Are you a foodie? You gotta love Pinterest

Let me get straight to the point – I love Pinterest. Every day I log into Pinterest to see all the creative geniuses show off their skills while I sit at my desk at work just wondering about the lack of creativity in my life. Pinterest is a place which makes you feel good and bad about your life at the same time – good because you get countless tips on how to bring creativity into your life and bad because well, you don’t do anything about it.

And because I am a food lover, I am automatically drawn to all the food related pins (which is one of the reason why all my diet plans vanish in less than a day). Now there is no dearth of food pins on Pinterest but there are a few categories that I absolutely adore. While there are way too many pretty looking pictures on Pinterest, I have found that these categories are the ones that you can actually adapt into your day to day life.

So here it is, my top three favourite kind of food pins on Pinterest:

1. The infographics: I love how you can find an infographic on almost any topic these days – right from now how to correctly pair wine and cheese to the mating patterns of a cow. Infographics are a fun, visual way to present information and let’s be honest, they are much easier to remember.

Infographic

Infographic

2. Ideas for packed lunches: I prefer to carry my lunch from home rather than eat in the office canteen and while I love my roti-sabzi meals on most days, I find myself craving something different on some days. I’ve found brilliant ideas for packed lunch boxes on Pinterest and it’s rather amusing to see what people around the world eat for lunch.

Lunch Box

3. Healthy Snack Ideas: This is by far my favourite thing to search for on Pinterest. I snack often during the day and instead of feasting on biscuits or sandwiches, I have made a list of all the healthy substitutes I can have. And while we are on the topic of snacks, can we collectively agree that granola bars are the best thing to have happened to mankind? Also, is it just me or does everyone get excited about how these snack packets are so cutely organized?

Snacks

Also, I just realized that I am sort of obsessed with Pinterest and I might need to check into Pinterest rehab soon.

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Project: Find this Spiral Cutter

Hello again to all the readers of this blog (and by all I mean the 3 people who have been visiting my blog all these months). I didn’t plan on disappearing but work (and travel) kept me busy. But here I am again, promising not to disappear for months on end.

I’ve been a Pinterest addict since a long time now and my affinity for that website has only increased in the past few months. Like most people, I use it mainly to scout for good recipes and eventually land up on really well maintained food blogs. One thing that I have been noticing a lot is that how all these international food bloggers have multiple substitutes available for one product. One of the most interesting substitutes I have noticed recently is the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter that can be used to julienne carrots, radishes, etc which can be used as substitutes for pasta.

Here is how it looks –

GEFU Spirelli Slicer

GEFU Spirelli Slicer

I’ve been searching for this in India since weeks but Jabong was the only place selling it and they decided to retail it at 4,500 Rps! Yup, that’s correct. Amazon.com retails it at around 29.99$ and FINALLY junglee.com decides to list it and sell it at around 1800 Rps. However I still think that it is slightly expensive and anything around 1000 Rps would be a good deal.

Has anyone seen this product on other websites? Or maybe in some store in Crawford market?

Make Paper Boats this summer!

We’re in mid-May and right in the throes of summer and while we all have our favourite summer drinks to beat the heat, I decided to experiment this year and try a few readymade drinks!

I’m very loyal to my nimbu paani and coconut water, I discovered a little gem in a grocery store near my office. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Paper Boat!

The first thing you will notice is the packaging – subtle yet colourful enough to stand out in the bunch of tetrapack fruit juices available in the market. I love how the packaging has a matte finish and not a glossy one. My longstanding issue with fruit juice tetrapacks have been their size – they are either too small or you have to buy a 1 litre pack and that’s where Paper Boat wins hands down for me. The packet also has a sipper so you can sip on this while commuting as well.

Paper Boat is available in two flavours – Jaljeera and Aamras and it retails for for Rs 25/- for 250 ml; perfect value for money.

Paper Boat Jaljeera

Paper Boat Jaljeera

Paper Boat - Aamras

Paper Boat – Aamras

I know I am repeating this but I love it when brands pay attention to details and Paper Boat has ensured that their product stands out. Take this description on the jaljeera packet for instance. They intended me to get nostalgic about my childhood and I did just that.  I also think the name of the brand is quite smart. Paper Boat reminds me of the rains and how we used to spend hours playing with paper boats.

Both the products taste great too and I was quite delighted when I found out that it wasn’t too watery. The aamras wasn’t too pulpy and was of perfect consistency.

Run to your nearby grocery store and stock up on these drinks. Do it.

