Chennai International Film Fest

So, the CIFF this year was a super duper hit. Why? How? Cos i managed to attend, and not just attend a few, but saw 14 movies. Yes, you read it right. I had made up my mind to not only register, but to make it a point to attend as many as possible this year since last year was a bit of a wash out.

Oh, and the cherry on this cake is that I got featured in an article in the New Indian Express as well.. Check it out-

Link to the article

Skywatch Friday– Fire in the sky

There I was, sitting in my favorite seat, eyes shining bright and glued to the window.. When we were checking in, my friend wanted an aisle seat, preferably in the 1st few rows, but I wanted a window seat which was available only beyond the 30th row. He gave me a look that said “really?” but I persisted and we finally got our seats done, 34th row. I got my window and he got his aisle..hehe… It was going to be a nice long 2hour 45min flight from Chennai to Delhi. And then we had about half hour in the flight before we resumed our next leg of the journey to Punjab, the land of the Golden temple… 
And the reason I wanted a window seat was just so I could stare out the window at the changing colours of the sky. I have shared few pictures before, but I know I shall never run out of them.. 🙂
Here are the various hues and the drama that the skies put on for us during our flight… 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Cooking with the Tadka Girls- Pasta in lemon pepper sauce!

Few weeks or maybe a month ago, I read a blog post by a friend in which she had mentioned this book “Around The World With The Tadka Girls [Ruchira Ramanujam, Ranjini Rao]“.We spoke about the book to a point where she mentioned it was a good book to have, not only were the recipes good, they were easy to make and the ingredients were all simple ones [most of which we would have around the kitchen]
Two weeks ago,I was at a bookstore, when I called this friend asking about the title of the book. Another friend who was with me exclaimed on seeing the book in my hand. We decided to buy a copy and share the book! 
Day before, when I was wondering what to make for dinner, I decided to refer the book. Spotted a Fettucine and prawns recipe, read through it and went ahead to tweak the recipe a bit [since am a vegetarian, i chose to replace prawns with vegetables].. It turned out beautiful, took less than 15mins to cook and I loved the tangy peppery flavours.
The Recipe!
Ingredients-
Farfalle pasta- 1 cup
Onion- 1
Garlic- 3 pods
Thyme/mixed herbs- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Black pepper- 2 tsp
Oil- as much as required
Butter- 1 small cube
Water- enough to boil the pasta in
Vegetables- mushroom, baby corn, carrots and capsicum [green, yellow & red]
Lemon/lime juice- 1.5 tsp
Lemon/lime rind/peel- 1 tsp
Method:
In a pot, add water, salt and oil- add the pasta and allow it to cook. I added the baby corn to this as it takes a while to cook.Strain and keep aside. Dont throw away all the water, keep 1/2 cup aside. 
In another pan, add the butter and oil, saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes. 
Add the chopped vegetables and saute till they cook
Now, add the salt, black pepper and herbs
Once the vegetables are well done, toss in the cooked pasta and mix well.
Squeeze in the lime juice and add the lime ride/peel[either grate it or chip finely]
Add 2 tbsp of pasta boiled water and turn off heat when all come together.

Serve hot!

S for Six Months

Days flew by
So did Months
And now it has been 6 months since I moved out to live on my own!
[err, for those who did not know about this, read this earlier post N for New Address]
[The bell, the butterfly chime and fishy hanging in the balcony]

I must say it has been a good journey so far. The days have all been good, life has been kind and as always I have enough good souls around me to keep me feeling HIGH. Have learnt the ropes of living alone, comfortable doing housework, managing time and dealing with irate courier guys and postman.


Waking up early, going about my routine, doing different things, enjoying every moment of the day as always… well, except for the waking up early [early was 6.45-7.30 am while now it is 6.10-6.15 daily] 

The chores around the house done feel daunting, nor am I sighing at the pile of laundry or thought of sweeping/mopping. I cook breakfast, lunch/dinner depending on what the plans for the day are. There are people who have been gaping at the mention of “cooking”, “mopping” and actually asked me “oh, so you cook? do you cook for a few days together? and I reply “nope, I cook on a day to day basis” their eyes widen like they are going into some kind of weird shock… 
[And finally I have a clock up on the wall.. this was a birthday gift from another dear darling friend]



Was always good at managing money, now I plan out for the expenses, pay bills on time and don’t slack [not that I ever did]… Every day I discover new aspects of living on your own, and so far havent been overwhelmed or shocked [thanks to friends and my sharp observation skills] 🙂 

Love the space, love the freedom and the fact that I have a place to call “home” above all.  Slowly adding a few personal touches to the space and loving it. 

