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Sunday, January 10, 2016

A new ingredient for Cocktails

The next weekend is going to be the most special one of the year: its the last one. And also the first one of 2016.

As we bid farewell to a year that flitted by so quickly, needless to say, friends would get together at my home for series of parties. A key reason is I have some recipes of nice cocktails up my sleeve. Being a non alcoholic person myself, I turn out to be the hostess who is sober even at wee hours, and the festivities can go on as long one wants.

When I got invited for a hands-on cocktail learning session with Black Dog whisky at Social, Defence Colony, I was sceptic initially. Scotch is not something that I had ever used, or even heard anyone use for cocktails.  However, I chose to go.
The venue was had a rustic, yet funky feel, which seemed so perfect to bring together photographers, journalists, bloggers and more on a winter morning.

The chef, with loads of experience under his belt, not only demonstrated, but also encouraged us to toss up quite a few cocktails ourselves, giving us valuable tips such as never to be miserly with the ice. The recipes were very easy, and most ingredients are usually available in our kitchens!

Paired with tasty food, the cocktails were enjoyed by everyone present. 

So next time you are served a unique drink from my counter, you know what the secret ingredient is, don't you?

For more details or photographs, check out my Facebook page.

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Photos courtesy: Supratik Bhowmick 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fashion Tips in Clicks!

Its party time, as we bid farewell to 2015. 

I had a dilemma... I wanted to wear a red shirt for a Christmas brunch, but really didn't know what to pair it with so that the look matched with the mood.

Browsing casually on the web, a link caught my eye: "5 ways to wear Red", it said. It was like a dream find for me!

It happened to be the online fashion magazine of Jabong (an online shopping portal that needs no introduction)... I thought the name was also very perky: Juice. Many of us may know and are regular customers of the portal, but not many know about this magazine.



The contents of this month's edition have actually been designed keeping in mind the festive mood.. so along with fashin tips, you have tried and tested hangover remedies, guide to tequila and more! Plus, it is very easy to browse through the sections. The pages load quickly, and what you see entices you to delve in further. I not only got what I was looking for, but quite a few innovative ideas as well.

So, whatever it may be on your mind, from quirky nail paints to following celebrities, do check out the December 2015 edition of Juice!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Organic Way to Healthy Living

Health is Wealth. 

And our wealth depends on what lives we lead; what we eat. Unfortunately, fertlizer and chemical rich vegetables, fruits, staples... all join hands to steal our wealth, making us prone to many a health issue. 

What is worse, with our hectic lifestyles, we are left with little time to do much about it, although we know that the products available in the market are very very poisonous.


"I Say Organic" solves this problem by delivering organic products right at your doorstep. You can either order online, or place an order over phone. 

Founded by young enterpreneurs, ISO has connected with farmer groups across the country who deliver the fresh produce to them every morning, out of which the best is handpicked and sold to consumers. 

The products include Fruits, Vegetables, Tea, Coffee, Rice, Lentils ... and even spices! 


Do check out their first physical store in Select City Walk Mall, Saket, New Delhi. You'll fall in love with the products, and can also obtain some health tips! Also, you can get connected to a nutrionist, if you have specific queries. 

You might find the prices on the higher side, but, considering the quality and safety of the product, they are absolutely reasonable! 

Afterall, who minds being healthy?

For more details or photographs, check out my Facebook page.

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Photos courtesy: Supratik Bhowmick 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Fine Dining becomes Fine Experience !!


A fine dining experience is not only about good food - it is also about how it is presented and of course, how it makes you feel. With SelectED (SelectED Events & Dining), you are no guest or customer, but God and Gods dine in style!!


Its attention to detail and ability to surprise you that makes your experience very very special - just a small gesture, such as your name on the menu sets the mood, isnt it?

What is more is you get absolutely exclusive service customized as per your requirement. It would always be one-event-a-day-and-thats-it for them; no matter the size of the gathering. It could be anything - a birthday, house parties and celebrations, corporate events, weddings and related functions at your own home or chosen venue - there is no limit!

SelectED is the brainchild of Arjun Sharma, an eminent personality of the hospitality industry who is not afraid to experiment and Ishaan Sarkar, who carries with himself tons of experience from the premiere group of hotels. Chef Gaurav Mathur has joined hands to form an awesome trio.

