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“It’s tough to find a place not to like in Switzerland.”
Michele Bachmann

SwissMade GrandTour PAB 2 1000Here’s part II of the Travelogue of our Swiss Made Grand Tour. A 7 day road trip that led us 1000 miles through four language regions, over five Alpine passes, to eleven UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as two biospheres and along 22 lakes. A tour that promised to provide a concentrated insight into Switzerland, with exquisite scenic views and cultural jewels.Hosted by Switzerland Tourism, and organised by NDTV Good Times, it lived up to the promise and delivered much more! An experience of a lifetime, the first part here!

NDTV PromoAs we move from road to TV, the Swiss Made Grand Tour is now on air {beginning 21st October 2015 on NDTV Good Times}

SwissMade GrandTour PAB #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesAs we moved from Vaud towards Interlaken, the beginning of German influenced regions of Switzerland, the landscape changed, and with it our comfort levels. We were HAPPY!!SwissMade GrandTour PAB #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesThe architecture, the countryside, and the energy, all becoming less reserved and more robust, much like the energy in the team. Our comfort levels changed as dramatically. From virtual strangers to back slapping buddies, here onwards the road trip was just a bag of laughs. The camaraderie shone, madness ruled, the laughter never ceased.

The bunch of us who went to Switzerland #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimes The good part was that the three of us, food, travel and auto blogger, were always on time. 7am would see 3 bright, fresh faces at the breakfast table, no matter what! Talk about Swiss precision and clockwork etc. We were often running late as a team however, yet picking up from the last post, we made Gstaad in good time. There we were treated to the quintessential fondue pot, in the best way possible! Imagine sitting on a hill slope, in idyllic surroundings, panoramic views of the Alps, crisp fresh country air, cow bells echoing in the background, stirring a pot of the yummiest fondue ever?

SwissMade GrandTour PAB #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesGstaad is famous in India for the rolling greens in the backdrop of the Alps where a great deal of Bollywood is shot. Thing Gstaad, think Yash Chopra. Fresh Alpine air, lush pastures and herbs ensure that the cheese you find here is the best possible. A visit to the Gstaad Cheese grotto, a virtual monument to cheese, endorsed that.SwissMade GrandTour PAB #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesWith over 3000 wheels of the best cheese, some very rare, are stored in -8C conditions. Descended a very steep bunch of stairs into an old converted water reservoir, it was a ‘Cheese, I love you‘ moment!SwissMade GrandTour PAB 2 #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesRows upon rows of neatly catalogued cheese wheels, beautifully piped music, library like shelves, this was cheese heaven. The only reason we eventually ascended was because -8C does eventually get to you if you aren’t warmly clad. We weren’t! It was 35C outdoors, and we hit the road to Interlaken where we planned to have dinner.

Mereingen, SwitzerlandDrove into Interlaken at 11pm to a city that was clearly in holiday mood and wide awake. Quick pizzas later we headed for very quaint Meriengen, our stop for the night. Crawling into bed at well past 2am, groggy eyed, I was up and out at 6am because of the steeple I could see from my window, the bell that chimed every 15 minutes. SwissMade GrandTour PAB Meiringen It was the quaintest towns ‘I’ve ever seen, one where I probably shot the most in the least possible time. Walked down the main street….SwissMade GrandTour PAB MeiringenThe city was waking up, very gently, not a soul in sight. Before long we were at the breakfast room. Such a warm woody country feel to it, such a vast display of rustic Swiss collectibles beautifully showcased, lace trimmings, natural light … just so pretty.

