Blog Event | “Cook for a smile” … with The Smile Foundation & Michelin starred celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.”
Charles Chaplin

Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas KhannaThe Smile Foundation and 3-time Michelin starred celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna came together today to create a unique charity cookout – “Cook for a Smile” hosted by Hyatt Hotels in India on Sunday, July 27th, 2014, at Hyatt Regency Delhi. Funds raised from the campaign will be used to provide education and nutrition for 1,000 children for one year. Chef Vikas Khanna is associated with the Smile Foundation as a Goodwill Ambassador for its “Nutrition for Better Literacy” initiative.

Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas KhannaDelhi’s top corporate leaders spent their Sunday busy testing their mettle at Hyatt’s cooking stations under the guidance of the MasterChef judge Vikas Khanna. The CEOs took to recreating some of their favourite recipes in support of Smile Foundation’s ‘Nutrition for Better Literacy’ initiative. Each CEO was accompanied by a child from the Smile Foundation who acted as sous – chef and helped these leaders stir up their own magic.

Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas KhannaThe event, anchored by Chef Vikas Khanna, was a collaborative effort between Hyatt, Smile Foundation and its partners Cleo County, Western Digital, Philips Kitchen Appliances & CNBC who share the same passion for bringing underprivileged a healthier lifestyle. True to his effervescent nature, the chef  held the audience captivated by his humour and witty banter. Time just flew by …Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas KhannaElaborating on his fondness for the initiative Chef Vikas Khanna, Goodwill Ambassador – Nutrition For Better Literacy, Smile Foundation said, “Lack of proper nutrition is a fundamental issue and one of the biggest roadblocks for the growth and development for children in our country. I Am proud to be associated with Smile Foundation as their Goodwill Ambassador for Nutrition for better literacy and I hope I am able to sensitize many more people about this issue that faces us as a developing country. Cook for Smile has been a big step in helping us reach out to stakeholders and by end of this year I pledge to benefit around 5000 kids under this initiative.”

Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas Khanna

Smile Foundation is a national development organization working with a lifecycle approach toward children, their families and community. With a belief that education is the means as well as the end, the Foundation is reaching out to more than 300,000 underprivileged children, youth and women directly every year through 158 welfare projects on subjects such as education, healthcare, youth employability, and women empowerment across 25 states of India.

There were a million smiles that day!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake … wholesome and delicious #wholegrain #cake #chocolate

“Always keep a smile on your face, a rainbow in your heart, and some dark chocolate on hand!”

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake … seems like a load of dark chocolate and wholegrain happening on PAB of late. That’s where my heart lies. Whether it’s brownies, cookies or biscotti or then cake, wholegrain is the preferred choice, and often dark chocolate the perfect partner in crime!

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake I must confess that I begin with ‘no chocolate‘ in my intentions, but somewhere along the way cocoa and chocolate find their way into the mix or batter. It’s happened umpteen times, and now I wonder if I function on ‘auto chocolate’?

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake So this Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Brown Sugar Cake is inspired by the Muscavado Sugar Cake in a brilliant book ‘Good To The Grain‘. I bought the book a few years ago, and it continues to hold pride o f place on my book shelf. I might not bake out of it often, but its a constant source of inspiration alright. Just leafing through the pages gets my creativity going!'food-o-graphy' by Deeba Rajpal. A Food Styling workshop at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014Talk about inspiration. So while I was making the cake, unsure of course whether it would work out fine or not, I thought I’d experiment with the styling.  I sometimes find chocolate challenging to shoot so figured I would experiment a little. You see I am headed off to the IFBM in Bangalore to host a food styling workshop. With just a clutch of days to go, the butterflies in my stomach flutter non stop.

Food Styling @ PABIt’s just an hours workshop and my first dedicated food styling one. I am super excited and want to cram everything I know into that one precious hour. That’s not going to happen of course, but I am trying. Food styling is so personal, it reflects a bit of you, yet it is so infinite.

food photographyThat’s the thing about food photography. Just keep experimenting with different, styles, different porps, changing light… it’s this practice that helps you grow. The possibilities are infinite. Much like the pleasure you get from seeing the results! So while the recipe is to feed the blog, the few different snapshots head off to the IFBM!

Wholegrain baking I enjoy using wholegrains in my recipes, and this one is a hearty and delicious one. Getting amaranth in there made it even better. You can experiment with different combinations, even skip the cocoa like in the original recipe from the book. Oh yes, and try and use unrefined mineral sugars. Make it a habit. I have!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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Blog feature … The world’s greatest wine festivals

“I like on the table, when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle of intelligent wine.”
Pablo Neruda

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India

If you can rhapsodize at length about your favourite bottle of plonk, sniff out a superior Sauvignon at 100 paces and choose to order all your specialist wine by post, it might be time to consider heading to a wine festival. Not only will you get to voice your opinions on tannins and food pairing with like-minded individuals, you’ll deepen your appreciation of decent wine, and see more of the world as you do it! Read on to discover some of the top destinations to embrace your passion for vino!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Boston Wine Expo, USA

The Boston wine expo is America’s largest consumer-facing celebration of wine. Kicking off in February, it offers an action-packed programme with thousands of different wines on show.

As well as informative seminars with exciting themes like ‘Twenty first Century Rioja’ and ‘Experience the exciting wines of Portugal’, there are expert chefs on hand to construct dazzling menus designed to entice the palate.

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Békéscsaba: Csabai Sausage Festival, Hungary

Okay, so this is technically a sausage-based celebration, but this joyous event held every October in the little town of Békéscsaba involves Hungarian wine by the gallon, too. Pig out on hearty Hungarian fare, soak up the lively atmosphere and wonder at one of the dozens of sausage-making contests as the competition starts to sizzle!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Bacchus Food and Wine Festival, France

Named after the Roman god of wine (and ritual madness), the Bacchus Food and Wine Festival in Toulon has been running for 20 years, and blooms in the first week of April. Sample wines from over 150 local growers, accompanied by musicians, traders and food producers, usually in costume to capture the spirit of this decadent Provancale celebration.

Four Seasons WinesDubrovnik International Wine & Jazz Festival, Croatia

If cheese isn’t your thing, why not indulge in a large glass of red paired with some sultry jazz instead? Kicking off at the end of May, this smooth little event will soothe away any stresses you have with its blend of world-renowned musicians, Croatian wine, fine art exhibitions and exquisite Dalmatian cuisine.

By all means, indulge your inner epicure at one of these fantastic festivals, just remember to stay hydrated, eat well and never mix the grape and the grain, or you could be in for a few painful mornings after the night before!

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