Finally – the real taste


This is the kind of cauliflower we get off supermarket shelves here

I was missing the real taste of of the real Punjabi style cauliflower for the last many years.
But that changed a couple of days ago when the first “flower” emerged from our little organic garden.
Rajubhai, the gardener, proudly showed off the “harvest” and suggested it be cooked immediately so that it doesn’t get stale.
We’ve always had some very white and rather good looking cauliflower to buy off the supermarket shelves here in Bahrain but have always lamented the fact it’s never the same as what we had back home. No matter what we did, the flowers kind of collapsed in a heap, making it a sort of cauliflower mash rather than pieces of the vegetable. That’s certainly not how it’s supposed to be.
But this specimen off our garden wasn’t exactly white as can be seen in the picture and it wasn’t as ‘close knit’ at the once we get here. But, even raw, it was sweet and had very large leaves.
Cooking it was, again, a revelation. It was the exact taste we’d been looking for. The pieces were intact (and not a mash) on the table and the mixture of potatoes was nicely done as well. Finally, we had the taste – after several years.
The only explanation: What we get, and have been eating all these years, is certainly not the real thing. Whether locally grown or imported, it certainly is artificially-fed with all kinds of chemicals and nutrition. That, perhaps, gives it the very white colour and the “packed” look, severely compromising on taste.
Needless to say, the entire flower went into the pan in one go, along with a generous helping of potatoes – and it lasted us three meals – we had only cauliflower and Indian flatbread!
There are still around half a dozen plants – too bad there’s only one flower per plant – awaiting ‘harvest’ and we are looking forward to that! The crop will last a month, maybe more, and that means we’ll have our fill of the real thing.
Too bad commercial agriculture uses chemical fertlizer and ruins everything. But I guess that’s the way it is now with the burgeoning population and less availability of land. I wish we could grow in the backyard what we need so there would be no need to shop, at least for vegetables.
Easier said than done, though! Might as well make cauliflower while the garden blooms.




The archway at the Fort

Fort1.JPGKnown as Dilmun in ancient times, Bahrain’s rich trading history is reflected in numerous archaeological digs around the island. Qalat al-Bahrain site (Bahrain Fort site) is among the most exciting of them and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort is located atop a 17.5 hectare artificial hill that has been built while enduring over 4,000 years of continuous occupation. It is also the site of the former capital of Dilmun and is one of the most prolific archaeological digs in the Arabian Gulf. Excavations over the past 50 years have revealed residential, public, commercial, and military structures that testify to the importance of that location over the centuries. Open to the public since 2008, the site museum display area consists of 5 exhibition halls organized around the massive Tell Wall with over 500 artifacts showcased and many interesting layers of its historical legacy have been revealed which is further highlighted with the use of an audio guide available to visitors.

Source: The archway at the Fort

My Ghost Story

On reading this again this morning, I decided to re-blog in knowing more people would read it that had done more than three years ago when this blog was in its infancy!


kalka-shimla-railway The service gaps within the tunnel where we supposedly fell

kasauli The area where we had been trekking

As I sat watching ‘My Ghost Story’ on television last night, I recalled the “ghost” I had “experienced” as a teenager way back in the late 70s during a trek in the hills.
As three of us made our way up to the small hamlet of Kasuali in the Shivalik Hills from the “foot” of the mountain at Kalka, near Chandigarh, we wanted to take a short-cut through a railway tunnel.
After all, we thought, we could shorten our climb by a few hundred meters if we made our way inside and even if the toy train on the route arrived, we would easily outrun it and exit before harm was done.
While two of us decided to take the plunge, the third chickened out, fearing the worst. But barely had we covered…

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Bahrain’s Christian cemetery

I wasn’t aware until that Bahrain has a second cemetery for Christians and that, too, in the heart of the one of the country’s most congested neighbourhoods.
Salmabad, as it is known, is not only home to hundreds of thousands of blue-collared expatriate workers, it is also one of Bahrain’s most well-known workshop areas, where one can repair anything and everything – from automobiles to electrical gadgets and get anything ‘constructed’ from scratch, to fit any specifications!
I have always known there is a historic cemetery in the Gudaibya neighbourhood and that’s it. However, when I decided to take a walk as I waited for the car to get fixed, I happened to see the sign pointing towards the place.
As I researched, it emerged that the graveyard dates back to several decades ago and complements the Old Christian Cemetery, which was first established in Gudaibiya in 1901.
Among those buried there are victims of a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) crash on August 22, 1948 that killed seven people; the August 23, 2000 Gulf Air crash that killed 143 people, and the Al Dana dhow tragedy on March 30, 2006, when 58 people were killed aboard a converted fishing boat that capsized off the coast of Muharraq.
Some are war graves, British servicemen as well as victims of the Air France crashes that happened in Bahrain years ago.
These cemeteries contain history, stories of the community and their presence in Bahrain.