WhatsHotTastingSession

Review: The Village Shop

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I cant stop smiling. Thrice as nice. That’s how I feel as I write this review. “The Village shop” (TVS) is a charming family run café (I have a big fat soft corner for family-runs and the home spun quality of their food).

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/the-village-shop-r-9397

Whats Hot Tasting Session

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Talent Unlimited: L to R – Varun Ahuja and Anuj Bagri, Bharti and Bhavna Kumar, Mani Vinaik, Mugdha Agnihortri, Geetha Shridhar, Amna Shehzad Furniturewala, Mrudula Putchahas, AN Malhotra (centre) Radhika Ichhpuniani, Baijul Rathod.

Please excuse me if I’m getting carried away. I can’t contain my excitement at discovering Mumbai’s talented home chefs.  And this #Whatshottastingsession is organised specifically for our very own “Times Food guide 2017” which is being readied for  going to press.  On a rained out evening, we meet (fittingly enough) at the city’s landmark, iconic sixty year old Gaylord and the ever gracious AN Malhotra  plays host to Mumbai’s most talented taste-magicians. I’m grateful to the ever helpful team at Gaylord and also to the home chefs who’ve come all the way from Thane, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Mira Road…Im so happy. Cant stop smiling.

Breakfast & Bites | Worli | 9821086711

Looking for healthful and yummy fare? Call Mother-daughter team of Bharti and Bhavna Kumar. Crunchy and nutty bowl of muesli, Honey Nut Granola and Savory Oat Crisps (Matri), yummy trail mixes and Oatmeal Cookies, too.

Amshefs Gourmet | Bandra(W) | 9820769788

Party time? How about  a variety of sinful dessert dips like Cookie dough dip, Nutella Caramel Cheesecake dip and more ? .yum Golden Addictive hotseller (roasted almond n caramel popcorn clusters with a hint of salted caramel)? Amna Shehzad Furniturewala makes all this and more.

Through The Food Door | Thane | 9987090418

Mani Vinaik’s ‘Chocolaticious’ Brownies, boozy bakes and coloured ganache have a fan following. Try her decadent Cream Cheese Pound Cake. This  expert at catering for kiddie parties; is also known for themed cupcakes and Lasagne.

Rainbow Rasoi | Powai | 9892098240

Radhika Ichhpuniani (A highly qualified CA  turned chef)  takes catering orders from her FSSAI certified home kitchen and dishes up delicious vegetarian Italian, Mexican and Indian fare. Mini Pizza Uthapams and Mexican rice are a must-try!

IndiKitchen | Mahalakshmi | 7045313491

This food delivery service  by youngsters from the corporate world ( Alok Shah, Chirag Arya, Varun Ahuja and Anuj Bagri) serves it all…  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Try the Biryani, Chicken Kalimiti and the range of Wow Paws.

Cup-a-Luscious | Mulund(W) | 9833042828

Eggless delights: Chocolate Strawberry Dessert Jars, Pushpops, and customized cupcakes with fondant. Blueberry cupcake takes the cake! Baijul Rathod 26-year-old freelance architect take a bow.

The Humble Pie | Ghaktopar(W) | 9880069696

A network engineer turned pastry chef, MrudulaPutchahas adiploma in patisserie from Lavonne Academy of Pastry Arts. Pies, Tarts, Cookies, Brownies, Cakes and Cupcakes, she does them all. My favourite: Sticky Toffee Pudding in a dessert jar.

Indian Food Express | Sion (E) | 9969134995

Found. Home made and fabulous  my favorite Mulgapudi Gunpowder, Sambar Powder, Rassam Powder and the softest idlis. A teacher, marathon runner and social entrepreneur,Geetha Shridhar  has been featured in many cookery shows for her famed BisiBele Bhath.

The Hungry Momma | Mira Road | 9820502049

CallMugdhaAgnihortri for catering orders for Kiddie Parties and house gatherings. Dhansak, Indian Street Food, ChingriMalai Curry, DaalPakwan, dips, and fish pickle. Brownies, muffins, cupcakes to mousse and  Jar Desserts.

Talent Unlimited

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I am rejoicing! I am celebrating! Chennai’s talented home chefs have this effect on me. Each time I visit Chennai and organise our #Whatshottasting session, I get blown away by the range of talent, by the sheer choice there is. Today, I write about two ends of the spectrum…from the deliciously healthy to the deliciously sweet.

HEALTHILY YOURS

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Yes! Healthy can be tasty. Nutritious can be delicious. Handmade, natural, healthy, safe and tasty…that’s what Fouziya Kutty  (a self-taught home chef) and husband Abdul Taher (an advertising professional) create and innovate. Pickles to jams…not only are they handmade, but also free from any kind of preservatives. They are also  made from only the freshest and the best organic fruits and vegetables. To be sure only organic brown sugar and organic salt is used. And ofcourse, as they point our “ the secret to our jams & sauces being yummier, is the actual “content” of the main fruit”. For example, their strawberry Jam has an actual fresh fruit content of not less than “65” % and in their tomato sauce fresh tomato content is almost “80%”.

