This is how I unwind ….

This is how I unwind ….

After back to back meetings in office and outdoor shoots, I ensure to make time for my hobbies. I de-stress with MUSIC! Not just listening to different types of music, I simply love playing percussions especially the drums. I have drum sets in office, which I mostly play after a long meeting. Photography and reading are my other favorite pastimes.

Most of us don’t realize that hobbies can strike a perfect balance between professional and personal life. A hobby has an inherent quality to keep our minds relaxed and entertained as well.

Like food, I respect every genre of music. When I am cooking or trying out recipes, I listen to almost every type of song. I strongly believe that music and food work hand in glove. They both complement each other so much so that they tap into something, which is beyond – conscious thoughts. Especially, listening to music while cooking work wonders for me. It helps me to be at my creative best. I feel both the activities are active types of meditations, which eases stress and gives the wings of creativity. A good dish is a master piece that is created with a lot of love, interest, patience and of course haathon ka jaadu. Same applies to create any music as well. Moreover, your interest in learning any music is no doubt, important, being patient can work wonders for you.

One of my passions is obviously my profession! Thus, I am never stressed churning out recipes for my viewers. If you make your passion your profession, you will never be stressed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone. However, do try and give time to your hobbies, they mould your minds. My passion for music is eclectic. One of my favourite musical genres classic rock acts and I also love classical Hindi movie songs.

Food and music is something I live for. I let things flow for both- although I don’t try to connect music with the food I cook I simply let them flow.

Let us all pledge to devote time to do things we like. In the world of stress and tight schedules, stop your minds getting into the hives of worry and tension, which is no good food for a healthy lifestyle. Treat yourselves and mind by engaging in hobby that relieves your stress at the same time alleviates your mood. If you haven’t developed any hobby as yet, it’s not late. Start today. As they say, better late than never. Cultivate any hobby today and live for it!

Stop surviving, start living!
Worry less, live more!

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A cake that cheers

Cooking can be great fun. It not only gives you a sense of achievement but is also very therapeutic. I say achievement because when the dish you have cooked turns out good and tasty you do feel as if you have conquered the world. I feel like it even now after so many years in this line. And I say therapeutic because it really helps calm your nerves. Especially when you are feeling bored or lonely or depressed or even nervous – just pick up a bowl and a ladle and churn out something. You will really feel good. Moreover, it is definitely time well spent especially during vacations!

An easy to make cake that is flavoured with chocolate & orange

Chocolate and Orange Cake

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 – 25 minutes
No of servings: should serve 4, but I could easily eat it alone!

Chocolate and Orange Cake

Ingredients:
175 gms grated dark chocolate
5 tbsps orange juice
1 orange
100 gms margarine
225 gms castor sugar
2 eggs
150 gms full fat yogurt
275 gms refined flour (maida)
1 tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)

Equipment you will need:
An oven
A mixing bowl
A wooden spoon
A sieve
A grater
An egg beater
A cake tin
A wire rack

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Place margarine in a bowl, add sugar and beat together till light. Break eggs and add to the bowl and mix. Add yogurt and mix. Grate the rind of an orange and add to the mixture. Add orange juice and mix well.
3. Sift refined flour and baking soda into the bowl and mix. Add chocolate and mix well.
4. Pour the batter into a rectangular silicon mould and level the surface.
5. Keep it in the preheated oven and bake. Check after 20 minutes if it is done. If it is not cooked completely, then bake for 5 minutes more.
6. Removed from oven and cool. Remove from the mould, slice and serve.

Know the terms
In baking the term creaming means blending two ingredients – usually granulated sugar with a solid fat like butter. This technique is generally used while making a cake or a cookie dough. In the process the mixture becomes light and fluffy and also increases in volume due to the incorporation of tiny air bubbles. These air bubbles, locked into the semi-solid fat, remain in the final batter and expand during the baking process thus helping to make the cake or the cookie light.

Tech talk
Preheat the oven before putting in the cake to be baked. Switch it on while you are mixing the cake. Grease the tin, then also the lining paper or you can also sprinkle some flour or cocoa powder before pouring in the cake batter into the mould, will definitely make demoulding easier!
A cake is baked when it shrinks slightly away from the edges of the tin, and when touched lightly with a finger will spring back. A clean skewer inserted into it should come out free from particles of cake.

Good health tip
Adding some fruit to baked goods adds a natural flavour that is not possible with synthetic essences. Orange and chocolate are a perfect match in this superb cake.

Try out one more recipe with this great combination (this one is white chocolate and orange) and also tell me about your favourite flavour combinations and recipes that don’t go wrong!

Orange Chocolate Tarts 

 

Happy Cooking, Happy Eating!

