Pan-tossed Herb Potatoes

I love potatoes cooked in every form, in every meal of the day.  Baked, mashed, fried or roasted… potato is an all time comfort and staple food.
Did you know, potatoes have these compounds called kukoamines which are known to lower blood pressure?

This recipe is absolutely no work and whole lot of fun. Fun to make, fun to eat. Ensure you cook lot of it, as its just gonna fly straight off the pan within seconds.
Crispy Herb PotatoesPreparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
1 kg Russet Potatoes. Well, that’s a jazzy name for our noble potatoes 🙂
5 – 6 cloves of garlic, skin on
Big knob of Butter
3 tbsps Olive oil / any vegetable oil
1 tsp dried Oregano
A sprig of Rosemary
Chopped Corriander
A tsp of Lemon Zest
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. Cut potatoes in quarters or medium size cubes, skin on.
2. Boil them till done.
3. Drain in a colander and leave aside till the steam evaporates completely. Any steam left in them will make the spuds go soggy.
We want a soft inside and crispy outside.
4. Heat oil in a pan and pop in the potatoes.
5. Toss the garlic cloves in.
6. Sprinkle oregano, salt, pepper, sprig of rosemary and lemon zest.
7. Cube the butter and leave the cubes around the pan so all the potatoes are covered. Butter not only enhances the flavor of the dish, but also gives certain glaze to it.
8. This recipe needs more tossing than stirring. Prevents any physical damage to the cubes 🙂
Cook till the spuds are crispy and done.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander, a generous squeeze of lime and serve hot with ketchup.

P.S.: Don’t be wary of the garlic and chuck it. It tastes sweet, creamy and equally great 🙂

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Tudor Retreat, Khopoli

Breakfast swinging by the lake, morning stroll breathing in that fresh fresh village air, losing yourself in the vignette of the sun going down behind the hills and the silence interrupted by just the sound of your swing….sounds surreal. But a weekend at Tudor Retreat and you’ll know how desperately you needed this bucolic and tranquil interlude.
SunsetLali along with her pups leads your way as you take a morning stroll.
MorningWonder how many monsoons this big guy has seen. Takes me back to the summer vacations spent in my native, Malvan, when my granny would take us kids to collect mangoes, cashews and tamarind.
The oakTudor Retreat is in Khopoli, a quaint little town perched in the lap of the Sahyadris. I’d been to this place years ago. Things haven’t changed much, except for the additional couple of cottages. Maitre D, Mrs. Khan, a septuagenarian toughie runs the show. From booking to checkout, she manages everything. Woah!
EntranceIntersecting the limpid waters to one side and hills abutting the other, this place is crazily elusive and awefully quiet. Silence is palpable, punctuated by the frequent chirps of egrets or just the rustling of dry weathered leaves.
Lake view
Accommodation:
The resort is more like a BnB. There are cottages for couples, honeymooners and big groups. Lake-view Cottage: The room is basic. By basic, I mean real basic. Take a look.
RoomWho needs entertainment when you have sunbathing snakes and gorgeous kingfishers for company. Look at this guy, sticking his head out and about to writhe in. He so righteously has all the lake to himself.
Snake

The room opens to a seperate dining area peering straight into the lake. There are couple of swings in here too.
Dining tableThere’s one more right outside the room and a fence away from the lake. I could swing for hours, unperturbed, with no company – books, laptop, cell or humans… all by myself… Sorry Oniel, not even you 😛
There’s also a machan-like structure atop this room. Bingo!!!

Honeymoon Cottage: No lake view here. It has its own perks though – privacy and peace. Its away from the cottages that are rented out to bigger groups.
One look from the outside and it ricochets  you to those cutesy traditional houses in Goa and Malvan.
Honeymoon Cottage

Food: Wholesome, homemade and delectable. Ingredients are sourced freshly from a nearby market. You have to message Mrs. Khan your meal preference, a day prior to check-in.
Breakfast is replete with nutty poha or upma, bread-butter-jam, omlette, biscuits, fresh cut fruits, tea/coffee.
BreakfastGorge on the ghee soaked chapatis, lip-smacking spicy chicken, steamed rice, daal and gajar halwa for lunch.
LunchHow about some crispy Pakodas and piping hot coffee…by the lake…watching the sun go down…
SnacksEnd your day with yummy chicken biryani and fish curry for dinner.
Dinner

Amenities:
Ample parking space, hot water throughout the day and room service.
Carrom and table tennis keep you entertained indoors.
Dining: Eat in your room or dine here in the open.
DiningGarden: Keep your little ones occupied in the manicured lawn dotted with swings, slides and see-saws.
GardenTake a walk within the property hemmed by the beautiful bougainvilleas or just lounge by the lake… you have the time of the world to get lost in each other’s company.
Walk through

Service:
Yogesh, the care-taker will leave you his cell and kitchen land-phone numbers. Dial up whenever you need anything and you are attended to in a short while. There is no intercom facility here.
I really wish, Mrs. Khan had invested in service-training her staff. There’s no room service in the morning, unless you ask for it. Wonder when the upholstery and bed linen had a last wash.
Rooms and furniture need maintenance.
Tariff: Rs. 3000 a night, 12 hours precisely, including all meals.
Shout-out to Mrs. Khan at +91 9821026639 for bookings.

Commuting:
Address: Taluka Khalapur, Off Old Mumbai-Pune Highway, Karjat-Khopoli, Kalote Mokashi, Maharashtra – 410202.
Directions: The place is around 70 kms from Mumbai, i.e. roughly 3 hours drive.
Put your Google Maps on to Khopoli. After taking the exit to Khopoli, ask the map or the villagers for Nishiland Water Park (it no more exits, but serves as a landmark).
Remember, there are no signboards that’ll come to your rescue. So keep an eye for these pointers:
1.There are couple of petrol pumps on the way. Ask the locals for lake Kalote or village Mokashi.
2.25 kms drive later, keep looking for a huge aeroplane mascot to your left. There’s an elusive little left turn adjacent to it.
3.Once you achieve this feat, buzz Mrs. Khan and she’ll guide you till your destination. The road ahead is villagy, rustic and fun.

Go here. Chances are you’ll end up cancelling your drive back to this crazy city pandemonium and spending your Monday blues swinging away besides the serene, beckoning lake.