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Archive for July, 2013

Last Saturday, Delhi was under water. I’m not kidding – cars were floating, little boys on the street had taken off all their clothes and were dancing in pools of water as high as them, and I was in a car, wondering if I might die.


Okay that was a tad dramatic, but seriously it was a crazy amount of rain. Apparently the most we’ve had in 4 years!


I was on my way to a Fratelli event at Set’Z in DLF Emporio to celebrate their award winning wines over a CAL Blogger’s Table lunch. I didn’t turn back and head home for two reasons – I love these wines. And this was a chance to spend a relaxed afternoon with some of my favourite people!


The menu had such apt writing on it. Take a look the circled text below. Hehe πŸ˜›


Raining wine


We started with some lovely cheese and caramelised walnuts. Yummm.


Cheese plate


Then we said hello to these two lovely white wines: a tart, summer-in-your-mouth Chardonnay and a fruity-flowery Chenin Blanc.


White wines


With these wines we had some delicious sushi, dim sum, and herb roasted chicken among other things.


Sushi


Next came the full-bodied red wines. I love how pretty the bottles are πŸ™‚


Wine pouring


Red wines have a way of creeping up on you – particularly if you’re tasting 4 types in 2 hours.


It all started rather innocently – with one glass of hearty Cabernet Shiraz and Simon, a Fratelli sommelier, (in the centre) telling us about the different types of wines. That’s my friend Varun on the right. I adore him.


Simon the sommelier


I learnt how to swirl my glass to release the flavours.


Glasses swirling


There was some great food to accompany the reds – like this melt-in-the-mouth Bara gosht kali mirch.


Tender mutton


And these yummy thin crust pizzas.


Pizzas


Oh and some perfectly fat-kissed pork belly skewers.


Pork belly


Soon there were three more types of reds before me – the rather smooth Sangiovese, the lighter Merlot, and perhaps my favourite of the afternoon – Sette.


Three


A fusion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese varieties, a Sette needs to be decanted before it can be enjoyed and Jaswinder (our CAL wine man) did that like a boss.


Jaswinder the wine guy


Here’s the decanted Sette being poured into my glass πŸ™‚


Decanted wine


By this time we were smiling (or should I say giggling :P) rather loudly. Look at pretty Mukta – I love her smile! πŸ™‚


Mukta


At one point there were four glasses in front of me.


Four


And very quickly after that, I lost count!


Ummm five


I’m sorry I can’t say more intelligent things about the wine. What I can say is that they were all immensely drinkable and enjoyable. I loved some more than the others, but I’m sure you’ll find your own Fratelli favourites.


We rounded things up with dessert and then spent some time exploring the mall before heading home in the receding rain.


Desserts


Here’s another look at some of the lovely Fratelli wines. Which one is your favourite? πŸ™‚


Fratelli wines


*GIVEAWAY WINNER*


The winner of Timescity shopping voucher is Bhakti! Congratulations sweetie! πŸ™‚ Thanks everyone for their entries!


Have a good weekend folks!


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Do you like sprinkles? Of course you do! You’re lovely.


What kind of person doesn’t like sprinkles? I’d view a person like that very suspiciously. How can anyone not like these mini colour bombs?


I mean look at these colours! They’re pretty enough to brighten the dullest day!


Ice cream bread 1


Now I need to share this crazy easy, insanely fun, and magically quick recipe with you’ll.


When I first read about ice cream bread, I must admit I was a bit skeptical.


Just 2 ingredients can make me some sweet bread? No rising? No kneading? AND I can add sprinkles if I want? Getouttahere!


So I mixed the 2 magic ingredients together (self-raising flour + ice cream), and watched my oven for the next 25 minutes like a child waiting for the magician to pull a rabbit out of his hat.


And I was just as amazed with the result.


Ice cream bread 3


This ice cream bread is delicate, slightly cakey, and fluffy, like bread.


It tastes wonderful just as it is, but I’d expect it would be even more amazing with a touch of jam or sweetened cream, spread over.


The most exciting part is that you can totally customize it to suit your personality, current state of mind, or fav flavour.


Sprinkles in happy colours was my clear choice.


Ice cream bread 2


You could try any flavour of ice cream.
You could add dried or fresh fruit.
You could do chocolate chips, or rice crispies, or sprinkles!


Just go with what your heart desires and it’ll be awesome πŸ™‚


Ice cream bread 4


Easiest ever Sprinkle ice cream bread


Prep time: 2-3 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Serves: 6


Ingredients:


oil, for greasing
235 ml vanilla ice cream, softened but not melted
85 g self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar (optional)
sprinkles


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180ΒΊ C and grease a loaf tin.
2. Stir the softened ice cream and flour together to make a sticky batter. Add the sugar (if using) and mix well. Transfer half the batter to the tin and scatter sprinkles over. Add the remaining batter and cover with more sprinkles.
3. Bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin and cutting into pieces.