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Reichenbach FallsCars packed, we headed to first to the world famous Reichenbach Falls, famous for the apparent death of fictional hero Sherlock Holmes. A steep ride up in the funicular and we were greeted by the legendary falls, and breath taking views of the countryside below. Meringues at Meiringen #SwissMade #GrandTour #NDTVGoodTimesThen much to my delight, a visit to the Frontal Bakery in the town of Meiringen, famous for being the inventor of the ‘meringue’. I’ve baked a few meringues in my life. Even though I am not a huge fan of this sweet bake, the ones we had here were the best I’ve ever had, especially the one above!SwissMade GrandTour PAB Meringues at MeiringenI was a convert. Also because of the delightful way in which it was served! Wow!! Art on a plate! Sadly, it was time to leave. Yes. Again. We had more ground to cover, loads to see.

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Ballenberg There was more history to come by way of Ballenberg, the Swiss open-air museum. What an absolutely fascinating idea and place to put together, literally a stroll through the past. Just amazing! So much culture, history, tradition and such great grub.  SwissMade GrandTour PAB BallenbergOut of Ballenberg towards Grindlewald and it was my turn to grab the wheel. Yes time to drive and I loved it. Ballenberg, SwitzerlandWith views like the one above, saturated greens sweeping the countryside, wooden fences, bales of hay, wooden chalets. Took me the initial ten minutes to rewire the brain, the uber patient Neha by my side and soon it was bye bye camera, hello car! The next few days were quite the best as I drove in the mountains {first for me again}, through tunnels where 16 wheelers thundered by at high speeds like in video games, to sudden glimpses of shimmering blue waters.SwissMade GrandTour PAB GrindlewaldWe stopped by at a sunset in Grindlewald and it was STUNNING. The valley below with rolling greens, clouds playing hide and seek with the mountain tops, tourists stopping by to take infinite selfies, then one call from the rest, we zipped towards the very stunning Swiss Alp Resort Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Grindlewald It was like stepping into ‘Heidi’s’ world. What an ah-mazing hotel! Early morning views of the sun kissing the Alps, of typical Swiss wooden chalets, of Neha sipping her first cuppa coffee in the balcony at 5.30am, of Sid racing up and down the stairs, then brewing me a cup of coffee.SwissMade GrandTour PAB GrindlewaldThe next morning, I was met by the very sweet Bettina from the local Swiss tourism board, my driving companion, to explore Interlaken at leisure, maybe shop a little {there was no time for the latter}.

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lake ThunWe spent ages languishing by Lake Thun watching elderly retired gentlemen soaking up the sun, playing with remote controlled sailboats and ducks lazing around like there was no tomorrow!

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lunch by Lake ThunLunch was overlooking the beautiful Lake of Thun. You have to love the Swiss for the great ambiance that goes to make food an unforgettable experience. Azure blue skies, shimmering water, gorgeous summer flowers, the odd seagull swooping down, the toot of the boat, sailboats being tethered…perfect atmosphere for a lazy afternoon meal. Tall delectable desserts later, with pictures to share, siesta might have been a good idea, but no rest for the wicked as Mandy gave us ‘the look’.

SwissMade GrandTour PABHerded back into cars amidst some very lame protest, we headed to yet another beautiful city, Lucerne, via the Swiss capital Bern. Yet not without stopping to enjoy the golden sunset that enveloped the countryside. It was a moment not to be missed, captured on film by the super efficient crew, and me on my cell.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Enroute to LucerneSwissMade GrandTour PAB Lunch Drive to LucerneIt was that part of the day when gold swept the countryside, cow bells echoes gently through every valley, the sky kissed the countryside and all was well with the world. The drive from there on was the best ever. Narrow country roads, high speeds, stunning countryside, lofty views from atop, we literally nosedived into Lucerne.

