Whats hot

CROWNING MASTERPIECE

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It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m getting a taste of the most sublime “lemon tart” which is made to the same recipe for the past many centuries and I am doing so on the worlds beautiful city’s most beautiful terrace. And it is acknowledged to be so even by the perfectionist Parisians. It has a 360 degree panoramic  view of Paris and it has the city’s landmarks within kissing distance of each other. Please take a look at the photograph and you’ll see the terrace we are on, you’ll see the Eiffel tower right there, what you cannot see in this photograph is the other landmark of Paris, The Arc de Triomph (which is also within kissing distance.) This picturesque terrace is not only located between historic landmarks but also crowns one of the city’s most loved iconic landmarks, Hotel Raphael. Did I begin this paragraph by saying “it doesn’t get any better than this”? It does. Because with me is the fourth generation owner of the Raphael, the charming, well-travelled, dynamic Veronique Valcke

Baverez. Her family Baverez, since 1898 has been dotting the city of Paris with historic landmarks, Regina, Majestic and ofcourse Raphael.I not only get a first hand account of the history of Paris and Raphael but also the recipe of the most sublime”Lemon tart” .  Every last detail (from the cuisine to the plants on this terrace) is overseen by  Veronique and her mother. “My mother loves roses” points out Veronique as we inhale their fragrance and are surrounded by more than 100 kinds of flowers,. lavender, Japanese apple trees, Box trees. We sit under a snow white linen umbrella, the terrace has a refined floral atmosphere in a Belle Epoque style and right next to us is the giant marble chess board, a tribute to the founder Leonard Tauber, also the cofounder of the chess club of France.

Chennai times
French elegance at it’s best, Veronique Valcke with her culinary team

 

SUPERSTARS SPARKLE

Movie buffs will instantly recognize the Raphael, because not only have many a super hit film (Love in Paris, Place Vendome been filmed here but many a film star has stayed here.) And this includes legends like Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner, Kylie Minogue.Statesmen, political leaders, academics, film directors, actors, writers have favoured The Raphael over all other hotels.

It’s not just the movie world, even the art world has been dazzled by the collection of original masterpieces here. These are normally housed in museums but find place of pride in The Rapahel. From masterpieces by Turner to those by Classical artists…Raphael is a mini-museum.  It even has origianl louis xv and xvi pieces of furniture, sofas, table et al.  The young patisseur Nina metayer bakes to the time tested recipes of centuries, Thomas Chagray cooks to classical ones too. Overseeing it all, is the vivacious Veronique who ensures that every last detail is a masterpiece. Like the Lemon Tart (whose recipe follows).

P.S. Interestingly,  the plot to eliminate a dictator was hatched in The Raphael and the conspirators were known as Raphaelites. I didn’t take part in any such conspiracy, but Ive succumbed to the Raphael magic and am also happy to be known as a Raphaelite.

 

Lemontart

 

Sweetdough

  • butter               300g
  • icingsugar        190g
  • almondpowder        60g
  • salt           1g
  • eggs         113g
  • Vanillapowder 2g
  • Flour                500g

In the butter, icingsugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla powder and flour.incorporate the eggs. obtain a homogeneous dough, keep in the fridge. Roll out the dough to 3 mm thick and place in the tart moulds about 1.5cm high on 7.5 cm diameter each. Bake  at 170°C

 

lemoncurd

  • Sugar                       480g
  • eggs                 500g
  • Butter                      400g
  • Gélatine                   3 leaves
  • Lemon zest              10 units
  • Lemon juice            10 units

Combine in a big pot lemon zest ( grate the skin) and juice.  Place the gelatine leaves in very cold water.. Mix it all, slowly little by little with a spatula. Keep in fridge. When its cold put the lemon curd into the pastry shell.

lime meringue :

  • Eggs white               200g
  • Sugar                       100g
  • Lime zest                 2 units