Have had a few friends over, and then there are others who frequent whenever they pass by this locality… Hosted a surprise birthday bash for a few friends as well.. what a hoot that was!
[put up a string and hung a few postcards I have received via postcrossing and the light was a gift from a dear friend]

I would also like to think this home is lucky, I have done 3 good trips [1 on my own and 2 with friends-yet another 1st since I havent travelled with these before].. On the professional front, got the opportunity to meet some interesting people and hopefully will explore a few exciting projects with the dawn of 2014… 


Mom & gramma keep asking “are you doing OK? have enough money? happy?” and when I reply in affirmative, they are surprised I guess.. Maybe they thought/think I will come back home with my tail tucked between my legs.. Well, they dont really know me if they are thinking that!! 

Here’s to more good times!! 

Come over sometime, but first please do call or message to confirm am home ;o)

Shopping made fun through Cashkaro.com

There are many of who enjoy shopping, spending hours in the stores or in the mall exploring all the shelves and products before they decide. But over the last few years, we have seen a  changing trend. No, people havent stopped shopping, just where they shop has changed. Am not talking about change in brand loyalties or looking at different stores. Am talking about the new trend of online shopping. There are so many websites, infact some might be cropping up as I type this.

In this too there are different category of shoppers. The kind who go to a store, check out the product, do their research and then go buy the product online, and then there are those who scrounge the various websites and pick from the ones that offer the best deals and prices. 

This goes across books, gadgets, clothes, jewellery and just about everything you can dream off. It really does not matter if it is a low value or high value product, as long the brand is a known one and site seems reliable people will attack… And in this era of changing trends, there came a new site, one that promised to be different.. And this is where my story begins, 

About a month or so ago is when I 1st heard about Cashkaro.com. And then, after a flurry of messages and mails, I was checking the site out, simply out of curiousity. It is a site that has partnered with several ecommerce sites and offers cash back to the clients. All you do is create an account with Cashkaro.com or take the easy way out, connecting via your Facebook account and off you go shopping away.

You not only enjoy discounts, but also get cashback on most purchases [very few have clauses on purchase].  It is like leaving a child in a toy store, you dont know where to look or what to click.. 😀 




Initially, I wasnt very aware of the offers and went ahead to make a purchase on Flipkart, only to later realise there was no cash back. But then heck, buying a book is something I enjoy and would never regret. Some time passed by, and the GOSF was happening. This is when I was back on Cashkaro.com, except this time I spent nearly an hour reading through their policies, how it worked, what it was all about and then went ahead did a purchase on Tradus. I ordered for footwear. 




I spotted the details of cashback offer under Tradus, and then had to click on the link there which told me the cashback would happen within 72hours, straight into my account. What is cool is that all the cashbacks we receive can then be transferred to our bank account as well.. as CASH. How cool is that?

To know more about them or the latest offers, follow them on twitter- @Cashkarocom

Alright, enough chatting, am off to check out some of the other deals they have!! And what are you staring at, go check out the coupons and deals already!! 

Happy Holidays!  

Rocking it, CFG style…

Do you love food? 
Do you love to cook?
Do you enjoy eating?
Do you like to party?

Well, if you answered for all or any of these with a big nod of your head, then time for you to read further…

Do you wanna see what it was like last year? at our 8th Anniversary..Here you go






If in case you answered No, well, you are here, so you might as well continue reading, actually just go ahead read it all.. be nice and nobody gets hurt, alright ;o)

The month is December
The date is 22nd
Time: 6.30pm onwards
The venue is Accord Metropolitan Hotel, GN Chetty road.

So what is so big about the day? Well, D’oh. It’s time for you to mark this on your calendar, so you don’t miss out on this awesome event..