Ice cream bread 5



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I adore Thai food. I’ve visited Thailand a few times and the food has never failed to blow me away. Look at my Eating in Thailand post to see what I mean.


The abundance of seafood, the celebration of coconut, the fresh produce, and the colour in everything – it’s the best food destination in the world.


So when I heard about Ego Thai being one of the participating restaurants in the Timescity Gourmet Week, I was really excited.


The Timescity Gourmet Week is a week-long celebration of culinary indulgences at the Times Food Awards 2013 winning restaurants in Delhi, Bombay, and Bangalore, starting at just 750 INR.


There’s a great list to choose from in Delhi, but I chose Ego Thai because I was really craving good Thai food, and also ’cause it’s right next to my place and I’m a lazy bum sometimes.


Ego Thai


It’s such a pretty place too!


Ego Thai ceiling


The Gourmet week menu is a set menu in each restaurant, and Ego Thai had a lot of great options to choose from.


We started with Pla Lard Phrik Krob (Sweet chilly fish) and Yam Woon Sen Koong (Thai glass noodle salad with shrimp).


The fish was sweetened with honey and red chilli, and I loved that the pieces of Sole were large (almost like mini fish steaks!) and covered with wilted, fragrant basil.


Sweet chilly fish


The noodle salad was a classic dish – a celebration of all the vibrant Thai flavours and textures. Slippery, translucent glass noodles, crunchy peanuts, tangy lime, plump, pink prawns, red tomatoes, spicy dried chilli, knobbly bits of baby corn, a hint of sugar, and freshness from bright green coriander. Just perfect.


Thai glass noodle salad


For mains we choose Gaeng Phed Kai (Traditional Thai red curry chicken) and Thod Kratiam Sole (Fish in garlic pepper sauce).


Main course


The Thai red curry was just as good as I expected – rich, coconut-ty, and spicy. It was bursting with basil and lemongrass flavours, and I loved the softened bits of aubergine and bamboo shoot. The chicken was almost secondary – I could drink this gravy straight from the bowl! Look at the bright, happy colour!


Thai red curry


The sole was tender and peppery, with occasional bits of burnt garlic (yum!) and went perfectly with the rice.


Fish in garlic pepper sauce


I was expecting plain noodles as a side, but we got served Pad Thai in a gorgeous peek-a-boo omelette envelope. How beautiful, na?


Pad thai


Through the meal we were drinking delicate, fragrant Jasmine tea – so relaxing and soothing. Sigh. Makes me want a cup as I’m writing this.


Jasmine tea


Even though I was stuffed beyond belief I couldn’t say no to the desserts because they were both coconut-based! And you guys know how much I adore coconuts.


There was this stunning, white, Coconut icecream with toasted coconut on top. It had a great creamy quality, but was rather sweet.


Coconut icecream


I also tried Thab Thim Krob (Water chestnuts in coconut milk) which was utterly divine. A large bowl of delicately sweetened coconut milk with pink, jewel-like pieces of water chestnuts swimming in it. The crushed ice on top is what adds wonderful texture with each bite, and as it melts it makes the dessert more and more mellow. What a great summer dessert – I can imagine long chats with my girlfriends over a lingering bowl of this dessert.


Water chestnuts in coconut milk


We rounded things off with more Jasmine tea and then headed home, tummies full, and hearts happy.


This meal at Ego Thai costs 1000 INR and 1200 INR (plus taxes), for lunch and dinner respectively. I think that’s an outstanding deal for the quality and quantity you’ll be served here by their very friendly staff.


But if Thai food doesn’t do it for you, try any of the other restaurants for a fantastic meal at very reasonable prices.


All you have to do is log on to Timescity.com > Select the Restaurant, date and time > Book a table for just 100 INR > Enjoy your meal and pay remaining amount! It’s on till the 21st of July, so you need to do this now πŸ™‚


*GIVEAWAY ALERT*


As an added surprise, Times City wants to give one of you lucky readers an IndiaTimes shopping voucher worth 1500 INR! All you gotta do is leave me comment below choosing one restaurant from the list of participating restaurants and tell me why you’d love to eat there. Easy peasy πŸ™‚


I’ll choose one lucky winner a week from today! Happy eating!


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“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”
George Miller


I can tell you that man knew what he was talking about.


