Monthly Archives: April 2014

French Beans – The Healthy Ingredient!

French Beans – The Healthy Ingredient!

A household staple, French beans are uber versatile and easy to cook with. Turns out, these slender veggies are nutritional heavyweights too!

For the most part, the French bean has been a backstage vegetable – one that is available all year round and can be steamed, barbecued, marinated and pan-fried – all at a moment’s notice. But this understated yet versatile vegetable has several health surprises to offer. Crunchy cooked green beans naturally improve heart health, prevent colds and boost energy by being rich storehouses of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamins of the b complex group and iron. (Antioxidants and vitamins help people combat infection on a day-to-day basis). More importantly, French beans and other green beans also contain significant quantities of some lesser known nutrients such as manganese and molybdenum, which play a vital role in enhancing enzyme activity.

French Bean salad - a treat for your eye and stomach (using chevril and ground pepper )

French Bean salad – a treat for your eye and stomach (using chevril and ground pepper )

Build and Repair

Some of the powerful antioxidants contained in green beans belong to the carotenoid family. Carotenoids are responsible for the orange of red-orange pigments found in food such as tomatoes and carrots. However, in French beans, the chlorophyll that gives them their bright green color also keeps the red pigments from being visible. Much like other foods rich in carotenoids, French beans also prevent blood fats from getting oxidized. (When LDL or bad cholesterol comes in contact with harmful radicals, it becomes oxidized. Oxidized fat gives rise to inflammation, damages healthy tissue and also deposits as plaque in blood vessels).

french beans with onions

french beans with onions

 

In addition the vitamin K present in French beans promotes healing and strengthens connective tissue. Since French beans contain significant amount of the vitamin folate, they also improve the health of pregnant women and help prevent fetal birth defects. Recent studies have shown that the silicon in French beans is better absorbed by the body than silicon from other sources. This mineral nutrient is essential for bone health. Being high in dietary fiber, green beans also go a long way towards preventing type 2 diabetes. Fiber slows down the absorption of blood glucose, thereby improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Store Them Right

Pick French beans that are lush green, tender, quick to snap and not dehydrated to the touch. Clean them in a solution of 1:10 of vinegar to water before cooking. Clean them before chopping to prevent the wastage of water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C and those of the b complex group. Store raw beans in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. French beans pair well with other vegetables and are just as easily prepared in a crock pot, Moroccan tagine or a vegetable kadhai. No matter how you eat them, you can be sure you have made a healthy and nutritious choice.

Pan Seared French Beans

Pan Seared French Beans

 

Bright Idea: You can steam green beans lightly (for two or three minutes) and store them in the freezer for up to three months – the loss of nutrients will be minimal.

Gourmet Home Caterers !

Gourmet Home Caterers !

Avant-Garde Cuisine

When you weren’t looking, home catering suddenly got a whole lot more professional. Pre-plated, molecular, French bistro style…you name it, they’ll do it! Breaking free from stodgy plating and uninspired menus, home caterers today are a cool new breed of culinary school graduates who’ve done their time in professional kitchens but prefer the flexibility that whipping up a feast an order has to offer. Encouraging more people to eat out at home are gourmet caterers and 2014 is likely to see a lot more chefs and customers opting for home catering, with a serving of modern gastronomy on the side.

Culinary Creation - Steak & Mushrooms

Culinary Creation – Steak & Mushrooms

Haute Cuisine - sea bass sitting on top of shaved slices of cucumbers is styled to perfection!

Haute Cuisine – sea bass sitting on top of shaved slices of cucumbers is styled to perfection!

Crispy Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa Serves 4; 40 minutes

We love fish tacos and this recipe with pineapple salsa uses basic ingredients to create a stunner of a dish.

Basa Fish 300g, diced Tempura flour 2-3 tbsp Oil 2 cups to Continue reading “Gourmet Home Caterers !” »

Kitchen Experiments beyond Baking….

Kitchen Experiments beyond Baking….

The internet, food television and access to equipment has opened up all-new vistas for the now-burgeoning bandwagon of people who are looking to do more than just skim the surface of conventional cooking. You can experiment with cultures and fermentation and end up making French cheeses like camembert and brie and also brew your own alcohol at home. Amateur setups too have started all over where home brewers meet every month to share their experiments with the yeasty brew. This quiet revolution will soon take kitchens across the world by storm and we couldn’t be happier.

