Book Hangover!

“All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.” Thomas Carlyle

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  William Styron

Am back after a very long break with a big apology! Well let me start my journey of blogging again with my favorite topic (and hopefully yours too ;-)) BOOKS.  All kind of books. When I was a little girl I discovered the Hardy Boys ad Nancy drew series. Ever since, I’ve loved to read — both for fun and to improve my mind or to just relax. And I’m always looking for the next great book. I love books, the way they feel in my hands, the words they carry, the stories they tell, and that unique smell they possess.They really take you some place else. Its like watching a movie in your mind. It feels magical!

Read can be pure joy, if you’re reading a good book. By that, I don’t mean good literature — I mean anything that captures your imagination, that compels you to read more, that tells you a good story, that creates wonderful characters, that builds new worlds.


HOWBookendsMy Favorites 10!!!

I always find it hard to review books that actually mean something to me. Books that leave a mark. Books that I’ve fallen in love with. Books that I close with a heavy heart.
It’s so easy to rant and rave when you don’t like a book. But what do you do when you love it? There are some books I cant get enough of (though the list is longer than this). Their words stick to my mind like a stereo on repeat and often tempt me to read then again. I have few of my favorites to share from my personal listopia.

1. The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur- A hilarious and poignant novel about an Indian exchange student’s year at a small American university. I truly enjoyed this novel. The concept of a naive lad from a remote corner of India coming to America, trying to understand it first, and then trying to blend in with the new place is brought up in a simple but witty language of fun.

2. The Pigeon Project by Irving Wallace- A very old novel  with a great story about a doctor who invents a way for people to live to be 150 years old or more. The plot deals with dueling governments who want to secure the technology for themselves, and for the benefit of their countries only, while the doctor wants to make the recipe public, so everyone has the benefit of it. The plot takes some great twists and turns, and it ends with a interesting event.

3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler-  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves holds a mirror up to reflect what we’re really made of, both in what we do to each other and to other animals – from lab rats and rabbits sacrificed for cosmetics, to beagles exposed to radium and monkeys with their eyes sewn shut, to battery chickens and terrified cattle. But this is no simplistic tub-thumping polemic.

4. The Collected Works Of A.J. Firky by  Gabrielle Zevin- This book describes how life is made up of many different stories and episodes. Easy flowing reading, characters you love and a good touch of humor make this book a good pass time. Does get a little too sentimental and sweetly rounded towards the end but by then you grow on the characters.

5. God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian-  The author’s research regarding the world of Bit coins is extensive. God Is A Gamer is a perfect Friday night read and trust me, this time you won’t need Coffee or tea to accompany you while reading this one, the book is packed with an adrenaline rush which will not let you sleep till you finish reading it.

6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini-  Khaled Hosseini has written a majestic, sweeping, emotionally powerful story that provides the reader with a most telling window into Afghan society over the past thirty-odd years. It’s also a moving story of friendship and sacrifice, giving Western readers a rare glimpse into the suffering and mistreatment of Afghan women that began long before the Taliban came to power.

7. Digital Fortress by Dan brown- Was hooked by this and couldn’t put it down. Twists and turns, exciting technology, this fast paced book is great to read if your fond of techno thriller.

8. The Immortals of Meluha: The Shiva Trilogy by Amish:- Amish is an Indian version of Dan Brown. The three books in this Trilogy are beyond anything I’d read in a very, very long time. It is very helpful for the reader to be familiar with the Hindu myths and its ancient culture. This book made me fall in love with lord Shiva!

9.The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields- Reimagines the midlife world of Edith Wharton and the impact of her affair with a young journalist on her longtime friendship with disapproving literary secretary Anna Bahlmann, in a tale told against the backdrop of Gilded Age Paris.

10. I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari by Ravi Subramanian- One more witty and interesting novel by Ravi Subrmanian has caught my eye. Excited and nervous, an untried young man of twenty-three boards his first flight from Bangalore to Delhi. Looking out of the window as his plane takes off, he sees on the road below, fast fading from his vision, an immaculate, bright-red Ferrari. And so begins the quest of a lifetime: the quest for his very own Ferrari.


