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Summer Blast

 

By Mini Ribeiro
Everyone seeks a chilled drink in summer. And today, cafes and restaurants cater to every taste-bud. Café Mangii at Panjim has an array of refreshing Mango coolers and well-blended soups. Apart from the age-old Kairi Pannah, there are Jaljeera Mojito and Creamy Mango Milkshake as well. 
The Chilled Melon and Buttermilk Soup with Pistachio or the refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho too, sound like exciting thirst-quenchers to combat the scorching summer.
Personally, I enjoy lemonades and iced teas. Peach or lemon iced tea is truly refreshing. Nowadays, lemonades come in interesting flavours such as rose, kiwi and mint too. Buttermilk or chaas, made from yogurt, is another favourite. I can gulp glasses of that anytime in the day. Add a dash of roasted jeera powder, rock salt, ginger and a sprig of mint and it is a perfect remedy for summer. As kids, we used to look forward to chilled nimbu pani with salt and pepper.
Subhashish Nanda, Bar Manager, Alila Diwa Goa, says, “Iced teas, lassi, smoothies, virgin Mojito, homemade lemonades and ginger ales. These drinks are light in body, cold (some frozen, some with lots of ice) and provide instant relief from the heat.”
Oliver Viegas, Assistant Director Food & Beverage, Grand Hyatt Goa opines, “Hot days call for frosty sips, from smoothies to cocktails and flavoured waters. Refreshing iced tea is well-suited to accompany almost any type of food. Nothing can beat the cool delicious drinks like Lassi (either sweet or salty), nimbu pani (lemon juice), coconut water or barley water. Lemon juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a very good appetizer.” 
He adds, “Smoothies are an excellent way to enjoy fruit in summer. Similar in consistency to milkshakes, smoothies are quick, nutritious, and amazingly rich at the same time.”
For the health conscious, summer coolers can be in the form of fruit and vegetable juices like pomegranate, beetroot, carrot and sweet lime. Fruity interludes to combat the summer heat are indeed the best choice. But make sure these are made from fresh fruits. Canned juices really offer no nutrition.
Certain ingredients are a must-have in your fridge in summer. Mint is one such herb. It is a must-inclusion in summer drinks. If the serene colour isn’t enough, the properties of mint make it a much-sought after herb in summer. It is anti-fungal and antibacterial. Yogurt, kokum, cucumber, watermelon are a few others. 
Some of the mocktails at Grand Hyatt Goa like - Beat the heat lemonade blended with maple syrup, Quasimodo (fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, cranberry juice, tonic water), Summer tune (pineapple juice, lime, banana syrup, passion fruit syrup) are my favourites when I am in Goa during summer. 
Even coffee chains nowadays have iced teas and lemonades galore. And yes frappes too.  Come to think of it, good ‘ol Roohafza or Tang too are not bad! And of course the kokum sherbet, which we Goans love. Serve these summer coolers in attractive glasses of different shapes and they look even, more inviting. So, sit back, relax and enjoy your summer thirst-quenchers. 
 
(Mini Ribeiro is a food writer and columnist)
Blog: Minifoodesdcapades.wordpress.com 
Twitter: @MiniRib

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Reach out…beyond borders

 

By Joe Mascarenhas
Now that we have a new civilian government in Pakistan this part of the world attracts a lot of attention especially the Wagah Border. Mr Harvinder Singh has given a whole new dimension to the culture of the place represented by the food of this village, showcasing a culinary journey of an undivided Punjab. 
The restaurant is aptly called ‘Wagah Border’ and is situated on the border of a relatively peaceful part of Calangute before one hits the hustle of the junction. Singh with his dhabha concept styled restaurant in Mumbai which is patronised by Bollywood celebrities decided to showcase this cuisine right in the heart of this tourist belt.
The restaurant is part of Tangerine – a boutique hotel, the glassed in air conditioned restaurant gives a feel of comfort and warmth. Although it is small, the warm wood panelled tables with its colourful cover setting, the bright cushioned chairs add to its rustic charm. The menu, with specialty preparations is a delightful start, picturesque and depicting visuals of North Indian life.  
The menu is elaborate with a choice of 17 vegetarian and 25 non vegetarian starters…so take your pick. I would definitely recommend the Paneer tikka, those rectangular slices of Paneer marinated with ginger and garlic interspersed with capsicum (shashlik style) is soft and cooked to perfection. Soft and moist the curd marination bears testimony to its succulence. Now while the Seafood Platter mentioned on the list of appetizers might not appeal as a starter, order it anyway. There are three to four varieties of fish with their own flavours of Amritsari garam masala. Today there was darnes of masala marinated bread crumbed fried kingfish, Mackeral with its very own ‘designed’ masala flavour, tandoori prawns with its distinct cumin flavour and the Pomfret, the portion big enough for two. At approximately Rs 400 per head, it sure is value for money. 
The main course listed too has a wide variety but the chicken (for non vegetarians) is recommended. A popular preparation is the Chef’s country style Chicken Dhaba, but it is the Dal Bhukhara that is a ‘must have.’ Simmered on the sigdi for over 24 hours and drowned in white butter, you can slurp it with gay abandon. There is a vast list of Indian breads – sixteen types to be exact. While Roti is the recommended option for the dal, do try the choora paratha. Crumbled and crushed in a paper napkin, it is delightful, and for many in Goa a ‘unique’ option to accompany the meal. 
The décor of the restaurant is classy just a place to entertain one’s guests or family. The menu for once specialises in a specific cuisine... unlike the ‘multi cuisine’ styles we find along the tourist belt. The selection is vast, and the rates might frighten you at first glance, remember to note that these rates are inclusive of tax. The masala is refreshingly different in preparations (as in the sea food platter) and the preparations are different and not the usual run of the mill ones (although old favourites like chicken makhani are listed here too). 
Thandi Kheer made from khada chawal, Pineapple Malpua and gulab jamun are some of the desserts on offer. The pineapple Malpua is made a la minute so place the order in advance if you want something different. But for those with a sweet tooth ice creams are available too, or you can end with a lassi Amritsari. 
We are given to understand that restaurants along the border challenge the diner to finish the lassi after the meal, and if they are able to do so then the meal is made complimentary. Unfortunately for us or fortunately for Mr Harvinder Singh we are a long way from the border. We do have some voracious foodies who might opt for that challenge and reach out ….beyond borders at the Wagah Border.  
 
