Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mango Pudding Recipe - Easy & Yummy!

 Mango season is loved by all! Come summers, we await feasting on the king of fruits - mangoes! Specially Alphonso! I grew up with a few traditions that I still try to keep up after years of marriage. Mango sandwiches (yes, slices of mangoes inside slices of buttered bread), aamras and mango pudding are some must-haves! I have been making the mango pudding on my own in the last couple of years, but never wrote down the recipe and I thought, why not share the pure joy with each bite this layered pudding is! I don't usually go by measurements, but I will try to make it as easy for you as possible.

Servings/Portions: 6

Time taken: 1 hour + 2-3 hours of chilling in the refrigerator

Ingredients:

Marie Biscuit: 2 small packets or 1 big packet, any kind.

Butter: 1 tablespoon

Mango Pulp: Of 4-5 medium-sized mangoes

Mango Pieces: Of 3 medium-sized mangoes, chopped into small pieces

Milk: 2 Litres (to make the fresh paneer)

Sugar: Half Cup (For the chenna)

Vinegar/Lemon Juice: To make the paneer


Method:

Chenna (Paneer):

  • Start by bringing the milk to a boil, once it is boiling switch off the gas.
  • Put 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar/lemon juice to curdle the milk.
  • You should instantly be able to see the curdled milk and water separate.
  • You can add few cubes of ice to slow the process so that it doesn't over curdle.
  • If you have your own method to make paneer that differs from this, by all means, go for it!
  • Now collect all the curdled milk and hang it in a muslin cloth, draining all the water away.
  • Let is hang for around 30 minutes.

Biscuit Layer:

  • In the meanwhile, take the Marie biscuits and break them into pieces and grind them into the mixer/blender.
  • Do not over grind them to make them too fine, we want them to be a little grainy.
  • Pour this into the bowl you will set your pudding in.
  • Add 1 teaspoon melted butter, 2-3 teaspoons of milk and if you want, 1-2 teaspoon of mango juice to soak the biscuit powder a little.
  • Press the biscuit mixture to the base of the bowl, our first layer is now ready.

Layering the Pudding:

  • Next, take the mango pulp you have prepared and add a layer of that. Do not dilute the pulp by mixing water/milk. Do not add any sugar either.
  • By now your hung paneer should be ready to use. Remove it from the muslin cloth, break it into smaller chunks. First, blend the sugar to make powdered sugar, and then add the paneer to it and mix till you get a nice 'cream cheese' like paste.
  • Now layer this chenna above the mango puree layer. This needs to be done gently, carefully as you may mix the layer of chenna with mango pulp if you apply to much pressure. Gently cover the entire area. 
  • Now finally decorate and fill the entire bowl with pieces of fresh mangoes! Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or more. When ready, serve into smaller bowls. It will be a little messy, but the combination of biscuit layer + pulp + chenna + mango pieces is just melt-in-the-mouth!

Tips:

  • You can change the proportion of layers as per your liking, a thinner biscuit layer, or a thicker chenna layer as per your liking, just make as much quantity. 
  • Also, do not use all too ripe, too sweet mangoes - a sweet and savoury taste is more fun, so I like to add some just-ripe mangoes which are a bit tangy!
  • I have never tried making these with another type of mangoes, so cannot be sure how it may taste - but feel free to experiment and let me know via comments!


Saturday, February 20, 2021

A memorable token from Tokenz.com! Site & Product Review

Have you ever bought Indian mithai online? I had never, have always relied on my parents buying them from offline stores they trust. But I bought Kaju katli and besan laddu online and I love the quality! So convenient especially since we still want to avoid crowded places.

I also got a buddha statue from their website, I simply fell in love with the serenity and calmness the serene buddha idol displays and reflects! Definitely need such energies in my life, to be able to feel peaceful amongst all the chaos.

Delighted to have discovered yet another amazing, unique gifting portal! Why gift the common options like flowers or cake when you can craft a joyful experience with Tokenz.com.

Their website has a wide range of offerings like paintings, idols, jewelry and jewelry boxes, clutches, fragrances, skincare, and my fav section - food! Dry fruits, mithai, and biscuits/cookies to name a few options.