Camembert Cheese

Camembert Cheese

Brie Cheese & Strawberries

Brie Cheese & Strawberries

Try this at home

Say cheese with this no fuss recipe for ricotta salata, a dry and salted ricotta. The younger the cheese, the saltier it is, but it blooms into a mellow treat as it ages. It is made with readily available citric acid powder rather than hard-to-find rennet.

Zucchini and Ricotta Salata Bruschetta

Zucchini and Ricotta Salata Bruschetta

Ricotta Salata Makes 300g; 1 hour + draining, curing and aging

Fresh pasteurized cow/s milk 3.5l, at room temperature Full-fat cream ½ cup (optional) Citric acid powder 1tsp Non-iodized salt 1tsp + 1tbsp + extra for salting

Combine the milk, cream (if using), citric acid powder and 1tsp salt and mix thoroughly using a whisk. Place in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel) pot over Continue reading “Kitchen Experiments beyond Baking….” »

Golden Rules of Home Decor !

Golden Rules of Home Decor !

Stylish tips to empower your living spaces

Statement in Print

Don’t shy away form mixing prints for your home décor. However, don’t mix too many colors. So if you choose to team up two prints, they should each be in a primary color. Also, try picking up the hues and echoing in solid color through other décor elements such as flowers or an artwork, or even the flooring.

 

Trendy print makes a statement!

Trendy print makes a statement!

Guest-Friendly

Create a utility table next to the bed in the guest room. Especially in a small space, it helps create shelves in bedside tables. You can neatly roll up and stock an extra blanket for your guests’ convenience, extra books and so on which the guest can spot easily.

Utility table is a must

Utility table is a must

Child in Order

This one is for the household with children but not enough space for individual use. Create service corners such as these with hooks and baskets foe each child to use to stock his or her things. You can also label the spaces with the children’s names to keep things organized.

storage with color

storage with color

Fun Learning

More storage ideas for your little ones: This one is built against a wall and has several niches to hold different things. It’s a good way to begin your toddler on lessons of putting back things where they belong by Continue reading “Golden Rules of Home Decor !” »

Holy Trinity of Condiments !

Holy Trinity of Condiments !

Poshed up Condiments !

Rarely has there been a condiment that could upstage the holy trinity of ketchup, mustard and mayo. But with burgers and sandwiches getting a posh makeover, it was only a matter of time before dipping sauces got a do-over as well. Chefs are finally beginning to see the potential these supporting roles can offer to their star dishes. Restaurants are now offering poshed up condiments such as champagne, mustards and fruit batters.

Champagne Condiments

Champagne Condiments

Poshed up Champagne Garlic Mustard

Poshed up Champagne Garlic Mustard

Try this at home:

Give this mustard and tomato chutney a try and I promise you’ll never look at store-bought ketchup again.

Mustard and Tomato Chutney Makes 700g; 1 hour 15 minutes

Olive oil 2 tbsp Mustard seeds 1 tsp Garlic cloves 1½ tbsp, chopped Onions 1½ tbsp, chopped Curry leaves 10 Turmeric powder 1 tsp Chili powder 1 tsp Tomato puree 150g Tomatoes 1kg, blanched, peeled and diced Raisins 50g Brown sugar 2tbsp Malt vinegar 1 tbsp Salt 1 tsp

Mustard & Tomato Chutney

Mustard & Tomato Chutney

Heat the oil in a saucepan and the mustard seeds. Allow the seeds to splutter and add the chopped garlic, onions and curry leaves. Lower the flame and sauté for 5 minutes, add the turmeric and chili powder, tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Mix well. Stir in the raisins, brown sugar and malt vinegar and simmer for 1 hour, until thick. Remove from the heat, season and allow it to cool. Store in a glass jar and refrigerate for further use.

Kale, the green queen !

Kale, the green queen !

So when exactly did kale get elevated from a frumpy, curly green to the high priestess of the vegetable world? If supermarket shelves and restaurant menus are anything to go by, the hearty winter vegetable started to turn heads in India late last year, though the green has been conquering menus internationally since 2012.

Fresh Kale

Fresh Kale

Now kale isn’t one of your home grown veggies, so it all began to gain momentum when it was produced locally. Before we knew it, smatterings of the fashionable super food began appearing on menus. Its chewy texture and peppery kick lends itself to a number of preparations in the kitchen: roasted to make crunchy kale chips, sautéed in pastas (can be used with spinach in creamy penne pasta) and stir-fries along with spinach or blitzed to an unappetizing shade of green in juices at hipster cafes.

