2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chef’s table at FIO – Cookhouse & Bar Epicuria, Nehru Place

Ever since Sex and The City happened the concept of brunches has been evolved and flourished from European countries to Asian countries and now even in India most of us are aware of this concept, especially if you’re living in Delhi and its winters.

Fio- Cookhouse & Bar, Epicuria, is one beautifully thought and conceptualized fusion patio in the otherwise busy and bustling Nehru place area of South Delhi. The love and labour of restaurateur Mr. Vineet Wadhwa is visible in every nook and corner of this place. From a huge library which is designed in such a way that one its one side there’s bar counter and other side is the kitchen area, stands tall and beautiful and the same time you’ll see outside garden sitting with marble tracks and umbrella shades. Yes! you heard it right this place is not only just one floor sitting unlike other restaurants that turn the place into a mezzanine Mr. Wadhwa has kept it one story restaurant with a little garden area outside for one of those bright days perfect for brunching.

A deep passion for food and a penchant for perfection are evident in every aspect of the Fio experience. Look forward to an unforgettable gastronomic excursion as the culinary masters at Fio bring together the finest recipes from Europe and contemporary India to tease and provoke your palate.

Interiors

Interiors

Interiors

Interiors

I took a look at their newest menu. To start off I had Amuse bouches-  Rum Flamed Cured cheese and olive. A perfect amalgamation of cheese infused with rum flamed olive was a good start for the rest of the gastronomical journey which was about to begin.

Cheese and olive

Cheese and olive

Smoked Salmon Salad was the next thing i tried and I must say being a salad person I’m quite possessive about how my salad tastes and this was just amazing. The salmon was smoked to perfection with fresh veggies and right amount of seasoning.

Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked Salmon Salad

Prawn Minestrone Piemontese- tomato broth with small cut vegetables with prawn on the top was an interesting medley of the flavors.

Prawn Soup

Prawn Soup

Butter beans– mushrooms, butter beans, spinach, sundried tomato and parmesan cheese when baked together taste just as good as these small buns which were so soft and tasty on their own.

Butter Beans

Butter Beans

On the other hand drinks were another hit on the menu, Apple martini, peach martini and choices of wines (Sparkling or Dry). Do try their martini’s as they have some unique choices layed down on the menu.

Peach Martini

Peach Martini

A meal is incomplete without desserts and for our brunch we were surprised with a widespread of desserts infront of us. Orange Cheesecake, Raspberry & Chocolate pudding, Tiramisu and Plum cake. Tiramisu and Raspberry & Chocolate pudding were my personal favorites from the lot.

Desserts

Desserts

At Fio- Cookhouse every experience is made for entertaining your senses and taste buds.

Happy eating & Happy reading!!!

California Pizza Kitchen introduces exquisite desserts for the festive season!

Come December and the celebratory spirit kicks-in! This festive season, California Pizza Kitchen is also geared up to give you a reason to indulge and offers a feast of divine desserts. From December 4th, 2014 – January 4th, 2015, California Pizza Kitchen outlets will introduce an array of sweet treats exclusively prepared using this season’s freshest ingredients. You will find yourself wanting more!

This festival brings you SIX unique and delicious desserts:

CHRISTMAS YULE LOG:Celebrate the festive season with this Christmas delicacy. Rum soaked dried fruits, chocolate cream and meringue mushrooms will surely bring Christmas to you.

Christmas Yule Log

Christmas Yule Log

BAKED ALASKA: A classic frozen dessert with strawberry and vanilla Ice-cream, layered between vanilla sponge and Italian meringue, flambéed with rum

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

STRAWBERRY WITH CREAM:Enjoy the seasons fresh strawberries, served with vanilla cream and caramel popcorn

CHOCOLATE ERUPTION:Liquid chocolate oozing from soft chocolate sponge, served warm with vanilla ice cream

Chocolate Eruption

Chocolate Eruption

BLACKBERRY BLISS: Experience bliss with mascarpone cheese and yoghurt flavoured with white chocolate and Satori Merlot paired with Blackberry compote and served with Vanilla Ice cream

Blackberry Bliss

Blackberry Bliss

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MYSTIC:A delicate chocolate mousse combined with winter raspberry marmalade, served with vanilla ice cream

This range of exciting new desserts gives our patrons yet another reason to indulge at CPK! So what are you waiting for… head to your nearest CPK and enjoy a variety of extravagant desserts with your loved ones!!!

