Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

[Recipe] Eggless Strawberry Cake

I love cooking, but when it comes to baking I hesitate because the recipes are complicated or it just boggles me [cos I have to follow the recipe to the dot, measurements etc]. But then I do push myself and experiment every now and then.. Apart from the one time I ended up burning a batch of cupcakes, I have managed to do a pretty good job and the end product tastes good as well. :-) 

And this year, I kinda made up my mind to do a lot more baking... So, now that it is strawberry season, well to be honest, the season is nearly done, I knew I wanted to go beyond just buying a box of berries and gorging on them... ! I managed to find a box of strawberries at my local store, they were nice big and juicy... Of the recipes I found, the one that caught my eye when I googled - "Eggless strawberry recipes" was this cake recipe from #BakeWithShivesh .. [ Yes, at home it is eggless baking/cooking only cos gramma does not eat egg]

This is super simple recipe, and takes less than 5mins to put together and 25-30 mins to bake! Not only that, it looks good, and tastes even better :-) Above all, it does not need any fancy ingredients, you will pretty much have all that you need in your kitchen. I made it once few weeks ago, and it was a huge hit, so on popular demand have made it again today..  Moist and flavour packed, this recipe is a keeper... 

Recipe link-


  • 2 cups (240g) maida ( all-purpose flour), sifted
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) fresh lemon zest 
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • ½ cup (120mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200g) castor sugar
  • 1 cup (285g) Greek yogurt/ hung curd
  • ¼ cup (60mL) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170g) fresh strawberries, slices
** Apart from these, I added a few drops of strawberry essence - this adds additional flavour and colour to the cake.. 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C. Line a 9" round pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combine maida, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda by whisking them together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the oil, sugar and yogurt together until everything is well combined.
  4. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix only until there are no large flour pockets. Do not over-mix.
  6. Use a spatula to carefully fold in some strawberries into the batter. Reserve the rest for the top.
  7. Transfer the thick batter to the prepared cake pan. Arrange rest of the strawberry slices on top
  8. Tip- to get that extra golden crust, evenly sprinkle about 1-2 tablespoons of castor sugar on top.
  9. Bake the cake at 180*C for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. [ I noticed mine were done in 25-30mins, so check and pull it out accordingly]

Doesn't that strawberry slice look like a mini heart? :-) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pizza Express, Colaba, Mumbai

We had walked from Kitab Khana to Gateway of India, spent about half hour there.. Wandered about the place, took photos and generally enjoyed the cool breeze and lazy afternoon.. As we headed back towards the VT station, we wanted to stop somewhere just to use the restroom. Walking past Danraj mahal, I spotted a cafe on the right, Pizza Express. Kinda liked the white and black colour theme running through the exterior and interior.. 

Decided to walk in and grab a coffee. An hour later, we had not only had coffees, used the rest room but had also indulged and had a plate of Dough balls with nutella [priced at Rs295]. When one of the staff came over to take our order, we enquired about this and he said it was like donuts, but just tiny dough balls freshly baked served with a generous bowlful of nutella.. Nutella is something I have had at friend's place with toast or pancakes, and love the rich nuttiness it carries. So we waited eagerly for this platter to arrive and boy oh boy, we loved it. The dough balls were warm, fresh from the oven and within minutes the plate had been polished off. Quite a generous portion, filling shared between the three of us.  Interestingly they also had Dough balls with dips [ pesto, garlic butter]

We saw quite a crowd in the place that Saturday afternoon and most were digging into a bowl of pasta or enjoying a slice of pizza.. Looked like a good place to spend a lazy afternoon at.. 

Walking out, we chatted some more as we made our way towards the bus stand near Fort area to head back to the station/destination.... What a beautiful afternoon that was!! 

The entire thing costed us about 700-800Rs... 

Pizza Express
Dhanraj Mahal, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Apollo Bandar, 
Colaba, Mumbai - 400001
Phone: 022 6656 2633

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Nasi and Mee Asian Canteen

Mushrooms & water chestnut Dim-sum

 Tofu Satay

Broccoli & Cashew dim-sum

Lemon pie

Nasi and Mee translates to ‘rice and noodles’ in Bahasa, with ‘mee’ coming from the Cantonese word for noodles - mien - says the restaurant's website... 

