Indulge with Isabella… Quick Mix!

Hi all !It’s me….Isabella..!

Today’s recipe is dedicated to someone EFFERVESCENT and BUBBLY … friend from overseas …SHIRIN…

Here she is …

A gynaec/ obstetrician ….she has precious little time..
To cook and conjure up culinary delights ..

So here is one SIMPLE recipe …Right up her street….

Which would make her husband Dr DARIUS MIRZA ( the worlds foremost liver specialist!)

blush with pride… 

A CHOCOLATE CAKE made in less than 10 mins!

In lO mins ?


Simple ……Assemble 

2 packets of chocolate Oreo biscuits

1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk 

And the ‘SECRET ‘ ingredient ..!’



I tsp of ENOS FRUIT SALTS is the secret ingredient??!
Are you crazy Isabella???

No no no …Twinny …

Enos has been around since 1850.

It’s 170 years old!

JAMES ENO had a patent on it ..great for indigestion, bloating ..Am I right Darius?

Safe even in pregnancy !

Used to come packaged in these large antique glass bottles…

And advertised a lot .. Look at these vintage Edwardian ads .. promoting Enos fruit salts…
Yes… Advertising was necessary even back then!

So here I am using Enos for its’ LEAVENING or RISING property !

Easy because 

Enos contains 60% soda bicarbonate 40% citric acid .. this combo could make anything rise …!

Pancakes,Khaman Dhoklas , Idlis , Dahi -Wadas, maybe even doughnuts 🍩!


Moreover it’s vegetarian……..Eggs …the other great leavening agent aren’t !
Of course one could also leaven with baking soda , baking powder , yeast , air, steam, cream of tartar…

So WHEN  do   you propose to bake this cake .. 6 mins are already up! 

You should have at least preheated the oven Isabella!!

No no Twinny ..

No need for the oven !

I am going to use the MICROWAVE…


The cake will rise, rise rise !

And hey presto .. it will be ready!



Now bring it out .. LET IT COOL! Yes cooling takes a little time…..

Then turn it upside down on a pretty plate…
Like so ..

Serve with vanilla Ice cream . ….Garnish with chocolate sauce and crunchy Bournvita!

Divine Death by Chocolate!! Yummy!

Pour yourself Baileys Irish cream ..for a job well done !
Yes yes the very same … Irish whisky and chocolate coffee cream liqueur…

Over plenty of crushed ice!!!

Dessert and nightcap ready !

Cheers SHIRIN…..!

May you forever be like ENOS….



Yes.. she truly loves the Bubbly !😊!

Loads of love …..Byeeeeee!

Enjoy ….!


Indulge with Isabella… Beat the Heat and more!

Hiiii all!It’s me … Isabella

 And it’s hot hot hot !

NEED of the HOUR …something QUICK to beat the summer heat…

 Here it is…



Take 1 1/2 cups of water.. BOIL!

Add 1 1/2 tsp tea leaves

Some lemon grass

Let’s go…

Now take a tall glass 
Fill with ice , juice of 1 juicy lemon


1 1/2 tsp sugar !

Simply pour the strained tea into the glass.

Garnish with a lemon slice and mint leaves…

Cool !Refreshing !Easy!
HARK Isabella….!

The NEED of the HOUR is NOT lemon iced tea .. 

It is …


Goodness Gracious…

Is that you Goru ??!

Or that crazy Twinny??

Long Island iced tea JUST  LOOKS the same….

BUT it’s one POTENT MiX! 
Half ounce each of (hold your breath)….

vodka ,gin ,rum ,tequila ,triple sec .. a little bit of 

sugar ,lemon and coke!!!

If you drink this …
You will soon be reeling and rolling in wild abandon in the scorching sun!!

You much safer with 


Who /What the heck is that??

Oh it’s 


Minoo knows..!

the SECOND most drunk liquid in the world..

After water!

Oh really ??!

Thought it would have been milk or beer!

Tea… the most comforting drink ever!

 Amruta …you a cool tea drinker…..
What’s in that cheery cuppa??

 Tea ☕️ Leaves 

Depending on which stage one stops the processing…at the Plucking stage, the Rolling Stage, the Withering Stage or the Oxidising Stage….the leaves, colour and properties CHANGE!!

WHITE tea is what one begins with…
And it 

Is ‘ahem ‘white!

Made from ‘JUST PLUCKED ‘leaves…. !

Has a simple pure taste..( how else to describe??) 

But promises more … prevents premature aging!