Last Saturday the CAL Blogger’s table met up for some Italian food at Pomodoro, in Hilton, Janakpuri. We were expecting some good food – we just weren’t expecting so much of it.


The courses came to us in a never-ending chain, one after another, until we had to loosen our pants.


It all started rather innocently with this lovely bread, accompanied by a tomato dip and some Parmesan-y pesto.


Bread


While the rest of us were waiting for Ruchira, we gobbled up the bread, which was magically replenished every few minutes, just before the last piece vanished. It was lovely with this fresh, summery Riesling we drank through the afternoon.


White wine


The food officially started with Bruschetta – two types. First, this almost sweet, tomato and Parmesan one. So cute it was.


Bruschetta 1


And this equally adorable artichoke and olive one.


Bruschetta 2


After OD’ing on bread, it was time for some seafood: Insalata di gamberi e calamari con burro fuso or Warm squid and prawn cooked in brown butter. I loved the “fishiness” of this dish that came from the crushed anchovies. Also, that prawn deserves a moment of our respect. Such plump awesomeness.


Seafood


Rekha’s fav dish – Minestrone di legume con pasta arrived next. I enjoyed the crispy garlic bread that accompanied it even more than the soup. Everything is made better with some Parmesan grated over – don’t you agree?


Minestrone


Pizza Pomodoro followed – a colourful riot of veggies over a thin, cheesy crust. We could spy onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini among others.


Pizza


You need to see what Ruchira did to her pizza – Atkins would be so proud.


Ruchira's pizza


My favourite dish of the afternoon came next – Rigatoni alla pastora or Slow braised lamb ragout with pecorino cheese and red wine. A non-fussy dish of chunky (not minced) bits of lamb in a rich sauce coating each piece of rigatoni – this dish made me think of cozy winter dinners at home.


Pasta


The carbs were no match for Ruchira this time either.


Ruchira's pasta


There were several choices for the main course – we all ordered different things so we could taste almost everything.


I got the Trancio di salmon or Pan seared Salmon which was probably the most beautifully presented dish of the afternoon. The skin was crisp and the flesh beneath – flaky and tender. It came with Parmesan mash, a Parmesan crisp, and a creamy caper-parsley sauce.


Salmon


Sid got the Costolette di agnello or Grilled lamb chops. The meat was was pink inside, slightly rarer than we usually have it, but still melt-in-the-mouth tender.


Lamb


Ruchira tried the Verdure alla griglia e polenta or Grilled vegetables on creamy polenta. Veggies have never looked better.


Polenta and veggies


We rounded things off with Tiramisu, which we had great hope for, but unfortunately it was much too creamy and lacked that distinctive strong coffee flavour we all love in the dessert.


Tiramisu


It was a fun afternoon punctuated with many laughs, as our times together always are.


I leave you with some smiling faces and a mustache.


Smiley faces 1


And some more.


Smiley faces 2


All in all, Pomodoro at Hilton, Janakpuri is a great choice for Italian food if you’re in the area. There are several options for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, and enough fresh, crusty, wonderful bread to drive you into carb-induced coma for days.


The other happy folk at the table were:


Sid from Chef at Large
Mukta from Bake-a-Mania
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo


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I’ve made a certain discovery recently.


People. Are. Lazy.


And many of those people are my friends.


One is too lazy to boil eggs. Another is too lazy to turn on a gas stove. A third has pretend palpitations if a recipe has more than 3 steps.


Incidentally all these people love cake. Cake monsters each and every one of them.


So this recipe is for you lazy ones.


Almost zero effort = Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.


Chocolate cake piece 1


You don’t need a fancy whisk. You don’t need to wash up multiple pots and pans. Heck you don’t even need to crack an egg.


Look, you can even entertain yourself with this scary cake face. It looks like it wants to eat something.
If you find this funny, we can be friends. Like totally.


Chocolate cake scary face


All you need is an arm. And the will to mix a few easy ingredients together. And of course, the desire for some sweet, sweet chocolate cake that’ll make you smile for a week.


Lazy person's chocolate cake


So move your lazy behinds. And make this cake.


One bite and you will send me many kisses. I know it.


The lazy person’s chocolate cake (One bowl, no eggs, no butter, no milk, no whisk)
Adapted from: Sweet Little Bluebird


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 10


Ingredients:


170 g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
225 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little more for greasing
240ml water
100 g dark chocolate chips (optional)


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180ΒΊ C. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with some oil. Add the first 5 ingredients and mix to combine.
2. Make three depressions in the dry ingredients – 2 small and 1 big. Add the vinegar and vanilla to the smaller depressions and the oil to the large one. Pour the water over and mix everything well until you have a smooth batter.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips to evenly distribute them. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, remove, cool, and eat!


