It’s been my lifelong quest…to find the secret of how to to dine non-stop gourmet and yet stay healthy. To continue to enjoy all tastes and flavours, to be able to digest it all and then go back for more. I wrote a weekly health column for a national daily for fifteen years. Produced, scripted, directed, presented 52 episodes of a health show on TV and through it all spent lots of time with doctors, specialists, ayurvedacharyas, nutritionists and more. And it was a common consensus, the source of health and energy was the digestive system. And to keep this system working in top form, it was essential to eat healthy (of course) but also to have probiotics. Not too fond of popping pills (even if they are probiotics in a pill) I was thrilled to find the answer. Right here. In Chennai. A home-made solution…Read on to know more
DID YOU KNOW?
Of course, we all know about probiotics and how essential they are to supply the much needed good bacteria into the system. But did you know…?
They have positive effects on the body like improving immunity, detoxifying the system, reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and providing the body with bio- available nutrients, vitamins and enzymes? Energy improves, stress, joint pains, allergies reduce?
Did you know that probiotics are found in delicious edible drinkable forms?
Ginger ale, Kombucha, Milk Kefir, Beet Kvass, Sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Hummus to name some.
And here’s the good news, these yummies are being made at home, right here in Chennai by the entrepreneurial Abha Appasamy “I started this for our own family to keep them in good health and we found that we were not catching colds and infections as long as we were taking them”. She explains.
that ginger ale is her latest and most popular product, and has had dramatic effects on some of her friends’ digestive issues. It is fermented with the natural bacteria present in organic ginger.
Abha’s Probiotics includes traditional fermented foods and drinks that have originated in countries around the world and
She personally make all the products and bottle them too to ensure high quality and food safety.
She ensures that all her products are 100% vegetarian and vegan (except for milk kefir.. )Natural, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
and made from organic ingredients bought from reliable sources ( not exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides or hormones.)
All packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable glass bottles too.
Lets raise a toast with a glass of probiotic ginger ale!
email@example.com WhatsApp: 9962575684
If you love to munch and snack…but feel the need to do so healthily then Pratima Manikandan’s ingenious bars and crackers are the answer, as her quinoa Digestive Biscuits and Naan Khatai.
Go for the energy bars, made of natural sugars with a low glycemic index… made of seeds, nuts and dryfruits.
Energy Bars made of Millet and walnut seeds, nuts, berries, millets and natural sugars to bring together a nutritious snack on the go. Ask for Millet and Orange,
Vanilla and cinnamon flavors. All sweetened with the super healthy dates.
I love biting into the wafer thin, savory seed crackers made entirely of seeds and nuts.
That theyre a powerhouse of Omega 3 and 6 is a bonus.
Naan Khatai, made of wheat flour and brown sugar make them extra healthy and thankfully extra yummy too. Quinoa Digestive Biscuits- Packed with the essential amino acids are a must try.
A-218, Bhaggyam Urban Ville,
Industrial Estate Road,
ph: 7358306633/044 48536641
WHATSHOT HOME-BAKER TASTING SESSIONS
I maybe traveling the world but I always circle back to Chennai. Ive been flying in from Mumbai and setting up “whats hot tasting sessions” past 15 years. And with each session I get even more impressed
Infact, in EACH AND EVERY COLUMN there is a local “Foodline” with the latest on Chennai’s home catering and baking as my Chennai based assistant Anjali keeps a tab and has been doing so for over 15 years. We held the last one in ITC Grand Chola , which is where I tasted the probiotics and seedcrackers made by Abha and Prathima. Should you wish to take part in the next whatshot tasting session please mail firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
WAITER, THERE’S A COLA IN MY FOOD
Unusual! Unique! First time ever! I taste a dish cooked in a cola. It has a strangely uplifting and cheering effect…much like the internationally renowned song “waka waka” (sung by the Colombian Shakira). This dish is her favorite…as is mine. It has a memorable deliciousness that ricochets on my taste buds, pampers my senses and stays in my memory forever. And the interesting part is that it is not a funky, innovation or modern fusion dish, it’s a traditional South American dish from Colombia’s beautiful, ancient walled city of Cartagena. And I taste it in the stunningly beautiful Legend of Santa Clara. It dates back to 1621 when it was a convent. Even now, every evening, there is the candle lighting ceremony done by the monks. Here history, lives and breathes and then dapper Richard Launay who helms this landmark ensures that along with high-tech all traditions are preserved. Nobel prize winning author Garcia Marquez has written an award winning book on the Legend of St Clara. Not only does the brilliant chef Dominique Oudin cook up this dish but also shares the recipe with me. And it’s only on checking around and doing my research that I find out that many a president, royalty, Bill Gates and even the internationally renowned singer Shakira (shot into fame with Waka Waka) is not only a Colombian but also a regular at Legend of Santa Clara and this dish along with Arripas huevos (egg in a corn batter) is a favourite of hers.
