A Selection of Cupcakes

A selection of cupcakes for my daughter's 16th birthday party tonight. 

I made four dozen cupcakes, although a few won't make it to the party because the birthday girl's Dad and brothers have eaten them.

We have (clockwise from the front):
  • chocolate butter cream on chocolate
  • orange butter cream on chocolate
  • pink butter cream on vanilla
  • a fairy cake filled with home-made jam and chantilly cream
As I write this, my daughter and one of her friends are busy decorating the back of the house with streamers and balloons.  The fridge is groaning and the drinks are chilling.

I'll share some post-event photos tomorrow.
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Loi Krathong - Festival of Lights,Benjarong

Coinciding with our Karthigai deepam was Loi Krathong, the festival of lights for those in South East Asia, primarily Thailand. And in lieu of this festival, Benjarong is hosting the Loi Krathong Festival.

An elaborate spread reflecting the true flavours from those regions and showcasing some of the interesting ingredients they use in the cooking. A journey that began with a beautiful deep violet orchid flower all the way to the Lemongrass ice cream, it was quite a treat, for the eyes, stomach and the soul.

While we waited for the rest of the invitees to arrive, the chef laid out the specialties on a table along with a traditional urn. Two gold runners running criss cross added the glitz to the wooden table. The walls adorned with simple art work, few of which were made of paper, resembling those used in the puppet shows, were all reflective of the strong culture of the region.

A tall glass of Wild orchid [a mocktail- blend of lychee, guava & orange] it was quite a refreshing drink. There were two menus, one vegetarian and the other non vegetarian. The only thing common were the salad and dessert.

While the CEO and Chef spoke to us about the festival, and the recipes, we were served quite a few varieties of appetizers, sala and the soup. We had

Hed Tohy tod namprik pow - Crispy fried mushrooms & bean curd[tofu] tossed with roasted chilli paste & thai sweet basil.- Quite light and filled with flavour, it gave us a sneak peek into what to expect.

Satay je- a mix veg satay on a skewer- pineapple, mushroom, bean curd and assorted peppers.

The salad was Yum hed hoo noo- cucumber, celery, carrot, and black fungus tossed with sesame seeds - it was very nice, and easy on the palate. The one salad that i have enjoyed in the past is the Raw papaya salad, which i recently made at home as well.

The veg soup was Gaeng Som phak- a sour & spicy sooup with mix of vegetables along with lemongrass, galangal and other thai herbs. It hit right at the edge of the throat and was quite spicy & pungent as well. Needed a few glasses of water to get over it :)

Phew, i was stuffed.. But wait, there is more. The beautiful thing about Thai cuisine is their use of various flavours and textures. The main course blew me away....

Phad woonsen phak- Glass noodles cooked with exotic vegetables- This was my favorite of the entire menu. The noodles had a lovely texture, and the chef told us they just had to be dunked in hot water for less than a minute and tossed in vegetables. It had brocolli, zucchini, capsicum, onion and spring onion as well.

Another dish that had me surprised was Makeow yang pahd namprik pow[i know, imagine trying to order this in a restaurant, i'd die of starvation before i get it right]- this is a grilled sesame aubergine tossed with roasted chilli paste & thai herbs.- The brinjal melted in our mouths, and it had a hint of sweetness to it. I also tried a small piece of the omlette, simple & fluffy, it went well with this dish.

As we sipped on lemongrass tea, the chef requested we try some Khao nung [Steamed rice] with Kaeng bamaa phak [ red curry with vegetables that had a bit of Burmese influence as well]- this was zero spicy, which the chef mentioned was because of the Burmese spices added to the red curry paste.

This menu sure is a burst of flavours. But from the time i walked in and saw the menu, the one dish i was dying to try was the dessert- lemongrass ice cream. Lo behold, out came a long plate with a bowl holding the ice cream and a sticky rice topped with Coconut custard [with a hint of cardomom flavour] The lemongrass ice cream was a delight, such a refreshing flavour. Teppan[upstairs] serves Wasabi ice cream, which is yet another unique dish that i am yet to see on another menu.

Before i bit the team at Benjarong goodbye, i was asked if i wanted to light a candle and let it float in the pond they had created? Ofcourse, i jumped on it. Made a wish for myself & for the hotel, let it float and hope all dreams come true!!