Valentine’s Day

Frankly speaking Valentine’s Day in India is a recent age phenomenon and an after effect of globalization, and a very good marketing opportunity. But how many of us know why this day is called thus? Well Valentine’s Day celebrations began in Rome in 269 AD in memory of St. Valentine. He was imprisoned for performing marriage ceremonies of couples, which was a taboo according to a law set by the king of Rome. During this time he fell in love with the daughter of his jailor. Before he was executed he wrote a letter to her and signed it “from your valentine”, which went on to become a tradition. Since then Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of love all around the world.

Valentine day preparations begin weeks in advance. Obviously, because no one wants to be the cause of their partner’s displeasure. Normally, you don’t need to spend money to show someone your love but on Valentine’s Day this statement does not really hold true. Prices of certain commodities sky rocket with chocolates and flowers being the most coveted items. Red roses, which are considered as a symbol of love, are sold at double the normal price! Making a restaurant reservation should be done well in advance. Since 14th February is the universal day of love, you will see so many couples tying the knot on this day. Gift shops are the most crowded shops in the mall with people buying tokens of their love ranging from life sized soft toys to precious little platinum rings. These are some of the typical Valentine’s Day traditions. But things are not so stereotyped any more. You will see a large number of people opting for more off beat things, like couples going twin bungee jumping (jumping off a cliff with someone you love could be kind of romantic) or joining a salsa dance class together.

Valentine’s Day may reduce your bank balance to an extent, but all the festive goodies are sure to increase your weight quite a bit! So do make sure you take good care of your health, avoid fats and oils and carbohydrates, and stay away from too many chocolates. If you must eat chocolates, dark chocolate should be the preferred option. And if you do feel like indulging yourself on this romantic day, make up for the excess by jogging a little more, or running a mile more or walking a little more. You have to burn the extra calories you have consumed. Remember that staying healthy and fit will always be the trend. A healthy heart is a happy heart. If you plan to cook a meal for your loved ones, make sure it is nutritious. Use fresh ingredients and cook with your heart and soul. Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with complete abandon or not at all. It’s not always about what you are eating, it’s about who has prepared it and how. No wonder maa ke haath ka khaana is always delicious! Like they say a way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Right?

I am one of those people who consider it as any other day for I do not believe in symbolisms. I won’t be giving gifts to anyone. I will just spend the day doing something I love, with the people I love, my mother, my wife and my daughters. They are all foodies, and I am more than happy to cook for them whenever I get a chance to. It sounds rather simple, but it is not that easy. The four women in my life have very different choices when it comes to food. My mother is a pure vegetarian, so I will cook for her a vegetarian meal, maybe something that she used to prepare for me when I was a kid, that will surely widen her smile. Alyona on the other hand, loves seafood, so I’m planning to make some seafood phad thai, it’s quick and really tasty or Pepper Rawas Tikka. For my daughters the menu is pretty much fixed, Chicken Pasta. Every time I step into the home kitchen, which does not happen a lot these days due to my busy schedule, I am expected to make a chicken pasta and I do it with great joy. For dessert I’ll be making Chocolate Baked Yogurt, which is as healthy as it is tasty. Preparing a meal for my family, who are also my toughest critics and watching them enjoy the meal is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world for me – as a son, a husband, a father and a chef! Nothing can come close to a special home cooked meal, the company of your loved ones and conversations that never seem to end. I am sure my day is going to be very special if everything goes as planned.

Valentine’s Day is a just a reason or a special chance you get to celebrate love, but also remember that each day in your life is a gift, a gift that you share with the people you love and who love you back. Try and make tomorrow more special than today, take chances, follow your dreams and tell the people in your life how much they mean to you as often as possible. Love should be unconditional. You run after it and it will run away from you. Just keep doing what you love and have faith in yourself, you will be rewarded just like I have been by the love and good wishes from the millions of fans around the world.

Wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day.

Celebrate with these Valentine’s Day special Recipes.

Cooking indeed is not rocket science

The idea of starting a video series on how to cook for beginners germinated at a school meet where I had been invited to talk to the students who were in their final year. And as expected, most of them wanted to know why I chose this profession since cooking is so difficult and one has to spend hours over hot stove. I then told them that cooking really is not rocket science and with little patience and lots of passion, perseverance and interest it is easy to master the art of cooking.

Well the best place to start learning about how to cook is naturally right from the beginning. Let me tell you one well kept secret about myself – it took me very long to master the art of rolling out a round roti. Even now I need to concentrate a lot so that my rotis do not get misshapen.

It really is easy to become a great cook nowadays. With such technical advancement it is ever so easy to get quality raw ingredients with just a click of a button and a credit card. We can now order just about anything on earth sitting at home in front of our computers. The earth is indeed shrinking and home cooks are big time beneficiaries of it. Practically everything is within easy access – not just ingredients but also cooking methods and exotic recipes.