It has a long name and it s a dish composed of beef (cooked in a cola) plaintain and coconut rice. It has a masterful balance of flavours (savory and a kiss of sweet).
Posta negra Cartagenera, con platano en tentación y arroz de coco
“Cartagenian style beef with Temptation plantain and coconut rice”.
1.5 kg beef
350 g white onion
350 g carrot
1 clove garlic
5 branches of thyme
20 whole pepper
1 stick cinnamon
580g brown sugar
3 Lts water
20 ml vegetable oil
Take the beef meat, and clean it. Put half of the salt. Clean the vegetables and cut them in thick cubes.
In a frying pan, heat up the oil and seared the meat on all sides. Clean the pan with coke and add all the ingredients and the water.
Cook slowly for about 3 hours according the size of the meat.
Remove the beef. Sift the sauce and verify the flavors.
PLATANO EN TENTACIÓN
“ Temptation plantain”
6 ripped plantain
450ml Sweet cola (our icecream soda)
1 stick whole cinammon
10 Ud cloves
Remove the skin from the plantain and cut it in 4 pieces.
In a bowl add all the ingredients, and put the plantain in the mix.
In a sauce pan cook the plantains with the mix and let it cook in low until you get a caramel liquid.
Arroz de coco
I have the coconut rice recipe with me, should you need it please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cut the beef in thin slices and wash with hot sauce.
Serve with coconut rice and ”temptation plantain”.
As much as I trip out on the traditional beef stew (recipe above) I could with equal joy write poems to avocado weds mango to black garlic weds beef and treetomato weds langoustine.All in Colombia finest legend SantaClara s 1621. And that too by brilliant 27 year young chef Andres Segura .
Brilliant marriage of Avocado with the fresh tartness of green mango in a crazily addictive Cold avocado and ginger soup with Sousvide Lobster tail. The degustation dinner of modern Colombian cuisine dazzles.
FRUITS OF LEARNING
My learning continues the next morning over the legendary breakfast… where chef Oudin escorts me through the authentic Colombian street food stalls… I even watch each dish being made. From the most popular
“patacon” plantain deep fried,
“Arripa de huevo” egg in a corn batter to the superb, freshly brewed Colombian coffee.
And through it all the colorful
“palanquera” in her traditional dress sparkles the breakfast room. The palanqueras are the traditional fruit sellers. So I bite into the juiciest freshest fruit and keep learning too. Having my fruit and eating it too!!!
I’ve done it again and again. In the gourmet capitals of the world…Paris, London, Tokyo, New York. Tasted the emblematic dish of the seventeen Michelin starred maestro Alain Ducasse’s culinary philosophy. A symbol of “sincere cuisine”– a harmony of flavors– that is both respectful to the environment and to health. And that too in restaurants located in the world’s most legendary hotels. I refer to the cookpot…Alain Ducasse’s world renowned signature dish He serves up seasonal vegetables from the local terroir cooked in the cookpot. And this seemingly simple pot is used from the stove to the table.
It’s truly a “sensual” dish with an aesthetic that cradles and caresses the food. It’s almost feminine and womb like and Ducasse’s inspiration for it is from his grandmother. “We must restart from the beginning, where the true tastes are […] the technique here is to reveal the flavour of nature,” announced this maestro many years ago. And this simply superb and superbly simple dish has a basic recipe which is the same across all of Ducasse’s restaurants, with the mushroom duxelle and at least seven local, seasonal vegetables. The pot itself is a design masterpiece that is contemporary and nostalgic ( created by Pierre Tachon it owes it’s attractive curves and perfect proportions to porcelain manufacturer Pillivuyt)
Over the years I’ve been getting high on the cookpot in Ducasse’s restaurants around the world.
