Wish you all a very Happy Makar Sankrant/Pongal

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January 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

‘Tarridar’ brunch at Culture Kitchen’s ‘SoMarathi’-‬ Maharashtrian Brunch Sunday

I have always missed good quality ‘food Events’ in Nashik. Either I get to know about them after they are long over or then they are not worth the effort. I have had my share of disappointment in the past, with the typical food festivals happening in various hotels.

A few days back, Culture Kitchen -the restaurant with the most gorgeous Ambience in Nasik, announced ‘Somarathi’ its Maharashtrian Sunday Brunch event.

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I have to confess, I was very skeptical of the authenticity of the Misal that would be served at this ‘fine dining’ restaurant.Also our current favourite ‘Chulivarchi  (Chulha) Misal’ at Sadhana Restaurant has set the bar high!

The need to getaway and to enjoy some precious time with A, against the backdrop of the gorgeous view lured us to Culture kitchen this Sunday. Both kids promised to behave themselves after being assured of unlimited TV time and good food :).

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The spectacular landscape coupled with the cool breeze always makes the long drive worth the effort. A lazy start to the Sunday brunch, the place seemed to be quiet when we reached. A few minutes after admiring the view, we immediately got down to business-target was the Misal counter. The dry sprout base was served separately with 2 types of Rassa (gravy) Khandeshi and Nashik special. A chose the spicier Khandeshi Rassa and I chose the Nashik Rassa. All the assorted Misal toppings-farsans, onion, coriander,lime,papads etc. were spread out elaborately. I chose the diet chivda and whole wheat pav -just for a feel good factor. The breads I am told are baked in-house and were fantastic.

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The Rassa and Tarri (which I did not have) kept making an appearance at the table as and when we demanded. The accompaniments included Poha and mini batat vadas along with green chutney, which were ok. I was too focused on the Misal to care much about them though. The scrumptious, spicy  Misal made us forget that we are in a Fine dining restaurant and we gorged on it.

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The Masala Chaas was the star amongst the sides, it always is for us. A helped himself to bowls of Shrikhand and he loved it. There was a live egg Bhurji counter and I helped myself to some along with a cup of strong hot coffee. Stuffed to the Gills, all I wanted was a cozy nap after this hearty brunch.A quick stop at Sula, to buy more bottles of their Grapeseed oil and we were back home for that nap.

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At Rs.249/person, I think this is reasonably priced, considering we could eat just a light salad even for dinner! Also no after effects were observed the next day :) As Rocky & Mayur would say-its value for money.

Capturing the beautiful landscape through my lens was an added bonus for me

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The #SoMarathi, Sunday Brunch will be on for next 7-8 Sundays, with a rotating menu, specially the sides.

January 13, 2015 at 6:39 pm 1 comment

Hadga/Agasti Flower Bhajias

A very Happy New Year to all of you.

New Year

I am back after a looooooong silence on MyFoodcourt. As you can guess the resolution for 2015 is to blog as much I can!

I have been thinking of posting recipes for a long time. The ‘comeback recipe’ for the blog has spanned from Christmas cake to Yule log to Pavlova to a humble porridge-but only in my mind!

A trip to the older part of the city a couple of days back lead me to a treasured discovery- the edible Hadga flowers. I had a faint memory of my childhood ,of my Mom using these flowers for cooking. The lady selling these flowers was kind enough to inform me that I need to remove the bitter tasting stamens from the flowers before cooking them.

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A chat with Mom about these flowers and she was nostalgic about how these flowers reminded her of her childhood. (Now you know where my love for these offbeat, treasured foods comes from). Mom said she makes a ‘Pith Perun’ bhaji (stir fry with Besan/chana dal flour).Our house help informed me that you can make sinful Bhajias with these flowers. The dipping mercury made the Bhajias more tempting than the stir fry …and so Bhajias were made. The stir fry has to wait its turn, but I had to blog about these treasured flowers rightaway!

hadga bhaji 053FB comments on the photo of the flowers and Google research have enlightened me that they are also known as Agasti,Bokful in other Indian languages and also that they are eaten as a vegetable in Southeast Asian countries.

hadga bhaji 001

I have used carbonated water just to make the Bhajias crispier- just plain water will be fine too.We enjoyed the crispy Hadga Bhajias sans accompaniment.

