Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baking I Salted Caramel Popcorn & Chocolate Chip Cookies for Hamilton Beach and BlogAdda to #Createfearlessly




It took me a while to get around this post, only because this March has flown past me so quickly. So in reality this is actually a part two of #Createfearlessly hashtag which is a joint effort between Blogadda and Hamilton Beach. 

For the first time around I made this super simple and super quick Chocolate Cinnamon Souffle. I have to say, it took the fear out of souffles for me. 





I received two fab gadgets from the Hamilton Beach catalog - a Classic hand mixer and a 12 liter Oven Toaster Grill: together called "The Sweet-toothed baker". Boxed in tightly,  I had plenty of trouble with the courier service that was on it's way to deliver it. But the lesser said about that, the better.



The gadgets were both brand new and shining. I loved the steel finish on both. And as I opened the them both up, the attachments stood high and mighty looking at me.

The 12 liter toaster oven was a lot more spacious than I thought. It came with a crumb tray, a grill and a cookie sheet. I loved that it had temperature controls that made it easy to bake. The timer too was easy to use, but I felt it went off a bit too soon. And even though it was tiny it could hold a whole lot of things  such as 1 4 x 6 inch baking dish, 3 ramekins at a time, 4 toasts and 9 cookies. Not too bad I thought.




So, for the second part, I decided to bake some cookies. I wanted something I would need to cream butter and sugar together so that I could use the mixer. I'd made these Buttered Popcorn Cookies earlier which I loved. So I decided to up the ante a bit and make it with caramel popcorn that I totally adore.

You can make these cookies two ways - either you buy caramel popcorn from the market and add a bit or salt or you buy regular popcorn and make salted caramel popcorn sauce and add to it. I made them both ways. And didn't find them particularly different. 

So I'm actually going to tell you to do this the lazier way - buy the caramel popcorn from the market and then proceed. It just makes this so much more low effort. 

These cookies will brown a little more than what you anticipate, only because the caramel will ooze out and stain the tops. Don't worry. They'll still be delicious




Salted Caramel Popcorn & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 20 to 24
Adapted from here


Ingredients
 One box caramel popcorn (should give you about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)

1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract1 and 1/4 cups of all purpose flour1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Method:
1. To the caramel popcorn - add the salt. Mix well keep aside.
2. To make the dough: Preheat your oven to 180 degree centigrade. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
3. In another bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda together. Stir the combined dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture.
4. Fold in the cooled popcorn and chocolate chips so that it is evenly distributed through the batter, even though it doesn’t seem like it’ll work. It is no big deal if the popcorn breaks up a bit when folding. (I used my hands.)
5. Scoop a large tablespoon-size mound onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between cookies, because they’ll puff up.

6. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Let them sit on the pan for a few minutes to firm up before transferring them to a rack to cool.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dessert I No Bake Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake



There are two kinds of yumminess. One that is delicious. One that is oomph and then some.
This is the latter kind of dessert.

I made this dessert earlier this month for my friend Radical's birthday party. In reality she was going to get Ottolenghi's chocolate fudge cake, which is a fantastic dessert, but we'd gone out for lunch the day before and had just dug into a mousse cake, when she decided that's what she wanted for her birthday.

With less than 48 hours to go, I was in a spot of a panic. I didn't have chocolate. I didn't have cream. Hell, I didn't even have a mold to set the mousse cake in. Instead I had a dinner engagement and one of my friends was here to visit.

Halfway between a meltdown and shopping spree, I called up Deeba, asking what I was to do about the cake. Use a spring form tin instead, she told me. And don't unmould till you have to. 

I set about to make a chocolate sponge. But it got stuck on the tin. And as disheartened as I was, I decided instead that I'd make the base with some biscuits instead. 



Biscuits, butter and some cocoa made the base. And measured out three kinds of chocolate for the various layers of mousse and I plodded along. 

I made the ganaches first. And made the layers as the others set. First up was the dark chocolate mousse. Then milk chocolate and finally white chocolate. And only when I unmoulded the whole thing, I topped it with a layers of dark chocolate ganache. 

