So I won a kindle. Because I made a pizza with oats as a crust for Foodathon's event 'The Other Side' with Vikas Khanna.
Ok, ok. Let me start from the beginning. It all started when a personalised box arrived at home. A small yellow box with two aubergines, one bitter gourd and a tinda (ok so I have no idea what it's called in English) The idea was sweet. It was meant to intrigue, and in its way I suppose it did too.
|Photo Courtesy: Sangeeta Khanna|
The Other Side. That's what the event was called. The idea was to have Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna give us a demo and a talk about how healthy can be tasty. And since it was brought to us by Saffola Masala Oats, that mean we were going to be learning a lot of oats as well. Held at Blue Frog in the height of summer on a particularly hot day, we waited for Khanna to make an appearance.
Vikas Khanna and I have a peculiar history. Yes ofcourse we know each other from Masterchef. But I have written so many articles about the chef (for various publications) that's a miracle he hasn't run out of things to say to me.
|Photo Courtesy: Rekha Kakkar|
But that's the thing about Khanna, he's self-deprecating and has a glorious Punjabi-twang to his English that makes you want to hug him. Of course he taught us some tricks of the trade (or so he let us believe) like how you should use a melon baller to scoop the inside of vegetables or that you should flatten one end of round-shaped fruit/vegetable so that it stands tall or that how a hollowed-out vegetable should be poached upside down for maximum benefits.
Khanna was also the judge of two competitions that Foodathon had organised. Both cooking based, but one was to be baked with oats and the other without. To enter the competition, he and the emcee asked a number of questions - all food based ofcourse.
Four of us from the Blogger's Table got a chance to participate. Rekha in the first round. Parul, Himanshu and I in the second round. In true blue reality cooking style we were given a pantry where we had to choose ingredients from and then were given 20 minutes for a cook-off.
|Photo Courtesy: Rekha Kakkar|
Parul made risotto balls (with oats and olives) while Himanshu did a stuffed bell pepper version of the same. I made a quick marinara sauce which I topped over a oat flattened patty and grated some cottage cheese over it and grilled it over the pans super quickly.
So while the deliberation over the winners were taking places, people from across the room came to taste what we'd made, Parul and I happily let them, only to forget that it needed to be photographed. Which meant we had to make it all over again. And we did.
The prizes were so fun. We got a chopping board signed by Khanna and well, I won the Kindle, and just before leaving we were handed out hampers from Saffola Masala Oats that included all the differentvariations in flavours as well as muesli. And to top it all, we were also given Khanna's latest book - Khanna Sutra. Quite a loot I'd say.
I was briefly at the Foodathon last year, this year though it was a sea change. The event was way more exclusive and private (which was lovely because last year it was just too many people), the event went on pretty much seamlessly and it was truly value-addition for us bloggers.
|Photo Courtesy: Himanshu Taneja|
My only complaint was the food. Last year, it was inedible. This year it was borderline iffy. The salads were ok but the rest of it was slightly strange. I still don't get why at an event where healthy food was being underlined, were nachos and salsa being served on the table. But that apart, I have to say I had fun.
Oh and the oats, I know Sangeeta didn't particularly like them, but my husband seems to be totally a convert. Because all this while, he thought oats were meant to be eaten with sugar, this was an eye opening experience for him.
I later understood why. There is a smell and a taste which reminds him of Maggi (his favourite food in the whole world)
I've been doing a whole lot of things from the oats. I toss them in scrambled eggs under Sangeeta's advise. I made tart shells from it and filled it up with spinach and sausages and I baked it into these scrumptious muffins.
All in all, that Saturday was well-spent.