Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Onion, Mango & Chilli Relish

I am happy to announce to you all that I have finally, after 8 years, got my permanent driving license for Belgium.  Yes, it feels surreal now and it has to still sink in.  For the past 8 years I have been driving with a temporary license.  I used to give my theory exam, and apply for the temporary license, drive with that till it expired and go through the whole cycle again.  Don’t ask me why – I was just afraid of failing and exams made me really nervous.  But there comes a stage in your life where you say – it has to be now or never. 

So I gathered up the courage and a month before my license expires, I booked for my practical exams.  And then I spent a couple of evenings practising my parallel parking.  I used to drive around in the neighbourhood with my husband and find cars that I could parallel park behind. So on the fateful day of the exam, sleepless due to stress and tension, we went at 7 in the morning to the exam centre.  We submitted all the documents and then paid the fees and after 30 tense minutes, the examiner informed me that I could not take the exam because my “coach”, who was my husband, did not have a drivers’ license for 8 years in Belgium which was a requirement.  So all the sleeplessness for nothing!

I went back to work, glad in a way of not having to give my exam.  But now I needed another coach who could accompany me during the exam with the examiner.  So I turned to my colleague who kindly accepted to do it.  Another day was set – another sleepless night.  I went for the exam with my coach and failed because I had crossed a continuous white line while trying to overtake children on a cycle.  Something I usually would not do, but exams can do strange things to us.  So, another date had to be set which was made just 3 days before my license expired.  It was the “now or never” scenario for me.

My colleague again very kindly accepted to be my coach and off we went to do the exam.  A nasty examiner was there to judge my driving, and as advised, I drove defensively – no offence to old women – but I drove like an old woman on the road.  He had to pass me – there was no major offence I committed.  So when we reached the centre, he announced I could have my license.  I dodged giving a simple exam for 8 years which I would not generally advise anyone to do.  Like they say, take the bull by its horns – that is how I am going to take any sort of exams or tests in the future.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 onion, chopped
4” piece cucumber, seeded and cut into ¼” dice
1 firm ripe mango, peeled, stoned and diced
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
Pinch of granulated sugar
Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a small pan and fry the peanuts till lightly browned and then drain on kitchen paper and set aside to cool.  
  2. Mix the onion, cucumber, mango, chilli, coriander and mint leaves.  Sprinkle salt.   
  3. Add the peanuts and the lime juice and sugar and mix well.   
  4. Set it aside for 20 minutes for the flavours to mature before serving.

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