This festival is from 27th Nov to 9th Dec, so if you want to bid goodbye to your past and make a fresh start, join them in the festival of lights and bring joy to your lives!!  :-)

Ambiance: 8/10
Food- 8/10 [spice factor is the only thing that stops me from giving them a higher rank]
Price- 7/10- A meal for 2 in this festival will cost about Rs2000/-
Overall- 9/10

#537/146, T T K Road [on the road leading to Adyar Park hotel],
Chennai- 600018
Ph: 044 24322640
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Southwestern Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Kiwi Salsa

 Doesn't this look pretty? 

Well, it tastes as good as it looks.  These tostados are like a guilty pleasure for me. I've made them several times and just can't get enough of them. 
Frying up the tortillas in a little bit of oil tastes super duper nummy but you can be lazy and buy the tostados as well.  

The ingredients are simple yet magical. They come together so perfectly and the taste is simply amazing.

I make a huge batch at a time.  It's kinda a pain to cut everything up so  I made a ginormous batch and I eat it for lunches for the week. Feel free to halve it if you want a smaller batch. Just don't forget to pile on the pineapple salsa because it rocks and it totally makes this meal! 

Mexican Chicken Tostados with Pineapple Kiwi Salsa (large batch)

8 cups diced cooked chicken breasts (2 lb)
2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, chopped, divided
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded (8 oz)
1 cup light mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
4 kiwi, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
1 tbsp. lime juice (to taste)
4 - 5 cups diced fresh pineapple (about 1 pineapple)

Combine chicken and beans in a large bowl.  Add half the onion and half the cilantro and mix.  Save the rest for the salsa.

Add mayo, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper and combine.  Microwave everything for 2 - 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring once halfway through.

Combine chopped kiwi, pineapple and jalapeno.  Add reserved onion and cilantro.  Add lime juice and mix.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed. 

Scoop come of the chicken/bean mixture onto tostado.  Top with pineapple salsa.   

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Brunch with friends at Madras Gymkhana Club

What can be better than spending a few hours in the company of good friends , food and fantastic conversations!! That is exactly what we did on Sunday.... The venue was decided as the Madras Gymkhana Club and we had decided to land there by 1pm... And for the 1st time, there are no photographs, that is how busy we were catching up and yapping away, in between mouthfuls of food.

The spread was quite good-Mulgitwany soup
Different kinds of bread
Salads- russian, pasta, mix vegetable
Onion raita
Thayir vada

Freshly made hot crisp dosa with chutney & sambar

Veg buffet-

Veg biryanu
Dal makhani
Panneer butter masala
Bhindi sabzi
Salan Bhaingan
Aloo fry

Continental dishes
Mash potato baked
Mix veg augratin
OthersPlain white rice
Garlic rasam
Curd rice+ pickles

In nonveg
Chicken biryani
2 side dishes
A chicken dry item
And 2more (will ask friend what they were and update)

Strawberry mouse
Vanilla ice cream
Vanilla-mango cake
Gulab jamun

Total value for money
Food- 8/10
Service- self service
Ambiance-its huge hall, open space, plenty of natural lighting..

Anna Salai Mount Road, Chintadripet  Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Ph: 044 25368160

Only catch, find a friend who's a member!!

The Veg buffet is Rs250 while Non veg is Rs350.. I guess this is between 12noon to 3pm, we were there beyond 3 and the staff had begun cleaning the space..

During weekdays, the buffet is upstairs in Buttery ball (kids below 16yrs not allowed as they serve alcohol)
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Chao, T Nagar

"Chao".. well, it means hello in Vietnamese and to think Ciao means Bye in Italian.. One word, so many meanings. Similarly, Chao, the restaurant has many faces, many avatars so to speak. It offers an eclectic blend of interiors, a menu that takes us on a journey from Vietnam to Singapore, China to Thailand....

Spending a few minutes exploring the venue, I discovered it was on two levels, the basement bigger than the ground floor. it also included a Lounge-a private dining area... The walls are adorned with various figurines and pieces made of wood, a tree stump leading to a light fitting under which sits a majestic Buddha. A narrow winding staircase tucked away in a corner. The ground floor offers a few cabin like settings, two small and one large. Glass, wood and light is what catches your eye as you step into this swanky restaurant that is just a few weeks old. 

Situated on north Boag road, almost opp the Singapore Consulate, adj to Coffee Central, the restaurant belongs to Ramesh & his partner Jagadish. Ramesh, being an architect has spent quite a bit of effort in decorating the place and it is quite visible.

