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The Ministry Of Chutneys Masterclass at Radisson Blu GRT

It was a real mesmerising evening yesterday where I attended #TheMinistryOfChutneys by Anglo Indian Chef Bridget White Kumar who had come all the way from Bengaluru to conduct the class which went for a good 2 hours. The event was held at Radisson Blu Hotel Chennai


Initially, we were given a Hi-Tea on arrival which in itself was nothing less than the actual highlights of the day.
It was followed by the Masterclass. There was a good numbers who came all the way to attend the class which showed how much of importance is given to the Anglo Indian Cooking. This was in fact the first ever event, as far as I know, that was conducted in the city.
It was a two way conversational Masterclass which made it even more interesting since Chef gave lot of interesting anecdotes about the dishes she prepared. More about the dishes coming up in an exclusive post.
Post the event, we were provided with Dinner which featured the exclusive dishes prepared by the Chef along with a wide array of desserts & Mocktails. There was also a LIVE Bad organised based on the theme which saw few of them dancing to the numbers.
I must say that the evening was well spent which was informative, lively, interactive, fun-filled coupled with great delicacies.
The #MinistryOfChutneys food festival which officially began yesterday will go on until the 15th of December. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss this cuisine.

These were the items which were prepared by Chef Bridget White Kumar which was no less than a dream cuisine. These were prepared by the Chef on her #TheMinistryOfChutneys Masterclass which was held yesterday at Radisson Blu Hotel Chennai


What were made/prepared?
1) Chicken Ding Ding (Non -Veg Starter)

2) Yam Ding Ding (Veg Starter)
3) Nana’s Bono Pepper Fry
4) Anglo Indian Prawn Vindaloo
5) Anglo Indian Mutton Mince Ball Curry aka Bad Word Curry ( all 3 - from 3 to 5 were from Non-Veg dishes - Main)
6) Brinjal Vindaloo
7) Butter Fried Cauliflower
8 Okra & Potato Pepper Fry(all 3 - from 6 to 8 were from Veg dishes - Main)
9) Anglo Indian Saffron Coconut Rice aka Yellow Rice
10) Devil Chutney aka Hell’s Flame Chutney
11) Grandma’s Milk Pudding


Trust me, each and every dish tasted divine. The difference in the cuisine was very well evident - be it with the appearance, taste & aroma.
These were light on your stomach as well since the Anglo-Indians are known to create dishes/recipes which are light on spices.
If you’re looking to taste the authentic Anglo-Indian cuisines, all in one place, you know where you need to head to 

A day out at Super Munch

Super Munch is a theme based restaurant. If you haven’t guessed it, this is based on super power characters created by various creators.
What is special about this?


Firstly, the interiors. They are done in such a way that it would be a paradise for kids. It features various popular characters as wall painting and hanging. Secondly, the lighting is done well to enhance this.
Lastly, they have also kept lot of comics which means, the kids can relish their food while reading their favourite comics. It doesn’t end here. Even the menu card is based on this theme. Hence it is a perfect themed restaurant which would delight your kids for sure and also the kid in you.
Coming to the food.
We ordered few starters/appetisers and milkshakes before going in to the main course. The items included:

1) Pepe Le Pew
2) Sabu’s Rings
3) Michael Angelo’s cups
4) Antman’s Sushi - all appetisers

1) Kitty Kat Woman - Milkshake
1) Hail Hydra
2) Spicy Mrs Potato Head
3) Birbal’s Temptation - all burgers

1) Nick Fury’s Peri Peri - French Fries
1) Gamora’s Game - Mojito
Coming to the taste, I have tasted almost all since we 4 of us shared them except the burgers which we had it as per our order. So yes, in burger, I ordered Hail Hydra. It was a different level burger which is laced with cheese, cabbage & mushrooms. The taste was so good that I wanted to order come more but since I was full, I stopped with one.
In milkshake, I had the Kitty Kat Woman. It wasn’t too sweet but at the same time was appealing to the taste buds. Do not miss it.
In appetisers, almost all of them were finished by us in no time as it tasted real good & different. The blend of spices were too good to resist. Each of them were accompanied by various sauces which added more taste to them. The cup pizzas were unique and one could finish it in a single go. Antman’s Sushi saved us since Nick Fury’s Peri Peri was real hot but yes, it has perfectly complemented the other dishes. Hence,no complaints.
They also have offers running. Check as to how you can avail discounts between 2 to 5%. Products are reasonably priced. If you want to give a unique experience to your kids, this is the right place to go 

Food Review - Indus Kitchens

About The Restaurant:



A neat & cozy restaurant in the Heart of the City. Indus Kitchens is located bang on the main road. It is easily accessible by road. They have parking space for 2 wheeler & valet parking for 4 wheeler by certified drivers.
What’s the specialty of this restaurant?
As you could see, the interiors are done neatly with no glitzy/expensive interiors but a simple and appealing ones.
They use no additives.
RO water is used for cooking.
Jain/Satvik food is cooked on request.
Pahadi specialty.

