Goodies from Kolkata

Kolkata is known for awesome desserts and you don’t need me to tell you that.  A few weeks ago, Stuti from The Cheesecake Project was in Kolkata and she called me from the airport to ask me what I want. Now in normal circumstances I would have said Sondesh (because everyone loves Sondesh). For some vague reason she asked if I want some berry flavoured green tea.

Some of you must be aware that I am not a fan of green tea but then I’m a huge fan of berries so I ditched the Sondesh and opted for the green tea instead.

Blueberry and Raspberry Green Tea

Blueberry and Raspberry Green Tea

What’s more adorable is that she wrote a message too ^_^

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I haven’t tried it yet but I’m going to try both today! 😀 Are you experimenting with your tea?

The Colour Wheel

I’m in a weird mood currently. I want to try out food that I haven’t tried/seen before. I feel I don’t experiment enough. Eggs, for example. Every morning, people in office are happily chomping on their bhurji-pav and omelette while I have to make  do with a boring vegetable sandwich or some fruits.

Let’s be honest, a plate of omelette looks pretty appealing. It’s just that the smell puts me off 😦

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However, the mention of an omlette always reminds me of this. It’s pure nostalgia.

Introduction to French: 101

Introduction to French: 101

I also want to add more colour to my food and hence I’ve been trying to hunt for weirdly coloured vegetables. I don’t mean the yellow and red bell peppers but something else. I haven’t found anything yet but any tips would be helpful.

For example. I spotted this purple maize on the interwebs and I have no idea whether you get something like this in India. Purple Maize!

Or even something as simple as baby carrots. I cannot find them anywhere. Someone told me that they are available in a few supermarkets but I’ve only seen the short and fat variety there too. I’m looking for something that looks slightly more rustic like this –

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If you guys know of any places that sells differently coloured vegetables, do let me know. Let a ‘foodie’ experiment. Please.

Of sad Breadsticks and Chelsea Buns

Hello hello! I’ve been meaning to update the blog about my baking adventures but laziness took over and well, here I am. Anyway, I had my second baking class on Saturday and we made ‘fancy’ breads. Some of them were so yummy! However, I never knew I’d say this but I’m tired of eating bread but I have nothing to worry about because next week we’re making tarts! 😀

We bake in this industrial sized oven and I’m pretty much in awe of it. I wish I could have something like this at home. Here’s how it looks.

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This weekend we focused on making fancy breads and we started by making a sauce for our pizza. We semi-baked the Pizza base (just like how you get the ready ones in the market), added the sauce, veggies and cheese and baked it again. Yummy yummy.

Semi-baked Pizza based

Semi-baked Pizza based

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We then proceeded to make the yummiest bread I’ve ever baked – Cheese Garlic Bread. Now I’m not a fan of cheese but I’m glad I added it here because it added a wonderful flavour.

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We also made sweet bread which we had as dessert in class. We started with Chelsea Buns with lot’s of tutti fruity. Btw, did you know that tutti fruity is called Angelica in English? I didn’t know that until Saturday!

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Remember the tutti fruity buns that you get in general stores? We made those too! We only used red coloured tutti fruity but I’m definitely going to add more coloured ones when I make it at home. I think this is a great breakfast option.

Sweet Buns

Sweet Buns

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One sad thing happened though. I was always a fan of focaccia; maybe that’s because I thought the layer of vegetables made this a healthier option but I was taken aback at the amount of oil that is used in this recipe. Yes, it is olive oil but this bread literally floats in oil. I don’t think I’m fond of this bread anymore.

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We were almost 7 hours into the baking class by this time and I was tired and exhausted. The last recipe for the day was bread sticks and I am ashamed to say that I messed it up. Royally. They’re uneven, out of shape, and just generally a disaster. A classmate added some cheese to this recipe and it tasted really good. I’m going to remember that when I’m making some at home.

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What’s your favoruite type of bread?

Nutella will save the day!

There are bad days and then there are shitty days. This day is happily floating between these options and it can swing eitherway. Usually I deal with such days by stuffing my face with comfort food – rich, calorie- laden food that makes me feel good.