How cheesy is this title?

The inevitable has happened – I have started liking cheese. Yes, I grew up hating cheese because the flavour and taste was too strong for me but all of a sudden I realize that I have started ordering for Veg Cheese Frankie instead of my regular Veg Frankie without cheese. I think my sudden love for cheese started when we had to make cheese herb bread sticks in baking class. I actually did not put cheese and just made my breadsticks with herbs but then I tasted one that my fellow baker had made and woa! I was amazed. Those breadsticks were so yummy!

Cheese Breadsticks

I’ve started picking up cheese flavoured chips and crackers from supermarket. I think now I understand what people meant when they said that once you get addicted to cheese, there’s no going back!

The good bit is that I still don’t enjoy cheese in most of my food items and while I enjoy my frankie and tacos with some cheese, I continue to detest cheese in my pizza (Yes, it is true) or pasta in white sauce.  I love to look at a cheese platter though; it looks so pretty. Hopefully one day I might be able to get over my dislike for cheese and experiment with various types of cheese.

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I’ve not started adding cheese to my Maggi (I think that is the ultimate test you have to pass to be a cheese lover) and I’m assuming that is a good thing.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this wonderful image (Brownie points if you can guess the original movie name!)  Do you also have a random food item that you started liking/disliking all of a sudden?tumblr_mm95a8Haay1ruouzco1_500

Coconut Water v2.0

It’s Summertime and hence it is time for insane humidity, sunburns and sticky sunscreen. I’m not a fan of this season (It is quite evident, isn’t it?) and I will do anything to avoid stepped out of my house during these few months. And just like most people, I try to have more liquids in this season- be it fresh fruit juices, sherbets or just plain old water.

As a kid, I loved sipping on coconut water during the summer months. I still like doing that though it’s difficult to get fresh coconut water near my office. I stumbled upon this coconut water substitute called Pure Shee Jal. This is essentially coconut water in a sachet.

The packet retails for Rs 6/- for 220 ml which is a pretty good deal. You just have to add the powder in a glass of water and voila, you have instant coconut water. Here is a horrible picture of the sachet.

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I’ve started having one sachet per day and while it is much cheaper than the original coconut water, I’m slightly concerned about the processed ingredients that  are used in this sachet. Having said that, it tastes just like natural coconut water and does not have any synthetic taste. That’s a relief.

I’ve also seen packaged coconut water in supermarkets but I’ve never really tried them. Has anyone tried both these variants? Would love to hear some thoughts on the packaged coconut water too!

The world’s best pasta recipe

I love pasta. I absolutely love it. I want to have pasta on good days and not so good days. And because I want to have pasta so frequently, I decided to ditch the cheaper and yummier Bluebird pasta for a more wholesome Essential Waitrose durum wheat pasta.

I’ve tried pasta from various brands and eventually settled for the Essential Waitrose one. I usually pick up their penne pasta (Rps 150/- for a 500 gm packet) and surprisingly it lasts longer than the Bluebird one. Maybe it has something to do with the core ingredients but I require a smaller portion of the Essential Waitrose pasta. Note: While this pasta does not ‘fluff up’ after boiling, I’ve noticed that the quantity of pasta increases after it has boiled.

Hypercity also stocks the wheat variants in fusilli and spaghetti but none of the other fancy shapes. This is how the packet looks (You can distinguish these pasta from the regular ones as these are more brown)

Essential Waitrose Penne

Essential Waitrose Penne

And while I have bookmarked a million yummy pasta recipes, I end up making the same recipe over and over again – Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino.” Don’t let this complicated name confuse you. I promise this is the easiest recipe you will come across. This is a traditional Italian dish which literally translates to spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chili peppers. Yes, that simple.

But being an Indian, I need some flavour in my pasta. Here’s are the ingredients that I use for this recipe.

– Olive oil

– Garlic (Lots of garlic!)

– Dried Mixed Herbs

– Oregano

– Paprika

– Spaghetti/Penne

-Salt

After you’re done boiling the pasta, take a pan and add olive oil to it. Add garlic, dried mixed herbs, oregano, paprika and salt and mix it. That’s all. Yes, that simple.

The best pasta in the world!

The best pasta in the world!

You can even serve this with garlic bread but I don’t want anything to interfere with the taste of the pasta so I just have mine straight out of the bowl! Yum!

Do you have a favourite pasta recipe?