Kale - Green Goodness

Kale – Green Goodness

Kale Tabbouleh Serves 6; 30 minutes

Savor the bitter and textured green in this easy-to-whip-up salad with Middle Eastern flavors.

Kale Tabbouleh

Kale Tabbouleh

Bulgur wheat 100g Kale 100g, finely chopped Mint a large bunch, roughly chopped Spring onions a bunch, sliced Cucumber 1/2, peeled and diced Tomatoes 4, deseeded and chopped Cinnamon powder a pinch Olive oil 6 tbsp Lemon 1/2, juiced and zested Feta 100g, crumbled Lettuce leaves 4-6, to serve Salt a pinch (optional)

Tip the bulgur wheat into a heat proof bowl and just cover with boiling water, then cover with cling-film and set aside for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

Stir the kale, mint, spring onions, cucumber and tomatoes through the bulgur wheat. Season with the cinnamon and all spice powders, then dress with the olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Scatter over the lemon zest and feta. Add salt, if using. To serve, scoop the salad onto leaves of lettuce.

Per Serving 235 kcals, protein 6g, carbs 17g, fat 15g, sat fat 4g, fiber 2g, salt 0.7g

Color Me Red ;)

Color Me Red ;)

Yes, red is a tough one to crack and a color so easy to go wrong with. But in this case, the idiom ‘better safe than sorry’ can be ruled out with some easy-do advice and tips. Dare to experiment with a variety of tones of this color. Mix and match to create a stunning impression on your better half, this season.

Anne Hathaway makes a style statement in this bold color block  Roksanda Illincic dress

Anne Hathaway makes a style statement in this bold color block Roksanda Illincic dress

Wardrobe

After taking a backseat the last couple of fashion seasons, making way for nude, red is back with a bang, with fashion brands churning out a number of bold hues to “cheer” up even the dullest moods. Research says that red denotes power and confidence and has the ability to boost one’s self-esteem. But avoid an overkill. Here’s how:

Red n Shocking pink

Red n Shocking pink

To begin with, make sure you have the following:

•Red coat / cardigan

•Formal red top

•Red dress (of any length)

•Lace lingerie in red

These are your wardrobe essentials no matter what age group you fall in. Choose a shade you prefer: From blood red to cherry or a deep maroon, and learn to use it to your advantage. For example, if you wear a red dress, you need not apply a red lip color or wear red shoes with it. Go for neutral tones if you can’t think of any other color to team it with. Stick to solids since they are easy to mix-and-match; tone-on-tone works well too. However, if feeling particularly adventurous and bold, try color-blocking. Pick a shade of pink or orange to go with the red. But remember, this one is not for the faint-hearted. Take a fashion-savvy friend’s help or the store stylist’s assistance if confused about the look. Choose with care.

Solid red trousers paired with neutrals

Solid red trousers paired with neutrals

 

Beauty

In Asia, red denotes all things auspicious. There’s a red to suit every skin tone. Choose according to what looks best on you and experiment with it.

If you want a rich look, apply the lipstick straight from the stick. Start from the middle of Continue reading “Color Me Red ;)” »

Own Sweet Home !

Own Sweet Home !

Housing market rates are on the rise with the Feds decision to taper Quantitative Easing. The Inventory levels are still low and the number of buyers in the marrket is unreasonably high. This is the recipe for prices rising further.

Axis at San Jose Downtown - High Rise Living

Axis at San Jose Downtown – High Rise Living

Year 2014 

If I knew exactly where the market was going to be and had a crystal ball I would be a gazillionarie. Unfortunately, I dont have a crystal ball and we have to deal without the gazillionaire part. I’m not one and I am going to give my best inputs based on past performance and current market conditions for newbies .