Certified “Very Good” for Food Hygiene Rating by Zomato India through an independent agency - Equinox Labs

About The Food:



It was a royal lunch this afternoon at Indus Kitchens.
Sidharth, the restaurant manager was kind enough to explain us all about their specialty.
We came to know what “Pahadi” is all about. For those who are not aware, it is the way of preparation by the people who live in the hill stations in the North especially in UP, Uttarakhand etc.,
What did we have?
We started with Pahadi Mushroom soup. This was followed by some starters which included:
1. Pahadi Mix Vegetable Pakode Platter
2. Crispy Veg Corn
3. Seasonal Rohini Special Platter (Sizzler) &
4. Corn Cheese Balls

This was followed by main course with side dishes which included:
1. Tandoori Roti Combo(Tandoori Roti, Naan, Missi Roti, Paratha, Kulcha)
2. Paneer Methi Malai
3. Mix Vegetable Handi
4. Pahadi Dal ka Chainse

This was followed by Desserts which included:
1. Rice Kheer
2. Special Rabdi
3. Gajar Halwa &
4. Sizzling Brownie

Coming to the food. Each and every dish took us to a different world. We experienced the one of its kind taste which was made possible with some amazing preparation coupled with expertise.
I loved the Tandoori Roti Combo. If you’re going as a family of 3 or 4, just this coupled with side dishes mentioned above would be sufficient enough.
Kids would fall in love with Sizzling brownie for sure.
Elders would like the Rice Kheer for sure as it was crushed so soft & you never fell like eating the rice.
The restaurant is usually busy between 3 to 7pm. Prior appointment/reservation would be good, though not mandatory.
During weekdays (Mon-Fri), they also have combos. Ask for it. If you’re not sure as to what to select from their wide menu, seek their help/suggestion. You won’t be disappointed.
Last but not the least, try their cold pressed juices which is free from ice, water, sugar & additives. This place is certainly worth your time & money. The taste will linger in your mouth for a while ๐Ÿ˜

Book Review - Dangling Gandhi and other short stories


Title - Dangling Gandhi and other short stories
Author - Jayanthi Sankar
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Zero Degree Publishing
ISBN - 978-93-88860-03-1

This is an impressive collection of 12 short stories by Jayanthi Sankar which would make you feel a differential kind of approach in each and every one of them. I have read thousands of short stories and novels but this one is unique. Author cautions you in the very beginning to read 1 story a day. You would agree to her view point when you start reading this book. Though the stories are short,the message it tries to convey through each and every one of them are intense. The approach is different and the writing style is unique.

You need to have a full concentration while reading this book otherwise, you might miss out on the actual meaning of the story. Most of the stories were set to happen in Singapore taking you back to a decade or two. If you have witnessed the growth of Singapore, over a period of time or have visited this beautiful country, you could relate to it. I had been there in 2007(my dad calls it his Second Home since he traveled to this Country for more than 20 times) and the memories are still fresh and etched deep into my brains.

These wouldn't take much of your time to finish reading it at a stretch but do try to read 1 story a day for a better understanding and letting them to create that effect in you. The variation shown in each story is what I liked the most in this book. I am not going into it as it may end up revealing more than what I had intended, the gist is this. Characters are different and so as the story line. Approach is different so as the ending. The story revolves around emotions which includes love, affection, passion, separation to name a few.

Read this book, if you would like to experience a mixed emotion....

This book is available on Amazon in Paperback format.

Fruit Mixing event at Novotel, Chennai OMR

The #FruitMixing event which took place today in Novotel,Chennai OMR was certainly something I would cherish for my lifetime.

Why?

Firstly, it was the confluence of like minded bloggers, influencers, foodies & other enthusiasts.

It was a well organised event.

We reached the venue sharp at 11. We were given a warm welcome followed by a LIVE Session with Chefs who prepared some steaks made with Chicken, Fish, Pork & Tenderloin. Yes. The hotel is launching #NovoSteakHouse shortly which is touted to be OMR’s First Prime Steaks.

It was a real interactive one since it saw few of the participants taking part in the event, enthusiastically.