Buddha idols are said to bring peace and harmony to your home, and there are different variations of Lord Buddha - meditative, laughing, praying, serene, and so on. Each represents something different, and while I am no expert, I believe the serene buddha form represents inner peace and harmony - which I believe we all need!

The brass idol is actually heavy to lift for its size, so you know it is made of solid metal and the cut-work for the clothing is simply beautiful, as I mentioned earlier, I just fell in love with it when I saw it on the website. 


I personally like homemade delicacies more, and badaam katli more than kaju kalti. But both besan laddu and kaju katli are my kids favorites! In fact he calls katli - diamond. He totally loved both the sweets, so it is kid-approved surely! The rest of us need to control our sugar intake, lucky kiddo!

The mithai is packaged very nicely, making sure they don't get messy or damaged in transit. 

I placed the order and in a matter of 3-4 days it was delivered to me as well. Do explore their range of products, for your own home or if gifting to someone else! I am surely going to try more of their food range soon, and maybe their Khadi skincare range too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

How to file a consumer complaint in India, and WIN!

Most of us make purchases online, ranging from small denominations like an Rs.50 mobile phone recharge to buying the most expensive gadgets too (I am sure that day is not far behind when cars or houses are purchased online too!)

And if you are making transactions online almost daily, you must be hearing of cases of fraudulent websites, orders that were never honored, refunds that were never given, or the wrong product and other woes. More often or not, you will try to reach the brand's customer care via email or phone or social media and if still no luck then you will leave it (unless you have a lawyer friend or strong connections and there is a big amount involved).

Though I am fortunate to usually have good experiences mostly while making the numerous purchases I make online (I bought some of my wedding outfits online, mind you), there was a recent experience that left me bitter but I resolved to do something about it, and want to share my experience with you'll in case it helps.

Site: Apple India's official online store.

Item purchased: iPhone 12 Pro Max Magsafe Leather Cover

Issue: I had purchased an iPhone 12 Pro right from the Apple India official online store, and a few days later I ordered the adaptor (they no longer include one with the phone) and a MagSafe case. My hurried mistake while ordering was that I did not notice that instead of iPhone 12 Pro, I placed an order for iPhone 12 Pro Max case (both phones look exactly the same, sans the size difference) and the price for both covers was also the same. The cover arrived soon, and I only realized that it was the wrong model when I went to open the box and saw what was written on it.

The cover costs Rs.5900 which is a huge amount for someone like me (you would get a starting end android phone in as much!) so I pleaded my case to apple's customer care (their chats are largely flawed, there is no email, none responds to social media/tweets, so telephonic is pretty much the only way).

The first time I explained my situation, the customer support executive heard me out and wanted to help, and told me she would try to make an exception in my case by talking to her seniors. When I did not hear back from her on days, I called them again, my hopes raised, only to know that no such commitment was made and their policies state that they cannot make any refund or exchange in this scenario.

I was furious for two reasons - one being that the previous person did give me hopes, and second being that had this been Apple's policies for the US, they would have happily taken away the case back even if I opened the packaging. Not to forget that I indeed had purchased the phone from their website, which was in their records, this is the least they could do to support a customer instead of making the experience sour.

I had almost given up and was trying to find a buyer through my own contacts, but no luck (fortunately).

Resolution: Someone told me about consumer complaint forums, and I decided to give it a shot. You first need to sign up on - https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/ or download their app and register. Do not expect an impressive shiny website, but it works.

Next, you need to submit your complaint by sharing all details possible, date of purchase, invoice details, issue, and all supporting evidence. That is all, your case is registered with them.

I did not hear back for days, and then I got a notification that my case was escalated to the next step which made me hopeful. A few more days passed, and there was no intimation or update of any kind after which out of the blue I received a call from Apple's International team, who told me that they will exchange the product and give me the right product as soon as the return is made! I could hardly believe my ears, Justice had been served!

Soon the original wrong product was picked up from my address, and the correct model's case is finally delivered to me, 2 months to get a resolution but still better than Rs.5900 going down the drain.

It is indeed a powerful feeling to know that as a consumer if you are right and deserve resolutions, there are means to get it done. I am grateful to the consumer forum team, and by the way, did I mention that they do not charge any service fee/cost to get the resolution?