GREEN tea has been PLUCKED and ROLLED
and is readily served straight in hot water.. not much ado .. rich in catechins…which have anti -oxidant properties !

Also laxative and blood thinning!

ROLLED out is Right!

And then there is the full bodied BLACK TEA …full of energy!
Here the tea leaves are PLUCKED , ROLLED, WITHERED, OXIDISED… and strong in flavour..from Darjeeling ,Assam, the Nilgiris! Great …plain Black, or with milk and sugar…

These are the mainstay of our ‘CHAI’

Masala, Plain, Irani or Cutting!! 

We have so many varieties right from Kashmiri kahwa to South Indian double chai 

Almost as though we had a patent for 

Chai !!!

Surprisingly the oldest tea DID NOT originate in India .. it was served FIRST in CHINA… long back as 2700 BC!

From there it spread to the JAPANESE in 500 BC .. who made quite a CEREMONY of it!

And then onto 52 countries!!!

OOLONG TEA….. or Black Dragon tea …is the most popular CHINESE  tea and HARDEST  to make!

But certainly worth drinking ….OVER and OVER  again as believed to be slimming …Eureka!

FINALLY the answer to Radhas WEIGHT  LOSS woes !

So which is your HOT favourite tea Amruta??

Oh without a doubt it’s EARL GREY BLACK…Isabella!

Was introduced to it by classfellow Seema .. it is super delicious!

Served WITHOUT milk or sugar .. but definitely a cookie or two!

Very very British!

And most ART LOVERS crazy about tea,
teapots ,teacosies….!

Come on Amruta 

show us your personal collection..!

So here is a polished teak one from Hongkong..

And metal ones from Nepal…

Porcelain teapots from Japan and Thailand ..

Teapots used for other things too…!

Teacosies… keep your cuppa warm…

Great! ! And your most unusual…??
Yes .. rather unusual!

Why that oversized spout ???

Well this was an ‘Imperial teapot ‘used by CHINESE SUBJECTS to serve their EMPEROR!!

Like so…..

One had to be discreet and pour from a servile distance so as not to disturb or hear what the Emperor and his Ministers were talking about!
Amruta you not doing too well with the pouring…

Suggest you beat a 🏃hasty retreat!

The Merciless MINGS 😫may summon you for a good BEATING or their usual punishment… SERIAL SLICING!


I better sprint 🚴‍♀️off too!

Hiave gallons of lemon iced tea to prepare!!!


Indulge with Isabella….Halwa,Chana,Poorie

Hi all!Isabella back …in an unusual religious mood….Happy to perform Kanya / Kanjak Pooja…!!!

And what might this be??It is a dedication to Goddess Durga and her nine forms…

… and is the CUTEST religious festival ever!
7 or 9 young girls are invited , their feet washed, a red thread ( mauli) tied to their wrists, and fed a simple meal of Black Chana and Halwa Poorie!

Why specifically these??

Goddess Durga simply loved them!!

It is performed on the 8 th or 9 day of Navratri …
This year Kanjak Pooja fell on April4 th…

the 8 th day (Ashthami ) of the first Navratri of this year!There are Four Navratris every year .. just by the way…So if you miss now could do later!

The young girls are worshipped as embodiments of Goddess Durga.  

The festival is special… it asks all to cherish and respect the girl child … 

Indeed a very progressive 


Here is a picture of Durga Ma defeating the demon Mahashur …

So How to make the Chana , Halwa Poorie??
Let’s begin with the Halwa!

Many types ..Semolina / Flour  HALWA …..but decided to go straight for the kill .. the KADA PRASHAD  served in Gurdwaras..

Rich and delicious!!!!

And simple to make too!

I cup wheat flour

1 cup ghee 

1 cup sugar 

4 cups water…

Watch ! 

Will be ready in a trice …!

Remember to spend a little time Roasting,

 ( bhunoing) the flour before adding the sugar syrup….

And now for the KAALA CHANA..
Soak overnight 1 cup of black chana …

Boil in water with a little salt ..

And the rest is simple simple…

So here it is .. Halwa /Chana / Poorie!

Simple ! Wholesome!


Now to Serve….

Beginning with 9 year old niece SANA LAMBA….the girl with the golden voice!

 Next …..the other 8!!
Will somehow Find and Feed !!!

And then of course the Whole Family!

No choices here….

Quick ,healthy ,tasty food!!!

Try to make today!!


Indulge with Isabella…..chocolate biscuit cake

Hi … Back again am I….Isabella…..All set to churn up…….

Easy- to -do recipes…..

Which any Tom ,Dick ,Twinny or Amruta .. can manage…

Here goes!