Greeted with a cup of hot Lemongrass tea, I chatted with Shalini Muthukumar [Ramesh's sis in law] who also owns the label "spice dip". Pretty soon, the table was full, and Chef Dhiraj started bringing out plates of food... not only did they look good, but tasted delicious as well. He was kind enough to remember the vegetarians from the non veg clan and patiently answered my 1001 questions.


Green Mango Salad
Corn Tartlets - Tartlets filled with crispy corn kernels
Devil's potato - Crispy fried and sauteed potato wedges

Veg Dim Sums served with garlic sauce
Mushroom Pepper Salt - Crispy & juicy mushrooms tossed in pepper, chili flakes and garlic and served on a bed of fried noodles'

Rice wrap rolls served alongside Lemongrass dip - Rice wrap sheets stuffed with raw vegetables and tofu rolled up.
Devil's chicken

Chao Thai Grilled Fish - Boneless fish fillets marinated, grilled and served on skewers
Wasabi Prawns - Crispy fried Prawns tossed in smooth Wasabi mayo.
 Satay Prawns - Juicy prawns marinated, grilled and served on skewers

I spent quite some time sampling the dishes, trying to figure out the spices, method of cooking, sorting through my curiousity and i noticed another array of dishes coming towards our table. They were the main dishes announced Shalini.

Thai Veg Green Curry- It was very different from what i've had, was surprised to find Brussel sprouts in the gravy
Jasmine Rice- A rice cooked with jasmine infusion though with no jasmine flavour[thank god]
Singaporean Bee Hoon - Fine Rice noodles with bean sprouts[ this was the best of the lot]

Cashew Garlic Garden greens - Stir fried vegetables mildly cooked with Garlic sauce and cashews

 Sambal fried rice- Non veg
Basil Chicken - Fine Minced tender chicken served in hot basil sauce

And finally, as i flipped through their extensive menu card [which has been beautifully separated into 2 sections- Veg & Non veg], i spotted quite a few familiar desserts. The ones we got to taste were

Tub Tim Grob - Water chestnuts in coconut milk served with crushed ice
Pumpkin custard with Coconut ice-cream- This was an afterthought of sorts. I noticed it on the menu and requested Shalini to serve us a plate or so. and no sooner there were more than one plate of this dessert served up, but they kept disappearing...

It was one fun evening... As always.... If you are driving down the road, and feel hunger pangs kick in, then pull over and do try the restaurant. 

Price- A meal for 2 will roughly cost around Rs1500 - 2000 

#49, North Boag Road,T. Nagar address 044 65555553, 044 65555554
[Opp Singapore Consulate and Adj to Coffee Central] Drive down from Residency towers/10D towards GN Chetty road, and you will spot this restaurant on your left.

This was part of a CFG Showcase that I attended and was conducted by Chennai Food Guide.
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-)

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Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles

I've never made snickerdoodles.  I've eaten plenty, but never made them. Well, I've been making a LOT of cookies lately.  Between the online cookie auction and cookie swaps, cookies have been a plenty around here.  I wanted to try some different recipes and was excited when I found these Snickerdoodle cookies.

 I loved how easy these were to make.  Actually, what made them super easy was that I had the kids roll them into balls and dip into the cinnamon sugar.  They had a blast and I didn't have to do much at all. We ate some and sent some to several friends and everyone has given positive reviews!  My kids are already asking for them again!

Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp. cinnamon for dipping

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar with mixer until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing well to combine, about 2 minutes.  Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Mix until dough comes together.  Add milk.  If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tbsp. at a time until it comes together.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In a bowl, combine remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Remove dough from the fridge and roll into 1 in. balls.  The kids like to do this.  Roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet.  Lightly press down on dough to flatten it just a bit.  Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ November 26 - December 2, 2012

I've had the quinoa pancakes and cinnamon roll pancakes on the menu for the last few weeks. It seems by the time we get to them, we have leftovers still or time runs out in the day and I just don't feel like making pancakes. We'll, I've been eager to try the quinoa pancakes and the kids want me to make the cinnamon pancakes again so they are on the plan again for this week.

Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken, broccoli, brown rice

Tuesday: Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Wednesday: Chicken breasts & Roasted Sweet potatoes and pears

Thursday: Quinoa Pancakes & Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, bacon & eggs

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Grandma & Grandpa's house

Sunday: Beef tacos in the crockpot


Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

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Sweets for Christmas

Docinhos. Chocolates. Coisas deliciosas de que todos gostamos e merecemos no Natal! Razão pela qual decorei estes frascos com autocolantes e os enchi de chocolates, que eu tanto adoro! Arranjei uns da cor das bolas de Natal, não façam confusão - os que estão dentro da tacinha são de comer! Nem vos pergunto se gostam de doces... :)

Não acham que dão uns lindos presentes de Natal?