What:Divine Desserts at California Pizza Kitchen

When:  December 4th, 2014 –January 4th, 2015

Telephone No: 0124 6518888; 0124 6467575

Where: 11, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon

Happy eating & Happy reading!!!

Celebrate the Season of Joy with Delicious & Luscious Traditional Treats

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf  is gearing up for Christmas with its hearty selection of seasonal offerings. Food enthusiasts can enjoy temptingly cheerful, colorful and sweet gifts along with goodies that will to add to the cheer and make your holiday season even more special.

To satiate your cravings, this limited edition holiday special menu is infused with flavoured cappuccinos such as Cinnamon Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel Cappuccino and Spiced Honey Cappuccino. Combine these with irresistable traditional treats – Stollen Bread; Plum Cake; Turkey Sandwich and Yule Log Pastry.

To make a joyous year-end gift for star employees or favorite relatives near and far, you can choose from the specially designed gift hampers named as Mistletoe Hamper , Reindeer Hamper and Santa’s Hamper. These assorted hampers are loaded with Plum Cakes, Tea Cakes, Stolen Bread, Chocolate Muffins, Coffee Mugs, Almonds and Cashews. Available at select outlets till the end of December, the price range of hampers start from Rs. 450/- plus taxes.

Cinnamon Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel Cappuccino and Spiced Honey Cappuccino

Cinnamon Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel Cappuccino and Spiced Honey Cappuccino

To make a joyous year-end gift for star employees or favorite relatives near and far, you can choose from the specially designed gift hampers named as Mistletoe Hamper , Reindeer Hamper and Santa’s Hamper. These assorted hampers are loaded with Plum Cakes, Tea Cakes, Stolen Bread, Chocolate Muffins, Coffee Mugs, Almonds and Cashews. Available at select outlets till the end of December, the price range of hampers start from Rs. 450/- plus taxes.

For these season’s special goodies, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf have tied up with Pay TM. Under this tie-up, customers who buy Christmas products will get Rs.50/- Paytm cash coupon valid on a minimum recharge of Rs.100/-  through login from Paytm Site. These holiday special offerings are available at all the outlets till the end of December, 2014.

Christmas Hampers

Christmas Hampers

Head to #CoffeeBeanAndTeaLeaf and make this season extra special!

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is available across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune& Kolkata. Marking its presence across 9 cities, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has over 30 cafes. Recently, the brand has opened its stores in Ludhiana and Gurgaon to be followed by launching their new store at Kurla in Mumbai.

Turkey sandwich

Turkey sandwich

 

About Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf:

 

Founded in 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is the oldest chain of specialty coffee and tea stores in the United States. With a reputation for excellence, the company is a leader in product innovations, having developed “The Original Ice Blended® “beverages. Providing the highest quality coffees and teas for over 50 years, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® currently has more than 1000 stores across the globe. These stores blanket the world in markets such as California, Arizona, Nevada, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Brunei, Indonesia, UAE, Israel, China, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Philippines and continue to expand both domestically and internationally.

In India Pan India Food Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is an independently owned & operated franchisee of CBTL Franchising, LLC. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® had made a mark by offering the International coffee experience along with gourmet food menu specially designed for the Indian market. The USP of the brand is that the “Coffee Beans” and the “Teas” are sourced from the best plantations across the world. The brand entered India in 2008 and presently operates over 30 Cafés across 10 cities. The brand is increasing its presence in India along multiple formats including high street stores, Mall Locations and corporate office buildings. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® – India won the “Best Café Award – Gold” at the India International Coffee Festival, 2012.

My personal favorite was Yule Log Pastry and Salted Caramel Cappuccino good creamy coffee topped with caramel that leaves a bit sweet and salty flavor on your palate and the pastry was moist on the inside and covered with think layer of chocolate and matched perfectly with the coffee.

Yule log

Yule log

Happy eating & Happy reading!!!

  

Shahjahanabad ki Sair- A shahi Dawat by food enthusiast Osama Jalali & his mother Nazish Jalali

Osama Jalali & Nazish Jalali

Osama Jalali & Nazish Jalali

What: Shahjahanabad ki Sair food festival

Where: Ssence, Hotel The Suryaa

The Suryaa Hotel is proud to announce their week long food festival SHAHJAHANABAD, a journey through authentic Mughlai cuisine. The event is being curated by food enthusiast Osama Jalali along with his mother Nazish Jalali, hosting a fabulous dawat.

Now let me take on a joy ride of Osama’s life and his affair with food along with his Ammi jaan Nazish ji who not only cooks delicious food but is also a very warm and loving female like all mothers are but i must say she’s a special one, since she’s been feeding so many kids from so long.