SwissMade GrandTour PAB LucerneLucerne, my favourite city, is a very popular tourist destination in Switzerland. If I had just one city to visit, it would probably be this one.We stayed in the heart of the city, and were fortunate to see it in every light. It’s a city that charms.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lucerne

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lucerne Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Every building has so much character, rows upon rows of heritage buildings, the wood bridge, clock towers, the castle that inspired Disney, ducks, flowers, dogs, cobbled streets, cafes, trams, sailboats, and bikes. You name it, they have it.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Mount PilatusSo much to do, so little time. Early morning we hopped onto cable cars to scale Mount Pilatus, Lucerne’s very own mountain. The very sweet and lively Colette introduced us to Pilatus – maker of weather, dragon’s lair, home to giants and grave of rulers. It’s one of the most legendary places in Central Switzerland and one of the most beautiful. On a clear day the mountain offers a panoramic view of 73 Alpine peaks. You must hand it to the Swiss to make every mountain so easily accessible and yet keep the country environmentally friendly!SwissMade GrandTour PAB Mount PilatusWe raced down at dizzy speeds on the Fräkmüntegg, Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run, and then the rode with the new cableway “Dragon Ride” to Pilatus Kulm. There tried our luck with the Alphorn {miserable fail for Rachit & moi, full marks for Neha who suitably impressed, surprising pass for Sid}. Grabbed a 5 minute lunch, then hopped on to the historical Pilatus Bahn, the cogwheel train that was engineered way back in 1889!

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Pilatus Bahn

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Mount Pilatus Back in the city in a short while, it was time for something quintessentially Swiss – Chocolate! So Swiss, so fine, smooth, sinful, addictive. They spoil you with delectable bites with every shot of espresso. We were about to be spoiled further.

Experience chocolate for the first time” read the sign on the door as we giddily swung into boutique Max Chocolatier located centrally on Lucerne’s Schweizerhofquai. What a treat to the senses. Relying on the phenomenal flair for nuances and aromas, the chocolatiers blend cocoa, temper chocolate and handcraft exquisite confectionery just above the boutique. Based exclusively on natural raw materials, we were treated to an assortment of freshly made chocolate, pralines, truffles and seasonal specialties – each a work of art, though gone in seconds! With pairings like mango we could have stayed here forever….SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lucerne…but the old city beckoned. Bathed in the gold of the setting sun, fascinating was the word. Turn a corner from the main street overlooking Lake Lucerne and there you are, in the middle of the most beautiful half timber buildings, painted fronts, that date back several hundred years, window art, wooden doors, cobbled streets, stone fountains.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Old City, LucerneSince the city straddles the Reuss River it has several bridges, the most prominent of them the wooden covered Chapel Bridge. Originally built in 1333, it was almost destroyed completely by a fire in 1993 by a discarded cigarette. Restored since, it still has a series on paintings within that depict Lucernes history. SwissMade GrandTour PAB Chapel Bridge, LucerneIt runs by the Wasserturm, a 13th century water tower, and together the two make the most famous landmark of this stunning city.

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Lucerne 3Also famous and iconic is the St. Leodegar {Hof Church} founded in the mid-8th century, part of the monastery which in turn founded Lucerne. A Gothic church preceded the existing German Renaissance building, but was largely destroyed by fire in 1633. Only the towers, St. Mary’s altar and a few religious objects remain in the existing 17th-century building. SwissMade GrandTour PAB Dinner LucerneWe literally dined under the stars. It was a delicious meal, peels of laughter, yet nostalgia in the air. The trip was coming to a close! Time flies and how when you’re having fun. It was time to head to Zurich. End of the trip. SwissMade GrandTour PAB Einsiedeln Abbey

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Einsiedeln The brilliant hosts still had more for us – a lunch stopover at the most stunning Einsiedeln to have lunch and see the Einsiedeln Abbey enroute.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Einsiedeln Abbey

The Benedictine monastery  houses the Black Madonna, and is an important pilgrimage point for over a 1000 years. We were privileged to get a tour by the very charming resident Father Philippe. The interiors were awe inspiring – baroque style architecture with gleaming white, gold and pastel frescos, marble altars, and organ music echoing through the abbey, and the history of the abbey fascinating. {I took a quick video of the interiors on my cel}