Well, I had been hearing about for a while now and finally made plans to do lunch there with a friend. Walked in and was pleasantly surprised at the casual decor, there were potted [money] plants across shelves and hanging from ceiling as well. The lights were set within a wooden box, the tables had a rustic feel to it as well. 

The menu is quite extensive, but what caught my eye were the Dim-sum section and the Satay. Once we had ordered the drink- Sun soakers- blend of apple, orange& carrots,  we looked at each other and knew what we were going to order for the mains. All we had that day for lunch was 2 kinds of dim-sums - one with Mushrooms & water chestnut, the other was Broccoli & Cashew dim-sum, followed by the Tofu satay and straight to dessert, we shared a Lemon pie. We loved the savoury dishes, the dessert felt a little too dense, gooey for our liking...  

It was Valentine's day, and I noticed one of the staff members handing out a rose to the men at the table where it was just a man & a woman seated... hmmm... made me wonder why not give it to all, love is between friends and family as well, right? Anyways, in a way I was glad, not one for flowers!! But what was surprising was that the place was packed- for a weekday lunch!  Infact, the two long tables next to us was taken up by a big group of guys [ who we discovered were from a hospital nearby] celebrating something... there was cake, flowers, shawls and even a plaque..  :D 

The meal we had worked out to Rs1454 [all inclusive]... While the food was good, it was nothing extraordinary. Maybe because there are other places that serve same cuisine, but seem to have captured my heart... As per my policy, only if you try will you know! So that was that...  

Nasi & Mee Asian Canteen 
Yafa Towers, 18/24, Khader Nawaz Khan Rd, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600034

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rooftop Lounge at Ramada Plaza, Guindy

This platter consisted of- ✓ Butter Naan  Mutton Roganjosh ✓ Vegetable Kohlapuri  Dal makhani
✓Mirchi ka salaan ✓Plain Steamed rice ✓Raita ✓Pickle  & ✓ Paapad

Cool breeze, 
Buildings all around lit up and 
you get a 360degree view of the city.. 

....paints quite the picture right? Well this is what you get if you head up to the Rooftop Lounge at Ramada Plaza Chennai in Guindy.. [For those who did not know, Chennai has 2 Ramada properties, one in Egmore- Ramada Chennai Egmore and this is the 2nd one] 

The very first time I visited this property was in March 2018, when someone I knew was visiting the city on work. We had  dined at the Pan asian restaurant they had and it was fabulous- the food and service! I was seriously blown away by the flavours.. And so when I heard they had a new rooftop restaurant, it was time for a visit. 

Those who have been to chennai, know that it is pretty much hot hotter and hottest, but Nov to Feb end, maybe March 1st week the weather is fabulous.. We enjoy the cool pleasant low temperatures!! And so walking up to the Rooftop Lounge on that cool Feb evening I was in love with my city all over again. They have a huge outdoor sitting area, with a cover, the infinity swimming pool right next to the space, and also closed cabanas a few steps below along with a small well stocked bar. The cabanas have two tables or you can use them for a small group dinner as well. Each one is like a separate room with a glass door, which gives you the privacy you need and shuts outside noise. 

We chose a table near the pool, enjoyed the cool breeze while we waited for the food to arrive. I chose to have a Long island iced tea,while my friend chose a Mocktail, litchi & guava blended- which was actually good.  As for the food, the pictures should speak volumes. The soup, the salad were the show stoppers for me. Chef Pawan Kumar, who hails from Ranchi told us how they played around with flavours, combinations before settling on this menu. The only thing missing from the menu are pizza and pastas, but then the rest of the menu makes up for it, if the dishes that we tried were any indication of the quality of the food. 

The mango spicy spring cigars were quite delicious, one that I havent had before. Similarly, the meal platter is perfect [esp the portion size].. The only suggestion we had was to replace the chocolate swirl in the dessert with maybe a Jalebi or something indian that would go well with the Rabri and chenna. 

A meal for 2 would work out to around Rs3000/- [not incl alcohol] , but then make sure you head here either before March or post August...

Ramada Plaza Chennai 
36, Sardar Patel Rd, Little Mount, 
Guindy, Chennai- 600032
Phone044 4565 3333

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Celebrating Chinese new year at Golden Dragon, Taj Coromandel

Xīnnián hǎo [Happy New Year]....Happiness, Fun, Joy, Peace, Love, Luck, will come with my special wish ... May this New Year brings you happiness, wealth, longevity, and good fortune.... That is what I wish you on this New year day! 

