It’s FIFA World Cup time and we soccer loving Indians have tough time staying awake for the second match of the day that’s happening post midnight. Some good tea or coffee can help keep your eyes wide open but then they might actually spoil your sleep after the match is over!
Well, I have the right solution which is my latest cocktail experiment – the Tequila Iced Tea!
This simple recipe has the goodness of the tea that can refresh you by right levels and negate a bit of kick that the alcohol adds. And it’s not as bad as a Long Island Tea in terms of the hangover nor it takes away the taste and aroma of tequila – in fact it enhances it, I thought.
Tequila – 1.5 oz (about 45ml)
Lipton Iced Tea Lemon flavoured, chilled – 180ml
Lime slices – 2 to 3
Fresh mint leaves – 3 to 4
Sugar syrup – 1 teaspoon (optional for the calorie concerned)
Ice cubes – 5 to 6
(Please note that if the iced tea is not lemon flavoured, you will have to add a tablespoon of lime juice and sugar syrup. The other option is to add half an ounce of sweet and sour mix)
As easy as 1-2-3! Shake tequila, sugar syrup and iced tea well. Pour into a 250ml highball glass with lime slices, ice cubes and mint leaves. Stir with a straw and…
It’s not hard on you and keeps you fresh for the cause.
Oh well, I hope to hold on till the end of Costa Rica – Holland encounter with this one in my hand!
Ever since I posted my article on Midcap recommendations, I have been getting emails from a few readers asking for stock recommendations, mutual fund ideas, SIP investments etc. As it is practically impossible to answer all queries by email, I thought of making it simpler by publicly posting my stock portfolio in this post (which I hope to keep updating at least once in a quarter)
Note: Before attempting to invest in any of these stocks, I strongly urge you to read through the rest of this post – especially the Disclaimer section.
My Equity Portfolio
* Last updated on 2-April-2018
1. Long Term Basket (5+ Years)
* Last action: Added more ONGC
Asian Paints Ltd
Bajaj Finance Ltd
HCL Technologies Ltd
Hindustan Uniliever Ltd
*Kotak Gold ETF
2. Medium Term Basket (6 Months to 5 Years)
(# Some of these stocks may be moved to Long Term basket later) * Last action: None
3. Short Term – Swing Trade Basket (Few Days to Weeks)
* Last action: Booked profit on Tata Motors (DVR), Added ITC
My Investor profile
I am retired Software professional who took an early retirement from the IT industry to pursue a few simpler interests in life. I have been an investor in the equity market for many years but stopped the same just about an year before my retirement due to change in risk profile. However, seeing the new majority government in action at the center (and my own need to build wealth post retirement), I decided to get back to the stock market again to ride the bull run. I intent to build a portfolio of 5-10 stocks in the coming weeks with special focus on mid caps with good valuation that I intent to keep from 6 months up to 5 years. At the same time, I plan to allocate a bigger chunk towards well known large caps and blue-chip companies with very long term view (5-25 years). There’s also some swing trade or short term positions that I hold from time to time.
By the way, direct equities form only about 20% of my overall portfolio due to my investment risk profile. I also do trading in equities once in a while but that’s more for fun. I am 99% an investor (and less of a trader) with medium to long term goals. I am also invested heavily in mutual funds (~30%) and that’s what is giving me real good returns from long term point of view. Having said that, I must say that I have the knack of picking the right stocks at the right time but since I exited them too early, I ended up having limited profits from stocks as compared to my funds. I plan to rectify this with my new approach of having buy-and-forget large/mid caps stocks in one basket, medium term picks in another and swing trade/short term picks in yet another as shown in the three tables here.
The stocks listed here are actually part of my portfolio and it doesn’t necessarily mean a recommendation to your investment goals. Further, here in this forum, I will NOT be discussing why I bought certain stocks, when I bought/sold, target price etc. All financial details, disclosures, news and research reports of the stocks mentioned here are available on portals like Bombay Stock Exchange or Moneycontrol.com. Hence, you are requested to do your own research and adjudge the suitability of the stocks mentioned here for your kind of investments.
The long term portfolio mentioned here may not be of interest to many people who are in the look out of quick bucks from the stock market. However, some of the stocks mentioned in the short to medium term portfolio (second table) may interest some of you.
Further, I am not a qualified Financial Adviser or portfolio manager to help you with your investment needs. Any loss or gain that may be resulted from investing in the stocks mentioned here may not be attributed to me.
On a daily basis we get to see a lot of unethical behaviours in public places in India. Department stores – even the up market ones in our cities – are no exception in this regard either.
The following are some of the common scenes at super market check-out counters in Bangalore and perhaps elsewhere in India as well. On your bad day, you get to see all three of these idiots at once – just like I experienced earlier this week.
