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  • Enjoy tea-infused cocktails, desserts

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dwarka recently collaborated with an organic tea brand ‘T-Tales’ to create tea-infused mocktails/ cocktails and desserts using flavoured organic teas. We all know drinking organic tea is healthy. But people refrain from adopting this wellness drink in their lifestyle due to lack of flavours in the Indian organic market. Neera Bhatnager too expressed this sentiment till a few years ago. She enjoyed tasting organic green teas in different flavours when she travelled abroad but couldn’t find any in India. To alleviate her tastebuds and give Indians a break from plain green tea, she started T-Tales in 2018. T-Tales offers organic tea in a variety of fresh and fruity flavours. There’s mango, blueberry, hibiscus, chamomile, jasmine, passion fruit and peppermint, besides the usual flavours such as masala chai, Assam tea, black tea and earl grey, to name a few. Each flavour reveals a different story and that’s what led the founder call the brand ‘T-Tales’. “Through our brand, we want to educate people about the stories behind each flavour of tea. For instance, we want people to know that peppermint tea is good for stomach, and aids digestion. Similarly, blueberry tea is good for your immune system,” explains Neera. Though as standalone products, these teas can be consumed, many hotels in Delhi are using flavoured tea to create a tea-inspired menu. T-Tales’ recent collaboration with Radisson Blu Hotel in Dwarka, New Delhi, gave a glimpse of the same. Chefs at the hotel have used the organic flavoured teas in drinks and desserts. The chamomile tea, which leaves a calming effect on the body, became an ingredient in one of the cocktails/ mocktails. Tareena Bhatnager, Creative Marketing Head, T-Tales, said that the idea of using an organic tea in cocktails is healthy. “When we add chamomile/ jasmine tea to cocktails/ mocktails, we eliminate sugar syrup from the drink. This makes them less sweet and a healthy alternative,” she shares. Similarly, pastry chefs are using flavoured teas to make cakes (Mumbai cutting chai brulee cake, blueberry tea cake slice (using blueberry tea), saffron delicacy baked yogurt (using ‘Saffron Delicacy’ tea flavour), green tea tiramisu (using green tea) and Moroccan delight macaroons (using ‘Moroccan Delight’ tea flavour). To make ‘Moroccan delight macaroons’, chefs start by making a truffle out of the Moroccan delight tea (T-Tales’ flavoured tea) and fill the same in macaroons. Similarly, to make ‘Liscious Hibiscus jelly with Vedic Tulsi panna cotta’, they blend Liscious hibiscus tea with Vedic Tulsi tea, and make hibiscus jelly with Vedic Tulsi panna cotta. To make panna cotta, they boil and make a concentrate out of the tea, which is used for dessert. Calling it a one-of-a-kind innovation, Ankit Hira, Pastry Chef, Radisson Blu Hotel, shares that acing the recipe wasn’t a cakewalk. This is because neither had his team worked with flavoured teas in desserts nor were they aware about the taste of the final product. he was also scared if the ingredients would blend with each other. The Mumbai cutting chai brulee cake was an invention test for his team. “Earlier we were planning to do a brulee, but then we did a fusion by combining the cake with the brulee. We were unclear if we had hit the jackpot till the time we demoulded the cake and tried it. This is because we were trying brulee (a French dessert) with a very traditional flavour of Mumbai's cutting chai,” he says. Selecting the flavours of desserts was also challenging. However, unlike following a tried and tested recipe, the team made variations to place the perfect dessert on the menu using flavoured organic teas. The flavoured organic teas and tea-infused menu is available at the Atrium, The Tea Lounge, Radisson Blu, Dwarka.