Osama Jalali is a seasoned food critic and consultant, who contribute mainly for The Hindu along with other publications. He comes from a non-hospitality background and has reviewed over more than 2000 restaurants. Osama is one of the few writers who have not restrained himself to just writing but loves to work on the other side of the kitchen as he cooks and curates community/Khandaan (Awadhi, Rampuri, Shahjahani, Nizami)-based menus with her mother Nazish Jalali for hotels and private Daawat’s. Born and brought up in the bylanes of Old Delhi / Purani Dilli his parental roots belong to a princely estate in Uttar Pradesh called Rampur which is famous for its unique Rampuri cuisine.

Osama’s passion for food began at an early age when he used to witness his mother cooking meals in huge amounts in deghs at the feasts organized at their home very often. The flavors and ingredients used by his mother made him curious to earn more knowledge on how these delicacies are prepared. He spent his childhood among Khansamas of Delhi & Rampur gharana. That was the time when his mother learnt a lot from royal Khansamas which eventually got transferred to Osama. He loves to pass his day treating people, sharing his food and talking about the joy of eating together.

Osama Jalali

Osama Jalali

Osama Jalali is the natural inheritor to this rich legacy. His grandfather was the head Mufti in the Fatehpuri Mosque who had performed the dastarbandi when Shahi Imam Abdullah Bukhari was installed in office. His father graduated as a doctor in the first batch of students from the medical college set up by legendary Hakim and nationalist Ajmal Khan. He practiced medicine lifelong in the walled city called shehar lovingly by the residents. Many of the gifted karigars , khansamas and most of the owners and their families were his patients. It is from these friends and acquaintances that his mother Nazish Jalali collected rare recipes that are now being showcased at this festival.

The Jalali’s trace their ancestral roots to the riyasat of Rampur that lies halfway between Delhi and Lucknow. It was this principality that provided refuge and patronage to master chefs, musicians and painters whenever Delhi was ravaged by invaders and finally lost its Imperial luster after the tumultuous aftermath of 1857. Before his ancestors migrated to Delhi they had imbibed a taste of Royal Rampur – a harmonious blend of Robust Rohila and Delicate Awadhi temperaments. Osama’s mother is exceptionally gifted to prepare and serve food to her guests who are truly blessed.

I feel blessed to be a part of such an extravagant food festival where not only I was served great food but also was taken back to my childhood days of Old Delhi, yes Nazish ji and I have same memories and love for “Purani Dilli” and that’s what made me closer to her on the dinner table. She not only described me how a perfect piece of mutton is chosen for Kebabs and Biryani but also told me how she lived in those narrow lanes of Old Delhi which made me feel at home even when I was sitting in a restaurant of a plush 5- star Hotel of Delhi. It was truly ” A home away from home.” experience for me.

Now let’s get onto the food. Oh well till now you guys must have realised how extra ordinary the food was at the Shahjahanabad ki Sair. This extravagant food festival will see both veg & non veg, Mughlai delicacies ranging from varieties of kebabs and qeemas to ghosht and tikkas. The event will have classic dishes like Mutton Qorma and Biryani as well as new variants such as Hari Mirch Qeema and Shah Zarda, which are integral to this cuisine.

Aloo Gosht

Aloo Gosht

Biryani

Biryani

Hari Mirch Qeema

Hari Mirch Qeema

First Thing first,  the food as I mentioned above was something I had never had. Yes! Even after spending 24years of my life in Delhi I’ve hardly had tasted such soft Kebabs or so smooth and flavorful Biryani. The Hari Mirch Qeema was introduced to me first time and i was flattered by the taste. Aloo Gosht though sounds very basic was a surprise with strong essence of spices and perfectly cooked potatoes with Mutton.

kebab Platter

kebab Platter

Nihari

Nihari

Nihari was to die for out of all the dishes, ask me why? Because you don’t get that taste anywhere except from a Muslim household that hails from Old Delhi and is still stuck on the old style or rather authentic cooking. Nazish ji makes all these delicacies herself in the kitchen of Ssence, Hotel Suryaa and of course the courteous staff that they have helps her all this while and learns a trick or two from her. For desserts we had “Zarda” and “Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh” one can actually count the rice lentils in the bowl while eating zarda, a dessert served with cashew nuts, mawa and chironji. While discussing about the zarda Nazish ji told me that she has kept the amount of sugar a little low as compared to what they serve in Rampur because people these days are either health conscious or have Diabetes. And she too likes it low as too uch sweetness kills the dish. Next on the table was “Imarti in Kullhad wala Doodh” the moment this arrived on my table I went back to my childhood where my grandfather used to get Kullhad or clay glass filled with milk in winters for us.