Be it London’s Dorchester, Paris’s Plaza Athenee, these finest of all hotels are reputed for infusing into their essence the glamour, excitement, and creativity of the people who have been regulars here.
Today I share with you my most recent taste of this dish in three memorable venues.
PARIS :LUXURIOUS VEGETARIAN WOWS
Please take a look at the photograph, shot in the gleaming kitchen of Paris’ most stylish address Plaza Athenee, which serves up the best of the best. Including Alain Ducasse’s shimmering temple to gastronomy which has the gardener’s name on the menu and serves only vegetables, grain and fish. Luxury drips in 10,000 Swarovski pendant-like chandeliers and it is here that I’ve had the most fabulous meals coddled by immaculate service and brilliant attention to detail.
On this recent trip I not only had the most exceptional was fixated on Ducasse’s brand new book on vegetarian cooking (which the gifted Chef Romain Meder is holding along with the dynamic chief of the Dorchester group Francois Delahaye).
GOD HAS COME TO LONDON…Dorchester
“God has come to London” swooned critics when Ducasse set up in London’s legendary landmark The Dorchester. I’d first dined at Ducasse’s newly opened restaurant and went back several times again. Here reality is more luxurious than fantasy. Amid the cloud, surrounded by a luminiscient oval curtain, Id gotten high on the classic French-driven menu I still remember the tastes and textures of the “delicate soft Royale of greens” a glorious medley of vegetables with an ever enlarging circle of freshness. And of course that cookpot, heady and perfect.And I still marvel at how the grand hotel continues to tango with high octane young energy.
BREAKING NEWS…On the River Seine
Its making international waves. It’s an unrivalled Parisian experience. And its has just been launched. It’s a floating masterpiece of Paris history and landmarks. It’s been overbooked since it opened and it took planning ahead to get a table here.
I’m on board the brand new super luxurious restaurant “Ducasse sur seinne” that has just opened and is making international waves. As the Eiffel tower sparkles on the hour of eight, Captain Ulysee Boar and Ines Ioudidi flag off our luxurious meal. Luxurious dining gets redefined. Sailing & Feasting on Parisian landmarks and emblematic French food too. Serenditpitiously we are sailing past my favorite Alexanders bridge when my favorite vegetarian Cookpot is served up. The specially-created, single-serving cocotte, delicious with spelt and violet artichokes is memorable. All created in the bespoke kitchens which sprawl on the lower deck Champagne sparkled the beginning of the dinner. And a parade of dishes sashay in as the silent electric boat glides to music. The meal meanders from the delicate Foie gras pâté to the Chocolate crispy praline accompanied by the finest wines, a symphony of the best French Crus. All this amid lighting by Franck Franjoy from lunar cold to candle warm, a coddling of music and sound and uberfab interiors. And ooh! that cookpot…and yes! the maestro has very generously shared the recipe with me, should you need it, please do mail email@example.com
SHOOTING WITH THE STARS
Thrilling. Memorable. Delicious moments. Woven together in Los Angeles, when we were shooting for an international cooking competition for Netflix, the worlds largest streaming network. The India episode of The Final table, brought together superstars… Michelin starred celebrity chef Vineet Bhatia, awardwinning Actor Madhavan, Hasan Minhaj and yours truly as the India food critic on the judging panel. Amongst the 24 contestant chefs, there was only one from India… national award winning best female chef Amninder Sandhu. What did we all have in common? Shooting in Los Angeles super hitech Sony Pictures studio.
And of course, fittingly enough, Netflix hosted our stay in the most iconic of Los Angeles hotels…,
The LA landmark, “pretty woman hotel”, Beverly Wilshire. Located on the glamour boulevard to the world, the Rodeo drive, its been a favorite of Hollywood and Bollywood superstars for nine decades. Star spangled Hollywood dines ,meets and stays here and happily so do ShahRukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Anil Kapoor and others.
