Our friends from All Things Nice have a fantastic event coming up this Friday 22 April at Maritime by San Lorenzo at the Taj Lands End Hotel in Bandra. Meet Ms. Antoinette Drumm & Mr. Thibault Robert from Remy Martin over cocktails followed by a five course sit down dinner crafted by Chef Alessandro Bechini paired with wine from the iconic Bouchard Aîné & Fils and fine Cognac.
For details, check out the FB event page or get directly in touch with the team from All Things Nice (contact details in the invitation below).
It’s getting warmer in Mumbai and in a few months Monsoon will be here. For people like us (the normal middle class), it’s not a big problem. We start using our AC’s to cool down our homes and jump into the pool. But for many people in Mumbai and all over India, the ongoing heat is a big problem. My maid told me the other day that they have only 2-3 hours of running water in their houses these days as the municipality rations the water consumption. The lack of water resources affects the poor the most. Many farmers have problems to water their fields, etc. In some villages, people have to take the train to collect water from far away places. Because of all this, I decided to share with you all the below whatsapp message that I received the other day:
Ideas to reduce water consumption in our homes and do our bit for the water crisis
1. Check for leaks ⚠️ and fix them promptly – especially toilet flushes (if there is a major leak, shut of the main valve until the leak can be fixed). Even a small leak can waste lots of water.
2. Report water wastage and leaks in your area to your ward officer. Many building’s overhead tanks overflow and people don’t pay attention. Millions of liters of water are wasted this way every day all over the city. All buildings should install float valves so that the pumps are shut off automatically when the tanks are full.
3. Reduce the pressure of water flow at all main inlets so that the house saves water as a whole, with a special focus on the kitchen.
4. Explain to domestic staff that if they waste water while working in your house, if affects them in their homes too (the big picture!). People living in slums suffer the most from water cuts and the “tanker mafia”.
5. To break the habit of staff leaving taps open as they work elsewhere, a habit of replenishing water from a container instead of a tap can be adopted.
6. Move to a limited bucket bath or a timed ️shower bath as a practice.
7. Shut off taps when water is not needed throughout the task such as washing dishes, brushing teeth, shampooing, soaping, shaving, etc.
8. Use a small flush for small jobs You can control this on many types of toilets.
9. Water in which vegetables/fruits, rice, dal etc are rinsed can be collected and used for watering plants. Plants don’t mind dirty water as long as it doesn’t have soap or other chemicals – the residues from washing rice/dal etc provide nutrition to the plants.
10. Car cleaning can be restricted to a wipe down with half a bucket of water per car with a less than daily frequency. And the remaining water can be poured into the plants in the compound.
11. Unused bathrooms in homes need not be washed daily whereas balconies can be swept and mopped rather than washed.
12. Water can be collected from appliances such as air conditioners, dehumidifiers and dryers and used for cleaning purposes. AC drain pipes can be positioned so that the water drains into your plants – like a drip irrigation system
13. When clothes are handwashed, the last rinse can be used for cleaning purposes.
14. The kitchen sink drain can be plugged or you can use a dish pan during the last rinse of vessels and that water can be used to rinse dirty dishes before soaping.
15. If you use an RO water purifier, collect the reject water in a bucket and use it for cleaning or watering plants.
16. Only run full loads in your dishwasher or washing machine, and choose efficient appliances. If using a dishwasher, just a quick pre-rinse in a basin of water or a wipe is needed when loading dishes.
In March, I had first my German cousin and then my parents visiting us in Mumbai -which meant like 3 weeks continuously eating out. We went to a lot of my old favorite places and tried out many new one’s as well. Chez Moi was one of the many restaurants that was bookmarked on my Zomato profile like forever. So, one evening when we were in Bandra, we decided to try it out.
Like a typical French bistro, this restaurant is hidden in a side road in Bandra Reclamation (ONGC colony). With a few tables outside and a couple more inside, you feel as if you took a short trip to Paris as soon as you enter the restaurant. Dimmed light, white tables and wine bottles on the wall give it the romantic flair of a Mediterranean bistro.
This time, we went with my parents and cousin to enjoy the delicious and authentic French cuisine. However, Chez Moi is also a great place for a romantic date night out or to catch up with close friends over good food.
