Tuesday 24 March 2015

Bombay Canteen reviewed

Tandoori Pork Ribs with a Chilli Glaze and Green Beans
I recently ate at Bombay Canteen in Parel and came back impressed. You would too, if you were there. 

For the lowdown, read my review here

The Punch Bowl served with Tea Cups

Monday 23 March 2015

Be There For Your Child


As N turns 4 tonight, I wonder where this time went. The sentence comes to mind - '...the days were long but the years too short..'

My latest article on Askme talks about how you can skip the shortcuts and try to be there for your lil' one. Even if it is for a little while every day.

Read the article here

Thursday 19 March 2015

Small Steps Towards a Healthier Lifestyle

It doesn't take much to start taking care of your own self. Here are some small changes you can make for a healthier lifestyle.

Read the article here.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The art of indifference


I think it is a curse to feel things strongly. To not be able to do something without investing your entire being in it. I know the process of building walls but once I allow someone through those doors, I don’t know how not to let myself be affected by them. How not to give everything I have, every thought, every moment and want a few in return.

I honestly wish that I knew how to simply float through life, without being affected by it. To love without wanting to be loved as passionately in return. To give attention without seeking it. I wish I were indifferent. Not so completely involved. I wish things or people did not affect me like they do. Or if that is asking the impossible, I wish I were smart enough to pretend so without the truth reflecting on my face and in my words. 

Tuesday 10 March 2015

20 Best Meals in Delhi

Gung, the Palace

If you have ever wondered where to eat in Delhi, this one's for you. 

An amalgamation of my food-related work in the capital and my undying love for the city, my latest feature on Rediff lists out the best 20 meals in the city. I did not agree with Ritu Dalmia's list in Conde Nast, thus decided to come out with my own. 

Make sure you tick each one of them. Not one is worth missing. And if you have had the pleasure of doing these with me, what can I say, you're a lucky soul :) 

Delhi's 20 Best Meals. Read it here.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Beach Bums

AskMeOnTravel is all about beach vacations this month. Time to shed off those winter layers and don your sun shades.


If you want to explore a virgin beach, head to Lakshadweep. Gorgeous stretches of sand, crystal clear water and no commercialization, it is the perfect place to go snorkeling too. Read the feature here.


Tired of the same-old Goa? Here's a new way to explore Goa this time around.


Before you head off, make sure you glance at this quick beach packing checklist.  

Monday 23 February 2015

New Menu Tasting at Moshe's Bandra

When I was invited to Moshe's Bandra for a new menu tasting by Food Bloggers Association of India, I didn't think twice before accepting. The distance notwithstanding, Moshe's is all about comfort food and I could have done with a bit of both (comfort and food, that is).

Tucked away on the first floor next to Holy Family Hospital, the restaurant's location pales in comparison to the more prominent Mamagato downstairs. The space is large enough though, once you enter, with wall-to-ceiling picture windows allowing light to flood into the restaurant. The air conditioning alternated between freezing us and allowing us to stew for a while but that could be a one-off day.

Homestyle Hummus Platter
The afternoon started on a refreshing note with a Melon-izer, a wine based cocktail chased with chilled watermelon juice. The drink was delicious but bordered on being a virgin version. This was complemented by a Hummus platter, the perfect way to kick off the lunch. Over chatter and clicking cameras, we dug into the three types of hummus presented to us. My favourite was the beetroot hummus, visually attractive as it was, the taste was delicious as well. The cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes hummus hit the right notes but was very similar to the original version. My least favourite was the broccoli hummus, a vivid green in color but it lacked any distinct flavor.

Moshe's Signature Harissa Chicken Skewers
The Signature Harissa Chicken Skewers hit the right notes if you like a little spice in your life and your food. The juicy boneless chicken was slathered with a North African marinade with hints of red chilli (ok, more than a hint), cumin, ginger and vinegar. A dash of lime brought out the flavours of the marinade and stepped up the dish a notch.

Fresh Pear and Rocket Salad
A half an hour wait was followed by the Pear and Rocket Leaves Salad. Drizzled with honey-mustard and orange dressing, the walnuts added a crunch to the salad. The salad leaves were fresh and the worked well with the rest of the ingredients. My only grouse was the overpowering sweetness of the dressing. I missed the kick of mustard or the tang of orange, the only flavor I could decipher was honey. The addition of goat's cheese or feta cheese would have worked well to add saltiness to cut through the uni-dimensional flavors.