IDIOT #1 is being attended by the tardy checker. When he has to pay his bill of around 2000 rupees, he first gives 1000 rupees in currency and pulls out two or three SODEXO pass books in the lowest possible denominations. He then starts tearing a few from each book, counts them, re-checks twice and sees that it’s not sufficient. He checks his wallet again for change, finds nothing and ask his wife – who has already proceeded ahead – for another 200! And you know how long it’s going to take further from that moment. That’s a good 5 minutes per customer, Thank you idiot!
IDIOT #2 is a lady, right behind the first character, who seems to be stocking up supplies good enough for 3 months for all famine hit regions in Uganda. While she’s about to shift her things from the shopping cart to the counter, she gets a call on her smart phone which is lying somewhere in her Santa bag. With great difficulty she finds it, swipes thrice to pick the call and in the process forgets the priority job. When the checker reminds her twice, she relents but with the phone in right hand, starts transferring the shopping cart items one at a time using her left hand. Needless to say, in between the call she pauses the left hand task to pick an argument on the phone. At the end, she almost matches the record set by the first idiot. Wait, is she pulling out the Sodexo passes too? What an irresponsible idiot!
IDIOT #3 is nowhere in the scene so far. But when it’s your turn and when the checker has almost started attending you, this idiot appears from nowhere and utters “Only three items saaar, Can I? “. One can understand if it’s an old person or physically challenged individual but hey, that’s not the case! It’s just another idiot who has not even learned what a ‘Queue’ is forget alone the sign boards there in. And in all probabilities, you must have seen the same idiot skipping the queue at the vegetable weighing/tagging counter as well a short while ago. What a PITA (Pain In The …)!
With numerous olive oil brands available out there in the Indian urban market, one might wonder which brand is good for your specific cooking – salad dressing needs as well as for the use on hair or body. Most importantly, one should know which type shouldn’t be used at all. Well, with this post and my latest 5 minutes video, let me explain what could work for you when it comes to olive oil in India.
(If you are too lazy to read, please watch the short video below)
If the video doesn’t appear on this page, please click this direct link
Types of Olive Oil
Olive oil is primarily available in the following broad categories:
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Virgin Olive oil
Pure Olive Oil / Refined Olive Oil
Blended Olive oil or Olive oil (i.e. the blend of Virgin and Refined)
The above is an incomplete list with different manufacturing processes changing the final outcome of the oil.
However, our primary interests are around THREE types of olive oils viz Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil and Pomace.
Without much delay we will shortlist it further by dropping Pomace from our list. Pomace is the type of oil that you SHOULD NOT BUY because it is one of the lowest grade oil that is treated with solvents and undergoes several stages of changes. AVOID POMACE although they are available at cheaper price tags. Many consider pomace oil worse than even your standard refined oils such as Soy or Sunflower oil.
(Premium) Extra Virgin Olive oil
Cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive oil is what one needs for raw (direct) usage types such as salad dressing or dips for your bread/dinner rolls etc. One should only go for premium extra virgin oil that is available in dark glass bottles. Never ever buy your expensive extra virgin oils that come in plastic bottles because the good traits of the olive oil are easily lost when it is exposed to harsh light and temperature.
By the way, the extra virgin olive oils are the best for your hair massage and body massage purposes as well. Just make sure that, they are slightly warmed (not heated) when used for massaging purposes. What I usually do is to heat an empty steel bowl for five to ten seconds, remove it from the flame and pour oil into it.
Pure Olive oil (Refined oil) and Virgin oil
This is the second grade of oil that’s good enough for cooking purposes. Pure olive oil is considered safe because it doesn’t undergo any treatment with solvents. These are filtered oils and hence good for generic cooking purposes.
Virgin oil is good for cooking as well but sometimes slightly more expensive for no reason.
By the way, when people talk about just ‘Olive oil’ it often means either refined olive oil or a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. i.e. Unless ‘Pomace’ is specifically mentioned in which case you have to stay away from the same.
(Note: Please note that any type of olive oil is NOT meant for deep frying or high-heat cooking purposes. By doing so, the olive oil gives up all its good reasons. For high heat cooking and deep frying, something like virgin coconut oil is the best as it holds well even at high temperatures)
Which Brands of Olive Oil in India should you Consider?
Disclosure: Please note that I have no association or business interest with any of these brands, their producers or marketers. My suggestions are purely based on my personal use of these brands.
For extra virgin olive oils, the best brands that I have used are Borges and Leonardo Gold. Make sure that you buy the premium variants that come in darkened glass bottles. Monini Classico is a good brand too. Please note that good quality premium extra virgin olive oil will cost you anywhere between 500 to 750 rupees per half litre. Your salads, soups, cooked vegetables and bread are going to be exceptionally tastier and healthier with the above mentioned extra virgin oils. There may be other brands too that I haven’t tried but I have this habit of going with tried and tested ones only.
For general cooking purposes, the extra virgin is expensive and hence not practical. Most of the pure or refined olive oil brands is good enough for generic cooking. What I mostly use is brands like Ibero, Figaro, Nature Fresh etc and these are usually available at a price range of 400 to 600 rupees per litre (Figaro is slightly more expensive and comes in metal cans)
That’s pretty much about olive oils types and brands. I hope this post is useful to the health freaks out there.
