Review: Burgundy Box's DIY

The brain child of two bankers and a marketer, Burgundy Box has long been serving ready-made and DIY (Do it Yourself) gourmet meals, appetisers and desserts. The DIY (Do it Yourself) variety requires a bit more time and effort but judging from my experience, it's worth it. So without much ado, there are three steps to enjoying a DIY Burgundy Box (Do it Yourself):

1. Order it

My motive for doing the review was to give my mother a much-needed break and my family a nice Sunday treat. Since we are a family of four, I chose two main courses for lunch - Vegetable Thai Red Curry with Steamed Rice and Aloo Bhukhara Kofte with 4 Laccha Parathas. The DIY boxes are not cheap (ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 500) but when you see the quality and quantity, you'll know why. There is a good selection of Indian and international appetisers, side dishes, mains and desserts to choose from.

2. Cook it

Ingredients for Thai Curry
Ingredients for Aloo Bukhara Kofte
I asked for the boxes to be delivered at 1, completely overlooking the fact that we'd need time to prepare the dishes! And on top of that, there was a delay due to the weather and the fact that my residence is far away from Goregaon. The boxes arrived at 1:45 and I was feeling really guilty about making my family wait. But all our faces broke out in smiles when we opened the boxes and saw the neatly packed ingredients, all measured, chopped and numbered as per the steps in the recipe card. The Burgundy Box team had done everything possible to simplify the cooking process.

Preparing the Vegetable Red Thai Curry
For the Vegetable Thai Curry, they had provided everything from the curry paste, coconut milk and vegetables to the little items like stock and oil. All we had to do was roast the items and put them together in a pan in the right order. The rice was already cooked but I sprinkled some water on it and microwaved it for a minute as per the instructions. The result was a beautiful large bowl of fragrant Thai Curry and rice that was as good as freshly cooked.

Cooking the Kofta curry
The Kofta Curry didn't go as smoothly as the first dish, probably because we switched to a non-stick pan which tends to heat very quickly. The box contained the gravy, the koftas and packets of spice powder, a carton of ghee and seasoning consisting of cream and coriander. What we had to do was roast the gravy in ghee, add the koftas, simmer and then season with cream and coriander. The only problem was the instructions said "roast the ghee for 30 seconds" and on the non-stick pan, the ghee browned in mere seconds. A burning smell rent the air and my mom and I went into hysterics. We rushed through the rest of the steps. The koftas were excellent but the gravy didn't taste as good as expected. The Burgundy Box team had done a great job with the laccha parathas - all we had to do was cook them some more on both sides and apply some ghee.

3. Eat it
Final dish: Vegetable Thai Red Curry with Steamed Rice
We managed to have both dishes ready (even with all my photography) by 3 PM. It was late but the food was so scrumptious and filling that all was forgiven. I rate the Thai Curry and Rice 5/5. Be it the taste, quantity or freshness, this dish was perfect and as good as any A-grade Thai restaurant. Following the recipe card served as a great trial in case we wanted to make it again on our own. I was afraid that the red curry would be too spicy but it was just right.
Final dish: Aloo Bukhara Kofte with Laccha Paratha
It was with some trepidation that we ladled the kofta curry and parathas on to our plates. But the koftas were dreamily perfect - full of creamy cottage cheese and rich dry fruit filling. The parathas were crisp and delicious too. But the gravy was a bit of a let-down. I don't know if it was because of our over-roasting the ghee or the gravy itself. But the experience proved to me that if you're an absolute novice, you might end up making errors even with all the assistance provided.

The quantities were gigantic and we were completely full with the meal. It's tough to get that feeling in a restaurant without paying through your nose. And if you attempted complicated dishes like aloo bukhara from scratch, you'd take really long.

Burgundy Box Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So, there you have it. You have a gourmet meal ready in 30 minutes at half the price of a restaurant item (since the quantity is equal to two portions). Do I recommend it? Certainly. I only have two suggestions for Burgundy Box - change the preparation time from 10-15 to 20-30 minutes because it does take that much time. Secondly, provide boxes made of water-resistant material during the monsoons. Ready to order?

Product review: Himalaya's Purifying Neem Scrub & Fairness Kesar Face Pack

Are you someone who likes experimenting with the products they use on their skin or hair? Or do you like me, tend to stick with brands you’ve had a positive experience with? A while ago, I got my hands on two lovely products from one of my favourite herbal beauty brands – Himalaya. They were:
  • Himalaya's Purifying Neem Scrub
  • Himalaya Fairness Kesar Face Pack
The products come in 100gm packs in sturdy tubes with the familiar Himalaya logo. Here is a detailed review of the efficacy, texture and fragrance of both products.