Here’s my recipe for

Hadga Flowers Bhajia

Ingredients

8-10 Hadga flowers (the younger flowers are better for Bhajias, but I had to make do with whatever I had)

½ cup Besan/Chana dal Flour

½ cup Rice flour

½ tsp Asafoetida(hing)

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp Red chilli powder

½ tsp Ajawain/carom seeds (optional)

Carbonated (or plain) water to make a the batter

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

 Method

Heat the oil in a wok.

Remove the stamens from the flowers and keep aside.

Mix the flours, spices, Ajwain and salt in a bowl.

Add 2 tsp of the hot oil to this dry mix.

Add the carbonated water to the dry mix to make the batter (not too thick, not too thin) ~  1/4  cup

Coat each Hadga flower with the batter and deep fry on medium heat till crisp and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

January 7, 2015 at 8:40 am 2 comments

Memories of IFBM2014 & The Sparkling Himalayan spritzers

As I watch the rain pouring down outside my window, all I can think of is that the last time it rained this heavily, I was on my way to the first ever Indian Food bloggers meet. Excited and enthusiastic to meet my ‘friends’ the journey from Nasik to Bangalore via Mumbai did not seem as boring . Any apprehensions I had about the IFBM ,were put to rest with the warm ‘Hi’ from Deeba & Sanjeeta, as soon as I stepped into Aranha home, our abode for the next two days. (Thank you Sanjeeta for all your efforts in organising & co-ordinating for our accommodation)That night the residents in & around Aranha home had to bear with some very high decibel , nonstop banter intercepted only by fits of nonsensical laughter, from a bunch of mad Food bloggers. The last time I had such a hilarious time was when I stayed in a hostel during my Masters. We also managed to squeeze in a late night trip to Adigas for the famous filter Kappi.

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Even the heavy Bangalore traffic did not dampen our spirits as we maneuvered our way to Adiyar Anand Bhavan for an early morning breakfast –both days I had crisp Dosa accompanied with an array of chutney’s. I specially loved the Curry leaf chutney.

After exchanging pleasantries with the ever helpful and courteous staff of the stunning Aloft Hotel Cessna park (the IFBM venue) all I remember is being engulfed with warm hugs and Hi’s from all my ‘Friends’ I have known through their blogs for years.

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The rest of the two days went in a daze, with some candid moments captured by my lens and others etched forever in my memory. Though the highlight for me was meeting all the bloggers, I also returned back motivated by the knowledge exchanged during the inspiring sessions by eminent bloggers, panel discussion and the Masterclasses by the two Masterchefs .

And yes we brought back cartloads of Goodies. I had to buy a bag in Bangalore even after sharing some of the goodies with my friend there.A huge thank you to all the generous sponsors.

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When I decided to be a part of the IFBM, I had thought of it as a great opportunity to meet all the bloggers whom I had interacted with over the years. But IFBM 2014 was much bigger and grander than what I could imagine and exceeded every possible imagination. Everything was so meticulously organized, thanks to the awesome organisers{Arundati (Escapades) and Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen), Revati (Hungry & Excited) and Nandita (Saffron Trail)} who worked tirelessly to make it such a grand success. Hats off to you ladies  and Thank you once again for all the hard work .You rock!

A special mention for the amazing staff and management of Aloft Hotel Cessna park, Bengaluru. I was overwhelmed by their hospitality. Each meal was carefully planned around a brilliant theme and tastefully created .The stunningly display instantly put all us Shutterbugs to work. Thank you Aloft Hotel, Cessna Park, there couldn’t have been a better place to host the first ever IFBM!

