Is it possible? Can just one evening tasting session deliver the best of a city’s food-scene? The very best of cupcakes Gourmet shewaramas, salads et al? yup! possible, but only when the knowledgable foodie hostess and publishing consultant and whiz, the lovely Faarah Mehta generously sources and then equally generously opens up her stylish villa (private beach et al) for my Whats hot tasting session. As does her foodie husband, retailing tycoon, the dashing Saagar Shewakramani. High voltage, brilliant editor of a leading lifestyle magazine Kavita Srinivasan, Sridip Ganguly, software expert are foodies extraordinaires too.
Sweet seduction! Cant stop eating. Swirls of luscious frostings whirl tantalizingly.What do “sex and the city” “Devil have Prada” and Dubai have in common ? Cupcakes from the NYC based Magnolia. Carrot cake gets our vote.
From Sweet stuff (owners sisters Farah and Aaliya Gokal) it’s the Chocolate cupcake as also from the other UAE homegrown success, Kitsch Concept.Hey sugar’s vanilla with chocolate frosting is to kill for . The Hummingbird bakery’s Red velvet is top of our list.
SALAD IN A JAR
I tracked down Canadian born, fitness-enthusiast turned entrepreneur (the salad jar) and Voila! Danielle Sallam turned up with jars of 8 varieties of salads. Gourmet-salads-eaten-in-the-jar-home-delivered. Bursting with ooze and crunch,calorie sparse and nutrient dense are superb. The Mango tango, sweet beet are the best.
OMG! Streetfood goes gourmet! home baked bread, premium, fresh, organic Ingredients drizzled with gourmet sauces redefine shewarama. Superb pure vegetarian Portobello, duck and veal too) Fadal belmahdi’s passion shines through.
ZAATAR W ZEIT
Open 24 hours. Take your pick! White saj wholewheat saj (Lebanese bread) plump with Sfillings be it Spicy Chicken. Turkey cheese or barbecue steak. Veggies go for jebneh halloumi
Note: Im researching the Ultimate Vegetarian Guide to Dubai (so this Tasting session) your recommendations please firstname.lastname@example.org, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh
Yo! Exciting discovery times begin. Research for The Times Food Guide 2016 begins and you are needed. If you bake, make desserts, cook out of home and do so professionally (know of any one who does) and would like to be featured in The Times Food Guide 2016 then please send complete contact details on email@example.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh. I will contact you and invite you to a “Whats hot tasting session” for this column and for the Times Food Guide. Waitingly yours.
P.S. The many splendored, many textured chocolate cake for Safdar’s birthday was created by Chef Vikas Bagul of The Oberoi Patisserie within a few hours. It has meringue, chocolate fans, and even a chocolate heart shaped box. For Rs 2000 a kg.
Two joyous whoops! Double celebration time! A shiny brand new 2015 (I wish you miracles!) . And more of my dreams come true as I discover some amazing talent that creates magic out of home. Ive been finding different ways and means of tracking talent that hums out of home kitchens (so I can include it in our very own Times Food Guides) and this time I find it when I happen to pop in to the dynamic entrepreneur Shaan Khanna’s Spicy Sangria gathering. It’s at the elegant and stylish Mana Suneil Shetty’s fabulous home store which is buzzing with great food and unique flavours. Heres a taste…
Nidhi Gadia’s waffles
How about some mobile pleasure food? Waffles on a stick. Waffle House specialises in a wide variety of Waffles. The charming Nidhi Gadia is already well loved for her sweet as well as Savoury waffles along with mobile pleasure food – Waffle Sticks ! : +919820026511
Instagram& Twitter: @wafflehouse_in
Raashi’s The Picnik Basket
Make your life into a picnic… add oomph to your table with onion marmalade, slow-roasted bruschetta, cranberry mustard,chocolate peanut butter..or whip up a gourmet meal in minutes with thai curry paste, flavoured mayo’s, marinara & barbecue sauce! The gifted Raashi Sawhney also makes hampers and gifts and more.
Shweta & Sanya’s Teacharmers
Amazing fragrance and flavors.Superb packaging too. The lovely Shweta and Sanya of Teacharmers have a exclusive range of exotic blooming tea from all around world such as rose,chyrsthameus as well as pyramid silken teabags for the ultimate tea experience .
Shweta/sanya -9821532699/+91 98-70-061617
Nitika and Minnie’s Cocoa Bean
Chocoholics this way please! The talented Nitika and Minnie serve up an array of the most intense and flavourful sweet delights. Cocoa Bean – Their desserts are all about taste and texture!!! Highly recommended are the malakoffs and truffles.