And it continues to rock with a youthful energy. Feeding this super glam contemporary buzz in this legendary hotel is our very own Executive chef Samir Roonwal Specialized in Contemporary International and Asian Cuisine. Having dined at Michelin starred Chef Vineet Bhatias restaurants in London Dubai and Mumbai, it was great to spend relaxed time with him lunching on the sundrenched patio of the BLVD. And nibbling on Chef Roonwal’s healthy and delicious creations with the forever helpful lovely Lauren Dutton Breen was a treat. Here, two of my passions come together in a sacred union, cutting edge food and plenty of vibrantly healthy fare too. Not only does Americas leading chef Wolfgang Puck’s CUT restaurant raise the bar but Chef Roonwal serves up equally spectacular healthy fare. Here’s a sample …
1 Whole Lemon Juice
4 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
1 Oz Caviar
10 ml Fennel Oil
1 Fennel Flower for Garnish (optional)
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, To Taste
- Cut the Avocados in half and remove the stone and the skin.
- Slice the Avocado very thin and arrange it one by one in an overlapping form.
- Sprinkle lemon juice on the cut pieces. Season with salt and cracked Pepper.
- Brush some Fennel Oil on the Avocado.
- Garnish with a quenelle of and a fennel Flower.
UNDER THE STARS
First time ever… You can now sleep under the stars in this shimmering city of stars. Camping in a tent for two on the top of Beverly Hills most iconic landmark. “Glamping” just got redefined… a tent with a shimmering crystal chandelier, marble lamps, and plush rugs. Feasting not just on unparalleled, breathtaking city views but feasting also on te exclusive, 8 course gourmet glamping tasting menu which changes seasonally, in which every dish is customized to your choice. Chef Roonwal cooks this tasting menu in person, on the Veranda, using elevated takes on picnic table favorites. End with innovative reimagination of Campfire S’mores with 24k gold leaf from celebrity chef Chris Ford. Luxury drips in every practical detail. Here,reality is more exciting than fantasy!!!
LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD FLAVORS
He’s a living legend. Not only does he have his own star of fame…in Hollywoods walk of fame, but for over three decades has had all of Hollywood eating out of his hands (literally too). Over a hundred restaurants in five continents cookbook author celebrity chef and official caterer for the Academy Awards blazed the trend for its gourmet pizzas topped with caviar and smoked salmon. He’s starred in movies (as himself) and yet the revered legend Chef Wolfgang Puck remains down to earth and charming. To spend time with the legend in the Belair, Los Angeles, the world’s most famous Hollywood hideaway is amazing. To watch him feed the long necked swans that glide in the swan lake and then to lunch on his masterpieces in his renowned restaurant is to get a true taste of legend. This serene 12 acre lush paradise ( the serene, gleaming swan lake et al) is actually at the heart of cacophonic, bustling Los Angeles. It is in these stunningly beautiful serene surroundings styled
as private residences, an amazing Californian oasis of relaxation and indulgence which is the
secret Paradise of superstars
It nestles in the canyons of Los Angeles. And how I love that Swan Lake.Four beautiful white swans call the lake home, and together they embody the romance, grace and elegance of Hotel Bel-Air.
The glamorous charm reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age is palpable here. It is here that Hollywood’s history lives and breathes. Any wonder that it has been Hollywoods most beloved hideaway? Legends like Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor stayed and dined here regularly.
It is this very exclusivity and tranquility that continues to magnetise the likes of Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and many other Hollywood notables. As the lovely. Denise Flanders points out “The emotional attachment that so many have for Hotel Bel-Air is so very special.” I love the way it is steeped in cultural history, defines historical moments and highlights the Dorchester group’s stylish heritage, not just with fascinating historical anecdotes but exceptional service and food. Memorable!
MARILYN MONROE TOMATO SALAD
Here’s the refreshingly beautiful taste of the tomato salad, so beloved of the beautiful legendary Marilyn Monroe, who lived and dined here.
2 each Red Beef ( big) Tomatoes
4 each Figs
3 each Cherry Tomatoes (variety colors)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil ( Marilyn liked her olive oil)
1 Tbsp Basil Oil
1 Tbsp 18 year aged balsamic vinegar
4 oz of Italian Rich Fresh Buratta cheese
6 each flowers of Micro Basil
To taste Salt Large Flake
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Method: This dish looks like a mosaic or painting in the summer .The colors are beautiful just like its celebrity inspiration. Thick cut tomatoes just like Marilyn preferred, figs, buratta all un marinated and carefully layed out to fit like a perfectly aligned painting on the plate. Dress the salad with the 2 olive oils, balsamic vinegar. Lastly season the tomatoes with the salt and black pepper and finish with the micro basil over the top. By dressing everything on the plate you lose no flavor from a separate seasoning and the tomatoes will release there delicious juices from the salt directly onto your plate.