Shahi Zarda

Shahi Zarda

Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh

Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh

All the utensils are embossed copper that has been tinned a la Kashmir. I don’t often say this but if you are a meat eater, just go. It’s on till the 21st of December at Ssence, The Suryaa. Rs 1950 for the entire buffet, of which four starters, four main courses and two desserts are made by the Jalalis.

Osama Jalali and his mother Nazish Jalali and me

Osama Jalali and his mother Nazish Jalali and me

If you call yourself a food lover or a foodie then i would insist you to go visit and taste the delicacies yourself!!

Happy eating & Happy reading!!!

A not so Oily Oil- Canola

Delhi witnessed an interesting and fact filled event recently by Canola Council Of Canada in association with BlogAdda.  The main highlight of the event was to educate and inform the already well informed audience about the benefits of about Canola Oil, the better alternative to traditional oils that dominate our kitchens.

Mr. Bruce Jowett, Vice President of Market Development, Canola Council of Canada, Ritika Samaddar, Registered Dietician and Nutritionist and Chef Surjan Singh (aka Chef Jolly) shared interesting insights on consumer research, Health benefits and how Canola Oil adapts well to all the cuisines. 

Bruce Jowett, Ritika Samaddar and Chef Jolly

Bruce Jowett, Ritika Samaddar and Chef Jolly

There’s a secret weapon in many kitchens today: Canola Oil. It’s the healthiest, most versatile  and cost-effective cooking oil available to us, as said by Bruce and second by Ritika. Canola oil has the least saturated fat of any culinary oil- half that of Olive Oil- and is free of trans fat and cholesterol. Canola oil comes from the seeds of the canola plant, Once harvested, canola seeds are crushed and the oil contained within the seed is extracted. The average canola seed is 45% oil.

Canola oil is heart-healthy. It has the least saturated fat of any common cooking oil. In fact, it has less than half the saturated fat of olive or soybean oil. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil’s ability to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat.

The term Canola comes from ‘Canada’ and ‘ola’ respectively as “Can-ola”. The canola plants grow from three to five feet tall and produce beautiful small, yellow flowers, as told by Mr. Bruce Jowett. He also shared a greater deal of information about the consistency and percentage of oil in canola as compared to other oils. Bruce said, ” The canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plant. These seeds contain about 44% oil- double the oil content of soyabeans.”

Bruce sharing the insights

Bruce sharing the insights

Next was Nutritionist and dietician Ritika Samddar’s turn of shedding some light on the health benefits of the oil. I would like to explain her facts in points.

  • Free Of trans fat and cholesterol- Trans fat increases the risk of heart diseases in two ways:nit raises “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Low in saturated fat- Saturated fat has also been linked to increase risk of heart disease by increasing bad LDL cholestrol.
  • High in monounsaturated fat or MUFA- Monounsaturated fat may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar.
  • High on omega-3 fat- Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) must be consumed because the body cannot make it on its own. Omega-3 fat is anti- inflammatory and may help protect against heart attacks and strokes.
  • A source of omega-6 fat- Linoleic acid (omega-6) is also essential in the diet because the body cannot produce it. Omega-6 fat is essential for human growth and development as well as for skin health.

Remember, not all fats are created equally! The type of fat matters as much as the amount.

The most fun and awaited part was Chef Jolly and his demo about how to use Canola oil in different dishes and quantity. According to chef Canola oil is ideal for any type of cooking.  From salad dressings to sautéing, canola oil’s neutral taste and light texture make it a great match for just about everything. Furthermore, its high heat tolerance means you can use canola oil for anything from baking to stir-frying to deep-frying or grilling.

Chef Jolly demonstrating chick pea patty

Chef Jolly demonstrating chick pea patty

Chef Jolly

Chef Jolly

Canola is a very stable oil that doesn’t break down at high temperatures, so it’s ideal for sauteing, stir-frying, deep frying and other high-heat applications. Its smoke point- the temperature at which it begins to smoke and degrade is one of the highest of all cooking oils at 468 degree F (242 degree C). This is one of the main reasons why JAPAN has adapted Canola as their first preference. If you’re wondering how can your mother or grand mother will accommodate Canola with their traditional mustard oil then let chef Jolly clear your doubts too ” Some traditional dishes and cuisines should not be touched especially when it carries a tradition of ones family because then it is a matter of emotions as well and they should be made in a manner how they have always been prepared.”