What is the event you ask? Gosh… its Chennai Food Guide’s 9thAnniversary bash. It is going to be an evening of fun, food and foodies… you will get to meet fellow foodies, chefs, people from the industry, crack up laughing, groove to some cool beats, dig into some amazing food- basically have a whale of a time.. 

Come join us for this wonderful evening… If you would like to attend, ping me, leave a comment with your name/email id and I shall connect with you Or you could simply click on the link and pick up your ticket.

Early bird tickets are available, but the timer is on.. so don’t waste too much time contemplating. Go for it..


Online payment– https://getfbpay.in/event/view/1577/


See ya there~  

Adios.. 
Foodie 


The Biryani & Haleem Workshop is back… 8th December!!

When you bring two ladies who are passionate about food, and love to experiment you are in for a treat, actually a feast! 

Maaria of Adoniya launched a series of Cupcake workshops and now she has gone further extending a warm welcome to Tasneem Ayub [Aunty] for the Biryani & Haleem workshop. Nope, this is not the first one, there was one 2weeks ago which saw 21 people learn how to make the most amazing Biryani and Haleem, straight from Aunty..  Experiments in the kitchen with recipes from cookbooks or the internet is fun, but when you get to learn from someone like Aunty you are bound to go home with a precise recipe and a foolproof method as well. What is more, you will have a blast learning the dishes~ !!

What can i say about aunty.. She is amazing, and food is all about caring and sharing and giving to her!! She has hosted dinner parties, brought over food, sent across food, and shared recipes freely numerous times. We love her food- zafrani badaam, bread halwa, veg biryani, tomato thokku, walnut chutney, Qubani ka meetha and so much more….She is such a sweetheart that if she has a group of veggie and non veggies coming over, she pays so much attention to make sure both groups have enough options…  🙂 



Have I attended the workshop? Sigh, you had to ask dint you.. Nope. Not because I don’t like Biryani but only because I am a vegetarian 🙂 

Now stop reading and go grab your seat for the upcoming workshop already… Last few seats remain for the biryani and haleem workshop this Sunday at Adoniya Academy!  

For more details and online registration visit www.eventjini.com/biryaniworkshopdec

Contact:- 
Maaria – 9840285950 
Tasneem Aunty – 9884078631

Have a great experience and do tell us about it.. 

Peaches turns one

“Peaches” is not the 1stname we thought of. We infact ran through nearly 100 of them, scraping at each of them- Tiranga, 3 Rascals and what not, till finally we landed at “Peaches”, shares Raghu.  Hailing from a family where his father was into business, Raghu met up with 2 other friends and after much brainstorming they decided to start the restaurant and see where it is headed.

They were 3 guys who were excited, passionate and wanted to do something new. Subsequently, they met with Chef Kaushik [Eatitude] who helped transform their idea into reality and get going on the restaurant. 

After much deliberation, the trio decided to start a “Pure vegetarian” restaurant, esp since Velachery was an up and coming locality and pure veg is a cuisine that will work here. Locality was one thing they dint really have to deliberate over, and they knew there was going to be no compromise on quality of food they served either. Once the idea was in place, plans were drawn, they did a survey over 40days among people they knew and got them to test out the menu as well [12th to 19th Sep 2012]. On 20th Sep 2012 is when the doors opened…



The menu too went through various stages, from being extensive, it was narrowed down, and over time a few dishes were chopped off the list, while others were added in. The restaurant was slowly evolving and getting ready to open the doors to the market. And today, they are a year and 2 months old.  Today, they can serve 58 covers and are proud owners of the 1800 sq ft restaurant.

Targetting families who enjoy Indian food, and who are open to world cuisine, they designed the menu and kept coming up with new innovative dishes and festivals. Earlier this year, they had the Burrito eating contest, where a 2kg burrito was to be eaten in the shortest time. And now, they have launched Sizzlers, about 5 of them. We wonder what they are going to come up with next…

Venkatesh manages the kitchen and back end while Raghu manages the front and marketing aspect of the restaurant [thanks to his experience in marketing & servicing].

Some of their signature dishes which we got to taste were

Starters : Bread Mozzarella Sticks, Malai paneer tikka, Aatish-e-aloo and the Mushroom crostini followed by Phuket Paneer and Schezwan baby corn.