Attention to the presentation and a constant strife to innovate is evident as the salmon and chicken kebab in wasabi flavour is served in a glass jar, with smoke infused into it and covered with a traditional papad. You open it, and the smell tantalizes your senses.

Just look at this wondeful ensemble:
Customization goes to the extent of finding the perfect cutlery and crockery or even getting it made - so the biriyani comes alone in a plate, creating a royal feel and the assortment of fish, chicken and mutton comes in a crescent  and is placed over the plate like a crown:
The willingness to experiment flows to the jamun flavoured sorbet, and desserts which include traditional jalebis topped up with cream, pastry with a raspberry surprise and a coffee flavoured soufle with fresh caramel on it. In fact the chef comes and caramalizes the sugar with a spray in front of you.

 Trust me, your occasions would become memories with exclusive catering services from SelectED. 
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Photos courtesy Sayan Bhowmick

Friday, July 24, 2015

Childhood lessons for Tooth Sensitivity

I still remember the stinging effect of my first ever ice-candy, and the look on my elder sister’s face. While the chill drowned the taste of the flavour, she gave me a “know-it-all” look, for she had tried hard to keep me from it.

Back home, my mother gave us some water at room temperature and told me that both of us had sensitive teeth, which meant that we should be careful about having cold stuff. Although my sister maintained that she didn’t like ice candies, I knew what the truth was.

Both of us were used to brushing teeth twice daily and had sparkling teeth that would have fitted the advertisement of any toothpaste. We were also taught to drink water and rinse our mouth well after every meal, whether hot or cold, so that the acids and juices produced by the food could be washed off, and there would be no damage to our teeth.

Years have gone since then. Milk tooth gone, education over, we have got immersed in our busy lives. Nevertheless, childhood experiences remain in our subconscious. One day, a commercial on television caught my attention – a young guy was holding his cheek because of the sensation caused by having something hot or cold, and the dentist recommended a particular toothpaste to him - Sensodyne.

I wouldn’t have noticed it had it not been for my colleague, who had told me that he likes to have his tea after its cooled off a bit, and not piping hot (the way I like my tea to be). Was this also a case of tooth sensitivity, I thought. So, the very next morning, I went up to him and asked him about the effect a hot beverage would have on him. The answer was what I had already guessed – it caused a sharp pain in his teeth.

Realizing that this was quite a common phenomenon, I asked my dentist about it. He confirmed my guess, that most people who have sensitive teeth do not realize the problem, and tend to stay away from the relevant food practices, even if it is their favourite dish. I asked him about the toothpaste I had seen being advertised the other day - he told me it was a revolutionary product that has been developed after much research and can help many people across the world.

No marks for guessing which toothpaste I use. But, if you can relate to the experiences above, trust me and change your paste. Even if you know someone with similar issues, recommend it to them. Please share your story in the comments section!! And what makes it exciting, is the fact that every story stands chances to win an attractive voucher for dining out.

To know more about Tooth sensitivity, follow Sensodyne India on Facebook.

If your teeth hurt when you have extremely hot or cold food, you might want to get yourself checked for tooth sensitivity. And what better way to do it than at the comfort of your home? You could check the sensitivity of your teeth by clicking on this link.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Phone anyone would Desire!

It is not wrong to say that our phones mean almost the whole of or lives. So, when my husband lost his phone, his sole focus was to buy a phone right away. He literally snatched my gadget from me, opened the Flipkart app, and ordered a phone that seemed to impress him with its features : Asus Zenfone2.  He was so excited that he saved the image of his new phone right away:
As I raised my eyebrows at this impulsive buy, he pointed out the bold design - straight lines, slightly rounded off at the corners. The thickness of the phone is just 3.9 mm, he said. And the design is ergonomic - placement of keys are such that one can use the phone by sheer instinct! Now, that's an architect speaking!

"The display screen seems to be almost edge free", I  commented. This was received with a big nod, furnishing me with details of a high end 5.5 inch HD display screen. Also, this comes with a high speed processor that will facilitate high speed internet surfing and video streaming. Now, that got my interest hooked, for my phone, which is presently a bit old, hangs when I try to do few things at a time. 

"Now be a real multi-tasker", came a dramatic reply.