Books I Wish To Read Before 2015 Ends!

Some new and few old, I think I have missed out on quite a few interesting writes which I wish to read through this year. Here are few in my buck-list which can interest you to read as well.

1. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb- The most talked about biography of last year. A girl who stood up for her self and her right for education amongst the harsh dominance of the Talibans and paid the price for it.  I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler-  In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on relationship and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice.

3. The Book Theif by Markus Zusak-  Made into a movie now the book thief is a small story, about:a girl an accordionist some fanatical Germans a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery.

4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein- A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See-  In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The main storyline in this book is about the horrible patriarchal practise, foot-binding, that took place in China in the past.

6. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller- Catch-22 is just plain funny, and that makes it wonderful all on its own. But it’s also a really great read, because it skillfully points out the absurdity of war.

7. Landline by Rainbow Rowell- Landline is the story of Georgie, a sitcom television writer in LA on the verge of getting her own tv series to write, along with her best friend Seth. When Georgie tells her husband Neal that she can’t join him and the family in Omaha for Christmas, he does the unexpected and leaves with their kids without her.

8. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams- It’s about a mysterious battered suitcase in Violet Grant’s life and what happens because of it.

9. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris- Me Talk Pretty One Day the author manages to weave all of his funny and true stories with the idea that humans have a problem with communication. His strange experiences with people will make you question how you communicate on a daily basis. (And he manages to pull it off with the reader barely noticing. How’s that for improved communication skills?!)

10. The Fault in Our Stars by Jhon Green- Warning: This book will make you weep and weep, until there’s no more weeping left to do and all you’re left with are the characters, story, and beautiful language that will inevitably inspire you to live life and really enjoy every moment. I’m waiting!


15 bookish things you got to do before you die! :-P Have managed to do few still long way to go!

  1. 20 D.I.Y bookish (& sophisticated) crafts
  2. Participate in creating or create your own Little Free Library
  3. Read at least 10 classics.
  4. Write atleastt 5 poems and 5 stories by yourself. Get into creative writing once a while!
  5. Go to a book seminar.
  6. Stamp 25+ books.
  7. Send/Receive 25+ Post cards.
  8. Have a book-themed party
  9. Join a book club.
  10. Try meeting at least 5 authors.
  11. Volunteer or work at a bookstore or library.
  12. Guest post for a big deal book website or magazine.
  13. Host a blogging event like Read-a-thon, Book reading event etc.
  14. Write thank you notes to authors whose books make a difference.
  15. Plan a book reading vacation with your fellow book mates.


50 food tips from world over!

I was surfing around and came across this really useful tips for food lovers and cooking enthusiasts, hence couldn’t help but sharing it. :))

1. Add salt towards the end of the cooking process, as adding it in the beginning increases cooking time. -Rupali Dean, food consultant, writer and photographer

2. When making a whole roast chicken, salt it, then chill it, uncovered, in the fridge for the day. This helps season the bird and dries out the skin so it crisps perfectly when cooked. Remove it from the fridge an hour before you put it in the oven, and add herbs and aromatics. -Amanda Hesser, food blogger,

3. When making a veggie juice, use a minimum of three different colours (for instance, a red tomato, spinach and an orange carrot) so that you’ll get different varieties of anti-oxidants. -Pooja Makhija, celebrity nutritionist, Mumbai

4. Add a pinch of salt to dark chocolate to make it sweeter. -Rishim Sachdeva, chef, Uzuri, New Delhi

5. To make bananas last longer, wrap them in a brown paper bag and store them in the fridge; the skin will turn black but the bananas will last longer. -Janti Duggal, chef, Mamagoto, New Delhi

6. Store fresh herbs as you would fresh flowers: in a jar of water on your countertop. Pluck off what you need, change the water daily, and they’ll last two to three times longer than they would in the fridge. You’ll get the most extra mileage from flat-leaf parsley. -Jenny McGruther, food blogger,

9. While cooking lentils or chicken, bring them to a boil for some time and separate the froth that accumulates on the top. This is collected dirt that should be removed before one covers the utensil with a lid. -Veena Arora, chef de cuisine, Spice Water Trail The Imperial, New Delhi

