Food

RECIPE: GOUGÈRES

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ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON

CHAMPAGNE SHIMMER AND PASTA AT LONDON’S SUPERGLAM BAR, Guiliano Moraandin and Helene Pietrini

From freezing cold London, I send you a taste of sunny Italy and gourmet France. And to revel in both these, I don’t need to go out into the windy, rainy outside at all. Both are housed in the iconic, almost a century old,  stately landmark the magnificent Dorchester. It overlooks Hyde Park  and it fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the property. What also excites me is it’s range of gourmet cuisines.

ITALIAN GUSTO

He’s a legend in his own right. The genial Giuliano Morandinhas been the heartbeat of the  fashionable buzzing see and be seen opulent Bar. Ofcourse as a bar manager he has played host to the whos who, his famous champagne shimmer cocktail (with gold flakes and complimentary lip gloss for the ladies)  continues to make waves in London. But now Giuliano, the bar manager is making history  by serving robust Italian flavors from his hometown.  Freshest of handrolled pasta, flavorful pesto, tiramisu…all made to his grandmother’s recipes.  Giuliano and his award-winning team of experimental alchemists shake and stir many a magical cocktail. He serves up the champagne shimmer to Helene Pietrini the lovely, dynamic director of the prestigious Worlds 50 best Restaurant Academy. We take a bite of the al dente pasta, go back for a full Italian dinner the next night and get happy high on the shimmering cocktail. All this in the  luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red bar!

FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON

The brilliant chef Jean Phillipe Blondet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

It doesn’t get any better than this. At the three starred  shimmering temple to French gastronomy we dine in a shimmering cloud… fibre optic curtain at the superglam Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
I had dined here 11 years ago when it had just opened. It is better than ever. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavors executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
——French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavours executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
Restaurant Director Enrico Baronetto takes fabulous care of us.  We end with the heady chocolate light airy souffle and the traditional baba Rhum.

Ive been fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I even shot my TV show). Celebrated  for his innovation,

attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. In all his restaurants Ive had these light, airy spheres of delight…French cheese puffs. Each meal begins with these. On my request Jean Phillipe Blondit shares the r4ecipe with us.

RECIPE

GOUGÈRES

(makes 2 baking trays)

A dedicated part of our guests’ dining experience, these delicate cheese puffs

are served warm and seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and Emmental

cheese.

Ducasse’s famed Gougeres.

INGREDIENTS

300 ml water

8 gr salt

240 gr flour (T55)

110 gr grated Emmental cheese

100 ml dry white wine

180 gr unsalted butter

380 gr whole eggs

1.5 gr ground black pepper

sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)

In a pot, make a choux pastry by combining water, white wine, salt and

butter and bring this to a boil.

Add the sieved flour to the liquid and continue to cook until a ball of dough

forms.

Transfer the warm dough into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment at

low speed, blend in the eggs little by little until fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Add the grated Emmental cheese and the ground black pepper and mix until

thoroughly combined.

Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm plain round tip and pipe little mounds (4cm apart), onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.

In a convection oven preheated to 180°C, bake the gougères for 18 min-

utes or until golden brown and puffed.

Once baked, the gougères can be topped with additional ground black

pepper or sweet paprika powder and transferred to a cooling  rack.

Gougères are best enjoyed warm.

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ICONS IN PARIS

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Francois Delahaye handing over the Plaza Athenee book to Prime Minister Modi

Im in Paris to complete my thesis “The rise and the rise of vegetarianism” .  And so spending most of my time meeting my mentors and professors in the university. Also  part of my research is the most beautiful Parisian landmark. Here, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.

For more than a hundred years Plaza Athenee has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness 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.

Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Modi too.

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.

Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is  given as much importance as the chefs. And only vegetables cereals and fish are served here.I watch chef Romain Meder create the most delicious luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine. And he shares the recipes too. Should you want any please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

REVIEW: PLUM BY BENT CHAIR

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Questions: Is this a home décor store which serves food? Or is it a restaurant which sells home décor? 