This cake is delicious as is, but if you want to really take it to next level, make this super easy, yet utterly divine ganache frosting.


Look at its glistening, gorgeous yumminess.


Baileys ganache


Baileys dark-chocolate soft ganache


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5-7 mins


Ingredients:


100 g good-quality dark chocolate
100 ml cream
2 tbsp Baileys (optional)
sprinkles (optional)


1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Heat in the cream in a pan, stirring constantly until small bubbles start to appear at the edges of the pan. Add the Baileys, stir well, and pour over the chocolate.
3. Mix well until the chocolate melts and you have a glossy ganache. Smother over the cake and top with sprinkles if you wish.


Chocolate cake piece 2



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If you know me at all, you know I’m not a fan of vegetarian food. However good Mr Vegetarian pretends to be, he could never match up to Mr Meat. Just never. Mr Meat and I are long time lovers.


Then, one evening, the CAL Blogger’s Table met at The Piano Man Art Cafe, in Vasant Vihar, and I was made to eat my words.


A small cafe with a global menu, this is the place to be in if you’re looking for some great vegetarian food, good music, and desserts that will make you weep with sheer joy.


The cafe


A cellist was playing some haunting tunes – including Nearer my God to thee, which always reminds me of death, but he changed it up soon enough.


Cellist


This stunning piano sat by one side of the cafe, and we got to hear Arjun Gupta belt out some fabulous jazz that night.


Piano


Now for the main event – the food.


I started with a Chocolate hazelnut shake which was served in small bottle-type jar. Very chocolatey with a whisper of hazelnut, the rich drink went down slowly and rather pleasurably. Some others at the table tried the Paan smoothie, which was bursting with paan flavour and fresh green in colour.


Chocolate hazelnut shake


The best soup I’ve had in a long time followed next. It was a sunshine yellow Pumpkin and peanut butter soup. Both flavours were prominent, yet their marriage in my mouth was a thing of dreams. Please, please try this soup as soon as you can.


Pumpkin and peanut butter soup


A very crisp salad of Apple and fennel came next.


Apple fennel salad


That was probably the first and last “healthy” thing we ate that night.


We shared this generous Mezze platter. Loved the Hummus.


Mezze platter


These adorable Vegan sliders were so good. The patty was walnut and brown rice – who would have guessed? But why are they so cute? I want to hug them.


Vegan slider


We also tried Potato Dauphinoise (super rich and creamy), Wild mushroom risotto (cooked perfectly but not “mushroomy” enough for me), and some divine Maple-glazed corn cakes (unusual sticky texture, laden with fragrant lemongrass).


I really enjoyed the Ratatouille – full of aubergine, peppers, and zucchini.


Ratatouille


While we were digesting our crazy good meal and making room for dessert, a magician entertained us with some card tricks. Here he is doing some cool shufflin’.


Magician


Here’s happy Sid having a go.


Sid


For dessert it was Tiramisu (not overly sweet – which was much appreciated and enjoyed) and this decadent, can-die-for, poetry-inducing, worth-an-arm-and-leg, gorgeous Sea salt caramel chocolate tart.


Salted caramel tart


Just look at that stunning fleck of sea salt, glistening like a diamond. I can almost taste it on my tongue.


Darling Ruchira also made a Crack pie to celebrate 2 birthdays (Sushmita’s and mine) earlier that week. This was so good – head off here for the recipe.


Crack pie


Here’s all the happy people. (Thanks Mukta for the picture :))


CAL bloggers


Parul from The Shirazine
Sangeeta from Health food Desi Videshi
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Mukta from Bake-a-mania
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Rituparna from Chocolates & Dreams
Sid from Chef at Large
Himanshu from The White Ramekins


A fabulous night, spent in the company of some wonderful friends, really great food, and lovely music. Head over to The Piano Man Art Cafe soon, and if you leave without trying the Pumpkin and peanut butter soup and the Sea salt caramel chocolate tart, you’ll have me to reckon with. Grrrrrr.


Have a happy week ahead lovelies :*


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In April this year, Mom, Dad, Luke (a.k.a baby brother), and I took a long-awaited family trip to Meghalaya.


For those who don’t know, it’s a state in North-east India where clouds and rain make the days cool and misty and magical. We spent most of our time in Shillong, also called The Scotland of the East, but I think Land of delicious pork would be a much more appropriate name.


Shillong is a very special place for us as a family. Mom went to school there, Dad taught in the Univ there, they met and fell in love there, and I went to play-school there.


The whole trip was a whirlwind of happy emotions, delicious food, and much-needed family time. Here’s just a little taste of what went down.


