20 Apr 2015

Fairtrade Products + an easy Recipe for Coconut Scones

While I plot my next travel plans, I thought I'd share a recipe with you folks; also since it's been a while since I posted a recipe! Not that I haven't been busy in the kitchen, which you would know if you follow me on Instagram :) 

The impetus for this recipe came in the form of a box full of goodies from Fairtrade India - some green tea, basmati rice and two types of sugar (icing sugar and caster sugar). When I saw the sugar packets I realised how long it was since I had baked anything, so last weekend was devoted to making batches of coconut scones. 

3 Apr 2015

Where to go Truffle hunting in Le Marche, Italy

One of the most fun (and delicious!) things we did on our trip to Le Marche, Italy, was going truffle hunting in Acqualagna. We visited in autumn last year, and because of the preceding wet summer, truffles were plentiful. We still had to rely on the trained nose of truffle hunter, Chicca and her master Giorgio Remedia, but we had the most fruitful visit! Read on to find out more...

Treasure Hunt
On the trail of the elusive (and expensive) truffle in Le Marche, Italy
Image courtesy Mariano Pallottini
Chicca, vieni qua (come here)”, calls out Giorgio Remedia and the wiry grey hound bounds over, holding in her mouth what looks like a black, misshapen potato the size of my fist. She drops it in Remedia’s palm and holds open her mouth for a treat, before running off again. One whiff of the musky scent and I know it’s no potato, rather the much-valued black truffle. 

I am in Acqualagna, the truffle-hunting capital of Le Marche region of central Italy.

18 Mar 2015

A journey into the Frasassi Caves in Le Marche, Italy

What does silence sound like? Have you ever heard it? I remember pondering about this sound of silence, as I stood all alone several metres below the surface of Earth - in the Frasassi Caves in Le Marche, Italy

Of course I had a few, totally paranoid moments with my hyperactive imagination going into fifth gear - what if the roof caves in, what if that stalactite dislodges itself and comes crashing down on me, are there ghosts down here... You get the drift? After a while, these thoughts melted away and I began to calm down. To say that I was enjoying myself would certainly be a lie, but I was able to appreciate that rare silence - so alien to us city-dwellers who are used to having every moment accompanied by a background score, most often of the jarring kind... But how did I stumble upon this soundless moment? Let's rewind.

16 Feb 2015

Walk through Chandni Chowk, plus where to stay in Delhi

Taking a brief break from Italy, but certainly not from eating ;) We were in Corbett a few days ago, for a family wedding, and we stopped over in Delhi for a day on our way back to Mumbai. Now, a day in Delhi is certainly not enough to do justice to the awesome food there, especially during winter. Delhi has a much better food scene than Mumbai (much as I hate to admit it), with interesting restaurants and cafes - new & old. But this time around, my agenda was to spend some time in Old Delhi, also known as Dilli 6 because of its pin code (110006). 

I have visited Delhi so many times, but had never once ventured into Old Delhi, and it was high time to change that. We were staying near New Delhi Railway Station (more about that later), so we decided to take the metro to Chandni Chowk. Since it was our first time in the area, I had also crowdsourced some suggestions on where to eat. My main source of information was the lovely Pamela Timms who has penned an ode to Old Delhi's food - the eminently readable (and delectable) Korma, Kheer and Kismet. Here's what she suggested - bookmark for future reference! 

Phew! That's quite a list. Read on to find out what we ate, and do scroll till the end of the post for a video walk-through in Delhi 6! 

2 Feb 2015

Where to Rent an Apartment in Rome city centre

To round up this mini-series on Rome, here are some suggestions on where to stay, eat and drink in the Eternal City. I have increasingly started opting for BnBs and apartments over hotels when I travel. I find them not only cheaper than hotels, but they give a greater chance to experience 'living like a local', even if you spend just 3-4 days. Most apartments do not offer breakfast, so it gives you a chance to step out to the local 'bar' and have a coffee with your neighbours. You head to the local market to buy groceries to whip up dinner. You don't have to pay through your nose to get your laundry done, you can refrigerate your pizza dinner & microwave it the next morning (most apartments have full or partially equipped kitchens)... And whether your hosts are present or absent, they usually have great tips on the best places nearby to eat, drink & be merry.

Where to stay in Rome city centre

This time around in Rome we spent 2 days at our favourite little BnB (in a residential area, away from the city centre), and 2 days in an apartment bang in the middle of the action - in the Spanish Steps area. In fact the place is called The Spanish Steps Apartment and it is literally a 3-minute-walk to the historic steps. The apartment is on Via delle Mercede, in a renovated Roman palazzo.