Himalaya's Purifying Neem Scrub 

I’m a huge fan of scrubs given that I have slightly oily skin. I love the way good scrubs will soften the skin along with purifying it - something that face wash doesn’t accomplish. Himalaya’s Purifying Neem Scrub smells lovely, doesn’t feel exceedingly rough and has a creamy soft consistency while washing off. The result is soft skin and a smoother complexion. The scrub blends the goodness of anti-bacterial neem and exfoliating apricot.

Efficacy: A scrub is meant to exfoliate your skin gently and leave it feeling fresher, brighter and cleaner than it was before use. Himalaya’s Purifying Neem Scrub accomplishes this with aplomb.
Efficacy rating: 5/5

Texture: The scrub is both creamy and granular, making it a delight to apply and wash off. While washing off, there is a foamy sensation so I think this scrub works as a face wash as well.
Texture rating: 5/5

Fragrance: The product smells really, really good. The fragrance of apricot dominates and dulls the bitterness of neem.
Fragrance rating: 5/5

Value for money: At Rs 130 for a 100gm tube, this product is more affordable than many others in its category and a real steal. You can get the 50gm tube for Rs 70. However, you do need a good amount of scrub for the entire face and neck.
Value for money: 5/5

All in all, I have no negatives to cite for this beautiful scrub.

Total: 5/5

Himalaya Fairness Kesar Face Pack

I don’t obsess over the colour of my skin but I certainly see the benefits of de-tanning and brightening. The Himalaya Fairness Kesar Face Pack does well on both accounts. It smells heavenly and has a thin consistency unlike the thick pastes you end up with while concocting homemade packs. So, it’s easy to apply and dries in mere minutes. Washing it off isn’t a pain either - it’s not like a stringy pack; rather it melts away from the skin, leaving you with a rosier complexion. Along with saffron, the pack contains a wealth of ingredients including turmeric, Indian aloe and walnut.

Efficacy: It’s simple – a fairness face pack should visibly lighten your skin tone immediately after use. This pack definitely does that and the fairness is a becoming glow rather than a synthetic chemical-induced bleaching.
Efficacy rating: 5/5

Texture: This is a fast-drying face pack and the texture is light and thin. Once dry, the pack is powdery rather than plasticky and comes off easily. The only issue is that the pack is difficult to squeeze out of the tube and I think I may have to cut the tube at some point.
Texture rating: 4.5/5

Fragrance: The divine perfume of saffron and walnut infuse this face pack with a mesmerising fragrance. But it’s quite faint and not at all overpowering.
Fragrance rating: 5/5

Value for money: All the Himalaya products are fairly priced and this one is no exception. At Rs 130 for a 100gm tube and Rs 70 for a 50gm tube, the pricing is extremely competitive. And you don’t need too much of the pack for a good glow so it will last a while.
Value for money: 5/5

Total: 4.8/5

There is a face wash, scrub and face pack range in both categories – purifying and fairness. So if you don’t prefer to mix and match, you can get the entire range of one kind depending on your need. If you have acne-prone skin, I suggest you go for the neem-based routine. But if you have great skin and just want to keep tan at bay, go for the fairness range. Either way, you’ll be happy with what you get – that much I guarantee.

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Coolpad Mega 2.5D: The best budget selfie phone

After days and days of excited waiting, I finally have the Coolpad Mega 2.5D in my hands. Watch this for my initial reactions.

At 6,999 rupees for each device, I wasn't expecting the moon from this latest new baby from the Coolpad stable. But the phone exceeded my expectations on two crucial fronts - look and camera.


Available in black, white and royal gold, I was hoping to get my hands on the gold device. I've only ever owned phones in black and white and gold seemed really special. I wasn't wrong. The phone looks and feels like a high-end phone with curved edges - slim, sleek and incredibly light. In fact, I wasn't sure if the battery was in the phone - that's how light it felt (143 grams). Check it out.

The screen size at 5.5" is the best that you can ask for and I was glad to see that clarity and brightness were not compromised. The touch sensitivity is not spectacular but reasonably good. The back of the phone is made of plastic and there are metal frames on the sides.