Let me begin with our first meal. We stopped at a small shack, just before entering the city. It was drizzling and the food was piping hot.


Rice and vegetables.


Rice and boiled veggies


Beef curry.


Beef curry


Boiled pork.


Pork curry


The spiciest, yummiest chilli-bamboo shoot pickle.


Spicy chilli pickle


Stomachs full, we headed off into the city.


This is a view from the guest house we were staying at. Don’t the flowers make you happy?


View from our guesthouse


It was a cosy place, complete with wooden floors, and the occasional friendly stick insect.


We had many, many friends to meet and places to (re) visit.


This is Dad outside his room in University (NEHU).


dad-outside-his-old-univ-room


This is Mum with her best friend from school – Aunty Iris. I learnt that day that crazy laughter and silly jokes and happy memories only get better with age.


aunty-iris-and-mumma


Here’s Gail (Aunty Iris’s daughter) and me – we went to play-school together. The only thing we remember about the time was eating our tiffin as soon as we reached school. What can I say? I started young πŸ˜› We were meeting after 25 years!


gail-and-i


This is what Aunty Iris made for us. We couldn’t move very much after this insanely good lunch.


spread-at-aunty-iris


We took a day trip to Cherrapunjee. Obviously, it was drizzling that day.


 cherrapunjee


But there were many hugs to keep warm.


warm-hugs


And who said swings were only for children?


swinging


It was beautiful every where we turned.


Undulating hills in light and shade.


wavy-hills


Waterfalls that beckoned with their misty blue spray.


waterfall


I spotted this mumma hen keeping her baby warm. So cute, right?


hen-and-chick


The most exciting part of the trip was our adventure in the Mawsmai caves. I think the poor quality of air in the caves brought out the best in my mad family. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.


Things started out pretty sane.


cave-and-me


But very quickly it turned into this.


cave-drama-1


And this.


cave-drama-2


After much excitement, there was light at the end of the tunnel.


 cave-adventures


The food on this holiday was the best. We ate like monsters (to put it politely).


But can you help yourself when this is what the local cuisine consists of?


Dokleh: Pork salad with ginger, onions, and chilli. I tried making this once. Go here for the recipe.


dokleh


Jadoh: Rice cooked in pork stock and eaten with Dokleh.


 jadoh


Tyrso doh sngiang: Boiled pork with greens. Mom’s favourite. Apparently it’s all she ate when she was preggers with me. No wonder I’m a pork fiend.


dosniang


Tungrumbai: A pungent fermented bean and pork paste. The yummiest, stinkiest thing ever. Mom’s friend, Aunty Ru, made all these divine things and even packed me a jar of Tungrumbai to carry home!


 tungrumbai


There were many other local specialities around.


Fresh honey.


 fresh-honey


Beautiful, woody cinnamon bark.


cinnamon


Local berries were my favourite snack all through the holiday. I kept thinking how pretty they’d look tumbled over a white whipped-cream frosting.


berries


If you’re in Shillong and go shopping in Police Bazaar (which you must), and your feet get tired, walk into Glory Plaza and on the top floor you’ll find some momos that warm your soul in a place called Tibetan Kitchen.


momos


Also, remember to order a Juicy Lucy burger at Munchies in Laitumkhrah. Luke declared it the best burger he’d ever eaten in his life.


I met Juni – one of my closest friends from college. We hung out at Matter of taste, a quaint cafe filled with happy, young people, and had some coffee and delicious pie. We laughed till we had tears in our eyes. Sometimes the distance and time and every thing else just doesn’t matter. You meet a friend after years, and it’s that same wonderful, comforting feeling.


Jun and me


Juni also got me some divine White Forest cake from a bakery called Caramel in Laitumkhrah. Not to be missed.


We did some touristy things like boating in Wards lake. The fun part was feeding the rather chubby ducks.


Feeding ducks


One cold morning, Dad surprised Mom with a special horse ride. We all had a go, but Mom was ecstatic πŸ™‚


Mumma horse ride


We also took a trip to visit our old house – the one in which I sat by the fireplace reading books and generally pranced around. It brought back memories I didn’t know I had.


our old house


Here’s the four of us on the steps.


 family-4


Speaking of which, we got some really good family pictures.


Here’s one.


family-3


Here’s another. (Don’t miss the doggy who decided he’s ours.)


family-2


Here’s one of my brother pretending he’s thinking of something serious. (Who you kidding, Lukey?)


 luke


But this one is my favourite.


family


There’s just something about it that says holiday and family and love.


Tell me about the last trip you took with your family, won’t ya? πŸ™‚



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