Minnie mehra 9833079217
Srikanta & Neha’s Open Table
Try Open Table’s delicious fresh dips – from a Layered Lebanese Dip to Sundried Tomato Dip, everyone has a favourite! Essence and color-free Cooler concentrates (Simply Rose and their Ginger Lemon Appetizer) Prices: approximately Rs 200 for a box of dip, Rs 220 for a 550 ml concentrate bottle.
Srikanta Taparia 9819592278 Neha Chokhani 9820133487.
Amrita Diwanji…Food Photographer
A photographer with a great passion for food, the brilliant Amrita Diwanji has
shot for Ellipsis, Cheval, & Burgs.
+91 98205 48700
Rohan’s Pack a Pav
In his time off from work, Rohan Mangalorkar potters around in the kitchen whipping up yummy recipes (his mothers) that typically involve bread, meat, and inventive condiments. Tasty, juicy homemade mutton shammi kebabs, chicken seekh kebabs, and veg shammi kebabs sandwiched between fluffy pavs.
Pack-a-Pav, a stall that pops up at food festivals and can be called for your next party catering too. “This works well at sundowners or parties that need bread to soak the alcohol,” says Rohan.We agree!
Sanjnaa’s Ellipsis Bakery
Brownies, cupcakes red velvet Oreo and chocolate chip cookies, freshly baked breads…the gifted Sanjnaa Talwar of Ellipsis gives a sneak peek of their about to open standalone bakery in Worli. “It is a month or two away” she says, but trials are on …give us this day, our daily bread!
This talented young home baker, sources the finest of ingredients and take orders only on weekends. She specialises in customised fondant cakes, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, cake pops, brownies, cheesecakes. And if you are looking for eggless, she has those for you as well.
P.S. You’ll find ALL the above and much much more in your very own Times Food Guide 2015 (the “caterers and dessert makers” volume). Should you wish to be part of the Times Food Guide 2016 and this column please firstname.lastname@example.org, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh waitingly yours…
DESSERT MAKERS & CATERERS (WHO WORK OUT OF HOME)
I am thrilled! As the Times Food Guide 2015 goes to press, am setting up #Whats hot Tasting sessions (to include new talent in the books) Have discovered amazing home baking and catering talent.
HERES HOW I DID IT
Anyone who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 20 years, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent and to include the talented ones in The Times Food Guide.
I invite and encourage new talent to get in touch with me. For this session I was flooded with Instagrams, tweets and mail requests. I invited dessert makers and caterers who came all the way from Colaba, Chembur, and more. We conducted the Session at Andheri’s Boveda.
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT
Should you want to be included in the Times Food Guide 2015 please email your details (background, specialties, pricing, home delivery, contact details) to email@example.com or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh.
IMPORTANT NOTE Please note that I do NOT have any one coordinating or assisting me so please mail your details directly only to me.
Sorry for the brief one line note on each one of my talented group today. As you can see I am very short of space. Should you be interested do call and check with each one of the dessert makers and caterers for more details.
HOME DESSERT MAKERS
Odd Hour Kitchen’s Shivani has invented a yummy Brookie (brownie cum cookie) which is a must try as are the Yoghurt cake, Nut cookie cup cake
Superb salted caramel Gourmet Chocolates, cheesecakes from Neha Chowdary, a New York trained professional.
Sweet Bliss by Ravisha Sharma This Comerce student’s Nutella cakepops come out tops. Cupcakes, marshmallows, cakes too.
9167155935 (Andheri E)
Cocoa love by harpriya ‘s Blueberry chocoloate mousse and carrot cake worth trying.
9819038623 (Santa Cruz)
Ask for Sweet Escape Nikita bokadia ‘s mango chocolates and flavoured brownies
Lakshmi Nambiars Bakery junction Banoffie cupcakes, sugarfree white chocolate butterfly are a must try.
Tooth Fairy by Rachana shah
The best semi-sweet gooey chocolate brownies in town. Oatmeal cookies, banana-chocolate loaf/muffins worth trying too.
9930044960 (Breach candy)
Cheesecakes republic by Aishwarya Jalan & Shruti Jalan sure takes cheesecakes seriously and serve up seriously good Baked & No bake cheesecakes, tea time cake loaves,
Bakers hut by Manali Modi specializes in designer cakes. Ask for her black pepper and pineapple muffin
Satvita Foods You name it and Mamta can dehydrate it. Great for students going abroad too. The
mix vegetable and pav bhaji actually pack a punch.
