Chennai

HISTORIC PARIS ON A PLATE

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Come feast with me! Get high on the “Bohemian” the “historic”  the “artsy” Paris. Here, on the “Rive Gauche” the left bank, centuries of history still breathe in the old brasseries and Literary  cafés where  the legendary artists and poets dined.

“A bite of history” takes on a whole new meaning in Paris.  Here, on the left bank, I eat at the cafes where  Jean Paul Sartre, Hemingway to Lenin and Trotsky were regulars.(played chess). These world famous literary cafes are immortalised in paintings by Picasso, and are the setting of many a novel Hollywood movie too.

It is here, on the left bank, too, that Hotel Lutetia, the first grand hotel of the Parisian Rive gauche opened  in 1910. I had no idea that “Lutetia” is the Romans’ name for Paris.  Did you know that  the motto for  Paris was – “fluctuat nec mergitur”, or “she is tossed by the waves but doesn’t sink” – like a ship proudly moored on the riverbank is reborn. The heartbeat was restored to the most Rive gauche of grand hotels.And the historic grand Lutetia with it’s magnificent maritime themed exterior and interiors is proud symbol of Paris herself.

The idea here is to evoke the atmosphere aboard grand yachts of old with the varnished wood along all the the columns throughout the space.

Here, there is a choice of the finest of gastronomy in the restaurants. From the classic and reinterpreted dishes to the triple Michelin starred  chef Passadet’s Brasserie Lutetia.

OF EDIBLE MONSIEURS, MADAMS AND MADEMOSEILLES

It is the charming view of  historic Paris that is visible from  Lutetia’s rooftop (please see photograph) and the brilliant  chef Benjamin Brial interprets the spirit of Paris, the classic and beloved simplest of dishes, be it “Croque Monsieur” or “ Croque Madame.

It’s a double feast … of the heartstoppingly beautiful city view and of the brilliant chef Benjamin Brial s reinterpretation of Classic Parisian dishes served way back in 1910 in Parisian bistros and cafes. And even mentioned in many a literary masterpiece. Evocatively named Croque Monsieur (French for Mister Crunch) and Croque Madam (Madam Crunch).  While, the Croque Monsieur is made of bread, cheese, ham and sometimes sauce, the Madam has an egg topped on it too.

Having eaten my way through Paris researching the worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by The Times of India), I sniffed out the vegetarian version of Croque Madame…and aptly enough its called Croque Mademoiselle  

 It’s a lighter delightful version: made of the same bread, but with melting cheese.Begin with thick, slices of white sandwich bread. Stuff it with slices of zucchini. Grill  slices of Zuchini, add herbs and cheese. You can drizzle some mustard, add more cheese. Bake it. Add a dash of nutmeg.  Your delicate  Croque Mademoiselle is ready to eat..

MICHELIN MASTRY

The spirit of the literary and artistic quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is in the air once again at the  famed, historic Brasserie Lutetia!The brilliant third generation, triple Michelin starred chef Gérald Passedat is re-establishing Brasserie Lutetia’s  old-world charm. The most unique, maritime-inspired Mediterranean dishes dazzle. I get high on  the  three Michelin starred Mediterranean dishes.

Under the spacious double height ceiling in a relaxed space done up Art Nouveau and Art Deco, the most delicious, hearty, vibrant authentic brasserie fare is served up.

The signature Provençal seafood dishes are capture the briny sea’s rapture. I cant stop eating the unique lusciously marinated jaffa avocado in erotic union with mango, citrus and caviar.

Chef Pasadet’s traditional bouillabaisse, spiked with saffron,  is afloat with the freshest of seafood. There is drama on our table as the  whole stuffed sea bream is flambéed with pastis at our table. Plenty of the freshest of hand picked oysters, Pistou soup, redrice. The sweet finale of the traditional mille-feuilles and traditional cakes is an experience that comforts and dazzles too!