So next time you are wrongly charged, duped, or not given proper resolution and have tried all other means, do try making a grievance application here. I would remind you to be patient, and I would also urge you not to misuse the facility by making false claims.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lego Super Mario Starter Course - Rental with Brickz On Wheels

 I recently stumbled upon a lego rental service called Brickz On Wheels. It is the perfect option for parents who do not want to spend or buy the set at the full price, if the kids play with it only initially for the first few days or weeks and then forget all about it (Typical kids!).

How the rental works: you pay the one-time rental of subscribing to their 3-month silver/gold plans + pay a deposit. Then you select from the variety of sets available, and they will ship it to your address.

Watch this unboxing + building video we made for the Lego Super Mario Starter Course we rented:


Pros of renting a lego set:
  • You/Your child gets to play with more lego sets and get variety rather than sticking to one at the same price. So overall, cost-effective.
  • You don't have to worry about storing the sets, if you lack space, you play and you return it back.
  • Since the child is aware that they have the set only for a couple of weeks, they will utilize those 2-3 weeks very well in playing with the set instead of spending time on a screen.
  • If you are a serious lego collector, this is a good opportunity to try the set before you consider buying it.
Cons of renting a lego set:
  • I think the only thing to take care of and remember is, if your child is between the age group of 6-8, they are not matured enough to keep all the pieces properly, and there is a chance of pieces going missing if you aren't there to monitor. If you do not return all the pieces, the set cannot be used by others, and money may be deducted from your deposit depending on how many pieces are missing.

So, as long as the kids are careful, understand, and take responsibility for keeping the set properly, and you are attentive and present when they're playing (for the younger lego fans) - then do try renting lego sets! Brickz On Wheels has amazing sets that can be rented, do check them out! I cannot wait to rent the passenger train, space rocket, Porsche, and other cool sets that they have!


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Make your guests remember the visit! Unique home & decor products from 'Exclusivelane'.

 The first article of 2021, so let me start by wishing everyone a #HappyNewYear! May this new year bring good health and an abundance of happiness! We have been most lucky to meet our loves ones in the past few months, where there have been travel and other relaxations. Nothing can be compared to talking to your friends and relatives over a cuppa coffee or a good meal!


I wanted to buy some things for my home, and be ready to welcome guests once again, and stumbled upon this wonderful site called exclusivelane.com. Just like their name says, they have a very well-curated range of home decor, kitchen, garden, accessories, and a lot of other things for you and your home!


Let me quickly show you what I purchased in about 2000INR.


1. Hand-painted half-cup set of 2:

If you're an ardent chai and coffee lover like me, who can have it any time of the day, you must have definitely tried to cut down on the portions and ask for "aadhi cup chai" or half cup coffee. When your guests ask you for just half a cup of tea next time, serve it in this literal half cup, and see their reaction! The unique cups are definitely conversation starters, microwave safe, and look amazing. The only downside is they aren't the most comfortable for daily use I felt - as you have to be a bit careful when placing it down or drinking out of it - not for clumsy folks.

 

2. Hand-painted salt and pepper shaker set of 2:

We needed to get new shakers, and instead of getting the typical ones, I loved these hand-painted ones with cute huts and houses made on them. And the best thing is, if you like the print, they have an entire collection of plates, platters, etc - so you can also have the entire theme if you are looking at having the entire set. They're really cute, so the next time you are adding seasoning to your dishes, you are also appreciating art at the same time!

3. Sheesha Wood spice box with spoon

While the box is sold as a spice box in their store, it actually is a box of endless possibilities! A good quality wooden box with compartments that you can use to fill with spices, or fill with mouth-fresheners and supaaris for your guests, or even fill with a variety of candy for your lil guests. And not just that, you can also use it to organize and store your trinkets - rings, pendants, or any other nick-nacks. 

They also have wonderful planters, jewelry and so much more - that you can buy for yourself or even gift to someone if you're looking for a unique and not mass-produced gift option!

All the items were shipped in careful packaging, since they are delicate items, and came to be intact, and it took about a week for the items to be delivered.

The best part is that they support local artisans, and you can also see different artisans featured on their page - so if you are someone who is "Vocal for Local" too, then this site should definitely be explored. Happy Shopping!

Also check out, Exclusivelane.com Valentine's Day Store - Gifts for Her