9821136696 (Saki Naka)
Sama Ankolkar’s The Hungry Bunny’s Haleem and Biryani, Pepper chops are worth asking for. She also specialises in Italian food ( yum eggplant parmesan and pepper lamb chops )
T’s Kitchen by Tejas
Looking for homestyle Goan fare? Go Goan with Tejas’s Cafreal and succulent beef curry.
99203 16702 (Andheri)
Cherina Gamadia’s Mediteranean magic from her ‘Bhuke Plate’ kitchen offers delicious Labneh Kishk, hummus, pumpkin pasta and more. 9920028472 (Colaba)
Hot Rocks BBQ by Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel
Burger buffs must try Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel’s peanut butter burger, chicken burger too.
Food Biz by Amar Jog has catered for Nita Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan, superb chingdi champ litchis stuffed with cheese mousse and firecracker mozzarella. 98196 95223 (Andheri)
Aditi’s Healthy Bowls crunchy home delivered salad packages (cottage cheese salads, barley salads, leafy salads and more)
91 67 157656 (Andheri)
Here it is. The best inheritance we can ever receive. The legacy of legacies…the passing on of recipes and cooking styles from an older generation to the younger one. Each time I conduct my “Whats hot” tasting session in Chennai, I get even more delighted by the keen interest in cooking and baking here. Especially in all generations. And more often than not this transgenerational transfer of recipes happens from mother to daughter. Twenty six year old talented and hardworking Nahla Fathima not learnt baking from her gifted mother Amira Kalifulla but also from her mother’s equally talented sister Yasmin. “I have been baking as a kid, thanks to my mother and aunts who sparked this interest in me, and were also the cause of my sweet tooth” Nahla explains. She used to bake cakes for mostly family parties and special occassions at home. Since then, Nahla has been taking orders for customized cakes, theme based cakes and cupcakes. She set up H H Gourmet cakes and cupcakes and in September 2013, put up a Facebook page too. She joined the Home Bakers Guild Festive show case too. Her customized cakes are fondant based but she also does special buttercream frosting. What is particularly commendable is that she makes it all at home and uses only the freshest and finest ingredients.
Nahla started with the classic chocolate cake that uses melted liquid chocolate rather than cocoa powder. Initially, it was buttercream and freshcream cakes, but now her specialisation is themed and customised fondant cakes, although her clients do call her for buttercream cakes which she still does. she use french and swiss meringue buttercream which isnt like the popular and easier American buttercream available in all the bakeries.
Nahla is quick to point out “As I am a homebaker, it is mostly a one-man show, so I take only limited orders and well in advance. Especially for fondant cakes”. Nahla is happy to customise and cakes and make them as elaborately as possible usually with the client’s own reference picture. Another popular theme right now is the 2 or 3 tiered cake, especially for 1st bday parties, weddings as they rightly steal the show and look quite magnificent when placed at the venue with the themed set up. So it is Nahla’s two tiered cakes that are mostly in demand right now. Animal shapes, Barbie dalls, cars…you name it, Nahla will create it.
NUTRITIOUS & DELICIOUS
“The recipe i am sharing with you is a Banana Cake recipe, which is one that
i do frequently as a way to get my son to eat the fruit and also to use up those overipe bananas which no one wants to eat”. Nahla points out. The cake is not very sweet as most of the sweetness comes from the fruit. It also has all the healthful properties of the fruit.
The recipe is versatile as it lends to being made a pound cake, cupcakes, loaves or even as cake layers for stacking.
Butter – ¾ cup
Sugar – 11/4 cup
Eggs – 3
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Bananas Overipe – 4
Flour – 3 cups
Baking soda, Baking powder – 1 tsp each
Salt – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 1 tsp
Buttermilk – 1 cup ( 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar )
Sour cream – ¼ cup
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 2 9” pans.
Cream the butter. Add sugar to creamed butter. Mix until smooth.
To this add the eggs 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and bananas to this mixture.
In another bowl, sieve the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a third bowl, mix together the buttermilk and the sour cream.
Now, add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively.
Pour into lined pans and bake for 30 – 40 mins until springy to touch.
Do you work out of home? Would you like to be featured here?
Are you a home baker? Home chef? Please email (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, Anjalisharma965@gmail.com) FB, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh your contact details and the work you do and we will revert to you asap. We will conduct a “Whatshottasting session and invite you to it. Look forward to hearing from you and featuring you here…
You can imagine my delight at finding authentic homestyle Gujarati food in Chennai when all my life Ive been penning love letters to it.And whats more Geetha Mehta, is also well-known for rolling out and neatly packing 1,000 Roti’s & Pickles & Parathas (theplas) for students going abroad. These have a shelf life for a year, are cholesterol-free and yummy too.As though all this wasn’t enough to endear her to me, she also conducts cooking classes.