Portobello, Porcini and Button Mushroom Soup
The mushroom soup was delicious and what I would suggest you go have on a chilly winter evening (Ok, that is a rarity in Mumbai) or when you're feeling under the weather. The soup used portobello, porcini as well as button mushrooms. Chives were added to give it a crunch. Many on our tasting table were of the opinion that the chives were not required and perhaps too much in abundance. But I enjoyed the bite amongst spoonfuls of the hearty soup.

For mains, we were served the Brick Chicken served with pesto white beans and a tomato sauce. The chef explained that the chicken is cooked with a brick on top, in an effort to trap the moisture in and keep it succulent. I found mine juicy though many co-diners felt their chicken was too dry. The accompanying sauce though, tasted of tomato puree and as if it came out of a can. The star of the dish was the slow-baked potatoes stilts that the chicken sat atop. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned and delicious.



We also had a taste of the vegetarian Malaysian Curry served with steamed rice. I am a huge fan of Malaysian Curry and unfortunately, this did not cut it for me. There was no distinct flavour in the dish, unlike what the original is popular for.




Even though the clock was hitting 4 pm (time taken between courses was averaging 30-40 minutes), I couldn't leave before tasting the desserts that Moshe's is well-known for. We were served a sliver of a Chocolate Fudgy Cake with vanilla ice cream on the side. The cake was dense and decadent, a must for chocolate lovers.

The new menu is available in both the Moshe Restaurants (Bandra and Cuffe Parade). An afternoon of meeting new like-minded people, great food and attentive service (would have liked the food served faster though), was an afternoon well spent.

Just

I am so tired. So completely aching-in-my-bones tired. I haven't slept in 6 days. N is not well so she hasn't slept the better part of the week too. So I've had to juggle work, doctor visits, tests, reports, running the house, cranky baby and sleepless nights.

I'm not complaining. I don't think one is permitted to.

But I am so absolutely tired, mentally and physically. That it is 8:50 am on a Monday and I can't deal with the thought of that. All I want to do is crawl away somewhere. Be held. Not judged. Be allowed to put the juggling balls down for a nano-second.

Yes, I know it's wrong. But, I'm so tired. 

Sunday 22 February 2015

The Bohri Kitchen Reviewed



My previous Rediff article was about the evolution of dining concepts in India (find it here). As an extension of that, on popular demand, I have experienced and reviewed the home-dining concept of The Bohri Kitchen. 




Dining in the intimacy of someone's home always has a certain charm to it. If the food is great, even better. The Bohri Kitchen is a recent addition to the city's dining scene and a welcome one at that. Read my detailed review by clicking here



Images: Courtesy TBK

Friday 20 February 2015

Cancer prevention on AskMe

AskMe is celebrating the 'Prevention of Cancer' Month this February. Cancer has become almost common-place these days. Everybody has someone close to them who is or has battled with cancer.

Though research continues as we speak, there are some things that can help us in our fight to prevent cancer.

My latest articles on www.askmeonwellness.com help us understand this better. Read them by clicking on the links below:

1) 8 Super-foods that help prevent cancer
2) Lifestyle choices that can help lower your cancer-risk 

Wednesday 18 February 2015

The way to his heart is through his tastebuds...

Falling behind in updating my blog. Not cool. My pre-valentine's day article on Rediff was about cooking up something special for someone close to your heart. Each course in the meal was personally curated by me, and what I would have ideally cooked if I were to plan a rooftop or beach moonlit dinner for two.



The day's gone. But honestly, there's no one particular day required to make someone feel special. Each of these recipes are a personal favourite and sure to make any evening a great one. Happy cooking....

Read the article here...

Sunday 15 February 2015

Travel diaries

My country overwhelms me. Not in the same way it seems to overwhelm the cool-bunch around. It overwhelms me with its beauty. In this crazy life where we seem to be running all the time, we only notice what slows us down. We notice the traffic and the potholes and lack of infrastructure. But I see more.

I just got off from a train journey from Bombay to Indore. I love train journeys. They’re languid and allow you time to absorb and process. I can put up my feet, read a book or just stare out of the window, lost in my thoughts. I love eating puri aalu at train stations, picking up magazines from a bookstall and waking up to a cup of hot chai (unfortunately no longer served in a kulhar).


And the countryside. What do I tell you about the countryside? Which brings me back to my initial thought. There is so much beauty around, raw and stunning, only if you can take off your designer glares to see it with honest eyes. Lush green farmlands for as far as the eye can see. Lovely stretches of roads, sometimes canopied, sometimes bare. I love the landscape changes as we move across the country. From the ghats of the west towards the fields of MP or the arid stretches across Rajasthan compensated by the colors in their attire.