  • Crafting a future for Meghalayan artisans

    Traditional artisans in Meghalaya are earning a living and preserving their dying art by selling products to Meghalayan Age – The Store. From fishing baskets, tree houses, winnowing trays, planters, handicrafts to Lakadong turmeric, wild forest honey, Sichuan pepper, textiles in cotton, Eri, and mulberry silk to innovative and eco-friendly products from bamboo and rattan cane, Meghalayan Age – The Store is nothing less than a paradise for shoppers willing to buy a range of traditional homegrown and handmade products from Meghalaya. Launched in Delhi in 2022 to brand and promote Meghalaya and create employment opportunities in the region, the store presents a distinctive blend of the state’s culture, tradition and artisanal excellence in traditional offerings. The store houses products that are homegrown, handpicked and handcrafted by artisans and entrepreneurs. They are carefully selected for their quality and sustainability. Birthing CH Marak (in video) is one such artisan who is selling handmade products at the store. He specilises in making products from cane and bamboo. Born into a family of weavers at Gongganggre village in South Garo Hills, Marak saw his parents and grandparents make products. Due to lack of money, his home became his classroom. At 12, he started joined them and independently made products without acquiring any formal training in this art. He sourced the raw material from the forests near his village where they were grown locally. Since then, there’s been no looking back. At 33, he earns a living, while preserving the dying art of making traditional handmade goods. Blastine Sang Ma, another craftsman from the Garo tribe, makes music instruments and also teaches music to his tribe. The 47-year-old artist plays Dodrong, a traditional instrument that is made from Gambare wood and goat’s skin. Sang Ma’s interest in music led him to make music instruments. But now it’s his source of income when Meghalayan Age – The Store recognised his craft. There are many craftsmen and craftswomen like these Barak and Sang Ma whose lives have been transformed thanks to the store that buys products directly from the local artisans in Meghalaya. But choosing the right craftsperson isn’t a cakewalk for the store’s founders. Meghalayan Age – The Store launched the Atelier programme to encourage artisans to pursue their craft professionally. Twenty-two artisans specialised in pottery making, textiles, bamboo and cane products were chosen at an annual competition. Sharing details about the programme, Dr. Vijay Kumar D, Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, says, “We selected superior craftsmen who are great at their craft. We picked up these artisans and gave them a grant of INR 5 lakh to build their studio in Meghalaya. These artisans were impaneled as training partners. This allows them to talk to craftspeople in their region and create unique designs at store. We also give design inputs to them on how to modify traditional designs. The products that are sold in the store carry a margin, a large part it goes to craftspersons.” Meghalayan Age – The Store aims to put Meghalaya on the map for artwork, handicrafts, handlooms, food, literature and music that are entirely indigenous, handcrafted, and locally produced. It is a Government of Meghalaya initiative. The store is housed in the Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan.

  • Cycle scraps get a new lease of life

    This artist gives cycle scraps a new lease of life. She uses discarded cycle parts to create impactful artworks. They say a creative mind never misses an opportunity to create something powerful. Artist Nehmat Mongia brilliantly suffices this. As a child, she liked to stroll the streets on her cycle. While enjoying the scenic beauty, she collected discarded/unused parts of cycle that were being dumped on roads to create smaller artworks and portraits. She added ceramic, glass and metals to them. She later studied designing but her love for working with cycle scraps remained with her. At an ongoing group show 'Two wheels', being showcased at the India Habitat Centre, this Delhi-born artist has used cycle spares to show her creativity. Some of the materials used include discarded cycle tyres, pedals, chains, metal parts, gears, etc. One of her artworks (titled Entangled) is an installation made from punctured tyres. Inspired by her life as a young cyclist, the work reflects the dilemma cyclists face while riding. She explains, “This work showcases how cyclists feel on roads. It’s the feeling of getting trapped between the cars. I remember getting jitters as a cyclist when I had to cross roads congested with heavy vehicles and big cars. I have captured the said entanglement in this installation.” But why choose punctured tyres over other materials? The artist says that the choice of the material was intentional as she wanted to give the discarded punctured tyres (which cannot be fixed) a sustainable solution. “I was keen to use a material that could minimise waste. I thought as it they cannot be fixed. Choosing them would be perfect as they would not produce any further waste in the creation of artworks,” she shares. Nehmat has also stirred a conversation around the benefits of cycling. Through ‘Save Lungs’ (her other sculpture), she has metaphorically engaged people to understand the benefits of cycling and its impact on your health and environment. While explaining the sculpture, she says, “The story is very simple – you cycle, you save your lungs. As an artist, I have used scrap material to make lungs to enable people to understand the impact on cycling on their lungs.” Keeping in line with her thoughts, Nehmat used discarded spare parts of cycles and motorcycles along with other waste scraps to make the sculpture. She also mixed these materials with cycle scraps (back bumpers, cycle chains, pedal, handles, nuts and bolts, among other things). Similarly, she has also expressed the idea of a woman’s safety through a life-sized collaborative video installation. The installation depicts the fear of a woman at night, in a day and clutter. It has been captured through a projection. Be it her creative thinking, the choice of materials or the medium, Nehmat plans everything in advance. She admits that she dedicates a lot of time in choosing the right kind of materials in her artworks. For her, creating an artwork is a long process. “A lot goes behind its planning. I want the visual image to remain with audience. So I create several life-sized sketches to see which ones are the most impactful conceptually before creating the final product,” she asserts.

