup of Peanuts (dry fried)
1 ½ x cup of Vegetable Stock
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
5 x Kaffir Leaves (or lime zest)
1 x Tbsp dry red chilli flakes (or more if you like the heat)
2/3 x Tbsp Lime juice
2 x tsp of Sesame Oil (or plain vegetable oil)
Salt (to taste)

How I made this:

In a large vessel I boiled the noodles in the vegetable stock with Sesame Oil.

Next I dry fried the peanuts, stirring all the time.

In a separate pan I sautéed, just for a couple of minutes, (in 1 tsp of oil) the chopped spring onion greens, the previously fried peanuts, Kaffir leaves, chilli flakes, lime juice and little bit of salt.

When this was done and the noodles cooked, I then transferred those to the above mixture and added the vegetable stock bit by bit to until I had the right liquid consistency.

Before serving I added all the chopped crabsticks and mixed everything well together and then served.

That’s it – enjoy.



Divine Intervention……. or not !?

As I mentioned in my previous Umbrella article, the Monsoon brings much needed respite from the scorching heat to farmers, animals, humans etc.

When I heard the hour-long rumbling of thunder the other night, I did not think that there would be any damage to houses or trees in our city – the ‘thunder’ sounded more like the noise which normally comes with weather lightening in the tropics, but…… I obviously was wrong.

And just so that you know, I dislike shopping; I really do and always did. Normally I more or less know what I want when I ‘breeze’ into the shop and if the Assistant tells me the item I am looking for is not available I am normally out immediately. No hanging around, being followed at every step I take by the said Assistant trying to sell me something I really do not want or need, for that matter.

Shopping for food items is a slightly different matter – after all this is a necessity to one’s daily life.

I think we all have our favourite Supermarket/Shop and I am no different in that respect. Although there are Supermarkets and Shops not too far from my area, I still like to do my fortnightly food shopping in Ernakulam itself, at the “Supermercato Ashis”, which is managed and run by a very nice group of people for many many years.

But even here, where I am really well looked after regarding ‘customer service’ and where certain members of staff know my shopping list more or less in advance (!) I do not like to linger around for too long.

It is a very busy place, right on one of the most important roads in our city; finding a car parking space is like trying to win the lottery and for walking on the pavement…….

There are not too many fully grown trees gracing our city streets any more due to partially much needed developments, like the METRO.
But this tree, like all the others, gave slight shade to pedestrians, birds etc. and now, I found this …..

When I talked to Security –on- Duty I was told, that the storm a few days previously had brought this tree crashing down, but….no one got hurt, nor a car damaged. Sheer luck!

I will miss that tree!



This is the first “Guest Blog” by our eldest daughter Bianca Celine Diane

Hello everyone!! I guess most of you have already had a briefing about me but for all those who have missed out on it, I am Bianca Celine a.k.a. B.C. 3rd year fashion design student at National Institute of Fashion Technology = NIFT (one of the most reputed design colleges in India). Designing is my passion, other than styling and writing.

‘THE CAMEL’ was the theme for this year’s Dastkar -Nature Bazaar. Why the Camel you might ask? I did too; apparently the camel is interpreted as something which can survive under any circumstances. It lives in the most desolate corners of the planet with its unique techniques of survival and self sufficiency. It feeds on just about anything including thorns and stores water for its survival.

For all those of you who haven’t heard about Dastkar, it’s a society that aims at improving the economic status of Indian craftspeople. The main aim of Dastkar is to help craftspeople; especially women use their traditional craft skills as a means of employment and income generation. For the record ‘Dastakar’ means artisan or craftsman in ‘Hindi’. The exhibition consists of crafts from all around India and let me tell you, that is quite a lot!!

The first thing I would tell about Dastkar is that it was huge!! We were sure we couldn’t finish looking around the whole exhibition but surprisingly enough we did, in about 5 long enjoyable hours.