Although this cake is not hard to make, it is time consuming because you need to wait between the layers to be able to put the next one. Ofcourse splitting it into two days might have been a more sensible approach. But, truth be told, I am not known to be sensible. 

The end result was one of the most decadent cakes I have made in a long long long time. And it stays well for a couple of days. 

Light, airy and completely delicious, I know this is a cake that people are going to ask for over and over again. 




Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients

For the biscuit layer
150 grams digestive biscuits
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp cocoa powder

For the dark chocolate layer
200 grams dark chocolate (atleast 60 percent)
200 grams low fat cream
250 ml whipping cream
2 tsp gelatin
2 tsp water

For the milk chocolate layer
200 grams milk chocolate
200 grams low fat cream
250 ml whipping cream
2 tsp gelatin
2 tsp water

For the white chocolate layer
200 grams white chocolate
200 grams low fat cream
250 ml whipping cream
2 tsp gelatin
2 tsp water

For the ganache
100 grams dark chocolate
100 grams low fat cream

Method

1. Make the biscuit base by crushing the biscuits in ziploc bag. Once nice and crumbled, add the butter and the cocoa to it and mix well.
2. In a well oiled ring mould, press down the biscuit mix until neatly packed. Press it down as much, so that all the air bubbles escape and you can see that the biscuits are firmly packed. Place in the freezer.
3. Make the dark chocolate layer. Melt the chocolate gently with the low fat cream until nice and smooth. Keep aside.
4. Set the gelatin to bloom. Once bloomed, microwave for 15 seconds and sieve and pour into the chocolate mix. Allow this mix to come to room temperature. 
5. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks and fold into the dark chocolate mix. Pour over the biscuit mixture and transfer into the freezer until firm to touch.
6. Now make the milk chocolate layer.Melt the chocolate gently with the low fat cream until nice and smooth. Keep aside.
7. Set the gelatin to bloom. Once bloomed, microwave for 15 seconds and sieve and pour into the chocolate mix. Allow this mix to come to room temperature. 
8. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks and fold into the milk chocolate mix. Pour over the dark chocolate mousse and transfer into the freezer until firm to touch.
9. Now make the white chocolate layer.Melt the chocolate gently with the low fat cream until nice and smooth. Keep aside.
10. Set the gelatin to bloom. Once bloomed, microwave for 15 seconds and sieve and pour into the chocolate mix. Allow this mix to come to room temperature. 
11. Whip the cream and fold into the white chocolate mix. Pour over the dark chocolate mousse and transfer into the freezer until firm to touch.
12. To make the ganache, pour boiling hot cream onto the chocolate and stir until no lumps.
13. Let the mousse cake set for atleast 4 hours before serving.
14. Unmould using a hot knife and pour the ganache over just before serving. 



Restaurant Review I Smoked Biryani House





I'd been reading some interesting things about Smoked Biryani House, before I decided to review it. After a visit, all I have wondered if people are just too nice to call a spade a spade, or do they really not know their food.

The truth is, if you were to ask me, if it's worth trudging across town to Noida to eat at this restaurant, I am probably going to say no. But I will lay down my reasons, before you to make up your mind.



First and foremost Smoked Biryani House, lays tall claims to be serving authentic Hyderabadi nizami biryani. Of the three biryanis we tried - the vegetable, the chicken and the mutton kheema, none of them were remotely Hyderabadi. Don't get me wrong, the biryani was good, it was just not Hyderabadi. The rice was fragrant and flavourful, but it certainly wasn't royal or even from the south.



We also ordered the Chicken 65 and the Apollo Fish. Again, decent enough. But they had no connection to the south. You cannot put curry leaves on everything and call it South Indian. Our starters tasted Indo-Chinese with a liberal helping of curry leaves. We did however eat a portion of the Vegetarian manchurian, which stood true to its name and was pretty good.




Of the things we ordered to drink - Mango Raapchik, Iced tea and rose lassi - only the mango raapchik turned out to be really delicious. The iced tea was like lemon water with a bit of colour thrown in from some tea. The rose lassi, well, the less said the better.