That’s the explanation of his creation given by WolfGang Puck’s brilliant Executive chef Hugo Bolanos.
As a veteran team member of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group (having worked at Michelin starred CUT, world-renowned Michelin starred flagship Spago including Wolfgang Puck catering) Hugo Bolanos delivers masterpieces in taste and textures. He has worked with the worlds greatest chefs (from Ducasse in Paris to Daniel in NYC).and today he continues to weave drama in Puck’s award winning restaurant in Belair.
It is here too that I taste Wolfgang Puck’s delicious classics, from the Weiner Schnitzel to the vegetarian pumpkin baked in salt and his famous vegetable soup. Should you need the recipe please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I write from paradise. And it’s not only because the biblical forbidden fruit, the apple is the focus today, or because we are standing under it’s “tree of knowledge”. It’s also because I am in the divinely beautiful mountainside overlooking meadows and forests in the world famous Lanserhof medical institution. It has been at the forefront of cutting edge research and is based on a symbiosis of traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art medicine.
I’m on a quest. As a food critic I not only research (read eat) and write about what’s delicious and assess the world’s best restaurants as regional jury chairperson of international academies but am on a mission to find out what’s the final word on what to eat. How to eat and when to eat. And I’m in my mecca.
THE AWESOME APPLE …
The photograph I shot just outside the dining room says it all… Along with the brilliant chef Karsten Wolf who specializes in “Energy Cuisine” is the highly qualified and experienced Doctor Benedetto Reisch the dynamic medical Director. And this is exactly how the food and the recipes have evolved here…on the basis of research of 70 chefs and as many doctors. Today we focus on the nutritional powerhouse, the apple.
Its always mystified me why the apple has been projected as a “forbidden fruit” in many religious traditions and not just in the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
It’s almost magical in it’s nutritional benefits. You name it…Good source of soluble and insoluble fiber
Vitamin C , heart-healthy potassium
B-complex vitamins, anti-oxidants,
flavanoids, and dietary fiber. Studies suggest that its components are not only essential reducing cholesterol levels,
recommended for arthritis, obesity, gallbladder stones but also for optimal growth, development, and overall wellness. And since,
Europe’s leading Lanserhof medical institution, is based on the Classical Mayr Medicine, it’s focus is on the digestive system and food. Not only is their “Energy cuisine” nutritious and delicious, but the dynamic and caring Dr Benedetto Reisch, also shares the basic principles. What we eat, how we eat and what time we eat is a very crucial part of the basic concept. And chef Karsten Wolf shares the recipe of his apple chutney which can sparkle every meal and make for a great dip too.1 kg (diced) apples/
200g (finely chopped) onions/200g of brown sugar /25g of (finely chopped) ginger/2 chili peppers /1tsp salt/1tsp anchovy apple pie spice (optional)400ml white wine vinegar. Cook all ingredients till soft and then put into a mixer. Enjoy!
From Germany to Chennai. Here’s the most amazing source of energy…sprouts. I’m a great believer in the healthy magic of sprouts and the good news is that, in Chennai you can source the freshest, made to order …moong ,moth, black horsegram, brown horsegram, methi, peanuts, masoor, wheat, ragi ,jowar, etc and Shobha Golecha’s signature sprouts… the Alfa.
The enterprising Shobha not only sprouts from organic grains but also teaches and advises on various ways to enrich dishes as well as new recipes.
She ensures that these builders, repairers,and maintainers of our body and mind are made integral to our diet…in a tasty way.
“Sprouting increases the nutritional value from 20 – to 500 times the grain value.” She points out. “Its the tastiest way of going healthy ,for the busiest to the serious health enthusiasts.
Sprouts in general are protein rich full of amino acids, high fiber so detoxes,cures constipation, high in antioxides, anti inflammatory, increases immunity, controls sugar, helps weight management, and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
avorite dishes shades healthier, and boring foods more tastety, crunchy and appealing.
Use as salads, sundals, soups, in wraps, sandwiches, roti, kakra , breads,chaat, dips and chutneys, dosa , idli, raita ,accompaniments or maincourse, dressing or garnishing to where imagination can take you. Shobha home delivers, teaches on how to make sprouts at home. Her ultimate aim…”We want thousands to learn, earn and be a part of making INDIA one of the healthiest country’ s of the world, easiest way to overcome malnutrition, under a single banner.