(P.S.: O prato oval e a tacinha estão à venda)

Sweets. Chocolate. We all love and deserve sweets for Christmas. So I decided to embelish these jars with stickers and fill them with chocolate. I also found them in the colours of the baubles, make no mistake - you can eat the ones on the bowls! I don't even ask you if you like sweets... :)

Don't you think these jars make a nice Christmas present?

(P.S.: the oval platter and the bowl are for sale)

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Christmas for kids

É para elas que eu penso no Natal. Já aqui o disse muitas vezes, mas queria que guardassem boas memórias desta época mágica, que a sentissem feliz, que sonhassem com os brilhos e o calor do Natal...

Hoje trago uma selecção de fotos com os elementos de um Natal para as minhas meninas. O Bambi e o Boneco de Neve são delas, são antigos, bem como eu gosto! :)

To me, Christmas is for kids. I told it here quite often - I want my children to have pretty and happy memories about this time of year, remembering its glitter and warmth...

So I'm adding these vintage kids' elements to our Christmas decoration, with their Bambies and Snowman. :)
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[Recipe] Raw Papaya Salad... Som Tam

We have a Papaya tree in our backyard and today morning i noticed granpa asking the gardener to bring in the only papaya fruit on it. It was raw and green, but he said we can make a dish out of it and so had asked the gardener to pluck it. But then, gramma said lunch menu was already set and cant add one more dish. I spotted it a while later and immediately bells went off in my head. I was transported to Benjarong and the plate of Raw Papaya Salad that i love having there. Called "Som Tam", this is a popular Thai salad. It has all possible textures and flavours, and is quite light as well.

So, here is how i made the salad.

1 small raw [green] papaya
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 tomatoes- remove seeds and cut into thin long strips
1 cup blanched green beans  
1 carrot grated/chopped lengthwise, same as the papaya   

 1/2 Green capsicum- cut same as the papaya

Spring onions & some crushed garlic
1 red chili, sliced, seeds removed (optional)  
Few Basil and Coriander leaves.

Salad Dressing- 
2 tsp. soya sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil/peanut oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp salt

  1. In a bowl, add all the vegetables and mix them well.. 
  2. In another cup, mix all the dressing ingredients, stirring till sugar dissolves and the dressing becomes one uniform liquid. Taste and adjust depending on your preference. 
  3. Pour the dressing on the vegetables and toss till well mixed.
  4. Finally, put in fridge, add a liberal amount of peanuts and serve cold. 

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 10mins [ blanching beans]
Serves: 3-4  
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Sweet Potato Patties with Black Bean Salsa

Has it already been a month?  It's time again for The Secret Recipe Club. This month my assigned blogger was Chellie from Art From My Table.  I went straight to her vegetarian section.  I eat meat but don't overly care about meat and I find the best things tend to be in the vegetarian section. 

I first saw the Pumpkin Oatmeal Cups and thought for sure that I would make those. Her Avocado Lettuce Salad sounds awesome. I never thought to mix it with lettuce like this!  Her Artichoke Tomato Chicken that she posted last month for SRC is still on my list to make.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Then I found it. The perfect recipe.  I chose her Sweet Potato Cakes with Black Bean Salsa.  I had just bought a 10 pound box of sweet potatoes at Costco.  Black beans are always in the cupboard so this was the perfect recipe for me.

If you make the salsa ahead of time, this is a snap to make. The sweet potato patties came together quite easily. I used gluten free flour which worked well. The black bean salsa tasted fantastic and I ate the leftovers the next day with gluten free crackers.
Thank you Chellie for an awesome recipe that I for sure will make again!


Sweet Potato Patties with Black Bean Salsa
Recipe from Art from My Table

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter

-Steam the sweet potato chunks for 15-20 minutes until completely tender, and then transfer to a colander and allow to drain until dry.

- Once very dry, place sweet potato chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher to break up chunks. Add flour and finely chopped green onions, and mix with your hands to form a smooth batter. Using your hands here is best so that it doesn’t become over mixed. In a food processor, the sweet potato mixture could quickly become gummy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once the mixture is smooth, and the flour and green onions are mixed in, you’re ready to fry. Note: the mixture should be sticky but not wet, so more flour may be needed.