 

 

 

LEAD PHOTO Benjamin BrialCroque MademosoilleBOX Chef Passadet at Brasserie LUTETIA

Awesome Avocado. Brasserie LUTETIA
Awesome avocado of Brasserie Lutetia
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HIGH ON HISTORY: EDIBLE JEWELS & TEA

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“Kuch kuch hota hai” tinkles the piano. Am I hearing right? Im here in this magnificent shimmering, world famous 113 year old, London’s legendary Ritz.  Glamour and luxury waltz in the original Louis XVI style, frescoed, carpeted halls. Here the legendary afternoon tea session (booked up months ahead) is in progress as our very own Ian Gomez from Mumbai is on the piano. Hes a legend in his own right (he has played with Frank Sinatra too). The  sweet and savoury multi-course elaborate  Afternoon tea  in the high-ceilinged Palm court has been introduced here ever since the hotel opened. And it has made history and raised the bar since then. Michelin starred maestro John Williams helms the dining, ensuring every single cake, pastry, scone, sandwich is made to perfection for the Afternoon tea. Just like it has been since the hotel opened in 1907. The knowledgable tea master Giando Scann not only picks the finest loose leaf teas but also makes his own bespoke blends.

I m as dazzled  by the meticulously selected finest of 20 varieties of tea, today the national drink of Britain as Im by the Tea master’s recounting of  the impact of tea on social, economical and political levels.  He points out that in the Victorian era even the “tea gown” a loose informal one (as opposed to the tight corseted gowns)  was invented to facilitate their tea making abilities to pour and serve. Sipping tea takes on a whole different meaning after this.

THE ENGLISH CREAM (CRÈME ANGLAIS)

No better source to get the recipe of THE English dessert sauce then from UK s iconic  Michelin starred The Ritz’s chef. Chef John Williams. The brilliant and meticulous chef  shares  the recipe of this versatile sauce with us: Pour it  over cakes or fruits. Enjoy it  also be had as a dessert on its own in my favorite Ile Flotante (Floating island dessert)

RECIPE

Makes 300 ml sauce

125ml (4fl oz) milk,  125ml (4fl oz) double cream,  25g (loz) caster sugar, 50ml (2fl oz) egg yolks.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk. Return it to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the temperature reaches 82°C (180°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sit it in a bowl of iced water. Stir for 2 minutes, to reduce the temperature and prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once slightly chilled, pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required, up to 3 days.

THE ULTIMATE JEWEL OF A DISH

This is it. The ultimate jewel of a dish! That it is being presented now for Easter it is also THE ultimate Easter egg and is making history. In keeping with the globally renowned jeweller Fabergé’s history for surprise and ingenuity, John Williams has created this luxurious Eggs Fabergé dish which closely mirrors the multi-coloured Fabergé Treillage egg pendant.  He created this amazingly intricate edible work of art using the very highest level of technical expertise. He used the inside of an egg shell as a mould. A soft boiled quail’s egg is encased in a velvety lobster mousseline, decorated with a circular pattern of vegetable gems (including aubergine, courgette and heritage carrot) and represent the colours many a precious gemstone.

The edible Eggs Fabergé is served on a bed of the finest caviar and silken sauce of langoustine. And this exquisite editble jewel is part of the three-course Fabergé menu in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant during Easter Week.

Interestingly, the Mosaic Egg was one of the most technically sophisticated and extraordinary of all the Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, and took over a year to craft. It all began in 1914. The Imperial Mosaic Easter Egg was commissioned (to the jeweller)  by Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter. It was studded with precious gemstones and intricately and ornately crafted in gold with many a detail.

This Faberge egg was confiscated during the Russian Revolution and ended up  being purchased by King George V as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday The Mosaic Egg remains a part of the British Royal Collection. And now chef Williams of The Ritz has made history by adding it to the edible jewel collection!

 

LEAD PHOTO

High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef  John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez,  Giovanni Galianni

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Ian Gomez (pianist  originally from Mumbai)  flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and  chef John Williams,

Ultimate Jewel
The ultimate edible jewel
Recipe box
The English sauce

POWER YOURSELF WITH ENERGY

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Is it your dream to be full of energy? To be fulfil your days work with vigour and enthusiasm? To work hard? Play hard? And be powered with energy? Ive been researching this through my travels,  Health TV shows,  meeting experts, doctors and chefs.

Today I share with you nuggets of useful and usable information that ll get you kickstarted with vigor.

 

FROM GERMANY, DUBAI, CHENNAI …

 

MUNICH…ENERGY CUISINE

 

Im amid the magnificent mountains by the shimmering Lake Tegernsee. Here, the most amazing scientific research is taking place. The recipes are being evolved by 70 chefs and as many doctors.  This at the leading Lanserhof medical institution, which has been at the forefront of cutting edge research and most interestingly is based on a symbiosis of traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art medicine treating both mind and body.

I learn all the principles from the doctors, from the medical director Dr Elke Reisch. It is based on the Classical Mayr Medicine, genetic diagnostics, energy and information medicine and quantum physics with the age-old wisdom of healers.