There’s something about raw greenery that just makes me catch my breath. It energizes me, reminds me of how lucky I am to be born in this country. To all the naysayers, and those jaded who see the worst India has to offer (yes it has plenty of that), I wish I could lend you my eyes. I wish you could see it like I do. I wish I could give you my heart so that you could feel for a moment, the extreme pride and love I feel when I see such beauty all around me. I wish you could understand why I choose to live in this country, not because I don’t have a choice, but because there is no other place I could ever call my own.    

Thursday 5 February 2015

Love, and the art of setting curd

My maternal grandmother, my Biji, was the only grandparent I grew up knowing. But she was enough, and more. When I lost her a couple of years back, I did not understand the enormity of what I felt, that came later. Not known as being someone who shows emotion, there were no theatrics or mourning. Just a deep rooted sadness, and a sense of irreplaceable loss.

But this is not a sad post. She's gone and unfortunately so has her lovely house that we grew up discovering. It's been hacked up and sold, usually what happens to ancestral property. She exists only in my memory now...as do the times we spent in that iconic house, filled to the brim with cousins before everyone went overseas.

What I have left of her are two things. The gold bangles in my wrist that once adorned hers. They're one of my most prized possessions and rarely do I wear anything else on my arms. And her legacy of setting curd. Yes, you heard that right.

You see, in Punjab, and I'm sure in many parts of the country, setting curd is an art form. It would be a ritual for her, getting the exact temperature for the milk, frothing it by transferring from one vessel to another and keeping it safely away in a mesh cupboard which she believed had the correct setting conditions. Even after she lost her eyesight, she would somehow manage this entire process, only by her sense of touch and instinct. The yogurt in her house was legendary. It would be thick and perfectly set, each spoonful holding form like jelly.

Even though I never learnt it from her and was taught by my mother, some part of her skill got passed on to me. And I am arguably the best yogurt-setter in the family. Even my dad, who would never say anything my mom did came second, insists that after Biji, it only is my dahi that passes muster.

In Troy, Achilles mother says, "You will find a wonderful woman. You will have sons and daughters and they will have children. And they will love you. When you are gone, they will remember you. But when your children are dead and their children after them...your name will be lost".

That is the truth of life. But in my own lil' way, I made sure her legacy lives on. On my wrist, in my heart and on my dining table, my grandmother remains loved and remembered. And this, besides her bangles, are something I hope to pass on to my daughter one day so that when she grows up, she may remember someone she unfortunately never knew....

Sunday 1 February 2015

Evolution of Dining Concepts in India


The Indian diner is changing. He is globe-trotting, experimenting with new cuisines and flavors and will not settle for anything sub-standard. To cater to this demanding consumer, the food scene in India is also undergoing a radical change. No longer will we jump up in joy like we did when McDonalds entered India. Thus, restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs are coming up with exciting new concepts to entice and retain the discerning foodie.

My latest article on Rediff talks about a few of these trends. Whether it is getting ingredients delivered with a recipe for you cook at home or farm-tour-lunches, there is something new happening right around the corner.

Excited much? Read the article here.  

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Cut the drama

Life is like a ball of yarn that the kitten has been playing with for hours, full of tangles and knots. And as my mother reminded me yesterday, it is also incredibly long. Given the average life span of my grandparents, it is a sure shot bet that I will see the other side of 90. And that thought completely freaks me out. Another 55-60 years!

So here's my advice. To me and to you. 

Cut the drama. 

There is enough in life to challenge you. You do not need self-created soap operas to add flavour. If someone pulls you down, cut them loose or tune them out. If you crave a hot choc fudge, go get one. Do work that inspires you. Love without holding back. Jump into the abyss. Do not waste your time with petty issues, things, thoughts or people. Tell it like it is. The only people you should invest in (and you must do all you can for them) are the ones who make you smile. Follow your heart, not the well trodden path. 

Cut the drama out of your life, it just adds a layer of dust to the myriad of colours in the world around you. You shouldn't need the world to tell you how incredible you are.    

Saturday 3 January 2015

Party Recipes


A few quick recipes for an impromptu party.

Read the article here.

PS - Terrible pictures (not mine!) but good recipes :)


Thursday 1 January 2015

New Year Resolutions 2015


New Year Resolutions. We make them to break them. A quick look at my New Year tag on the blog led me to realize how over the years I have been making futile resolutions too.