The number one USP of this budget phone is its 8MP front camera with a wide 83.6 degree field of view and f/2.2 aperture that seek to provide you with stellar selfies and grofies (group selfies). I've reviewed selfie phones before and let me tell you - this one really works wonders. Apart from the excellent results from the smart beautification mode, the editing options are completely cutting edge although they bring down the resolution of the photo drastically. You can soften your skin, slim your face, add a becoming blush and make your eyes bigger in quite a natural way. Of course, the results are unnatural if you take them to the highest level. I'd recommend using each effect to a maximum value of 15. Here are a few examples.

With no editing
With the slimming effect - there is some loss of quality
One feature which is quirky but unnecessary is the camera's ability to guess your sex and age. So I got 'nymph' (girl) and ages varying from 16 to 19. That was great for my ego but not exactly accurate. The back camera also has a resolution of 8MP which is not great but pretty decent for a phone of this price. However, when I actually tried it out, I was stunned by the clarity and detailing. The camera performed particularly well with close-up images. In wide angle images, there was focus only on the subject - everything else got a bit blurred. I am yet to test it in the outdoors but I'll do that tomorrow and you can expect a review on my travel blog soon. The only cons are the camera's tendency to shake while clicking selfies (your hands have to be really steady) and thus produce blurry images and the lack of a front flash in low-light conditions.

Indoor photograph with Coolpad Mega 2.5D
Close-up photo with the Coolpad Mega


The phone promises to be fast, considering that it comes with a 3GB RAM (astonishing for this price category), 1GHz quad core Mediatek MT6735P processor and 16GB in-built memory (expandable up to 32GB). With a 2500 mAh battery, the phone should last for up to 9 hours and at the time of writing this post, the battery had barely dipped in 8 hours, although with minimal usage. This dual-SIM phone offers Android 6.0 Marshmallow as an OS with Cool UI 8.0 which includes several interesting features like single hand unlocking and screenshots of multiple scrolls. Coolpad Mega 2.5D comes with a hybrid SIM slot (you can use two micro SIMs or one micro SIM and a micro SD card) and 4G compatibility. Since I've only used the phone for a day, I'll be able to advise you better on these aspects in my "a day with the Coolpad Mega 2.5D" review, coming up soon on Trail-stained Fingers.

At a glance

OS Android Version Android 6.0
OS Name Android
OSVendor Google
Chipset Type MT6735P
Frequency Quad-core 1.0GHZ
Hardware Form Factor PDA
Network Mode(GSM2G+GSM 3G (Video Calling) 4G+4G
PCBA dimension(in mm) 68.7*52*7.8
Processor MT6735P
Antenna Type Bulit-in
Battery Battery Type Li-ion
Battery  (in Volt) 4.35V
Battery Capacity 2500mAh
Talk Time >9hrs
Standby Time >200hrs
Charger Charger Input and Output voltage/Ampier  200~240V/5V/1.5A
Charger Certification (CE or others) BIS
Charger PIN type (2 or 3 Pin) 2
Storage Expandable Memory 32GB
Sensors Proximity, Light and G sensor
Memory card HOT Swapable Yes
Design Form Factor PDA
Weight  140g
Dimensions 76.8*153*7.85mm
Screen type (External or Internal) Internal
Screen Resolution HD, 1280X720
Touchpad technology(Capacitive/resistive) Capacitive
Screen type  HD
Colour Depth 16M
Screen Size 5.5"
Multitouch Yes
Audio Formats Supported aac, amr, awb, mka, mid, mp3, m4a, ogg,wav, flac, imy, mp2
VIdeo Formats Supported webm, ts, mp4, mov, mkv, m4v, flv, f4v, avi, 3gpp, 3g2
Video Resolution 1080P
Video Frame Rate 30fps
FM Yes
FM (MTK/others) MTK
FM radio (Supported freq. band) 87.5MHz-108MHz
Frequency Band WCDMA:900/2100MHz,
FDD:1800/850MHz                  TDD:2300MHZ
Camera Rear camera (Pixel Size core brand) 8.0MP
Front camera (Pixel Size core brand) 8.0MP
Rear camera description(auto focus/FF/auto focus with flash) AF
Multi Shot Yes
Night Mode Yes
Video Recording Yes
Video Storage Capacity limited by user space
Wide Screen Video Yes

Coolpad Mega 2.5D is available exclusively on and comes with a pair of earphones, charger and USB cable. The first flash sale is on August 24, for which registrations began on 10th August. Don't forget to follow Trail-stained Fingers for the second detailed review.