10. Don’t throw away the peel of vegetables. Let them simmer in hot water and add some peppercorns and bay leaf to make vegetable stock. This stock can be used as a gravy base for dishes instead of plain water. This will add more flavour and nutritional benefits to your gravy. -Kapil Sethi, chef, Cavalli Caffe, New Delhi

11. When cooking brinjal, add a spoon of milk to a bowl of cold water; add the cut brinjal into it. The veggie will retain its colour without turning black. -Neha Malhotra, chef, Welcomhotel Sheraton, New Delhi

12. While cooking rice, add a few drops of lemon juice. The colour of the grains will become bright white. -Neha Malhotra

13. Always crack an egg on a flat surface, and never the edge of a bowl. Otherwise you’ll risk shell shards and possible contamination of your food. -Aida Mollenkamp, food blogger,

14. Mix soya flour or besan with atta (in 1:4 proportion) to make chapattis. This way you get all the essential amino acids for meal times. -Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet, nutrition and wellness consultant, Bengaluru

15. A runny-yolked fried egg adds instant richness and taste to pasta, rice and grain dishes. – Cara Eisenpress, food blogger,

16. If you have leftover gravy, take uncooked rice, measure out the gravy and add water (double the quantity of rice). Pressure cook for a couple of whistles, to make a pulao. -Rupali Dean

17. Always try and use fruit for sweetness-it lends added flavour, texture and colour, adding to the complexity. -Deeba Rajpal, recipe developer and food stylist

18. Make a slightly ‘off’ wine taste better by pairing it with cheese. Most cheese coat the palate and numb our senses to minor wine flaws. -Magandeep Singh, sommelier, New Delhi

19. Like food, drinks can benefit from quality ingredients. Fresh herbs, fruit, smoked salt and chillies are all wonderful additions to your bar. -Erin Scott

20. Assemble all your spices before you begin cooking, so you don’t burn any. Preferably dry-roast them in the oven (120-140?C) for 3-10 minutes (depending on the spice and quantity-cinnamon for 3 minutes, star anise and black cardamom for 10). Your cue to taking them out: when they begin to release fragrant aromas. If you need to fry them, do so on the lowest heat, for a maximum of 35-40 seconds to avoid burning. -Rekha Kakkar, food photographer, New Delhi

21. Whenever possible, cook the whole chicken or fish to get more juiciness and better flavour. The carcass also makes a fantastic stock and can stretch your money by providing the base for a new meal. -Elana Amsterdam, foodblogger,

22. Use wholegrains rather than refined ones for baking. In a recipe that lists refined flour as one of its ingredients; there’s some form of fat in it (butter or oil). Take baby steps to ease maida out of your kitchen-try 50:50, gradually increase it. -Deeba Rajpal

23. Freeze fresh ginger and grate as needed. It will stay fresh for months. -Tara O’Brady, food blogger,

24. Always roast (not boil) sweet potatoes in their skin. They’re high in fibre, Vitamin A and anti-oxidants and are a great source of carbs. -Ishi Khosla, nutritionist, New Delhi

25. Anytime I turn on my oven, I think about what else I can cook. This saves energy and ensures that I always have healthy options available. -Tina Haupert, food blogger, and a little of the boiling pasta water and stir like crazy (the heat should kill any bacteria). -Cara Eisenpress

26. Add dried fruit to oatmeal before you add the milk or water. The fruit will cook and plump up slightly, adding a juicier, more intense taste. -Sanura Weathers, food blogger,

27. Always use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can afford in your pastas, for drizzling into soups, onto a risotto or for salads. Don’t pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a hot pan or else it will burn. Heat the pan to a moderate temperature and either use pomace olive oil or drizzle the oil onto your meat, chicken or fish before cooking. -Saby, chef, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi

28. For a creamy pasta sauce that doesn’t require a ton of butter or cheese, toss a room-temperature beaten egg with the hot pasta and a little of the boiling pasta water and stir like crazy (the heat should kill any bacteria). -Cara Eisenpress

