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Showing posts from June, 2010

A seedy affair

A bit of flour
A handful of rye
Water, sugar, the magic of yeast
Mixed seeds to top it all

There's sunflowers in there
Some sesame, some hemp
A sprinkling of linseed
A sunny, crunchy bread!

The best coffee cake

Until very recently, I thought a coffee cake meant a coffee flavored cake. Go ahead, laugh all you want - I was quite confused when I saw all those nut and cinnamon cakes with not a drop of coffee in sight. So that's when I realized we were talking about cakes you eat with coffee. Cakes usually topped with a delicious buttery crumble mixture. This first coffee cake I baked also happens to be my best cake so far. I can't personally vouch for this being the best coffee cake in the world, but who am I to argue when the Pioneer Woman says so.

It's also pretty simple to put together. I halved the original recipe to fit my 7 inch round pan but remember that it calls for 3 eggs so it might be a bit tough to halve (I spilled half an egg white when separating eggs so you can say it was purely accidental in my case).

For the cake layer, you soften 75 grams salted butter and cream it with 2/3 cup sugar. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour and 2 tsp baking powder. Measure out 1/2 cup milk.…

Indigo Challenge : Mushroom Coconut Lemongrass Soup

Indigo menu says:
Roasted Mushroom Soup with Coconut, Lemongrass & Almonds Thai Chili Oil


There is a reason there wasn't a post here last six days. I was determined to cook the next recipe for my Indigo challenge (if you missed the script so far, I am cooking my way through dinner menu of the Indigo restaurant). But not only was this next dish a soup, it also involved Thai ingredients like coconut, lemongrass and chilli oil that I am not particularly fond of. A bowl of soup later, I am regretting I waited so long to make this. But also happy because it's raining tonight and I got a little wet coming home - just the perfect state to be in for eating some piping hot soup.
It took me my first google search to realize that Indigo couldn't possibly be putting shredded coconut in a soup and it's coconut milk we will be looking for. Plenty of recipes out there combining this coconut milk with mushrooms and lemongrass. Nothing in the way of thai chili oil, but I always knew i…

The Art of Cheesemaking

If I lived in Europe, I would have never thought of making my own cheese. But as things stand in Mumbai, you can't do much in the way of eating cheese without rueing the lack of variety. Or more recently, feeling the pinch of high prices of imported cheeses.

I've made paneer all my life and I successfully made mascarpone once, so I thought that making the other kinds of cheese can't be all that hard. What I didn't reckon was the lack of one crucial cheesemaking component : rennet. Not just in India, I looked through all stores I could my last trip to London and no one stocked rennet. Then my friend went to US and looked through several stores until she hit one obscure one in Texas that parted with rennet tablets.

For my first use of rennet, I picked the very easy Neufchatel. Brush and spoon explains the process with some detailed pictures and it does take a while to make, but not even 10 minutes in terms of active effort. The rest of it is just patient waiting.

What I di…

A Roomful of Strangers

Last Thursday, I did something quite daring by my standards and went out for dinner with 20 strangers. The occasion was day one of a new restaurant at Grand Hyatt; the company eclectic and friendly. Amidst wine and conversations, the two brains behind Brown Paper Bag and the PR manager for Grand Hyatt made sure we met everyone in the lovely bunch of "what started as strangers and ended as friends".

And now, aren't you dying to hear about the newly opened Fifty Five East, the restaurant that replaces that Martini Bar called M they had for a few years. The short version is that it's pretty, it's good food and you should go there for dinner tomorrow (but don't wear heels; it's a long walk to a buffet spread over a huge space). And whatever you do, save space for dessert.
If you are still here, be warned that this was the first time I went to a restaurant where the PR guy took me on a tour and chefs came to talk to me, so I am probably gonna inundate you wit…

Indigo Challenge : White Bean Soup

Indigo menu says:
White Bean Soup with Arugula Pesto & Roasted Garlic Chips



I am not a soup person. But my first dinner at Indigo, the table next to ours ordered soup. So the waiters came in carrying two plates, empty except for a garnish arranged decoratively. Then they walked in with soup in a separate dish and poured it over the plates. I was smitten; I wanted high drama on my table too. So I ordered soup. And I order soup every time I go to Indigo. Did I tell you I'm not even a soup person. The first two dishes on the Indigo menu are soups. This one called for a white bean soup, an arugula pesto and garlic chips. White bean soup recipes are easy to come by. I picked the one from food network, then omitted the garlic from the recipe and decided to make the whole thing with flageolet beans. Arugula pesto was easy; I simply replaced basil with arugula in my usual pesto recipe.

Garlic chips were the hardest - I didn't even know such a thing existed. After tons of googling, I…

Announcing : The Indigo Challenge

You might have noticed that this blog has been floundering for a while. There has been some nice food, but nothing truly exceptional going on around here. And twice in the past week, I cooked something I thought was too boring to write about. Mixed vegetables, anyone? Won't you rather have "warm spherical dashi cloud with fairy ring mushrooms flavoured with purple shiso, sesame and yuzu".

While we aren't going the El Bulli way yet, there is going to be some excitement in our lives. For you are going to get food only seen so far on the menu of the best fine dining restaurant in Mumbai. When I decided to set myself this challenge, the choice of restaurant was easy. Indigo, with its ever changing innovative food has never failed to impress me.

Now Indigo in Colaba has regular lunch and dinner menus, plus a daily special. And a sunday buffet menu. And a separate dessert menu.
So what's the challenge? I'm going to cook every vegetarian dish on Indigo's dinner …

The Book Club Turns Two...with Fannie Flagg

It was two years ago that Bhags first came up with the idea of This Book Makes Me Cook. Twenty four great books later, I find myself in a close knit circle of book lovers, all eagerly looking forward to next month's treat. To celebrate our special anniversary month, we made it a Fannie Flagg Special; so the members can read any book of hers they choose.

The first impression I have of Fannie Flagg is that she could be an accomplished time traveller. As she tells her stories set in Southern USA, she moves effortlessly between memories that span several decades. I first read what's her most famous work - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Then I read Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and instantly fell in love with the residents of that small town called Elmwood Springs in Missouri. Welcome to the World... is the story of Dena, a New Yorker who loses her way and finds her life back in her small hometown. Dena's story gets remarkably interlinked with residents of th…