- In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Form round, flat cakes from about two tablespoons of batter per cake, and fry 4 or 5 at a time for 3-4 minutes per side until golden. Transfer finished cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Add more oil and butter to pan between batches as needed, and continue frying a few cakes at a time until all are ready for their toppings.

For the black bean salsa:
1 16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 cup dried beans, prepared
1 small can mild green chilies, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, small diced
¼ cup finely minced red onion
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
¼ teaspoon salt
Sour Cream for serving

-Combine all salsa ingredients (except sour cream) in a small bowl and stir to combine. Salsa can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

-Top each cake with sour cream and black bean salsa and serve.

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Sweet paper Christmas...

Com a minha habitual inclinação para os lilases e os roxos, tentei coordenar umas árvores de Natal em papel com os elementos normais da época - as bolas, bem brilhantes e coloridas. Adoro estas cores. Bem sei que não serão a melhor conjugação cá para casa, mas sonho sempre com o lilás...

E não se esqueçam de visitar a loja The Shop ❤, há presentes óptimos para oferecerem neste Natal! Para todos os artigos que não estiverem listados na loja, enviem por favor mail - existem muitas mais cores e peças do que aquelas que aparecem lá.

A página do Facebook é aqui!

You know I like lilac and purple, so I tried to create a Christmas decoration that incorporated those two colours, using the paper trees that I like so much. I love these colours, and I know they're not the perfect match for the rest of the decoration in my house. It's just that I will always love lilac...

And don't forget to visit The Shop ❤, you will find so many beautiful presents for Christmas! I have lots of other colours and pieces available, not listed on the shop, so please send me an email. 

The Facebook page is here!
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Marrybrown, Ispahani Center, Chennai

Ispahani center, a place that i wish existed during my college days. A place that had quite a few interesting stoes and coffee shops, a place that was among the 1st mall to enter the city, a place where i used to work out. Today, it is a mall, rather so called mall that has quite a few eat outs and a few shops, but is pretty empty most of the time. Looks like Express Avenue has taken over, it is now the new honeycomb attracting all the bees...

As decided, I arrived at Ispahani center before 7.30pm only to see the others already there, well almost all of them. There were a few new faces, but familiar names and we said Hi hello and connected. Soon, the table was full and one of the staff brought over a hand written menu. It contained a list of items that they had on their menu, most of which were new. He was going to give us a taste of as many as possible. For once, i noticed the number of Vegetarian items beat the Non veg ones hands down. Whoopie.. [ya ya, small pleasures]

So, what did i like the most of the stuff i tasted?

Jigger Fries - these are french fries with a difference- there are two flavours- Mexican spice and Sour cream & onion. Reminded me of the popcorn in Sathyam cinemas where you can add flavours to the popcorn. Only suggestion was to not dunk so much of the spice in the fries and maybe to add this to some of their other dishes as well.

Chilli cheese poppers- These were like mini bombs, mini chilli cheese fried starters that were quite good. Served alongside a tangy spicy mayo sauce, they were quite yummy

Xtreme burger- Yep, I had a burger after what seemed like ages. This was a simple veggie burger with corn and black pepper [the pepper hits you on the 1st bite and it was different, the patty had a nice crunchy exterior and the bun was also nice & soft]. The burger was easy to eat, it dint have mayo oozing out of the sides or lettuce/onions slipping out as you struggle to take a bite :D

Mango Shake- This was quite thick and quite nice, refreshing. It was made with mango puree and vanilla ice cream blended together. They have now introduced not one or two but 6 flavours in this :-) 

Few other dishes that were served up for us veggies were,

Veg Chilli poppers- these were little nuggets made with veggies and chilli flakes, served with basic mayo sauce - was quite bland, couldnt feel the heat of the chilli flakes

Smileys- umm, the usual smileys, McCain?

Cottage cheese burger - forgot the name, it was ok, since we were full, I brought it home and felt the patty was mushy and bland.

What? you are bored of reading all the veg dishes? well, you have to wait your turn. For those on the other side of the fence, that is, the non veg eaters, they got quite a few options, but most felt the dishes all tasted similar, and were quite bland... What did they gobble up?

Chicken Poppers
Buffalo wings
Chicken lollypop
A tub of what looked like fried chicken drumstick/wings and
Hottop burger
anything else? you should check Divyan's blog post

No desserts? Damn, nothing gets past you eh!! Well, we did get 2 different desserts, but unfortunately they were no great shakes.

There was the jello with ice cream and Brownie with ice cream. The former was ok, esp since i like jello but the Brownie was just weird- it was hard, dry and tasted like Threptin biscuits. I did see a spoon break and another little piece fly towards a customer... Looks like they need to relook at the recipe or look at an alternative.