Plus, the memory is 4 GB - so, now store all the music, videos, images and files you want, without worrying about available free space and your favourite stuff slowing your phone.

What is a phone without a good camera? This one has two - the rear one is of 13 mega pixels, while the front camera is of 5 mega pixels. So, not only one can click sharp photos and shoot clear videos, it would be possible to click wonderful selfies as well!

All smart phone users have a common phobia - battery consumption! "Which is the compatible power bank?", I asked. I got a surprise, when I was told that it comes with great battery backup.
I personally thought black is a boring colour - for those who agree with me, there are versions available in gold, grey, red and white too.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Unforgettable food experiences!

I have been writing about my various gastronomic journeys for some time now, and its time I put together some of the unforgettable experiences, that stimulated my taste buds to remain engraved in memory ever since.

Best Soup: Pumpkin Soup, Olive Beach, Chankayapuri (This particular outlet is closed down, but Olive is very much there in Delhi)
Soups are my favourite ... in a restaurant, you'd always find me experimenting with the choice of soup, whatever the cuisine may be. 

On a fairly hot afternoon, at Olive Beach, the chef recommended his signature soup to my friend and me - a pumpkin soup. Both of us were skeptical, as pumpkin is not a vegetable we exactly like, but the chef assured us that we would like it. 

Indeed it was wonderful, it had a subtle taste, enhanced by black pepper sprinkled over it. 

Best South Indian Meal: Kausstubh, Saket District Centre
Foodie that I may be, my taste buds are inclined heavily towards non vegeterian food. So when my friend wanted to go to a strictly vegeterian place, I was initially unwilling. However, with some coaxing, I went - and had one of the most wonderful expeiences.

For one, the best of each South Indian state has been brought under one roof. I could never imagine there could be so much variety. Did you know there are numerous varieties of rasam and dosas?
Writing about this meal would be incomplete without mentioning the "1 metre Coffee"... a coffee that is blended in two mugs held at a vertical distance of 1 metre

Perky Non Vegeterian Snacks: Punjab Grill
I am fond of non vegeterian snacks that are cooked on charcoal, are barbequed and have the perfect balance of spices. I fell in love with the presentation of mutton in a model of a charcoal iron - it had a lovely smoky taste as well. On the right hand side image, you can see chicken minced up and tossed with the spices to make a tasty snack.   

Innovative Non Vegeterian Main Course: Le Meridien
If we are to talk about innovations in food, I can only think of Le Meridien - the chef is always willing to innovate and brings out the true essence of the ingredients. He served us a twin flavoured chikken tikkas - the ingredients come in layers for you to mix and enjoy. The prawn comes in its true form dipped in tangy sauce and basil leaves. And the biriyani is prepared in the serving bowl - it comes covered, and when one opens it, the aroma mesmerizes him.


Japanese Cuisine made Fun: Yum Yum Cha, Select City Walk Mall
This is again one of my discoveries. Attracted by the colourful decor, we stepped in this cosy outlet, and came out with a lovely experience. Some of the items in the menu have been brought to India for the very first time, so you must try this place. The items that swept me off my feet are: sea food salad - a cold salad of diced crab; sushi platter and Takoyakioctopus dumplings.


Best Dessert: Brownie and Tiramisu, again at Olive Beach
You are full, yet, your taste buds crave for something sweet to complete your meal. Chef Sujan at Olive Beach tossed up two perfect desserts for us - the perfect proportions, and so well presented. The tiramisu had a teasing coffee flavour to it, while a chunk of vanilla ice cream complemented the chocolate soaked brownie. For once, we simply forgot all about the calories!
Have I got your mouth watering?
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Photos courtesy: Atul Tayade, Angon Bhattacharjee, Self

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Adding a Secret Flavour to your Cooking

In the mood for experimenting with my time-tested recipe of mutton curry, I embarked on the lookout for new ingredients that can be used. This is when I chanced upon a bottle of Ballantine's whisky, which a friend had got for my husband, as both of them are lovers of scotch. The label seemed to invite me - "Stay True, Leave an Impression".

 I had read in a forwarded message that if you add a spoon of whisky while cooking, the oil would not burn. No one was at home, and this was the time to try this!

