So NEW Year’s Eve has come and gone. So has, alas, Christmas. As we move into January, everyone is groaning about over indulging during this most indulgent time of the year. The parties, the feasts, the skipped workouts are now coming home to roost.
I’ve been getting press-the-panic button type WhatsApp messages from friends for a while now. A funny one went: My heart says chocolate and wine, but my jeans say for the love of God, woman, eat a salad! But not too many were laughing. Most were staring gloomily at their weighing scales and wondering how fast they could get shipshape.
So I spoke with Dr Shubha R, senior naturopathy physician at Soukya, for some advice. Of course, naturopathy is all about detoxing and she had plenty of tips to share. “Detox with plenty of vegetables, fruit and fluids,” she said. “Cut down the carbohydrates and sugars which strain the digestive system. Exercise for about 45 minutes a day, work in some pranayama, meditation and suryanamaskars to get the system going. One day in the week try a liquid diet of healthy foods, like fruit and vegetable juices, thin porridge of ragi or oats.” Naturopathy advocates detoxifying massages, something that sparks my interest, and colon hydrotherapy, something that doesn’t.
Nutritionist Shalini Manglani had more words of wisdom. She believes it’s best to prepare ahead for the festive season with an exercise regime and a sensible diet so “you can have your Christmas cake and eat it too.” If you haven’t planned, no problem, but go about things sensibly, she says. “One day in the gym isn’t going to fix it all, nor will a bunch of kale or spinach on your plate. The first thing is to drink plenty of water to replace your body’s salts lost due to drinking. Cut portions from every meal, or skip one. For instance if you’re still on holiday and waking late, skip breakfast or have a cup of milk or some fruit. Remember the adage of breakfast like a king only works if you have dined like a pauper, not dined like a king too!”
However, you need to put nutrients back into your deprived body so eat mindfully, she adds. “Don’t deprive your body, take a sensible middle path. If you think water is boring, try infused waters or herbal teas (see box), like Moroccan or cinnamon tea.”
I’ve decided to see a lot more of my trainer, starting now, and already made appointments at the spa. And as for the divine plum cakes and Christmas pudding… adios until later this year!
Paintings, books and organic treats await. Plus, workshops on pyrography and X-mas baubles
Jazz and stoles
Mango Hill has the perfect Christmas eve dinner planned. They will have a live jazz concert by Angeline & Jurraiangelo. On December 24, from 8 pm onwards. Also, at La Marina, there is an exhibition of jewellery, woolen stoles, silk scarves and kaftans. Meanwhile munch on quiches and homemade cupcakes too. On Sunday. Details: 0413 4300333
Playing with fire
Let your children get innovative with DakshinaChitra’s pyrography (wood painting) workshop. For the curious, pyrography is a technique of burning designs on to wood. For children aged between eight and 14. At Rs.600. As part of their Christmas celebrations, Stephen Eckard will teach children how to make Christmas decorations like angel puppets and stained glass ornaments. From 2 pm to 4 pm. At Rs.100. Details: 9841777779 Book bound
Bringing over 1,00,000 books in Tamil, English, French, Hindi and other languages, the 18th edition of the National Book Fair is organised by the Puducherry Cooperative Book Society. On till December 28, they also have music programmes and are conducting various competitions that include elocution, poetry, quiz, drawing and painting at the venue. From 10 am to 10 pm. At Vel Sokkanathan Thirumana Nilayam. Details: 0413 2211748
An exhibition on abstract art is on at Artika Gallery. The artwork is by Irish-Canadian Jacqueline O Rogers and Matthew Talbot-Kelly who have used acrylic paint as their medium. Kelly is a self taught artist, animator, film maker and entrepreneur and Rogers is a writer. At Artika gallery, till January 5. From 7 pm to 11.50 pm. Details: 9894910080
Join Sankalpa, an NGO (on grassroot level projects), and be present at the launch of Art Cart! It is a mobile structure stocked with art supplies, which will be an interactive installation at the Visitor’s Centre. On December 19, from 6 pm to 10 pm at the Visitors Centre, Auroville. Details: 0413 262 2239
Day on the farm
The Auroville weekend farmers market is back. This time it is featuring live performances on stage, organic fruits and vegetables from Auroville farms, home made jams, pickles and cakes, Johnny’s Tea and much more. The organisers are also inviting performers to showcase a short performance. On December 20, from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. Details: 9486623749
Phil Hughes gets an emotional send off, the dinosaurs return, and the Minions never cease to amuse
Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke gives Phillip Hughes a fitting eulogy when the 25-year-old cricketer was laid to rest last week. Fighting back tears, Clarke talks about the touching moments when greats like Sachin TenAdulkar and Brian Lara paid tributes, while fans across the globe came together to remember the younger cricketer. Equally commending players and the sport, he goes on to praise the fighting spirit of the late Hughes, a lesson to all the world over.
The park is open
It’s been over two decades since the original Jurassic Park was released and now, 13 years after the third installment (and a disappointing one), the Jurassic World trailer has got fans excited. Just about six months away from release, the dinosaur-filled world is not only a blast from the past, but also takes the entire concept to a whole new level. Chris Pratt leads the parade of actors in what looks like a homage to the whole series. Released only last week, the trailer already has 43,399,366 hits.
