Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Before I review the latest movie in the batman trilogy, let me refresh your memory of the first two.

While not a big fan of superhero movies, I still managed to watch all three movies.

Batman Begins (2005)

I didn’t go to watch this movie in the cinema but was able to watch it on TV. I found the movie ok but as any other super hero movie; I did not feel that it was anything exceptional. I liked the fact that batman’s alter ego, the billionaire Bruce Wayne is so rich unlike most other super heroes.

Overall it was nice to watch but you could easily forget it soon after.

The Dark Knight (2008)

I went and watch this movie in the cinema. It was really hyped in Australia because just before the movie’s release, the Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment after an accidental drug overdose. He played the part of The Joker in the movie.

This film was really nice and Heath Ledger’s performance definitely lived up to the hype.  The Dark Knight is a darker, more melancholic film than previous Batman films. Gotham City is more depressing and more real than previous films.

Heath Ledger as The Joker delivers the most intense performance of all. I believe The Joker garnered more attention in this movie than the Batman himself.

Christopher Nolan definitely delivered something unique with this film, and it shows. The performance of Ledger alone is what makes this film so unique, so good and it stands in a category by itself.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Yesterday we went and watched the The Dark Knight Rises and it was such a brilliant movie. A nicely constructed plot, a little unrealistic at some points, but overall a really good action thriller.

Anne Hathaway was perfect as Catwoman.

The story begins slow and then rises into a massively thrilling and epic finale.

I didn’t like the villain Bane with a mouth mask. He got this scary voice and stone-cold killer but I still think Joker was a great villain. The movie starts in slow pace but when batman decided to return, it gets really exciting.

And how cool is his Batmobile and Batpod.

The ending was superb as the finale for the trilogy. Both I and AS really enjoyed the two and a half hour of entertainment.

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Jamie Oliver Szechuan stir fry with chicken and brown rice

I have always loved Jamie Oliver as a chef. His cooking is so heart warming and yummy. I really like that he uses his hands instead of just a knife to do things in the kitchen making me feel like he is cooking at home. Anyway, I recently bought a Jamie Oliver 20 minutes meals app for my Android phone. So today we decided to try one of the recipes called Jamie Oliver Szechuan Stir Fry with Jasmine rice. It was so easy and quick. As I was cleaning the house, I asked my husband to get the ingredients ready. He thought he would surprised me and cooked the whole meal by himself. I am really impressed as it turned to be yummy and he just had to followed the recipe.

He used brown rice instead of jasmine rice as it is more healthy.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless, chicken highs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (Timur in Nepali)
  • 150g brown rice
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2cm fresh ginger
  • 1/2 medium red pepper
  • 1 small bunch spring onion
  • 50g unsalted peanuts
  • 2 small dried red chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce
  • sea salt

Steps

  • Fill your kettle and put it in to boil. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting and place your bowls in the oven to warm.
  • Fill the saucepan with the boiling water and place on a high heat. Once boiling, add the rice and simmer according to packet instructions until the rice to cooked. If you  have rice cooker, you can use that.
  • Meanwhile pick the coriander leaves and put to one side. Finely hop the stalks.
  • Place the wok on a medium heat.
  • Peel the garlic and ginger and slice into matchsticks. De-seed and finely slice the red pepper. Trim and slice the spring onions.
  • Slice the chicken thighs into strips and pop in a bowl with a splash of soy sauce to marinate.
  • Add the peanuts to the hot wok and toast for a few seconds until they start to smell roasted and delicious. Tip out onto a plate and put to one side.
  • Return the wok to the heat and add a splash of vegetable oil.
  • Bash up the dried chillies with Szechuan peppercorns in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add the chicken strips to the hot wok. Turn the heat up to high and season well with salt.
  • Add the bashed up chilli and peppercorns to the wok then stir-fry quickly until the chicken starts to turn golden. Meanwhile…
  • When the rice is done, drain it in a sieve then place the sieve back over the warm saucepan and cover with a lid.
  • Throw the garlic and ginger into the wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the coriander stalks, spring onions and red pepper and stir-fry for another minute or two until the chicken strips are cooked through.
  • Add the cornflour and sweet chilli sauce to the wok with a splash of soy sauce and toss everything together. Turn the heat off.
  • Make you table look respectable – get the cutlery, salt and pepper and drinks laid out nicely.
  • Add a good pinch of salt to the rice. Get your warmed bowls out of the oven and divide the rice between them.
  • Spoon the stir-fry over the rice, scatter each portion with your toasted peanuts and coriander leaves and tuck in!