  • Fukrey 3 to release on this date

    The makers took to Instagram to announce the release date of the third part of the film. Actors Pulkit Samrat, Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma, Manjot Singh, Pankaj Tripathi and Richa Chadha are set to return with Fukrey 3 in cinemas. The third instalment of the film will release on September 7, which also happens to be Janamashtmi. Actor Pankaj Tripathi took to Instagram to share the news with the fans. "Iss baar hoga ch u amatkaar, straight from Jamnapaar! #Fukrey3 arriving in cinemas on 7th September, 2023. @pulkitsamrat@fukravarun@oyemanjot@pankajtripathi@therichachadha@mriglamba@excelmovies@ritesh_sid@faroutakhtar@vipulhappy@amalendu_dop@kassimjagmagia@vishalrr@aafilms.official@zeemusiccompany," he wrote in the post. Produced by Excel Entertainment and directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, Fukrey became an instant hit with its unique storyline and comical sequences. The first instalment of the film was released in 2013 and the second in 2017.

  • How to deep clean kitchen tools

    Did you know you consume bacteria and viruses in your food daily due to dirty tools kept in your kitchen? Be it the cleaning wipes, scrubbers or the dirty microwave, uncleaned surfaces cause food contamination. The following tips can help you help you keep it at a bay. In Indian households, kitchens are considered a holy place. Till date, people in many traditional households refrain from wearing slippers while cooking with a belief that dirt and viruses do not enter the food. Though this is the first step to maintain cleanliness, it isn’t the only one. Cleaning a kitchen goes beyond the daily chores of rinsing off dirty utensils, cleaning slabs/sink, discarding bin liners and dusting off the premises. This is because there are ample items in your kitchen that house bacteria and viruses. Take your kitchen scrubber, for instance. It has the property to absorb food particles and dirt with detergents. If you are in a habit of changing the scrubber every two months, six months or annually, it’s time to make some amendments in your kitchen. Scrubbers should be changed regularly, irrespective of whether the accumulated dirt is visible from the naked eyes or not. When a utensil is cleaned with water, these contaminants do not wash away. So, replace your kitchen scrubber every month or disinfect it with vinegar after use to remove contaminants from its surface. Chopping boards are also home to dirt. Though they are used regularly in kitchens, they aren’t cleaned often. Whenever we chop food on a chopping board, food particles get trapped on their surface. Rinsing the board with water may not remove the trapped materials and odour. That’s why it is important to scrub them with soap and water. Similarly, kitchen wipes, which are used for cleaning anything and everything from surfaces, slabs and jars to other items, are the most neglected items in the kitchen. They not only soak dirt and food particles but also retain bacteria that further multiplies if left as is. When used on different surfaces, the bacteria multiplies and contaminates the cleaner areas. This is why it is recommended to clean a kitchen wipe with a mild detergent and water after every use. If you regularly use a microwave or an air fryer, deep clean their surfaces regularly. Use white vinegar and dish liquid to remove the accumulated food and dirt. In case of microwave, add these ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and heat it up for 5 minutes so that the grime could loosen up. Wipe the surface using a soft cloth. Similarly, wash the frying basking of the air fryer regularly with a mild dish soap. Avoid using a scrubber to remove oil as it can damage the non-stick element of your air fryer.