It was Chinese New year on 5th Feb, and Golden Dragon had a menu celebrating the dishes from the region. Infact, today there are very few Chinese restaurants, and so it was refreshing to have a meal here... My favourite thing about this cuisine is how simple their dishes are, most are stir fried or steamed and all it takes is a splash of sesame oil , some red chillies & garlic.. 

The evening began with a range of dim sums/dumplings with water chestnut & cashew, another had Kalian & garlic, and then there was the one with deep fried carrot [ the outer skin on this melted in our mouth]... Then came the soup made with seaweed and moong beans that added a bit of sweetness to it while the seaweed strips brought in some savory notes.. As for the main course we got to try the Kimchi Fried rice, soft noodles with sides that were both simple and packed with flavour- Beans , mushrooms and cabbage... This is so my kind of food, if only I got these for my meals daily... Sigh~

Breaking my thoughts came the dessert platter- chocolate dimsum and ice cream. Both were sensational, I kid you not. the pop of the dimsum filling and the ginger plus strawberry in the ice cream had us longing for more... The entire meal had been such a delight, I would happily go back for this any day..... 

This menu is available only till the15th Feb...   Call 044 6600 2827 and make a reservation before you head over~ 

Golden Dragon
Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, 
Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600034

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Acrobatic Pizza-Making at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency till 10th Feb

The cocktails.. 
Alley shooter, Earltini, Red wine [Jacob's Creek] and a Gin based cocktail with orange flavour coming through...

I was engrossed in the episode on Pizzas on Ugly Delicious, when I heard the ting of the mailbox, showing me I had a mail from Hyatt Regency with " Skillful Master of Acrobatic Pizza-Making - Pasqualino Barbasso" as the subject.. Coincidence or just the universe listening to me? I dont know.. Honestly, dont care.... When I read the mail saying that the Master of Acrobatic Pizza-Making, Pasqualino Barbasso was going to be in town,  I instantly starting watching videos on youtube where he was skillfully playing with the pizza dough...  

Even though I am not a pizza fan , I eat them maybe once in 6months, I was keen on visiting the restaurant to watch the Master in action. I knew that the show would be ahead of the dinner featuring pizzas handmade by Pasqualino himself.  

Promptly at 7.30, I could hear the music begin at the lobby and there he came ready to show off his Pizza dough acrobat skills. We stood mesmerised at the way he handled the dough, I infact noticed there were people standing across floors [outside their rooms,and the banquet hall] watching him. Phew! I was tired watching him dance with the dough, and make it do all that he wanted it to do. The dough twirled high up in air, went between his legs and even flipped flapped forming beautiful curls.... Barbasso made it look so easy – he whips it around his body, under his legs, throwing it in the air and stretching it to monstrous lengths – but I am sure it is not, I bet I would end up just begging the dough to sit still for a second leave alone make it dance..  I also learnt that the dough used for the show was different [it must withstand being pulled, stretched and thrown about for a few mins atleast] from the one used to eat.. .

It took me a few minutes to get back to reality after that breathtaking performance. Time to look at the menu and decide which pizzas to try. We were a fairly large group, and so decided to try as many Veg as non veg... At the end of the evening, we had tried not one or two, but 5 vegetarian pizzas and the non veg tried a few from that section. I was happy to see the Veg section was as long as the non veg~ Yayy.....  

The pizzas were all thin crust and had distinct flavours. The kitchen was abuzz that evening, with the restaurant full to capacity and just two chefs manning the pizza section... uff... Wonder how they managed to serve out all the orders that were flying in... 

Towards the end of the meal, Chef joined us at the table and was sharing his story... He started his pizzaiolo career at 17yrs of age, infact he said that pizza making is in his bloog. When he isnt globe trotting showing off his acrobatic skiulls, he is back home in  Cammarata, his base...  He proudly shared that he won the Sicily’s Acrobatic Pizza Championship in 1998 and famed World Champion in 2001 and 2002 consecutively...  

Well, if you want to witness this man in action and sample his fare, head over to Focaccia in Hyatt Regency before the 10th Feb.... 

Dates: 1st to 10th February, 2019 
Time: 07:00 pm to 11:30 pm & weekend brunches
Price: INR 875 [excl tax and alcohol] onwards

Hyatt Regency 
#365, Anna Salai, Rostrevor Garden, 
Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)