You may also like :

*Jamie’s Crackin’ Crab Briks, Couscous Salad & Salsa *Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala *Jamie Oliver’s Dan Dan Noodles

P&O Cruise from Dover (UK) to Calais (France)

At the end of our stay in London we joined our tour company in London and from there we started our European adventures. From London they took us to Dover where we boarded a P&O Cruise to Calais, France.

A cruise holiday has also been in my list for a long time as there are so many cruise holidays that I can do around the pacific region at a not-too-expensive price. Being on this short cruise gave me a rough idea of what it would be like. The cruise was around 2 hours.

Once we were given a pass for the Cruise in our tour bus, we were told that it would depart in an hour so we waited in the café and had something to eat.

We went out and had a look around for some time. It was a beautiful sunny day with a clear blue sky. Once we boarded the ship, we passed through a casino, a bar and a shop to be escorted into the big open lounge area where there were lots of chairs and tables as well as sofas to rest.

We took a seat by the window and enjoyed the outside view. Once the boat move toward France, we wandered around the ship. We found out that there was a big food court upstairs and we had some food. AS got his beer and we enjoyed the food with a  view of the ocean. It was so relaxing to look at the empty ocean.

After that, we walked around to check out the bar, casino and shopping. It was nice going through different levels and discovering different things in the ship. From there we went to the top deck and the view was great from there. We could see Dover far behind us and in front of us as long as we could see, it was all water. Also a few other P & O cruises were passing us. Even though it was a nice sunny day, it was really windy on the top deck so after a while we decide to go down to the lower deck and enjoy the view from behind the glass window.

I really enjoyed the trip and when we reached Calais, I was so excited to step on the soil of France. Finally my dream of going to (mainland) Europe had come true. There, we were escorted to our tour bus and we were off to our hotel.

Prabal Gurung: Designer in the Spotlight

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am a big fan of Prabal Gurung and his collections.

I am loving all the pretty prints in Prabal Gurung’s Pre-fall 2012 from sunglasses to shoes along with kaleidoscope pattern on dresses, dark and bold pattern with a mix of amazing silhouettes/textures from Fall 2012 and bright colourful candy-colour mixture of modern silhouettes, laser-sharp tailoring, asymmetry, and florals from Resort 2013 collections.

PRABAL GURUNG PRE FALL 2012

PRABAL GURUNG FALL 2012

PRABAL GURUNG RESORT 2013

Also, a lot more celebrities are wearing Prabal Gurung and I am so happy to see that. His success has rocketed through the sky in the last few years and yet he is still humble and grounded to his roots. Prabal Gurung is always eager to convey that he was incredibly proud to share his Nepalese heritage and that he never forgets his country. From press interviews to professional endeavours it is true that Prabal Gurung has maintained close ties with Nepal and  he mentions Nepal in almost every interview .

Recently Anne Hathaway wore R13 White Jersey Hand Draped Gown with Tulle Corset to Batman premier. Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Zoe Saldana, Barbara Bush Ashley, Greene, Olivia-Palermo, Jennifer Lawrence,  Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz, Hailee Steinfield,,Sonam Kapoor and Ginnifer Goodwin  were seen donning Prabal Gurung dresses as well.