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I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms post the IFBM. This post was long pending, but how do you put such an exhilarating experience into words?This is just a snapshot of my euphoric experience at the IFBM2014. Food blogging for me will not be the same again. I have come back refreshed, inspired and motivated- all things much needed for this blog here. The media coverage post the event was like the icing on the cake. You can read a detailed account of the conference and the media coverage on the IFBM FB page

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Many of the contests related to the event are still on. The one from Soulfull won me a gift voucher! The sparkling Himalayan contest is still on.  We were gifted a bottle of sparkling Himalayan water at the IFBM and the bottle safely made its way back to Nasik.

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With the of Betel/‘Pan’ leaves creeper thriving in the rains, I am trying to use the flavourful leaves wherever possible. I tried recreating the Indian ‘Meetha pan’ flavor for a refreshing Meetha Pan spritzer with the Himalayan sparkling water.

starfruit

Every time I see the star fruit at the fruit vendor’s stall, I have to buy it. The starfruit was then paired with cucumber & some Jal jeera masala for a very Chatpata Starfruit-Cucumber spritzer

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 Meetha Pan Spritzer

Makes about 1 tall glass

Ingredients

2 young Betel leaves torn into pieces

½ tsp Fennel seeds

1 polo ring crushed

1 tbsp Rose syrup

2-3 tbsp fresh pomegranate juice (I added this just for the colour)

2 tsp fresh Lime juice

A bottle of Himalayan Sparkling water

4-5 Ice cubes

Rose petals for garnishing

Method

Rub a lemon wedge around the rim of a tall glass.

Turn the glass upside down & dip the rim in caster sugar.

Invert and add the torn Betel leaves, crushed polo ring  and Fennel seeds.

Use a muddler to lightly crush and mix everything.

Add the Rose syrup,Pomegranate juice & Lime juice (you may adjust quantities to your taste)

Add ice cubes to the glass and pour sparkling Himalayan water over it.

Garnish with fresh rose petals and serve immediately.

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Chatpata Starfruit- Cucumber Spritzer

Makes 1 glass

Ingredients

3-4 slices of starfruit

4-5 round cucumber slices

1 slice of a tangerine cut into wedges

½ tsp Sugar

5-6 mint leaves torn

1 tsp Jal jeera powder

1 tsp fresh lime juice

1 pinch crushed black pepper

4-5 Ice cubes

 Method

Muddle together the starfruits, cucumber,Tangerine wedges & mint leaves in a serving glass

Add  the Jal Jeera, sugar, Lime juice,crushed black pepper and mix.

Add ice cubes & pour sparkling Himalayan water over it

Serve immediately

August 23, 2014 at 10:46 am 2 comments

Soulfull 8 years!

The blog officially turned 8 this August! Still on a high after attending the first ever Indian Food bloggers meet, I almost forgot that it’s been 8 long years since the Food blogging bug first bit me! I can still vividly remember the day, long long ago when I discovered this wonderland through the gorgeous Mahanandi.

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This gastronomic journey, more than anything else, has been such a precious learning experience for me. On my way I have also discovered my passion for baking and a whole new world of Food photography. Reading, learning and imbibing everything shared by all the talented, generous and ever encouraging Food bloggers has enriched my culinary life and opened up many new avenues for me. So a big Thank you to all my Food blogger friends, for being so inspirational and encouraging throughout this ride.

thanks

A huge THANK YOU to all the readers of My Foodcourt. To those who have stuck around for a long long time- posts or no posts. Thank you to all the new readers and to those whose comments & message are ever so encouraging. To those who check on me when the blog is silent for long- everyone Thank you very much.