However, I’m stuck in office just dreaming about food that I want to eat right now and since I can’t have most of these things right now, I’m just making a list of these items.

1. Bread, butter and chaat masala – I am not a fan of butter and I need a sprinkle of chaat masala to mask the taste of butter. I also have a weird style of eating this – I roll the slice into a ball and then eat it (Is that TMI?) Also, how can people discard the first and last slices?

Sliced Bread

2. Ripe Banana Chips and Jackfruit chips – Ripe banana chips are made by ripe bananas (duh!) and you can find them in most places where the chips are being freshly fried (Most roadside vendors have this). Jackfruit chips are slightly difficult to find; though the best ones are fried in coconut oil.

Ripe Banana Chips

Ripe Banana Chips

Jackfruit Chips

Jackfruit Chips

3. Nutella – Let me make this clear – the only way to have Nutella is to have it straight from the jar. No two ways about it. I love having it with Vita Marie biscuits. Dunk the biscuit in the jar and then it goes straight in the mouth.

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4. Samosa Pav – FRIED POTATOES. How can anyone not like Samosa Pav?

04-India-Samosas-Chaat-and-Vada-PavI’ll usually turn to these things when I’m feeling down. Do you have any favourite comfort food?

 

This Valentine’s Day get Bready!

Hello hello! I bring you some good news. I finally attended my first baking class over the weekend. Well, it’s not exactly my first baking class but the first of a three month weekend baking course that I have joined.

It started at 9 am on a Saturday morning (eeks!) and although I was tired and sleepy, I was elated when the instructor walked in and told us that we’d be baking bread for our first class. I was so happy. I love bread and this was the perfect way to start something that I’ve been wanting to do since a long time. The class went on for 8 hours and we made six different types of bread. I was so exhausted but so happy at the end of the day.

We started with dinner rolls where I tried experimented with different shapes. Some turned out to be quite nice and others, well, looked weird.

Dinner Rolls

Next came the loaf. This one was very easy to make and it tasted and felt just like store bought bread.

Bread Loaf

We followed that up with Herbed Clover Leaf bread. It is called a clover leaf bread because it resembles a clover leaf. The best thing is that you bake it in a muffin tin!

Herbed Bread

Herbed Clover Leaf Bread 2

A quick lunch break later, we made Ladi Pav (the Pav Bhaji bread). Again, very easy to make and so soft.

Ladi Pav

Ladi Pav 2

It was followed by Masala Bread. Full of flavour, this bread goes really well with masala chai. I’ve been having this for breakfast since 2 days.

Masala Bread

Masala Bread 2

The last bread for the day as a French Loaf. Unlike the other breads we had baked, this one had a hard crust and goes really well with hot, steaming soup.

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I apologize for the shoddy quality of the pictures. I wasn’t carrying my camera and I was just way too excited to click decent pictures anyway. I was showing these pictures to a friend and he just joked about how he will gift bread to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I absolutely loved the idea. Imagine, getting a big heart shaped masala bread as a gift. It is quirky and not a conventional gift but I would love to receive something like that rather than cookies or flowers.

So here’s the deal. If you want to gift your partner some awesome bread this Valentine’s Day, write to me and I’ll bake fresh, yummy bread for you. Trust me, it’s a gift that your partner will remember forever.

Star Wars cookies? Why not?

I’ve had a one-sided love affair with baking which means that I love baking but I haven’t really tried experimenting a lot with it. I studied Home Science in college and hence I did get to cook in college and learn the basics of baking (how awesome is that?!). When I was a student, I made a promise to myself that I will continue to bake even after I graduate and get a job. I didn’t stick to my promise and I decided to spend my weekends lazying around at home rather than bake.

Anyhow, I’m trying to change that now; I’ve even enrolled for a 3 month weekend baking course so that I learn the basics all over again. My classes start this Saturday and I’m really excited! 😀 I thought I’d do a little baking at home just to familiarize myself with the process all over again. I decided to make some cookies and I headed out to buy cookie cutters.

