Cheflife, Food Blog, Lifestyle, Motivation, Travel, Work

๐Ÿป To New Beginnings !ย 

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It’s the last day of this year, time for ‘Thank you’ & ‘goodbyes’…

Time to step into the new year, which would hopefully bring with it better days. 

I don’t know how this year has been for each one of you, but I hope & pray the next one would be much better in every way. 

For me, this year has been a disaster in many many ways. Cruel, to say the least. One hell of a roller coaster ride, with few ups, & the lowest of lows. 

A sincere Thank You, to all those people who chose to stay ; & a big Thank You to those who decided to leave. 

Hoping to make way for new experiences and new people in the coming year. 

In this age of social media where everyone of us is competing with each other, to post only the best & ‘happiest’ moments of our life for everyone to see, we forget that we’ve become way too pretentious & unapproachable. 

Truth is, we all need someone, not just to hang out & party with, but to have Real meaningful conversations with ; a true friend, a confidant, someone with whom we can be totally at ease, without the fear of being judged. 

I wish I had more people like that in my life when I needed, but I promise to be that person to whoever might need it. 

I mean this sincerely ! My house is a safe zone. Coffee or tea can be made in minutes and the kitchen table or counter is a place of peace and non-judgment. I have loads of comfy blankets where you can just curl up & sleep without anyone disturbing you. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. We can talk, share a laugh or two or just sit in silence. It’s no good suffering in silence. I have food, or I will cook on demand , or we can always order in, eat, drink, cry…whatever. 

I will always do my best to be available…You are always welcome !! ๐Ÿ˜Š 

As I say goodbye to this year of lessons, and look forward to #2018 , I wish each one of you a very Happy New Year , which is kinder, easier, full of love, peace, & good health. Cheers ๐Ÿป โค

#happynewyear

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Lifestyle, Motivation, Travel

Work…Travel…Save…Repeat.ย 

Looks like a stillife painting…right ?! 

That was my #airbnb home in #madrid ๐Ÿ˜ 

I had always opted for a separate #airbnbhome , where the owners just hand over the house keys & then leave for a vacation, while I get to use their apartment. 

But this time in Madrid, I shared the apartment with the home owners, while they were living there, going on about, with their daily routine. 

It was truly a different experience to live with the locals. This beautiful apartment is owned by 2 amazing, hospitable guys who not only helped me out with the directions, local maps, best eateries in town & other info, but we also used to sit & chat here in this corner, share stories & experiences of our own countries, & people back home. We used to cook & exchange recipes. 

I must say, inspite of it being owned by 2 BOYS, there was absolutely no mess or clutter in the house ! ๐Ÿ˜… The place was spick n span & immaculately done up. 

Yours Truly, on the other hand, bumped into the glass door & splashed coffee all over the place early in the morning (ok, I blame that #sangria from the previous night) ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ 

Thankfully the boys were still asleep, so I quietly cleaned up everything & behaved like nothing ever happened ๐Ÿ˜Ž 

I often see people too rigid when it comes to travelling, food, accommodation, or planning their holidays in general. 

But these are some experiences that you miss out on, when you insist on swanky hotels, & the typical ‘touristy’ itineraries. 

If you truly want to get to know a place, you gotta be open to other cultures, cuisines, mingle with the locals. 

Yes, there are all kinds of people in the world; You might not have the best of experiences every time. But that’s the whole point of travelling & exploring new places. Getting out of your comfort zone, trusting people, & yourself, but being street smart at the same time. That’s how you make memories. It’s fun…Try it ! ๐Ÿ™‚ 


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Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

Wok Tossed Prawns & Rice Stick Noodlesย 

โ€‹Homemade meals + cozy winter afternoons = Bliss ๐Ÿ’œ

This one dish meal is my favourite. 

I always have some chicken/prawns, some flat rice noodles/rice vermicelli at home, for a quick wok tossed meal that I can prepare in minutes. 

I used some fresh plump prawns that I wok tossed in some sweet chili sauce, garlic & crushed peppercorn, in a tsp of sesame oil, over a high flame. 

Added cooked flat rice noodles to the wok, tossed till they were coated evenly with the sauce. 

Garnished with fresh spring onion. Yummmm…

Delish meal ready in minutes ! 

PS- That’s why it’s important to have basic sauces, spices & grocery at home with which you can rustle up a quick meal, so that you don’t end up eating junk food. ๐Ÿ˜› 

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Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lunch, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel

Khiva – Phoenix, Puneย 

‘Khiva’ from Mumbai, is the latest addition to the restaurant scene at Phoenix Market City, Pune. 

Considering that this place serves rich, traditional Bukhara cuisine, the decor is quite modern, simplistic, with just a few touches like, artefacts, paintings, Middle Eastern music, that try to stick to the concept of the restaurant. 

I was invited to a Preview dinner last month, & the tasting menu we were served that evening was pre decided by the management. 

Not the best mix of dishes, honestly. I would’ve loved to sample their Signature dishes, or something unique in terms of flavour, style of preparation, & presentation. 

But frankly, how different can a Palak Paneer, a Methi Mutter Malai, or a Rasmalai be, than any other place serving it ? 

The kebabs we tried – Chandni kebab, & Murg Mozarella kebab, both had a similar marination of cream, yogurt, cheese, green chili, & were pretty average in terms of flavour, presentation, and portions.

The vegetarian starters – Makai Seekh Kabab, & Mutter aur Cheese ka Tikka, were both dry and crumbly, & not really big on flavour (and Defintely Not Worth spending close to 400 bucks on!) 