SwissMade GrandTour PAB Einsiedeln AbbeyThat Abbey houses an age old library. There too books, religious and historical, over a 1000 years old, the interiors in white and pastels, with Baroque inspiration here too.SwissMade GrandTour PAB Einsiedeln Abbey LibrarySo much to take in, and we hit the road for the final leg. Not without a jump into the lake for Sid though. It was then that we realised how much we were all going to miss these days. NDTV Good Times and Swiss Tourism were fabulous hosts who offered us the most awesome Swiss experience ever – best food, best roads, best architecture, best people and the best scenery! The cutest dogs too!SwissMade GrandTour PAB to ZurichGood things come in small packages, and we lived to experience just that! Well, we were also pretty awesome company!!

SwissMade GrandTour PAB to ZurichCome share our experience! Catch the show on NDTV Good Times beginning 21st October.
{There is a repeat at 5.30pm this evening, 25th October 2015}

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

‘Ice cream is my comfort food.’
Jessie Ware

What's Hip in Food This Summer?This must be the creamiest, most indulgent tub of ice cream I’ve dug into of late. The flavours were natural, the ice cream smooth, creamy and not too sweet, the online ordering process even smoother. After ordering it quite effortlessly on a snappy and easy app, it was home delivered in under an hour  The ice  cream was as good as expected. I’d heard great reviews and it certainly didn’t disappoint! It was the smooth process via foodpanda that actually took me by surprise as I’ve had some terrible other online app shopping experiences of late!Foodpanda.inAs time goes by, foodpanda is constantly evolving, getting better and better. They listen, are eager for feedback, and then work on it. My last experience was slightly bleh because of the pizza we ordered, the pizza company, an MNC, sorely lacking. Not the panda to blame, yet I was curious this time around. And what a pleasant surprise. Things worked like clockwork, the app interface snappy and pleasing. Confirmation messages, a call from the service provider, the happy panda face had me smiling right back! An hour from placing the order, the bell rang and hello, there was ice cream!!

Foodpanda and  Ice-Cream, PiccoLickoYesterday was well spent ‘eating’. The day began on a very indulgent note as a bunch of us tripped excitedly across Chandni Chowk,  cameras in hand, for a food photo walk. The place was buzzing with social activity rater than business activity since it was a day of celebration, Eid. We hit the road quite early and there was no end to the indulgence. Returned home and headed to my parents for a sumptuous lunch, and swore I would never eat for the next few days!Chandni Chowk, Delhi 6, Darter photowalk

Nagori halwa, Delhi 6Today had to be a rather low key diet day. It began with thoughts of just water all day, then maybe milk, yes a bowl of fruit would be good! Then along came this very fun offer from foodpanda, tied to a contest, and I caved in to temptation! Pick a trend, order, take pictures, blog about it. foodpanda is an up-and-coming website that operates by delivering food from a wide range of restaurants to either homes and/ or offices in 100+ cities in India. Ice-Cream, PiccoLickoA meal wasn’t on the radar, but given the beautiful, rainy weekend, some indulgent low fat ice cream seemed like the next best thing! To make it interesting, I paired the Butterscotch Caramel Cake Ice Cream with a slice of eggless wholegrain chocolate chip pie I baked 2 days ago, and Mango Mania with freshly cut mangoes and sprigs of mint. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream was good on it’s own. Just too good! So, What’s Hip in Food This Summer?

FoodpandaFor me, ice cream is Hip in Food This Summer! Eat anytime, store ahead, get creative with it, or then just DIG IN! It’s a fun contest, a simple one that spoils you too as you get vouchers to order the food you blog about!  More information here, and the rules here. Hurry because the contest is limited to the first 40 participants.

“The best food items everyone should try out this summer”

Join the contest for a chance to win an amazing prize! If you are a blogger and you like to consider yourself a real trendsetter, don’t wait up. Be the one to decide what’s going to be the hottest food trend this summer.

Complete these 3 easy steps and win!

1. Go on and order your choice of the ‘most hip’ food items
2. Take a couple of stunning pictures
3. Write a blog post and express your choice of this summer’s next top food trends.

