One of the healthiest ways to Gamble is with a Spade and a pack of Garden Seeds ! ๐ŸŒพย 

I like growing my own vegetables & herbs. ๐ŸŒพ I like being able to tell people that the food I’m serving started out as a seed in my yard. ๐Ÿ˜Š

And you know what guys, it really doesn’t require a lot of space. You can grow these beautiful plants in pots, on your terrace, balcony, or a windowsill even ! 

I’ve been growing Lemon grass, curry leaves, chillies, basil, lemon, mulberries, coriander, tomato, capsicum, garlic chives, mint, etc besides a lot of flowering plants & climbers on my small terrace (and 1 pot is dedicated to the small wild birds that love to feast on the fresh Millet that I plant for them ๐Ÿ˜Š)

I haven’t used a single drop of chemical fertilizer or pesticides till date. Just a good mix of soil, coco-peat, vermicompost, & kitchen waste like crushed egg shells, vegetable trimmings, tea leaves, etc. Its such a joy to be able to just go to the balcony & pluck a handful of mint & coriander leaves to make green chutney or for a garnish. Some fresh fragrant Curry Leaves & spicy chillies for a nice Tadka to a simple dal. The evening tea or a nice piping hot bowl of Pho on a rainy evening is made with the freshest most fragrant lemon grass ! Salad made with freshly plucked tomatoes & capsicum. Simple pleasures !

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Junk Food can be made Healthier in just a few simple steps – My version of MAGGIย 

โ€‹I know this might sound stupid… but honestly… I DO NOT LIKE MAGGI (Or ANY other 2 minute noodles) ๐Ÿ˜‘

But sometimes you need something quick, & easy to make after a long tiring day… or you’re back home late, & there’s not much of an option really. 

 MY version of #maggi is what I make then…. lots of crunchy vegetables, & crispy noodles, spread over regular (instant) cooked noodles. 

This method is not really the quickest, but it’s definitely tastier & much healthier than the regular instant version. 

So here’s what I do – 

โ— Chop vegetables into small bite sized pieces. You can use any/as many vegetables as you like from this list – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrot, French Beans, Peas, Cabbage, Spring Onion. (Spring onion should be added at the end of cooking/as a garnish to retain freshness & crunch) 

โ— Heat a pan and add some oil (couple of teaspoons) 

โ— Add some crushed MAGGI noodles and stir fry on low heat till golden & crisp. (Always add noodles 1st, let them crisp up, before adding vegetbles) 

โ— Add chopped vegetables, salt to taste, and Tastemaker /any other spice mix of your choice and stir well. 

โ— Stir fry the vegetables on medium heat for a few minutes, taking care to retain their crunchy texture. 

โ— Simultaneously in another utensil, cook the instant noodles as you normally do (boil water, add tastemaker, add noodles & let cook) 

โ— Add the stir fried crunchy noodles- veggie mix onto the boiled noodles and serve immediately. 

I like the taste & crunchy texture of the stir fried noodles & vegetables along with the softness of the regular cooked noodles…it’s a nice balance of flavours & textures. 

Plus it’s a good way of eating veggies. Makes you feel less guilty about eating junk food (as if I care too much about that ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚….No I just like my version much more than the regular boring packet noodles.)

Moroccan Food Festival – at Feast, Le Meridien

Le Meridien is hosting a Moroccan Festival at their restaurant ‘Feast’ from 19th-27th August 2016.
Moroccan Chef Youssef Mabchour who is based in Dubai, is in charge of this festival, that will be dishing out an array of delicacies that are sure to please meat lovers, as well as Vegetarians.
Moroccan cuisine which is inspired by Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine is a mix of rich dishes that use generous amount of nuts, dry fruits and sugar, as well as fresh and healthy soups, salads, vegetables and herbs.

Among my favourites at this festival –

* Roast Chicken served on a bed of Vermicelli.
* An assortment of meats, like chicken, fish, prawns and mutton on skewers.
* Kofta Tagine with Egg, which is (Water Buffalo) meat balls, in a tomato based sauce, topped witg fried eggs.
* Chicken Mahammara is surely a dish worth a second helping. The preserved lemons, olives, blanched almonds, give this dish a unique flavour.
* Lamb Tagine which had generous quantity of dried apricots and prunes was a lovely combination of sweet and savoury flavours.

