Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Frozen I Nutella Fudgsicles or Hazelnut Chocobars



Ok I know that I am posting back to back Nutella recipes. But there is a reason. Believe me there is. After making that fab Banana Nutella Ice cream I was left with half a jar of Nutella. It lay on the counter staring at me for a day and I was mighty tempted to cram it all into my mouth.

The only way I could stop myself from eating the rest of the jar was by making something. I needed to make something quickly with minimal fuss because I couldn't see myself standing in the kitchen for too long. It was just that hot.



As I spied the popsicle mould perched in a corner, I realised what I wanted was to make something cold that I could eat at the end of the night. And so fudgesicles it was.

Super quick, almost mess-free these Nutella Fudgesicles are a dream to make. Just make a large cup of hot chocolate and add half a jar of Nutella into it and freeze. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I have to say, nothing but nothing was a bigger hit than these ice lollies. My brother, whose visiting ate one almost after every dinner and my husband wanted these for breakfast. They were really that good.

Ofcourse you can fiddle with the recipe, make it sweeter or more chocolatey, but for me this recipe worked just wonderfully.

Bottom line it, forget what I am saying - just MAKE. IT. NOW



Nutella Fudgesicle or Hazelnut Chocobars
Makes 6

Ingredients
250 ml milk
2 tbslp condensed milk
3 tblsp drinking chocolate mix  (if you're using plain cocoa use 2 tblsp)
150 ml Nutella
a pinch of salt

Method

1. In a saucepan add all the ingredients and heat gently until combined well.
2. Pour into popsicle mould. Freeze for atleast 6 hours or overnight.
3. Demould and eat.




Home Delivery I Lodi Restaurant


Have you guys been to the Lodi restaurant on Lodi Road next to Lodi Gardens yet? If you haven't, then you've been missing a gorgeous restaurant smack in the middle of Delhi. Beautiful trees, mist fans running and fairy lights, it does make for an amazing dining experience

I know I know, it's way too hot to go an eat out, especially nowadays, which is perhaps why you can bring back a bit of Lodi into your homes.

They've started delivering at home you see. Packaged neatly in cardboard casing, with dressings and relishes in mini jars. In fact so amazing is the packing from Lodi that you have to see for yourself.


We'd got a whole range of things to eat. It started with a portion of the Summer salad - summer greens, fresh tomatoes, pears and sun flower seeds with a dollop of goats cheese. On the side was the EVOO and honey dressing. The salad retained its shape through and through. In fact it even arrived slightly chilled. Which was fantastic I thought. Plus with the dressing on the side, I could opt to put in as much. Oh and the cutlery. Those I loved so much.

The homemade chicken liver pate came with own toasties and a side of fruit compote made for a great appetiser. Like the salad, this was chilled too and I truly enjoyed eating it.

Up next was the sole infused with chilli and ajwain. The fish was light and delicate and the little salad that it came with paired very well with the fish.




I'd also opted to eat the penne with smoked chicken with Parmesan cream and sun dried tomatoes. The tomatoes were dried in house and added a wonderful dimension to the pasta. Sent to me piping hot, I devoured this almost as soon as it arrived.




Finally, the meal ended with the Chocolate Mousse. A signature of sorts of the Lodi, it was light and airy and very delicious.

I have to say that the portion sizes are great. This sort of a meal would easily work for three people and to be fair the two of us ate it over two meals. But the truth is, they had me at their packaging. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Frozen I Nutella Banana Ice Cream. Just two ingredients




I cannot stop raving about this ice cream. It is the creamiest, nuttiest and the most delicious ice cream I've had in a long long time. And the easiest ever. No ice cream maker, no special equipment, no extra ingredients. Just two things - Nutella and Banana.

I don't know what kind of sorcery this is, but the creaminess from the banana is unmatchable, it feels like you are eating a soft serve but really you're eating the creamiest ice cream in the world. And the best part? No eggs, no mess and no drama.




All you have to do is chop and freeze your bananas for a couple of hours, and then throw it in the blender with half a jar of Nutella, and like magic, you have an ice cream that you just can't stop eating.