Address: Wagah Border: Tangerine The Boutique Resort, Naiko Wado, Calangute Candolim Road, Bardez Goa  
Tel no: +91 832 2282222, +91 832 6511111

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Treat the foodie in you at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa

 

By Mini Ribeiro
The kebabs at Masala were succulent and well-marinated. Cooked in the tandoor these were flavoursome and palate-pleasers. Of course while I indulged in the non-vegetarian ones, the vegetarians had plenty of options too. The unique array of naans, rotis, kulchas, parathas, complimented these kebabs and the curries. The traditional dal, cooked to perfection was an absolute treat. 
If dinner the previous night at Masala was a treat for the taste buds, the Sunday brunch at its trattoria style Italian restaurant, Da Luigi, was a gastronomical feast. The Italian Sunday Lunch includes an unlimited selection of antipasti, authentic pizzas, handmade pastas and delicate desserts. The fresh and seasonal ingredients used imparted the right flavours and textures to the Italian food.
We began our meal with a selection of appetisers which include Italian smoked meats and stuffed olives; a classic bruschetta station featuring chicken liver, cheese bruschetta and pasta salads. The lip-smacking pizza came next. I was floored by the handmade pastas like spinach ravioli with fresh tomato sauce; penne with ricotta, saffron and zucchini. Vegetarian fare never tasted so good before. The decadent array of Italian desserts like tiramisu and gelato are pure sin. But one must indulge on a Sunday, was my motto so I went ahead.
I was really looking forward to the Goan meal at Casa Sarita, on my last night at Park Hyatt. I knew it would be a simple home-cooked type of meal. Chicken Xacuti, Prawn curry, Pork Vindaloo, red rice et al. My mouth was already watering. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. What arrived on the table was completely different fare. Chef had beautifully amalgamated authentic flavours with minimalistic presentations and thus re-defined fine-dining. He had created a contemporary menu with time-honoured Goan culinary traditions. We thus embarked upon a new Goan culinary journey.
I was a little sceptical and even voiced my fears to the Chef. Would the traditional Goans accept this avant garde treatment to their sacred cuisine? Would foreign tourists really understand what real Goan cuisine is? With these thoughts in mind, I surrendered to the new culinary experience.
Thomas Abraham, General Manager, Park Hyatt Goa, put things in perspective. “Goan cuisine tells a story that is steeped in history. There is tradition and emotion attached to every dish; we didn’t want to take away from that. What we offer our guests is still a medley of the piquant flavours associated with Goan cuisine, yet presented with creativity and innovation.” I bought that.
Chef Edridge Vaz’s modern interpretation of traditional dishes left me spellbound. Quail cafreal with sweet potato bhaji and tamarind glazed shallot. With trepidation we tried it. It was mind blowing or shall I say palate blowing? Scallop jere mere, mango and chilli sauce, cabbage and coconut salad roll. The surprises continued. My favourite fish curry rice too came in a new avatar. Sea bass fillet in acrid lemon berry curry and Goan rice. It was a treat for the eyes first and then all the other senses. All the original flavours and ingredients had been retained. Only its presentation was more attractive now. Crispy pork belly with vindalho jam and rawa sanna, I thought was a delightful way to present this good old dish. But the best was yet to come. The traditional alle belle was deconstructed to an alle belle parfait with semi dried coconut and jaggery sauce. Chef Nelson Fernandes, Pastry Chef, had clearly won my heart as normally I do not even touch Goan desserts. And this one was a treat par excellence - a perfect conclusion to the repast. 
Casa Sarita is the signature fine-dining restaurant at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa. The restaurant is reminiscent of a bygone era, offering guests an experience that reflects the delicate blend of Indian and Portuguese influences. It has remained true to its promise and yet delivered a meal which has put Goan cuisine on the international map in presentation too. Kudos to Chef Vaz, Chef Tanuja Kerker and their team. 
 