Its all about  high energy. Happily,  good health and

pleasures of the palate are not mutually exclusive.

Energy Cuisine reflects the state-of-the-art research findings of nutritional science, yet still places great emphasis on regional, organic and fresh produce cooked in gentle, product protecting ways.

 

Other than having long sessions with the doctors I also attend chef Karsten Wolf’s cooking classes. The ever helpful Torstein Kiener translates the German explanations of the chefs.

Here, they not only demonstrate recipes but also explain why a good breakfast in the morning is essential. Why should you give your body high value protein, vitamins and minerals from fresh fruit and vegetables in the morning ?

How come breakfast is the only meal at which heightened carbohydrate consumption does not cause you to put on weight?

The reasons are simple.Our enzymes (protein molecules that control metabolism) are very active Cortisone, adrenaline and thyroid hormones all attain their highest levels during these hours. So what you eat during this period is assimilated  easily and really well.

Here is an  easy to make  breakfast recipe from Chef Karsten

OAT MUESLI

Ingredients

100g oat flakes

100 ml soy or oat milk (alternative: water)

½ apple

½ pear

125g yoghurt (sheep’s milk, cow’s milk)

Alternatively soy or coconut yoghurt

 

Preparation

Soak the oat flakes in milk or water for 15-20

minutes (or overnight)

Grate the fruits and add to the soaked oat flakes

Stir in the yoghurt of your choice

Add nuts or raisins if you like

 

 

DUBAI …HEALING ENERGY

There is calm and tranquillity. He heals with gentle compassion. Hailing from Lebanon, Fady Habibi s fame has spread far and wide. I was recommended to meet him by  Jhanvi Panjabi the famous jeweller  in Hong Kong.

Other than a healing session, its his healer’s views on diet and nutrition that interest me “I believe in balance” he reiterates. “Food of course will effect your life of course effect your healing your health your mind, your thinking so its part of the package” You cannot keep  praying or being positive and then eat all the rubbish food in between, he points out.

 

Fruits are what Fady recommends. They emit the highest vibration ever he points out. Vibrations differ, between what grows underground (carrots potatoes et al)  and on the top (grass to or trees). Fruits grow on top on the tree or top of a bush and soak up the highest form of sun and air energy. Also eating them raw, without cooking further preserves their nutrients.

While considering a fruit diet it is important not to mix it with another type of food as fruits produces different type of digestive enzymes that can break food in 2-3 hours while fat, protein and carbs depend on another digestive enzymes

Eat fruit, advises healer Fady, it is highest the food and energy on this planet.

At any rate adding fruits is a must. They will fuel your body with energy and a higher vibration too.

 

CHENNAI…HIGH ON HUMMUS

Its surprising but it’s true! My favourite, creamy, delicious Middle-Eastern chickpea dip, hummus is an incredible source of energy goodness.

Firstly, its an excellent source of plant-based protein, a100g serving of chickpeas contains 20.47 grams of protein.  Also  it has all the essential amino acids needed to be converted and used for energy. Loaded with iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins. Hummus also contains lemon juice, full of vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Another ingredient, tahini, (made of sesame seeds) is loaded with copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Garlic, is rich in antioxidants and it also has a ton of trace minerals along with a good number of vitamins too.

And then to my delight, in Chennai, at our “Whatshot tasting sessions” held at the ITC Grand Chola  I taste not only the most delicious hummus, but also different flavors and it is home made. Home made by

Anolii Mavani from Halls Road, Kilpauk, who does this full time. She takes orders . Sells by the jar. Anolii even makes tahini at home.

We choose You can choose options of  pesto, olive, jalapeno, sundried tomatoes, mixed herbs, spicy, classic and spinach and feta.  Helping me do the tasting, the globetrotting gourmet  Sanjukhtaa Roy and I both loved the refreshing pesto and the punch of the the  jalapeno.  As Sanjukthaa pointed out “ its light flavorful and can be combined with many dishes”

And to accompany the hummus, Anolii  also makes zatar pita bread and wholewheat crackers. The crackers come in paprika, parmesan, rosemary and multigrain flavours. Anolii supplies a box of three flavours of hummus   Ph. 09 7910- 88 988.

LEAD PHOTO 1FOR THE BOX 2FOR THE BOX 1

RECIPE: THE WORLD’S BEST FRENCH TOAST

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Its memorable. Its incomparable. I refer to the amazing spectrum of tastes, flavours, cultures that I am feasting on. Here in France’s most magnificent over a century old  landmark, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.

