Simple, tasty food

in daily life, Food, Kathmandu | No Comments »

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The photo above is an example of everything I love about Nepali food: it was served to me as a snack while visiting someone’s home. Everything was simple, but supremely good: a brown flour roti, some black dahl – plain but creamy, and a bowl of mixed beans and vegetables, lightly seasoned. It was all made from scratch, of course, and tasted fresh and bright, despite it all being cooked. I love the way Nepali home cooks can take the humblest of ingredients and a few spices and turn seemingly anything into a feast.

Another kind of mountain

in daily life, Food, Kathmandu, Nepal, Vegetables | No Comments »

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These might not be the kind of mountains most people think of when they think of Nepal, but at this time of year, heaps of the white daikon radish, known locally as mula, appear on the side of the road in certain parts of the city. I’m always in awe of the quantities there are. Nepalis love to pickle or ferment mula and serve it as a flavourful accompaniment to their dahl-bhat dinners. There are so many variations of mula achar; the word achar is often translated as pickle, but it is not a pickle in the way we know it–rather it almost serves as a seasoning to the plainer tasting dahl, and can be made with a wide variety of vegetables. A common version of mula achar involves julienning it before drying it in the sun, and then tossing with spices and oil before packing it into jars to mature.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it. I don’t think, however, that this farmer would sell me some in less than gargantuan proportions, so I’ll have to get some from my local vegetable seller. Ah, the local vegetable sellers I buy from–they’re a colorful cast of characters and that’s a whole story in itself!

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Happy December from Kathmandu

in daily life, Kathmandu | No Comments »

To all my regular readers (I know, I know, I’m being optimistic here), you may have noticed a dearth of posts of late. The reasons for this are several – firstly, just over two months ago I had to find a new place to live, as the owners of the house I was renting sold it rather abruptly. I was sad to leave my little pink house surrounded by rice fields and with its great view of the hills, but by a miracle I was able to find a new place–and even tinier yellow house, flanked by bamboo and cow sheds, and even closer to those hills. It has ample water — a rarity in Kathmandu, and the landlady is also really lovely. Unfortunately, my old ISP doesn’t cover the area, so I still don’t have consistent internet, a fact that should be sorted soon but has kept me offline more than usual. Then, a few weeks ago, my laptop broke down, which kept me offline even more; gratefully, I’ve got it back today–so you should be hearing from me more, now.
Happy December, everyone!

What to do in Kathmandu? Mustang Photo Exhibit

in activities, Kathmandu, Nepal | No Comments »

On Wednesday, I was at Baber Mahal Revisted on a writing assignment for Friday, the weekly paper I do regular restaurant reviews for. While there I took a few minutes to check out the new photo exhibition that had just opened the day before at the Siddhartha Gallery.

If, like me, you are fascinated with Mustang, the remote area in northern Nepal with a unique Tibetan culture, you should make the time to visit and see these photos. Taken by Italian photographer Luigi Fieni, they are are a record of 16 summers he spent in Mustang while working with conservation projects there. There are stunning photos of scenery, beautiful gems of local people, and on the top floor a photographic record of the restoration of ancient murals by ordinary people.

The exhibit runs through November 12, 2014, it’s free, and well worth a visit: Siddhartha Gallery, Baber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 11 am to 6 pm, and 12 noon to 4 pm on Saturdays.

Perfect Afternoon

in activities, puzzle | No Comments »

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This was taken last Friday–a relaxing after school activity with some of my favourite people. The puzzle was a gift from a friend, and the first time the girls have ever tried a 500 piece puzzle. (She gave us a 1000 piece one, too, so that’s up next.)

I’m not sure who had more fun: them or me; puzzles rock!

 

Serendipity

in daily life, published | No Comments »

I was travelling for a bit in July (more on that soon) and when I got back I had some trouble hunting down the issue of Fr!day that my last food review was printed in. Fr!day (or Friday) is a weekly publication that I’ve been doing regular restaurant reviews for, and the publisher was all out of copies.

While flipping through the daily newspapers and magazines yesterday at Dan Ran, a homey Japanese restaurant in Patan, I had the idea to ask if they had any Fr!day back issues. The waiter disappeared into a back room and returned brandishing a copy.

“We only have one,” he said apologetically.

Happily, it was the right one, and he had no problem with me keeping it.

Which is how I discovered that it’s the second time that I’ve had an article published in a magazine with Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bhansa Acharya on the cover. This comedic duo, known locally as “MaHa” are without doubt Nepal’s most famous comedians, and have been for years now, since a comedy audio cassette tape they made together back in 1981. Since then they’ve moved into TV, film, and sell out live performances, and they somehow manage to touch on relevant and meaningful social issues in their humour, too.

The articles of mine in the two publications below were not related to them in any way, but it made me smile to see them on the covers, and honoured to share the space.

bMaR8601WM                    Friday cover 230

Important note if you’ve tried to contact me

in writing | No Comments »

Unfortunately, due to a hosting glitch, any messages sent to me via the e-mail address on my contact page are lost in the ether and did NOT reach me. I’ve just found out about this and it has now been fixed, but if you’ve tried to contact me at all in the last couple months and did not receive a response, it’s because I didn’t get your message. Thanks for resending any communications, and I look forward to hearing from you.