Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dessert I Whisky Chocolate Walnut Truffles

Some desserts are born out of necessity. Others by sheer co-incidence and some by simply having to take care of leftovers.

As a person who loves after-dinner chocolates, I'm always looking for flavours that stay with me post my meals. Ofcourse mint chocolates are my most favourite but a good orange chocolate is also always on my mind.

When it comes to nut-based chocolates, I don't like almonds, hazelnuts or peanuts in my chocolate, but when it comes to walnuts I'm a puddle of goo. There's just something so earthy, so aromatic that just make chocolates hum.

I had a batch of whisky chocolate ganache lying in the refrigerator which needed to be used up. Plus I'd just toasted a batch of walnuts and was figuring out what I'd wanted to with them.

As I blitzed a batch, I figured what I wanted, a truffle that I could feed to my guests in the evening. All I needed was to booze it up to make it even more delicious.

I like my truffles with a dusting of cocoa rather than dipped back in chocolate. I feel that the cocoa elevates the mouth-feel of the truffle and gives a splendid after taste.

These truffles are super easy to make and stay for a good couple of days. They can be made at a pinch and frozen, but they won't harden completely because of the alcohol or eaten the moment they are made. Either ways, they are just fab.

Whisky Chocolate Walnut Truffles


100 grams good quality dark chocolate
75 grams low fat cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tblsp good quality whisky
a pinch of salt
50 grams walnuts
Cocoa powder for rolling


1. Toast the walnuts and keep aside. Once cool, blitz in a blender.
2. Meanwhile heat the cream and pour over chocolate until it melts completely.
3. Add the vanilla, salt and whisky to it and let the ganache cool completely. Infact I would suggest you should let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up.
4. Once cool add the walnuts and roll the chocolate mix into balls
5. Cool completely and roll into cocoa powder. Dust and keep aside
6. Store in an air tight container. Lasts up to a week, if not eaten.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review I Kitchen District at The Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon

There’s a lot to say about food courts really. Because I love them. So many options. So many things to eat. Plus if you don’t like something, you can always opt to eat something so completely different that it can wipe that taste right off your memory.

The thing with me is that a lot of option boggles my mind only because I want to eat everything that I see. On good days it works well with me and on bad I’m just so confused that I get stuck ordering the worst possible thing off the menu.

I suppose, Kitchen District at the Hyatt in Manesar (they say its in in Gurgaon but it's really Manesar) is something like that. So many options that you can’t help but feel excited. Divided into several kitchens – coastal, Italian, oriental, Indian and an extensive counter for desserts – there’s just a lot to choose from.

Our meal started with the Melted Goat Cheese on home-style foccacia. I love love love melted goat cheese, but this one was a bit peculiar. The bread was too dense and the smoked aubergine didn’t do anything for the cheese. The only saving grace though was the lovely salad that came with it.

The Lentil Soup was next, which I loved. It wasn’t like a <daal> soup but rather a creamy lemony version that would have been perfect for a cold winters day.

A selection from the Pan-Asian counter was brought out which included the chicken yakitori and the bell pepper yakitori, which were both quite fantastic. The mains under that section included Tofu and Spinach in soy, crispy fried pork, stir fried beef with broccoli and jasmine rice. I have to say that the crispy fried pork was my favourite of the lot. The crackling was fabulous and the sweet-salty balance made me want to lick my fingers.

Up next was the continental kitchen Casarecce Salad and Stuffed tomatoes were the appetisers while the Roasted chicken with eggplant seasoned with garlic and rosemary along with the black pepper Prawns were included in the mains. The Casarecce salad which was a mellow pesto pasta with potatoes and beans was actually quite fantastic, the starchiness from both the pasta and the potato worked well against the freshness of the pesto and the beans added a substantial crunch to it. 

As much as I love my eggplant, this was the one vegetable that didn’t work well for Kitchen District. Both the times the eggplant was used in a very strange fashion. In the melted goatcheese it was smoked and creamed and yet it didn’t lend itself to the dish because the combination. You needed something sweet to go with the delicate cheese not something so over powering. Similarly with the Roast Chicken, the eggplant was a bit too squishy and tasteless. It didn’t merit as a side. Good old fashioned potatoes or root vegetables would have made this dish spectacular.

But the best part of the meal had just begun – the coastal cuisine where we sampled food from the south Indian coast – Kai Curry Korma and Chettinadu kozhi curry with set dosas. All three were spectacular. The Kai curry, which was vegetables gently poached in coconut milk had a lovely undercurrent of curry leaves and green chilly while the chettinadu chicken curry boasted of robust spices and coconut. The crisp on the outside set dosas made perfect accompaniment to mop up both the curries.Unfortunately I wasn't able to photograph any of it as I was busy shoving food in my mouth.

Chef Sendhil, the man behind the coastal kitchen, really deserves a big hug, because this was perhaps the best South Indian I’d eaten in NCR to date. And mind you, I’m a south Indian.

This was where the lunch peaked, because the desserts that followed couldn’t match up to the previous course. Praline Mousse, Cheesecake, Macaroon Sandwich, Black forest gateau and the panna cotta were all avoidable. The only two standouts were the dark chocolate mousse with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil and the raspberry sorbet. These two I could have eaten bowls full of.

There’s no denying that Kitchen District is quite a drive away, but once you make it there, eat the South Indian food, hoard up on sorbet and drive back home all content.