But first, heres an example of my open love letter to Gujarati food:
“Hu tane prem karu chhu.” I love you for your pristine vegetarian-ness, for your sheer balance of sweet and sour, tangy and bitter, in fact your sophistication and variety of flavors leave me kind of week-kneed. One look at that silver thali beckoning with a myriad dishes, from crunchy farsans to luscious sweets like the curd based shrikhand seduce.The melt-in-the-mouth, slim and silken rolls of besan (khandvi) the steamed, spongy wedges of besan (dhokla) and your winter special “undhio” are irresistible. Especially, the undhio with it’s broad beans, yams, eggplant and more baked in earthenware pots. And that “paunk” (fresh kernels of wheat or millet, eaten with sugar balls) is just poetry in itself. As for that famed Gujarati dahi “kadhi”, I love it most when it is sweetened, like the Surtis like it.
Using only the finest ingredients and “plenty of love” Saurashtra-born Geetha makes the most delightful of authentic Gujarati food (also South and North Indian). Its her unique pumpkin khatta dhokla that I taste at our “Whats hot tasting session”. And dry fruit shrikhand (she makes more than ten flavors, including Cadbury chocolate for kids). Looking for diet options ? Bread Rabri, variety of Shrikhand, Aam Ras and so on
Even her true blue Gujarati pickles unerringly spiced are worth trying. Call and check about her classes, tiffin dabbas and ofcourse the longlasting theplas for taking abroad.
1605, J Block, 9th Street, 15 th Main Road
Tamilnadu – 600 040
26164841 and 98400 66263
The story is that when a new Gujarati bride is being checked out, the very first and most important test that she must pass is that of making the perfect dal , with just that perfect balance of sweet and tangl. So I requested Geetha for her authentic recipe. Here it is
- Thoor dhal 1 cup
- Green Chilli 1
- Ginger 1 small piece
- Ground nut 1 spoon
- Salt to taste
- Haldi powder ¼ teaspoon
- Chilli Powder ¼ teaspoon
- Jaggery small piece
- Kokum / Tamarind to taste
- Oil 1 table spoon
- Mustard seeds ¼ teaspoon
- Methi Dhana ¼ teaspoon
- Asafoetida 1 pinch
- Curry leaves 4 – 5
- Coriander leaves 1 table spoon
- Tomato 1
Boil the dhal and separately ground nut. Then, mash nicely, mix the ground nut and keep aside. For seasoning, heat oil and put mustard seeds. Then add asafetida and cut tomatoes. Cut chilli and ginger and add all the remaining ingredients. After frying nicely, add to dhal. Add water as required and boil for 5 to 7 min. Then add coriander leaves.
The perfect snack, silken rolls of khandvi are my favorite and delightful to taste. Light. And healthy roo.
- Sour Butter milk 3 cups
- Gram dhal 1 cup
- Asafoetida 1 pinch
- Ginger chilli paste 1 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Haldi powder ¼ teaspoon
- Oil 1 table spoon
- Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
- Til 1 teaspoon
- Curry leaves 10 – 15
- Coriander leaves 1 table spoon
Add all ingredients to butter milk and mix well and keep stir on slow flame till it thickens. Pour on individual plates and spread well and let it cool down. Heat oil and mustard seeds, til and curry leaves. Make the poured batter into rolls and cut to smaller pieces. Spread the seasoning on the rolls and sprinkle coriander leaves.
Looking for unusual and personalised Diwali Cupcakes? Need eggless cupcakes, desserts et al? Low calorie, Low fat, and Sugarfree? 3D Mickey Cookies ? 3D Batman and Spiderman ? Voila! The “Sweet fairy” conjures them all. Tops the diwali specials with chocolate diyas, festoons them with rangoli and more.
I don’t know about you, but I believe in Santa Claus and elves and fairies. And for our “Whats hot tasting session” when I met “ Sweet fairy” I was delighted. “I was always obsessed by fairies since my childhood”Apeksha Agarwal explained and so when this daughter of the Kitchen Queen title winner of Jaipur took to baking “Sweet fairy” was the most natural name for her home kitchen company.This young lady learnt her first recipes from her mom and heres the good news, she bakes only eggless desserts.
“Since my closeones are vegetarians and prefer eggless, food, I ve specialised in EGGLESS baking” Apeksha clarified. And sure enough all her creations are soft and sweet and yummy… be it cupcakes, teacakes, custom made cakes, cookies, customized cookies, desserts (Apple Pie, Tiramisu, cheesecakes, Trifle puddings and eclairs), homemade breads, chocolates .
