Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2013

Hello there!


How’s your week been? It’s Friday evening now, so however it has been, it’s going to get SO much better.


Have a drink! Hang out with some awesome folk! Go dancing! Punch some sandbags!


(I’m going to do allll those things this weekend :))


Also, do one more thing. Make these cookies.


SONY DSC


You’ll need only four ingredients (win!) and just a few minutes (more win!).


These cookies are a touch sweet with a kiss of salt. Use any jam or marmalade you like – I used Plum jam.


It’s so much fun doing this.


Once you mix the butter, sugar, and flour together, you make these cute little balls of dough.


SONY DSC


Then you stick your thumb in each one to make a groove! Fun, right? πŸ™‚


SONY DSC


You can bake these cookies on a baking tray like this.


SONY DSC


Or you could pop them into a cupcake tray like this.


SONY DSC


Either way, I promise they’ll be delicious.


See?


SONY DSC


Jam thumbprint cookies


Prep time: 15 mins, plus chilling
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Makes: about 30


Ingredients:


175 g butter, melted (salted is preferable)
75 g caster sugar
250 g flour, sifted
jam or marmalade


Method:


1. Place the melted butter in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar. Add the flour a little at a time, gently mixing to incorporate into a dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix.
2. Place the dough in the fridge for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180ΒΊ C. Line a baking tray with parchment or have a cupcake tray at hand.
3. Roll the dough into small balls between your hands. You should be able to get around 30. Place each ball on the tray and very genty press down in the centre of each, using your thumb. Aim for a small groove, not a big dent. Fill the grooves with jam. Bake for 15 minutes for a fudgier cookie, and 20 minutes for a crispier cookie. Remove from the oven and cool before eating.


SONY DSC


Read this delightful Buzzfeed article on 23 Cookies That Will Never Let You Down and come have a bite with me πŸ™‚


SONY DSC


Have a lovely weekend! The 30 day Paleo Challenge begins Monday! Stay tuned for lots of updates πŸ™‚



Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A quaint little cafe has come to town.


le bistro du parc


It’s very French, complete with chalkboard menus, divine desserts, and a very charming half French-half Punjabi restauranter called Naina.


menu


Four of us from the CAL Blogger’s Table, stopped by for dinner one drizzly Saturday night. I wasn’t feeling well, but Sid convinced me to go anyway and I’m glad I did.


We started with a Midinette salad – tender pieces of grilled chicken, topped with julienne of green apple and celery, studded with bright pomegranate seeds, and tossed in a very light parsley mayonnaise.


Midinette salad


Pan fried calamaris came next – a warm dish of delicious squid rings with garlic, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and a red chilly coulis.


Pan fried calamaris


If you like liver, definitely try the Chicken liver parfait served with crispy pieces of baguette, a balsamic reduction, and confit onions. The pate is very delicate, and the sticky balsamic sauce is quite lovely with it.


Chicken liver parfait


The main courses are probably Le Bistro du Parc’s weakest link.


There was the average Grilled lamb with vegetables. It came with a mint-mango chutney and potatoes, but none of the flavours were memorable.


Grilled lamb, veggies


We also tried the Chicken and zucchini with olive tapenade – the tapenade was rich and slightly tart, but the zucchini was overcooked and mushy. Plus there was a little too much green on my plate 😦


Marinated chicken, roasted zucchini, olive tapenade


The Pan-fried red snapper with ratatouille vegetables and in a bed of lemon foam was probably the most frou-frou dish on the menu. The vegetables were slightly sweet which I loved, and the fish had a gorgeous crispy skin, but the fish itself was a little under seasoned.


Pan fried red snapper, ratatouille vegetables, lemon foam


The big gun on the menu was the Rib of beef for two. After being asked how you would like your meat (we said medium-rare) it’s brought to the table like this.


Rib of beef 1


Then it’s taken back to the kitchen, cut into pieces, and brought back like this.


Rib of beef 2


The meat itself was too rare for our liking (we were told that “French” medium-rare was our “rare”) but it was taken back and cooked a while longer so it didn’t feel like we were cavemen gnawing at raw meat.


The hand-cut fries that came with it were excellent, as was the divine morel sauce, with little pieces of the mushroom floating in the golden sauce like succulent black jewels.


And now for the main event – the desserts.


Between the four of us, we choose 5 desserts to share.


all desserts


The Lemon tart with meringue, Raspberry Charlotte, and Plum and almond tart were excellent. Each one made with care, pronounced, unapologetic flavours, and excellent presentation.


But let me tell you about the two desserts that will most certainly make me return to Le Bistro du Parc.


This most beautiful chocolate mousse – made with Valrhona dark chocolate, and served with pomegranate seeds and a strawberry coulis. When you put that first decadent spoonful in your mouth, you understand why people often liken chocolate to sex.


chocolate mousse, strawberry coulis and pomegranate


The other stunning dessert I can’t stop thinking about was the Pistachio Paris Brest – a choux pastry bun filled with a luscious lime-green pistachio cream. The dessert gets its name from Paris–Brest–Paris – a 1200km bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris and is therefore shaped to match the circular circuit.


pistachio Paris Brest


Even Nachiketa, our reigning dessert queen was suitably impressed.


nachiketa


Le Bistro du Parc is a lovely place to perhaps go on your first date. It’s relaxed, the food is reasonably good, and the desserts will most certainly make that magical first kiss happen.


