Mahabaleshwar Food Guide

A much needed break from Mumbai city was required and hence we decided to make our way to the beautiful hill station of Mahableshwar. We booked our stay at Club Mahindra in March and headed out for 4 days. Since the last stretch of the drive is up hill it takes about 4-5 hours to reach this gorgeous hill station. The best way to reach Mahabaleshwar is by either car or bus but I recommend traveling by car as it give you the freedom to move around city at your convenience. Mahabaleshwar is a hill station famous for strawberries. 

We started off at about 8am from Mumbai and on the way stopped off at the the food court just after the expressway toll booth. After fueling up make your way to the back where the food court has delicious Mahararashtrian food and is relatively empty.

Since it was breakfast time we had the usual vada pav, missal and poha along with black tea. The food is typical Mahararashtrian fare and delicious. I would recommend you try it all.

On the way into Mahabaleshwar we stopped off at Mapro Strawberry Farms. Just outside the farm there are vendors selling gorgeous strawberries, baby carrots, raddish and rasberries. You should stock up on all these on your way back home.

Mapro has a product section where you can buy all the stuff that they make right there. Chocolates, jam, syrups, fruit jellies, honey and anything strawberry.  We picked up whole strawberry crush, honey and some mixers for our drinks.

Since it was lunch time, we ate there. Please note that Mapro is completely vegetarian but the food is delicious. They have wood fire pizzas and lip smacking sandwiches. But the best thing by far is the strawberries and cream. A tall glass is filled with a scoop of house made strawberry ice-cream, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of strawberries,  some more whipped cream and a topping of strawberry crush. I just died and woke up in heaven.

The Stay – Club Mahindra 

We stayed at the Club Mahindra property. Since it is alittle away from the main market area and surrounded by greenery it is much cooler here. Infact we needed sweaters is March!. The property is huge. They have a swiming pool and a large activity area which houses a pool table, carrom, table tennis, archery, badminton and alot more. They also have a spa which we used each day we were there. Infact on the last day we checked out late because we got held up at the spa (:) 

The rooms are quite large and have their own balconies. 

I have stayed in alot of Mahindra properties and this by far has the best food.

Walk around the property and you bump into monkeys and little strawberries growing everywhere 👇

An Evening at Venna Lake

In the evening make your way to Venna Lake. You can ride paddle boats on the lake (my legs were not strong enough to paddle for an hour hence we skipped this part), play the slot machines, shoot some balloons and gamble for fun. They also have a small amusement park (really small) which is mostly for kids

There are numerous stalls where you can grab a bite to eat. Do try their corn pattice and strawberry & cream while you play the slots there

Brightland Resort

Brightlands has a beautiful property on a higher level. Do stay here if you can as their rooms overlook the valley. We headed to their bar called “Olive Garden” for drinks and dinner post our little gambling session at Venna Lake.

They have a really nice bar which is full glass and from where you have a breathtaking view. The chinese and continental food is very good. They also have an Italian restaurant which serves buffet meal or a la carte.

Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza

The Grapevine

This is an absolute gem in Mahabaleshwar and you should not miss eating here at any cost. Raiomand -the owner and chef, runs this quaint restaurant and the food is 💯 👍👍👍.

We loved the food so much that we ate lunch and went back for dinner the same day. The owner is a Parsi so there is no doubt that the Parsi food is fantastic  but the other food on the menu is even better. The day we went we got lucky as he had just got a delivery of soft-shell crabs. We had the hakka noodles and soft-shell crabs in chilly garlic sauce. The crabs were fresh, sweet and cooked till crispy. We ordered the lamb shanks too which were falling of the bone. This was served with mashed potatoes and a side salad. The portions are substantial for 2 people. 

Lamb Shanks
Hakka noodles and soft-shell crabs in chilly garlic sauce
Crab patio
Strawberry wine
Smoked Ham

We saw alot of tables ordering the burger. It looked massive and the husband and me decided to come back to Mahabaleshwar another time.