Dishes prepared in canola oil at Shangri-La

Dishes prepared in canola oil at Shangri-La

Mini French pastries

Mini French pastries

All the desserts and starters were made in Canola Oil by the chef of Shangri-La Hotel, New Delhi at the event!

Happy Eating & Happy Reading!!!

LIIT tasting session at Hard Rock Cafe

What : LIIT tasting session

Where : Hard Rock Cafe, Saket

Before I tell you anything about the bloggers meet or the flavor of LIIT’s at HRC I would like you all to know a bit more about this drink which is spiked perfect alcohol combinations and everyone’s favorite.

“Drinking a Long Island Iced Tea when not thirsty is one of the few things that separates us from the Beast.”
– Rosebud
The world famous LONG ISLAND ICE TEA was invented in 1972 by Robert Butt, while he was tending bar at the infamous Oak Beach Inn. Nicknamed “Rosebud” by the owner of OBI, Bob Matherson, he participated in a Cocktail creating contest.
Triple Sec had to be included, and the bottles started flying.  His concoction was an immediate hit and quickly became the house drink at the OBI.  By the mid-1970’s, every bar on LI ( Long Island) was serving up this innocent looking cocktail, and by the 1980’s it was known the world over.  Though it looks like the Iced Tea your Mom serves on a summer day, it is actually a combination of 5 different alcohols, with a splash of Coke.  Mention Long Island Iced Tea at a party, and almost everyone has a story to tell…
Table Card

Table Card

Now this insight about the drink should interest you in knowing about what we tried and tasted at Hard Rock Cafe, Saket. Our guide in the world of LIIT was JD, oh not Jack Daniels but the man named JD who took us in the past and explained us everything from the origin of the name to the mixing of the alcohols. So apparently only colorless spirits were used in this drink and just to give it a color and feel of ice tea the drink was topped with coke, which by the way happens till date. This is how a Classic Long Island Ice Tea is made.

Classic Long Island Ice Tea

Classic Long Island Ice Tea

Now let’s share the recipe with you all:-

The Recipe

2 cups ice cubes
1 part vodka
1 part gin
1 part white rum
1 part white tequila
1/2 part triple sec
1/2 part sour mix
1 splash Coke
Lemon wedges for garnish
7 LIIT list

7 LIIT list

Second on our list was Long Beach Iced Tea, the preparation was almost similar the add on was Cranberry juice which added a flavorful taste to the drink and changed the color too. It was good but I couldn’t find much difference so I may not go for this if given an option.

Long Beach Iced Tea

Long Beach Iced Tea

Next came on the table was Long Caribbean Iced Tea, when we say Caribbean what comes first in our mind is MALIBU! Yes, so this iced tea had Malibu and i really liked this one, since Malibu has a little flavor of coconut and sweetness so does this drink. Surprisingly, the flavor was just doubled and the drink wasn’t too sweet at all.

Long Caribbean Iced Tea

Long Caribbean Iced Tea

Channel Iced Tea, is a twist to the original Long Island Iced Tea where tequila is added to the drink to add the zest in the already high on alcohol drink. This was another favorite. I will give 3.5/5 to this concoction.

Channel Iced Tea

Channel Iced Tea

Raspberry Iced Tea was close to the Beach Iced Tea instead of cranberry juice Raspberry juice was added but it was a little different from the previous one.

image

Boston Iced Tea, Oh my favorite coffee iced tea. You read it right, this was a super drink where the bar tender used an espresso shot to this cocktail. I would highly recommend this if you are a coffee freak or if in case you are looking for something different in your drink.

image

Last on the list was Texas Iced Tea, a whiskey based iced tea. Well I would like to add something here, whoever said women and whiskey don’t go together then let me correct you here, I truly loved this combination and I would recommend this blend to everyone looking for a change. A 5/5 to this version of LIIT!
image

That's me having my Texas Iced Tea

That’s me having my Texas Iced Tea

You can try all these 7 Long Island Iced Tea’s at the HARD ROCK CAFE in your city (If you have one) this festival ends on 14th December,2014. So Don’t wait and go hurry up!!! 

Order any 2 LIIT shots at just 99/- INR

Sample the festival variants at just 199/- INR

Package of any 5 LIITs at just 2099/- INR (455 individual)

Happy Eating & Happy Reading!!!

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