Saturday, 24 May 2014

‘Bake Like A Pastry Chef’ at Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Center

Whenever I begin to gather ingredients for baking, I am reminded of love....
Nothing fills a house with joy as much as the aroma and prospect of a  freshly baked cake no matter how basic it is .....
Baking marks a celebration , fills a child's heart with glee and revives lagging spirits ....
Baking comes from the heart ...

Pune food blogger baking
Delicious Tea Cake
Baking is about loving , about sharing and about giving as much as it is about cooking.....

Pune food blogger baking
Chef de Partie Gerwin D'souza
The lovely people at Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Center hosted a wonderful afternoon to a packed audience ...

Chef de Partie Gerwin D'souza hosted a baking master-class aptly titled "Bake like a Pastry Chef".

Pune food blogger baking
Cheese Cake
In a short span of just an hour and a half the  young and immensely talented Chef Gerwin D'souza taught us how to make muffins, crispy short bread , healthy oat cookies , scrumptious tea cake ,tiramisu and ravishingly good baked New York style cheese cake!

Pune food blogger baking
Brilliant baked cheese cake
The masterclass was held in a state of the art assembled bakery with cameras and television displays so that the audience could see every step of the recipe no matter where they were seated.....

Pune food blogger baking
Chef Gerwin D'souza interacted with the audience in his witty , charming style and answered queries all through the session.....

Pune food blogger baking
Crispy shortbread cookies
What followed was sampling of everything that we learnt and high -tea.

Pune food blogger baking
Healthy oats cookies

Pune food blogger baking
And its Tea Time!
A truly memorable afternoon and I learnt so much in such a short span of time!
I highly recommend all forthcoming baking master classes with Chef de Partie Gerwin D'souza....its not often that one has the chance to interact and learn from such a gifted Chef who is so devoted to the art of baking!

Pune food blogger baking
Wonderful audience in rapt attention!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Kerala Fish Curry Meen Moiley

Sometimes I wonder about how a particular recipe got its name...some have logical explanations like Meat Beli Ram ..a spectacular full bodied peshawari mutton curry that was made famous and created by a legendary North West Frontier Province cook called Beli Ram....but several recipes make you wonder about the origin of their names....

Best Indian Food Blog Kerala fish curry recipe

I always wonder specially when I make Kerala style Meen Moiley ....its a coconut based fish curry with a very sophisticated blend of spices .
The curry is delicately spiced with powdered Fennel seeds, cinnamon bark, cloves, crushed black pepper and bruised green cardamoms!

Was is Aunty Molly's recipe? I like to think of her as a warm , generous Portuguese lady who called Kerala home a long long time ago....

Aunty Molly must have been a genius then to put to good use all of Kerala's magnificent spices in one single curry.....and yet nothing is overpowering......

It could be true considering that Kerala's long coastal belt abundant with spice plantations , fresh sea food attracted so many adventurous traders from the world over - the Portuguese, Dutch , Arabs , Phoenicians , Romans , British all came to Kerala in search of black gold - Pepper which grows wild and abundant in the state....and they all left a mark on the local wonder the food of Kerala is so brilliant ....

Maybe then Aunt Molly was a fantastic cook of Portuguese origin makes the recipe a little more exotic when I think of it that way!

She must have been a legendary cook and the whole village must have smelled the delicate aroma as the curry bubbled away on her stove....

And you do know about a good cook and a good recipe, don't you?
Word travels fast like a forest fire....soon the entire village was cooking Meen Moiley Aunty Molly style and then the whole state!

And now I cook it too even though I have no link with either Kerala or Portugal :)
Good food and a good recipe does travel fast then....

Best Indian Food Blog Kerala fish curry recipe

Here is the recipe its my absolute favorite...a wonderful curry that showcases the best of Indian Spices...