Dessert wise, we ordered the Kaddu ki kheer and the khubani ka meetha as well as the shahi tukda. Strangely it was the strange green coloured kaddu ki kheer which turned out to be the best of the lot. The Khubani ka meetha was a disappointment and the shahi tukda, I don't even want to explain how many ways wrong it was.

If you do go to Smoked House Biryani, eat the Kheema Biryani. It's really quite good. But not for a moment should you be fooled by the name Hyderabadi on the menu.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Pot Meal I Singaporean Curry Laksa #FarMoreSingapore




People underestimate the brilliance of the food from South east Asia. It's sweet, it's spicy, it's full of textures and fresh flavours. And the best part it you can choose to add as many vegetables or meats to it, without having to think twice about the proportions.

Between the weather and the soil conditions, there's a great variety of vegetables and plenty of fresh catch, making the cuisine varied and well, just fantastic.

Singaporean food is all that and more. With influences from Malaysia, India, China and Indonesia, the food in Singapore is a national obsession.  Plus thanks to a cheap street food, most people opt to eat out or do a takeaway (or Ta Pao).




The Seafood Barbecue is to-die-for. You can read all about that on the Far East Hospitality  website. Odes can be written about Chicken Rice which is a religion unto itself while the Red bean filled Roti Pranta can bring you to your knees.

But nothing, just nothing scream Singapore than the Curry Laksa. One of my favourite Singaporean street food the Curry Laksa is quite the cross cultural dish. Different from the Malaysian Laksa  thanks to the sambal sauce and the coconut milk, this soupy-noodly one-pot meal makes for a fantastic dinner time meal. It's fast, it's filling an soooo tasty.

The amazing thing about Laksa is that you can make it as full of vegetables or shrimps or noodles as you like. I like my Laksa with lots and lots of veggies and just a touch of prawns.

You can make the Laksa paste and refrigerate it for upto 3 months. and then add all the veggies and shrimp and whatever accompaniments you like to make a meal fit for a king, or atleast someone who loves Singaporean food



Singaporean Curry Laksa
Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the paste
4 shallots
8 cloves garlic
1 1 inch fresh turmeric
2 red chillies
1 1 inch  galangal

For the Laksa 
1/4 packet noodles cooked
1 cup chicken stock/ water
1 tsp oil
2 cups coconut milk
2 fresh prawns
1/4 cup fried tofu
1 cup mixed vegetables
such as mushrooms carrots and babycorn
1 tbsp curry leaves
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
2 red chillies
1 inch galangal
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion thinly slice/
1 bit of lemon grass
For the toppings
Hard-boiled egg
Salt and pepper
Beansprouts
Lemon

Method
1. Make a paste with the ingredients mentioned above. Set aside.
2.  Add oil to wok. Fry chillies, turmeric, galangal, garlic and shallots till fragrant. Add roasted shrimp paste,lemongrass and curry leaves on low heat. Add 1 tsp of the  paste to it. Fry gently until fragrant.
3.  Add coconut milk, bring to boil. Add a little Salt, chicken stock to taste. Add vegetables, fried bean curd, and shrimps. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
4  Blanch the bean sprouts in hot water and take out quickly. Place in a bowl the noodles (cooked),
5.  Pour in the hot laksa broth. You can add boiled eggs and coriander leaves for garnish. Sprinkle over it some crispy fried shallots for taste.
6.  Ready to be served steaming hot.

This post is a part of the Indiblogger and Takeaway Level: Singapore contest, but this delicious Laksa is all mine. 




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dessert I Nolen Gur & Coconut Milk Panna Cotta



I was perhaps six years old when I first tasted Nolen Gur. The memory o my mother sitting on the dining chair eating hot phulkas with lashings of home-made ghee and a bowl of molten jaggery is still so vividly etched.

I remember the caramelly smell of the molasses and that steel bowl that seemed to be bottomless as my mother would scoop out the liquid into a piece of the hot roti and seem to be enjoying each mouthful.

