Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Savoury Baking | Roasted Purple Carrots and Goat Cheese Souffle

Having spent my college years in Chennai, meant that I was more or less the designate cook for dinner at home. I mean, ofcourse we had help and my grandmother would make the menu, I would be the one who would finally cook.

Three out of the seven days we'd have staple North Indian fare, other days would be bakes such as Mac and Cheese or vegetable gratin or a simple soup, cutlet and toast. And when I'd feel fancy I'd whip up a cake, or some mangoes and cream or a trifle pudding. 

And then ofcourse there were Sundays. Sundays were when we made whatever we felt like. Homemade pizza from scratch, hand rolled pasta, momos, quiches and salads, just whatever we had craved all week long in our heads. Cheese souffle was another thing that I'd often experiment with. Souffles were my nemesis. They'd fall too often, be dense too often or just often be undercooked. It wasn't until I realised I had to love them eggs to begin with, did I ever manage to make a mean souffle. 

Ever since that, I've been experimenting with flavours for a good souffle. Blue cheese is my personal favourite with a side of arugula salad with balsamic drizzle. I've made a corn and jalapeno souffle which I love and a double baked goat cheese souffle which is amazing. 

This souffle is made from seasonal purple carrots that have been roasted for a deeper and sweeter flavours. Paired with tangy goat cheese, it made a delicious meal. The first time I made this souffle I realised it needed a lot of secondary spices to seduce the flavours of the cheese and the carrots.

My second attempt at the souffle was way better. I'd upped the goat cheese, added a bit of lemon and finally added more cheese and thyme. The result was a filling savoury souffle that was just perfect for dinner for two. 

And while purple carrots are seasonal, (and chockful of anti-oxidants and Vitamin A) these can easily be made with regular carrots as well.

Roasted Purple Carrots and Goat Cheese Souffle
Serves 6

4 large Purple carrots
Olive oil
1/2 cup Goat's cheese
1/2 cup Cream cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 tsp paprika
juice for half a lemon
1 tsp corn flour
Butter for the ramekins


1. First peel and cut the carrots. Drizzle olive oil over it with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes at 200 degree centigrade. Keep aside. 
2. Once the carrots are cool, puree and keep aside.
3. In a large bowl mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, egg yolks, milk, thyme, paprika, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and corn flour. Whisk until smooth. Add in the carrot puree.
4. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
5. Fold the egg whites into the carrot mix. 
6. Pour into buttered ramekins and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degree cenitgrade. 
7. Serve hot with a salad or some bread.

Restaurant Review | Pluck at Pullman Aerocity

I'm going to say this outright. This was perhaps the best meal I've had in a long long time. Heck, it's certainly the best meal I've had so far in 2016.

It was so good, that I've already gone back twice. Once for a complete meal and another time just for that deadly Parmesan and burnt garlic soup. Which by the way is the love. 

Situated at Pullman Aerocity, close to the International Airport, Pluck is a sort of farm to table restaurant in the city. Why farm to table? Because most of the greens and veggies are all grown in the vicinity and then used in their salads, dressings and sides. Pretty cool huh?

Our meal started with a beautifully plated amuse bouche. A little arancini with bread dust. Simple, stunning and just delicious. A few fresh salad leaves arranged in a vase along with the day's dressing - I had the sundried tomato dressing - made its way to the table. Very nice. As were the flavoured butters and home-made breads.

Then came the best part ever - the soup. This gorgeous molten preparation was like eaten a river of Parmesan. Velvety smooth and so fantastic, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. I could have eaten bowl fulls of this soup. At least three before I had my fill. Plus after I saw this one particular episode of Chef's Table, I couldn't stop dreaming of this soup.

The Pluck special Caesar Salad was also very nice. Fresh and crisp leaves, with thin slices of croutons and parmesan, what set it apart were the pieces of candied orange and a beautiful raspberry vinaigrette. I loved the textures at play and was very happy with my choice.

For my mains, I opted to eat the black cod, whilst my companions tried the broccoli and quinoa cake and the sous vide chicken with home fries. Every single one of this dish was so beautifully presented. They looked like works of art and it took quite a bit of cajoling to eat it.

My cod had a lovely crispy skin and was served with the smoothest mash in the world! That and puy lentils just made the entire meal complete. The broccoli cake too was a winner all the way. The quinoa just lifted the dish completely and the lemon butter it was served with, was absolutely stellar.

Finally, it was time for dessert - we tried two the first time - Yuzu and white chocolate flan and the double chocolate mouse. Again, absolutely stunning looking and my favourite was the yuzu and white chocolate flan.

But here's what happened the second time I went - I'd ordered the Gulab jamun creme brulee and the pear and toffee as well as the other two and was underwhelmed by all three other than the flan. Just some place the flavours are amiss and I was a little saddened by that. Even then, it's a brand new restaurant and it's only going to get better from here.

But all in all, what. a. meal. I still can't stop talking about it.