Now, now don’t you complain that your kitchen is not adequately equipped. When I started out in this profession we did not have the equipment that is available now. Yet we managed and very well too. So let me assure you that good cooks can make a lot happen with very little equipment. So don’t rush out to buy everything that is available – buy only what you need. As you graduate in your culinary prowess you can further equip your kitchen. Anyways there is no point in spending money on things that you do not know how to operate.

An important lesson to be taught and to be learnt is that do not be afraid of making mistakes. I made umpteen ones, which when I recall now makes me wonder how I could have been so clumsy. But then you learn from your mistakes, don’t you? I did learn and these mistakes helped me hone my skills. And I am where I am because of them. So let me assure you that the best chefs are those who made mistakes and learnt from them.

You too can become an expert cook. Just watch your grandmother or mother as they go about their ‘business’ in the kitchen. And if you are away from home, then just log on to

and I promise you they will take you step by step up the ladder to becoming if not the best but a good enough cook.

Happy learning

Sanjeev Kapoor

Cooking for Mom

Tucked up whole day in office today with a series of meetings, restaurant updates and some telephonic interviews.

Yesterday we had some special demonstrations for Wonderchef during the first part of the day.Finished and went home as we had special guests over for high tea! About thirty of Mom’s senior citizen friends came over (well it was a planned evening) as they wanted to have a chit chat with me! We had quite an interactive session with a lot of recipe swapping. I had decided the menu before hand with close consultation of my mother and we served the popular favourites like kulche chole, bhel puri, sev puri, khandvi, dahi bhalle and phirni. I admit that Alyona’s khandvi turns out better than mine and the dahi bhalle (with stuffing ) that my mother makes I cannot copy! So all my cooking prowess was put to test making the other items. One lady was quite enthusiastic about different flavours of phirni and we had a long discussion about that. She came up with the contention that if ice creams can be available in so many flavours then why not Indian desserts! So her ideas are of orange phirni, chocolate kheer ( I have made chocolate phirni, fruit kheer, chocolate shrikhand), gulab jamuns in strawberry juice….This does get one down to thinking!

As some Til Poli is coming off the tawa in the kitchen, in readiness for a perfected recipe for you, time for me to go check it out at lunch!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Always good to keep learning

Last week was in Bangalore on Thursday for a show at The Kitchen Yatra. The range of modular kitchens now available for us is really mind-boggling!
On Friday, we all took some time off from the rush of shootings to watch an enchanting demonstration of the unique food processor called Thermomix. The presenter was a very enthusiastic Ms Lynette MacDonald from Australia and we could see that she loves what she does….creating magic in the kitchen showing the prowess of the smart little Thermomix. Lynette was kind enough to teach us how to make dessert with frozen strawberries, pineapple sorbet, coleslaw salad, sweet custard, fresh bread dough, soups as well as preparation of our very own Indian masala mixes. My whole team thoroughly enjoyed Lynette’s demonstration as it was peppered with little jokes.
What we saw was this machine Thermomix that weighs, cooks, chops, steams, kneads, simmers in a compact way. Frankly speaking, the gadget lover in me was totally floored!
Monday comes with its long list of things to do and shows to make! From tomorrow a shooting schedule for Khana Khazana starts and I am spending time in preparing my recipes for it.
February is packed with lovely things on www.sanjeevkapoor.com! You can stock up on soup recipes and dish out great recipes using carrots….there is more, just wait! The new book The Wedding Collection is bringing in excellent feedback for its concept and a niche market. Have you got your copy yet?
Till I write again try out my favourites for the month…



Sanjeev Kapoor.

Do something different today

Planning a dinner party at home when everyone wants vegetarian food is a challenge! Why, because I want to do something different and put on the table a variety that will be most remembered. So focusing on starters because I know when your guests come in, a little weary and wet because of the rains, they are hungry and would simply love some crisp and hot starters…and if your starters are huge, then the main course can be a little light and then again fill up with desserts. So I plan to make veg seekh kababs under the grill alongside paneer shashlik, rice paper rolls with veggies (from the kadai), hara bhara kabab (from the frying pan). This way I satisfy all types of palates…both that enjoy low calorie food and others that do not mind the not so low calorie food! Topping this with a lovely veg biryani, lulla mussa dal and hot paranthas. Incidentally, we are making LMD after a long time at home and the kids have asked us to make enough of it so that they can enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. Yes, the desserts too will come in a as a surprise: Chocolate mousse with coffee, Apricot cheesecake and Kheer Kadam with Chocolate Ganache and all will be bite sized.
Travelling tomorrow to Bangalore as there an interactive cooking session with executives of a top end IT company. They will cook along with me and I am sure that will be enjoyable and fun.

I will use this opportunity to give you the recipes that I have used today.


Hara Bhara Kabab
Veg Seekh Kababs

Vegetable Biryani

Let’s enjoy together!
Sanjeev Kapoor.