Ofcourse, the curious kitty that I was (read am), I wanted to have what my mother was having. I was given my own tiny bowl and a phulka to try the delicacy. Gur Pak my grandmother called it. The gorgeous amber liquid was just a tiny bit warm, enough to let it drip down on the ghee-laden phulka and onto my fingers. I remember feel all warm and fuzzy inside and lapping my bowlful of this gorgeous jaggery and then asking for more.

Only one bowl a day, I was told. It had to be rationed you see, since this jaggery was available only in the winters. Plus my grandmother would make this kickass south Indian style payasam that the jaggery only seemed to make it better.

Much later did I learn that what I had enjoyed as a childhood memory, was nothing but Nolen Gur, or Date Palm jaggery. Patali gur - the solid version of the liquid gold Nolen Gur, often sneaks its way into my kitchen as a present every now and then.




This time around Deeba gave me a nice chunk of patali gur that her husband had lugged back with him from his trip to Calcutta. She ofcourse made this beautiful Nolen Gur Rice Kheer but I wanted to make a dessert that screamed east meets west.

Rummaging through my pantry I found some gelatin, some coconut milk and a box of cream. It was as if a panna cotta was calling it out to me.

I decided to flavour it with a bit of cardamom, because according to me jaggery, coconut and cardamom are a match made in heaven.

This recipe is super simple. You can make it the night before and then if you'd like add the additional jaggery jelly on top to make it a two layered sublime dessert. Or you can drizzle a bit of the liquid nolen gur to give it an amazing fudge like texture. I added a bit of coconut flakes to it before serving, but just plain will also be wonderful.

I had to make this dessert twice over to be able to photograph it, because everytime I'd let it sit in the refrigerator, it'd disappear. But truly, it's that good.



Nolen Gur & Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
Serves 6

Ingredients
For the Panna cotta
200 ml  low fat cream
200 ml coconut milk
1/4 cup date palm jaggery/nolen gur/patali gur
a pinch of salt
2 cardamom pods crushed
2 tblsps gelatin (if using agar agar use double the amount i.e. 4 tsp)
2 tblsps water

For the jaggery jelly
3 tblsp jaggery
3 tblsp water
1 tsp gelatin

Method

1. Soak the gelatin in the water until it blooms. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan add the cream, salt, cardamom pods and nolen gur and bring it to a boil. Mix well and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the gas.
3. Add the coconut milk and stir it it all mixes well.
4. Once the gelatin has bloomed, microwave for 20 seconds in two intervals. Pour the melted gelatin into the cream and coconut mixture.Stir well.
5. Strain the mix into the moulds and let it sit in the refrigerator to set for atleast 2 hours.

For the jaggery jelly

1. Soak the gelatin in the water until it blooms. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan melt the jaggery with the water until it completely dissolves.
3. Once the gelatin has bloomed, microwave for 20 seconds in two intervals. Pour the melted gelatin into melted jaggery.
4. Strain into the set panna cotta and let it set for 1 hour before serving.




Food Festival I Hard Rock Cafe's Sizzle Food Festival



On till just March 22, the Sizzle Food Festival at Hard Rock Cafe's pan India is hodge-podge of flavours.

Let's start by saying that I actually really like the burgers and cocktails that Hard Rock Cafe offers. Infact one of my favourite order is a portion of the Nachos and then a burger while washing it down with a good cold daiquiri.

The Sizzler fest however really didn't do complete justice to an otherwise awesome menu. Don't get me wrong. The portions were huge. Atleast two people (if not more can easily share off a portion of the sizzler) and some of the things that came with it were delicious too.



We started our meal, with something that was not off the sizzler menu, but the long drive had ensured we'd worked up an appetite. A light and delicious salad with walnuts and oranges that whet our appetite.

We waited for our sizzlers to arrive as we sipped on our drinks  - The Bacardi Gold Sour and the Great Eastern Daiquiri. The Bacardi Gold Sour was pretty much a rum take on whiskey sour, while the great eastern daiquiri was a mix of mango juice and chilli and lots of rum. Potent and way too sweet. This cocktail needed some lemon and salt to balance it out.