Prime minister Mody being handed the Plaza Athenee book by Francois Delahaye.

Any wonder this Parisian landmark is patronised by our very own  Prime Minister ModI (confirmed vegetarian) heads of state, royalty, movie moghuls, haute couteriers and superstars from all fields.

For more than a hundred years this landmark has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Mody too.

  Haute cuisine and haute couture are being seamlessly celebrated here. And Im overjoyed that “naturalness’ cuisines’ vegetarian masterpieces are  created in Michelin starred maestro Alain Ducasse’s shimmering restaurant located  in the iconic couture landmark Plaza Athenee.

For some inexplicable reason vegetarianism is always associated with asceticism,  the opposite of luxury and with tasteless food. But here maestro Alain Ducasse busts all those myths. It’s a starry glamorous experience in every sense of the term…Luxury drips in ten thousand Swaroski pendants which dangle instead of chandeliers. And the hushed elegance coddles and pampers like no other.

Michelinstarred maestro Alain Ducasse points out “To eat more healthily and naturally is today both an expectation and a necessity that must be translated into the field of haute cuisine”. And this is done by using only  exceptional produce. “This is the cuisine I sincerely love This very personal interpretation is indeed, here, in my restaurant at the Plaza Athénée.” Concludes the maestro.

Alain Ducasse designed his cuisine at the Plaza Athénée around the vegetables-cereal-fish trilogy. Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is being given as much importance as the chefs.

Chef Romain Meder with his vegetarian masterpiece

It goes without saying that the brilliant chef in the restaurant Romain Meder, ensures that the technical base of French haute cuisine remains intact and delivers the most luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine too.

 The food is not only healthier and more natural, more respectful of the Planet but it dazzles with flavour and taste. Therein lies its memorable magic.

 I watch Chef Romain Meder in action in the gleaming kitchens and admire the way he delivers a free and nearly instinctive interpretation of Haute Cuisine, revealing the produces’ original flavour, from the noble to the humble, all exceptional.


THE WORLDS BEST FRENCH TOAST

Where did I find the worlds best French toast? In the best Parisian Michelin starred landmark, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee ofcourse. I could write a sonnet to it and still would not be able to express it’s dazzling exceptional texture so moist plump with flavour. Created by Winner of the World Pastry Cup and several other prestigious awards

Meilleur ouvrier de France Angelo Musa and Guillame Cabrol.

Ive always been a fan of The French toast, whose recipe dates back to the 4th or 5th century. Over centuries and in different countries it has had different names aliter dulcia(“another sweet dish”)

 Arme Ritter(“poor knights”)But the usual French name is pain perdu interestingly translates to  “lost bread”, reflecting its use of stale or otherwise “lost” bread. There are many versions and names but heres not only the worlds the best French toast but also its recipe, generously shared by  Pastry world champion Chef Angelo Must.

 

French Toast 

 

 

Ingredients:

oatmeal flour 785 g

Salt 15 g

Sugar 111g

Yeast 330 g

Eggs 480 g

Butter 490 g

Method

Kneat flavour, salt, sugar, yeast and the eggs until the dough is soft.

Add cold butter in three times.

Knead again until the dough is soft.

Leave for 30 minutes.

Form a ball and then a sausage shape.

 Put it in a form  (height 15 cm large 15 cm long 40 cm)

Leave the dough for 4 hours.

Put it in the oven for 1 hour – 160 °C.

 And I actually have this toast at breakfast. The most luxurious way to begin the day…he amazing array of boulangerie baked fresh. Chocolate croissants, butter croissants, brioche,  sultana swirls
walnut and lemon croissants, chocolate and pistachio pastries and kugelhopf too.
The menu is in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese,
Spanish and, of course, French ensuring that everybody can
spread the message to every corner of the globe that breakfast
at the Plaza Athénée is the best in Paris! And it’s French toast the best in the world.  Which it is.

HEALTHY SNACKING

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HEALTHY SNACKING

It’s been my lifelong quest…to find the secret of howto 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 (ofcourse) and eat a balanced diet (ofcourse) and to avoid snacking (possible?). We all feel like a nibble every now and then…so the question arises is there such a thing as “healthy snacking?”

Muffins without maida?

Ragi jowar bajra ones?

 Red velvet with beetroot? Healthy, sugar free cookies? Trust the charming baking grandma Maggie Naidu to think of health first. Her

2grandsons here from Holland, David Rehan Ravin vouch for these. As does the charming Anusree Nair who popped in just when I was doing the tasting session.