Post this event, there were two separate set ups arranged for fruit mixing. One for the kids & one for the elders. The fruit mixing done by kids never had alcohol mixed on it whereas for us, lots & lots of alcohol were mixed which will be allowed to ferment and be made into a cake ๐ŸŽ‚ before Christmas.


We learnt few things about the Cake from the Executive Chef Mr Ganesh Kumar. We came to know that the reason why there is a protective cover over the plum cake is to extend its longevity since those days, travel took lot of item. We also came to know that the raisins were earlier known as “Plums” and hence the name.

We mixed all the ingredients like Berries, Cashews, Almond, Tooty Frooty along with alcohol. We ensured the mix was done properly. Cleanliness was ensured wherein we were given apron, head gear & gloves for both our hands. I’m sure, a tasty cake is on it’s way for all of you this Christmas - only at #NovotelChennaiOMR

My heartfelt thanks to the management for conducting this event as it was my first ever “Fruit Mixing” event which I enjoyed it thoroughly ๐Ÿ˜

Author Interview - Michaelbrent Collings (Internationally-bestselling novelist, produced screenwriter multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist)



1.What motivates you to write?

Mostly two things:

1) The story. I enjoy writing stories, I enjoy telling those stories to people and seeing them react or hearing that they enjoyed it. The stories keep coming, and I think that I would probably be in serious danger of exploding if I didn't let them out as fast as I can manage.

2) Eating. I'm a family man, and writing is my job, so writing = taking care of my family. As much as I enjoy the stories I write, and enjoy having people to tell those stories to, I enjoy taking care of those I love most far more. I'm glad I get to do both at the same time.





2. How did you feel after publishing your books?

Every time I finish a book there's a huge sense of relief. That lasts about six seconds, then it's onto the stress of figuring out what to do next.

I say this a bit in jest, but largely in truth. I do love finishing something, but there's little "down time" where I just relax and enjoy or sit back and see what will happen next. I'm an indie author, which means I have no huge team behind me to do marketing or schedule advertising or do cover creation. There's just me. I like it that way, and have found a lot of success that way (for which I am beyond grateful), but there's no denying that there's little time to rest with that business model. I don't mind it - I love to work, and I love doing what I do -  but it definitely means that "feeling" some way or other after finishing usually loses out to the "Oh no what comes NEXT?!" feeling.



3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?
Oh, no! That's the worst question because there are far too many of both!

I am constantly reading - there are books in random places all around my home, and I tend to simply pick up whichever one is closest on those rare moments when I come to rest. So I'm a voracious reader, and I love to read everything from books on science and philosophy to classic literature like Les Miserables to whatever novel Stephen King or Dean Koontz just cranked out. The world of words is an ever-expanding wonder, and I'm an extremely happy permanent resident in that world.




4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?

The book is called Scavenger Hunt because five people wake up in a white room, with no memory of how they got there (at least at first), and are quickly told by a madman who calls himself Mr. Do-Good that they will be forced to perform a series of tasks/challenges in the coming hours... or face dire consequences. As the "game" unfolds, the strangers come to understand how their paths have intertwined, why they are now in Mr. Do-Good's game, and what they will have to do to survive. The scavenger hunt is something that all the kids did growing up - going around to people's houses and asking to do some pre-chosen task for points. Then all the kids came back together and compared notes to see who did the most tasks/got the most points. I did that, too, but always thought the idea of going to a stranger's house and asking for some random object or asking to come in and do some minor task for points was a bit odd. "A bit odd" often translates for me to "terrifying story opportunity," so Scavenger Hunt was born.



5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or the hills?


I have an area at my home where I can write, but rarely do. I'm not good at ignoring family noises - if someone goes, "Ouch!" then I'm not likely to just keep typing, and with a family someone is always going, "Ouch!" So most days I leave home ten or fifteen minutes after waking up and will go to a restaurant or a coffee shop or a delicatessen - pretty much anywhere with a WiFi connection and a place to plug in my computer will get my vote! I'm low maintenance that way, and getting out among others keeps me from turning into too much of a recluse.



6. What inspired you to write the books(in general)? Any tales to tell…
No tales in particular, though one of the themes that the book explores is the idea of black market organ trafficking. I went to law school and was a lawyer for a number of years before becoming a writer, and so my ears were constantly pricking up when I heard of new developments or trends in criminal law or similar legal issues. During some of my research I started looking into the dismaying reality of human trafficking - which happens far too often, and for far too many terrible reasons - and eventually some of that made its way into an idea for a game where the players had all been touched by this horrible event.