The first sizzler was the Lebanese Vegetarian Fajita. A love child of Lebanese cuisine and Mexican, this sizzler stayed true to a lot of the Lebanese flavours since it was served up with some delicious and cool tzatziki alongwith some salsa, tortilla wraps and cheese and lettuce. Never the less, the combination worked well and was a winner.



Next up was the Hungarian goulash steak stew. I have to to say this was hands down a favourite for the both of us. The meat was tender and succulent and the accompaniments were a lovely flavoured rice and some salad. The problem however was the overpowering flavours of cinnamon which killed the delicate balance of flavours.



The Seafood platter - a mix of prawns, fish and squids were up next. And while it drew heavily from the flavours of the orient, this was the least favourite of the lot. The Chinese and tex mex combination did not work well. And I really wished I'd ordered the Lime and Tequila Prawns instead.

Nevertheless we plodded on. After dissing a number of dessert options we settled on the tres leches cake and the yogurt mojito mousse. I have to say, this is what made our day.


The tres leches cake completely hit the spot. Served with assorted fruits, this is the dessert I'd go back to Hard Rock and eat any day. The spongy cake bathed in three kinds of cold milk, made it one of the best things I had eaten in a long long time.

The yogurt mousse, though very good too, was overshadowed by the tres leches.

The festival is on till March 22. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Savoury Baking I Bacon & Caramelised Onion Cheese Tart for #piday


It's Pi Day today! As in 3.14 on the calendar also known as March 14, well every year.

Truth is, I had no idea there was a pi day until Deeba mentioned it on a phone call last night. And when she explained it, it made perfect sense to me.

It was also a matter of convenience that I was baking a few pies that exact moment. This pie, to be perfectly honest. I'd just sauteed the bacon with some onions and was waiting for my pie crust to cool so that I could begin filling it while I was on the phone.

So it was just sort of added up.

Now about this pie. Let's get one thing straight. You can eat all of them at one go. But please don't. Eat one. Wait for the end of the day and eat another. Savour. Enjoy. Devour.



This pie uses two kinds of onions, caramelised onions and onions that are sauteed with the bacon. These two  levels of onions do two things. 1. They ensure that the pie does not get too salty. 2. They add an additional texture making it a pie you'll want to eat over and over again.

I flavoured my crust with some thyme and some cayenne pepper but you can replace that with whatever herb you like.

I know it seems like you're making a lot of stuff, but just divide it up in two days or use ready-made short crust pastry and you'll know you've never had a better pie.




Bacon and Caramelised Onion Cheese tart
Serves 6 individual pies

Ingredients
1 recipe shortcrust pastry (recipe here)
3 tblsp mustard sauce
1/2 packet streaky bacon
1 onion
6 tsp caramelised onion jam. (recipe here)
1 egg
6 tblsp cream
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
8-10 cherry tomatoes

Method
1. Make the short crust pasty according to the recipe. Roll and into individual tins and chill in the freezer for half an hour before blind baking.
2. Blind bake the pastry shell for about 25 minutes. Remove the weights, brush each shell with mustard and open bake for about 10-15 minutes.
3. In the meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add all the bacon that you have chopped in large chunks, let it crisp. Keep draining the excess oil.
4. Slice the onion and throw it in with the bacon. Keep sauteing until the onions softens and some bits of bacon are crisp. Drain out all the excess oils and sit the bacon and onion on a large absorbent paper for a few minutes.
5. In a bowl mix the egg, half the cheese, cream, milk, thyme, cayenne pepper and pepper. Whisk well. Get ready to assemble.
6. In the prepared baked pie shells divide all bacon and onions in the six shells. Top with a tablespoon of caramelised onion jam on each tart.
7. Add the remaining the cheese dividing on all six. Pour the egg mix gently dividing amongst the six.
8. Half the cherry tomatoes and top the pie with them.
9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
10. Serve warm or cold. And enjoy the bacony goodness



New Menu Review I Travertino at The Oberoi New Delhi



One of the nicest things that can happen to you as a food blogger, is when you get to meet a chef who inspires you and cooks some delicious food up for you.