Overall rating- 2.5/5
Will i go back again- Not really, not unless there is a kid or someone who demands a burger or french fries when am wandering around Ispahani or near a Marrybrown....

Ispahani Center, 123-124 Nungambakkm High road, Nungambakkam, Chennai
Phone: 044 28332922, 42032923. 

They also have branches across the city. 


This was part of a CFG Showcase that I attended and was conducted by Chennai Food Guide.
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-)
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Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This cake has the most awesome lemonade frosting.  It's super tart but still sweet.  The lemonade frosting paired perfectly with the strawberry cake. 
Plus, it's pink.  Everything is good when you have a pretty pink cake. 

 Clearly by the emptyed plate, my guests agreed.  It didn't take long for this to disappear.

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake

Recipe from Veronica's Cornucopia

1 (18.25 oz) box strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (0.23 oz) packet of Kool-Aid lemonade
Yellow food coloring gel (as desired for color)
1 (7 oz) container marshmallow creme or fluff
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Fresh strawberries to garnish

Make cake according to box instructions and bake in 2- 8 inch round cake pans as directed. Turn finished cakes out onto cake racks and allow to cool completely.
Once cake is cool, cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth. Mix in marshmallow creme and then mix in whipped topping until completely smooth. Level the cakes, and place one layer on a platter, cut side up. Spread about a third of the frosting over the top, then place the second cake layer cut side down on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Slice strawberries and place on the top and sides of the cake for decoration. Refrigerate until ready to serve and serve cold, straight from the fridge.

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Beef Roast in the Crock Pot

 Ok, I know, roast is pretty common and not anything special. But it's one of those simple, classic meals that I tend to forget about.  It's also one of my favorite meals.  There is nothing better than the smell of a roast cooking all day in the slow cooker. 
This roast is cooked in a sweet tangy sauce and makes a delicious sauce to pour over everything. Feel free to add green beans or celery to the vegetables.  I also like adding sweet potatoes as well.  They do cook faster than the white potatoes so don't add them too early. 

Beef Roast in the Crock Pot Recipe

4 - 5 lbs Beef Shoulder Roast or Chuck Roast (I had a BOGO for 2 - 2 1/2 lb. roasts)
2 onions, sliced in rings
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
2 cups beef broth
2 cups baby carrots
4 - 6 small potatoes, cut in large cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

In your crock-pot lay the meat in first and then add the onion rings on top. In a separate bowl mix together the brown sugar, apple cider and ketchup, pour on top of meat. Toss in carrots and potatoes. Pour beef broth evenly over roast mixtures. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or until meat will shredded with ease with a fork. (tough meat means you didn't cook long enough) Add the peas in just before serving (about 15 minutes just to get them hot, you don't want them to turn to mush.) 

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Menu Plan Monday ~ November 12 - November 18, 2012

I have some super easy things on the menu this week and also a couple of new things. We love to make stuffed potatoes and this week we're making them taste like pizza.  Tortilla pizzas and bean and cheese burritos are a staple around here and we'll enjoy those for lunch as well as dinner.  Pancake night will feature a gluten free version for me and a sweet one for the kids.  I might have to find a different vegetable with my quiche if I can't find asparagus. 
I also bought a whole mess load of veggies for the week so there will be fresh vegetables and salads for everyone with our meals.

Monday: Pork carnitas & mexican rice

Tuesday: Pizza Potatoes with Beans

Wednesday: Bean and cheese burritos

Thursday: Quinoa Pancakes & Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Friday: Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Saturday: Vanilla Bean Apple Honey

Sunday: Beef tacos in the crockpot

Snacks: White Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cereal Bars (gluten free version)

More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie

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Christmas pastels...

Já comecei a por a mesa. Tenho umas argolas de guardanapo lindas que queria experimentar e, por muito que queira fugir às cores do ano passado, ainda ando à volta dos rosas e dourado... Mas este ano vai ser diferente, nem que seja uma variação daquilo que funciona e de que eu gosto.

Estas são as fotos das minhas inspirações para o Natal. Que tal? :)

Napkin rings: Nest Pretty Things

I started to set the table. I have these gorgeous new napkin rings that I wanted to use and, as much as I may want to escape from the pink and gold from last year, I seem to get around those colours pretty much... But I'll have something different this year, even if it becomes a variation of what I already did, as it worked.

These are some photos of my Christmas inspiration. Do you like it?

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