So I took ….half a kg of butter.. Amul is excellent!
…..I box of Cadbury Cocoa

And Icing sugar (double the amount of cocoa)

And mixed ..mixed …mixed! 

Till smooth and creamy!

 Second step coming right up….

Parle – G biscuits are really fresh…something to do with the WAX PAPER they are wrapped in!
Tasty too!!

With a cup of chai .. could have endless!

No wonder the sale of Parle-G biscuit pkts crossed the 5000 crores mark by 2013!

I ALONE have used 12 in this cake!!

Yes …it’s a simple recipe with 3 SHORT steps ….
Which ahem…… take super-LONG to complete!!

Biscuits/ chocolate/ biscuits/ chocolate…….

And now the finale……

Ah finally ready !
Walnuts all the way from California… two thirds of the worlds walnuts produced there!!

These edible seeds the finishing and perhaps the ONLY HEALTHY touch to this super rich cake!!!!

That’s not fair .. chocolate and glucose in biscuits healthy too!!!

SEVEN WALNUTS a day recommended to reduce bad fat, as power food ,as brain food ,as satiety food ..

Great for a good nights sleep too!!!

And hey they even increase sperm count!!!

 Well that was unnecessary ‘info’ Isabella…!!
Ok ok Twinny !! Always criticising….


Place your chocolate biscuit cake in the fridge…

And Remember ….take it out 10 mins before serving……..
Bon Appetite!!!

NOW ….just suppose you DONT have quite the TIME and ENERGY  for a cake …
Make instead  HOT CHOCOLATE SAUCE… and pour on Amul vanilla ice cream…


This recipe was learnt from a  very handsome cousin.. Indias National Junior Golf Champion of 1983……the prolific RANJIT NANDA! Here is his picture….

And here’s his  recipe.. for quick yummy hot chocolate sauce…..

Mercy Beacoup Cousin!!!


 Art with Amruta….The Art of a Genius

Hi all!

It’s me Amruta ..back after a short break….

And wondering how the heck to present the work of an artist .. so gargantuan .. it has left the world stunned!

Yes .. the art of ANTONI GAUDI!

It is impossible to typecast or classify GAUDIS. work…. his buildings .. his art …


Quite A bit…! After all  it has ORGANIC forms in it….!


Well … Partly!


Yes and No…!

Did it have elements of GOTHIC and ISLAMIC ART….. Yes!

So JUST WHAT  WAS  it …??

Can’t say for sure … But AMAZING, ECLECTIC and ORIGINAL …..

It certainly is! Have a look…..

Born in Reus in 1826 , GAUDI moved to Barcelona in Southern Spain  to study ARCHITECTURE!
When handing over his degree his teacher said… he didn’t know whether it was being given to a MADMAN or to a GENIUS ! Only time would tell…

Time Did Tell..,! SEVEN of Gaudis buildings are WORLD HERITAGE SITES!

Gaudi felt that ART  and  ARCHITECTURE should be derived from and follow NATURE…. and as natural forms rarely have straight lines…. (quite true .. come to think of it!)…His constructions too ….full of natural CURVES, ARCHES, PARABOLAS…..!

So if  construction was to be curved and sinuous… how were rectangular symmetrical bricks going to cover the curved grids???

Stated simply .. they couldn’t!

So GAUDI developed a system called TRENCADIS…..using bits of tiles to cover nude walls in a mosaic pattern ..  arresting and ingenious !

Another outstanding feature of GAUDI Art was the use of  COLOUR …. bold , bright , strange ,even outlandish.. !!

The term GAUDY though , though it means GARISH , OSTENTATIOUS, LURID..,.,is NOT derived from GAUDI … 

Just so you know!!!

All of Gaudis projects needed tons of money…How was he to finance them??

EUSEBI GUELLE ( 1846- 1918  ) was a man who  noticed Gaudis Genius! And  GUELLE had both…… 

an EYE for DESIGN 

And  MONEY!!

There’s much to learn from the Symbiotic Friendship .. of Guelle and GAUDI  

Both respected each other……And complemented each other.. creating Magic !

Guelle commissioned GAUDI to make his home .. Palau Guelle ….

And gardens… Park Guelle…

And many other buildings , each a spectacular piece of art …….also FURNITURE … each an unusual piece… have  a look ….

As GAUDI grew older the more he introspected,  the more his food became spartan , the more his personal appearance careless …

All that mattered to him was the construction of his most beloved project…  LA SAGRADA FAMILIA …   a breathtakingly beautiful Roman Catholic Church.:, made of 18 vertical towering columns  reaching heavenwards  telling the story of Jesus.. the stories of the Bible. 

