Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Lovin’


Weekends… an oasis from the five days of work and more work and even more work. And what innumerable pastimes one can pack into 48 hours! And I pack mine with ‘Kitchen Time’!

Being a foodie and an avid baker, I am the happiest whisking and kneading, icing and toasting! My love for baking comes from my mother. As far back as I remember, my mid-morning tiffin boxes at school would be lovingly filled with ginger biscuits, banana bread, carrot cake, shortbread cookies, jam tarts--the list is endless. Weekends were spent baking, with both my brother and me involved (licking the dredges of the cake batter bowl was an important part of the process!) Mondays would bring a sense of excitement as the recess bell would go off, and let me tell you a couple of school girls can do a very fine job of swiping clean half a weekend’s worth oven duty!

The last few months have kept me busy, what with Christmas good cheer and liqueurs being in high demand. Now that sobriety is the order of the day, I am working on flavored cupcakes and icings (present favorite Vanilla Espresso..buttery heaven). Fruits and nuts have also piqued my interest and (yea!) I’ve just discovered a great way to make Cashewnut and Fruit Spread. It started of as an experiment in making a fruit bar and somewhere it turned into this golden bejeweled mass pliable enough to raise a humble piece of toast to stunning heights. Isn’t it grand when mistakes work out just fine. (I had my Madame Curie moment!)

Being an inveterate foodie, I am up to any cuisine, in any place, at any time. And there is no better way to start your gastronomic adventure, than with breakfast. Do not miss Prakash next to Sena Bhavan, Dadar West--the most authentic Maharashtrian breakfast you can find this side of town. The must to haves—the Sabudana Vada and the sinfully good Piyush. If you are more the egg and meat kind of person, do not and I reiterate do not miss the Kheema Ghotala at Rajasthan on SV Road at Khar. Accompanied with fluffy bread and hot sweet milky coffee seal the deal. Moving on to the next suburb, there’s ‘The Kejriwal’ at Theobroma’s at Bandra West, which most definitely warrants a mention here. Toasted Buns, topped with Cheese and Chilli crowned with a perfect sunny side up egg make this a meal to be reckoned with. With hearty meals like these, no wonder the saying goes – breakfast like a King. Dedications to lunches and dinners will be added  over the next few blogs.  So watch this space. But if there are any fun places for breakfast that you believe are worth a visit, give me a shout out.

Mumbai Mirror - Week Stomached_1Here’s a snapshot of what I do on weekends, as covered by Mumbai Mirror this weekend. I hope it inspires you to follow your passion and make each weekend count. Bon appetite!

Click the picture for the full size scan or click the link below for the article on the Mumbai Mirror.

Week Stomached

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Goa Going Going…… Gone


Over the last few weeks, Mumbaikars have been blessed with a fair amount of long weekends. And as anyone who has been worn thin by Q2, we decided to pack our bags & take off of for Goa. Now being Goa aficionados, we always get the ‘Where do we go in Goa/What are the fun things to do in Goa’  calls pre-getaway or during the holiday.

So here is my three day guide to Goa…. but given that once you hit the shore you may just realize beer & breeze is all you need! Nonetheless here is s quick what to/where to guide.

If you want action, then North Goa is where its at. If you are more the  laid back kind then without a doubt South Goa is where you should be. Having your own transportation,it is an added advantage getting from the North to the South.

To start your stay in North, a great way to begin your holiday is at Café Lila’s on Baga Creek (they are open only during the Oct –March season & they are closed on Tuesdays – we learnt that the hard way). This lovely whitewashed café is run by a German husband and wife pair & the menu has a completely European feel to it. There is lots to choose from & my personal favorites  - the ham & cheese croissant(buttery heaven) and the cheese omelets.  Highly recommend you try the seasonal fruit milkshakes & pastries. Next door is Poco Loco which is attached to the Royal Goan Beach Club. They too have an excellent breakfast & if you are looking at a hearty meal to take you through to a very very late lunch go for the English Breakfast. Must try the brownies here…best brownies in Goa! If you are craving for great Mexican, come back for dinner. Pretty close to the real thing.

Seafood.jpgTime for sun and the surf… amble across the bridge & head to two of the most famous beach shacks on Baga Beach, St. Anthony’s and/or Brittos. You can actually spend the day sipping chilled beer & gorging on everything from butter garlic prawns & squid to rechiado masala kingfish and of course the defacto fish curry rice.

Pancakes.jpgWalk up to Siquerim beach, which is past Calangute (stop by at Souza Lobo for their coconut pancake… I swear it’s a little bit of the legal kind of ecstay), past Candolim & reach the grounded ship River Princess. That’s a nice little quiet patch just before you hit Aguada.