Meen Moiley
Serves : 4 

Ingredients :

Fish  : 500 g ( I used Surmai )

To Marinate : (for 30 minutes in the refrigerator)
Haldi, salt , pepper : 1/2 teaspoon each

For Sauce :
 Black Rye : 1 tsp
Cloves : 5
Cinnamon : 1"
Green Cardamom : 2 slightly bruisedOnions : 2 , finely chopped
Garlic : 4 cloves finely chopped
Ginger : 1" piece
Green Chillies : 5 slit
Haldi : 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : large pinch
Crushed black pepper : 1/2 tsp
Saunf powder : 1/2 tsp 
Tomato - 1 finely chopped 
 Thin coconut milk : 2 cups*
Thick coconut milk : 1 cup*
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Curry Leaves - 2 springs 

Heat oil then add black rye and let them splutter . Add cinnamon , cloves , elaichi . Add chopped onions, ginger garlic and green chillies. Cook for 5 minutes. Add haldi , red chilli powder ., add the chopped tomato and curry leaves....cook for 2-3 minutes . 

Then add thin coconut milk . Let all this boil for 5-7 minutes . Now add fish and cover and cook for 10 minutes .

In the end add thick coconut milk , curry leaves and to finish add saunf powder .

* I got lazy this time and used Maggi coconut milk powder ( 25 g) pack diluted in 3 cups of hot water instead of extracting fresh coconut milk.
*If you are using coconut milk powder just add it all in once and then boil for 7 minutes.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Delhi Belly Food Festival at JW Marriott Pune

The food in Purani (old) Delhi is legendary.

Tucked away in the congested narrow alley ways of the capital you will find spectacular food....the best creamy kheer at Bade Mian in Lal Kuan, fantastic Dahi Bhallas at Natraj , crispy jalebis at Daribe ke Old and Famous Jalebiwalla .....mutton and chicken korma at Ashok & Ashok....the list is long!

Old Delhi has a marvelous legacy of food, everything is a treat to the taste buds. I love exploring the food of Pooranie Dillie ....

old delhi food blog
Flaky hot Nan-Khatai ( Biscuits) being sold on a street cart in Chandani Chowk, Old Delhi

I specially loved buying fresh , melt in your mouth , warm Nan Khatais from a street vendor in Old Delhi during my last visit there....

You can imagine then how excited I was when I heard that JW Marriott in Pune is hosting a delighful food festival featuring the best of Old Delhi Food.

old delhi food blog
Beverages on offer - Cutting chai , Nimbu Shikanjvi, India Gate style Baraf ke Gole

Aptly called the Delhi Belly Food Festival its a treat for ever food loving Pune-ite....

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Chef Ajmal Salim with Chef Halim from  Delhi

I loved the detailed planing for this food festival. The very talented Chef Ajmal along with Chef Halim (who specialises in Delhi & Lucknowi food) have made great efforts to keep the food very authentic and re-create old Delhi classics like

Patel Nagar ki Shikanjavi
Chankdni Chowk ka Banta Masala Soda
India Gate ke Baraf Gole
Tawa wallie Shakarkandi Chaat
Karol Bagh ke Chole Bhature
Jama Masjid ki Mashoor Biryani
Purani Dillie Ka Shahie Tukra 

Just writing about the charming street food of Old Delhi is enough to make my mouth start watering yet again!

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Falky Mathie with aged Lemon and Mango Pickle

Each table was set with a platter of perfectly khasta (flaky & crispy) Mathie , Sonth (sweet Tamarind and Jaggery Chutney) , green chutney, Mango & Lemon Pickle!

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Drool worthy Mathie

The Mathie/ Mathri  and pickle were both very authentic ....they tasted just like what my Dadijee would make.

Being bang in the middle of the summer months there are an array of India Gate special flavored ice golas along with very refreshing Patel Nagar ki Neembu Shikanjvi on offer....

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal

For starters we had some very well made Rajinder Nagar Style Dahi ke Kebab and Channa ke Shammi...both very well done ...its always nice when the vegetarian starters are as good as the non-vegetarian starters.

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Melt in your mouth vegetarian Dahi Ke Kebab

The show stopper of my meal was definatley the tandoori chicken...its was so perfectly succulent and well spiced....I enjoyed it with Moolchand ka ande ka paratha ....

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Perfect Tandoorie Kukkad

Main course was creamy dal makhani and delicatley spiced Jama Masjid Murg biryani with  moist tender pieces of chicken....

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Purani Dillie Ki Daal Makhani

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Jama Masjid Ki Mashoor Murg Biryani

And best of all for dessert we had some Gol Market style  Kulfi milk shake complete with falooda and sabja seeds! I had never heard of a kulfi -falooda milk shake....and I do love a good this was the perfect end to a very good meal...