(Mini Ribeiro is a food writer and columnist)
Blog: Minifoodesdcapades.wordpress.com 
Twitter: @MiniRib

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The Fulfilment of a Desire Part I

 

By Dr Jayanti Naik | Translated by Augusto
After the taxi crossed the Polem check post and entered Goa, it began to gather speed on the highway leading towards Margao. Gazing at the landscape outside through the windows of the taxi, Shivanandbab felt a lump rise in his throat and his eyes began to moisten.
How long has it been since I last saw this scenery? When was the last time my feet touched this soil? When was it last that I’d enjoyed sitting under the shade of such trees?
His eyes greedily lapped up the scene outside: both sides of the road were lined with lush green trees; the fields looked like a green carpet that stretched out into the distance; the red earth contrasted with the blue of the sky and the black of the clouds; and the hill looked like a hermit doing penance…
He began to make a note of every little detail his eyes observed and filed them in his heart: the passers-by, the cattle, every little vibrant detail - his eyes, were like hands that caressed and felt every detail he saw...
How beautiful is this land! As beautiful as a woman heavy with child! Such a land was not to be found anywhere else in the world…Shivanand’s frame of mind was that of a lover’s – a besotted lover for whom his beloved is the most beautiful woman in the world. From the window of his taxi everything that Shivanand saw appeared lovely and beautiful to him.
And for good measure, today Nature was at her blooming best. The moon was in her second phase in the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar. It was already eight o’clock and from above the womb of the hills, the rays of the sun began bathing the earth below with golden rays. Over the last fortnight the rains that had come in torrential showers now had lost their force but would still fall in intermittent spurts on trees as if they were brides being adorned with pearl tiaras. The hills were brimming with greenery and streams of water gurgled down their sides as if they were naughty youngsters chuckling gleefully at play. In the fields, and on the embankments, crops and plants swayed as gusts of wind blew around them.
As the taxi cruised along the road, the aroma of the raw wet earth filled his nostrils and a sweet exhilaration coursed down his veins.
“How could I have stayed away from this Heavenly Garden for so long?” he asked himself. “And not just for one or two days but a full forty years…For forty years I stayed away from this heavenly earth, but was it I who stayed away. No, it was the people of this land who drove me away…How can I call them ‘people’ …I was made an outsider, an outcaste by my own father... Dadi! When I was still alive he performed the funeral rites of a dead son because of what I did. And he swore that when he died I was not to be allowed even a glimpse of his dead body. And what sin did I commit to deserve all this hysteria?  Wasn’t it merely that I chose to ignore the tyrannies of kith and kin, caste and community and instead chose to love and marry a girl from across the borders of this land? For this misdemeanour my Dadi pronounced a sentence upon me that was far, far worse than that given to a corpse. He tore my roots out of the soil.  He turned me into an Ashwastthama who staggered hither and thither with an open throbbing gash on his forehead seeking out salvation.
Along with me that young lady was also grievously wounded, a wound she carried all her life. She tried to relieve the pain in many ways, but never did succeed. Like termites gnawing away at the timber of a house, her pain steadily ate at the inner recesses of her body, until finally all her body was eaten away and all that was left was the murderous, terrorising, heart-wrenching pain.
“Aaaa…vaiiiii” A piercing wail of distress coming from Shivanandbab’s right side shook him out of his reverie and brought him to his senses. Shivanand turned towards his wife Satyavati, who was lying curled up on the seat next to him, from whom the long groan had emanated.
“Is it hurting too much?” asked Shivanand, but he received no answer. Lips pressed tightly together she looked at him steadily for a moment and then she shut her eyes again.
Shivanand realised what was happening: the water had risen up to her neck and would soon drown her!…Shivanand adjusted the shawl that was wrapped around her torso and tenderly caressed her head. His body shuddered - the strands of hair remaining on her scalp could literally be counted on the fingers of his hand.
This rented Shivanand’s heart: ‘What wrong had this woman committed for God to inflict this sentence upon her? What sin had she committed for her body to be torn apart like this? For years her mind had been tormented: why did her body now have to be torn apart like this?’ He could not bear to look at her withered body. Satyavati’s body had been not just beautiful but gorgeous, luscious and fair – she had been a real doll of a woman…
 
[To be continued next Saturday]
 

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Food and Wood

 