Down the lane from The Grapevine is the local market. You can buy really pretty Kolhapuri chappals for Rs 300/ pair, eat pakoras at Bageecha restaurant (this is also quite famous), buy strawberries,  rasberries, black channa (gram) and generally stroll about and pop your inquisitive nose into all the shops…. that’s  what I did 😄.

Kolhapuri chappals

Cheese Factory

Next to Mapro Farms is the cheese factory. You can take a tour of the process, sample and buy cheese and even eat some food here. I cannot speak about the food as we were there mainly for the cheese. We picked up the garlic cheese spread (after tasting) as it was unlike any cheese i have had. It was really super delicious. They also have a bakery where we bought really fresh… as in straight outta the oven…. Shrewsbury biscuits and strawberry cake. I know that Pune is home to Shrewsbury biscuits and some of you  must be thinking I am crazy to buy this from here, but i’m glad I did. I had them the next day during tea time and these biscuits were light, buttery and delicious…even better than Pune. So if you stop off here do buy them and let me know what you think.

Flavoured cream cheese

Happy Traveating! (Travel + eating)

Christmas Special – Dessert

Did you know that Oranges were stuffed in stockings?

Do you know the symbolism behind stuffing the stocking with an orange?

There are 4 different explanations to this tradition

1. St. Nicholas and his sacks of gold.

St. Nicholas inherited a large sum of money, but devoted his life to helping others, and eventually became a bishop.

According to the story, St. Nicholas learned of a poor man who wasn’t able to find suitors for his three daughters because he didn’t have money for a dowry. St. Nicholas traveled to the house, and tossed three sacks of gold down the chimney for each of the dowries. The gold happened to land in each of the girls’ stockings which were hanging by the fire to dry. The oranges are a symbol of the gold that was left in the stockings.

2. A treat during the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, money was tight, and many families simply didn’t have the means to buy gifts. Instead, it was such a treat, even a luxury, to find things like a sweet orange or some walnuts in your stocking on Christmas.

3. Oranges were once a scarce treat.

Some also offer the idea that fresh oranges were hard to come by, especially in the north, so finding one of these fruits in your stocking was a huge treat, and a way of celebrating the holiday.

4. It’s the season of giving.

Another theory behind the tradition is that December is the season of giving, and the orange segments represent the ability to share what you have with others.

I’ve used this wonderful fragrant citrus fruit to make a delicious Orange and Almond Cake


250gms orange pulp (2-3nos oranges)

175gms almond meal

3 eggs

125gms caster sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Step 1: Boil the oranges on  low heat for about an hour and half to 2 hours. This will remove all the bitterness from the oranges. Pulse the oranges to a puree

Step 2:Pre-heat the oven at 160°c while you prepare the cake batter


Step3: In a bowl, mix the eggs and sugar till they are smooth and have doubled in size

Step 4: Sieve the almond flour, baking powder and salt

Step 5: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the vanilla extract at this stage. Fold in the orange puree gently. You will want a light and fluffy batter. Line the 9″ tin with parchment paper and pour in the cake batter. Cook for about 1 hour (till the toothpick comes out clean)


Step 6: To prepare the orange chilli vodka drizzle. Use the remaining orange puree (since the cake batter calls for only 250gms), one slit green chilly, as much Vodka as you want (:) and some water. Simmer on a low heat till most of the alcohol is evaporated (about 15mins)


Step 7: Let the cake cool completely and then  poke tiny holes and drizzle this sauce over the cake.. Serve with a scoop of ice cream

This is the song that I was listening to when baking this cake.. Perfecto!


Christmas Special – Appetizer

It is true… Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!

Start December and you get that warm fuzzy feeling that something special is going to happen.

Start December and I think of roast chicken, boozy Christmas cake, decorating the tree, making delicious Christmas sweets and shopping for gifts for family and loved ones.