7200028271 /9444711247 / 42850016
It’s heady. Its memorable and its incomparable. I refer to the amazing spectrum of tastes that I am feasting on. Here in Russia’s most magnificent 143 year old landmark, Im not only devouring Russian cuisine, history and culture but also a taste of India. From taking a Masterclass in the most supreme of all Epicurean luxuries, Caviar to tasting traditional and contemporary Russian dishes to vegetarian Asian delights and (here’s the happy surprise) superb Indian cuisine too.
It’s great to be part of gastronomic history: dining in Russia’s first restaurant which had electricity, feasting on 143 years of history in this stunningly beautiful Grand hotel Europe in St Petersburg with its high stained glass ceilings, balconies where the Tsars sat is a treat. Luxury and class drips from every detail. It is here that Tchaikovsly honeymooned, where Elton John played on the piano Bill Clinton, Whitney Houston and our Prime minister Modi dined. And this is where I attend an amazing caviar master class.
OF CAVIAR CROWNED
It doesn’t get any better than this: attending a caviar masterclass in the home-country of this supreme epicurean pleasure. And that too in Russia’s only caviar restaurant, Caviar Bar & Restaurant, which serves only the best caviar with vodkas you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Would you believe that the best way of tasting caviar is to put a bit of it on the back of one’s hand and lick it off? The caviar master and sommelier articulate and knowledgable Nikita yurin explains it all… the very basic… only fish eggs produced by the sturgeon fish ( a prehistoric huge fish ) can be called caviar to the types, preservation, history, telling fake from real. etc.
It’s a joy to accompany the dapper, dynamic Sven Gevers, a knowledgable caviar buff, who helms this landmark. This discerning, highly qualified economist and globe trotting gourmet even breakfasts on eggs and caviar. Chipping in with her experiences and helping translate many a Russian term, is the ever helpful Irina Khlopova.
Before us are Mother of pearl spoons (essential to serve the caviar to avoid metal oxidation). The finest caviar to the least expensive salmon one, a line up of vodkas and champagne. Also accompaniments, take your pick (though toast is the most traditional) Russian coin shaped pancakes or blini, Boiled potatoes
Pancakes go well too.. One thing is for sure, points out Nikita, “caviar should not be eaten with onion or lemon” It should be
Stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator, as close to the freezer as possible.
We taste the finest Beluga (made from the Beluga fish of the sturgeon family) caviar, it has the largest grains, is creamy, has a fishy flavour, of seaweed and even walnuts.
Oscietra fish (16 types) Sevruga Sterlet (smallest grains) and Bester are some of the main varieties of caviar. In this short space its impossible to include it all,
All I can say, is that it’s fascinating to learn about these precious black pearls, which Russia s been eating since before the 14th century. It’s methods of production and preservation, which determine the taste and price of caviar. When pasteurized the price and taste gets compromised.
CAVIAR WISHES AND CHAMPAGNE DREAMS
To crown it all is the Tchaikovsky night where I taste Russia’s food, history, art, culture, dance all in one bite of this traditional “egginanegg” dish you see in the photograph. It has egg crowned with caviar which pirouette with salty buttery nutty notes on my palate as the ballerinas twirl to Tchaikovskys compositions. Caviar wishes and champagne dreams do come true. May yours too.
Amid the finest of caviar, the best of Russian and modern Russian dishes, Japanese and Asian dishes our very own Indian dazzle too . Appreciated and enjoyed by Hema Malini to our Prime Minister Modi who stayed here but happily by the Russians too. Seeing the popularity of Indian cuisine the multi-talented Executive Chef Ian Christopher Minnis is in the midst of coordinating a “Mystery of India” festival here. He ensures the finest gourmet dinners in St Petersburg’s most gastronomique L Europe restaurant (serving authentic Russian masterpieces) to the legendary caviar bar to the Asian restaurant Azia. It is here that the young talented chef Indian chef Sachdev Kathait’s Indian menu is in great demand. Authentic delicious dal, kebabs and tandoori, Chef Kathait ‘s unique “pickle prawns” and “cheese chicken” combine the best of both worlds but retain their authentic Indian flavour.