And now to today’s Soulfull post. Of the cart load of Goodies we received at the #IFBM2014, the one from Soulfull was tried, tasted and over as soon as I returned back. I had heard great reviews about Soulfull from Food blogger friends, mostly on Twitter. This got attested when the fussy daughter finished the Soulfull Choco fills-Nagli bites without any fuss and was asking for more. I immediately checked with them if they deliver products in Nasik and to my delight they do! The son loved the Granola bars and I did not get even a glimpse of the bars.

The Adai mix packet at the outset did not receive such a warm response. The fussy one declared- not another dosa. I promised her, no dosa.

soulfull

Both kids love Appe – dosa + veggies in a cuter Avatar. The Appe pan/ Aebleskiver pan is currently my favourite pan to use. The kids love their ‘Pancake appe’ made with the Appe pan. The Adai mix, instead of being served as a plain old dosa was dressed up with some veggies and served as cute little cocktail bites. I made an Indian version of the Chimichurri sauce- a Cilantro mint Chimichurri sauce, which was relished with the Veg Adai Appe.

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From no more Dosa to more ‘Cocktail Adai Appe’ pls,the Soulfull Adai mix was a hit with the kids. I particularly liked the predominant flavor of Asafoetida in theAdai mix.

This is one of those dishes that has to be served and savoured as soon as it is made. A perfect rainy weather snack- here’s the recipe for Cocktail Adai

adai

 

Cocktail Adai with Soulfull Adai mix Recipe:

Makes~ 10-12 Appe

Ingredients:

1 cup Soulful Adai mix

½ cup homemade buttermilk

1 cup water to make a thick batter (or as needed)

2 tsp fine semolina/Rava

A handful of (total)veggies (I added Sweetcorn, chopped onion,chopped Spinach and grated carrot)

1 tsp chopped coriander

Oil for drizzling

Method

Mix the Adai mix,Rava, buttermilk and water and keep aside for half an hour.

Mix in the veggies.

Heat a Appe pan/ Aebleskiver pan ( I use a non-stick one)

Drizzle oil in the cavities.

Drop spoonful of the batter in the Cavities.

Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes or till the bottom is golden brown.

Use a wooden skewer to turn each Appe and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 

Cilantro-Mint Chimichurri Sauce recipe

Makes~ 1 ½ cups

 Ingredients

1 cup firmly packed fresh Cilantro/Coriander

¼ cup mint leaves

3-4 garlic cloves

½ small onion chopped (~2 tbsp)

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp wine Vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp Crushed black pepper/ Red chilli flakes

Salt to taste

 Method

Pulse together the onion, garlic in the blender/food processor.

Add the Cilantro and mint leaves and pulse till just crushed

Take out the mixture in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Refrigerate if not using immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

August 20, 2014 at 6:51 am 7 comments

A Plum post!

The thing that I like most about summers is the bounty of colorful fruits that it offers. Not just mangoes but Jamuns, Litchis,peaches apricots, cherries, plums we have been savoring them all! The lad is a fresh fruit lover and loves snacking on them. The little lady of our house on the other hand is a mango addict but refuses to eat any other fruit. The only way to feed her fruits other than mangoes and bananas is to sneak them in shakes or smoothies.

plum 1

The gorgeous weather (yes finally it’s raining here!) has increased the frequency of the kids’ hunger pangs. That also means my mind is constantly thinking of recipes to satiate the ever hungry kids with ‘different’ yet wholesome food. (I wonder how my mother managed when we were growing up?)

Litchis went into salads and Granitas when it was warmer. Peaches/apricots in crisps and parfaits.

Plums  were a bit tricky to sneak in -since the boy loves tart fruits but no sweets for him. The daughter wont eat tart fruits but loved her sweets.