So went in the first tablespoon of whisky with my favourite sunflower oil, and indeed, facilitated the cooking. I added another spoon as a secret topping just before serving it. Everyone who tasted the mutton, simply loved the unique flavour brought by the scotch.

Curious, I googled "Ballantine", and discovered that the founder of the brand, George Ballantine, was an innovator and entrepreneur,  and always acted with conviction and flair. I smiled quietly to myself, as I was reminded of my bold experiment.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Experience Business Hotels in Pune for Superior Services



One often mistakes Pune as an equivalent to a satellite city to the financial capital of India, Mumbai. That image of this town has definitely transformed as many companies have set up offices there, and many premiere institutes have also been set up. In modern times, Pune is looked upon as one of the fastest developing towns of the country, and one of the most popular destinations for business travel. And to match this growth, business hotels in Pune have also developed gradually over time.

With multiple options for easy connectivity to different parts of the country vide road and rail, Pune also has an international airport that connects it to two major international nodes, Dubai and Frankfurt. When you are travelling to Pune for work, then it is needless to say that you would want to avail of lodging facilities that are suitable to your nature of work, fit your budget, and offer facilities and superior services that suit the modern consumers and make the guests feel pampered. There are some hotels near Pune airport as well.

First and foremost is the easy booking options. No longer is hotel booking a stressful experience where you arrive at a hotel without being sure of availability of unoccupied rooms. Now, bookings can be done online or over the phone, and even an advance payment can be made. Alongwith comes free pick up from the airport/ railway station/ bus terminal on the day of arrival and drop off to the suitable transport node on the day of departure. Moreover, almost all hotels have provision for round the clock check in and check out, which means a guest can walk in and leave as per his business needs, and pay for the duration of stay and whatever he has consumed in that period.  

Complimentary breakfasts offer varieties of wholesome food to the business executives to kickstart their day on a healthy note. At the end of the day, after a long day of work, one can now bank on hotels to rejuvenate its guest. Depending on the class of hotels, the facilities offered include spas, salons, and gymnasiums with variety of equipments and a trainer, shopping arcades, cafes, gaming parlours and more. Round the clock wi-fi connections are provided to a guest so that he can work at his convenience, as per his business needs.

Next time you are in Pune for work, look out for an experience that boosts your productivity and makes you look forward to revisiting the city again. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pastry and Chocolate Art


"What could that be?", I wondered, when I first heard about the Academy of Pastry Arts, India. 

The sweet-toothed foodie in me urged me to check out this absolutely new concept - an institute set up for chefs and food lovers to discover the art of pastry making, decoration and more. So long, the term "pastry" would mean black forest or chocolate truffle (my favourite) - this expedition was quite an eye opener for me!

We were greeted by smiling chefs, Ewald Notter (World Pastry Champion), Tay Chee Siand and Tan Wei Loo (Asia Pastry champions) and Niklesh Sharma (Director) who demonstrated their expertise - leaving us open mouthed, and short of words, even to ask questions that were knocking around in our heads. 


A delectable pallete of pastries were laid out for us to taste .. they taste yummier than they look!

Award winning chefs from across the globe are associated with this venture, who shall bring their experience to us. Similar institutes are being launched in different countries. There are different modules of courses available for you to choose from, depending on your interest. Amazingly, the fee structure is also quite reasonable.

Chefs of 5 star hotels have benefitted from the institutes abroad. Now its your turn, in your own country, in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon.
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Photographs: Supratik Bhowmick
 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

With Cricket comes Travel !!

Cricket is in the air again with the ongoing World Cup tournament. Everyone at my home loves the game, so there is never a fight over the channel on television when a match is on. We try to watch as many games as possible... apart from our zeal for the game, the added attractions are the glimpses of the city we get as the camera zooms out and pans around during breaks. I felt so proud when my city, Calcutta, was showcased during the 1996 World Cup, which was hosted in India.

Isn’t that a wonderful way to build interest about and boost the tourism of a place? Think of the reach – your audience becomes global, where you can create lasting impressions.

The countries hosting the current World Cup are Australia and New Zealand, both of which are full of picturesque destinations, ideal for travel enthusiasts.