Now this is where the problem starts; there are very few stores that sell ‘fancy’ cookie cutters. Arife in Crawford Market is one place that sells a lot of baking equipment but I doubt there are other stores that match up to the options they offer (which aren’t too many to begin with). The branches in Andheri West and Borivali West don’t even have half the options that the Crawford Market shop stocks.

What if I want to make Star Wars cookies for a friend?

Star Wars Cookies

Star Wars Cookies

Or maybe a simple cookie puzzle for my niece?

Cookie Puzzle

Cookie Puzzle

I won’t be able to execute these ideas unless I find all the required equipment. So all you bakers out there, please help me with this. Do you guys know any stores (even online stores) where I can buy all these fancy equipments from?

Midnight cravings: Strawberry Muesli

Let’s admit it, all of us have vague midnight cravings – I usually want to have something sweet and non- fussy and more often than not I find myself curled up in my bed with a nice big bowl of strawberry muesli.  My favourite is the Bagrry’s Fruit n Fibre Strawberry muesli (I love berries so this is my first choice). This muesli is crunchy and full of fruity goodness though I should warn you that it comes with raisins and almond pieces.

I have a constant battle with raisins and it’s difficult to avoid them but everytime I spot a raisin before I eat a spoonful I give myself a hi-5! But then there are times when I eat one and this is how I react –

Attack of the raisins :(

Attack of the raisins 😦

Also, I’m not too fond of milk so I just take a couple of spoonfuls of cold milk and fill the entire bowl with muesli. Yummmmmm. I don’t usually like to top my muesli with more fruits but if blueberries were easily available here, I would have had something like this EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Blueberries

Blueberries

I pick up the 1 kg box of Bagrry’s Fruit n Fibre Strawberry muesli from Hypercity in Malad for approximately Rs 350/- though I want to try making it at home once. Any tips or recipes will be welcome and I might even share some with you!

What’s your midnight snack?

How to pretend to be in Italy – Make pesto sauce at home

What’s green, gooey and tastes awesome?

That’s right, it’s pesto.

 

Pesto

Pesto

For those who don’t know, pesto is a really simple sauce made with basic ingredients.  Here are the ingredients you will need to make fresh homemade pesto.

– Basil

– Walnuts (or pine nuts)

– Garlic

– Lemon juice

– Lots of olive oil

-Salt

Blend everything together and tada, pesto’s ready 🙂

I used to be one of those people who used to opt for the safe option of ordering pasta in arrabbiata sauce (the tomato based sauce) but once I developed a liking for pesto, there was no turning back.

While pasta and pesto make a really good pair, you don’t have to restrict yourself (Though, that’s pretty close to being in heaven)

Heaven in a bowl

Heaven in a bowl

This healthy sauce can be used as a base for a lot of other things too.

Pesto Pizza

Pesto Pizza

Pesto hummus

Pesto hummus

Pesto sandwich

Pesto sandwich

You can even add a big dollop of pesto in your salad. In fact I had that for lunch today and it turned out to be rather yummy.

Are you fond of pesto too? Do you have any signature pesto dish?

 

 

Cookbooks – A cook’s best friend?

I’m not really fond of cookbooks; sure hundred pages of glossy food pictures are good to look at but how many of those recipes are you actually going to try to replicate in your kitchen? I usually visit a few of my favourite blogs or Pinterest for a little inspiration and start cooking. Tip: The ideal way to hunt for a good recipe would be to identify one or two main ingredients that you will be cooking with and then scan these blogs.

Having said that, I have been thinking of making my own cookbook at home – arts and crafts is not something that I am good at but I am really fascinated with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) stuff. I want a book where I note down all the recipes that I love so that when I’m 80 and I forget everything, I can atleast go through my book and make the food I love.

I’ve read a few blogs about how to make a DIY cookbook. Homemade cookbooks look so pretty (and vintage!) – you can decorate it the way you want it to be. Here are a few ideas that I like.

Pretty and minimalistic

Pretty and minimalistic

I think this will be easier to use while cooking

I think this will be easier to use while cooking

I can sit and stare at this the whole day

I can sit and stare at this the whole day

Do you like cookbooks? Have you made one at home?