So while I sit here in my Christmas pajamas, I’m wondering what special recipes I can make for my Christmas party this year.

A few things come to mind like maybe a Thai theme? But after a week of pondering over that menu the idea was rejected. And instead was considering making  mushroom and caramelised onion bites, sausage rolls and mac & cheese minis for appetizers. In mains I was planning potato gratin, baked stuff pasta, piri piri roasted chicken with gravy and maybe dukkah crusted fish. Do let me know your take on this menu. Is this menu Christmassy enough?

I have tested the Mushroom & Caramelised onions bites on a few people and it was a big hit. In fact when the Christmas invite went out a few people even asked for it to be made

Mushroom & Caramelised Onions Bites



Pre-heat your oven to 180º C. This is an important step as the oven needs to be hot when the puffs are put in. This helps them rise better.

To prepare the Mushrooms


Slice the mushrooms.

Finely chop the green chilly and garlic

Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan

Add the chopped garlic and green chilly and saute. You want to lightly brown the garlic and not burn it. Garlic, if burnt, gives off this bitter taste which will ruin your dish.

Add the sliced mushrooms and cook on high flame. Cooking on a high flame ensures the water in the mushrooms burns off fast and gives the mushrooms a lovely brown colour. If you reduce the flame chances are the mushrooms will give out the water slowly and they will end up stewing in the water.

Season the mushrooms well with salt and pepper.

Ensure that no water is left in the mushrooms as they will be baked later on and if the mushrooms release water during the baking process the pastry will be soggy and not light and flaky.

To prepare the Caramelised Onions


Finely slice the onions.

Heat oil in a pan and add a little sugar. This helps to brown the onions.

When the sugar starts to caramelise add the sliced onions. Add a pinch of salt at this stage as it coaxes the onions to release the water and qickens the caramelisation process. Once the onions are brown (not burnt) turn off the flame and set aside.

To Assemble

Roll out the puff pastry. You can either make your own or use store bought pastry.  Here is the link to make it from scratch

Cut it into 2″ x 2″ square.

Place few slivers of the mushrooms and a little caramelised onions on each square.

Place the squares on a tray and it goes into the pre-heated oven (middle rack) for about 10 mins (the timing will vary depending on your oven). Keep checking to make sure the puffs are not burning. They are ready when golden and puffed up.

Before serving top with a small dollop of goats cheese and a coriander leaf.


I suggest you make a load of these as they disappear pretty quickly ;).


Notes –

To save time, the mushrooms and caramelised onions topping can be made a day in advance.

Before baking the puffs, place the tray in the fridge for about 10mins. With too much handling the butter between the layers of the puff pastry starts to melt. Putting it in the fridge at this stage helps firm up the pastry and it will puff better later in the oven.


Chicken/ Seafood Sui Mai

Dim sum, while sometimes used to refer to Chinese dumplings, actually refers to a type of meal, consisting of small plates of dumplings, pastries, or other small portions of food. Traditionally, dumplings were a part of Dim Sum teahouse snacks.

Siu Mai and Wonton are types of dumplings. They can be steamed, baked, fried or pan fried.

Momo’s – Steamed or fried, is the Tibetan version of a dumpling, which appeals to the Indian palate.

Potsticker is actually a method of cooking. Legend has it that a chef, intending to boil dumplings in a wok, left them on the heat for too long resulting in the pot boiling dry. With no water in sight, the bottom of the dumpling crisped up and stuck to the wok. And potstickers, as we know it, were born.

Dating back to World War II, Japanese soldiers who were stationed in Northern China were exposed to Zhao Ji viz potstickers. Upon their return home, they tried to recreate the dumplings they had eaten. Calling them Gyoza – the Japanese Kanji pronunciation of the Chinese characters for zhao ji.