Drinks: Florida Sunrise and Lime mint cooker

Mains: It was raining sizzlers- there was the Oriental Sizzler, Italian sizzler, Tandoori Sizzler, Chettinad Sizzler and finally the Big Fat peaches Sizzler. The best of the lot was the Chettinad and Oriental Sizzler. The amazing thing about each of these Sizzlers was that the items on each of them was different, even the wedges and side of vegetables. There was the veg cutlet to the masala vada, the Chinese fried rice+noodles to Indian Biryani and the Italian gentle flavoured vegetables. These should make their way into the menu long term!!

Desserts: Hot chocolate fudge sundae, Banana boat and Mango sundae… 
Here’s wishing them a great journey ahead!!! Next time you are around Velachery and in the mood for some good food, albeit vegetarian, head straight down the road next to Phoenix mall about 2kms to Peaches [above Andhra Bank]



You can read my earlier review here

 Peaches

No.81, 9th Cross Street,
Rajalakshmi Nagar, 
100 Feet by Pass Road, 
Velachery, Chennai, 
Tamil Nadu 600042
Ph- 044 4201 9454

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Happy 1st Birthday Dessert Safari

The name is Dessert Safari… But that does not mean it is a place where you find only Desserts. They also serve up quite a range of Dishes, both veg and non veg. My 1st visit here was on Sep 3rd. The reason I remember the day so well is cos it was the eve of my Birthday and we had a blast. It was pouring and we were cooped up there till past midnight. I even got to cut a cake amidst lovely friends J



It was  therefore quite apt that I was there to ring in their 1st Birthday!! So when I heard Dessert Safari was turning one and we were invited, I dint mind visiting [esp since the place held fond memories]. We were greeted by the Manager and the Chef {who has travelled the world thanks to working in Cruise liners and who also has worked with leading chefs around the globe, including Gordan Ramsay and Remy [from the famous Ratatouille movie]}.  He is a true blue Mylapore boy who studied in Chennai but went abroad for better prospects and is now back home. He spent about half an hour talking to us, giving us insight into plans he had for the place, the new recipes, the Tandoor he had just installed and how he was working on a whole new range of Fusion food.


While I waited, I had a fresh Orange juice, which was quite refreshing. The 1st dish to arrive was the mixed Bean soup, it had chickpeas and black eyed peas among others and was quite rich, we also detected cheese in it. And that was it…we were off to a no “Naan”sense start.. We were served Plain butter naan with a handful of rocket leaves and a dip made with yoghurt and mint, and tamarind chutney. Following this, we tried the Naan pizza- two varieties- 1 with mushroom masala and other with spinach and paneer. Wait; there was one more dish with Naan. It was the naan sandwich- veg had spinach, peas and corn while the non veg had pullapart chicken with pickled carrots.



In between this we were also served a Rocket salad with carrots and shaved fennel. This had me curious and the Chef showed me what a Fennel bulb looked like. I was so excited seeing it, in real [ I had only seen it on TV cookery shows]


We also got a tour of the small kitchen, with the newly installed Tandoor. It was hot at 690-700 degrees and apparently is never turned off. A huge wok is placed on top to cool it off and a wet cloth used to cool down the walls in case it gets too hot, said the chef. Interesting!!

Coming back to the food, we were in for a treat with the desserts. There were quite a range of them- Chocolate cinnamon pie [ served warm]- delicious; and then there was the Chocolate cheesecake served with fresh cream and a dollop of ice cream. This is when Chef suggested we try the ice cream with his Balsamic reduction. And we were pleasantly surprised, loved the combo infact. Who would have thought vanilla ice cream and balsamic went together. This reduction had Dark balsamic vinegar and jaggery reduced down. Finally, there was the Mango parfait, which was similar to a mousse but better, with 4 little intriguing balls of sorts on top. They just popped as they touched our lips, a burst of sourness. We dint know what it was, but loved it and asked for more of it..


We also got to sample the Chef’s new sauces- one made with Coca cola and the other with coconut and Indian spices. All the sauces are vegetarian and these are what is used on the meat dishes as well, explained the Chef. We were curious to know more, and if opportunity arises, we definitely shall go back to try his innovative creations.

Happy Birthday Dessert Safari~!