  • Jamie & Jesse Lever on 'A Spin Around Dubai'

    Jamie and Jesse Lever have made their OTT debut in a three-episodes mini-series, A Spin Around Dubai, to be aired on MX Player. After trying their hand at comedy, Johnny Lever's children Jamie and Jesse Lever made their debut on the OTT platform and in an adventurous way. The duo shot a three-episodes mini-series, A Spin Around Dubai. The show allowed the siblings to explore Dubai without an itinerary. Instead they spun the wheel from their hands to decide their fate in the new city. Despite its unique format, the siblings enjoyed their unplanned trip. Sharing her experience, Jamie said, “We have been to Dubai a few times before but [we] were unaware of its diverse offerings. It is through MX Player’s mini-series ‘A Spin Around Dubai’ that we got to experience the unexplored side of the city. From experiencing the breathtaking sunrise in a hot air balloon to the edge walk on the 53rd floor of the Sky Views Observatory, it was an unforgettable experience." The siblings also experienced hot air balloon ride, enjoyed adventure rides at the motion park, chilled at the La Mer Beach of Dubai and witnessed the ‘museum of the future’. They also dined with a Michelin Star Chef. Calling in a crazy trip, Jesse said, “Bohot maza aaya! It has been a crazy trip as we indulged in fun-filled never-before-done activities. Be it swinging and dancing from the 53rd floor to steering the wheel for car racing, it has been an exhilarating journey. Unlike other projects, everything was done in a single take; whatever viewers see is our natural experience.” A Spin Around Dubai is streaming on MX Player.

  • Why 'The Kashmir Files' re-released on Jan 19

    The film helmed by Vivek Agnihotri stars actors Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Darshan Kumar. It's not often that a movie is released twice in a year. The Kashmir Files happens to be the only film that has created history to re-release in theatres for the second time. earlier today, director Vivek Agnihotri took to Twitter to announce the re-release of the film in theatres today. In his post, he wrote, "Today, #TheKashmirFiles is re-releasing. In theatres. Its release itself is a message. It’s a people’s film. I am trying hard that tickets are available for less than Rs. 100/- so every Indian can watch it. Hope multiplex chains listen and we get success. Go, watch it today." The re-release of the film is as a result of January 19 being observed as 'The Kashmir Hindu Genocide Day' by the Kashmiri Pundits. Produced by Pallavi Joshi and Abhishek Agarwal in association with Zee Studios, The Kashmir Files became a huge success at the box office. It earned INR 252.90 crore worldwide.

  • Lohardaga eyes Feb'23 release

    The film is based on an incident in Jharkhand where youth were falsely lured to surrender as a Naxalite in pretext of jobs of their choice. In 2012, about more than 500 tribal unemployed youths living in the forests of Jharkhand were falsely made Naxalites on paper and forced to surrender. Most of the youths who surrendered simply wanted to serve the Indian Army for a noble cause. By taking money from these youths, it was claimed that by surrendering as Naxalites, they would get their desired job. This story caught attention of Lal Vijay Shahdeo, who decided to highlight the issue on the big screen and directed 'Lohardaga'. The film is set to release in February this year. The story revolves around Manu, who was lured and made to surrender as a Naxalite. The film showcases Manu's struggles at each step of the way and ends up in a worse situation than before. Produced by Dr Neha Shandilya, the story is based on true events taking place in Jharkhand. It captures the state of the situation flawlessly, which flew under the radar of the Indian citizens. While talking about the film, Shahdeo shares, "Lohardaga throws light on such a critical occurrence which didn't make a big splash in the media maybe because the government in power during that time was looking to save face. India is the world's youngest country, with over half the population being under the age of 25. Even though social media has changed compared to a decade ago. There are still many such Manus who spoil their lives by becoming Maoist because of greed or poverty." The film stars actors Sanjay Mishra, Akhilendra Mishra, Ravi Jhankal, Dadhi Pandey, Hansraj Jagtap, Neetu Pandey, Charul Malik, Priya Ambust and Sarvadaman, among others. Dr Shandilya came onboard as a producer as she thought that the film will be able to bring a change in the society. "We made this film to spread awareness about the situation and not let history repeat itself. We have to save our young ones and be better providers for their future. We majorly casted fresh faces for this film as we believe in offering a platform for up-and-coming artists. We are hopeful that the audience will enjoy the film and spread the message that we convey with it," she added. The script also deeply touched actor Sanjay Mishra. "I was encapsulated when I read the script and found out that it was based on true events. We can only fathom the struggle and fear these several young kids carried during this ordeal. We – the citizens as well as our Indian government should strive towards being a bridge for our youth and guide them towards a better future, not making fake promises for some petty cash. I hope the audience will watch the film and understand the gravity of the incident," he shared. Actor Vijay Raaz found the film's story sensitive yet informative. "This is unfortunate to learn that thousands of poor innocent youngsters became Maoists, just to get jobs as promised under the surrender scheme of the government. It is much more disheartening to know that such stories never used to see the light of day in the past," he said. Written by Vijay Lal Shahdeo along with Kedar Dharwadkar and Sandeep Akut, the makers hope that the film will be able to leave a mark in the hearts of Indian audiences as it did internationally. Lohardaga was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 where it was well received.