Ans: Yes to both. In the intriguigingly named “Plum by Bent  chair” it’s possible to  eat your salad and buy not o that funky plate  (a skull wearing headphones) it is served on and also the chair youre sitting on. 

Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

shop and dine: Behman and Lynne Homjee at PLUM BY BENT CHAIR

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

REVIEW: HOUSE OF LLYOD

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Goa weaves it’s magic in Juhu. It all started over two decades ago (in Goa ofcourse) when  Celia Braganza and her son Lloyd cooked up a place known for its home style cooking and welcoming warmth.  And it’s Goa once more…Juhu’s House of Lloyd with it’s charming cane furniture,  potted plants, Mario Miranda murals and retro music sets the perfect stage for  the authentic flavors of Goa. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.

REVIEW: UNO MAS

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Charming and unpretentious. Relaxed yet rocking. Open through the day.

 Hats off to the dynamo women behind Uno Mas: Cordon Bleu trained chef Pallavi Jayswal and Priyanka Sharma,  patisseur Anurita Ghosh and  interior designer Tejal Mathur. We love the robust, exuberant fare. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.

Flamenco friday: In UNO MAS, rocking yet relaxed with Meher and Pia Davis.
(dancer Anant Joshi, Guitarist Deepak Verma)

Review: Rue Du Liban

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Hallelujah! A star is born. It has  risen in Kala Ghoda. It sparkles with flavour, authenticity and nostalgia and recreates the Levant. What is the Levant?  A place? a flavour? a region which serves up tastes of all cultures in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean? All this and more. And the three month old Rue du Liban not only serves up these authentic flavours but does so in a refined, gracious fine dine ambiance. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.

Superb experience at RUE DU LIBAN with Dina and Dr Shahrukh Golwalla

 

Review: House of Daaruwala

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I admit. I have a big fat soft spot for  Irani cafes. And I mourn their dwindling numbers as also the lack of  good Parsi food restaurants in our city. So when I hear about Andheri’s brand new Irani café lookalike “House of Daaruwala” I dash across the city with big hopes through equally big traffic jams.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times.

House Of Daaruwala 2.jpg
House of Daaruwala : with  gorgeous actor producer foodie Neetu Chandra.

Recipe: Kimchi

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MAGICAL KIMCHI

This  ain’t a bowl of mere fermented vegetables. It’s Kimchi. It’s magical. It’s origin is centuries old. But it was sent to space on board Soyuz with South-Korean astronaut Yi So yeon.

It was declared ” vitally important to the morale of Korean troops” (President Park Chung Hee).It’s been cited by Health Magazine as one of the world’s five “healthiest foods” and it dates back to the period of the  Three Kingdoms (37 BC‒7 AD.

Till today, it’s a very central part of the Korean meal. It is served as “Banchan” a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice.

On my very first trip to Korea, I’m fortunate to not only taste kimchi in the finest three Michelin starred Korean cuisine restaurant but also blessed to get a taste of “vegan” kimchi in  a monastic meal ritual cooked by a monk in the mountains. And finally actually got to make the kimchi myself, in the finest kimchi making class of Korea…with Master Lee and two other brilliant chefs.

IN KOREAS BEST RESTAURANT

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At the best of the best La yeon withChef Sung il Kim and Yaeeji Kim. 

I’m on top of the world. In every sense of the term. I’m dining in three Michelin starred Layeon perched on the rooftop of  Shilla Seoul, the luxury powerhouse.

The gracious and stately Shilla stands behind Seoul’s  medieval city walls but continues to  reign supreme. La Yeon interprets Korean cuisine with great care and sophistication. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan and the most addictive umami rich kimchi.

I’m  not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the everhelpful Yaeeji Kim.Highest quality ingredients, authentic flavors and creativity infuse the dishes… from mellow and soothing to royal-cuisine Hot Pot here.