Should you need their recipes please email email@example.com
Come feast with me. Feast on a banquet of culinary experiences. Of refreshingly unusual and unique experiences. From one served under the skies and trees to another in the depths of the boiler room. All these in Sri Lanka’s “little England” in the misty beautiful mountain town of Nuwaraelya’s Grand Hotel. Interestingly, long before Nuwara Eliya became the famed Hill station of Sri Lanka, folklore has it that many epic events of the Ramayana happened right here. The early 19th century British planters transformed it into “little England” and Sir Edward Barnes, Governor, built the beautiful bungalow which eventually expanded and became the Grand Hotel. And today this over a century old iconic landmark continues to magnetise the international traveller with it’s sprawling dining facilities, spa, pool, leisure activities et al. But fascinatingly enough continues to reinvent and reimagine many a feasting option.
GOURMET IN THE BOILER ROOM
Tracking global gastronomy is a fun job, but this one experience (in a 127 year old boiler room in the Sri Lankan mountains) takes the cake. It was here in this boiler room of the iconic Grand hotel Nuwaraeliya that the distinguished looking Boilerman provided an unending supply of hot water throughout the day to enable the aristocratic British guests to bathe. After almost nine decades of burning tree logs to keep the water hot, a diesel-fired boiler was introduced. It still keeps the water hot, but there is no dust or soot. It is here, that the celebrated Chef Priyantha serves up a unique dining experience: delicate carpaccio to luxuriously creamy cake. Within the depths of the kitchen they set up a Japanese Teppanyaki table. A violinist plays while the chef conjures light and delicious dishes. On my request the chef shares the recipe of the tasty and unusual Doriyaki pancake.
Gems of delicious wizardry parade with panache. “Unique dining experience” gets redefined.
100 grs Wheat Flour
01 tablespoon Sugar
02 tablespoon Bees honey
01 tablespoon Mirin Vinegar
70 ml Milk.
Pan fry this batter into a pancake.
200 grs Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce with Ice Cream.
Optional…10 grs Green Tea Powder / Sweet red bean
BRIT-SRI LANKAN HIGH TEA
I salute Duchess Anna of Bedford for having sent out the invite for “tea and a walk in the fields” over a hundred and fifty years ago. The lovely lady set in motion High tea, the most dainty of all culinary traditions. Over the years, I’ve been sipping and tasting my way through many a high-teas across UK and Europe. From London’s grand historic hotels, The Ritz, The Dorchester, The Lanesbrough to The Ritz in Madrid and The Ritz in Paris.
Which Tea ceremony do I get most high one? The Chinese tea ceremony “Yumcha” server fills the cup just over half way, because the Chinese believe the rest of the cup is filled with friendship. The Japanese tea ceremonies of the Chanoyu, the Sencha are performed sitting on the floor around a low table.
An amazing tradition which evolved with time…of tea service, side plates, bread and butter plates, cake stands, and every conceivable accompaniment, Tea gardens, tea dances , a whole code of etiquette followed. And here in Srilanka at the Grand hotel, they not only serve up an amazing grand tea under the sky, amid it’s beautiful manicured gardens but what excites me is that my most favorite Srilankan wattalpam gets a makeover into a dainty snack. Here it is
01 litre thick Coconut milk, 400grs. Jaggery
14 nos whole eggs,
Pinch of Nutmeg powder, 01 piece Cinnamon stick, 04 nos Cardomons, 150 grs Cashewnuts.
- Boil the jaggery with spices, 2. Cool to room temperature . 3.lightly beat the Egg and add to the Coconut milk. 4.Then mix all ingredients together and strain well. 5. Put in a baking dish and bake with steam for 40 to 50 minutes at 160° C.
WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION
Piggy bread…Look what I tasted in the Chennai’s most interesting and unusual whatshot tasting sessions of home talent. The very talented and lovely Deepasri Kar ‘s creative and innovative breads are in great demand. For the past seven years, her Hamaree rasoi’s Piggy shaped bread (stuffed with robustly spiced kheema ofcourse), chicken Stuffed Braided Bread have been the hotsellers. As have the vegetarian Pumpkin buns. Her large repertoire includes cookies spiked with cumin, which are a musty try too.