  • Mirzapur 3 wrapped, actors announce on Instagram

    The season 3 of the much-awaited series on Amazon Prime has officially wrapped. Actors Ali Fazal and Shweta Tripathi Sharma shared the news on Instagram. Ever since its launch, fans have been waiting to here from the team of Mirzapur on the upcoming season. The wait is now over as actor Ali Fazal announced that the shoot of the new season is officially completed. Fazal shared a reel where the cast and crew of Mirzapur can be seen shouting, "Its a wrap". Ali Fazal wrote in the post, “To my most dearest and loved team, thank you sooooo much for the love and hardwork you brought to the world of Mirzapur . Season 3 has been a very different journey for me, as have the other two seasons. But u must know i say this because i and Guddu Pandit derive every ounce from ever person working on those sets to help build what you eventually see out there. You may not realise it but you all have helped me in ways i cannot write down. I only hope you all get to read this because i dont have everyones tags. So heres my thank you. Sorry this time i couldn’t pen my personal letters to the team. To my co actors – you know you are the best. And you know how much i love you. Lastly, thanks amazon. Excel. And mostly my man Guru, for directing the coolest show.” A few days ago, Sharma also shared the news about the shoot of Mirzapur Season 3 coming to an end. In the video, she shared how she felt on her last day on the sets. “I couldn’t wait to start shooting as soon as I finished reading the episodes for season 3. And now that we’ve completed shoot, I can’t wait for all of you to watch it!! Wrapped a little piece of my heart. It’s been one hell of challenging and fulfilling ride. She’s one of the bravest, toughest and most endearing girls I’ve met. And I ♥️ her!! And this cast and crew 💛 and the biggest gems @gurmmeetsingh @kapoorbaba 💎🫶🏼 #SeasonWrap #Mirzapur3 #MS3W,” the post said. Mirzapur also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Rasika Duggal and Divyenndu in leading roles. It turned out to be one of the most successful original series made in India.

  • How Luke Kenny prepared to play blind man

    Luke Kenny underwent a special training to play a visually-impaired man in Dharavi Bank. The National Association For The Blind helped him get into the shoes of his character. We often wonder what is to play a visually-impaired man on screen when you can see? Actors and directors take special care not these days and go beyond the usual to make audiences believe what they see onscreen is true. Kenny, at all point during the shoot, was vigilant about not letting his visual expressions interfere in his performance. While playing his on-screen character 'Michael' in MX Player's original series Dharavi Bank, he underwent a special training for his role. He asked the team to completely shut his eyes with prosthetics so that he could have a minimal visual of the surroundings. Speaking about his journey, he shared that becoming Michael wasn't easy. “For Dharavi Bank’s Michael, I underwent one of the most difficult and complicated preparations. You know when one of your senses is blocked, you take some time to work around with the rest of them," he said. The experts from the National Association For The Blind (NAB) helped him to ace his on-screen role. "The credit for my performance goes to Hemendra Singh from NAB, Worli, who was immensely instrumental in guiding me through this preparation. Even though it was partial blindness and my eyes were completely shut with prosthetics, he explained/took me through everything seamlessly. I’m really glad Samit and team pushed me to do this because this is an experience I will never forget,” he added. Dharavi Bank revolves around a cop trying to topple over a powerful gangster, who is the de facto government in Mumbai. The series also stars Suniel Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Sonali Kulkarni, Freddy Daruwala, Shanthi Priya, Santosh Juvekar, Nagesh Bhosle, Siddharth Menon, Hitesh Bhojraj, Samikssha Batnagar, Rohit Pathak, Jaywant Wadkar, Chinmay Mandlekar, Bhavvana Rao, Shruti Srivastava, Sandhya Shetty, Pavitra Sarkar and Vamsi Krishna in key roles.

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