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I had some leftover coconut milk from a Thai curry made earlier. On a whim I decided to make Sol Kadhi sans the Sol-The kokum. So you can call this ‘Plum Kadhi’ instead. The end result was as appetizing as the quintessential Maharashtrian favourite Sol Kadhi (have blogged about it here earlier).

plum 2

Plum Kadhi recipe

Makes ~ 4 cups

Ingredients

1  1/2  cups Coconut milk

~ 2  1/2 cups water

2 Plums pitted and chopped

¼ tsp green chilli paste

¼ tsp garlic paste

Black Salt to taste

Cumin powder and coriander or mint leaves for garnishing

Method

Blend all the ingredients except cumin and coriander/mint leaves together.

Chill and Garnish with cumin powder/coriander/mint leaves.

 

To satisfy the little on I made Plum Karanji-handpies. I chose to bake instead of deep fry the local favourite sweet Karanji with a Plum twist. A  layered cover (also called as Satha/Sathyachya karanjya in Marathi) wherein I substituted half the quantity of  all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and filled it with a sweet and sour plum filling. The end result was a stunning (specially when cut), crisp karanji with an unsual  sweet -sour  taste- almost a cross between a karanji and a hand pie and hence they are Plum Karanji-handpies !

plum 7

Plum Karanji recipe

Makes ~ 6 Karanjis

Ingredients

For the cover

¾ cup All purpose flour

¾ cup Whole wheat flour

3 tsp fine semolina

4 tbsp ghee melted

2 tsp icing sugar

Pinch of salt

~ ½ cup milk or enough to knead a tight dough

 For the filling

7-8 Crisp plums, pitted and chopped

3 tbsp scrapped fresh coconut

2 tbsp crushed/powdered cashewnuts

¼ tsp clove powder

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

~ 6 tbsp powdered jaggery (or to taste)

 For layering

4 tsp ghee

2 tsp Cornflour

Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

For the filling:

In a pan add the plum, coconut and jaggery. Cook on a low flame  till the liquid evaporates (~ 4-5 minutes)

Add the cashewnut powder and the spices.

Mix well and cool completely.

 For the layering mixture:

Whisk the ghee  a few times till it becomes fluffy.

Add cornflour and whisk again.

 For the Cover

In the bowl of the food processor add all the cover ingredients except the milk. Pulse 1-2 times

Add the milk slowly till a firm dough is formed. Knead into a ball.

Cover and keep aside for half an hour.

Halfway through the waiting time heat the oven to 180 deg C.

After half hour, cut the dough into 4 equal parts.

Form a ball of 1 dough piece and roll out into a thin circular disc ~ 6 inch diameter

Keep aside, covered.

Roll out the 2nd dough ball to a thin circular disc like a chapati.

Spread about a tsp of the ghee cornflour mixture evenly on the rolled out dough.

Cover this with the rolled out chapatti no 1.

Repeat the with the 3rd and 4th dough ball. Total you have 4 rolled out chapatti like discs layered with the ghee-cornflour mixture.

Put a tsp of the cornflour-ghee mixture on top of the 4th layer.

Make a tight roll of the layered chapattis, like a Swiss roll.

plum 9

Trim both the edges and cut the rest of the roll into 6 pieces approximately 1 inch each.

Cover the other cut pieces till you roll out and fill the first one

With the cut side down roll out each piece into a circle like a poori

Place 1 tsp of the plum filling in the centre of the poori

Cover one side of the poori with the other into a semicircle-karanji shape.

Seal the ends using a fork or a fluted cutter

Place on a greased baking tray and bake till golden in color (~ 15 mins)

Dust with Cinnamon sugar mixture (optional)

Serve hot

 

With just 10 days to go for the first Indian Food Bloggers Meet ,the IFBM FB page is abuzz with all the upcoming excitement.There are several contests for participating bloggers being held as a run-up to the actual meet.

I am sending the ‘Plum Kadhi‘ and the ‘Plum Karanji Handpies‘ to the KitchenAid Plum contest

July 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

The Indian Food Bloggers Meet! Have you registered yet?