But there is something in the 1st of January this year. A smile on my lips, a spring in my step. I find myself feeling lighter...happier.

My latest article on Rediff is about resolutions. If you are yet to make yours, these are a good starting point to get you thinking...

May this year make you smile without a reason and feel more at peace with who you are and where you are.

Read the article here

Saturday 27 December 2014

Dear Santa...here's what I wish for this Christmas


Hope your Christmas was lovely and surrounded by warmth. My parents raised me to love the spirit of Christmas. We always had a Christmas tree and thought of what gifts we wanted from Santa.


God has been kind and I can now buy myself whatever little I may desire. So this year, I drew up a list that I wanted from Santa that cost more than just a little green paper.

Here's my Dear Santa letter. It's all I want for Christmas....no tall ask this :)

Read the article here.  

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Jo Beet Gayi So Baat Gayi

One of the few Hindi poems that make it to my list. The first paragraph is my favorite.



Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeevan mein ek sitara tha
Maana woh behad pyara tha
woh doob gaya to doob gaya
Ambar ke aanan ko dekho
Kitne iske tare toote
Kitne iske pyare choote
Par bolo toote taron par
Kab ambar shok manata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeewan mein tha who ek kusum
The us pe nitya nichawar tum
Who sookh gaya to sookh gaya
Madhuwan ki chaati ko dekho
Sookhi kitni iski kaliyan
Jo murjhai phir kahan khili
Par bolo sookhe phoolon pe
Kab madhuvan shok manata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeewan mein madhu ka pyala tha
Tumne tan man de daala tha
Woh toot gaya to toot gaya
Madiralay ka aangan dekho
Kitne pyaale hil jaate hain
Gir mitti mein mil jate hain
Jo girte hain kab uthte hain
Par bolo toote pyalon mein kab madiralay pachtata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Mridu mitti ke hain bane huye
Madhu ghat phoota hi kartein hain
Laghu jeewan leke aaye hain
Pyale toota hi karte hain
Phir bhi madiralay ke andar
Madhu ke ghat madhu ke pyale hain
Jo madakta ke mare hain
Who madhu loota hi karte hain
Who kachcha peene wala hai
Jiski mamta ghat pyalon par
Jo sachche madhu se jala hua
Kab rota hai chillata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

--  Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Friday 12 December 2014

Why I Missed Your Call

Dear you,

I read this hilarious post today from a toddler's mother on 10 reasons why she hasn't answered your email yet. And as much as I don't like mommy posts, I think you need this one.


Yes, you could say that I have been missing in action for a while. For most of my adult life :) Actually, chances are, you have complained to me about that. So here's my attempt to explain to you why I'm terrible with phone calls and Skype schedules (though I never have been much of a talker). It's not that I am avoiding talking or that I do not wish to talk to you. On the contrary, I am probably -

  1. Playing taxi driver ferrying N from school, to daycare, from daycare, to classes...and so on
  2. Dealing with an upset toddler who misses everyone she knows and the only way she can express that is by throwing a fit...again..
  3. Rushing to buy gifts for that social engagement I have committed to, fitting that in with trying to figure out where to get the exact attire the snooty school has decided N 'must' wear tomorrow (you have no idea how competitive these mothers are when it comes to fancy dress costumes)!
  4. Fitting in a sandwich somewhere in the day because I just realised that I missed having breakfast all together
  5. Rushing to the medic coz N has a cold...though I have had the flu since 20 days and found no time to go to one myself
  6. Finding 6-8 hours of time in the middle of all this to finish my assignments and submit them as per deadlines
  7. I can't find my phone because I probably left it in the kitchen drawer...or toy box...or the car...again...
  8. Blah blah blah...you get the drift 
If you miss me, chances are I miss you more. If you love me, it is certain that I love you more. And you know that. I'm just rushing...getting by...managing one step in front of the other. I may not make the daily phone call, I may not tell you often what you mean to me and I may not share my problems with you. But I love you. Please know that. And I sleep in peace at night with the satisfaction of knowing that you love me too.

PS - Text me :D

Saturday 29 November 2014

Redefining romance on the Machan


My latest article on Rediff talks about this amazing new secret I stumbled upon. Imagine tree-houses with views of hills to die for. Now imagine those rooms to have every conceivable luxury so that at no point are you 'roughing it out'. A private deck with a stand-alone bathtub in one corner, an attic with a daybed and panoramic views and quaint handmade wooden furniture. This is an experience quite different from any that you may have had.