One day I dream of wearing a Prabal Gurung dress as well and hope my dream will come true soon  🙂

You may also like :

*Prabal Gurung : A Fashion designer from Nepal *Love you, Prabal Gurung *Prabal Gurung made a 13 years old boy’s dream come true

London Calling Part III

Please read the Part I and Part II of my experience if you haven’t already. This is a continuation of that experience.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London. It is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year’s Eve.

Trafalgar Square is in the centre of London. Here you can walk along the famous Strand and go past The Savoy Hotel, or go the opposite direction and the Ancient Saint Martin-in The Field Church. Beneath it, is located a nice Coffee bar/ cafeteria/art shop set among original Tomb stones. The statues and fountains in it are beautiful.

There are lots of people sitting everywhere. Despite the number of people, it never felt crowded or overwhelming in any way, rather I found the square to have an oddly calming effect.

When you were there, the Olympic countdown clock was in display .

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House. It’s beautiful, vibrant, and there are a lot of talents—opera, rock and roll singers, magicians, street performers, etc. very fun. There are so many things to see and do, eat and taste. We ate Paella and it was so yummy.

The little market at one end of Covent Garden is full of souvenir and little gifts. The shops themselves are more up market and you can find some more interesting stuff.

Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben 

While we were in London, we were there every day. I think we spent so much time on Westminster Bridge that I have hundreds of photos with backdrop of Big Ben, Parliament house and London eye. 🙂

 The House of Parliament looks so stunning. We got so many photos in front of it as well. The building is beautiful, inside and out with a very rich history to add character to the whole experience.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is generally extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower as well. The clock tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower.

 Westminster Abbey

I was really looking forward to seeing the Abbey since I really liked it when I saw in during Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

As we had a London Pass, we had free entry to the Abbey but normally you need to pay to get in. The architecture is impressive on both exterior and interior. It is a beautiful building.

The Abby was founded in AD 960 as a Benedictine monastery and is now part of the Church of England. Each visitor is given a map and audio device at the Information Desk in the north transept. Each room is numbered to correspond with the device so visitors can meander at their own pace.

It has the tombs of so many famous royals like Mary and Elizabeth’s tomb, Mary of Scot’s Tomb, Longshank’s Tomb as well as famous poets and writers like T.S. Eliot, William Wordsworth, D.H. Lawrence. Before I went there I had no idea that it was the final resting place for so many people; I had thought it was like a church where people go to pray.

One cannot help but step on memorials as they’re laid out on the floor. Apparently Winston Churchill refused to be buried there saying “I’ve had people walk all over me in life, why have it done in death”.

We also viewed the coronation chair which is the oldest piece of furniture in Britain still in use for its original purpose. There is a little coffee bar next to the Cloisters where we enjoyed coffee and cake.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch.

As we were there just before the Golden Jubilee celebration, there were lots of construction going on but I still really liked the palace. We didn’t get the opportunity to go in but the Palace is spectacular, opulent, historical and a pleasure to see.

Thames River Cruise

As part of the London Pass., we could hop on and off as many times as we wanted in one day in the Thames River Cruise boats.

We took a cruise from Westminster pier to the Tower Bridge pier. It was a nice sunny day so we had lots of fun. Along the way we saw many popular sites like 30 St Mary’s Axe (informally known as The Gerkin) and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The guide was funny and full of useful information.  The boat was full so it was not possible to move around but we were in the front of the boat so we managed to take lots of photos.

I really liked London and England overall and hope to go back to see more of England one day. Scotland is hot in my list for the next trip there. 🙂

Please click here for more photos.

Dip Prasad Pun

Today I want to introduce you all to Dip Prasad Pun . He is a British Gurkha soldier. Here is some information I compiled from the internet.

Dip Prasad Pun single-handedly defeated more than 30 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan earlier 2011. For his bravery, he has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) by the Queen. It is the second highest bravery award in the United Kingdom, after the Victoria Cross.