If you are in South Goa & looking for solitude, Colva tends to get a little crowded, but head further South towards  Utorda, Arrossim, Benalium all the way to Varca.  The beaches here are sylvan, uncrowded & trust me when I say the bluest of the blue skies.  If you are in Goa South Goa Beacheson a Sunday & time (and the pocket permits), spend the day at the Alila Diwa. Their Sunday brunch & infinity pool set amidst the green fields framed by the palm trees on the oceans edge is worth every penny you pay. There’s nothing like watching the sunset over a picture perfect setting. Grab dinner at Martin’s corner while you are in the vicinity.

And for another spectacular sun setting head to Zee Bop or the more low key Johncy’s on the water’s edge. Its breathtaking watching the sun a blazing ball of gold tingeing the sky into hues of pink & purple,  finally plunging into inky blackness.

Now breakfast in South Goa means making your way to Margao market a heading straight to San Pedro’s. A bakery that also serves traditional Goan treats like Rissois, Coconut stuffed Sanas, Poi, Bol & the list goes on.

Last & definitely not the least, for a cosy, homely meal drive up Fernando’s Nostalgia in Raia. Off the main Old Goa road, this slice of the old world is set in the old Portuguese house of Maggie. While you wait for your order of Caldeen, Pork Vindaloo, Prawn Balchao & Beef Chilly Fry to come up, take a walk thBol San Rival (2)rough the beautiful old house which is a treasure trove of heirlooms from Macau & Portugal. For dessert do not (I mean it) miss the the Bol San Rival which means Cake without any rival. This melt in you mouth cake made of almond meal, egg white, sugar & butter are a perfect end to a perfect meal.

On the off chance, if you still have sometime to spare, take a drive down to Shakhari Spice farm for a biology class in the spices, fruits & veggies from Goa & end it with an organic Goan meal. Did I mention you also get a shot of in-house feni? The fire water that is feni does have a way of vetting the appetite. Or if you like the more prayerful side of things, head to Bom Jesus.

There’s plenty more you can do in Goa. Watch this space for more.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Strawberries & Cream…& Ecstasy


Like all weekends this too has been one of indulgences (more like excesses) but whose to quibble right? So time it was to be disciplined..

And what better way then to add fresh citrusy fruit to your Sunday dessert. The easiest dessert in the world has to be Strawberries & Cream… sigh. All you need to do is beat fresh cream (100-120ml )into soft peaks, add about about a tablespoon and half of castor sugar. Don’t add the sugar right at the start because the sugar starts releasing water and then you won’t have the pretty peaks.

Make sure you you wash & clean the strawberries well. Destalk & quarter them. If you like you can always add a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Now to finish this dish and if you are lucky and have a few macaroons round the house (I use the Warden’s macaroons & they are excellent), crush a few at the bottom of a the bowl drop the chunky strawberries over, dollop the fresh cream & for the finale, just drizzle the snowy macaroons on the top.  The ecstasy of digging into tart strawberries, light decadent peaks of cream & the crunch of the macaroons is something that will want you coming back for more.Strawberries & Cream

And if you really want to still indulge, go all hog, sip a glass of champagne with it. Who said you only needed to have strawberries & cream court side!


* Photo credit

Monday, January 3, 2011

SpotMyGadget… Jai Ho



So the other day, I decided it was time to get out there & get with the times, get myself a new laptop & be done with the one I was using (an Acer that the British brought over… seriously. That’s the only explanation for that hunkering piece of technology).

I did what most people who have access to the internet do… I googled. Now doing research on the internet can be fun… if you are a gadget geek, and that I assure you I am not. So sifting through pages of jargon and technical specifications didn’t really help much. Then I tried the news boards and that did help me get some kind of shortlist in place but I am not a geek!!!! Was still at sea when I cam across this little treasure.

The guys who built the site -  SpotMyGadget completely get my vote. You actually have to get on it yourself to believe how easy it is to buy a gadget. Currently they feature laptops, digital cameras and displays. It takes all the technical specifications you get on regular sites and converts them into end user questions e.g. for laptops it actually asks you questions if you will use it while travelling or sitting at a desk, will use it SMG logo primarily for regular office documents & surfing or high end data crunching etc. And in a few easy clicks you actually get the top 3 laptops suiting your specifications! So you don’t have to worry about all the jargon,  the site does all the heavy lifting of the specs to finally come up with just what you need.

The User Interface & phraseology is as simple as it gets and its like really speaking with the friendly neighbourhood geek, with no confusing terminology thrown in.

Can’t wait to see what other fun gadgets they will come up with. Here’s to the think tank at SpotMyGadget! Kudos!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Of Wedding bells & Christmas bells


So today is when the season of Advent kicks off, Christmas Carols start playing, parties get planned, sweet shopping lists get made, phew… the tasks are endless.

And what other perfect time to get married than during the month of December! We’ve been getting invitation cards practically everyday (what with last year being leap year and all.)