Now that you know the difference between the various terms, you can sound a little more knowledgeable than your friends when ordering at a restaurant. 🙂

Whether it’s sui mai or wonton or momos or potstickers, I ❤ them all

I encourage you to make your own wrappers as the homemade ones are softer. But I’m lazy and buy mine ready made. Although post eating these little dumplings, I made a mental promise to make the wrappers next time. But then laziness kicks in and this promise is soon forgotten.

Anyway enough of my ramblings and onto the recipe

Sui Mai/ Wanton/ Dumpling Wrapper recipe






Chicken Sui Mai Recipe




Mix the boneless chicken, egg white, cornflour, oyster sauce, veg seasoning and sesame oil (preferably roasted) into a mixer and pulse to a paste.


Chop the white part of the spring onion into fine pieces. Finely dice the carrots. Add both these ingredients at the end as it helps to give a little bite to the sui mais.

Use round wrappers as they are easier to fold. If you have square wrappers, don’t stress, just use a small bowl and cut them into the desired circular shapes


Set the production line with wrappers, water (to seal) and the meat mixture.

Take the wrapper and dollop a spoonful of the mixture into the center and fold. This is one of the easiest ways I learned as the instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow.

See how pretty these look and with practice I could made multiple folds.


Steam/ fry and serve with your favourite dipping sauce

You can also freeze a batch of sui mai/ dumplings and take out as necessary to satisfy that evening snack craving. Or if you have unexpected guests, just whip out these babies and they will be super impressed.

Crab Sui Mai with Burnt Chilli Sauce
Steamed Chicken Wantons with Spring Onion Dip

Will share the dipping sauces recipe very soon. Enjoy for now 🙂


Veggie Delight Quiche

Over the past few weeks, I have been preparing quiches and sharing with friends to get feedback. And the key thing I came across is some of them did not know what a Quiche is.

Some Interesting facts

  • A Quiche is a savoury, open-faced pastry crust with a filling of savoury custard with one or more of cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables.
  • Quiche lorraine (named after the Lorraine region of France) is a popular variant.
  • A Quiche can be served hot or cold.
  • Although quiche is now considered a classically French dish, it actually originated in Germany.
  • The word ‘quiche‘ is from the German word ‘kuchen’, meaning cake

I prefer vegetarian quiches as vegetables add alot more flavour to the dish. This can be eaten for breakfast as well as for tea time. And I also use full fat milk and cut out the cream in this version.

This is my recipes for a Veggie delight which has blanched spinach, caramalised onions, sauteed mushrooms and an egg-cheese custard.


For the Pastry Shell


For the Filling


For the Egg Custard





1.Roll out the pastry sheet into a pie pan. I use the ones with a removable base as is the quiche/ baked shell slides out quite easily. With a fork make few holes at the bottom. This is to help the pastry cook all the way through

Click here for a step by step video on making this short crust pastry.  Tip: You can always leave out the egg.




2. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with cooking beans or any heavy bean. This is so that the pastry holds it shape when baking and does not rise. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20mins in 200° c.








3.  This is what the shell looks like after about 20mins. If you need to brown it further or the pastry looks a little under done, remove the beans and parchment paper and bake it for a further 20min at 200° c.







4. For the caramelised onions: Slice  onions [2nos] finely. Heat oil in a pan a pan. . Add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt. The salt helps to draw out the water and the sugar helps in the caramelisation. Let the onions cool and line the bottom of the quiche with a layer of these onions.




5. Mushroom prep: Slice the mushrooms . Take 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter in a pan. Add the crushed and chopped garlic. Once the rawness of the garlic disappears, add the sliced mushrooms and cook till you get a nice brownish colour. Line the cooled down mushrooms over the onions.




6. Spinach Prep: I used 1 cup baby spinach. But normal spinach will also do. Boil water and add the spinach to the water for about 5 mins. Once wilted, remove to a cold water bath. Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Next add this beautiful green spinach on top of the mushrooms




7. I had some bocconcini in the fridge and hence used it in this recipe. Slice the cheese and place on top of the filling. You can skip this step and directly add grated cheese to the custard (next step)





8. Combine all the ingredients listed under “for the custard” and beat well. Pour the custard into the shell. Do not fill right to the top edges as the custard with over pour when baking and you quiche will be ruined. Bake for 25-30mins at 200°C.