Alongside television, radio, and internet, following the World Cup has become a notch more convenient with the launch of mobile-based applications that offer information about teams, fixtures, etc. Also, details of each venue are available, along with a city guide. This includes snippets of places to visit for sightseeing, shopping, and things to do while you are in the city and not watching the match. There are tips for you to keep in mind on the D-day, such as traffic diversions and other arrangements, public transport routes, availability of parking of personal vehicles and cycles. So, if you are in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland or any city hosting a cricket match, you have all necessary information to find a venue or your way around.

Travel has become so much a part of cricket that even ICC, or International Cricket Council have launched a website, for facilitating those who wish to travel to catch a match live. Tickets can be booked through this website and various offers such as stay in hotels for a defined period, city travel passes and more!

So you see, travelling to watch a cricket match live in the venue has many additional benefits!
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Solution to your Travel needs

"Who are these people?", I asked the admin chap of my office. We were recently back from a Team Building programme, and this one was definitely different from the previous ones I have attended. Everything, including travel arrangements, seemed to have been planned seamlessly.

I was handed a business card, and informed that this group of young professionals of travel agents in India offered services for both corporate and individual customers. I promptly checked out their website,


The homescreen is welcoming and easy to navigate, whether you are looking for international or domestic options. Plan your honeymoon, or a trip with friends and family! Try out their Singapore holiday package.

If you are looking for corporate arrangements or other travel related services, this could be your one-stop solution.

What is more, there is a Holiday Planner just a call away, who'll tailor your package as per your need, budget, time in hand and more.

Complete transparency and personalized care makes this a travel portal with a difference.
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This is a sponsored post. However, views are my own.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Free at 97

The mind says:
  • When you are 6 months beyond 97 years,
  • When you are but a skeleton with a super active brain,
  • When you are dependent on others to move around,
  • When your eyesight fails you,
  • When people younger than you die, and you cannot do a thing about it - and when this includes two of your own children and one grandchild,
  • When sleep evades you inspite of medicines,
maybe its good for you if you can leave this material world.

But can the heart agree? My Granny was the centre of our lives. She was fragile, but gave us (everyone in the family) the strength to face the world with her optimism. Such was her positivity that we almost believed she would continue to support us forever. Everytime we went out or came back from somewhere, the first thing in the morning and last before we went to sleep, we would sit on her bedside, holding her hand. The conversations would be about anything she could recall - ranging from how unsafe it was to hang out after dark to rains in Calcutta. We were always left in awe, wondering who kept her abreast about global current affairs.

When we were elsewhere, she used to write letters to us, as long as she could. Later, she'd dictate, with me as her scribe. The frequency dropped as regular phone calls made communication more convenient, but less charming. 

Granny was a beautiful lady in her hay days, but her grandchildren have always seen her as a cute old lady, full of love, inspiration and support. She encouraged us in whatever we did, even if our experiments were not exactly successful. And never would she allow anyone to say a negative word about any of her grandchildren. She had a difficult life, a 65 year-widowhood, challenges flung at her over and over, but she was always the soldier who sailed across seas of joy and pain with equal ease. 

We lost her on 10th January, 2015 - a vacuum which cannot be filled. She left us with a challenge to live up to what she expected us to become. Rest in peace, my lady. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Enliven your Kitchen

Bright colours. Convenient. So durable that it can be passed on through generations. What do you think I am referring to?

All that may come to your mind is not correct for the above descriptions refer to kitchenware from Le Creuset. I personally have always felt that the designs of utensils, accessories and likewise that we use in the kitchen haven't evolved as much as the modern consumer... until I chanced upon Le Creuset store in Ambience Mall, Gurgaon. 


The staff told me there are outlets in South Delhi too, if I wished to pick up something later. 

Attracted by the bright colours and simplistic, yet functional design, I picked up a medium sized cooking bowl just to take a better look at it. It was so heavy!

The staff smiled to tell me that most cookware was made of cast iron, a material that has been known to human beings for long, but in a revamped version. The weight would make a utensil sit right on the flame and there's no need to hold it while stirring. Plus the material would ensure uniform heating. 


Incidentally, that day there was live cookout at the store in association with Bonne Maman, a brand renowned for traditional preservatives. There were chefs with international fame who demonstrated to us how Le Creuset utensils can be used for cooking, baking and more. It was an evening very well spent.
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Photos courtesy Angon Bhattacharjee