Whisk the eggwhites, add the sugar, add  the lime zest more delicately with aspatula.Garnish the lemon tart with a piping bag. Bake for a few seconds in the ovenjust for a little color

Sweet Enterprise

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Chennai’s Foodie entrepreneurs
Chennai’s Foodie entrepreneurs

Presenting the latest edition of our “Whats hot Tasting session”. Please take a look at the accompanying photograph which I shot. You are looking at Chennai’s Foodie entrepreneurs, home-bakers  many of who have recently entered the food scene. I flew down from Mumbai to Chennai for this “Whats hot Tasting session” and also for shooting  the jury episodes of “Times Now’s Foodie” show. Sure! The TV shoot in a local and also high-end restaurant was interesting, but meeting this home-talent was even more engrossing.

All made in home kitchens…from baklava to masalas, from health bars to traditional Indian mithai. I will be writing about each one in detail later on, meanwhile, here’s a quick look…

MIND OVER BATTER

“Mind over batter” is the name of Aarti Rajkumar’s designer cake studio where her Belgian chocolate dream and Banofee pies are lovingly baked. Nahla  Fathima, conducts H & H Gourmet classes and is known for the Red Velvet and chocolate hazelnut ecstasy she bakes. Gazeena Sulu’s “Sweet life from Sulu’s kitchen” makes “Patterned jaconde” and other desserts.  Innovative and creative, Deepasri Kar ‘s cupcakes and mousses created with palm jaggery (the seasonal, winter gur) are a delight.

BAKLAVA, BADAM KE LOAZ TO HEALTH BARS

Looking for home-made Baklava? M Ayesha Ruhi is your answer. Azra Zafar specializes in traditional, home made mithai be it Ande ki Piyosi or Bread ka halwa and badam ke loaz. Balancing these with healthful, organic fare is Sadia Gibran, who specializes in Splendid health mixes, Oats and Prunes bar,  low fat date and walnut cake and more.

Azeema Shahul makes

Wheat muffins, chocolate truffle balls and many a  homemade dessert, cakes & chocolates, in a customized designed packing.

BANKERS TURNED FOOD ENTREPRENEURS

Interestingly, two ladies in our “Whats hot tasting session” were successful bankers who are now delighting the Foodie world. Anisa Arif (who Id actually met in her Stanchart days) is now creating a range of the most innovative and amazing masalas you can buy online, be it Sindhi Biryani masala or the Arabic barbecue mix and more. After ten years in the banking line Gulnaz Ali turned to baking. Orange and almond cake, hazelnut  cake and more.

SUPER-CHEF EXTRAORDINAIRE

Joining me for our “Whats hot tasting session” is the brilliant Senior Executive Chef Ajit Bangera of the ITC Grand Chola which has been making waves since it opened mid 2012. We conduct our Tasting session in this sprawling palatial hotel that pays homage to the great dynasty of the Cholas who nurtured Tamil Nadu’s golden age.All ten of it’s iconic restaurants are being helmed by Chef Bangera. This includes their brand new Italian restaurant, their cute deli contemporary shop “Nutmeg”.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Here’s how we have been helping over the years. Over a fortnight ago, I got a call from Pashupati who said his wife Annapurani was looking for cooking classes in Chennai and that he had read about my “foodonline” several years ago. So I invited Annapurani to our “Whats hot tasting session” and introduced her around, so her queries were answered. Should you have any food or food service related questions, please do email

Please email  (rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, Anjalisharma966@gmail.com) call (09884065010) tweet, instagram, (@rashmiudaysingh) FB.

DO YOU WANT TO JOIN US?

Would you like to be featured here? Are you a home-entreprenuer? Please email (rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, Anjalisharma966@gmail.com) call (09884065010) tweet, instagram, (@rashmiudaysingh) FB. Anjali Sharma will get in touch with you and invite you to our next “Whats hot tasting session”. Looking forward to hearing from you. Waitingly yours.

P.S. Watch this space (every other Friday) for more on each of the home-entrepreneurs featured above.