By Christabelle Coutinho
Baba’s Shop and Café lies at the far, far end of Fontainhas, where the popular eatery Ernesto’s once stood, and comes upon you just when you begin to wonder if you have overshot the place. Its unobtrusive signage and tiny entrance flanked by huge palms appears to block visitors from entering. But once inside, you are grateful for the screen of green that cuts you off from the road, and quite happily, from the rest of the world. 
The café offers verandah as well as al fresco dining with charming Eucalyptus-wood garden tables and broad parasols that block out the mid-day sun.  Up until recently, the décor even included comfortable sofas and deck beds which allowed guests to stretch and linger longer than necessary. 
Baba’s Shop and Café is owned by Maria Grazia Raschi, an Italian furniture dealer who dropped anchor in Goa five years ago when the allure of living here was too good to resist. Together with her nimble-footed Italian manager – Linda Chong, she offers guests a window into Italy through the authentic Italian cuisine at her café and Italian-made furniture on sale at the store. Large-hearted, warm and friendly, Maria Grazia’s effortless sense of style flows into the café’s charming decor, excellent choice of menu and elegant merchandise at the store.
Since the advent of fast-food into India, horrible things have happened to pizzas in this country. Think chewy deep-dish bases, tandoori-chicken toppings, coriander or soya nugget toppings (the most vile of them all). At Baba’s Café, Maria Grazia makes one thing clear: no Indianised flavours please; only authentic Italian fare here. And that is that.
To keep things authentic, she has gone and set up a wood-fired oven where pizzas are baked, just like in Italy. High-quality Italian wines are stored in a roomy cellar at regulated, cool temperatures to preserve their subtle flavours. Ingredients are imported from Italy or made fresh at the café itself. But it is the spotless kitchen, where I enter unannounced that makes a revealing statement about Maria Grazia’s real fastidiousness, beneath her poised, calm exterior.
The Café: Superb Italian fare, happy children, happier parents
One of the prime attractions at Baba’s Café is a babysitter - a patient young girl who successfully coaxes young children into allowing their parents some time alone while engaging them with books and toys in what appears to be a separate space dedicated to play. For this reason, and this reason alone, I would gladly lay siege to Baba’s Café time and time again.
But as luck would have it, the food here is fantastic, the service excellent and the pricing very fair. In the six months since its inception, I have dined here several times and eaten almost everything off the menu. So it is safe to conclude that even if you were to select an item off the menu arbitrarily, you would no doubt be pleasantly delighted. 
Once you place your order, waiters who move with the silky footsteps of spa attendants, bring you a platter of complimentary appetisers - crostini topped with cheese, meat and vegetables, which you can enjoy over a drink from the well-stocked bar. Ask for the Bimbli cocktail and watch in amusement as a waiter climbs the Bimbli tree to pluck fresh fruit for your drink. 
What to order: One of Baba’s signature dishes is the seafood platter accompanied by fresh-from-the-pan chips. The chips are crisp, hot, and salty and melt in the mouth. Try the soothing ravioli (freshly made) with its pocket full of spinach, butter and sage. Ask for the superlative Buffalo pizza where fresh, voluptuous knobs of buffalo mozzarella wobble on a deliciously thin crust. And sink your teeth into the juicy, perfectly-done beef fillets with rucola (rocket salad leaves) on the side. I am no big fan of gnocchi – pasty, slug-like shells, but after the version I tried here - prepared with gorgonzola, I stand reformed.
This is comfort food at its best - uncomplicated and soothing. By the end of the meal, you are still feeling light and refreshed.  This is perfect, because now you have room for dessert – the famous Italian gelato, freshly prepared at the café using fruits in season. A must- have this month is the creamy mango gelato, made with the Goan Mancurad, bringing together the best of Italy and Goa in one delicious scoop.
The Shop: Italian/ French contemporary and vintage furniture
Drawing on her years of experience as a furniture buyer in Italy, Maria Grazia offers customers valuable assistance in choosing the right furniture for their interiors as well as helping them design and order a modular kitchen based on Italian trends. Fastidious about quality, Maria Grazia places all orders for custom-made furniture with her team of associates (architects and carpenters) in Italy thus ensuring that the end product is excellent. All nuts and bolts used in the furniture are furthermore made from copper to withstand humid Indian climates while the wood is treated to repel fungus and insects.
What to expect: Chic, contemporary Italian sofas, tables, four-poster beds, lampshades, dining tables and chairs, century-old vintage chandeliers, sofas and ornate chairs. Mirrors, wall art, garden tables with parasols and outdoor swings. 
Price Range: Flawlessly finished imported furniture at affordable prices. With wooden tablemats priced at Rs 650 each, you can still walk away with some small treasure from here.
The Shop: Stylish clothes, shoes and jewellery by O Layla
The only non-Italian connection here is clothing and accessories label O Layla by an Indian - Ritu Kumar. No, not that Grande Dame of ornate ethnic Indian wear but a young, feisty fashion stylist from Mumbai, who retails her designs from an exclusive store in Delhi and at other boutiques across India. Ritu describes her brand as ‘sustainable fashion’ based on the fact that her label supports artisans in rural Rajasthan and Kutch by providing them a reasonable livelihood.
Cool, casual and comfortable, the clothes have a distinct Indian flavour imparted by earthy colours and beautiful ethnic embroidery. The very desirable strappy dresses made from vintage saris are sure to win much favour with the ladies and gents.
What to expect: Western silhouettes with Indian prints and embroidery, light summer cottons - organically dyed and printed, blouses, skirts, pants, kaftans, petal-soft children’s clothes, dresses and jackets repurposed from vintage saris, Kalamkari prints, Kantha dupattas and brocade dresses. 
Paper-bead jewellery, once the housewife’s avocation, makes a strong fashion statement in O Layla’s line of accessories, boasting of some beautiful, complex designs woven together with pumpkin seeds for an unbelievable effect. 
O Layla also offers pretty designer ‘jootis’, and Kolhapuri chappals which Ritu claims are absolutely ‘asli’ with soft soles,  and are made by the last surviving Kolhapuri-chappal craftsmen of Kolhapur. 
Price Range: The clothes are well priced and affordable and start from Rs 1000 onwards; jewellery – Rs 250 onwards and shoes Rs 990 onwards. 
GOOD TIP
There’s a big haul of furniture that’s just arrived at the Store from Italy, and if you want to have your choice of the lot, you know what you have to do.
 
