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L’Opera: From France, with love and flavours




New Delhi, April 26: Remember Julia Child? The famous chef known for introducing French delicacies to the US? In similar fashion, a Frenchman has been keeping alive his country’s recipes in the very heart of the national capital for the past six years.

L’Opera — Kazem Samandari’s initiative — is a delightful place that offers authentic and explicit French bakery and pastry products and has been successful in bringing the best of the French recipes to the people of Delhi.

Samandari came to India along with his wife nine years ago to stay along with their daughter and ever since have became a part of the country.

Just step inside the small patisseree in Khan Market and the sensational aroma of chocolate and coffee mesmerises you.

An exquisite array of breads, Viennese, mini-Viennese, pastries, tarts, cakes, biscuits, salads, quiches, sandwiches, feuilletes, tapas, canapes and many more is spread across the outlet.

“The whole idea of L’Opera was accidental, it is not something that we thought of doing initially. It was my son’s idea to come up with the concept of L’Opera,” Samandari told IANS.

For him, the absence of authentic and original French bakeries in the national capital paved way for L’Opera.

“Hence we thought that L’Opera can be that perfect escape for the pastry and bakery lovers who are looking for that original taste of French culinary in India,” Samandari added.

Over six years, L’Opera has grown a lot and now is a food chain with 15 outlets in the NCR region and one in Dehradun. It is also planning to expand its reach to other metros and take its count to 66 in next five years.

Samandari claimed that it is the authenticity and very high quality of its products that makes L’Opera stand out from others.

And to prove his word, came a croissant, a fluffy ceation that brings alive the rich taste of butter and softness when tossed inside mouth.

“We have got Paris to India. When people come here to eat and say ‘This reminds me exactly of what I had in Paris’ makes us happy and proud,” Samandari noted.

For Samandari, the success of L’Opera is a great indication of the fact that India welcomes cuisines from across the globe.

“India is a combination of many many people of different origins. Indians are global. It is a very good thing that in India there is an increasingly interest for French type bakery and pastry products, because this develops the market,” he maintained.

Samandari also pointed that though the products reflect the rich flavours of France, the soul remains very much Indian.


“The raw material used for baking and making the items are mostly Indian products. If the Indian products are not of highest quality then we use imported products,” he replied.

For him, fusion is a great way of indulging two different flavours and coming up with a new exclusive dish like that of strawberry pepper.

However, ‘Indianising’ of items is something that hasn’t yet been thought about and nor are there any future plans to do so.

“We strictly don’t believe in the amalgamation of the Indian flavours in our products. Let there be some French taste,” Samandari responded.

And to get the feel of Paris while sitting at the Khan Market outlet, this foodie went ahead and tried some of the personal favourites of Samandari.

First came the Eclair Coffee — thick layer of coffee enriched cream over the bun as well as stuffed inside, then nutty chocolate treat and chocolate mille feuille — both chocolate based pastries, a heavenly pleasure for anyone who is in deep love with the flavour of chocolate. It was followed by the macaroons. I devoted myself in two varieties of macaroons — salty caramel and macaroon rose, both delicious.

A single bite of any of these products will end up increasing your appetite and making you crave for more.



Best ways to decorate your space with plants



Home decoration plants

New Delhi, Jan 17: Plants look just adorable and keeping them indoors not only brings life to the entire place but they also improve the air quality by reducing toxins existing in the atmosphere so make sure you are decorating your abode with plants nicely.

Myna Batavia, Founder of Green Carpet, and Preeti Narula, Founder of Living Balconies, list down ways to decorate your house with plants.

* Your living room is the best place to be decorated with a lot of greenery. Potted plants are the best choice to be kept in the living room. These pots are available in different sizes and colours to suit your requirements. Ensure that they are visible over the furniture kept in the living room.

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* The dining area should be graced with plants such as money plants, bamboo plants, and ferns in glass bottles and vases.

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* Embellish your bedroom with indoor plants such as Sansevieria which increases oxygen levels at night to have a sound sleep. You can keep small potted plants on bedside tables on either side of the bed.

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* In the open space or balconies, install a shelf or hanging flower boxes along the railings to make it look attractive from outside. Also planter in sync with wall colours and embellishing the place with animal artefacts will increase the beauty quotient of these areas.

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* Also just to fill in the empty area of your apartment, you can try keeping big plants in colourful pots.

* Decorate your living space with indoor plants as they make any area feel bright, lively, calm and beautiful.

* Place your plants on shelves or wooden pallets to create a mini indoor garden

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* One can also hang indoor plants like Chinese money plant, Staghorn ferns, snake plants and weeping fig in the balcony.

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* Use your old crockery set for planting to decorate your kitchen, living room, and even bathrooms.

* Make your own terrarium with succulents to create a decorative piece in your kid’s room or dining table.


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Writing a to-do list will help you sleep faster at night




New York, Jan 15: Unable to sleep at night? Try writing a “to-do” list at bedtime as it may aid in falling asleep, a new study suggests.

“Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract night time difficulties with falling asleep,” said lead author of the study Michael K. Scullin from Baylor University, in the US.

The study compared sleep patterns of participants who took five minutes to write down upcoming duties versus participants who chronicled completed activities.

“There are two schools of thought about this. One is that writing about the future would lead to increased worry about unfinished tasks and delay sleep, while journaling about completed activities should not trigger worry,” Scullin said.

“The alternative hypothesis is that writing a to-do list will ‘off-load’ those thoughts and reduce worry,” he added.

For the study, published in Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers monitored electrical brain activity using electrodes on a group of healthy young adults.

They completed a writing assignment for five minutes prior to overnight polysomnography recording in a controlled sleep laboratory.

They were randomly assigned to write about tasks that they needed to remember to complete the next few days (to-do list) or about tasks they had completed the previous few days (completed list).

Participants in the to-do list condition fell asleep significantly faster than those in the completed-list condition.

The more specifically participants wrote their to-do list, the faster they subsequently fell asleep, whereas the opposite trend was observed when participants wrote about completed activities.

Therefore, to facilitate falling asleep, individuals may derive benefit from writing a very specific to-do list for five minutes at bedtime rather than journaling about completed activities, the researchers noted.


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Gardening can make old people stay more healthy




Germany, Jan 12: Indulging in gardening may not only keep older adults active but also boost their health and mental well-being, finds a study.

The findings showed that older women who spend more than three hours on household chores a day and got less or more than seven hours of sleep a night, were less likely to be in good health.

However, the researchers found that the similar criteria had no effect on the health of elderly men.

It is because older women spent more time doing repititive housework like cleaning and cooking, while men spent time in gardening and maintenance work, which is mentally very stimulating, the Daily Mail reported.

“The difference in the sexes’ health is probably to do with the type of housework women tend to do, which is a lot more repetitive and routine work, like cleaning and cooking. While this probably has some limited health benefits, it is not very physically active, is not really exercise and is not very stimulating mentally, which relates to physical health,” Nicholas Adjei, researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Germany, was quoted as saying by the paper.

“Men did much more active household chores, such as gardening and maintenance. The physical exertion is good for the health, with gardening involving digging, mowing and carrying soil. We think gardening and fixing things may also be more enjoyable than cleaning,” Adjei added.

For the study, researchers looked at more than 36,000 pensioners, who reported about their daily activities and general health. Healthiness was calculated based on participants’ answers to a questionnaire, in which they rated their health on a five-point scale from “poor” to “very good”.

The results showed that even taking away sleep, which can impact people’s health, men appear healthier when doing jobs around the house.


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