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!

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

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


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.