Particular about the finest ingredient and freshness she keeps introducing new desserts in their menu, Red Velvet Cupcake, “I have also started making the Green, Yellow and the Orange Velvet Cupcakes. The major change here is flavour of icing, these are frosted with Cardamom flavour cream” she explains. I have yet to try these, but enjoyed the ones I did.
“There is a common misconception in baking that eggless bakes are not as soft as those made with eggs. This is not true at all and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Literally and otherwise.
- “Sweet fairy” kiddy specials include designer cupcakes with any cartoon characters, 3D mickey cookies, cake pops, designer cookies (doremon, mickey, winni the pooh), designer cakes (for example doll cake for girls, car cakes, cricket cakes for boys).
Apeksha Agarwal, Sweet Fairy
Call – 9677267380
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
One can call, email or contact her through their Facebook page and place orders and pick their desserts.
SWEET FAIRY CHOCOLATE CAKE
1/2 can (400 gms for a full can) condensed milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
125 gms all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Cocoa
1 tbsp Chocolate powder
60 ml, melted butter
1 tsp Vanilla essence
– Sieve flour, cocoa, chocolate powder, baking powder and baking soda.
– Mix the condensed milk, flour, 75 ml water, vanilla essence and melted butter thoroughly
– Grease and dust a 7″ diameter pan
– Pour the cake mixture in the prepared pan.
– Bake in a hot oven at 190 C for approx 20 min (check by inserting a toothpick, when inserted it should come out clean)
Take it out on a wire rack and cool it away from the fan
One of my greatest joys is flying down from Mumbai to Chennai to spot talent that hums in home kitchens and cooks and bakes up delights. At these fabulous fun and exciting “Whats Hot tasting sessions” anyone and everyone who wants to take part emails (email@example.com) and we invite them to bring their culinary creations and join us. And each time I get amazed and delighted with the amount of talent and the diversity. Its also such a joy to meet the dedicated and passionate home talent. It is at the very latest such session that I meet Jayashree Manohar.
THE HEALING POWER OF REIKI AND CHOCOLATE
Grandmaster in Reiki, Jayashree Manohar turned her attention to making chocolates eight years ago. Ofcourse, she continues to give Reiki (to those who need it) and does not charge for it too. Her chocolates are in multi-generational demand. Other than her clients, her parents as well her children love them. Ask for her chocolate roses ( created on sticks, like lollipops and priced at Rs 25 each) they make for great party giveaways. She also makes a Boule’D’ Amande,spice Almond chocollates,Truffle Balls,Swirled Marble Chocolates and Crunchy Peanut coins too. The creative Jayashree also makes “Model Of Taj Mahal” chocolates with imported brand of chocolate combination of Dark, milk and White chocolate. Rates differ according to the varieties of the chocolates. She offers special discounts for bulk orders. Jayashree makes chocolates for the Rotary club of Chennai. Do you believe in the healing power of chocolate? I ask her. No prizes for guessing that she responded with a big resounding “yes”
JAYASHREE MANOHAR, 482,Pantheon Road ,Egmore,Chennai-600008.Mobile No 9841974601/ 9176069367 /42146706
I admit, I am a chocoholic. But what follows is not the delirious outpouring of an addicted chocoholic. This is the result of the most recent research and it “was not supported by any cocoa or chocolate companies,” I follow not just the culinary advances but also the medical and health research that is being done on my favorite subject. Till now we are all aware of the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure, but here comes a research which presents another beneficial aspect. This was conducted in May, at the University of Reading in England. They measured the visual awareness and motion detection skills of 30 healthy young adults two hours after they ate either dark or white chocolate. It might interest you to know that dark chocolate contains antioxidants from cacao beans called cocoa flavanols or CFs, whereas white chocolate contains only trace amounts. 30 people were divided into two groups One group ate dark chocolate (containing 720 mg CF), and the other was given white chocolate. Then they were given a series of tests two hours later, when the CFs would be producing their physiological effects. The effects on vision were measured by various complex tests. The researchers recorded the results and then, a week later, they actually repeated the same experiment with the same 30 subjects, only this time they swapped sides. The 15 white chocolate subjects now ate darkchocolate instead, and vice versa.What they found, both weeks, was an improvement in visual andcognitive performances of the subjects who ate the dark chocolate. Quite clearly, CFs increase blood flow to the eyes and brain and that this is what leads to enhanced functioning of those structures. Chocoholics are rejoicing.