The 1st (& probably the only) impressive dish of the evening was Mutton Lahori, a smooth thin onion based gravy, with absolutely tender melt in the mouth chunks of mutton that tasted brilliant with hot Naan. 

Murg Peshawari was another simple homestyle chicken curry, which is worth a try, but is it worth the high price ? I doubt. 

The vegetarian mains, as I said, were just like any other place serving this cuisne, would prepare. There was nothing different, nothing unique, in the Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani, Methi Mutter Malai or Meloni Tarkari that we were served that evening. The presentation was also as regular & run of the mill as any other place would serve. Which is exactly why I keep wondering why they’re charging whatever they are. (check the prices on Zomato, you’ll know what I mean ๐Ÿ˜) 

Chicken Dum Biryani served with Mirch ka salan did not disappoint. Good ratio of meat to rice. Generous sprinkling of saffron and spices, and balanced flavours. No complaints there. 

It takes a very good dessert to impress me, & compel me to go for a 2nd helping, as I’m not really a big fan of Indian desserts. 

The Anjeer Halwa, Angoori Rasmalai, & Lychee ki Tehree served that evening unfortunately failed to compel me to go even for a 2nd bite, leave alone a 2nd helping. 

With the Supreme Court highway ban on alcohol still in place, you will have to settle for a mocktail with your meal at Phoenix, as of now. 

So taking all these factors into consideration, will Khiva be able to impress guests, and have them come over a 2nd time ? 

Well… it’s barely a month since they’ve opened, maybe I’ll just wait for a few more weeks, give them some more time to settle, then try the food again… I’ll reserve my opinion till then. โ˜บ

In the meanwhile, if you do try it out, do let me know about your experience there. 

* Bloggers table was hosted by Khiva * 

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Cheflife, Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

Ajwain (Carom seed) Purisย 

Ajwain (carom seed) Puris – 

A very simple unleavened Indian flatbread. There are many variations of this flatbread, depending on the region where they are made.

 This is a simple recipe which requires just a few ingredients & can be made in under half an hour. 

โ–  In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour, 2 Tablespoons of Semolina, 1/2 Tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds), 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder, 1-2 Garlic flakes -minced /grated (optional) , Salt & Chilli powder to Taste.

โ–  Knead all the above ingredients into a stiff dough, using water as required (little at a time) Set aside for 15-20 mins. 

โ–  In a wok, heat oil. Roll out small (lemon sized) dough balls into flat Puris. (As shown in the pic) Deep fry the puris in hot oil, on medium heat, till they get a golden hue, & are fully puffed up. 

I serve these hot fluffy crisp Puris with a Mint-Coriander-Green Chilli Chutney, and some plain yogurt for Breakfast.

You  can also serve as a hearty meal along with Palak Paneer, Chickpea or Potato Curry. 

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Cheflife, Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Quick Meals

Healthy, No Cook Breakfast Ideas. Banana-Peanut Butter-Granola.ย 

Imagine the saltiness of generously slathered creamy peanut butter against the sweetness of banana and the crunchy texture of homemade granola packed with Almonds, Walnuts & Cranberries !

That was my breakfast today ๐Ÿ˜ 

You don’t need to slave in the kitchen for hours, neither skip breakfast bcoz you don’t have time to cook.

I just slit a banana lengthwise,  slathered some creamy peanut butter on it, & genrously sprinkled my favourite homemade granola packed full of the goodness of Oats, Almonds, Walnuts, & Cranberries. 

There you have it, a complete breakfast full of all the essential nutrients to start your day, ready in under 5 minutes, without any cooking at all ! 

Can anything be easier than that ? 

 Just use a little imagination ! Experiment a little. 

Stock up your groceries smartly. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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Cheflife, Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Home Cooking, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals, Restaurant Review

Easy Cherry Galetteย 

โ€‹
Its stone fruit season ! Looking at all those fresh plump juicy peaches, apricots, plums & cherries in the market, makes my mind work overtime, thinking of all the delicious things I can make with these fruits. 

So you’ll be seeing a lot of Jams, pies, tarts & galettes on my blog now. 

Honestly, nothing is simpler than a galette though. 

Served with a scoop of icecream or whipped cream, this handcrafted pie/galette makes for a comforting dessert on a gloomy rainy day. 

Here’s my Cherry Galette recipe for you – 

โ–  With your fingertips, rub together 100 gms of Flour with 50 gms of chilled butter (i prefer salted – @amulindia butter ), a pinch of Baking powder and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar. 

โ–  Rub this mixture lightly with just the fingertips, till it starts looking like coarse breadcrumbs. 

โ–  Add a couple of teaspoons of chilled water/milk to the mixture, & start bringing it together in a ball shape. Do Not knead the flour mixture like a bread dough. Just press it lightly between your palms, to bring it together in a dough ball. 

โ–  Wrap this pastry dough in a cling film & refrigerate for 15-20 mins. 

โ–  Take about half cup of fresh cherries (you can also use Peaches/Apricots cut into bite size pcs) Mix in few teaspoons of Demerrara (brown) Sugar, & a drop of Vanilla essence. 

โ–  Roll out the chilled pastry dough between sheets of Plastic, (roughly the diameter of a Quarter plate.) & roll about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. 

โ–  Place the rolled dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pile the fruit mixture in the middle, leaving a sufficient border (atleast an inch) along the circle. 

โ–  Fold the border onto the fruit filling, so that the fruit does not slide off while baking. 

โ–  Bake the Cherry Galette in a preheated oven at 160ยฐ C for 20-25 mins, until the fruits are caramelized &  the pastry is golden-brown. 

โ–  Serve warm with a dollop of icecream or whipped cream. 

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