This August the Blog and I celebrate 8 delicious years of Food blogging! I started the blog as a journal to document my grandmother’s / Mother’s / Mother-in-law’s recipes. What started 8 years ago as just another hobby, is now a very passionate and important part of my life. From a few thousand Food bloggers around the world then to thousands now I have seen the blogosphere grow day by day.

The one common thread that bonds all food bloggers together is sharing recipes and appreciating good food . Through this sharing and interactions I have made ‘Friends’ all across India and the globe. Most of my ‘friends’ I have never actually met in real life, but I ‘meet’ them often virtually, so much so that I know what’s cooking in their Kitchen.

Any trip to any place in India or abroad, I first try and find out if I ‘know’ any blogger there.I had the opportunity to meet Indira of Mahanandi (my inspiration in a sense to start blogging), when I visited Sugarland in 2011. The same year I met Suvarna another blogger, on another work trip to Singapore. On a family vacation to Goa I briefly met Aparna…and there are so many more bloggers whom I have actually wanted to meet!IFBmeet

4 other passionate bloggers, Arundati (Escapades) and Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen), Revati (Hungry & Excited) and Nandita (Saffron Trail) were thinking on similar lines. The only difference is that they did not just think but they put their thoughts into action! They decided  to organize an event to bring together food bloggers from across India at one venue so that they can interact with others in the community who enjoy food and blogging about it- The Indian Food Bloggers meet (IFBmeet), the first of its kind in India! Thank you Arundati,Aparna,Revati & Nandita for the initiative and making this happen.

As you can guess I have been excited since even the announcement about the IFBmeet was made. I registered myself the day they started taking registrations, which by the way CLOSE ON 15th JULY- so hurry if you haven’t done that already. Details on the IFBmeet blog here

Why go to the IFBmeet?

Apart from meeting food bloggers, the event promises some very interesting and inspiring sessions by some of the very well known faces in the blogosphere. A quick pre-cap of the events:

Food Styling:Deeba from Passionate about baking- the person behind those gorgeous food photos, will be sharing her tips and tricks about food styling.

Food Photography:Aparna of My D iverse Kitchen ,food photographer par excellence, will share some basic and simple principles of food photography and how to shoot better looking pictures.

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Food Writing: After the successful release of her first cookbook, A Pinch of This, A Handful of That, the well known Rushina, food consultant, food writer, food stylist,will be talk  about how to make every blog post compelling and the kind that will be memorable in your reader’s minds

Cookbook Publishing: Aparna Jain, author of the recently-published book, The Sood Family Cookbook, will share her journey from self-published author to cookbook writer, telling you how you can make it happen too.

Social media for food bloggers: In this day and age where social media plays such an important part in helping bloggers reach a wider audience, you need to be aware about the best social media tools out there, how you can use them and harness their potential to take your food blog to the next level.Experts Ashsish Verma and my blogger ‘friend’ of many years Nandita of Saffron Trail will demystify and simplify the concepts for us.

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Beyond blogging: I am currently at a cross road where one of the roads points me to take my passion to the next level and hence this session is something that I am specially looking forward to. There will be a panel discussion that brings  bloggers Sanjeeta, Ranjini & Ruchira, Harini -from various backgrounds to one common table. Each of these bloggers have successfully taken their passion for food and blogging to the next level by branching out into a unique and niche field

That’s not all-A Kitchen Aid masterclass,an exclusive book launch and a wine tasting and other such events await you at the IFBmeet.

..and the return gift? Apart from the shared knowlegde and strengthened bonds you will also take home a generous‘Goodie bag’ with goodies from Freedom tree, paperboat, Harper Collins,Picgravy, The baking company,Cremica,Soulful.

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So yet again, if you haven’t registered for the IFBmeet, do it now! To register check the details here or on the IFBmeet FB page here

Indian Food Bloggers Meet,

Date: August 1st and 2nd 2014

Venue: Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

SEE YOU THERE!

(All above photos are taken from the IFBmeet blog.)

 

July 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm 9 comments

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