(BABA’s Shop and Café, 49, Mala, Fontainhas, Panjim. Tel: 2421992. Open daily from 12 a.m. – 12 p.m. Tuesdays closed. Meal for two: Rs 1,500 without alcohol)
 

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Wondered why these actors are still single?

 

By Troy Ribeiro
Looks, Intellect, Money, Fame. They have it all. They have surely dated models, colleagues, and wannabes to the average plain Janes next door, but like a good shoe the ladies probably just didn’t fit in their lives or they still haven’t made-up their mind. Though it is none of our business, wondered why these nice guys of Bollywood finish last at the matrimonial line? Please don’t read between the lines for they lead an open life.
Salman Khan:  Age 47 years
Salman’s private life has always been a great source of ‘entertainment’ for the media who worked double time to fish out tit-bits from his personal life. Takes hour’s to bathe and even brush his teeth. Moody and unpredictable, he can be very caring, very protective, very loving, and also childishly petulant. Amidst the various allegations and innumerable affairs - 3 major ones - Salman Khan stands out! Sallu, as he is popularly known, was once voted 7th best-looking man in the world by ‘People Magazine’. 
 “Being the eldest son, he has responsibilities. He has taken it upon himself to see his family settle,” quoted one of his girlfriends in the early 1990s. So let’s not speculate when he will tie the knot as his youngest sibling Arpita is still his responsibility. And if he still does not marry after his sister does, we’ll wait for his explanation...
Rahul Bose: Age 46 years
Rahul Bose is one of the most eligible bachelors around. In spite of his short height he is a very talented actor, smart, active in sports and social service...
“I am not celibate, and I have had four very big relationships in my life. Also the older I get, it will be a nightmare - living with me isn’t easy, I think. But actually, I’m so ugly, there are no chicks,” he reasons out why he is single. 
 
Rahul and Akshaye Khanna:
Age 41 and 38 years
Quiet, unassuming and yet wholesome, Vinod Khanna’s charming sons are as enigmatic as him and as dignified as their mother.  They avoid parties and spend much of their time on their own - watching movies, reading books and with close friends.  Their personal lives have always been under wraps. They haven’t been romantically linked with any of their co-stars or actresses.   While Akshaye claimed, “I will get married after I turn 40.” Rahul has been silent on the subject.  Wonder if it’s the impact of their father leaving them when they were young that has scarred them for life?
Karan Johar: 
 Age 41 years
Karan Johar with his entire modern outlook has been emerging as one of India’s young thought leaders and was chosen as one of 250 Global Young Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum 2006. He currently chairs Dharma Productions, a production company started by his father.  He invests a lot of his time and energy with his close buddy SRK and his family.  In a recent interview Karan reportedly said: “I love the fact that I’m single. I’ve my mother. Who needs another woman in my life? Why be married when I can be happy?”
 
John Abraham: Age 41 years
His name gave him a noted stand when he entered the modeling field. His revolutionary looks, macho body, baby smile and nice character made him the highest-paid supermodel in India. Today, with ‘Vicky Donor’ doing good business at the box-office, he is a budding producer.
While much has been speculated about his past with Bipasha and future with Priya, John revealed, “I would like to get married but I don’t know when it will happen. I am busy with projects. This year I am busy ... packed with work.” Wonder if it is just ambition or lack of self-confidence as an actor that is making John shy away from commitment?
Abhay Deol: Age 37years
Once asked, given the opportunity what type of woman would pique his interest? “Someone with the right attitude,” he said without hesitation, and continued, “I do not like arrogance or rudeness. When I say attitude I mean a woman may be beautiful and confident, but I think arrogance is a turn off.” He sums up saying, “She should also be subtle, focused but not self-centered, should have a bit of humour, be adventurous and intelligent.” And though he is dating Preeti Desai, and has admitted quite often that she is all that he is looking in a woman, yet for him, “marriage is more of a cultural thing. I don’t see myself signing on something to prove my love. Marriage is not a guarantee of loyalty anyway. I believe in love more than in marriage. I’m insecure as a person like everybody is. I want people to accept me for what I am rather than what I’m not. If that’s insecurity, then yes, I’m insecure.”
Tusshar Kapoor: 
Age 37 years
Tusshar Kapoor like his parents Jeetendra and Shobha Kapoor is a very private person and lives in the shadow of his elder sister Ektaa Kapoor who is the undisputed queen of the tele-world. 
With an MBA from the University of Michigan he seems to be a misfit in Bollywood. He is currently concentrating only on his career to prove his detractors wrong.  And the qualities he is looking out for in his partner are “Intelligence. I have to be attracted to the girl. As a person she must have the strength to take a stand and believe in something. Also, even she has to be attracted to me. I am not saying only looks matter, but to the extent there should be mutual (physical) attraction. And since I confess that I cannot cook to save my life, I don’t expect her to be a gourmet chef either!” Poor Tusshar, that’s not hard to get! Is it?