Now, I love making ice creams, especially in the summers, because the rewards are just so spectacular. You can treat yourself to a homemade delight after a day in the heat. But mostly you treat yourself to something special. And when you know that all it takes is just two ingredients, truly nothing should stop you.

I am going to keep this short, because you have to make this now. And gave your mother a scoop, because you'll only know how special this ice cream is when your mother's had a bite on Mother's Day. So without further ado...




Nutella Banana Ice Cream
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
150 grams Nutella

Method.
1. Chop your bananas and let them be in the freezer for two to three hours.
2. In  blender pour the nutella and add the bananas, blend on high speed for three to four minutes.
3. Pour into a bowl with a lid and let it sit in the freezer for two hours before devouring it.


Restaurant Review I Amreli




The first thing you notice when you walk into Diplomat Hotel is the stack of suitcases nestled quietly in the corner. The big blackboard grabs your attention. You just have to read everything written on. The paintings on the wall need a dekko too. And they are quirky as hell.


The evening my friend and I went to Amreli, there were exactly two tables occupied. Which meant that we had free run of the place. As it happened, the table closest to us were South Indians who were ordering appams after appams. That's when we knew exactly what we wanted to it.

So when the menu finally came to us, we scanned through all the South Indian dishes on the menu and picked the ones we wanted to eat asap. Despite that we decided to give a few others a try as well since the menu was a mix of North Indian, continental and well pan asian. Quite the multi-cuisine restaurant this.

Our meal started with the Tamarind Pomelo Salad which was very nice but not exceptional. It lacked a certain depth - the balance of flavours sweet, salty, sour  - was off. There was also not much in terms of texture, and the large pieces of walnut didn't really do justice to it.

Louisiana Chicken sandwich - smoked chicken with Barbeque seasoning - was a delicious sandwich. The ciabatta it was served on was super fresh yet chewy and I really enjoyed the bite from the arugula. The fries that came with it were nicely spiced albeit slightly limp. Yet they were delicious.



The chef sent us a plate of assorted starters that included the malai fish tikka, jalapeno cheese naan, Melting malai tikka, crunchy seekh kabab and the crispy filo wrap raan. Truth be told, it was the last one - the crispy filo wrap raan that was exceptional. I loved the pulled mutton that worked so well with the delicate pastry. Served with chipotle mayonnaise, this was heaven. I'd order this anytime again. The rest of the kebabs were all good, but then again it's hard to find a bad kebab in Delhi.

For our South Indian course we ordered the Chettinad Chicken and the Kerala Vegetable stew along with regular appam and an egg appam. To be honest, it was a bit meh. The appams were overcooked from the bottom, the stew way too rich because they had used all coconut cream and no coconut milk and the chettinad chicken, well, it was a good chicken curry but certainly not from Chettinad.



Finally, as true blue south indians we ordered the curd rice. And what a winner it was. Soft rice with cold yogurt with a beautiful tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves sprinkled with little pomegranate rubies, it was truly a beautiful sight. Served with appalam and some pickle, it was love at first bite.



For dessert we sampled the cheesecake - which was highly missable and the creme brulee which was to-die-for. The brulee had a beautiful finish and the caramel cracked so well with the spoon.

Despite its hits and misses, Amreli is worth exploring as mid-week dining option. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Baking I Apple Cinnamon Bread with Brown Sugar Glaze




One of the things that my sister loves to do when she comes over, is to grab a cookbook off the shelves, and fall asleep while reading it. She says its a great de-stresser. She says it gives her happy dreams. In reality, though, what it gives her are serious cravings.

So the morning after she picked out this book, all she could do was talk about the apple cinnamon bread she'd found while thumbing through Sally's Baking Addiction. And not only did she want to eat it, she wanted to bake it herself as well.



So bad was her craving, that it drove her to pick up apples on her way back home and then ofcourse she never had the time to bake this lovely loaf. 

This was the same time as my mother was getting her knee replacement surgery. Between little sleep and borderline exhaustion we were both in need of something sweet and something cakey. And then this loaf was baked. 