We had a lovely time at Chez Moi and enjoyed delicious authentic French cuisine with great conversations and good wine.
Root Ginger & Cilantro Steamed Baked Vietnamese Basa
Roast Lamb Rack in Rosemary Sauce
This was the only disappointment: For a real French dining experience, we would have loved to enjoy the Crème Brulee or the Tiramisu. Unfortunately, the only dessert available was the chocolate mousse.
I was surprised to learn that the owner is a Punjabi gentleman –as they are usually known for loud and colorful celebrations. But then, he explained that he studied in Paris and everything made sense. Thank you, Vinod, for bringing the French cuisine and the Parisian savoir-vivre lifestyle to Mumbai.
India is a very diverse country with a variety of cultures, customs and cuisines in different states. Baisakhi is the Punjabi Harvest Festival and also marks the New Year according to solar aspect of the Punjabi calendar. The festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving day by farmers, with the traditional Punjabi dance called Bhangra and of course with good food.
I recently met Mumbai’s most famous Hindi teacher –at least if you ask the Bombay expat community… 🙂 Pallavi Singh from hindilessons.co.in teaches Hindi to foreigners who usually come to the city for 6 months to 3 years work assignments. She works with a variety of consulates, including the American Consulate in Mumbai, international schools such as Deutsche Schule Bombay (DSB) and conducts individual private classes.
‘Language is nothing but a by-product of culture, traditions, niceties and exchanges of the society. I think one can either become an observer or an absorber and it’s so much more enriching to be the latter.’ Pallavi who started teaching Hindi when she was 19, traveled extensively nationally & internationally and knows India not only from the perspective of a local but understands how foreigners experience the country.
The first three sentences you should learn in Hindi according to Pallavi?
Seedha Lo (go straight)
Teekha kam (less spicy)
Han Theek Hai. (yes, okay)
Pallavi’s Hindi classes are very interactive and extremely well organized. Her modules are an intellectual result of 500+ hours of teaching, development and introspection. Price: 1200INR/class. You can check out more details here.
If you are interested to learn Hindi in Mumbai, get in touch with Pallavi Singh: hindilessons.co.in
Last Sunday, Naveen and I ran 10km during the Footsteps 4 Good run in BKC and supported Tender Hands India, an NGO that supports women who were rescued from human trafficking to start a new life through their Learn to Bake vocational training.
It has been an amazing experience and I learned a lot from this experience. So here you go: 5 life lessons that I learned from my first ever 10km run.
1) Start before you are ready
I still cannot believe that I used to be able to run only 2-3km in the gym while training for this run. When my friend shared with me that she would be organizing the Footsteps 4 Good 2016 run, I was determined to support her not only by promoting the event via my blog and social media channels but to actually take part in it. I had two options: choose the 5km walk that would be easily achievable for me or to challenge myself and to try the 10km run. I choose the 10km run –thinking that I would have enough time to practice and somehow make it happen.
But life happened. Life always happens. 36 hours before the run, Naveen and I ordered a pizza and enjoyed the evening on our couch. Since the time that we signed up for the run, we had probably trained only a handful (or maximum two handful) times. I was pretty okay of running for 20-30minutes and would achieve 2-3km. That’s it. But somehow I was able to continuously run for 1hour 16minutes and accomplish the 10km run without any walking break on that Sunday morning in BKC.
2) Keep moving
Don’t think that it was easy for me. I still remember that my legs started to become heavier after the very first kilometre and my breath become heavier with every passing kilometre. When I saw the finish line for the first time, I couldn’t believe that I had accomplished only half of the run. In fact, my muscles were tired and I could have easily said enough. But then, just a few meters before the finish line, I heard the commentator announcing that the guy in front of us was about to finish his second round. I felt pumped and loudly cheered for him. I felt inspired and I knew I could accomplish this. However fast or slow I was. My goal was not to run the fastest 10km run in history. My challenge was to complete the 10km running without taking a break. And so I continued. Step for step. Meter for meter. Kilometre for kilometre. Slowly, I ran. But the important point is: I ran in the right direction.