7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?
Biggest? No idea. Learning as I write always comes in tiny moments. There are few instances where a light goes off above me and the heavens open with wisdom. Mostly I'm just making little choices, which can range from deciding on just the right word to looking into things that might occur in the book. For one of my books I remember spending a half hour researching what kind of light would be in a bus terminal parking lot, which ended up mattering to only a single sentence. Even so, I considered the time well used. One of the best parts of being a writer is that I am perpetually ignorant... which means I can continue to learn and so also be perpetually enlightened.



8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?
Mostly it was just refusing to give up, and having a good support structure around to scold me when I did want to give up. That and, you know, actually writing. A lot of budding authors get so involved in "breaking in" that they forget to actually create things. The marketing and the meeting and the schmoozing are all well and good, but when push comes to shove if you don't have a good product to back it up, you're not going to do very well or last very long.



9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers?



A 10-part list:

1) Write
2) Know that your first book probably won't sell, because it probably stinks. That's not bad, and it's part of life. The best athletes in the world did not spring forth from their mothers' wombs simply "doing it right." They were terrible at first, and had to practice practice practice before they were okay. Then more practice until they were good and MORE until they were great. It's the same with writing, and resisting the need to fail at first dampens the likelihood of succeeding later one.
3) Write
4) Make friends with people in the writing industry and start making contacts
5) Write
6-10) WRITE!



10. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
Hmmm... I wrote a song about my wife (before she was my wife) which I sang to her on our first date. It must have been a good experience, because we were engaged very soon after that!



11. Any future books that you would like to discuss now?
Right now I'm working on a book called Stranger Still. It's a sequel, to a bestselling horror/thriller story I wrote called Strangers. In Strangers, a rich family wakes up one morning to find out that they have literally been sealed in their home with a madman who wants to share some "life lessons" with them... and is willing to kill to drive home his points. Still Strangers continues that story. It's fun because I've never written a sequel before. I've written several series, but they were designed to have beginnings and endings from the start, so the series were just longer-form stories. I intended Strangers to be standalone - and it has been for seven years or so. But I recently realized there was more to tell, and so I have returned to that world and am having immense fun with it!



12.What other profession excites you the most?
Not much of any. I tell people I made it as a writer because I am so woefully unqualified to be anything else. I have a lot of hobbies and interests, and I have (I think) a pretty rich and rewarding family and social life. But I can't think of any other job that would provide me with the happiness of my present one. I was a lawyer for a while, and I shudder at the thought of ever returning to that life!



13.Any special mention about your reader (be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)
Not really. Reviews are always appreciated, and they really matter. Not only do they make for nice reading on long cold nights where we authors think no one loves us, but the book retailers like Amazon have algorithms that take reviews into account. So when you review a book you loved, it is not only a nice gesture, it actually makes it more likely that that retailer will automatically try harder to sell that book to others.



14.Do you write the story at a stretch or you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn’t you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?
I write very quickly. I typically write from four to six books a year. A few times I've only written three, and I think one year I wrote eight books. I enjoy writing, and never suffer from writers block. So my routine is to think on a story for a few days or as long as two weeks. I doodle a lot during that time, just writing down ideas for characters, setting, and plot events. Then I put it all together in my mind and start the story. Sometimes I will write a screenplay for it at the same time (I'm also a screenwriter), but either way, once I start typing I'm usually done in six weeks or less.



15.Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?
Self! Nothing against traditional publishing, not at all. In fact, I tried to be traditionally-published at first, because that was all I knew how to do. But after spending years getting rejected, I heard of that "eBook" thing and figured that the book couldn't hurt me by being on Amazon and other retailers. So I published there and began to accumulate a very wonderful set of fans who have grown in numbers and now follow me and buy my books.



16.How is the response so far for the book?


It's been wonderful! The book has a very high average rating on sites like Amazon and Goodreads, and the critical response by genre book reviewers has been wonderful! And the audiences have been enjoying it as well - it's been out over a month now and has spent most of that time on numerous bestseller lists on Amazon in several markets and on different continents. Now I just have to get the movie made...

BIO:

One of the most versatile writers around, Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally bestselling novelist, produced screenwriter, and multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist. While he is best known for horror (and is one of the most successful indie horror authors in the United States), he has also written bestselling thriller, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, humor, young adult, and middle grade works, and Western Romance.

As a novelist, Michaelbrent has written dozens of bestsellers that have also received critical acclaim, and he and his work have been featured on everything from mom-and-pop podcasts to Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Book Review, and National Public Radio.

Find more about him at his website, WrittenInsomnia.com, or sign up for his mailing list (and get a free book!) at http://eepurl.com/VHuvX.