Address:
107, Eldams Road, Teynampet, Chennai
Ph: 044 33824444

Directions- Dessert safari is down the road from Samco on the left [if you are coming from Alwarpet]

Disclaimer:The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂

Japan Vs China- The Food Debate, Pan Asian, Chennai

Vegetarian vs Non vegetarian
Paneer vs Tofu
North Indian vs South Indian
Coffee vs Tea
and now, things are going global. Yes, we are talking about the big debate between Japanese Food vs Chinese food. I was wondering what this was all about, what ITC Grand Chola was hoping to accomplish. Little did I know I was in for a visual and sinful treat. 
They had flown down a Chinese Chef , pitted him against our very own Chef Vikram and the debate was on. I have been to Pan Asia twice before and both times, it has been quite a memorable experience. I have tried dishes filled with new flavours and textures, so I knew tonight was going to be no different. Just dint expect the surprise I was in for! 
And this Debate was going to pawn all other debates, beating them hands down. It had the Oomph. The food was paired with Whisky, and no small brand, it was Johnnie Walker. 

We were shown a menu, a set menu, one side of it belong to Japan and the other side to China and the dishes were paired with different kinds of Johnnie Walker whisky. After a brief round of introductions and hellos, we settled in and the evening just flew by.  When our orders were being taken, I somehow went with the Japanese menu, but luckily friend chose the Chinese and so we got to taste both  the dishes. 
The 1st platter, the amuse-bouche was quite a visual treat, and then my taste buds did the tango wit every sip and bite. There was a mini martini glass with a drink [yuzo and vodka] and the rim was filled with celery salt. Then there was a soup spoon with little green balls that were basically celery, and a crisp tofu skin[sansho crisp] and a sake?white wine soaked cherry tomato. Every mouthful was like firecrackers in the night sky. The Celery salt was the highlight. Oh, how can I forget the glass of Rising Sun that I sipped on. Johnnie Walker whisky blended with Egg white, soya sauce and Wasabi mix. Loved it, absolutely loved it.


I knew then the party had begun! The soup was another treat- Edamame, beetroot, truffle in a subtle Broccoli broth and a ring made with rice and another Japanese ingredient. Reading the word “Truffle” brought memories of the movie “No reservations” and of shows I had seen where a dog was used to sniff it out in the wilderness. What amazing flavours. As the soup arrived, so did the 2nd drink, this time a Johnnie walker blend with Oolong tea and sugar syrup, served in a long stemmed Martini glass. Moving on, the starter I chose was Confit Green Apple Carpacio served with plum tomato ice, gold label sichimi emulsion. Carpcio was yet another dish I had heard and seen on TV, so trying it out was a new experience and Yes, I loved it. What a blend of flavours and textures. The Whisky paired with this was Johnnie Walker Double Black label, such a smooth drink. 

Following this, came the main course– Grilled Artichoke hearts served alongside sticky rice, tobajan miso, water chestnuts. The drinnk for this was Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, yet another smooth drink. The dish was just amazing, loved the crunchiness of the Water chestnut [infact we had a debate amongst ourselves wondering what veg that was].  And then, it was time for dessert. We were all grinning and having a lovely evening. Once again, I went with the dessert on the Japanese section of the menu and boy oh boy was I happy. My dessert was Johnnie walker whisky soaked  pear slices served with probiotic yoghurt ice cream. A vanilla milk of sorts was poured over the pear slices and boom boom the flavours took me to heaven and back. I am not joking nor am I exaggerating. I loved the creaminess and smoothness. This was served with the finest in Johnnie walker, the Premium drink.

Wait, Chef Vikram had yet another surprise in store for us. We were served another dessert, a dark chocolate one[75%], his signature chocolate preparation. He came over, chit chatted with us, asked for feedback and mentioned this dessert was just something he put together, no big deal… 🙂 What a humble man!! We also spent a few minutes chatting about some of his other creations and the Sunday brunch that he promised was going to be a one of a kind experience.  
This Chinese/ Japanese set menu is priced around Rs 2500 [and if you include the Whisky, it would be Rs 4000ish].. 
PS: Here are my earlier posts
Address:
Address:
ITC Grand Chola
#63, Mount Road, Guindy, Chennai,TN,600032
Ph- 044 2220 0000