There are a variety of accompaniments like assorted breads, cashew rice, and couscous that can be had with tagines.
My favourite being the vegetable couscous which was light and fluffy, with crunchy bellpeppers, zucchini and carrots.

Moroccan food uses various vegetables, meats, spices, and generous quantities of dried fruits and nuts in all its preparations.
But the food in general is bland, and slightly on the sweeter side (especially for the fiery spicy curry loving Indian tastebuds)

If you are a fan of rich, sugary, sinful desserts, then this buffet will leave you spoilt for choice.
The dessert counter is pretty huge.

From the very popular Baklava, to Basbousa, Umali, M’hhancha, Gazelle horn, Pears poached in wine, fresh fruits and confections , there’s so much to choose from.
My favourite was the M’hanncha, which is a crisp phyllo pastry stuffed with powdered nuts and sugar.
The Gazelle horn, which is another rich sweet stuffed with pistachio, powdered almonds and dusted with sugar and cinamon should not be missed.
Wash it all down with a cup of aromatic Moroccan Mint Tea.

This festival is open for dinner, till 27th August, and costs 1295/- plus taxes.

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Shreyas – Maharashtrian Thali, Deccan Gymkhana.

Last week, 2 Italian friends were in town….And I had to take them out shopping to …Laxmi road…and Tulshi baug …!!

Ok..let me clarify, It wasn’t My idea…..They WANTED to go there….and were super excited about it ! ๐Ÿ˜›

Oh poor me, I thought, ….It was gonna be a tough task, taking them there, and braving the heavy traffic and the crowd !

So off we went…to the tiny, mad lanes of Tulshi Baug… where we were hit by a sudden burst of all things bright and colourful !
Everything from flashy clothes… bling bling jewelry… home decor things… Heaps of colourful, gleaming metal articles….It was a treat for their eyes !

They loved it ! Clicking pictures of every new and ‘ unusual’ sight …..shopping for knick knacks ….. I have to admit, I had a good time too …and seeing their enthusiasm, I forgot all about the mad traffic and chaos.

By the time we were done with the shopping, haggling.. clicking pictures… we were super hungry !!

I asked them where they wanted to have lunch….and pat came the reply….SHREYAS !

Huh ?? really ?? These guys had read about it somewhere…and decided that they wanted to try the Maharashtrian thali !
( If only I knew they wanted to eat that…I wouldve invited them home ! ) ๐Ÿ˜›

Ok…now Me being a Maharashtrian, am not really a big fan of Maharashtrian food that you get outside ( esp Shreyas ) ….coz I’ve had much better ( tastier food) at home !

But these guys WANTED to go there !

So next stop…..Shreyas at Deccan Gymkhana..!

As we entered the big hall… there were lots of tables, placed quite close to each other….and most of them were occupied even on a week day !

Once we were seated… without any further delay, the staff doled out one preparation after another, onto our plates…it was endless…
Wide eyed…these guys were gaping at the plate….wondering when those people would stop serving finally, so they could attack the food. !

There was ‘Usal ‘ ( sprouts) …2 dry sabjis, one gravy wali sabji, Amti (dal) , Koshimbir ( salad) , Chutney, chaat, Papad, Kothimbir wadi, Bhakri, Puri, Chapati, Plain rice / Khichadi, Solkadhi, Taak (butter milk)

The overall taste was average…
To be very honest…the food at Shreyas, has never really impressed me much.
There’s something missing…cant really pinpoint… But I just dont find it as tasty, as most people describe it..

But my friends devoured the food …literally !!
I was initially worried, that they might find it too oily or spicy…
But they were just fine with spice level……even had generous helpings of the Batata Bhaaji ( potato sabji) and Puri..

Halfway through our meal the manager came and asked what sweet we wanted ( Dessert is optional, as it is not included in the thali… So you have to pay extra if you want it. And though the thali is unlimited…the dessert is served by each portion.)

( So…225/- for the thali….plus an average 60/- extra for the dessert )

And guess what ?!…After that humongous meal…these guys still had appetite for Amrakhand, Gulab Jamun, and Puran Poli….Whoa ! So we ordered that….and it disappeared just as quickly.

I was really happy to see them enjoying themselves thoroughly…..lapping up all that food.
That sight…and their happy faces really made my day !

So with a full tummy… huge shopping bags… empty pockets….and some lovely memories…. we left from Shreyas , with the promise of doing it all over again, before they leave India.

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