BLISSED TEMPLE MEAL

 I m in  heaven and didn’t even have to die to get here… Just drove four hours in snow to reach the beautiful Naejang mountains. Can spiritual vegetarian meditative monk s food  be so seductively gourmet and varied? It sure is  I’m Tasting blessings… literally too.  All this at  the fabulous formal multicourse  monastic meal ceremony (barugongyang) The  lovable loving and friendly monk.

At Cheongjinam Temple.  We  sit on the floor with empty bowls baru in front of us. And as if by magic the silent servers glide in and fill them up. Making food and partaking in it is part of the meditative process in the temple and here, they eat only what they farm and make on site. Amazingly gentle and vibrant flavors and textures seduce . We wash the dishes after the meal with the water in each bowl and walk out in a single file.

We move in to the dining area and our eyes and taste buds are luxuriously  memorably  pampered. After that  lunch, monk Jung Kwan takes us on a fascinating walk to see her storage facilities where her “jangs”, sauces and kimchi are being fermented. Since garlic, onions are not used it is these fermented pastes that add a zing to her  vegetarian masterpieces.

lovable inspirational monk for delicious blessings which we tasted too. If this isn’t heaven what is?

Note:  A unique and blissed out treat. And to be lunching with Koreas finest gourmet chefs, Mingoo Kang ( chef Michelinstarred Mingles)

 Hyunseok Choi (chef of ever popular Choi)

Jinpyo Kim, CEO Plating Company

All this made possible thanks to the lovely  Editor in chief of Tasty Cookbook,Eunsil Jang.

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Jinpyo Kim 
Hyunseok Choi 
Monk Jeongkwan 
Mingoo Kang 
Eunsil Jang 

KIMCHI MAKING CLASS

Its  a dream come true. Not only to learn   kimchi making from Master Soyoung lee,but to do so with my own hands and then to have the privilege of a home-cooked lunch by  her. Kimchi making is done in winter (when the ingredients are available) and its all about bonding and a wonderful family feeling as we chop the vegetables and massage the spices into them. All this with Chef Choi who’s doing pathbreaking research in fermenting and Chef Heesuk Cho a  professor in Korean cuisine. Not only have most of the great Korean chefs trained under her but her restaurant (I had an amazing meal here) continues to inspire many others.

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Learning from the maestros Master Lee, JungYoon Choi (centre)  and chef Heesuk Cho.

It’s all thanks to the super helpful and amazing JungYoon Choi, a chef with 20 years of experience working in Spain, Australia and Korea. Trained at Alicia Foundation and El Bulli and is now executive chef of the Sempio Korean Fermentation Culinary Research Center in Korea. with top chefs and gastronomy-related professionals to research on Korea’s fermentation food culture. She very generously shares the authentic recipe for the kimchi.

 Kimchi

Kimchi
 Magical kimchi.

Main ingredients

     -Cabbage 5ea

     – Coarse Salt 7cups

Side ingredients

– Chives 200g (Cut 4cm)

     – Leeks 200g(Cut diagonally)

     – Red Brassica juncea 100g (Cut 3cm)

– Chopped raw shrimps 100g

– Chopped Sea staghorn 100g

– Radish 2kg (Cut 5cm)

Spices

– Crushed Chili pepper 6cups

– Chopped Garlic 1 1/2 cups

– Chopped Ginger 1/2 cups

– Salted shrimps 1cups

– Anchovy liqueur 1cups

– Sugar 1/2cups

– Coarse Salt 1/2 cups

Recipe

  1. Mixed all the spices and ingredients. (Let this ripen for 30 minutes.)
  2. Rinse pickled cabbage in cold water to remove moisture.
  3. Ready to the seasonings between the prepared cabbage.
  4. Store prepared Kimchi in a container.

The best tasting kimchi is stored in room temperature for an average of six months to reach its full flavor.

After that delicious home style lunch, we all get the fabulous kimchi to take home. As Choi says “my mother will be thrilled with this kimchi, for her and all of us, it is more valuable to receive this than an Italian designer handbag” That’s how magical kimchi is!!!