See. As simple as that.

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

“Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.”
Leigh Hunt

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Triflessummer of happiness in ever sense of the word. It’s a celebration of flavours, of the season, of delicious, healthy things in life. The good thing is that the Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles recipe is very doable, quick and quite hassle free. Almond meal in the sponge makes it gluten free too! Play around with ingredients in your pantry and fridge, skip the almonds if you are catering to nut allergy or don’t have any on hand. Substitute the nut meal with plain flour or 1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 all purpose flour.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappinessThe idea is to enjoy every season in the most delicious way. An even easier way might be to omit the sponge completely. Layer fresh fruit and Mother Dairys creamy and yum fruit yogurt, chill for a bit, and voila – light, healthy, refreshing summer dessert. Or make a granola fruit yogurt parfait with granola, fruit and fruit yogurt. It’s the Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness. Explore how much easier can it get with their line of products. For me fruit pairings are fab, specifically yogurt with fruit in any possible way, and summer is the best time for it!Mother DairyI am a through and through dairy lover. I can live forever on dairy products – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, flavoured yogurts. It’s no coincidence that you will find loads of recipes using dairy on my blogs. Yogurt, buttermilk, cream, cottage cheese are some things I use really often. Panna Cotta, layered cream cakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, desserts in glasses, cheese from scratch. Did I forget smoked butter paneer, the quintessential Indian Kadhi, savoury buttermilk lassi, buttermilk chicken pizzaKadhi  Indian yogurt curry

White butter and gheeClarified butter? Yes please! I collect top of the milk cream and churn out sweet butter every week. Gives me all that I need for baking. You will also find me making ghee or clarified butter every alternative weekend. Pure liquid gold. Nothing like a drizzle of ghee on a dal, a tadka of ghee to a kadhi, or naans smeared with this good fat. Say what you may, but I am old school here. Butter and ghee are good fats, and make food taste great when used in moderation. For other times, there is always cold pressed sesame oil, virgin olive oil, or good old mustard oil!

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles So, when I saw the ongoing challenge ‘Summer of Happiness‘ at Mother Dairy it was back to the good old days and a wave of nostalgia hit me. Back in the late 1970’s when we returned from a posting in Bangalore, we lived in the Central Vista Officers Mess for a couple of months waiting for regular accommodation. School was CJM at Gol Dak Khana, New Delhi. Every morning my mother drove us to school in a rickety old olive green Fiat, MEV6909 {the number still imprinted in my head}. Because we refused to drink the watery warm milk served in the Officers Mess, it was routine to stop by Mother Dairy, glug a tall glass of milk down right there every morning, and then be dropped to school. I cannot imagine doing that now, be seen glugging milk with wild abandon at the familiar blue and white Mother Dairy kiosk in school uniform, yet the taste of pasteurized milk ‘from the tap’ is a happy memory, a nostalgic connect. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Decades later, I used to take my little one to buy milk, pop the token or ‘coin’ into the slot at the kiosk, telling him that there was a cow on the other side that delivers milk. For several years he naively believed me, and still laughs each time we pass the kiosk or stop by to buy something from there. I suspect a lot of folk might have carried similar tales to little ones back then, the fascination writ across faces completely worth every token of milk drawn! Kids are less gullible now, and Mother Dairy has moved on from milk and butter to a lot more!

The journey seeing them expand has been a fulfilling one. I still remember the first tub of blueberry yogurt I raced home with, and the whoop of delight my daughter let out. It was her favourite one, a product that till today remains on top of her list. Then came more stuff and we were spoilt for choice. Mishti Doi, Aam Doi, Mango Yogurt, Blueberry Yogurt, Mango Lassi, Strawberry Lassi all regulars at home. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt TriflesEven though I set yogurt at home everyday, my Creamy Dip is always from a tub of Mother Dairy yogurt {nothing else works as well}. Quark, a soft, unripened curd cheese, is also something I regularly make, always with full fat milk and cultured buttermilk from the blue and white kiosk! Quark on hand opens the door to so many more recipe ideas.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles As I wrap up, I’m going to leave you with another collage of things I have made over the years using dairy products. Hope that inspires you to get motivated, begin thinking and create a recipe for this ‘Summer of Happiness‘. From smoothies, to cheesecakes, to desserts in glasses, to savoury curries, korma, buttermilk chicken, pancakes with fruit yogurt, dream on!