   Inside the Sagrada … there are pillars.. like trees in a forest ,branching and holding aloft the ceiling made of the strongest building materials available. The play of light and colour tantalising .. 

In his last years GAUDI would often sleep at the construction site . Alas .. in 1926 when ONLY  8 columns of the church were complete …GAUDI  tragically  died in a road accident …. 

The Master had gone… How was the Sagrada ever going to be completed???

There were NO BLUEPRINTS… but GAUDI knew  he would not be alive to see  the final construction of the tallest church in the world… So he made  PLASTER  MODELS of the extremely complicated and extraordinary design of the basilica …,. with aeronautical precision !

 To  BUILD and complete this humongous project… …It has taken THREE GENERATIONS  of architects , sculptors and artists !  

The Sagrada  is  NOW estimated  to be complete  only by 2026…. !

A  CENTURY after Gaudis death !!!

By that time … would be 130 years in its making , just short of the Great Wall of China (which took 150 years to construct)

Watch the following video and  visualise the  VISION of ‘GODS ARCHITECT’…ANTONI GAUDI !

No guesses then where Amruta will be in 2026….
Naturally ……touring with Twinny….!

Exploring Barcelona …..

Looking up  with wondrous awe …….

Suffused with the beauty of the Sagrada….  a MONUMENT devoted to the GODS…

The same Gods who created Human Miracles!

Long live GAUDI !!!


Art with Amruta… Art Nouveau 

Hi all!!Look around you and NOTICE NATURE!!

Flowers ,trees,buds ,leaves…One can’t HELP but BE inspired…

In the late 1890s ,artists in Europe were coming out of the classical mould and painting ORGANIC forms.. tendrils blossoming flowers ,intertwining branches…

A beautiful art form was emerging.. using lines to outline….and soft pastel shades…ART NOUVEAU!

Art Nouveau was the NEW art.. it probably started with a POSTER announcing a play made by a Czech Artist… 

ALPHONSE MUCHA…in 1895….in Paris. The poster was simple but DIFFERENT 

And beautiful…!!!

Soon  MUCHA became synonymous with Art Nouveau…called also

Ethereal women in long flowing gowns surrounded by flowers , curvaceous flowing lines…

Have a look…

GUSTAV KLIMT…an Austrian painter also painted in this art nouveau style…..
His painting ‘The Kiss’ created quite a stir with its use of gold leaf

And eroticism ..

KLIMT painted way ahead of his time ..drawing from nature to create a beautiful piece of work…Have a look at some of his other paintings…

Who was THIS woman??? 

A lady by the name of……Adele Block Bauer..!

The one  of her in  gold sold for a jaw dropping  sum of 139 million US dollars.. in 2006! One of the 3 most  EXPENSIVE paintings ever sold at that time!!!

Coupled with these inspirations from nature .. was the desire to DECORATE FUNCTIONAL

One could easily have a beautiful room with a portrait … but imagine ART etched into the DOORWAY, on banisters of a STAIRCASE , on  WALLPAPER…..

..floral motifs , Butterflies, birds….!!

These  MOTIFS were created even on lamps… LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY …each lamp
made of stained glass… ‘the TIFFANY LAMP!’

Each…….a piece of art nouveau !

An aptly termed’WISTERIA’ lamp above

And a cheerful ceiling lamp below….

 So Art Nouveau was almost an APPLIED ART form.. artists and artisans taking their own sweet time to produce things of beauty …with a high level of craftsmanship 
NO mass production…

Each Art piece or ARTEFACT stamped with uniqueness…

At the same time …
No longer was art confined to elitist clubs and galleries .. It was RIGHT  OUT in the STREETS…. 

Reaching out to ALL….!

Here it is … 

at the entrance of the PARIS METRO….

….made by architect Hector Guimard…

And here  an  Art Nouveau building in Paris…..

And here  is  RIGA    ….,the capital city of LATVIA.  …home to the ‘MOST  ‘number of Art Nouveau buildings in the world……..!

Goodness gracious!!

Art Nouveau spread crazily across the globe …and was  called different names everywhere… example ….. JUGENSTIL in Germany !
In Glasgow … it took on different hues .. but stuck to the theme of beauty and function…here is the PRINCES Square building…

And the library of the Glasgow School of Art….

Followed by …

Some  Glaswegian art nouveau furniture and stained glass reliefs….

Art Nouveau being so creatively beautiful this art form LASTED JUST 15 years……till 1905….