3) Run with your head up
…not just as a proper running technique but as a metaphor for life. Keep your head up and be confident. There were many runners that overtook me –right in the beginning and before crossing the finish line. But I can truly say that I have never felt more confident while running than during this 10km run. Instead of competing with others, I focused on myself. I was confident of myself –which showed in the way I was running (with my head up) and in the way I felt (happy and proud).
4) You really can do more than you think you can
I totally surprised myself with this 10km run. I mean… wow! I still can’t believe it. I ran 10km without any breaks or major pain. This totally boosted my confidence and helped me to realize that there are probably hundred other things that I am capable of –I just haven’t tried it yet and therefore don’t know it. If there is one life lesson from the many things I learned while running the 10km run that I find most important: it is this one. YOU REALLY CAN DO MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN.
5) Enjoy the journey
Of course, it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line… I was so pumped, I ran as fast as I could for the last few meters and I loudly cheered myself… But to be honest, the 1 hour and 16 minutes that I was running were the real achievement and fun. It sounds cheesy but it’s so true: Enjoy the journey.
Bonus Tip: You will feel even more amazing if you run for a cause. I felt extremely happy and proud when I saw my friend who runs Tender Hands India, the NGO that Naveen and I supported with our run, cheering for us on the side of the road. THI fights to end human trafficking and offers a vocational baking program for rescued women and young girls. Check out these amazing TROPHY SUGAR COOKIES created by them:
I am so excited -in less than two weeks, I will run my first ever official run and the best part -it’s for a great cause! And I invite you to join: More Footsteps = More Funds raised for charity!
A few days ago, my husband and I decided to challenge ourselves with a 10km run for a great cause: Footsteps4Good takes place on Sunday 07 February 2016 at BKC. Alternatively, they also have a 5km walk.
Footsteps4Good is a charity walkathon / fun run in it’s 5th year, where each participants Rs2000 registration fee goes directly to a charity of their choice. There are a number of affiliated NGOs but anyone can participate for any NGO.
This is a great way to be part of the change we want to see in the world. You can run for children education, environment & climate protection, women empowerment, or any other cause that you care for. 100% of your registration fee will be donated to the NGO of your choice.
We will run for Tender Hands India. This NGO fights to end human trafficking in India (and beyond) through awareness, advocacy and aid.
Women and young girls that have been rescued from the red light district in Mumbai or are at high risk of being trafficked receive a huge support by Tender Hands. Under the brand name TH Bakes, these women and girls receive a vocational training and learn to bake.
(By the way, you can support them by eating cupcakes and cakes, too. Check them out here.)
If you think WINE and INDIA, you must also think NIKHIL AGARWAL. The passionate sommelier and CEO of All Things Nice promotes the local wine culture by creating beautiful wine events that are equally popular with the local and expat crowd.
In 2012, he launched the first ever INDIAN WINES CONSUMER CHOICE AWARDS and I was invited as a judge to the fourth edition which took place earlier this month at the Jyran Restaurant at Sofitel in BKC.
The event introduced consumers to the entire spectrum of Indian wines available. As the Indian wine culture is still young, many new wine connoisseurs are seduced by big names or active marketing of the few known Indian wineries. I myself was surprised to learn that there are more than 50 wineries in India. (To be honest: I could have named only Sula, York and Grover Zampa.)
It was so much fun to taste and judge the wines. We started with sparkling and white wines, continued with the red ones, and completed the experience with dessert wines.
I usually like sassy dry white wines –the type you enjoy with friends on the terrace or during a lunch by the seaside and I found a few Indian wines during the tasting event that I really enjoyed (but as it was a wine judging I have no idea which ones to buy now…).
But surprisingly, I gave my best rating to a super sweet dessert wine that was served ice cold. Though the wine was extreme sweet, I really enjoyed it and can imagine pairing it with a dry cinnamon pastry after a Christmas lunch.
I am super excited to see who the winners of the Indian Wines Consumer Choice Awards 2016 will be. You can check out previous winner here.
Welcome to my world: I love food and I love healthy choices. I love salads more than chocolate –and I may have cravings for both sometimes. But that’s okay –everything in moderation.