Here’s what the others there had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life


Read Full Post »

It’s been raining all day, every day in Delhi.


While it’s wonderful staring out of my window, watching the translucent drops of water fall beautifully, and thinking romantic thoughts, the reality is that some time or the other I will have to step outdoors and then there’s nothing romantic about it. At all.


On days like this, nothing work betters than a hot pan of comfort food, sizzling and straight out of the oven.


Something like this delicious, golden-brown, sink-yourself-into Toad in the Hole.


Toad in the hole 5


It starts with some plump, fresh sausages. Now they absolutely do need to be plump. We don’t do no thin, tinned sausages here.


Sausages 1


Then you will roast them till you hear a symphony of wonderful sizzles. Look how happy they are inside the oven!


Sausages 3


Next some milky batter shall be made to pour over the sausages so they can get all comfy and cozy.


Batter 2


And as you look out at the rain outside again, lost in happy thoughts, before you even know it, your Toad in the Hole will be ready to devour.


How gorgeous is that?


Toad in the hole 4


Make this on your next rainy day. Romantic thoughts are a pre-requisite πŸ™‚


Toad in the Hole
Recipe adapted from: Matt Preston


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 4


Ingredients:


1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp of your favourite dried herbs
250 g fresh pork sausages
115 g flour
1 tsp mustard paste
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
300 ml milk


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 240ΒΊ C. Grease a square tin with the oil and scatter over the dried herbs. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes. When the oil starts to sizzle, carefully pop in the sausages. Let the sausages brown for about 20 minutes, turning them occasionally with a wooden spatula.
2. Make the batter by mixing together the flour, mustard, salt, eggs, and milk until smooth.
3. Now very carefully remove the tin from the oven, and pour over the batter. Be very careful as the hot oil may splutter. Put the tin back in the oven for about 30 minutes (until the batter has puffed up), changing to your grill setting for the last five minutes. Remove and serve hot.


Perfect rainy day comfort food. Ain’t it?


Toad in the hole 6


Now for the healthy challenge news!


I’m very excited to tell you that starting on the 26th of this month, I will be attempting the 30 day Paleo challenge with a few of my friends. There is an entire page dedicated to it – check out the tabs at the top of this page.


I will keep blogging and the recipes won’t all be too healthy, so you cake lovers don’t worry πŸ™‚


Incase you’re thinking about a healthy change, consider joining us in our 30 day Paleo challenge. It’s going to be loads of fun and we’d love to have you!


Have a super weekend darlings!


Read Full Post »

This is how I felt at Varq, in The Taj Mahal Hotel, Delhi.


posh pants


Oh wait – that doesn’t look like me, does it?


Aah here I am πŸ™‚ Can you say faaancy?


Posh storm


The table was set most tastefully. I love the red accents with the gold. Don’t you?


Table setting


The cameras were out in full force! πŸ™‚


cameras


This pretty little amuse-bouche set the ball rolling.


Amuse bouche


I started with this most gorgeous plate of Varqui crab – layers of lightly spiced crabmeat between crisp filo sheets, topped with a plump tandoori shrimp.


Varqui crab


Next up was Haleem aur Kebab – a heavenly trio of smooth haleem, melt-in-the-mouth galouti, and a kebab in a glass.


meat


You can’t do posh without lobster now can you?


This dish of Lobster Rassa was a broth with prawns, scallops, and crisp squid. The presentation was so simple, yet beautiful.


soup


We tried some signature cocktails and mocktails with Indian flavours – I particularly liked the mint and pineapple. (I didn’t drink ALL those btw :P)


Drinks


A very magical, smokey palate cleanser of lime and ginger came around shortly.


Palate cleanser


For my main course I chose Sea Bass on spiced potato dauphinoise and I’m so glad I did. The fish was fresh and flaky, the potatoes were done just right, and the gravy – sigh. My favourite coconut and mango flavours danced about in my mouth in perfect harmony, and it really was a creamy, spicy bowl of joy.


Sea bass


Even though we were stuffed beyond belief by now, I tried the Martabaan ka meat with baby naan. This was one dish where there was no fuss about the presentation, and it was probabaly my favourite of the night. The meat was incredibly tender and flavourful, and the crisp naan was a perfect accompaniment.


Martabaan ka meat


It came with these Aloo and Palak wadi side dishes.


Sides


The dessert was another trio: khaas malpua, apple kheer, and jalebi. The unusual apple kheer was delicately sweet, and the gravity-defying jalebi was sticky and very crisp.


dessert


Nachiketa, back from her fancy stint at Le Cordon Bleu in London, was in attendance and she’s promised us some pastry secrets. So exciting!


Here she is with Sid. Now tell me she’s not looking like Nigella Lawson!