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The P & P Ensemble

 

By Joe Mascarenhas
‘When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gatherings nor social harmony.” Antoine Careme (one of the oldest recorded Chefs of Europe).
We were at the Café Azul for a sneak peek of the “Pizzas and pastas” festival to come. Azul means blue in Portuguese and this Italian style café at the Cidade de Goa has a panoramic and breathtaking view of the pool and the sea. The entrance to the restaurant is very contemporary with a huge fish tank and for the diners there are large window panes for an unobtrusive view.
This festival is brought to you by Executive Chef Sunit Sharma and his creative team from his extensive travels around the countryside of Turin, Milan and Aosta which he describes as “simple humble comfort food from Italy” made from the freshest ingredients to titillate the taste buds and satiate the palate of the discerning gourmets of Goa. 
To start with, you could try the Zuppa di patate e ravioli pancetta Affumicata which is basically a creamy potato soup and homemade smoky bacon ravioli. One also has a choice of chicken instead of bacon. The consistency and the flavours were spot on and a nice way to begin the meal experience.
One can enjoy the flavours of Italy set in an idyllic place this summer. Try out the fresh hand tossed Pizzas cooked in a special wood fired oven with International choice of Salmone (smoked salmon, capers and basil leaves), Goan inspired like Cafreal (coriander seared succulent chicken cubes), Pepperoni (pepperoni pork with roasted garlic), Insalata (iceberg lettuce, feta cheese and olives) and Quattro Formagi (4 cheeses namely Parmigiano, cheddar, camembert and Mozzarela). There are options of wheat or multi grain base available in two sizes namely 5” or 10”. If there is a group of diners it is better to go for the 5” and try out a few varieties so one can enjoy the different flavours and textures on offer.
From the handmade pasta section one could go for the up market Fettuccine “Marie monte” with lobster and mushroom sauce or the home made Tagliatelle with Gorgonzola cheese, green asparagus and pine nuts. I chose the Tortellini di ricotta et spinach with Pomdoro sauce which is stuffed pasta with ricotta cheese, spinach and tomato sauce…it was simply delicious. There is a wide variety of vegetarian dishes so please do not despair.
This simple cuisine awakens the senses even after your dinner: celebrate with chefs innovative Fig and pecan 6” sweet crust pizza baked in the wood fired oven or the chocolate Sovraccarico (6” pizza with a chocolate overload with mildly spiced chilli and marshmallows). Or if one is adventurous you could try the lasagne di frutta con miele gelato with a honey drizzle and vanilla ice cream.
What is even more exciting is Mango which is here. This summer the pastry chefs have whipped up a refreshing array of mango delicacies to celebrate and beat the scorching summer. There is an extensive repertoire of sinful desserts to choose from like Mango Sundae, mango chocolate ecstasy or simply freshly cut Alfonso mangoes with vanilla ice cream. So indulge and have a blast.
As you are aware Mother’s day is fast approaching on May 12, 2013 so if you want to show your affection and pamper her silly try the Pizza and Pasta ensemble and whatever she eats will be free on her special day.
Now say ciao to the very best of Italy.
 
Address: Café Azul, Cidade de Goa. Dona Paula, Goa. Tel No: +91 832 2454545

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Divine Diwa

 