When I tried the new menu at Travertino at The Oberoi in New Delhi, I was thrilled. There was freshness in each bite, and the fact that the new chef, Chef Vincenzo Di Tuoro had used so much local produce that it made the meal extremely interactive and very fun.



Our tasting meal began with the Grilled Asparagus and Goat Cheese salad with baby beetroot in honey mustard dressing. The tang from melt-in-the mouth goat cheese worked wonderfully well against the beetroot dressing. The colours were stunning. So it was like eating with your eyes as much as it was allowing yourself to eat it.




Quinoa salad with the toasted lemon brioche, made from a very light appetizer. Served with a tomato salad and vanilla foam, the contrast of textures and flavours was like a party in the mouth. The squishy quinoa worked wonderfully against the crunch of the brioche while the foam swirled around the mouth lightly coating the tongue.



For our pasta course we ate the Parmesan cheese tortellini which was served with a Parmesan consomme, fresh celery and tomato dust. Yes, it all sounds so very poncy, but believe me, I could have eaten this tortellini all day long. The pasta was almost translucent allowing the flavours of the Parmesan to stand out. The consomme was beautifully clear and had a sharpness to it, which you could easily associate with fresh Parmesan. We also ate the homemade ricotta and brocolli agnolotti which was a soupy style pasta.


As the Main course, I opted for the Slow cooked pork belly while my companion ate the grilled red snapper with buffalo mozzarella and tomato. I love love loved my pork belly. The apple and red wine cream that came with it was fantastic - sweet and earthy, it complemented the pork very beautifully. Served with a side of grilled pak choy and mushrooms, this was one of my favourite dishes of the afternoon.



We finished our meal with a Slow cooked Belgian chocolate cake that was served with a hazelnut ice cream that had been made in house and the Cannolo with raspberry and mascarpone mousse. Both the desserts were spectacular but if you're looking for a reason to go try Chef Vincenzo's food, go for the Pork Belly. It is certainly one of the best I've had.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Baking I Orange and Sour Cream Cake with Orange Juice Glaze



I love cakes that barely take anytime to whip up. Which is why I normally prefer one-pot cakes. But every now and then you come across a cake that's really worth the effort of separating eggs, and making a bit of an effort to sift the dry ingredients.

This is that cake.

A cake that has a beautiful crumb and yet is moist thanks to the juice glaze. Now if you don't have sour cream don't fret, use yogurt instead. But use the butter, that's what makes this cake soooo good.







Now, I've made a number of orange cakes before. There's the Greek Yogurt and Olive Oil Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate and Marmalade Ganache, an Orange Juice Cake with Orange Blossom Water  and a Whole Orange and Sweet Potato cake that I made for Daring Bakers. But this cake, takes oranges to another level.

You can make these with tangerines, kumquats or good old oranges. Whatever citrus you choose, I say make it. It's completely worth the effort. Meanwhile this is also the cake that got me into the top 50 of the KitchenAid Probaker 2015, so you can imagine my delight.




The thing with such cakes is that they are packed with flavours which makes them so fabulous. They might not be so pretty to look at, but they always hit the spot. This cake is great for breakfast as well. And for tea, and for dessert. You can dress it up or down as much as you'd like it. But basically, you have to eat it :)




Orange and Sour Cream Cake with Orange Juice Glaze
Adapted from here

Ingredients
For the cake
1­ cup  flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
100 grams butter at room temperature
2 eggs separated
1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice

For the orange juice glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree centigrade
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites on high speed until the peak forms, set aside.
4. In another bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, sour cream and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy on medium speed.
5. Add the flour to the mixture along with the orange juice and mix until combined on low speed. Fold in the reserved egg whites to the mixture until just combined.
6. Pour the batter into a greased tin and bake for 45 minutes. Let the cake rest in the pan for 15 minutes.
7. To make glaze, mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to to gentle boil over medium heat. cook
the sauce for 3 to ­4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Pour the
sauce over the cake



Product Review I Gourmet Kits by Chef's Basket


You know how some nights you are just too tired to even think of cooking and will raid the fridge to eat anything remotely edible? Well, here's a way you can avoid that

Mumbai-based company Chef's Basket recently launched a range of gourmet recipe kits that gives you an option to eat gourmet meals whenever you want. And the best part? You'd think you're making a meal from scratch. On their website they call the Recipe kit, "a complete set of premium and authentic ingredients, to prepare dishes from across the globe."

