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Flower show highlights

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore is currently hosting one of its biannual flower shows. 
Here's a photo tour of some of the interesting finds...

Venus flytrap is a fine example of adaptation in plants that grow in nutrient-poor soil. These carnivorous plants trap insects and supplement their nutrition with animal protein....



It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids—with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves, which is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike...




The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against wasting energy by trapping objects with no nutritional value...


Another carnivorous plant on display was the Pitcher plant. They have chlorophyll in their leaves but they grow in nitrogen deficient soil. So they evolved the power to catch and consume insects to provide them with the nutrients. The funnel-shaped pitchers are topped with an extension, called a hood, that arches over the opening and helps keep rain out. The plants produce nectar near the opening of the tube that attracts insects and may even contain a chemical that drugs them so that they are more likely to fall into the pitcher. The insect cannot get out of the cup because the walls are smooth and slippery and the walls have hairs pointing down. After the insect is dead, its body rots. Rotting releases the nitrogen from the insect's body. The nitrogen then goes into the liquid and the plant takes in the nitrogen from the liquid...



Clown faced Pansy...



Leafy canopy...


Beautiful Bromeliads...


Linaria...



Crown of thorns or Christ plant...



And the amazing camouflage by the Common Jezebel butterfly...



The Pink Moon Cactus completely lack chlorophyll, exposing the pink pigmentation. Since chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis, these mutations are grafted onto another cactus with normal chlorophyll...



Geranium...







Nasturtiums have been used in herbal medicine for their antiseptic and expectorant qualities. They are said to be good for chest colds and to promote the formation of new blood cells.

The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry...




Sweet William...


Mealy Blue Sage...





European white water-lily...



White orchid...



Singapore food festival at Shiro

In line with the Singapore National Day celebration on the 9th of August, Shiro will be serving a specially curated menu of famous Singaporean dishes. I got a preview of the upcoming Singaporean culinary fare. 
Here's a photo tour...


Shiro is an award-winning Pan-Asian restaurant at UB City, Bangalore.  Its signature high ceilings and grand statues epitomize the essence of Shiro.


I started off with one of my old favorites, Peach ice tea...


Gado Gado Salad is a lesson in nutrition and taste...

Singaporean Laksa soup is a bowl of goodness...


Black pepper prawns are spicy little bits. The papaya salad comes handy to douse the fire...


The Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail. This gorgeous drink was developed sometime before 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore...


Singaporean style chicken satay served with peanut sauce...


The Cashew chicken had the smoothest texture and comfortable spice level...



The stir fried cashew vegetables along with Jasmine rice was one of my favorites of the day. The broccoli and a little hit of peanut left me feeling delightfully healthy...


Lamb Rendang was another revelation. The pieces just melt in my mouth...



Tofu in Chili Sambal is not overly spiced as the name suggests. It is a must try for its simplicity...


The noodles need no selling, they are always so comforting...


Hainanese Chicken Rice was really to my liking. The rice was fragrant and moist. The chicken was soft and tender with perfect seasoning...


Shell crackers and picks are placed on the table and I guessed the next dish and prepared myself for a fight...


 The Singapore Chili Crab is a must have. Every order of this specialty dish comes with a complimentary glass of the famous Singapore Sling (only on August 9th)...


The steam buns is a good accompaniment with the crab...


 My co-diner's claws after the wrestle with the crab...

This Singaporean culinary feast kicks off with a special dinner to celebrate the Singapore National Day on the 9th of August 2016,  hosted by Ema Trinidad, founder of ExpatLife India. 

This specially curated Singaporean a la carte menu will be available for everyone for lunch and dinner from the 9th to the 14th of August. 

They have a few vegetarian dishes as well.  
Average cost for a couple would be Rs 2,500. 

You can find the complete menu at expatlifeindia.com/singaporeshiro.html

Italian delights at Mezzaluna

I was invited to Movenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore, for 'Italy on your Platter', a specially curated dinner at the gourmet Italian restaurant Mezzaluna. 
Here's a photo tour...



The spectacular interiors alone is worth a reason to visit this place...


The decor is so tastefully done. Everything is immaculately designed and oozes magnificence... 


I was told that chef Armando Di Filippo will be showcasing a wide range of authentic Italian pizzas. He turned out to be a straightforward man with some ruggedly practical style of cooking...


The ginger ale infused welcome drink...


As I wait for the pizzas, some special breads are served, all made from the same dough with some tweaking at baking time...



More appetizers are served. Zucchini, Bruschetta and Jalapeno cheese balls helped to whet my appetite...



 The pizzas were getting ready...



Soon the first pizza of the day arrived. Colosseo with cheese and crushed black pepper topping was thoroughly satisfying... 


Ponte Melvio is a tale of simplicity with lamb and Pecorino cheese...


As Armando suggested, beer goes well with his pizzas... 



The pasta and the cheesiness of Linguine Pizza makes it quite filling...


Then there was the visually stunning Piazza Del Popolo with artichoke and asparagus...



Pincio with rucola salad, parma ham and figs reveal an array of interesting flavors...





Aventino with Arrabbiata sauce. The delicate hint of garlic and chili is a fine touch...



Pantheon with fresh tomato and beef. The meat was allowed to be the star here...



All of the varieties are also available in the form of Calzoni. I am glad I tried the Fontana Di Trevi with Anchovies and prawns. I love Anchovies, they have a stronger taste than other fishes...


I ended the repast with a tiramisu made without eggs. It tasted amazing...


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