By Mini Ribeiro
It is always a pleasure to be back in Goa, whether for work or a holiday. Even work becomes pleasure in Goa. But yes, one looks for rest and repose when in Goa, after all getting away from Mumbai can be a real treat at times. 
Alila Diwa Goa seemed the perfect solution. It was my first visit to the Diwa Club and I was excited. It spelt elegance and sophistication from word go. The warm and affable staff welcomed us and made us feel at home. 
The Diwa Club is situated within Alila Diwa Goa in Majorda, South Goa, which boasts of swaying palms, white sands, sparkling waters, emerald green paddy fields and eternally clement weather.
The serene surroundings were like balm to my tired nerves. The twenty seven Diwa Rooms were all well-appointed. A king-size bed, private balcony and a beautifully designed bathroom with personalised therapeutic baths is on offer. There is also a walk-in wardrobe, separate work space, MyBar, a media hub, LED TV’s and WiFi.
The Diwa Suites add another dimension to luxury, offering a unique combination of six leisure, comfort and customised living. The two Two-Bedroom Suites maximise space and privacy for a perfect family retreat. You can’t ask for more?
Settled in our Owner’s Den, a la penthouse, we were already relaxed. We discovered the swimming pool later. It is Diwa Club’s own separate pool with an open – air Jacuzzi and an adjoining restaurant – Bistro serving all day breakfast. Luxury personified. 
Dining at the Bistro was a delight. The homemade specialties recommended by the chef were perfect for our palate. Guests can enjoy an all-day breakfast and a menu featuring fresh seasonal delicacies too. However, we opted for Vivo, the live kitchen restaurant open 24 hours. Breakfast there was a sumptuous spread. For dinner, Bistro transforms itself into a California-French brasserie with Mediterranean overtones showcasing innovative Bistro style dishes.
One cannot visit Alila Diwa and not savour the delicacies prepared by Chef Edia Cotta at Spice Studio. Showcasing Indian cuisine from the Northwest Frontier, Awadh and Hyderabad, South East Coast and Gorgeous Goa, it takes you on a culinary journey that is unparalleled. 
For those who enjoy their drinks, The Edge Bar and Lounge, Open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. is an option as well.  
Lose yourself in a world of sheer self-indulgence at Spa Alila. Revel in an array of treatments and therapies at the hands of expert staff and emerge completely relaxed and energised from the experience.
Spa Alila, provides unique treatments, blending ancient Asian and Ayurveda healing techniques with age-old beauty recipes featuring the curative benefits of fresh, natural and quality ingredients. Therapists are trained in anatomical physiology, massage and meditation. They combine their knowledge with the most essential element - warm, genuine care that flows from the heart through the hands, to stimulate, rejuvenate, balance and relax both mind and body.
If you are looking at further relaxation, then Spa Alila is the answer. With two double treatment rooms, two Ayurveda rooms and five single treatment rooms, each equipped with individual steam, chilled shower and outdoor patio with day beds, this Spa is a haven of relaxation. The other facilities are a Yoga Centre, Beauty Salon and Fitness Centre, featuring state-of-the-art Technogym equipment.
The pampering does not end there. The Diwa Club entitles you to an in-room check-in service, all-day breakfast at Bistro, complimentary airport transfers, personalised menu for your dining options at Bistro, complimentary daily seasonal fruit platter upon request, express check-out service, all day fun at the Kid’s Club and Activity Centre and more. 
Diwa Club spoils and pampers you thoroughly. It was a memorable experience and I can’t wait to be back again.

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The Science Behind Dog Training

 

By Elizabeth Abraham
Behaviorism is concerned with the observable behavior of people and animals, not with unobservable events that take place in their minds (thoughts or beliefs).  Specifically behaviourism focuses on how learning takes place: a change in external behaviour achieved through a large amount of repetition of desired actions, the reward of good habits and the discouragement of bad habits. There are two ways learning can take place: reflexive or intentional. 
Animals (and people) can associate an action, event, place, person, or object with a consequence, whether pleasant or unpleasant. The more a certain event or environment is paired with a particular consequence, the stronger is the association. This type of learning is called “Classical Conditioning” and represents reflexive or automatic behaviour. The most famous instance of this is Ivan Pavlov’s experiment in which the dog was presented with a stimulus such as a light or a sound, and then food was placed in the dog’s mouth. After a few repetitions of this sequence, the light or sound by itself caused the dog to salivate. 
“Operant Conditioning” deals with voluntary behaviour or operant behaviour. Operant behavior operates on the environment and is maintained by its consequences. When an animal intentionally performs a behavior in order to bring about a desired consequence, they are learning in a way through “operant conditioning”. Operant conditioning is used by all modern trainers to train not just dogs, but also, chickens, pigeons, rats, cats, parrots, dolphins, seals, killer whales, chimpanzees, orangutans, and a whole lot of other animals.
The core tools of operant conditioning are Reinforcement and Punishment. With relation to training, these two words have very specific definitions different from their colloquial use. “Reinforcement” is any consequence which has the effect of increasing a behavior. “Punishment” is any consequence which has the effect of reducing a behavior. It is the learner who decides whether something is reinforcing or a punishing, not the trainer.   
Positive Reinforcement is when we add a [desirable] consequence to increase the frequency of behavior. For example, a dog sits and gets reinforced with praise and a treat. You work for 30 days and are reinforced with a pay check. Negative Reinforcement is when we remove an [aversive or unpleasant] consequence to increase the frequency of behavior. For example, your alarm clock continues to ring until you get up to turn it off - the behavior of getting up to turn off the alarm clock has been negatively reinforced. Your wife nags you until you pay the bills – the behaviour of paying bills on time has been negatively reinforced. 
Positive Punishment is when we add an [aversive or unpleasant] consequence which will reduce the frequency of behavior. Hitting, shouting, or tugging on the leash can be examples of positive punishment. Negative Punishment is when we remove a [desirable] consequence to reduce the frequency of behavior. For example, if a dog jumps on a person to greet them, and the person walks away when the dog jumps, negative punishment has been employed - that person is removing their attention to reduce the frequency of jumping in the future. 
Extinction is the gradual disappearance of a behavior when it stops being reinforced. For example, if a dog begs at the dinner table because he gets reinforced with occasional food scraps. But if the food scraps are stopped, he will eventually stop the behavior. The behavior will be extinguished. 
Modern training techniques heavily make use positive reinforcement whereas traditional trainers use punishment-based methods. Increasingly, trainers are adopting positive reinforcement training methods because it is far more effective and more humane. There is no justification for inflicting pain to train an animal, however mild it might be. A punishment-trained dog, when put in a new situation is not sure what to do and is afraid he will receive punishment, even if it is mild. Dogs just stop performing and learning slows down or stops. 
The difference between an animal that behaves with intention, rather than by habit, is vast. With positive reinforcement, animals try to learn new behaviours. They remember behaviours even years later because they were aware of them as they learned them, rather than acquiring them without awareness. They develop confidence because they have control over the consequences of their actions. They are enthusiastic because they expect those consequences to be pleasurable.
 