I did only minimal fiddling with the recipe and I loved how evenly it baked. I didn't bother peeling the apples because I thought it would just add to the fibre content  but didn't realise it would turn green on baking. It didn't alter the taste, just became this strange green shade. But really that's a-ok. 

The apple cinnamon bread lasted for a few days. It kept moist and was great as a dessert and as a breakfast option. And since the apples are only three, you can make this when the fruits not in season.





Apple Cinnamon Bread with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction. Available in India, US and UK

Ingredients 

For the bread:
¼ cup butter
¾ cup yogurt
⅓ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp
2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup almonds
3 apples

For the glaze:
¼ cup butter
⅓ cup heavy cream
¾ light brown sugar
½ cup  powdered sugar

Method.

1. First, preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting) and line a 25x12-cm (or 10x5-inch) loaf pan with baking parchment. You could also butter it or spray it with non-stick spray, but I always prefer lining my pans with parchment paper.
2. Combine the butter, yogurt, dark brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Using a handheld mixer fitted with the whisk attachments beat the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another few seconds.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition (again, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then). Add the vanilla and mix briefly until combined.
4. Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir together with a rubber spatula until roughly mixed, then mix briefly (only a few seconds) with the mixer until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix for another few seconds.
5. Finally, fold in the chopped almonds and diced apple.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. After 30 minutes of baking time, cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the top from browning too much. Allow to cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack.
7.As the loaf cools, make the glaze. Combine the butter, cream and light brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Crank up the heat and allow to come to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute, then crank down the heat to low and allow the glaze to simmer for another minute.
8. Take the glaze off the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before spooning it over the bread. I took the bread out of the pan before I glazed it. Leave to cool and harden. Glaze is best once hardened. Bread will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

Food Festival I Marwari Food Festival at Dilli 32, Kempinski Ambience Hotel




The table setting was elaborate. You could see that the chef had taken a lot of effort into making it as authentic as possible. So when Chef Rohit Tokhi started explaining how he had traveled across the Marwar region extensively to get the ingredients and the flavours right, you knew you were in for a treat.

The meal started with a chilled glass of aam panna and a raab made with corn meal and yogurt. Served with a side of sangari tikki it was a deceptively simple start. The raab was delicious, almost porridge-like in its consistency, it tasted of sweet corn and had a lovely creamy after taste. Simple delicious and wholesome.
The sangri tikki had a casing of poppyseed which gave this desert berry a very nice crunch.

Curated by Pushpita Singh, the author of Rajasthani Kitchen, the rest of the delicious goodies came in swiftly. First up were the pyaaz ki kachori. Modelled after the rawat ki kachori, these little babies were so delicious that you couldn't stop popping them in your mouth. I ate about 4 of these.



Khargosh ka mukul, or a rabbit stir fry was served with a bit of lemon and almonds. I was about to eat this when my friend who had come with me said oh you're eating Bugs Bunny. That did it, I had to push it around the plate because I could barely eat another morsel.

Murgh ka soola and Maans ro boothan were up next. The Chicken with yogurt and garlic was very tender but the mutton really took me to places. Marinated with yogurt and figs, the meat was so tender and succulent that you wished you couldn't stop eating.



The daal baati choorma was up next. Dilli 32 did two very distinct choormas - a rose-flavoured choorma and a savoury besan choorma as well the regular choorma. It's very hard to go wrong with daal baati choorma and truly this was delicious. Drenched in ghee, the baati was fantastic and crisp and the daal so tasty. I would have eaten another, but I knew the laal maas was on its way.




The rest of the mains included laal maas, khatta chicken, ker sangri and the chicken sohito. I loved the sohito and the khatta chicken and while the laal maas tasted fabulous, the meat was not tender enough for me.  The sohito was something I was eating for the first time. Millets and chicken cooked together almost like haleem, this had a very earthy flavour to it. Extremely delicious.



For dessert we got a sampler platter of malai ghewar, mawa kachori and lapsi. I am not a big fan of Indian desserts but the ghewar was not even a patch to what you eat in Jaipur. The mawa kachori too wasn't how it was at Rawa. But the lapsi, now that I loved.

The festival is on till May 10. Go quickly. It's really worth the drive.



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