Making way for the futurists .. brandishing their art manifestos ,the fauvists ,the cubists…. of course it was back with a bang in the 1960s and remains around till the present day… 



Take the case of this distempered distressed COFFEE TABLE ..woodwork etched with floral motifs…So-art nouveau …! BEAUTIFUL !!

Doubling up as a chest/storage space for linen / blankets… wow…FUNCTIONAL too!

And when beauty and function done with..

How about…

…… using as Meditation Bench???


Art with Amruta.. Art Deco

Hi all!Art Deco ! Art Deco! One hears it all the time…. ‘Art Deco!’

What the heck is this Art Deco???

Don’t ask me … ask Amruta … she’s the one who says ‘THIS is Art Deco’.. ‘THAT is Art Deco ‘
Is everything ArT Deco, Amruta ???!

 Well in a way …..Yes Twinny!Art Deco is Pretty much omnipresent …!!

Swing back to 1919…..

World War 1 had just ended… 

Who was in the mood for art??!

People wanted ‘functional things’….’modern’ things… 

Made of new age materials.. steel – aluminium -glass – stucco for construction ..wood and metal for furniture ..

The major look was…well…

GEOMETRIC …triangles/ trapezoids… repetition of shapes ,flowing curves, arches , chevron patterns….Art with use of brush and paint was a bit relegated to the background ….

Plenty of zigzags / ziggurats!

It was the age of machinery, Radio

Of motor cars , of skyscrapers….

Of aviation…

 And as the Europeans and the US got more and more comfortable  in the Roaring 20’s ….To these geometric designs were added elements inspired from the past …digging up history … using Egyptian sphinxes and Aztec art ….Inspirations from the East like lotuses, Native figures from Africa …
Sometimes precious inlaid work with  ivory , sharkskin , lacquer was added….

So all in all an  ALCHEMISTS  mix..

Of modern functional design.. ….decorated with objects from another era….ART DECO or MODERN DECORATIVE ART was born…!

 Art Deco was. First given this name in a Paris exposition in 1925!
Designs from all over the world displayed…

Have a look at some famous Art Deco buildings…

The Chrysler building of New York 

The inside of Radio City Music Hall New York …

In Havana… Cuba .. the famous Bacardi building ….

And in Melbourne..

Art Deco in the London Underground…

Art Deco spread like wild fire all over the world .. communications having improved so much……Majorly popular between the two world wars.. then a slump followed by  a major revival in the 1960s ….

Then again in the 1980s

Have a look at Art Deco in furniture…

  And here is Art Deco in Poster art …

And here is Art Deco in fashion…

And  NOW look at this picture …

 Marine Drive in Mumbai …Right??!


This is a picture of MIAMI…..the worlds CAPITAL of Art Deco!!! Over 200 Art Deco buildings..

This Friday i.e. Tomorrow will be the 

40th Anniversary  Celebration of Art Deco in this city ..,

Have a look…

But why do these pictures  RESEMBLE buildings in Mumbai …???
Well SIMPLY because….

Mumbai is placed SECOND for the most number of Art Deco buildings in the world!!!!

Surprise of surprises .,

Our very own MUMBAI ..!!!

Have a look…!

The Eros theatre ….

The New India Assurance building…

The whole of Marine Drive and more…

Wow!!!How did Art Deco reach Mumbai ?
Post world war.. businesses in Mumbai were flourishing.. the RICH were quickly borrowing from the west .. and building rather lavish  Art Deco buildings to live in.

Also the ROYAL families of princely states made modern homes in the city to entertain their guests.

Added to this STARS of the new and glamorous FILM industry sought to build homes stylish and elegant !

Soon Marine drive, the Oval …became the hub of so called Bombay Art Deco!!

Balustrades/ wrought iron/ balconies/ porticos…you name it…

No wonder then that THIS and THAT is described as Art Deco in Mumbai ..

It’s all over the place !!!

Am off to Liberty Cinema to watch Jolly LLB2!

This simply charming theatre with 2000 seats and circles on the ceiling .. is fully Art Deco!!

Historical .. as constructed in year of our INDEPENDANCE…..1947 

 No rocket science then ….the name Liberty!

With the threat of multiplexes …this amazing cinema hall may well become a relic ..!..
Let’s strive actively to revive these heritage sites!!

Though  Mood  in Mumbai is something like this… 

Let’s TOGETHER respect history !
Let’s paint the peeling walls!

Support , maintain , rejuvenate our buildings!

Long live Bombay Art DECO!

Long live Mumbai !!!