So let me take you around some of the interesting stalls I came across. The first one that caught my attention was this one called ‘Jugaad’. I am not sure how many of you actually have heard about them but from what I know ‘Jugaad’  is one of the popular brands among the ones who are known to work with recycled materials. A Delhi based brand, they had some really pretty wallets and bags I have to tell you. The wallet flaps were covered with ‘lays’ (yes, I am talking about the potato chips here), ‘kurkure’ covers and even ones made with ‘Tropicana’ (as in ‘juice’) packages. Hand bags made with patch worked fabrics and pretty tassels were all part of their stall. Like almost everything Indian, the stall was very colourful and very arty.  Sadly I don’t have any images of the lovely wallets I was talking about.

My personal favourite would be the ‘Haathi Chaap’. Look at the picture below with the funny elephant; can you guess what it’s made of?

It’s made of (hold your breath) elephant poo! I know you are surprised; I had the same reaction too, believe me! ‘Haathi Chaap’ means elephant poo in Hindi. My favourite stall, not only because of their innovativeness but also because of the wonderful products they make. From books to paper bags to wall hangings and even photo frames they had a wonderful variety of products. 

Looks wonderful doesn’t it? I agree too, and would have happily walked away with it, had I had the money. So instead I stood and admired it for quite some time, wondering when I would actually be able to buy one like that (to wear, of course!). After admiring the rest of the wonderful traditional silver-, brass- and copper- jewellery laid out for display mainly from the states of Karnataka and Orissa, I decided I have to move on or I wouldn’t see the rest of the expo. But here are some visual treats for you to enjoy!  

The Pipli craft of Orissa was another one that looked really interesting. What actually caught our attention were the huge umbrellas kept for display near the stall with the pipli technique done all over.

Now how can I miss the famous Kerala murals being from my home state of Kerala? Combining the age old techniques of mural (wall) paintings practiced all around Kerala these people had made products which were very viable these days. From paper weights to pen stands and wall hangings the products were a beauty. 

A T-shirt which really conveyed the message: – ‘GO GREEN’ and ‘CONSERVE WATER’ all in one.

Aah! Lamp shades! I am sure you have seen a whole lot of it everywhere but I am absolutely certain that you haven’t seen one made out of gourd shell. And yes I haven’t gotten my information wrong; these were indeed made out of gourd shells. 

 ‘Paruthi’ or India’s local organic brand as they would like to call themselves from Auroville, Pondicherry was another interesting brand I came across, to tell the truth their ‘Smart Bags’   caught my attention. These were cloth bags made in accordance to their motto “Smart Bags for a Smart Planet” and contrary to the plastic bags people generally still use.

Since I’m sure most of you haven’t heard about Kantha, it’s a type of embroidery practiced in the state of West Bengal, India, embroidery done only using running stitches very much similar to the decorative running stitch of Japanese sashiko quilting. 

Rajasthani badhnis (tie and dye) are quite popular all over India. And this particular lady heading the stall was especially friendly, chatting with me and answering willingly all my queries. She even demonstrated how a bandhini was being tied, as shown in the picture below.

By the end of this long day I was way too exhausted and tired to go on any longer, but somehow I left filled with a sense of satisfaction I can’t describe.

It is time for me to say good bye for now – Namaskaram.

(Photos: Bianca Celine Diane/Manningtree Archive)

A Taste of Mattancherry

After my friend and I bought our fish from our vendor in Fort Cochin by the Chinese Nets yesterday we drove over to nearby Mattancherry/Jewtown, the western part of Ernakulam and the most famous Tourist attraction in this area.

Shortly I will write all about this place with many beautiful photographs.

But since we were in a bit of a hurry trying to find a small gift for somebody in one of the many antique shops we did not waste too much time. My friend made her purchase and I promised our own friends in this place to return very soon with more time on my hands; after all I had not been here for about a year or so and many things had changed. The photographs you see here today were taken by me some time ago.

But for today I just leave you with this very small visual impression of some of the beautiful items to be found in the Antique shops of Jewtown, enough hopefully to ‘whet your appetite for more’.


Ciao, Carinae