If you believe in romance...and magic...and the beauty of stars...and candle light dinners....this is the perfect place for you to take the one you love.


Read the article here and judge for yourself.


Monday 3 November 2014

Homesick

I feel hollow inside. I never knew that leaving a city could do that to a person. Two weeks back home, back in the familiar spoilt me. Returning to this crazy, selfish, impersonal city makes me want to hold my breath, and not release it. I'm trying hard to see beyond, remember my routine, get accustomed to loneliness. But this time, it's like a dark shadow that refuses to leave my side.

I shut my windows, switch on the air conditioning and try to cocoon myself in the comfortable. Place the laptop in front so that I remember all my pending assignments that demand my attention. But how do I stop my heart from yearning? How do I feel numb again? How do I get myself to release the breath and take another one?  

Monday 27 October 2014

A thousand years




Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Midnight ramblings


I'm home. More centered that I have been for a while. More at peace. Surrounded with the familiar and with love. I'm home. 

As I meet more people, I realize how unique I am. How I can find happiness in walking barefoot on grass or just listening to the waves. Or how I go out of my way to help those I care for when they need it. How I think from my heart. It's strange how the last one is a rare trait to have. How rare it is for people to be honest...and transparent...and real. How rare it is to find people who speak their mind...and listen to their heart. Who go that extra mile...and believe in the fairy tale. 

Do I anymore? I doubt it. Jaded. The fairy tale is just that. A tale. But in some deep recess of my heart...I know I still hope to be proven wrong. To be understood in entirety....and for that to be enough and more...

Well...midnight ramblings :). The point is, I'm home. And I'm happy.   

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Masala Library - Taking Molecular Gastronomy to the Next Level

A friend reminded me how I haven't updated my blog for almost a month. So I'm back, and how. This month's been a crazy one, lots going one, professionally and personally. But I feel stronger, more in control, a little wiser than before.

My latest restaurant review talks about what possibly could be the most revolutionary restaurant in the country. Rivaled only by Indian Accent in Delhi, Masala Library was a revelation. They take Molecular Gastronomy to new heights.

Galauti Kabab
If there is only one restaurant you can visit in Mumbai, make sure it is this one.

Mishti Doi Palate Cleanser

Read the review here.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Listening to the sounds of silence in Panchgani


Nature has an effect on me that is difficult to explain. It calms me down and gives me peace. I can sit for hours and listen to the echo of crickets in the hills. Or watch the waves crash on the rocks or gently roll on to the beach. No city does this for me...only the serenity of nature can.


My latest article on Rediff is a short travelogue of my recent weekend in Panchgani. A piece I thoroughly enjoyed writing because it came from the heart...unadulterated and non-commercial.

Read it here.   

Monday 8 September 2014

Have you ever?

Have you ever done something so out of character that you can't believe that the person in the mirror is you? In a good way? Have you ridden the waves if you're scared of water? Or jumped off a plane to beat your fear of heights? If people think you're quiet and serious, have you ever thrown your head back and laughed hysterically...only because you were happy?


Have you ever cooked a dish you really wanted to learn how to...and botched it up? And not regretted it for a moment? Have you gone camping...and wondered what the hell were you thinking? And still loved the feeling that you're being adventurous?

Have you ever lived dangerously? Not over-calculated every move. Have you smiled in an empty room because you just remembered something really funny? Have you danced as if no one's watching? Kissed in public? Have you done things that make you happy...not for any other reason but the selfish one of the smile on your face?

Have you ever lived....even if it were for a day?


Tuesday 2 September 2014

Le Pain Quotidien - French Bistro Reviewed


Le Pain Quotidien is my happy-place when I need a little pick-me-up. It's where I treat myself when I've achieved something fantastic on the professional front or where I like to drink a glass of Sangria as I look out at the rain.

My latest restaurant review on Rediff shares with you some of the fabulous things you should try at LPQ. Read the article here.


Tuesday 12 August 2014

Weekend Plans?

Hills bloom at Palampur
If you haven't made vacation plans yet for the long weekend, here is help. My curated list of memorable weekend getaways for you to enjoy getting away from the city.

Read the article on Rediff here.  

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Republished article on Churu

Churu refuses to hide behind the dust from the decades gone by. My Rediff article on Churu was recently republished by the travel website 'The  Better India' that aims to find hidden unspoiled secrets of India.

If you did not read it before, read the article here