Best of all, there’s nothing like a wedding in the family--when my cousin decided to take the plunge, it was all hands on deck. I’ve had a blast creating Wedding-related stuff at home and here’s a sampler:

The Ring Holder



I created a cluster of roses and set them on a bed of creamy vanilla satin and lace

The Toasting Glasses


This arrangement is made with handmade French beading flowers

I’d be happy to get feedback and suggestions, so feel free to shoot me a mail!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jobsites, Networking sites & Matrimonial sites


So after a really really really long sabbatical I’m back, with a vow to be more regular. After all, its about being connected and staying connected.

And that brings me to my anecdote for today. For most of you who don’t know I work in Human Resources and in my line recruitment is huge chunk of what I do. So what do  we recruiters do? From mere mortals we metamorphosis into complete social animals . Everyone—and I mean everyone—is a potential candidate and/or a client.

I’ve had interesting conversations at the chemist, at the gas station and church (client converted!). Well the down side is you get pesky neighbours who ask you for a status update every three days (makes you want to change your cell phone number, but try juggling three numbers like I do and its not worth the trouble!!!)

And if you want to get over your shyness in public places, being a recruiter is just what the social skills teacher ordered! Parties where you probably know only the host/ hostess is the motherlode. Its like an untapped oil well, an undiscovered mine, a pharoah’s tomb. Loads of new many people to meet, the potential is endless. (Big ticket closure last May via one such birthday party, ka-ching!!)

You see, networking is an integral part of our job. The other is to stay recruiter ahead of the curve and find newer more innovate ways to find that elusive candidate or client lead or industry. The usual suspects are the, and so on. Then of course there are the LinkedIn's and Vaults of the world. And for some (and I mean those companies that actually do have not site restrictions…pray do those still exist??!)  there is Facebook and Orkut and Hi5. (Pssst… if you know of something new drop me an email)

In my experience, women do well with people and maybe that’s why you will find a higher percentage of women in HR and recruitment. Now as is the natural progression (in most cases), you graduate, you get a job, you find the right ‘boy’ (even if he is in his 40s, here in India I don’t why we still call them boys) and get married. How do the last two happen?

Well, some get lucky, fall in love with Mr Mostly Right (Mr. Perfect retired a lifetime ago), others have parents (and the extended family) pitching in (see its all about networking) and then there is the trusty, and a host of other regional .com matrimonial sites to choose from.

But, I’ve come across a very ingenious colleague. The person who Swaymwar cannot be named (WCBN) comes from a traditional family. Hence when  it comes to the eligibles there is a long list of parameters  that have to be fulfilled before round 1 (aptly called ‘coming to see’ stage). This is where the one WCBN had a brainwave.

Remember, its all about being connected :) So LinkedIn, here’s  another revenue spinner for you.

Step 1 -  Log onto Go to people search (top right hand) and  type in possible prospective first names and surnames.

Step 2 – Shortlist ‘suitable candidates’ from the populated list and send them invites on LinkedIn. Offer them an ‘exciting’/‘interesting’ opportunity. (Such an opportunity may or may not exist in reality)

Step 3 – Invite them to the office for an interview for a ‘personal interview’  and to discuss the ‘opportunity’  (the aforementioned ‘exciting’/‘interesting’  opportunity) in more detail.

Step 4 -  Meet with candidate and evaluate the role/ candidature for the ‘opportunity’ and secondary Main & actual agenda -  is he good husband material. The other thing -  its the only way you can ask a guy how much he makes within the first meeting, brilliant!

Step 5 – Inform candidate if he’s made it through or declined. Now in this particular case, insider information says all declined. Not sure if the candidates know though, if they failed the interview of their lifetime. (Good for them!!)

I guess, the WCBN needs to work harder at sourcing the right candidate or the ‘client’ aka WCBN , needs to re-work her parameters.

But heck, if this isn’t ‘marrying’ business with pleasure and making the most of networking sites, I don’t know what is. LinkedIn… Jai Ho

Watch out for :- Soon to be launched LinkedIn application – MatchIt  - The perfect partner… Life Partner

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Plum Rum, Peach Schnapps & Irish Cream hic hic..


Just wanted to let you know, this year, bitten by the movie a Good Year, I am rolling my sleeves up. So welcome to my homemade liqueurs.

Getting set for Christmas I have Plum Rum. I know, I know Christmas is 6 months away, but the rum takes 6 months to mature and you get the best plums now. This will be ready for pick up in the 2nd week of December. Its gorgeous, served chilled on Christmas evening.(Charmaine will attest to that! Twice over!)

Then - Peach Schnapps, which due to the seasonality of the fruit will be made this month and will be ready for pick up by mid July.

And last but not the least is Irish Cream, available throughout the year.

Please let me know, if you would like to order the first two as the best quality of fruit is now - June.

So if you want to get your hands on a bottle please let me know!! You can email me on or +91 98201 31194 and I will get back to you by the end of the day.

Cheers!! Prost!

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