THE MAHARAJA OF GERMANY
Q: What do the Maharaja of Patiala, Einstein, Berlin currywurst (curry sausage), Michelin starred meals and singing bowl healing, have in common? Ans: Berlin’s magnificent, over a century old legendary landmark Adlon. The world distils itself on my plate here amid outstanding culinary talent, luxury, old world graciousness and modern high-tech. Renowned as one of Germany’s finest hotels, since 1907, it truly has been the Maharaja of Germany. Under the same roof, I get a taste of the local Berlin signature Currywurst, an uber gourmet two Michelinstarred meal and also flavorpacked Pan Asian dishes. I not only taste but also request recipes of these. And how do I taste the Indian connection? By requesting Vijay Kumar Vyas to do a healing singing bowl meditation for me. Not only did the Maharaja of Patiala stay here regularly, ( as did and still do global royalty, heads of state, Hollywood and Bollywood superstars) but he also gifted Adlon a priceless elephant fountain (please see photograph) which occupies pride of place in the throbbing heart of the hotel. In front of this elephant fountain I catch up with the charming, knowledgable Sabina Held and the celebrated chef Hendrik Otto of the two Michelin starred restaurant, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer and request their Vijay Kumar Vyas to do my favourite tree pose.
This is when I get to know of about Albert Einstein, Angelina Jolie, Charlie Chaplin to Barack Obama who stayed here.
BERLIN’S CURRY SAUSAGE
I remember shooting (several years ago) for my TV show in Berlin and tasting the Berlin currywurst. The history of this sausage dish dates back to 1949. Herta Heuwer prepared the very first currywurst in her snack stand in Berlin-Charlottenburg when mixing a sauce consisting of tomato paste, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce. Though this was not a favorite of mine, the Adlon version of currywurst delighted. I ate mit in their Restaurant Quarre while sitting outside on the terrace, within airkissing distance of the landmark Brandenburg gate, I tasted the “Adlon-Currywurst”. Here, the talented Chef Michéle Müller offers local specialties and
international classics with a modern twist.
Recipe „currywurst“ sauce
2 pieces onion
3 stems lemongrass
10 pieces lime leaves
4 pieces thumb-sized ginger
½ piece garlic
5 pieces star anise
2 grams cumin
10 pieces cloves
3 tbsp. curcuma
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 litre mango puree
1 litre Coca Cola
10 litre ketchup
Cut the onions into cubes and sauté together with the flavors and spices.
Douse with mango puree and Coca Cola and reduce them.
Fill it up with ketchup and bring to a simmer. Cover the sausages with it. Serve.
Delicious surprise! Tasting awesome Asia’s culinary diversity in Berlin. Right here in The Adlon’s restaurant “Sra bua by Tim Raue”. Here, the brilliant head chef Kai Weigand, serves up modern Pan-Asian cuisine executed with seasonal produce. I taste his creations, simple, light and intensely flavorsome, precise with a perfect balance between sweetness, acidity and spiciness. On my request, Chef Kai shares the recipe of the amazing Wasabi prawns, should you need it please email me firstname.lastname@example.org as it is too lengthy to reproduce here.
HIGH END GASTRONOMY
Dazzling mastery of the culinary arts “tradition eats modern”. Any wonder that Adlons restaurant Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer has been showered with two prestigious Michelin stars and a huge number of other awards? The European-inspired, imaginative and contemporary creations, it’s classic menu is reminiscent of the hotel’s illustrious past delights. ‘Adlon-style fillet of sole’ the famous ‘Canard a la presse’ are Chef Hendrik Otto s masterpeices.
Here, I have an amazing meal of vegetarian masterpieces too. This, since Im researching vegetarian dining in Berlin. Masterpieces of flavour and texture dazzle.
CHENNAI S CULINARY HOME-TALENT
Delicious talent! Ever since last fortnight when I wrote about our Whatshot Tasting session, Ive been flooded with reader- queries about details of the home-bakers and caterers who attended it. I flag off the series with the youngest, the talented and committed 18 year old Ranjani and Akhil’s superb HerbiStore. Absolutely loved their creations and was even more thrilled to know that theyre all vegan, sans white sugar too. Guiltfree feasting on intense chocolatey“Peanut butter cups”. Needless to add the protein rich peanut butter is homemade. Couldn’t stop eating the Fudge Brownie in a jar and the Cookie dough.You can order on
DMs and retailing