No honey for gul

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Attractive and smart, Gul Panag likes to be in charge of her life and that includes being able to cook a meal for herself if the need arises. Gul, who is looking forward to four films as different as chalk and cheese, (Anubhav, Hello Darling, Hello and Summer 2007) loves saag and makai ki roti.

I am: A non-vegetarian but I go through phases of self-imposed restriction and don’t eat meat for long stretches of time.

I relish eating: Chicken and lamb. In vegetarian food, my favourites are rajma chawal and pasta. In vegetables, I love broccoli, baby corn and capsicum.

I begin my day with: A cup of tea and a biscuit.

My breakfast comprises: A glass of vegetable juice, two eggs and a toast.

My lunch and dinner: Is more or less the same. I carry lunch from home when I am shooting. It comprises either dal, chicken or paneer, a vegetable and chapattis.

My fitness regime: I try and fit in some form of exercise every day. On working days, a visit to the gym becomes tough at times so I make do with a short walk or yoga. I definitely believe that fitness is just not just about going to the gym and about working out like crazy. It is 50 per cent what you eat and 50 per cent work out. Many people neglect their diet and then work out like mad for two hours thinking it will all be okay.

I am allergic to: Honey and certain types of sea food.

One food or drink that has a childhood memory for me is the home made grape squash made from the grapes at our farm in Punjab. Every summer after we plucked the grapes, my grandparents would spend three to four days boiling and making squash from it. It was an annual ritual; sometimes my grandfather would get ambitious and make wine too.

When I am shooting: I usually snack on biscuits, nuts and fruits.

In the evenings I binge on: Hot poha.

In my fridge you’ll always find: Fruits and yoghurt.

My Sunday lunch is mostly: A brunch. We usually make chicken in barbeque style. My cousin and two or three of my friends marinate the chicken the previous night. We eat on the terrace with either a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne. Sometimes the girls go out to a restaurant for brunch.

My favourite cook from my family: My mother, and my aunt (father’s sister). My mother specialises in Goan chicken while my aunt makes excellent dosas.

The one dish I expertise in: Chili con carne.

My comfort food is: Hot chocolate and a big cookie.

My favourite restaurants in India: Spices, Marriott and Fiesta in Goa.

My favourite spice: Cumin and oregano.

My favourite beverage: Fresh juice or sparkling wine.

My favourite poison: Beer.

In desserts, my vote goes to: Caramel custard. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

I resemble a: Peach.

In fruits my favourites are: Mango, kiwi and strawberry.

In foodstuffs one thing I can’t resist buying: Dry fruits. I absolutely love figs, almonds and sultanas. I eat the first packet in the car itself.

I feel guilty after eating: Chocolate.

My favourites in Punjabi food: When the winter is at its peak in Punjab, and it is really cold, I love having saag and makai ki roti with a dollop of butter.

Favourite cuisines: Mexican, Lebanese and Burmese in that order.

My idea of a romantic meal: Is a packed lunch of cold meats and various breads eaten in the wilderness. I am not the kind of girl who likes to be taken to candlelit dinners. I would love to take a packed lunch with my date to some exotic location far away from here. Would like to drive down there and carry lots of stuff to eat. I am an outdoor kind of person. Every week I drive out of Bombay and park myself away from people.



200 gms penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil (for the pasta)
3 to 4 tsp olive oil (for making the sauce)
1 tetrapack tomato puree
4 to 5 basil leaves
¼ tsp oregano
6-7 cloves garlic, crushed
50 gms sun-dried tomatoes
50 gms parmesan cheese (grated)
7 to 8 olives (chopped)
Paprika (as per taste)
Red chilli powder (as per taste)
Salt to taste

For the pasta:

Prepare the penne by boiling it in hot water with salt and a tablespoon of oil. Take it out al dente (firm but not hard). Pour olive oil over it so it doesn’t stick together. Keep it aside in a wide dish.

For the sauce:

Add oil to a heated, deep skillet. Add garlic and basil. Before the garlic goes brown, add the puree. Cook it for about eight minutes on slow fire. Add salt, paprika, oregano and chilli powder. Turn off the fire as the sauce thickens. Add penne to it. Mix well. Heat the mix a little if the penne has gone cold. Empty the contents into a serving dish. Sprinkle chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes and the parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

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