29. Store tea in air-tight jars. Buy a little at a time (100-250 g), as tea absorbs moisture, so each time you open the jar you’re exposing it, reducing flavour and freshness. -Sanjay Kapur, master tea taster, Sancha Tea, New Delhi30. Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta; it prevents the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta and you do not get a mouth feel.-Sahil Arora, executive chef, Jaipur Marriott

31. Make a non-messy version of dal to take to work easily: soak the dal, air-dry, add dry masalas (chilli powder, chaat masala, coriander, mint) and ovenroast them. -Pooja Makhija
32. The lack of a punt (The depression at the bottom of a bottle) is the sign of an average wine. Explanation: only cheap bottles are made without a punt and a winemaker would use a cheap bottle only for an entry-level product. -Magandeep Singh

33. For the smoothest mash potato, roast the potatoes with their skin (peel) on; peel and then pass it through a sieve. -Rishim Sachdeva, chef, Uzuri, New Delhi 34. To thicken soups, use boiled and mashed potatoes instead of white sauce to reduce the fat content of the soup. -Sheela Krishnaswamy

35. A good soup is made a day in advance. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, then warm it gently and all the flavours will marry beautifully.-Sara Forte, food blogger,

36 Cut the crown of the pomegranate with a sharp knife, make a few cuts on the skin from the crown to the stem. Then, place it into a large bowl of chilled water. Break into sections, gently separating the seeds from the pulp, which will float to the top while the seed will sink to the bottom. Throw away the pulp and drain the seeds. -Manju Malhi, chef and author, UK

37. Wash your fruits and vegetables in apple cider vinegar and filtered water, including oranges, lemons and everything that has a skin (except bananas). -Soorya Kaur, raw food chef, New Delhi

38. To overcome the problem of undercooked dal add a tablespoon of oil to it before boiling. The oil helps to cook the dal/pulses perfectly; if using a pressure cooker, it also prevents the dal from overflowing out of the vessel. -Michael Swamy, chef, Mumbai

39. When barbecuing, place a whole whorl of garlic (unpeeled) on the grill. -Bakshish Dean, chef, Johnny Rockets, New Delhi

40. When seasoning a salad, use coarse sea salt mixed with a little olive oil; the salad will stay crunchy when combined with the vinaigrette, for a long time. -Sahil Arora

41. When sauteing onions, add a pinch of baking soda. It speeds browning and cuts cooking time practically in half. -Susan Voisin, food blogger,

42. Brew tea this way for maximum flavour and benefit: boil 1 cup water; pour it over 1 tsp black tea leaves; steep for 5 minutes. In the case of green tea, use only 1/2 tsp leaves to 1 cup water, but never allow the water to boil. -Sanjay Kapur

43. Even if you’re serving a simple meal, add a touch-garnish by adding an herb or vegetable garnish. You can also use spices. Enhance the setting with flowers or candles. Serve hors d’oeuvres on a rustic wooden cutting board. -Rekha Kakkar

44. Don’t overcook your vegetables. Their nutrition value lies in them being eaten as fresh as possible or lightly cooked. -Rocky Singh, TV show host

48. To set yoghurt, add a litre of lukewarm milk (30?C) to a tablespoon of culture. Let it sit in a warm place, like over the refrigerator or set top box. Cover with your grandmother’s tea cosy. If you find it doesn’t set very well, change the culture. -Sharad Dewan, chef and area director, Park Hotels, Kolkata

46. To get a great side of green veggies, boil and salt water. Only then should you throw in vegetables so they don’t lose flavour and colour. Let them boil for a couple of minutes, take out and shock with ice water, so they don’t become mushy. -Vicky Ratnani, chef, TV host and cookbook author

47. When using herbs always use the stronger flavours such as rosemary at the start of your cooking when working with slow-Soak bitter greens, in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for about an hour to cut their bitterness. -Dina Avila, food blogger,

49. When cooking meat in a skillet, make sure to add it to hot oil and then cook at moderate heat to help seal in the juices. For added flavour and to reap in health benefits, cook in an iron skillet. -Tannie Baig

50. When baking with grain-free flours like amaranth, sorghum and almond, separate the eggs and whip the whites to soft peaks. It makes notoriously heavy flours light and cakelike. -Jenny McGruther