Healthy cookies: Maggie Naidu and gourmet Anusree Nair

Jasper 8E, Olympia Opaline, OPP AGS, 33 Rajiv Gandhi Road, Navalur, Chennai 600130

9841570111

Quinoa Digestive Biscuits and Naan Khatai?

Energy bars, made of natural sugars with  a low glycemic index… made of seeds, nuts and dryfruits?Pratima Manikandan’s ingenious bars and crackers are the answer.

Energy Bars made of Millet and walnut seeds, nuts, berries, millets and natural sugars to bring together a nutritious snack on the go.

All sweetened with the super healthy dates.

I love biting into the wafer thin, savory seed crackers made entirely of seeds and nuts.

Prathima Manikandan s unique home made seed crackers and energy bars

Prathima Manikandan

A-218, Bhaggyam Urban Ville,

Industrial Estate Road,

Thoraipakkam,

ph: 7358306633/044 48536641


OILS WELL THAT ENDS WELL

The good news begins : A fourth generation Agriculturalist, whose family has it’s own ground nut and coconut farms. She majors in Bs c nutrition and goes on to make cold pressed oils

 from their farm produce of coconut and ground nut in Chikballapur.

Wooden churners extract oils(Marra chekku method)

Cold pressed oils, Sabitha Rakin and Rajeshwsri Muthuraja

These cold pressed oils have no chemical additivesm no crude oil and the fizz shows purity

I m happy to meet 38 year old enterprising Sabitha Rakin

 And  Rajeshwsri Muthuraja  her mother in law who personally ensure and make these cold pressed oils.

They also have packets of Cows ghee…and this too is made from milk from their own 18 cows.

They need  a day’s notice.

Only home delivery…

Sabitha Rakin

Navins starwood Towers

Mambakkam main road

Medavakkam

+91 9176112121

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 onChennai’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 healthy snacks made by  Prathima and Maggie and got to know all about Sabitha Rakin’s unique cold pressed oils. Should you wish to take part in the next whatshot tasting session please mail rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com, anjalisharma966@gmail.com

RECIPE: LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

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TASTING TROPICAL PARADISE

I’m getting high. On  tropical flavours, but even more on knowledge of the rare and the exotic. And the waltz of local Mauritian flavours with French gastronomique techniques orchestrated brilliantly by the young local Mauritian Chef Didier Jacob. But first, let me tell you all about how  I lost my heart to the rare “heart of coconut palm” masterpiece.

OF HEARTS & RUBIES

I lost my heart to the rare coconut heart  & to the brilliant young chef Didier Jacob who created a masterpiece  from it. Then it is the ruby red jewel of slow cooked beetroot puree that dazzles. It is masterfully sparkled with orange spices the char grill beetroot kissed with star anise. Sonnets & symphonies of the finest of local Mauritianvegetables with classical frenchgastronomic finesse parade.

CHEF DIDIER JACOB WITH HIS BEETROOT MASTERPIECE

But first please take a look at the accompanying photograph with the  long 60 kilo cylinder from a 15 year old coconut palm tree that the chefs are holding. It  is then peeled open in front of us. It is delicious to taste raw and then  Chef Didier seduces with the lightest crunchy Coconut Palm Heart tartare sparkled with turmeric and its Carpaccio with  lime dressing.

HEART OF PALM CYLINDER

Coconut palms are known typically for their coconuts.
You can eat and drink the nuts in various stages of development and they are all delicious.
However, did you know that you could harvest the heart from a coconut palm and eat it?
The heart of palm is located where the green leaves start to bud from the trunk.
Under the woody palm, leaf stem is a soft, white center.
Removing the heart from a coconut palm kills the tree.
Thankfully, after each purchase of a coconut heart they plant ten more trees.

DISH OF DISCS OF HEART OF COCONUT PALM
CHEF DIDIER’S PUMPKIN CREATION

After that heart of coconut palm course, we move on to the Pumpkin,  a masterpiece of smoked nine moths aged Pumpkin, Confit Butter nuts, pumpkin puree with almondcrowned with crispy Spring onions roots The Green Asparagus Variation tantalises with with green apple, and it smoked Asparagus puree
The sweet finale painted on to the table of compressed fruit mascarponecream and more is fingerlicking good.
chef Didier’s years of globetrotting and working alongside starred. geniuses shines.through as he has evolved his unique expression of Mauritian cuisine with classical French influences.


LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

Inspired by the warm currents of the Indian Ocean, La Belle Creole Mary is an interpretation of the traditions of the tropical paradise. Signature touches such as aloe vera juice, coconut, evoke inspired memories of  Mauritius. Derived from the Bloody Mary and Virgin Mary this cocktail and mocktail has a fascinating history. And Ive tasted it in all three of it’s  birthplaces, Mauritius, New York and Paris (notes on those follow). Here’s how to shake the   perfect
Mauritian, St Regis La Belle Creole Mary… INGREDIENTS
3 1/3 OZ / 100 ML fresh tomato juice
2 3/4 OZ/80 ML aloe vera juice
4 TSP/ 20 ML of Worcestershire sauce
4 drops of Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 OZ / 45 ML premium traditional  rum (optional if you want a mocktail)
1 pinch celery salt
4 mint leaves
1 coconut curl
8-10 coconut flakes, for garnish
1 slice of lime, for garnish
1 sprig of mint. for garnish
DIRECTIONS
Put the  tomato and aloe vera juices and rum (if you choose to). Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, celery salt and mint leaves into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir with a mixing spoon for I0 seconds. Strain into a stemless red wine glass and add crushed ice. Place the coconut curl on top. Garnish with the coconut flakes, slice of lime and sprig of mint.

In New York, I zoom in on the timeless yet contemporary, over a century old  King Cole bar at St Regis.
Originally founded by John Jacob Astor over a century ago, it is this
magnificent landmark where hotel history was made. The center of Manhattan social life.
not only did St Regis make history with all  newsworthy and
path-breaking conveniences (telephone, central heating) but is even credited with the
invention of one of the worlds most famous cocktails the “Bloody Mary”.
It was way back in 1934, Fernand Petiot, bartender at the famous King
Cole Bar, perfected the Bloody Mary-
the iconic vodka and tomato juice cocktail so beloved today. The famed
cocktail was created when Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town
whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his
aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka
cocktail he had in Paris. The formula was spiced up with salt, pepper,
lemon and Worcestershire Sauce, Interestingly,  the name Bloody Mary
was deemed inappropriate for the elegant clientele of The St. Regis,
it was rechristened the Red Snapper.

Recipe: DORIYAKI PANCAKE & WATALAPPAM

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FEASTING REDEFINED…

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.

LEAD PHOTO
In the Boiler room Masterchef Priyantha  gourmet dining with Tyrone David and Chinthana Bandara.

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.

DORIYAKI PANCAKE
Doriyaki pancake.

DORIYAKI PANCAKE

(Batter)

100 grs Wheat  Flour

01 tablespoon Sugar

01 Egg

02 tablespoon Bees honey

01 tablespoon Mirin Vinegar

70 ml Milk.

Pan fry this batter into a pancake.

(Filling)

200 grs Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce with Ice Cream.

Optional…10 grs Green Tea Powder / Sweet red bean

HIGH TEA.....NATURALLY
High tea..naturally. 

IMG-20180813-WA0276BRIT-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

WATALPPAN
Watalappam for high tea.

WATALAPPAM

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.

METHOD:

  1. 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

Deepasri Kar
Deepasree Kar and her Piggy bread. 

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.

Website: hamareerasoi.com

Instagram @hamareerasoi

9884868162

HOME TALENT UNLIMITED

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Please take a look at the accompanying photograph! What you can see are Chennai’s super-talented home-bakers and caterers. The youngest twosome are eighteen years old.  What you cant see are their tasty and innovative creations which they brought along to our “Whats Hot Tasting Session” held a few days ago.

Chennai foodie 1
HOT HAPPENING HOME TALENT…

A SNEAK PEAK

So here it is, just a quick peak at our newly discovered foodie talent. Due to space constraint I can only give a one line intro to each. To get  complete details you’ll have to wait for my friday column every fortnight. Are you particular about home-cooked fare? Looking for gluten-free? Healthful? Vegan? Pickles? Luxuriously sinful? Your search ends here.  From home made probiotics to home made strawberry and gin icecream, from vegan peanut chocolate cups to prawn pickle. Each one brought their samples to taste and set them up in the hall, on the display tables  graciously provided by the multi-talented chef Ajit Bangera in the ITC Grand Chola. We sipped tea and tasted each one’s creations, shot photos on the grand staircase and moved onto the lush green gardens outside, Thanks Anjali Sharma, Chef Sai Chand,  Chef Ajit Bangera, Sanjukhtaa Roy, Sayani Sinha Roy for making this Whats hot tasting session possible.  A memorably delicious evening.