Sid and Nigella


It was such a happy night. Everyone on the CAL Blogger’s Table was there because it was also Ruchira‘s bye-bye dinner. She’s leaving us in Delhi, but she won’t leave our hearts. She brought us presents which we’re all going to blog about soon and wrote us lovely letters. Ruchira – we will miss you so much but I know you’re going to have the most fabulous time!


Group at Varq


The next time you’re looking for some poshness, stop by Varq, at The Taj Mahal Hotel for some yummies.


This is what the others there had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts
Parul from The Shirazine
Deeba from Passionate about Baking
Sangeeta from Healthfood Desi Videshi
Ruchira from The Great Cookaroo
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life
Rekha from My Tasty Curry
Mukta from Bake-a-Mania
Himanshu from The White Ramekins


Read Full Post »

Let’s talk about best friends today, shall we?


I’ll start.


Aditi’s been mine for more years than I can count now.


Here’s a picture of us from about 10 years ago.


Ad and I 10 years ago


To the world, Ad is many things – a star basketball player in school, a tennis enthusiast, a Thai-everything lover, an HR expert, a Twitter pro (if you’re not following her yet, you should – @ADwiser), an ace pianist, and a mentalist (or so she claims), among others.


For me though, she’s a whole bunch of other things.


She’s the person I call when I need to think, but can’t. Then she thinks for me.


The voice of reason, when I’m doing something silly.
The voice of silliness, when I’m doing something too serious.


She knows the worst parts of me – the absolute worst. But never judges.


We’ve been planning a holiday around the world since we were 13. We’ll do it one day.


Sometimes we laugh so much, we can’t breathe.


Best friends 1


An analyzer – she’ll sort out any situation, any problem, you throw at her by breaking it down most skillfully.


Oh and she does this annoying thing where she uses her name to emphasize certain words. Like this morning, she said “ADios”. AD-ios? Get it?


I have also been witness to words such as ADmire, ADvice, ADore, and my favourite one yet – ADdictive.
Grow up Ad, you’re an ADult. Hehe πŸ™‚


In the words of Dr Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy), “She’s my person. If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.”


Aditi’s in Bangalore now, and even though we are in separate cities, we time our morning runs together. It’s wonderful to wake up and check in with your friend for a workout – it’s so much more fun, and you’re much less likely to skip it when you have to answer to someone. Try it with your bestie! πŸ™‚


Ad and I are on a getting-healthy spree, and to celebrate that I made these really cute eggplant pizzas. They’re gluten-free, vegetarian, baked, and really good for you!


It starts with this rather heavenly mix of olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and herbs.


Garlic and onions


Ooohh you will also need some of this white, delicious stuff called Mozzarella, baby.


Mozzarella


Stick some eggplant pieces in the oven to bake.


Eggplant pizza 1


Don’t you love eggplant? I think it might be my most favourite veggie!


Then load ’em up with the tomato-onion mix, fresh herbs, and cheese.


Eggplant pizza 2


Make many, okay? Coz they’re yummy.


Eggplant pizza 3


When that wonderful stringy cheese melts, you will be happy. Aren’t you smiling already? πŸ™‚


Eggplant pizza 4


I love healthy recipes that don’t taste “healthy”, if you catch my drift πŸ˜‰


Gluten-free eggplant pizzas
Recipe adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen


Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Serves: 4


Ingredients:


2 round eggplants (you should be able to get 8 half-inch circular pieces from them)
salt
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
7-10 garlic cloves, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dry mixed herbs
100 g Mozzarella, torn up or roughly cut
handful of coriander, chopped


Method:


1. Cut the eggplants into 4 even sized circular pieces each (aim for half-inch pieces). Place the pieces on paper towels and gently rub with salt on either side. Leave them for about 20 minutes, so all the water is drawn out. Wipe with a paper towel and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the garlic and onions, and stir over medium heat until slightly brown and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, 1 teaspoon of the dry herbs, and salt to taste – stir everything together well for about 5 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 190ΒΊ C. Grease a baking tray with olive oil and lay out the eggplant pieces on it. Drizzle olive oil over the pieces and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of the dry herbs. Bake for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the tray from the oven carefully. Top the eggplant rounds with the tomato-onion mix, followed by coriander, and a few pieces of Mozzarella. Put the tray back in the oven for 10 minutes and switch to the grill setting for the last two minutes. Remove and eat hot.


If Ad was here, we’d probably eat these while knocking back a few cold beers or whiskey sours. (Have I told you guys I make a KILLER whiskey sour? Recipe soon, I promise :))


I really do believe that Ad and I were destined to be in each other’s lives. It can’t be that such a wonderful person just happened to drop into mine.


Best friends 2


All I know is I’m thankful for her everyday and I’m so glad she’s in my life.


Thank you for putting up with all my crap. I love you, Ad.


Here’s a picture of us from about 2 years ago.


Ad and i 2 years ago


We’ve aged so well, haven’t we? πŸ™‚


Tell me about your best friend and why you can’t do without him/her. I’d love to hear πŸ™‚


Have a lovely weekend. Love you guys!


Read Full Post »