Thursday 28 August 2014

Perfect Popcorn

Making popcorn from scratch can be tricky.Not only do you want as many kernels as possible to pop, but you also want to keep the kernels from burning at the bottom of the pan. Until I experimented the following method, I usually took the easy way out and used microwave popcorn, which by the way, is not good for you. Enjoy!

Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.


  • 3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
  • Salt to taste


1. Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt.

2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. 

3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

4. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping up soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid and the dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl. With this technique, nearly all the kernels pop and nothing burns. 

5. If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in a now empty, but hot pan. Note that if you let the butter get just a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, butterly flavor to the popcorn. Just drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss to distribute.

6. Add salt to taste.

Additional Tips : 
a.) If you add salt to the oil ion the pan before the poopcorn pops, the salt will be well distributed throughout the popping session.
b.) Fun toppings for the popcorn - Spanish smoked paprika, nutritioanl yeats, cayenne powder, chilly pepper, curry powder, cumin powder, grated Parmesan cheese.

This method of making popcorn not only pops almost every kernel, it also prevents the kernels from burning. I learned this technique decades ago from the back of a popcorn box. My approach allows the popcorn kernels to come to an even temperature before popping, which results in much fewer unpopped kernels (usually none) and fewer burnt kernels (again, usually none). 
Hope you had fun reading this exciting popcorn recipe. Do try this at home and let me know if you got it right!


Tuesday 19 August 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge Needs Donations And Not Water Wastage.

Picture source : Google

One of the biggest stunts online and in social media right now had very low-key beginnings on the professional golf circuit. The so-called ice-bucket challenge—dump ice water on yourself, post and tag yourself on social media and challenge others to do the same—got its start among golfers as a way to support pet charities. In just a few weeks, it has become a major fundraising coupfor patients and organizations with ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder. It is commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player who had it. The campaign has caught people ranging from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and performer Justin Timberlake. It began slowly with just over 100 tweets on July 15 and then exploded this past week, with daily tweets of more than 32,000. 

From Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Anderson to Superwoman, Lady Gaga, Triple H, Paul Bissonnette & many others, called the tech moguls & actors in Hollywood. I really liked how Bill Gates accepted the challenge given to him by Mark Zuckerberg, making it more interesting by constructing a self pull-over bucket mechanism. Also, I was awed by how Paul Bissonnette used a helicopter to get the ice water dumped on his head on the mountains.That was Biggg….hahah!! Totally jaw dropping. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation. A few bollywood actors too accepted the challenge, from Riteish Deshmukh to Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bacchan, Siddharth Malhotra, Mandira Bedi & many others. Salman Khan was said to have accepted it too but we still haven’t seen his video, & SRK lost the challenge. 

I’m glad that a lot of common people around the world are doing this challenge too. A lot of indians are grabbing attention by doing the very very famous #icebucketchallenge. Well, i haven’t been nominated by anyone yet so still haven’t felt the chill. This is totally for a good cause by the ALS organisations in order to spread awareness about the ALS, commonly called the Lou Gehrig’s disease. Though it seems fun to watch people shout “Aaaaaaa” after the cold water dumping on their heads, I think the people who dared to accept the challenge were quite strong enough but you really think wasting so much of water is a good idea? Instead just go and donate at the ALS. That would help people more. Happy #icebucketing & #donating!!

PS : All opinions expressed are my personal and I do not force anyone to agree or disagree with me.

Monday 4 August 2014

One trip every year - Mumbai 2014

Hello pretty people!! Okay, so many of you who follow me on instagram have already seen a lot of pictures from my Mumbai trip, like where all I went, what I ate, including the huge shopping haul and OOTDs. Yes, it was fun..more than what I had expected, trust me! Well, the trip ended a week back and today I’m sitting at home writing this for you. It was nice to know that the waters in the city are so explorable.

Image source : Google

Did you know, Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India, majorly because it has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires than any other city in the country?

The architecture of the city is a blend of Gothic Revival, Indo-Saracenic such as Gateway of India, Art Deco styled landmarks that can be found along the Marine Drive and the west of the Oval Maidan, and other contemporary styles. Mumbai has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami. In the newer surburbs, modern buildings dominate the landscape. Mumbai has by far the largest number of skyscrapers in India too. 
To talk about the culture, Mumbai has a blend of traditional festivals, food, music and theatres. The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment and night life, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in the other world capitals. Mumbai's history as a major trading center has led to a diverse range of cultures, religions and cuisines coexisting in the city. This unique blend of culture is due to the migration of people from all over India.
As we all know, Mumbai is called the 'city of golden dreams'. It is mostly because thousands of people come here to get into film-making or try their luck into acting/films, and this is because Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema. It has the largest number of cinema halls that feature Bollywood, Marathi and Hollywood movies. The Mumbai International Film Festival and the award ceremony of the Filmfare Awards, the oldest and the most prominent film awards given for Hindi film industry in India, are held in Mumbai. 