BAGS OF GOODNESS

Palagapattu Bags

We just have to buy these cloth bags…  bags  made by women whose husband’s were farmers and who committed suicide because of drought. The sale of bags is their only source of income.

Sara koshy And Smitha Kuttaya brought these to our “Whatshottastingsession”  These cloth bags are perfect to hold cake boxes, for vegetable shopping, etc (Smitha is holding one in the photograph)

 

VIVA VEGAN

Would you believe that the most delicious peanut chocolate cups, also fudge brownie in a jar, are sans white sugar and actually vegan too? We have two 18 year olds Ranjani  and Akhil of Herbistore to thank for these. Baking Organic vegan chocolate cake is Smitha Kuttayya ‘s specialty. No maida, or preservative. And only Sulpher free sugar. Global theeni is her brand name and Pork chicken prawn pickle are her other specials.

Smitha Kuttayya (4)

 

HEALTHFUL …from sprouts to probiotics

You name it…alfa alfa, moong ,moth, black horsegram, brown horsegram, methi, peanuts, masoor, wheat, ragi ,jowar… Shobha Golecha sprouts it all. From organic grains and only on order basis. She also teaches  and advises on various ways to enrich dishes as well as new recipes.

 

I’m a great believer in the benefits of probiotics. I’m excited. This is the first time that I taste home-made probiotics. Abha Appaswamy makes the most delicious and much needed Kombucha, Milk Kefir, Beet Kvass, Ginger Ale. She also makes  Sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Hummus. All products contain live beneficial bacteria.Abha s Probiotics (3)

Snacky mood? Hungry? nothing better than munching on Seed crackers

Granola bars

Prathima Manikandan uses only natural sugars with low glycemic index, finest of seeds, nuts and dryfruits to make these. Pratima Manikandan (3)

WE ALL SCREAM FOR…

Get high on icecream! Literally too! Roasted strawberry in gin,

Bailey’s ice cream cake are Bhavana Arya’s signatures. Feeling particularly celebratory?

She makes Motichoor ladoo ice cream too.

 Named “Intox” (short for intoxication) she adds alcohol to some but ensures  that no colour or essence or sugar is used.

Jumana huzefa bakes tarts from millet and  tops them deliciously with zucchini and cheese. Delightful

Amaranth cookies, Granola with almond, blueberry  and gluten free oats.

Hummus fans, 24 year old Anoli Mavani not only makes ten different hummus flavors but makes the tahini at home too. Ask for her eggless whole wheat Walnut cake too.

Sweet finale? Baking is a passion with 23 year old Samyuktha Vale. The result? Most delicious

Earl grey short bread.

Baked mango cheese cake and the crazily addictive flourless chocolate cake. She also bakes Vegan desserts to Wedding cakes. Go ahead pig out…Ever had a kheema stuffed, pig shaped bread? Deepasri Kar Specialize in bread.Chicken Stuffed Braided Bread Pumpkin buns and more.

Home sick Gujaratis ask for Paruls’ classic Chundo and Methiya Keri.  Many a seasonal vegetable  pickle too.

Juhina Sabrina Samuel’s Andhra Chicken malabar fish konkani prawn pickles are her forte.And her wine (black currant jaggery cinnamon) is in great demand too. Home made! Ofcourse!Hamaree rasoi (2)Samyuktha Vale (2)

Cheers!

BE PART OF OUR NEXT WHATS HOT TASTING SESSION

Should you want to be be part of this “whats hot tastingsession” please email your details (background, specialities, pricing, home delivery, contact details) rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.cominstagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email anjalisharma966@gmail.com Call 9884065010

Recipe: NOBU’S RECIPE KOHLRABI SALAD

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HEAVENLY BLISS

I’m  on top of the world. In more ways than one. Not just because Im close to heaven in this sunny cool  360 degree terrace bar. It’s the only one of it’s kind in Munich, the city of  sophisticated charm and traditional Bavarian elegance.  And right here just a few floors below, I’ve also  stumbled upon my all time favorite Japanese maestro’s restaurant. The one hero who took Japanese food out of it’s obscure space and put it squarely on the world gourmet map. I refer of course to Nobu… Matsuhisa Nobuyuki. He infused vibrant Peruvian flavors into the pristine minimalistic Japanese cuisine and voila…conquered the world.