Just like most educated Indians, I have been avidly following all those election news, TV opinion polls, analysis on sentiments, geo-political changes etc. One thing I realized is that even those famous psephologists and some of my past idols – like Psephologist Prannoy Roy – aren’t doing a good job with respect to impartially airing their views. There’s a lot of mess on TV and Social media these days that we get to hear/read only twisted facts.
Finally, I decided to do my own state-wise analysis of the current (15th Lok Sabha) positions, changed geographical and political sentiments and analysis on newer parties. I am transferring the final outcome from Excel sheet to this blog post on what I see as the election results of Lok Sabha 2014 from the perspective of only the top 10 parties.
Please note that, I haven’t spent a lot of time on very small states and a change of +/- 5% is likely.
Top 12 Winning Parties of Lok Sabha Election 2014 (Predicted Results)
These parties are likely to be followed by NCP, TDP, TRS etc. In my opinion, AAP is likely to get 4 seats in Delhi and nothing in other states. I was tempted to think about AAP’s chances in Haryana but it is a complicated situation whereby a major shift in vote share may not necessarily get converted into a seat. In other states, I believe AAP will not do any magic and Kejriwal himself may lose on a huge margin.
Big States for BJP and Congress
The biggest state for BJP, in my opinion, would be Madhya Pradesh where the sentiments are very strong following the recent Assembly elections. This should be followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka in that order.
For Congress, it is pretty evenly distributed among Maharashtra, UP, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and other smaller states.
Now that, the BJP is likely to be single largest party and with their allies (NDA) they could get around 200 seats, it is highly likely to be a bad situation post this elections. Further, even after securing 200+ seats on their own, the current UPA II government couldn’t do much. So what would be the state of the next government if BJP doesn’t get at least 200 on their own?
Unfortunately, things don’t look all that good for India. It’s time we embraced a Two-Party political system with all regional parties forced to dismantle and align to two major national parties.
I am not a Modi, Kejriwal or Rahul fan nor do I belong to any of the above parties. Further, I was raised in a Marxist family and have been influenced by socialist principles. However, I never voted based on the party flag but went with individuals whom I thought are good and capable. I will be doing the same for this election as well.
(I wouldn’t be encouraging a discussion on this post. It is maintained only to assess myself in terms of my analytical capabilities. Further, I am doing it more as a pastime post my retirement 🙂 )
I have prepared this type of cut mango pickle numerous times in the past but got the chance to post the recipe only today – thanks to some pictures clicked during the process. So, without much blabber, let’s get into the act.
Raw mangoes – 2 medium sized
Green chillies – 10, sliced diagonally into 3 or 4 pieces
Curry leaves – 4 to 5 twigs
Garlic (optional) – 8 to 10 cloves sliced lengthwise
Gingelly oil (Sesame oil) – 2 tablespoon
Red chilli powder – 1 teasooon
Kashmiri chilli powder (Paprika) – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Big mustrard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Vinegar – 2 tablespoon
Fenugreek powder – 1 teaspoon (1 tsp seeds fresh toasted and powdered)
Asafoetida powder – ½ teaspoon (solid asafoetida toasted and powdered)
Salt – 1.5 teaspoon, or as per the tartness of the mangoes
Clean mangoes well, wipe it with a cloth and let it dry for a few minutes. Cut them into small pieces (ideally ¾ cm cubes) with the skin on. This recipe of instant Kerala mango pickle (nadan manga acchar) needs very good raw mangoes with thick skin.
In a pan, heat 2 tablespoon of gingelly oil. When the oil is really hot, add mustard seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds. Add curry leaves, garlic, sliced green chillies (beware, never add whole green chillies to heated oil as they may explode and splash hot oil) and stir fry it for about 30 seconds. Lower the heat and add chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric, salt and stir well for another 30 seconds. Turn off the stove and add vinegar when the pan is still hot. This helps in vaporizing some water content in the vinegar.
After five minutes and when the pan is still warm, add mango pieces and mix it all together very well. Yes, in this variety of pickle, we don’t cook the mangoes but it’s consumed rather raw. Sprinkle asafoetida and fenugreek powder and mix again. The mango pickle is almost ready!
In about an hour, this hot mouthwatering mango pickle can be transferred to an airtight bottle. You can start consuming this instantly though it tastes better after a couple of days. If garlic is used, it tastes good typically in a week or so.
By the way, while salt and gingelly oil are good preservatives, whatever little moisture the ingredients hold is good enough to spoil the pickle in a few days. Hence, if you can’t consume it within 4-5 days, you may have to refrigerate it.
Postscript: Gingely oil, Fenugreek powder and Asafoetida are the three most important ingredients that make irresistible South Indian pickle! Hence, never miss any of these ingredients nor pick any substitute oil.
(This picture is shot by Aditya Edassery. He wanted all that decoration around the pickle bottle)