So much so about Mumbai, I shall tell you more about my trip to the city now....
Mumbai welcomed me with open arms it seemed like, from landing at the airport and going to my cousin's place to stay, on the way I saw some of the tallest buildings, which looked really really sexy, (which I really don't get to see in Lucknow). The widest roads I've ever seen, anywhere, are in Mumbai. Since I was to stay in Malad, just about a few kilometers away from the Film City, I was really excited to visit it too. From my place, I could easily see the hills that I'd always seen in TV shows (the jungle and 'khaai' types). Plus, it was the rainy season so much more excitement about watching the Mumbai rains which are too hyped (yeah).

To start with, all the TOURIST SPOTS I went to :

I went around seeing various tourist places in the city of golden dreams.
The Gateway of India - Being a fan of great architecture, I didn't miss clicking intricate pictures of the place.
* The Taj Palace Hotel - You just can't ignore its beautiful architecture or reminiscence 26/11. 
* Marine Drive - The most amazing place I'd ever seen along the coast, which is a natural bay.
* Bandra-Bandstand - again alongside water.
* Juhu beach, & Chowpatty - and once again, water water. Well, being a waterbaby, I loved writing my name in the sand on the beach and a typical picture with my slippers was a must. 
* Ambay Valley City in Lonavala - to mention, visiting the place was a great idea and I really want to thank my dad for arranging a quick trip on such a short notice (within a day) to the place with all the necessary permissions by the Sahara people.
* Bandra-Worli Sealink - This bridge connects the Western Suburbs to Nariman Point in Mumbai's main business district. You can see the beautiful city along side the sea while you are on the bridge.

Juhu Beach

The Taj Palace Hotel

The Taj Palace Hotel

Marine Drive (end)

Gateway of India (clicked by the ready-to-print machine)

Bandra-Worli Sealink

Bandra-Worli Sealink

Juhu Beach




David Dasson Library (saw while driving)

Ambay Valley (Lonavala)

Marine Drive

All the SHOPPING I did :

The first 4 days I just went around brand shopping in most of the malls in the city (sometimes the same mall, twice a day). Haha! It feels so funny that I only shopped in the malls from various local and international brands and to find out, I was surprised that I didn’t like anything from ZARA except for a polka dots tee which you must have seen me wearing with the H&M pink shorts on instagram…but FCUK was good enough, I got a good number of lingerie pairs from LaSenza too. AND is my favourite and I shopped really good pallazo pants, croptops, dresses and scrafs. Bossini, Vero Moda & ONLY were beautiful. Talking about Forever21, it was awesome (as always) and let me tell you, anything you see NewYorkers wear is available at the F21 stores in India too. I really recommend all these brands if you want to carry a good taste of hi-fi fashion.

5th day, It was all about visiting local shopping places.
* Colaba causeway - The best place to buy imitation and junk jewelry.
* Fashion street - Clothes
* Hill Road (previously called Linkin Road) - The best for shopping clothes, bags, shoes. You get branded stuff in local dejected clothe type.
You should just know some really good bargaining skills, and you are done. If you want to spend less and yet be a fashion onlooker, you should go to these places, for sure. 

Day 1 : FrenchConnection | Westside | Zara | Marks&Spencers | LaSenza

Day 2 : Shoppers Stop

Day 3 : Zara | Marks&Spencers | FCUK

Day 4 : Forever21 | AND | Colorplus

Day 5 : Lifestyle store | Blur Accesories | Zara

Day 6 : Colorplus | BeingHuman | Lifestyle | Bossini

Day 7 : Forever21 | AND 

Not to miss, FOOD IN THE CITY :

Go to Mumbai and not eat any of these, then nothing worth going to the city. I basically dragged my cousins to any eating point I saw in the city. Here's what all I ate (mostly street food, because restaurant food you get everywhere) :
* Pavbhaji
* Vada Pav
* Pani Puri
* Bombay Bhelpuri
* Channa Bhatura
* Kala khatta (ice candy)
* Missal Pav
* Ragda Pattis
* Idli-Dosa
* Kaanda Poha - If you go to Mumbai, none of these should be misses, seriously!
Also, tried some brands which we don't have in Lucknow yet : STARBUCKS, DUNKIN DONUTS, MAD OVER DONUTS, not to forget the awesome South Indian food at SWATI SNACKS (must try).

 Paani Puri & Bhelpuri

 Missal Pav

Kaala Khatta (ice candy)

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

To end, the trip was really amazing, and I felt really nice knowing the people there too. To much disappointment, I did see the actors' houses like every Bollywood fan, but could see none of the beings LIVE, ah!! :p Also, IT IS A DAMN BIG CITY, there are a lot of places I still had to see, but didn't get time. No worries, will go there next time.. :)
Well, at the end it was time to go back home, Lucknow was waiting, you know!. :) So here I am back, telling you to visit Mumbai at least once in your lifetime!! The city is truly, purely, magical.