Traditional the custard for the quiche also included cream. But we can skip that as the end result without the cream is equally delicious.





9. After about 25mins check on the quiche. The custard should be set and jiggly. Leave to cool on a rack. Once cooled remove from the tin and serve






Some Tips

  1. Once the pastry shell is rolled out and lined in the tart tin, place it in the fridge to cool down. Since the short crust pastry has butter it gets kinda melty with handling. Also doing this helps with getting a crunchy baked shell.
  2. The shortcrust pastry I made does not have egg. I used 100gms flour, 60gms cubed butter. Pulse till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 tsp of ice cold water. Pulse for one round more. Press the mixture between your fingers to see if it comes together. If not, add another tsp of chilled water. Empty the crumbs onto cling film. Knead for a minute. Make into a circular shape and flatten it. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30mins.
  3. To save time, prepare the onions, mushrooms and spinach while the pastry is blind baking.
  4. For the custard ingredients should all be at room temperature.
  5. Other versions of the quiche are ham & mushrooms; chicken & corn; tomato & basil.


Burn After Reading – Edition 8

My siblings were thumb suckers and I always thought it was a disgusting habit. But according to studies this habit might actually reduce children’s risk of developing certain allergies.



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From Brookies to tea-cakes and Macarons to Braided Boule bread, these homebakers from Pune share their recipes.



For your next hair appointment would you try hidden rainbow haircolour? It seems to be the latest trend and I think it would kinda look gorgeous on black hair.

Rainbow Hair


If you live in Mumbai or are a tourist who loves seafood especially crab, these restaurants should be on your must-visit list.

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Would you opt for a 47-year flight connection layover. Jen from Skyscanner was brilliant with tackling this social media conundrum.



Have you ever found yourself suddenly awake in the middle of the night? Your tossing and turning and just wish you could just pop back to sleep. Follow these techniques and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.





Kitchen Disasters

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I have been busy brushing up on some forgotten baking skills. The past 2 weekends were dedicated to perfecting certain desserts and trying different baking techniques involving puff pastry.

Most of the last 2 weekends ended in… I wouldn’t say disaster.. but I wasn’t happy with the results.

I tried making puff pastry. And let me tell you it is hard work. All the folding and buttering and layering.. I was so tired by the end of it. The result was great and the pastry puffed up really nicely. Now is where the challenge comes in. I tried to stuff the puff with 3 different fillings that I made viz, spinach & feta cheese, buffalo sauce chicken and pot pie flavoured chicken. While the fillings turned out great on their own, the challenge arose when I stuffed them between the pastry. I think the filling was a little too wet as the pastry didn’t rise as expected. Although they looked great. But I need the food to taste as good as it looks. After trying a lot of different shapes and sizes for the puffs, I finally gave up out of frustration. But I will not abandon this challenge. Its just that I need a break to see the problem from a fresh perspective and then tackle it with a new found vengeance. Any tips on how to go about it will be most appreciated.


I also tried my hand at making cookies. I love soft and chewy cookies with chunks of dark chocolate. Now if you read a lot of baking recipes, every recipe claims that pastry making is a science and that you need to follow the recipe to a T. Well that is what I did.  Since I wanted soft and chewy cookies, I needed to use dark brown sugar in addition to regular white sugar. (Tip – do not use bluebird brown sugar as it is just white sugar that is caramelised. Molasses is used in dark brown sugar. So if that is not mentioned on the packet, its not the right sugar). Another video stated that using baking soda makes cookies spread while baking powder makes the cookies puff. Hence I went out of my way to make sure I use brown sugar and baking soda and in addition I bought a kitchen weighing scale to make sure all the ingredients were measured out correctly. I was semi – happy with the cookies. I guess I need to try it one more time to get it right. I would also use less sugar as the they turned out to be too sweet for my taste. But they were soft and chewy.. just the way I like ’em.