Beach Residence for the deep pockets ;)

Beach Residence for the deep pockets 😉

Lets summarize where we came from, Year 2013 we had anywhere from 30-45% increase through out the bay area, thats a huge huge increase. Year 2012 – we had 8-15% increase around the bay area. Now, that is 2 consecutive years of very big appreciation. Historically we only have about 3 or 4% per year. So with that huge amount leading us off to 2014, I think we will be fortunate if we just maintain a flat even growth. Actually, that will be outstanding. We’ll probably get a little bit of an increase because there is still tight inventory, there is just not enough homes for the demand that is out there. So we can see some modest growth but overall I think we would be lucky by the end of 2014 saying, hey we had 0% growth cause it just means we did not LOSE any growth 🙂

Spacious Home for luxury cravers

Spacious Home for luxury cravers

Dream Home overlooking the ocean

Dream Home overlooking the ocean

Soaring High

A huge factor of momentum from this year and next year. and thats what we see right now. Historically, winter is a very dead time to the market. It’s not very dead this season. Interest rates are still very very low plus there is just limited inventory which keeps the demand high and prices are here to stay. It’s a perfect time to buy and sell. Simple reason is that Interest rates are super low and if you’re out there applying for a regular type of conventional loan or even FHA loan you’re in the mid to low 4%. Historically that is very very low. So that makes it very affordable to get your feet wet in the market. It is also a good time to sell becuase there is demand and there is less competition. If you want to sell your home and and not have it on the market for 2-4 months, a golden time to sell with multiple offers flooding your way.

 

The Rebel Cocktails !!!

The Rebel Cocktails !!!

Why whisky is the perfect young man’s drink

Is it cool for young people about town to walk into a local watering hole and ask for a single malt? Damned right it is. And increasingly, whisky makers are recognizing this, bringing to those bar shelves variants that haven’t always been around.With youthful variants and inventive bartenders getting into the mix, grandpa’s favorite drink is finally getting a fresh fillip.

golden cadillac

golden cadillac

There’s a new generation restaurants and bars with whisky lists instead of wine pairings and bartenders that are really shaking things up. Forget The Manhattan and The Old Fashioned. These cocktails, using Indian spices and innovative ingredients are smoking – literally.

The Golden Cadillac

Scotch whisky blended with orange marmalade and a kick of lemon.

The Lemongrass Martini

Fresh lemongrass muddled with lime and sugar, shaken with a large measure of whisky.

 

Le Citron Lemongrass

Le Citron Lemongrass

Witch’s Potion

Aged whisky with a shot of Assam tea, topped with barley malt foam.

 

Golden Dust

Irish whisky sweetened with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon.

 

The Regiment

Champagne with the gentle warmth of Amrut Single Malt, marmalade and house-made spice bitters.

The Fourth Regiment

The Fourth Regiment

 

Pomelo masala

Pomelo masala

Pomelo Masala

Cumin seeds and pomelo fruit muddled with whisky and served with crushed ice in a margarita glass.

Glamaholic Men… accessorize the right way !

Glamaholic Men… accessorize the right way !

Men, men and men…cant live with them or without them. Edgy accessories like bow ties to chelsea boots can make every man a clooney in no time 😉

Bow tie - Derby attire with a pop of style

Bow tie – Derby attire with a pop of style

TAKE A BOW

These stylish and upbeat bow ties are the dandy’s version of the skinny tie. And the best part is a ‘tux is not mandatory’.

Keep It Classic: To all the men, know that a subtly dotted bow tie with a tuxedo is error-proof.

model wrapped up in a sexy bow tie

model wrapped up in a sexy bow tie

Shine On: A silk lacquered bow tie adds zing to a formal ensemble.

Play It Up: Contrast bold patterns to always make a statement.

Focus Point: Make the bow tie the loudest part of your look. Pair a colorful one with an all-white or all-black ensemble.

Stunning Ryan Gosling with an edgy contrast.

Stunning Ryan Gosling with an edgy contrast.

Tone on Tone: Keep it cool with a same color bow tie as the shirt.

Pattern Profiles: Include patterns of varied sizes like: stripes, gingham, plaid, dot, paisley, houndstooth and herringbone etc.

 

GET THE BOOT

Sleeker and more modern than ever, the Chelsea boot works just as well with a suit as it does with beat-up jeans.

The right pair of pants is key

Wear pants with a narrow bottom, so that the pants sit tight, just a little way up the leg of the boot. You need to see just enough of the elastic gusset to know it’s a Chelsea boot – otherwise it just looks like a very plain shoe.

Chelsea boots  - every man should own one of these

Chelsea boots – every man should own one of these

Invest in shoe trees

They help shoes keep their shape and also stop them from cracking because the leather doesn’t crease as Continue reading “Glamaholic Men… accessorize the right way !” »