 The ingredients are handpicked from their origins including Italy, Spain and Morocco and Mexico for an authentic culinary experience and an impeccable taste. Every product is 100% Natural and has NO artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.

Currently you can order it all online here. 



The good people from Chef's Basket send me three recipes kits to sample - Olive and Basil Pesto in Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Creamy Tomato Penne and Thai Green Curry with Jasmine Rice. 

I loved the packaging. It was pretty much leak proof and the boxes were so attractive. And when you opened them out everything was so neatly packed and labelled well. All you have to do is follow the instructions to cook a meal for two. Price between Rs 250 to Rs 350, these kits are worth a try.

I'm reviewing each product on the basis of taste, authenticity, ingredients and cooking time. So here goes




Olive and Basil Pesto in Whole Wheat Spaghetti

Box content: Whole wheat spaghetti, sea salt, cracked pepper, pesto, pine nuts and basil-seeped extra virgin olive oil
Making it: So basically, you have to boil the spaghetti with the sea salt for 10 to 12 minutes and then toss it with the basil-seeped olive oil once cooked. Then, add as much pesto as you'd like and then add the pine nuts and cracked pepper.
Taste: This dish was wayyyyy to salty. The pesto has too much salt and no matter how much I washed the pasta, it wouldn't come off. The whole wheat pasta, unlike durum wheat pasta is a lot more stodgy and so it feels like you're eating cardboard. But that's true of all whole wheat pastas so I won't fault Chef's Basket for it. Portion size wise, I think atleast 3 people could have eaten from this box (which is meant for two) so that's a win-win.
Authenticity: The salt was an overkill, making this my least favourite of the three recipe kits. The pesto needs a lot more nuts and it left a bitter aftertaste.
Overall: 2/5




Thai Green Curry with Jasmine Rice

Box content: Jasmine rice, bell peppers and baby corn, green curry paste, extra virgin olive oil, kaffir lime and dried herbs, coconut powder and a cup
Making it: You measure out the water and start the rice which comes with a piece of star anise. Whilst the rice cooks you mix your coconut milk with the help of the paper cup. Then you make the curry - the curry paste, the dried herbs and the vegetables are all added into a saucepan and then add the coconut milk as per taste.
Taste: The curry paste was a little raw, and needed to be cooked out for at least another five minutes. The instructions also talk about adding additional vegetables, which is not a bad idea at all. I felt the dish needed a bit of sugar and some lemon to balance it out. But here's what I LOVED - the jasmine rice. It turned out to be most perfect sticky rice and I saved some to make a bit of mango sticky rice with a bit of leftover coconut milk.
Authenticity: The curry paste needs a little bit of work, otherwise this quite a decent rendition of the Thai curry. And ready in under 15 minutes.
Overall: 3/5




Creamy Tomato in Penne

Box content: Penne pasta, olives, sea salt, creamy tomato pasta sauce, dried herd and extra virgin olive oil.
Making it: Because I was so skeptical about the salt, I boiled the penne without the sea salt. Which was a great idea, since I thought the salt could have overpowered the sauce. Once the pasta is boiled, too it in the olive oil and then mix in the pasta sauce according to taste. Add the herbs and then add the olives on top.
Taste: I really liked this pasta sauce. You could make out that it was made from good quality tomatoes. It had a nice sweetness to it. So you had to use just a bit in the pasta. The olives were a good addition too.
Authenticity: The one thing missing was some Parmesan cheese, I think with that, this would have been a perfect recipe kit. But this was definitely my favourite of the lot. Again there was a lot of food - you could easily feed three people with small appetites for a good meal.
Overall: 4/5


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