Blog -> Yearly Archives: 2013
March 21, 2013

If you thought only excess salt increases blood pressure, read this.  Too much caffeine, supplements, some medications among other things, can also increase blood pressure.

Caffeine (present in coffee, colas, energy drinks and to a small extent in tea), is likely to raise your blood pressure.  It might not happen to everyone, but it’s important to cut back on the amount of coffee you drink.  Colas and energy drinks are best avoided because they are unnecessary for your body and don’t do anything to boost your health.  One way of testing whether or not caffeine increases your blood pressure is to check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage.  If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 points, you might be sensitive to caffeine induced blood pressure raise.

Herbal supplements although considered safe because they are natural, can increase blood pressure in some people, or react with blood pressure medication.  Do tell your doctor if you are on any herbal supplements when you go for a health check.  Also, do not self medicate or give advise on medication to your friends, relatives and neighbours, unless you are a qualified physician.  Medications that suit one person will not suit another.


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March 19, 2013

I didn’t expect to meet another Masterchef Australia personality so soon after meeting the world famous Gary & George, Masterchef’s celebrity judges, late last year.

With good friends Usha, Anu and Pratibha, I was thrilled to watch Kate Bracks demonstrate 3 baked dishes.  Yes, the same Kate Bracks who won the Masterchef Australia 2011.  More than 300 Masterchef Australia fans gathered in the banquet hall of Marriott Hotel in Whitefield, Bangalore, to watch Kate Bracks in person.  What a cheer she got when she walked into the hall!!!  Her lively, energetic and entertaining way of showing us the 3 dishes had the audience in rapt attention.  Kate also answered questions from the audience.  She briefly narrated how she got into the Masterchef competition and how she places her family above all else in her life.

Marriott generously gave away many prizes to the lucky winners (the four of us were not on that list), while everyone present got a taste of Kate’s delicious Retro Coffee Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut & Raspberry Muffins. Yum!!



Here’s the recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut & Raspberry Muffins (makes 12) –
300 g self raising flour
100 g hazelnuts, coarsely ground
300 g castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
250 g unsalted butter
60 ml hazelnut oil (or any other)
480 ml buttermilk
3 eggs
150 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150 g fresh or frozen raspberries
30 g demerara or raw sugar
Method of preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C
  2. Line the muffin tin holes with paper muffin cases
  3. Combine dry ingredients (flour, hazelnut, sugar, salt) into a large bowl
  4. Melt the butter and whisk to combine it with the other wet ingredients (oil, buttermilk, eggs)
  5. Pour wet mix over the dry mix and stir to combine (mixture should still look a little lumpy)
  6. Gently fold through the chocolate, hazelnuts and raspberries
  7. Spoon mixture into muffin cases until almost full
  8. Sprinkle tops with sugar
  9. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through and golden on top
  10. Allow to cool completely then dust generously with sifted icing sugar

Enjoy the muffin, but don’t forget your exercise to burn it off!!

1 Comments | Posted by admin at 2:07 pm. 1 comment.
March 19, 2013

Yesterday I received an invitation to attend a vegan cookery-cum-lunch session being held for a charitable cause.  Is it fashionable or healthy to be a vegan?  It’s certainly a healthy trend but if it has to be fashionable to be healthy, so be it.

A vegan is one who avoids all animal products – clothes, foods, accessories, furnishings, etc.  I’m not sure how many people in this world or in India are completely vegan, but I know a lot of people are followers of vegan food habits.

A vegan diet eliminates all animal foods – meat, poultry, fish, egg, dairy, animal fats and sometimes even yeast.  So many non-vegetarians and vegetarians who take dairy products in their diet wonder if a vegan can be well nourished.  Fortunately, vegans do get all the nutrients from a variety of plant foods like cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.  The only nutrient lacking in a vegan diet is vitamin B12.  This can be obtained thru supplements.  A vegan’s diet can be very healthy, if all the foods are taken in the right proportion. Studies have shown that vegans who eat right have lesser chance of getting lifestyle-related diseases like adult diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, etc.  It’s also easier to shed weight with this diet.

Try it sometime for a few days and you might feel the difference.

1 Comments | Posted by admin at 4:41 am. 1 comment.
March 18, 2013

In a wonderfully conceptualized and put-together event by Kripal Amanna, Editor, Publisher and MD of Food Lovers, last Saturday’s “Chefs for Charity” brought many foodies, celebrity chefs and generous people of Bangalore to the beautiful lawns of Taj West End hotel.  Around 30 well known hotels and restaurants of Bangalore opened their hearts and dished out yummy items to more than 300 guests and participants.  The best part of this activity was that the entire amount collected for this event was donated to Sneha Nilaya orphanage, which will use the money for the welfare of its children.

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March 16, 2013

On a recent trip to Chennai, we had the opportunity to visit the newly opened ITC Grand Chola, a luxury hotel in Guindy.  It stands true to its name in a grand manner and the main entry to the building comes after doing a ‘pradakshin’ (a devotional clockwise circle) around the building.  The foyer is huge and so is the staircase leading to the first floor.  The beautiful carved marble pillars in the corridors give it a temple appearance.  We were delighted to meet the ‘Bangalore people’ in the hotel – Atul Bhalla, the hospitable and friendly General Manager, the energetic Prakash from Marketing and the ever-smiling and helpful Renu from Guest Relations.  Renu very kindly walked us around and showed us the rooms, suites, spa, pool, gym and restaurants.

The lunch at Cafe Mercara was fabulous.  I enjoyed the Moroccan stew and khobz.  Also picked up some multigrain bread from Nutmeg, the hotel’s bakery outlet.

The icing on the cake was meeting the world renowned author, Jeffrey Archer, in the lobby who was on his way out.

1 Comments | Posted by admin at 4:55 am. 1 comment.