NOBU IN GERMANY

Exciting! When  Nobu the Japanese maestro sets up his first outpost in Germany he pays homage to it by creating a very special dish using the local Kohlrabi. And not only is that a treat in itself but the brilliant chef very generously shares the recipe too.  I’ve been a Matsuhisa Nobu fan past three decades. He came from Tokyo via Lima Peru and put his vibrantly delicious interpretation of Japanese cuisine on the world map. I’ve been following him around… learning cooking (in Paris) to meeting him in LA (at  chef Wolfgang Pucks amazing charity dinner) to dining  at many of Restaurants across the globe from Los Angeles  to Dubai.No doubt my last visit to Munich was exciting, (for my TV show for ET Now in the October Fest (wearing the traditional dirndl of course) but this visit is amazing. Right here amidst the old city, the  Altstadt, I find Nobu in the timelessly elegant Mandarin Oriental which combines modern design, contemporary luxury  with it’s amazingly subtle oriental accents.

In the beautiful brown and gold restaurant, enrobed in natural materials including stone, leather and wood I taste bliss. Here, in Munich, his signature miso black cod is as lusciously addictive as ever and the specially created local dish of kohlrabi salad delights. The brilliant executive chef Vasili Papatheodorou and head sushi chef Shigeru Fujita continue the Nobu magic.

1
 Nobu with chef Vasili Papatheodorou & chef Shigeru Fujita. 
2
chef Rabea Keller & chef Vasili Papatheodorou. 

NOBU’ S RECIPE KOHLRABI Salad (can substitute with baby spinach).

3
Nobu’s tribute to Germany.

 “We use baby greens a lot at my restaurants. Leaf vegetables turn harsh
and bitter with age, younger ones just naturally taste fresher” says Nobu  “Add
some Dry Miso and fried leeks, and you have a salad bowl full of umami.

SERVES 2 TO 4

3 oz. (90g)  Kohlrabi OR baby spinach

DRY MISO AND YUZU
DRESSING

4 tsp. (10 g) Dry Miso

  1. (30 g) fried leek (recipe follows)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
4 tsp. (10 g)

1 tsp. yuzu citrus juice
Truffle oil

Extra virgin olive oil
Diced red bell pepper, for topping

Soak the baby spinach in ice water to crisp and drain.

Combine the baby spinach, Dry Miso, fried leek, Parmigiano-Reg-
giano, yuzu juice, truffle oil and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and toss.
Arrange on a plate and top with bell pepper.

Fried Leek

Makes 1 oz. (30 g)

3 in. (about 8 cm) white part of leek
Oil for deep-frying

Slash the leek lengthwise to open, and discard the inner core. Wash off the sand
between the layers under running cold water. Cut into thin shreds. Deep-fry in
low-temperature oil, about 300°F (150°C), until just before it begins to brown. Drain
on a wire rack in warm spot in the kitchen for 1 to 2 hours.

The just-fried leek looks soggy at first, but don’t worry Keeping the fried leek on a
wire rack in a warm part of the kitchen drains out the oil and turns the leek crispy.

 

CHILLI HOT

IMG-20180702-WA0018
Mocktail…chilli hot…Tom ka Mhak.
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 On top of the world…with Rabea Keller and Isabelle Winter.

It’s as  close to heaven as I can get in Munich. Crowning the stunningly beautiful Neo Renaissance building ( 1880) is the Terrace.

Open during the summer months, The Terrace is one of Munich’s best-kept secrets. Not only do I dine sip cocktails , take a dip in the heated pool but also learn more about Munich from the gorgeous Rabea Keller and Isabelle Winter amid oriental statues and large potted plants. Love the chic Asian touches with a Mediterranean feel.

Feasting on the  Asian, Mediterranean and Arabic dishes and the stunning view is a treat enough but then it gets chilli-hot…as the bartender shakes up a cocktail with a chilli. Here’s the recipe…

Virgin Tom ka Mhak

Shake together…Lime juice, pineapple juice, coconut syrup, lemon grass

BOX

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE…WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION

Do you cook? Bake? Provide foodie services out of home? Would you like your work and yourself to be featured in this column? I will be in Chennai on the 12 TH JULY and holding a “Whats hot Tasting session” from 3pm to 6pm At Rajendra hall, ITC Grand Chola, Mount Road.  To be part of it please email rashmiudaysingh16@gmail.com and also anjalisharma966@gmail.com, instagram, tweet@rashmiudaysingh hashtag #whatshottastingchennai phone 9884065010. Waitingly yours. Excited to meet you and taste your work.