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Lemon Emigrant on a Jasmine flower

An evening of indulgence

It was an evening of indulgence at the launch of  the Kotak Privy League Signature credit card at the iconic Hard Rock CafĂ©...

The special performance by the Classic Rock Band, Retro Norm was awesome...

The evening included great gourmet food and cocktails.
The Margarita was good...

So was the Chivas Regal scotch...

Hope there will be a mad rush to grab a Kotak Privy League Signature credit card...

You can know more about the unique features of the Kotak Privy League Signature credit card here.

Banana Muffins

The recently acquired silicon baking cups make baking so much fun. They are non-stick, reusable, brightly colored, flexible and so easy to clean. 

Tip: As silicon, unlike paper, does not breathe, it is better to cool the muffins outside of the cups. Those cooled inside the cups were a little gluey. 

Rain Lilies welcome the Monsoon

My terrace garden is bursting with Rain Lilies!

The wonderful monsoon season has caused a riot of colors...

Rain lilies bloom usually a few days after a rain

The flowering cycle can be artificially triggered by leaving them dry for a week. Water them a bit later and up they come.

Care should be taken with the plants since many of the parts, leaves, bulbs etc. are currently considered toxic.

Common Names: fairy lily, rainflower, zephyr lily, magic lily, Atamasco lily, and rain lily.
Binomial Name: Zephyranthes

The Nutmeg story

On my recent trip to Kerala, I found a Nutmeg tree during one of the early morning photo walks.
Nutmeg is a tropical evergreen tree important for two spices derived from the fruit: Nutmeg and Mace.

The ripe fruit splits and drops to the ground to eject the seed.

This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices - Nutmeg, the egg shaped seed and Mace, the "lacy" reddish aril of the seed.

I collected these fallen Nutmeg seeds...

Nutmeg, along with cinnamon, cloves and dry ginger gave amazing flavors to this Plum Cake I baked yesterday...

Some trivia on Nutmeg

Nutmeg contains hallucinogens and was fashionable in Europe in the 1600s for its hallucination inducing properties. It was also considered an aphrodisiac.

The spice has been used for centuries as a form of snuff in Indonesia and India for intoxication.

It is used along with Cinnamon and clove in Christmas cakes and eggnogs because it helps keep the body warm in the cold season. The hallucinogens makes you feel good and cheerful during the festivities.

It helps to relieve from stomachaches.

In the 17th century the British and the Dutch were competing to get control of the Nutmeg growing lands.

The Dutch waged a bloody war, including the massacre and enslavement of the inhabitants of the island of Banda, just to control nutmeg production in 1621.

As per wikipedia, in 1760, the price of nutmeg in London was 85 to 90 shillings per pound, a price kept artificially high by the Dutch voluntarily burning full warehouses of nutmegs in Amsterdam.

As a result of the Dutch interregnum during the Napoleonic Wars, the British took temporary control of the Banda Islands from the Dutch and transplanted nutmeg trees (complete with soil) to Sri Lanka, to Penang, to Bencoolen and to Singapore.

There is this interesting story of how the Dutch traded Manhattan to gain control of a Nutmeg producing island from the British. Read the story by Jane McGrath - Did the Dutch really trade Manhattan for Nutmeg?

Connecticut gets its nickname ("the Nutmeg State", "Nutmegger") from the legend that some unscrupulous Connecticut traders would whittle "nutmeg" out of wood, creating a "wooden nutmeg" (a term which came to mean any fraud).