I believe that #HealthyIsDelicious and that we don’t have to choose between comfort food and healthy meals if we develop some realistic habits that allow us to enjoy our favorite food and help our bodies to stay strong and fit.
Everybody is different and every body, too.
I am not a nutritionist nor do I know the requirements of your body, mind and soul. I am sharing my habits to eat clean and healthy to inspire you to discover your own healthy eating habits and to make 2016 your best year ever.
1. Eat at home
Yes, it’s fun to explore new restaurants and bars (and they pop up like mushrooms in Mumbai) or to meet friends over a late night dinner buffet. I do that, too. But not every day. In fact, I limited it to 2-3 outside meals per week. Whether you cook yourself or you have a cook: eat at home! You can monitor the amount of oil used and you know the exact ingredients of your meal.
2. Meal Planning
It seems that meal planning is the #1 sport of housewives in the US (sorry, don’t take it personal!). You don’t have to go all fancy and glittery but make sure you plan your meals for the week ahead. When you know what you will eat, you have fewer cravings for the non-scheduled food. When you are hungry, you know what you will eat and you won’t reach out to unhealthy snacks or order deep-fried stuff from nearby.
3. Buy/Order groceries once a week (but never when you are hungry)
This one goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. Buy or order your groceries once a week to ensure you have all ingredients for your meals at home. It also helps you not to buy random food that you don’t need (a.k.a. all the unhealthy and deep-fried stuff).
Bonus Tip: Never buy or order groceries when you are hungry.
4. Start the day with your favorite food and put a picture of it on Instagram
Sounds funny but it definitely helps. Starting your day with your favorite food (remember #HealthyIsDelicious –so you must choose a healthy favorite food) makes you feel happy about eating and encourages you to stick to healthy eating habits throughout the day.
Also make sure you present your omelette, fruit salad or muesli in a beautiful way (restaurant style!) and click a pic. Post that photo on Instagram or any other social media –that will hold you accountable as your friends, family and followers will comment about your delicious (and healthy 🙂 ) meal and will expect more such pictures in the future.
5. Snacking on real food
And if you have a craving or feel hungry in between meals, make sure you snack real food. Cut some carrots, mix a quick dip (curd, salt, pepper, chili powder) and enjoy your snack. Or make a quick fruit salad with an apple, banana or any other fruits you have at home. If you need a snack during office hours, make sure you prepare your snacks and carry them to office just like your lunch box.
6. Eating out (the right way)
I said it earlier –I love exploring new eateries in Mumbai or to meet my friends over brunch or dinner at restaurants. And that’s okay as long as you don’t eat out all day every day. When at a restaurant, I suggest you go for the healthier options like grilled, steamed and baked instead of the deep-fried chicken wings. Soups and salads are great options as well.
I personally love South-East-Asian cuisine and steamed dumplings or sushi are great ways to skip the cheesy pizza or creamy pasta. Also, I enjoy fruits as dessert (Call out to all restaurants: Add more healthy desserts to your menu. Baked bananas, chocolate-dipped strawberries, mango yogurt parfait, fruit salads… There are so many options.)
7. Resign the alcohol (at least for some time)
I don’t want to be a party pooper but skip the alcohol. You probably knew that your liver handles your alcohol intake. Think Detoxing. Well, think again. What do you think your liver will do with all the alcohol you consume and it is cleaning out of your system? Well, it converts the alcohol into an energy source and properly stores it away for future use. Means: Your alcohol is stored away as fat.
So try to resist the next shot or cocktail. And if you really want to drink, try going for some healthier options such as ONE glass of red wine (Organic red wine has beneficial antioxidants if consumed in moderation) or ONE bottle of beer (Organic low-alcoholic beers have great anti-cancer properties).
8. Don’t drink your calories.
You may think, if I can’t drink alcohol, I’ll go for a coke. Please don’t! Skip all kind of soft drinks as they can trigger many weight-related diseases, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors, and elevated blood pressure. Instead: Drink water. I know it sounds old-school but it is so good. There are hundreds of ways to jazz up your water and make it taste even more exciting than a cocktail: Add fresh mint, ginger, orange or lemon slices, even basil and cucumber.