Thursday, May 29, 2008

All that food talk... this was waiting to happen!

It’s all Vain and Vapid’s fault. Of late, there has been way too much food talk on her blog. So this post was just waiting to happen. I dug out some old pictures of one of the Food jamming sessions that Dhanya from Rainmakers, and I used to indulge in till last year. Her kitchen is always pretty well-stocked with supplies for the shack, so it’s not difficult getting ingredients to improvise.

So one day, we just sat and decided to do something special for dessert. I had just read about Ice Bowls and thought they were really cool, literally! So while the husbands sat discussing movies and arguing about world politics, Dhanya and I decided to make our first Ice Bowl.

The ice bowl was easy. We decided to adorn it with some slices of sweet lime and some mint leaves. While we were waiting for it to freeze, we decided to make a impromptu coffee dessert. So we added a little bit of this, a dash of that… sprinkle this, whisk and fold that… and voila! A dessert was ready. That too went straight into the deep freeze.

The results, as you can see below, were not too bad for a first attempt. I really feel that this is a great way to add some excitement to the dessert. Needless to say, the boys were thrilled beyond belief!

I am waiting for a slightly less work-loaded weekend, so Hubby and I can drive down to the shack. I really miss the Food jamming sessions with Dhanya. And being just too busy with my job, I hardly get time to do fun cooking at home.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I Love Birthdays! I love the parties, the cakes, the elaborate menus, friends and family celebrating... More so, when the birthday party is on a boat and you are on a harbour cruise with your near and dear ones. So, it was yours truly's birthday this 22nd and it was PARTY TIME!

Hubby arranged a party on a boat and out we went to the sea. I wore a yellow tunic top with jeans. We had some great starters and Biryani for main course. Am posting a picture of the birthday cake. Will post more details later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Face Off! It's Preity Obvious...

Things haven’t been great past week or so. A tragedy struck the family and took a loved one away. So I was feeling really low. Which is why I have been out of action for some time now. But life goes on. Things are catching up at work too. And I am just about beginning to catch up on all the Cannes action. I was looking at some pictures of Indian actors at Cannes in the past few years and this one picture caught my eye.

It’s a picture of Preity Zinta, looking lovely as usual. But what caught my eye is the similarity between her and my own personal style icon, Edie Sedgwick. I have always felt that Preity has, in the past few years, acquired a calm elegance and presence that oozes class and oomph. She has the same effervescence that Edie, known as the Factory Girl, possessed. And yes, the dimples. Look at the images. The chandelier earrings, the swept up hair, the twinkle in the eye. It’s all there.

When she started acting, she was known as bubbly and impish. But look at the woman she has become! The whole world is talking about Aishwarya Rai on the red carpet. But I’d put my vote on Preity any given day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rainmaker's --- Colors Of The Rainbow

Our friends Mathew and Dhanya own this awesome shack in a small hill-town called Lonavala. Mathew was a video-film maker by profession but the grime and grind of Mumbai made him take an existential leap and start a barbecue shack in this beautiful, sleepy little town. The shack is called The Rainmaker’s, though it reminds me of a rainbow. They have built the place and decorated it themselves. It is such a burst of colors, and my husband and I just love going there on a weekend.

I think that words can’t really do justice to the way the shack looks. So, I am just putting up some pictures. It has three sections; the kitchen, the seating area where the food is served and a small private area where Mathew’s friends hang out and smoke a sheesha, or just listen to music. My favorite part, of course, is the kitchen. That’s where Dhanya conjures up her magical cuisine; Indian tribal food menu, Khati Rolls, Frankies, Tribal Prawn Curry, Herbed Brown Rice, Jungle Chicken Curry, Kerala Parantas, Iced Tea, Lime Peppa Soda, and Cold Coffee! She does most of the cooking herself, assisted only by one local, who helps serve the guests too. The most important feature of Dhanya’s cooking is the way she experiments with classic recipes, giving them a modern, local twist. The ingredients are always incredibly fresh and of the best quality. Which is perhaps why a lot of tourists and ex-pats have made Rainmaker’s their favorite haunt in Lonavala. To watch her in action is just amazing. She is effortless and relaxed, adding a dash of powdered herbs here, checking the gravy there. The results, of course, are deliciously divine.

Dhanya in her kitchen

Next comes the Dining area. Boy, you’ve never seen so much color in your life! And the view can only be experienced, not written about. Though the shack is breathtaking around the year, the best time to visit is during the monsoon months. I love the knick-knacks that the couple has brought in from across the country and used as decorations in the shack. From the moment you step in, the ambience works as a mood enhancer, energizing and relaxing you at the same time. The music is always good and suits the place. And for those who don’t want to go back ever, there are board-games to pass time between repeat orders. Mathew loves photography and his love for it is quite visible in the shack. Framed pictures adorn the walls and add to the eccentric character of the place.

Mathew and Dhanya, and now her brother Francy attend to the guests personally. In between all the chopping and the cooking, Dhanya manages to take out time to chat, making sure that every meal has been made to cater perfectly to the individual tastes of her guests. And the list of Rainmaker’s loyalists keeps on growing. From movie stars, to bikers, Dhanya’s cooking has everyone coming back for more.

Color everywhere!

No matter how many times we visit, we can never really tire of the shack. Because Dhanya will always have something new on the menu. In fact, I did a stint as a guest chef at the shack and really loved it. More on that later.