2016-08-17 21.31.38


Over the years, I have perfected the art of making sandwiches. I can make all sort of exotic sandwiches like avocado/tomato/ egg with micro greens, egg salad sandwich with hummus, Chicken salami sandwich with wasabi mayo as well as open faced toasties. I also make it a point to use multi grain bread as I like a bit of crunch that you get with some pieces of whole grain.


Another breakfast savory which I was practicing were mini quiches with crust. My mom gave me her recipe for making the pie shell that she has been using for years. I tried making the crust and ended up with a hard piece of rock. I need to practise making the pie shells a lot more. Any suggestion or tips and tricks are most welcome. After a lot of frustration and crying, I moved onto making the quiches without the shell. My husband (who is subjected to most of my cooking experiments) pointed out that I need some sort of crust to make it a little more wholesome. After pinteresting and youtubing, I narrowed down on the option of a crispy potato crust. These little breakfast quiches turned out perfect the second time around.


The only dish which I was extremely happy with were the cheesecakes. These do not contain eggs and don’t require any baking. Just mix the ingredients and pop them in the fridge to set and within 5 hours you can be munching on a not so healthy cheesecake. A friend was so happy with the blueberry cheesecakes that she ordered half a dozen cups :).  To be a little creative, I am planning on making some motichoor cheesecakes for the festive season.

2016-08-20 11.30.02


Follow me on Instagram to catch up on more cooking conundrums.

Burn After Reading – Edition 7

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bad hair day


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furry nails


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The Battle of the Toasties

I do love a good French toast with a hint of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup.. Yum! But on some days you just want to add some spices and make it more of a savoury toast than a sweet one. The husband claimed that he could make a good “desi toast” and I had to obviously  maintain my title of “The Better Cook”. Hence there was this unsaid competition between us this weekend, where on Saturday the husband made his “Indianised French Toast” (as he refers to it) and I made B.A.E toasties (Bacon. Avocado. Egg)

You be the judge and decide which one you would prefer for breakfast. Leave your reply in the comment box to support your toastie 🙂

The EPIC Battle of the Toasties Weekend!

The Husbands Indianised French Toast


Indian French Toast - Ingredients



Indian French Toast - Process


B.A.E Toasties [Bacon. Avocado. Egg]


BAE Toasties - Ingredients


BAE Toasties - Process


Toasties - Tips & Tricks

Fuss-Free Chicken Curry

On some days a comforting chicken curry can instantly boost your mood. Chicken is easy and quick to cook.  This chicken curry is fuss free as it involves ingredients that are easily available in the pantry and does not require the chicken to be marinated in advance. And just so that it feels like I’m including some veggies, I always add potatoes to the curry 🙂

Some nutritional facts about Chicken

  • How chicken is prepared and/or ingredients added alters the nutrition facts. For example, deep frying chicken and/or consuming the skin increases the amount of fat significantly. Breading chicken or coating it in flour adds carbohydrates.
  • Chicken is a type of poultry that is high in protein and, when eaten without the skin, quite lean.
  • Skinless white meat chicken breast is the lowest in fat and calories.
  • Chicken is rich in many vitamins and minerals essential for human health and is a good food choice for dieters as well as bodybuilders and everyone in-between.
  • Out of all the chicken options, the healthiest is fresh chicken breast. The white meat (chicken breast) has slightly less cholesterol than the dark meat (legs and wings).



Here is the recipe for Fuss-Free Chicken Curry

From the Pantry

Chicken Curry - From the Pantry


Herbs & Spices

Chicken Curry - herbs and spices

On the Grocery List

Chicken curry - grocery list


Chicken Curry - Process


Chicken curry - tips and tricks