Summer of Happiness. PAB It’s a simple challenge, sweet or savoury is up to you, maybe both sweet & savoury in one! There are seven products you can choose from; details here. Take a look at the seven delicious recipes Chef Vikas Khanna has created for the Summer of Happiness, one that is more inspiring than the other. He talks about enhancing flavours, playing with textures, pairing dairy with interesting ingredients, spicing things up, and last but not the least, presentation.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Submit innovative recipes at Summer of Happiness using any of the 7 products, and the best recipes will win goodies from Mother Dairy. 

[print_this]Recipe: GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles
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Summary: Gluten free trifles which are light, refreshing, healthy! With the goodness of summer stone fruit, the GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles go light using Mother Dairy Fruit Yogurt instead of traditionally using cream.It’s the #summerofhappiness with Mother Dairy. Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Almond Sponge
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp almond essence
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar {to sprinkle over before baking}
  • Powdered sugar post baking
  • Fruit filling
  • 5 peaches, 5 plums, pitted, chopped, with skin
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar {as per taste}
  • 1tsp balsamic vinegar {or juice of 1/2 lime}
  • 2 ripe mangoes, diced small
  • Fresh mint and basil, chiffonaded
  • For layering
  • 2 tubs Mother Dairy Blueberry Yogurt
  • 2 tubs Mother Dairy Aam Doi or Mango Yogurt
  • To garnish
  • Almond flakes and sprigs of fresh herbs to top


  1. Almond Sponge
  2. Line a Swiss roll pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  3. Beat the eggs, almond extract and sugar over a bowl of warm simmering water until tripled in volume and thick and mousse like. Take off the water and continue to beat until cool.
  4. Gently fold in the almond meal, and pour batter into prepared tray.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is light golden brown.
  6. While this is baking, lay out a clean kitchen towel, bigger than the size of the tray, and sift sugar evenly over it.
  7. Once the roll is baked {might look uneven but don’t worry}, overturn immediately {very carefully} onto the sugar sifted towel, and gently peel parchment off. Trim the edges if required. Allow to cool completely, then cut into 1″ pieces. Divide into 2 lots for the different flavours.
  8. your picture
  9. GF Blueberry Yogurt Trifle
  10. Place peaches, plums, balsamic vinegar, vanilla beans and brown sugar in a large bowl and toss well. bake at 170C for 30 minutes, until soft and aromatic. Cool completely, chill before use.
  11. Discard vanilla beans and stir in chiffonaded mint leaves.
  12. Take a mini glass trifle bowl {or 4 individual goblets or glass bowls}
  13. Take one lot of sponge bits, and line the bottom of the trifle bowl with sponge. Spoon over half the fruit filling with juices, spreading evenly. Layer the remaining sponge, fruit filling {Save one tbsp for topping} and top with next bowl of blueberry yogurt. Spoon over reserved fruit filling. Garnish with fresh mint and sprinkle over almond flakes.
  14. your picture
  15. GF Mango / Aam Doi Yogurt Trifle
  16. If the mango is sweet enough, stir in basil leaves and leave to macerate for 30 minutes in fridge. Add 1 tbsp of sugar in case mango is not sweet.
  17. Layer as above, but here first add mango yogurt/aam doi followed by fresh mango.
  18. Garnish with fresh basil, and sprinkle over almond flakes.
  19. Chill for about an hour for flavours to mature before serving.


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

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