JW Marriott food festival chef ajmal
Kulfi Falooda Shake Gol Market Style 

The "Delhi Belly Food Festival" Buffet is currently underway at the JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune  from 16th May -31st May 2014.

This specially crafted buffet menu is available for dinner between 7:30 am - 11 pm at Spice Kitchen and also at Shakahari (For Vegetarian Diners).

Priced at INR 1000 AI for adults and INR 500 for children below the age of 12 years at the Spice Kitchen, JW Marriott.

I strongly recommend this excellent dining experience to savour the charming food of Puranie Dillie without having to get on a plane or brave the narrow crowded streets of Old Delhi.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Gulabjamun Recipe from scratch using Milk powder

Easily one of Indias most loved desserts gulabjamuns can be a little tricky to make ....either they are right and so good or they are just a mess!

There isnt anything in between...

Well I have been looking for the perfect Gulabjamuns-from-scratch-recipe for many years!

I have tried pure milk powder Gulabjamuns, 1:1 Milk powder Flour , all khoya, part kohya....the list is endless....

Some versions were good while some recipes yielded gulabjamuns as hard as stone.....

Hence after a lot of trial and error  I have combined several recipes and tips  and I can proudly announce this recipe is the ONE!

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

Its the perfect texture ....I even put it through my famed Gulabjamun test! The test is basically cutting a Gulabjamun into half ,it should be moist and danedaar right to its very centre, it should not be hard and it should not be falling apart either!

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

So here is the recipe, with a little care and attention to detail anyone can make  perfect gulabjamuns at home...

1 cup Nestle Everyday Dairy Whitener (Milk Powder)
1/2 cup Plain Flour (Maida)
1/4 tsp n a lil pinch more of baking soda
1-2 tablespoons thick curd
1.5 tsp ghee
1 tablespoon Sooji ( Semolina)

Sugar Syrup
1.5 cups sugar
3 cups water
A splash of rose water
2-3 bruised green cardamom pods

Start by mixing the milk powder, flour,Semolina and baking soda with your fingers in a large bowl.
Once all the dry ingredients are well combined add the ghee and use your fingers to mix everything well again.

Now is the tricky bit, start adding the curd into the dry mix but start by adding only a teaspoon of curd at a time.
Milk powder tends to get all gooey very quickly so watch out . You dont want to add more curd than necessary. After each teaspoon addition of curd mix very well and knead. You should need only about 1-1.5 tablespoons of curd to have a homogeneous mixture.

Dont over work the dough it does not need to be all smooth and perfect you just need to bring everything together , look at the picture.

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

 Once the dough is ready leave it aside for 5-10 minutes.

Get started with the sugar syrup. Add the sugar to the water along with crushed
gren cardamom seeds and some rose water. Boil the syrup for about 15-20 minutes.

Now start making little tiny rounds of your dough first take a little dough and flatten it between your palms, then make it into a small ball this ensures minimum cracks on the surface of the dough. Little because on frying they will increase in size and swell up once again when you soak them in the sugar syrup.

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

Heat enough oil to be able to deep fry the dough balls. Heat oil and then reduce the heat for 5 minutes. Now gently add about 7 gulabjamuns to fry. You dont want to add too many.

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

You need to fry the dough balls evenly and on a low flame. To ensure even cooking make sure you keep swirling them around in the oil. Once they acquire a nice brown even color add them to the hot sugar syrup.

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

Let them soak for a minimum of 10-15 minutes before you serve them!

Milkpowder gulabjamun recipe blog authentic

I hope you try this recipe soon......:)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

JW Marriott Pune - Secret Recipes by Chef Ajmal

One of my most favorite things to do is looking at recipes from a cook book....I think I enjoy perusing recipes more than actual cooking! (ha ha)

I love a good cookbook holds between its covers the possibility of so many spectacular meals.....

I have over the years managed to gather quite a good collection....some inherited ...I really treasure those...with yellowing pages and comments scribbled along side recipes.....thank you Mom and Nanijee :))

Some bought from second hand book stores , some new cook books with glossy pages and endless possibilities , some picked up from flea markets around the world often in poor condition....