He was also awarded with Pride of Britain Award for an act of bravery during the War in Afghanistan on the night of September 17, 2010.

Cpl Pun, an acting sergeant during his Afghan deployment, was on sentry duty at the time of the attack when he heard a clinking noise outside the small base. At first he thought it might be a donkey or a cow, but when he went to investigate he found two insurgents digging a trench to lay an improvised explosive device (IED) at the checkpoint’s front gate. He realised that he was completely surrounded and that the Taliban were about to launch a well-planned attempt to overrun the compound.

The enemy opened fire from all sides, destroying the sentry position where the soldier had been on duty minutes before. Defending the base from the roof, the Gurkha remained under continuous attack from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47s for more than a quarter of an hour. Most of the militants were about 50ft away from him, but at one point he turned around to see a ‘huge’ Taliban fighter looming over him. The soldier picked up his machine gun and fired a long burst at the man until he fell off the roof.

When another insurgent tried to climb up to his position, the Gurkha attempted to shoot him with his SA80 rifle. But it did not work, either because it had jammed or because the magazine was empty. He first grabbed a sandbag but it had not been tied up and the contents fell to the floor. Then he seized the metal tripod of his machine gun and threw it at the approaching Taliban militant, shouting in Nepali ‘Marchu talai’ (‘I will kill you’) and knocking him down.

Two insurgents were still attacking by the time the heroic Gurkha had used up all his ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them. At this point his company commander, Major Shaun Chandler, arrived at the checkpoint, slapped him on the back and asked if he was OK.

In total he fired off 250 general purpose machine gun rounds, 180 SA80 rounds, six phosphorous grenades, six normal grenades, five underslung grenade launcher rounds and one Claymore mine.

Upon receiving the award, Corporal Pun said that he had no choice but to fight; the reason being that the Taliban had surrounded his checkpoint, and that he was alone.  “At that time I wasn’t worried, there wasn’t any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint, I was alone. I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I’d kill as many of them as I could before they killed me. That incident happened in the middle of my tour and after that I thought nobody can kill us now – when we met the enemy I wasn’t scared.”

During the engagement, Pun saved the lives of three of his comrades and prevented his post from being overrun. His actions are cited as “the bravest seen in his battalion during two hard tours”.

Pun originally hails from Bima in western Nepal, and lives with his wife Shobha in Ashford. His grandfather and father both served with the Gurkhas.

Chhaithi for my nephew

AS I mentioned in my post Nwaran and Pasni previously, there a so many rituals in Hindu culture when one has  a baby. Now that I have a nephew, we need to follow the rituals and one of them is called Chhaithi (sixth day) as it is performed on the sixth day after a child’s birth. So yesterday I went to my brother’s place after work to celebrate the Chhaithi of my little nephew.

For Chhaithi, the fufu (baby’s dad’s sister, or the baby’s paternal aunt) will need to bring some koseli (gifts for the baby) which includes fruits and sweet along with a new pair of clothes for the baby. She will also bring a notebook and a pen/pencil.

So to start the Chhaithi, the fufu sits with the infant on the ground and they are be surrounded by 12 oil lamps (diyo, we used tea light candles instead) and one more diyo is also lighted for god.  A puja thali is prepared which is used to put tika on baby’s forehead. Then the baby will be changed into the new clothes.

After that everyone else (starting from the fufus) will put tika on the baby’s forehead and give some money or other gifts to the fufu. The last one will be the baby’s father who will give some gift to his sister and take the baby from her.

After the ceremony when the baby goes to sleep, the notebook and pen is kept on his bed side along with one of the candles. It is believed until that day , the baby’s fortune is not written so that night, god will come and write his fortune using that notebook and pen.

Proud Parents

It was my first experience to be a part of baby’s life from their early days. I really enjoyed it. This Friday we will be celebrating his Nwaran.

BTW, they have a name for the baby now and I will be referring him as Baby BJ from now on.