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From Jaffna to Panelim

 

By Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues
Just before the old church of Sao Pedro, towards the right on the road leading to Old Goa from Ribandar, one can see a small chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Piedade. Why is this chapel so important and has many devotees visiting it? In this chapel there is a Statue of Our Lady which originally belonged to a Church in Jaffna. The Chapel at Panelim is very old and the exact date of its construction has not been mentioned by Rev Gomes Catao. It has three altars and one of them is dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles.
Fr Planton Faria tells us that one day in Jaffna a Franciscan Monk, Fr Francisco do Santo Antonio took a log with the intention of making a statue of St Anthony. The idea was later abandoned and it was decided that a statue of Our Lady of Victory would be made. Anacoti, a sculptor was entrusted with the work who readily agreed.
It is said that even before the statue was complete it started working miracles, right from the initial stage even before Anacoti had given expression and shape to the fingers.
Once on May 25, 1614, while Anacoti was working on the statue, Engabão, his non-catholic friend walked in and they were busy talking. Unmindfully, Engabão stepped on the half made statue and a miracle occurred when he was hurled on the ground with great force. Engabão, ashamed and embarrassed ventured to repeat the act, only to be punished more severely. This time he was flung so vigorously that he became unconscious and found his clothes all tattered. This phenomenon occurred in the presence of a few other people.
Another miracle took place when Anacoti’s daughter Angea, was eating pan and she spat and some of it sprayed on the statue unintentionally. The father admonished the girl and asked her to wipe the statue. However, when she touched the statue to wipe it she was thrown on the floor, unconscious. When the news of these two phenomena spread around, people started visiting Anacoti’s house to pray for intercession in their favour. A disabled, lame person was totally cured and began to walk. Another girl was cured of her eye disease.
People thronged to Anacoti’s house and he who had witnessed the miracles, was longing to hand over the statue to the church, because he was scared to continue keeping it at home. So he implored the authorities to take it to the church. The statue of Our Lady was finally shifted on July 24, 1614 to the Church of Our Lady of Victory in a grand and majestic procession. It was carried on a beautifully decorated palanquin by the members of the solidarity of Our Lady of Victory. It was placed on a beautifully decorated table. Thousands of people gathered around the statue and it was decided then that it would be named Our Lady of Miracles, as their requests were granted and many miracles performed. The statue was formally installed on the altar where she was kept till a new church dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles was constructed and completed.
The task of building a new church was left to Fr Pedro de Bitancor who was intelligent and hard working. The new church was completed and efforts were made to shift the statue to the church on September 8, 1622. However, the Portuguese decided to shift the statue on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Victory which they solemnised on the feast day of Apostles Simon and Judas Tadeu. The devotion to Our Lady continued with thousands pleading with her till June 24, 1658.
What happened on this day? The Dutch invaded Jaffna to end the monopoly of the Portuguese who were driven out from there, after having dominated for a number of years. How did this statue reach Goa from Jaffna? 
The Dutch arrested all the Portuguese men and women and imprisoned them. Later, after thorough enquiry they were expelled from the City and were again imprisoned in a place called Batavia. Fortunately they could take the image of Our Lady away with them. When peace returned, the image was brought to Goa. The statue arrived in Goa on November 16, 1661. From the jetty on the Mandovi River, it was carried with great pomp and solemnity to the Convent of St Francis of Assisi. With this solemnity and the aim of continuing the devotion to her, the Sodality of Our Lady of Miracles was established.
When the monks were driven out by the Portuguese, this image was brought to the Church of Chagas de Jesus (Wounds of Christ) at the arsenal at Panelim. From this church it was again moved to the chapel of Our Lady of Piedade, where it is kept. However, due to insecurity and apprehension that the statue may be robbed it was taken and kept in the Church of Sao Pedro, and during the Novena and the feast days it is brought every day to the chapel for veneration. Every year on the first Sunday of May, the parishioners of Sao Pedro celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Miracles in this Chapel. This year on May 5, the high mass will be held at 8.30 a.m. and the feast is celebrated by Mr Eusebio Rodrigues of Marietta, Panaji, who had made a vow when he met with an accident and was seriously injured.

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