So today I want to tell you about the latest addition to my cook book collection....its my current favorite....

chef ajmal

I love nothing better than to make myself a cup of my Spice and Herb Chai....and look at the lovely pictures of this book....

chef ajmal

I got lucky and got invited to meet Chef Ajmal at the JW Marriott Pune for a special chance to watch him cook 3 recipes from his newly launched book....

chef ajmal
Mango Chiffon Cake

chef ajmal
Southern Indian fried chicken

chef ajmal
Summer Salad

It was such a lovely afternoon I got to meet some great and talented people....hopefully I will get to know them better as the days roll by....

Chef Ajmal is an exceptional Chef with many years of experience in the Kitchen.....he was so much fun to interact with and was kind enough to share some lovely tips with us.....after which he personalized my copy of the book

chef ajmal

This book is a special edition with some of the best recipes served at the JW Marriott Pune ....its beautifully compiled with lovely pictures ....

If you would like to own a copy for yourself or gift it to someone you love the book retails exclusively at the Pune Baking Company ,JW Marriott , Senapati Bapat Road, Pune and retails at INR 1500.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Club Mahabaleshwar - Food and Kitchen Tour

I hope you have read my previous post about The Club , Mahabaleshwar....If you haven't as yet here it is.

The Club Mahabaleshwar

The reason I chose to write a separate post on just the food is because the food is so spectacular I just could not put it all together in one post!

The quaint old brass bell is rung to indicate the start of a meal time....yes there are fixed meal times....and the same old brass bell is rung 10 minutes prior to the close of meal time!

The Club Mahabaleshwar

Meals at the club are a formal affair ....members are expected to dress shorts and rubbish thank you very much!

The Club Mahabaleshwar

And best of all no cell phones allowed in the dining area! Thank God ....dosen't it just ruin a meal ?
When people on your table keep checking their phones or worse still when people on the adjacent tables talk loudly over their least there are a few places in the world that still  respect the environment in which a meal is to be enjoyed and go that extra mile to create such an environment!

The Club Mahabaleshwar

The tables are laid out perfectly ....every guest is assigned their own special table and bearer for the entire duration of their stay. Each meal is accompanied with a printed menu on the table!

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Of course the menu for the day is disclosed 24 hours in advance on the notice board outside the dining hall ....

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Akuri - Parsi style scrambled eggs at breakfast

I dont know about you but food is pretty much the thing I look forward to on any holiday I its nice when they tell you what they will serve you for your next meal....that way you can dream about the next meal while dozing off on the hammock :))

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Chicken roasted to perfection

Food both vegetarian and Non Vegetarian is exceptional ....meals are almost always a good mix of Indian and Continental.  Lunch and dinner start with a soup and soup sticks....and the main course is a delight!

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Spring Onion Soup
The food is modern yet old world ....dining at The Club is such a delight to all your are some more pictures of what we ate during out last stay there....

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Sauteed Vegetables and Patrani Macchi

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Vegetable Lasagna
The desserts are spectacular ...I specially love the steamed date pudding served with cream...

The Club Mahabaleshwar
Steamed date pudding with cream
Liveried bearers , in white,serve you promptly in the dining room and it is a pleasure to be welcomed over breakfast,lunch and dinner .....
The Club Mahabaleshwar
Banana Split

And now onto the Kitchen tour...well what can I say....

The Club Mahabaleshwar

Never before have I seen staff that has so much pride in the kitchen and establishment they work in....

The Club Mahabaleshwar

I took an exclusive guided tour of the kitchen and the kitchen staff was so happy and welcoming and they told me "Madam you will not find a better and bigger kitchen than ours in all of Mahabaleshwar...well thats true....there isnt any......

The Club Mahabaleshwar

The kitchen is airy , sunny , beautiful and all white.....its so spacious and old wordly....

The Club Mahabaleshwar

The vegetarian and non-vegetarian areas are separate....

Its such a lovely positive happy place to be much better than any 5 star kitchen I have seen with all its steel and sharp edges....

The Club Mahabaleshwar

I hope you enjoyed your tour of The Club Mahabaleshwar as much as I enjoyed writing about it....