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Showing posts from January, 2015

How to Pickle Everything

I have a huge penchant for sour flavours. Which means that I naturally like pickles. Except the ones of the store bought kinds. Supermarket pickles have two fatal flaws. One, they aren't fresh which makes whatever vegetable you are buying a little tired and droopy. Two, you are almost certain to get sweet and sour pickles which is kind of disappointing when you are looking for a sharp, salty kick.

So when I made pickled jalapenos a couple of months back, with no sugar whatsoever, I seem to have lucked upon a universal quick pickle recipes. These are not your long lasting canned pickles. But if you are looking for something you can eat the next day, and for pickles that can stay in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, this is how you can pickle everything from ginger to gherkins to beetroot.

First off, prep your vegetables, Peel them if you need to and cut into sizes that you can eat later on. I thinly sliced both onion and ginger, peel beetroot and cut thin round slices and just made little…

The 2015 Agenda

Wake up, Bombay! I am making a list of top 10 places I want to eat at in the New Year, and the first 3 entries are from Delhi. So how I am making this list, you ask? There are some old favourites I haven't visited for years and would like to experience again. For the new restaurants, the list is based on how much buzz I am hearing, and how exciting I find their menu to be. So, ranked by how excited I am to visit these places, this is my 2015 agenda:

1. India Accent, Delhi: In a small botique hotel in the completely unfashionable corner of Delhi, chef Manish Mehrotra has created a restaurant that's now universally accepted as India's best. The food is part grassroot Indian, part European fancy plating and I really can't wait to try out their tasting menu.

2. Soda Bottle Openerwala, Delhi: A few years ago, Dishoom opened in London as a quintessential Bombay style Irani cafe. It's quirky, it's charming and it's far better than anything Bombay has to offer in …

The Top Flavours of 2014

Now that the Christmas cooking madness is behind us, I've had a bit of time to sit down and think about all the lovely experiences I had when eating out last year. I have a lot of old favourites that I can go on and on about, but instead, let's talk about some new discoveries. I thought back to all the 'aha' moments from last year, when a new dish and an amazing flavour surprised, and then became an instant favourite. If only I could take all of those favourite dishes and put them together in one place, here's what my ideal meal of 2014 would look like.

Soup
Mushroom Tea at Masala Library: I went to Masala Library expected to be blown away and possibly because of that, the actual experience came out as just above average. But some dishes stood out; the most quirky of them being this mushroom soup. First you get served an empty tea cup to which the servers add dried mushrooms (looks like tea leaves) and white truffle oil powder (looks like creamer). The mushroom cons…

30 Days of Christmas: Beetroot Salad

So here we are, on the last day of this 30 day blogging marathon. Wasn't it a fun ride - with so much butter and sugar and raisins. I've taken on several challenges since I started this blog but this one - with a full month of daily blogging - was the most challenging so far, And to wrap up a whole month of treats, I bring you a salad that's worthy to be called a treat itself, a seamless way to transition to healthier eating now that the holidays are over.

I first ate this salad at the London restaurant called Bob Bob Ricard. While beets, goat cheese and greens are always a classic combination, it was the presentation that attracted me to this salad and have kept it on the 'top dishes I've eaten' list that I maintain in my head. I've wanted to recreate this salad ever since and today seemed to be a great day for it.

The salad comes in four parts. Goat cheese, that gets sandwiched between thin slices of pickled beetroot. Arugula or your choice of greens (Bo…

30 Days of Christmas: Superfood Breakfast

I had originally planned to bake some cookies today but it's hard to dish out copious amounts of butter and sugar when it's the 4th of January and everyone around you is talking of new year resolutions. But if you are still finding it hard to get over the habit of eating sweet treats, here's a happy medium. It's an oatmeal breakfast, but one you can make the night before and it's full of all kinds of superfoods.

The night before, measure out 1/4 cup of oats. Put them in a pan over medium heat and stir until they get toasted and lightly browned. Let cool, then mix the oats in a bowl with 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 tsp honey. Leave the mix in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take a pretty glass. Start with a layer of oats-chia mix and add a layer of pomegranate seeds. Repeat the layers and top with slivered almonds.

30 Days of Christmas: Bread and Butter Pudding

Many, many years ago, I set to make bread and butter pudding for New Year's Eve dessert. I was pretty new to baking, had never tasted a bread and butter pudding, never made a custard before and was working off a dubious recipe. Needless to say, that new year rang in solely on the strength of the savouries and no pudding came to pass. Since then, I've eaten this comforting pudding a few times. I've liked a couple of versions, found most too eggy and never tried making it myself ever again.
But I tried it again today and am proud to say it's perfect. Soft and creamy, yet crunchy in parts and not even eggy. This time, I did a thorough research and picked a recipe by the British queen of baking - Mary Berry. In fact, the recipe comes from Mary's mother so it's as traditional a recipe as you can find.
I made a few changes though, but I think the pudding is better for it. So follow along. Take an 8 inch glass or ceramic dish. Melt 100 grams butter and brush some of …

30 Days of Christmas: Palmiers

Now that we are squarely in the new year and I am getting to the end of my 30 day blogging marathon, I've started to look into the fridge for leftover holiday ingredients I need to use up. One such exploration in my completely overloaded fridge led to the discovery of a small portion of puff pastry leftover from making mince pies. So I did what every baker does when faced with leftover puff pastry. I made palmiers.

To make these crisp biscuits, thaw the puff pastry in the fridge. Mix 1 tbsp plain flour and 2 tbsp sugar. Granulated or pearl sugar gives the best effect but use caster sugar if that's all you have. Dip the puff pastry block into this flour-sugar mix once to coat all sides, then spread the remaining flour and sugar on the counter. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle, flipping the dough once. The sugar will stick to the dough during the rolling process, which will later give the caramel crunch in the baked palmiers.

Figure out the centre of your rectangle by folding…

30 Days of Christmas: Blue Ice

Happy New Year, folks! And what better way to start the year than a cool blue icy drink. If you make the rounds of restaurants around Mumbai, you must have certainly come across frozen margaritas. I usually have them in the mocktail version which means I get a glass of crushed ice with flavour. Now crushing ice at home is usually a daunting task. I always end up wondering when the blender will give up and crash so I have come up with this crushed ice trick that doesn't involve any blenders.

To make the icy blue drink, you take a can of Sprite or 7 Up (any clear lemony drink basically) and pour it into a glass or a bowl. Pick something that is narrow because we don't want too much surface area but still need to be able to dig a spoon in. Freeze for 3-4 hours. Possibly because of all the sugar and carbonation in the drink, the liquid does not become solid ice but remains kind of slushy. Even if you forget to take it out after 3-4 hours and leave it overnight (as I did with the …