Apunka Maharashtra Food Festival at The Square in Novotel,Chennai Sipcot

"Apunka Maharashtra"
Take your palate on a gastronomical journey as you experience Maharashtra on a plate. Come try out the authentic dishes prepared by our Executive chef and a fellow Maratha himself, Chef Rahul Bhale.
Delicacies such as Tambda Rassa from Kohlapur, Shevga Fry from Aurangabad to ukdiche modak of Pune & Vada pav, Keema Pav & Bombay sandwiches tickle your tastebuds with its fresh grounded spices.


What did we have?

We had a wide range of starters before getting into main dish. These includes:

1. Ragi Vadam.
2. Wheat papad (usually this is made with rice but here, they did it with wheat which is the specialty).
3. Prawn Soup(In Maharashtra Style - with Coconut Oil).
4. Bangda Fish gravy(with Pepper).
5. Butter Naan.
6. Butter Garlic Naan.
7. Prawn Biryani(Maharashtra Style).
8. Chicken Gravy.
9. Mutton Gravy(Highly recommended as they were real tender and the masala was mixed well with the flesh).
10. Keema Pav.
11. Desserts which includes Besan Laddoos, Chirotti etc.,

There were other dishes as well in order to cater to the needs of foreigners and others who would prefer a general cuisine.

We had the opportunity to listen to Executive Chef Rahul Bhale, who hails from Maharashtra to talk about the "Apunka Maharashtra" food festival.Take a look at the video below:




You can also take a look at the preparation of Pav Bhaji at this food festival.





Price: Buffet @1250++ on lunch only.
Date: From 18th to 29th November every Monday to Friday
Timing: 12:30pm to 3:00pm
Venue: The Square, Novotel Chennai Sipcot
For reservations call +9189398 08123/33

My hair styling experience at Cuts & Colours

Cuts & Colours is a one of its kind Spa/Salon located in the heart of the city. They are on Google Maps. Hence it is pretty easy for you to spot them.
Though they are in a prime area, the location is calm & serene. It has an impressive CCP which is good enough to accommodate 6 cars. There is also a provision for 2 wheeler parking.


What makes them special?
Firstly, it is the cleanliness. They maintain cleanliness on high priority. It is a 3,600 Sq.Ft facility & they are specialized in the following services:
1) Hair which includes Hair cuts, Coloring, Chemical treatments(Straightening & Smoothening)
2) Skin Services - all kind of Facials
3) Pedicure
4) Manicure

They bring out the latest techniques & products. There are lot of tailor made packages which would suit the budget for all.
They have a special scheme for college students who could avail 20% discount on all services by simply flashing their college id.
Last but not the least, they are specialized in Bridal Makeups. The products that they used are Mac, Kryolan, PAC, Bobby Brown
Their primary brand is L’Orรฉal & Matrix but yes, they also deal with other brands like SP, Wella, Moroccan oil, Schwarzkopf,Cadivue, Luxlisse
Prior appointment is advisable though you can walk-in as well. The facility is fully equipped with products and equipment’s that you would never feel like going out elsewhere to get any of the services done.
They have a team of 12 professionals. For more info, refer their website.



What a transformation ๐Ÿ˜Š
I never thought I would look as young as this. I never stepped into a Spa/Salon as I thought its a mere waste of money but today I was proved wrong.
Why?
They say “Looks constitute 50% of your persona”. This was proved correct by Cuts & Colours, Spa/Salon
I visited their outlet which is located in serene locality in Royapettah(More about the outlet on my next post).
Mr Palani, my stylist took almost 1.15 hours to style my hair. Yes. That’s an unbelievable stuff right? Never ever I imagined that styling even for men would take so much of time.
What did he do?
Firstly, he asked my preferences and started the work by washing my hair. After drying it up, he started playing with the scissors ✂️ & trimmer. He was such a thorough professional that he took his own sweet time to do with my styling. There were cuts done apart from drawing the lines over my head- on the side(On a lighter note, if I did this type of haircut during my schooling days back then, I would have been asked to stand outside).
Let’s come back to our stuff. After doing away with my styling, he showed the mirror to confirm, if I’m Ok with the final output. After getting my nod, we entered a room to get my “Fruit Facial” done.
This was done, yet again, in a professional way. My face was given a gentle massage followed by application of mask/pack. He let it dry for a good 30
Minutes (I was asked to relax during this time). Once the timing was up, he entered the room & cleansed my face with hot water wipes. After thoroughly removing the mask, I came out.

My hair was given a final wash and all was done. What an experience! I must thank the CEO - Mr Alex for getting this done in a way I couldn’t have imagined.

Here is the summary of how the transformation was made in the form of a short TVC.