The entertaining Minions from Despicable Me are back for a rendition of Christmas carols to set you in the festive mood. Bundled up in mufflers and snow hats, the yellow Minions are meant to be in the North Pole and begin singing a mellow, almost boring tune. But Santa Minion skids into action and leads them all into singing Jingle Bells — in Minionese of course. Look out for their festive formation to conclude the performance! — Aakanksha Devi
Celebrate Christmas with goodies made from secret family recipes and fine ingredients
From a meat-based delicacy to becoming a decadent pudding for the festive season, the pudding has come a long way. We suggest top-notch bakers who will make your holiday more sinful and a whole lot more delicious. Text: Aakanksha Devi
Pâtissier of Happy Belly Bakes, Hinduja’s cake is divine. “We soak raisins, dates and walnuts in brandy and rum for over six months. Then, we slow bake it, garnish it with decorative marzipan and add more alcohol to retain the moisture and soften further,” explains Hinduja. She also makes plum cupcakes because ‘you just want to have a smaller slice sometimes’. Cakes start at Rs.900 per kilo and cupcakes at Rs.80.
Owner of Belly and Soul, George is traditional, soaking fruits – cherries, lemon and orange peel, cashews and almonds, in rum for two months. Offering them singly or in hampers, her Christmas treats are sinfully laden with butter. Cakes themselves start at Rs.700 for 500 gms and hampers start at Rs.350 with muffins, gingerbread and a fruit cake loaf. Details: 9886118458
Using her grandmother’s recipe, Saldhana of Charm’s Homemade Goodness gives you unadulterated, ‘nice and boozy’ cake! “Raisins, cherries and lemon peels, soaking since last year, go into the cake,” she shares, adding that her brother’s wedding cake from 10 years ago is still going strong. At Rs.900. Details: 9845002181
This boutique baker makes limited quantities of cake during this festive season – only till December 20. The cake is made from a traditional family recipe handed down over four generations and is fruity, dark coloured made with a mix of minced, candied mixed peel, candied dry fruits together with fruit jams, marmalade and caramelised sugar. Rs.325 for 500 gms and Rs.650 for a kilo. Details: 9845092630
Using her grandma’s British recipe, Chengappa’s cakes (Rs.700 a kilo) are all raisins, plums, ginger and cherries. But her DIY gingerbread house kit (Rs.350) containing the walls, roof, icing and cake board to assemble the house, caught our fancy. With detailed instructions, of course!Details: 9620944270
Following a European recipe with figs, walnuts and cranberry, Menon of Lluvia Bakery, says her creation is like a fruitcake. Avoiding Indian spices, a basic cake with organic flour starts at Rs.1,000 while wholly organic costs Rs.1,800 upwards a kilo. Try breads like cinnamon and raisin, and cherry, almond and fig too. Details: 8105162111
At the Testi Kebab Festival at Paranda, you can enjoy a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs, all cooked in a sealed pot over a raw flame in a specially designed oven, for an earthy flavour. Don’t miss the boti kebab, made up of boneless prime cut of lamb. Rs.2,000 for two. Ongoing at Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwanthpur. Details: 66900111
Christmas is coming
Head off to The Oberoi for a merry Christmas run up with a host of goodies from their Festivity Desk. And before you tuck into their Christmas spread later this month, their baked treats in the form of cookies, chocolates, breads and cheese will be ideal to set the mood. Their chalet team will help you put together hampers as well. Rs.1,500 upwards depending on the order. At MG Road. Details: 25585858
This vast spread at the Hyatt focuses on street food from across the globe with a special emphasis on Turkey, Italy, South East Asia and India where street food is more of a raging culture. So from shawarma and chaat to pizza and doner kebab, get ready for a whirlwind culinary tour. Rs.1,500 upwards. At Swami Vivekananda Road. Details: 49361234
Dig into wood-fired sourdough pizzas and cake at the New Farm Fresh restaurant in White Town
The New Farm Fresh , which started a month ago in White Town is more than just a retail outlet. The owner Djanagui Alancon is thrilled about the 20-seater cafe that stocks Auroville products like Mango Hill cheese, Le Fern cheese, Naturellement jams, green tea and savories. Here is what we recommend from the menu:
Prawn Venetian: While their signature dishes include red snapper and pomfret fry, Italian pastas and homemade salads, their prawn Venetian-style gravy is unique. “I generally suggest having the prawns with garlic bread. It is not very spicy. I am not a chef, but I have learnt how to make different dishes in the past few years from friends and visting chefs,” says Alancon.
Sourdough pizza: Alacon says, their newly-introduced wood-fired sourdough pizza is very popular. “We serve original Italian pizza made with sourdough imported from the south of Italy. The sourdough ensures the pizza crust is easily digestible (by breaking down the gluten into amino acids) and it is absolutely delicious too. Our pizzas also come with a variety of great toppings like vegetables, chicken, seafood, ham (pork).”
Mocha cake: Their new desserts include a Mocha Cake, a hit with coffee lovers. Alancon tells us that their Choco-Delight, a melting dark chocolate cake, is a limited edition for Christmas. The other options include Choco-Cheese Cake, tiny chocolate tarts, lemon tarts, truffles and more.
Lunch for two costs `600. Details: 0413 2220500 —MS
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