Let’s go grocery shopping

I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now that I love grocery shopping. Call me old fashioned but I would love to spend lazy afternoons in a supermarket. The closest supermarket to my house is Hypercity and while I find a lot of new products there that I don’t find near my house, it’s not economical for me to make constant trips to Hypercity.

The next best option is, of course, online shopping. I asked around on Twitter and found a few recommendations for online grocery stores. Before I list them out, I would like to inform you that I haven’t ordered from any of these websites personally though some obviously seem to have a better range of products than the others. These websites may also help you cut down on impulse buying which usually happens in supermarkets.

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A major factor for picking one website over the other will be the minimum order amount. If I just want a box of muesli, I’m not going to add 5 other items just to reach the minimum amount threshold.

1. www.bigbasket.com

Free Shipping amount – Rs 1000/- (or Rs 25/- for shipping charges)

2. www.greencart.in 

Free Shipping amount – Rs 75/- per day. (or Rs 30/- for shipping charges)

3. www.gourmetco.in

Free Shipping amount – Rs 750/- (or Rs 75/- for shipping charges). Their customer care tells me that cheese orders will have a Rs 100 charge due to the handling and packaging care required for cheese parcels  even if your total order is above Rs 750/-

4. www.ekstop.com

Minimum order amount – Rs 400/-

5. www.omart.in

Minimum order amount – Rs 500/- (or Rs 50/- for shipping. Shipping charges are waived off for orders above Rs 1000/-)

6. www.naturesbasket.co.in

Free Shipping Amount – Rs 1000/- (or Rs 70/- for shipping)

Update: Divya (@InsomniacGurl) shared two more websites

7. www.eemli.com

Free Shipping Amount – Rs 200/-

8. www.browntree.in

Minimum order amount – Rs 500/-

9. www.olivetreetrading.com/about-us

Minimum order valie – Rs 1500/-

I’m going to keep on updating this list as and when I stumble upon more websites. You can recommend the websites that you have used and help me build a bigger list for all the foodies! 🙂

KitchenAid in India!

Remember this post? I was (and still am) drooling over this gorgeous thing. And seems like KitchenAid is coming to India!!!!

I saw this post on their Facebook page and am really thrilled. It’s time to get the lime-coloured awesomeness for my kitchen 😀 As of now there is no information about the launch dates or prices and I’m hoping that I don’t have to pay half my salary to get one.

Yummy Colours

Yummy Colours

Will you be getting one too?

And the Worst Muesli Award goes to…

Yesterday I made a feel-good trip to Hyercity. As weird as it sounds, grocery shopping makes me happy. I know I can buy the same things online on various websites but just walking around in the supermarket with a basket full of goodies makes me happy.

I won’t lie, I just went to Hypercity was because I wanted to pick up Baggry’s Strawberry Muesli but unfortunately it was out of stock 😦 I looked around for other options and naturally I drifted towards the Essential Waitrose section. Now, I’ve been using a few products from this brand very religiously (the pasta and olive oil, for example) and I’ve been waiting to buy new products from this brand and experiment. I was confused between picking their salad dressings/bread spreads or cornflakes/muesli. They package their products really and I have to gather all the will power I have so that I don’t end up spending my entire salary there.

Yesterday I decided to take a chance and try one of their muesli. Since I love berries, I decided to pick their Swiss Style Berry Muesli with nuts, cranberries, blueberries and blackcurrents. I could see a lot of berries in the packets and the berry lover in me was very happy with the purchase.

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I got a 750 gms packet for Rs 450 which is not cheap at all (I pick up the 1 kg Baggry’s muesli for Rs 360) and the muesli is available in 5-6 other variants (with different fruits and dry fruits combinations)

However, my happiness was rather short lived. I tried it at home and I was completely disappointed with the taste (rather, lack of any taste). Let’s start with the texture. Unlike the Baggry’s muesli, this one was more powdered. It felt like each grain was coated with some sort of flour. The good bit is that the berry ratio wasn’t negligible.

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Honestly, I didn’t like how it looked but I decided to try it anyway. I did and it was BLAND. No taste whatsoever. Seriously, nothing at all. I had to add a little strawberry crush to the muesli to get some flavour but it was barely edible.

I feel cheated here, actually. I’ve been recommending their products to everyone and then I stumble upon them. I’ll obviously continue using their pasta products but I’m quite wary to their their salad dressings now. I don’t want a tastless blob of dressing in my salad.

Now I’m stuck with expensive muesli that doesn’t have any taste at all. How can I make it edible? Any ideas?