Tales from the land of Maharajahs, tigers and spices: the books I read in India

By Emma.

India has a space programme. Its defence budget for 2014 is 2.24 trillion rupees (that’s EUR 26.1 billion or US $36 billion). Yet, in India, the level of female illiteracy is heartbreaking. The literacy rate for the lower caste women in rural Rajasthan is less than 5%, the lowest in India.  It’s  something I just can’t understand. The figures rob the room of oxygen. Feeling powerless, I began the search for a charity to support. I chose Educate Girls ( learn more and contribute to change here).

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Dipped in paradise in the Andaman Islands

by Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.

It’s hard to put into words the toe-curling bliss of Havelock Island. The tugging, lulling warmth of the impossibly blue water, the corner-of-the-eye bustling of hermit crabs on frosted beaches, the beautiful stretches of luxurious solitude, a coconut swing swaying in a perfect breeze; it is a place of absolute happiness.

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Delhi and Kolkata – big city blues

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.

Delhi and Kolkata – oh my. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea in the world to string India’s largest cities one after the other onto our itinerary reel. Looking back on the cracks the cities made in my sense of the world, I’d say it definitely wasn’t a good idea.

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Passages (obligés) en métropoles : Delhi et Kolkata

Par Damien. Click here for Emma’s post. Et cliquez ici pour l’album photos!

Apres notre passionnant voyage au Rajasthan et avant de découvrir un joyau méconnu de l’Inde, on fait escale en métropole, puisque le train nous dépose à Delhi, d’ou on s’envolera pour Calcutta, point de départ vers les Iles Andaman et Nicobar.

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Firni – a rice pudding cure in Kolkata

By Emma.

While Damien drifted in and out of a fever in Kolkata, I generally just flapped about on a treasure hunt for paracetemol, cold drinks and something he could eat. I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across this chime of Normandy, a Teurgoule in Indian guise. Here is a recipe I really like from the beautiful blog, The Tiffin Box.

Ingredients

170 g basmati rice

710 ml whole milk

237 ml cream

56 g sugar

1 pod cardamom (I’m abit wary of cardamom so for me less is more. The original recipe asks for 2 pods), seeds removed and crushed lightly

A generous pinch of saffron

A handful of unsalted pistachios, shelled and chopped roughly

Method:

1. Put the rice in a food processor or blender, and whirl until coarsely powdered.

2. Place the powdered rice in a heavy pot, then add the milk and crushed cardamom seeds.

3. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes, stirring ocasionally, until the rice is tender and cooked. For some texture, slightly undercook the rice.

4. Add the cream and the sugar, and stir. Add the saffron. Bring the heat back up to medium, and cook until the pudding is thick and creamy.

5. This dessert can be served warm or cold. If serving cold, pour into small bowls and chill in the fridge until set.

6. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios on top.

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