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..
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!
“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)
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!
High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez, Giovanni Galianni
Ian Gomez (pianist originally from Mumbai) flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and chef John Williams,
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 …
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
100g oat flakes
100 ml soy or oat milk (alternative: water)
125g yoghurt (sheep’s milk, cow’s milk)
Alternatively soy or coconut yoghurt
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.
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.
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.
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.
oatmeal flour 785 g
Salt 15 g
Yeast 330 g
Eggs 480 g
Butter 490 g
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.
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.
Jasper 8E, Olympia Opaline, OPP AGS, 33 Rajiv Gandhi Road, Navalur, Chennai 600130
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.
A-218, Bhaggyam Urban Ville,
Industrial Estate Road,
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)
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…
Navins starwood Towers
Mambakkam main road
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
Snacky mood? Hungry? nothing better than munching on Seed crackers
Prathima Manikandan uses only natural sugars with low glycemic index, finest of seeds, nuts and dryfruits to make these.
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!
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) firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email email@example.com Call 9884065010
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.
NOBU’ S RECIPE KOHLRABI Salad (can substitute with baby spinach).
“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
4 tsp. (10 g) Dry Miso
- (30 g) fried leek (recipe follows)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
4 tsp. (10 g)
1 tsp. yuzu citrus juice
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and also email@example.com, instagram, tweet@rashmiudaysingh hashtag #whatshottastingchennai phone 9884065010. Waitingly yours. Excited to meet you and taste your work.