Take your pick from Lime Date Pickle Chutney /Tomato Sauce / Schezwan  Sauce /  Birds Eye Chili Sauce . For Rs 150 each. For those with a sweet tooth, Strawberry Jam / Orange Marmalade/ Apple Fig jam /Mango jam  and even the unusual (5) Banana Jam

Sheik abdul  taher – 9841063408

Fouziya’s Cooking products are handmade and marketed by Fouziya’s Cooking
# 5, Raja Garden, Kottivakkam, Chennai -41

Email:fouziyascooking@gmail.com

SWEET ARTIST

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A winner right through…International tennis champion, turned Public Relations expert turned  ace patisseur. Cindana Manickavel’s ‘Sugar Monkey’ has a huge following for it’s cakes, cupcakes, cookies and dessert jars. Why the name “SugarMonkey? “When I first started baking, my mother always said the kitchen looked like it had been ransacked by a monkey!” explains Cindana. But that’s where the monkey analogy ends, because Cindana specialises in sophisticated and elegant patisserie. For those looking for healthy options, Cindana also makes eggless and vegan cakes. Ofcourse, the super-indulgent whisky and rum  and chocolate options are all there. But most of all,  it’s the dessert jars which are magnetising attention. Not only are they unique and handy and easy to carry but deliciously creamy too. They make for Sweet finales too!

www.facebook.com/mysugarmonkeys

Ph. 98848-57156.    sugarmonkeysare@gmail.com

AN OPEN INVITATION

Would you like to featured in this column? What you are holding in your hands is an open invitation to do so. Be  a part of our “Whats Hot Tasting session”. Mail details of your work,  your signature dishes, a bit about your background and contact details. Contact me on instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com,anjalisharma966@gmail.com

Waitingly yours.

#WhatsHotTastingSession in Mumbai

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MUMBAI’S MOST TALENTED: Deepika Gehani (center with the Times Guides) left to right Divya (in white) Varun , Priyal, Thea, Abha (with green box) Priyanka, Neena and Roweena (in the extreme corner in orange).

I’m excited. My sweet hunt has begun! Research for The Times Food Guide 2017 has started, with my very first “whats hot Tasting session”.

Today, Mumbai’s most talented sweet-magicians gather together and display their creations (fittingly enough)  amid the showcase of Europe’s finest timelessly elegant porcelain tableware and glassware.  Not only does the dynamic Deepika Gehani marketing director of this German tableware brand (which has been enhancing dining experience for Indians,) host our session but also recommended many of the mompreneurs and home bakers who re serving up sweet surprises…from healthy to sinful, traditional to modern..

DIVYA RANGLANI

What? A cake made of zucchini and quinoa and so moist and delicious? Gluten free, sugar free dairy free too? Yes. The lovely Divya Ranglani’s “Healthy treats”creations are a favourite with Sonam Kapoor, Malaika Arora, et al. The flourless date carrot mixed nut cake and granola bars are Kareena Kapoor’s favourite. Intense orange and dark Choc  cake, vegan, bars, cookies and more.9820154550

PRIYAL & PRIYANKA

Beautiful, bespoke, stylish and gourmet  wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts as well as chic packaging and gifting solutions… Thats what Cordon Bleu trained Priyal and former investment banker Priyanka of “Confetti” serve up beautifully.  Ph 9920907991

ROWEENA BHATIA

Believe it or not: the delicious brownies are made of sweet potato. The bubbly Roweena Bhatia of “Fatfree almost”blends innovation with food & health into flavorsome bespoke Brownies to Low fat Flavoured Hummus & Chocolate chutneys with a twist.  9920219993

NEENA MEHRA

Looking for eggless cakes and desserts?  Check out the gifted Neena Mehra ‘s large repertoire of wedding cakes and birthday theme cakes and desserts.
The must trys are Signature light and delightful trifle pudding and the Indian firni. neena.mehra@hotmail.com

VARUN INAMDAR

The Prince of chocolates in India- Chef Varun Inamdar’s latest  artisanal chocolate series “Barcode” is a masterpiece.. Themed ‘Incredible India’ it is in reverance to flavors from 29 glorious states of our country. Enjoy volume 1 for now. Ph 9619256293

ABHA MEHTA

How about making and decorating makebelive cupcakes? Kids aged 4-7 here it is “The cool chef box”. Abha of “PodSquad” has designed many a fun hands-on, range of learning programmes-in-a-box. Each is complemented with dynamic digital content. Ph. 9833124258

THEA TAMMELEHT

Marzipan lovers mecca. The brilliant Estonian  Thea Tammeleht, uses her family’s traditional recipe to create her labor of love, ‘Nordic Kandie’ Plenty of flavours, luxurious candies are vegetarian, gluten free, cholesterol free, trans-fat-free.Edible gold and silver candies too. Ph  9699641112

BE A PART OF THE NEXT WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION

Its an open invitation. If you cook, bake, provide foodie services and want to be a part of my Whatshottasting session…please email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh.

Whats Hot Tasting Session in Chennai

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HEALING & YUMMY

Joy of joys!  My latest “Whats Hot tasting session” not only served up delicious surprises but  an amazing range too. Home enterprises run by passionate foodies and look what they are upto. From anti-bacterial, anti-aging healthy fare to traditional, home made Muslim sweets.

 

SONYA’S SURPRISES

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SONYA SRINIVASAN ‘S AMAZING CREATIONS BEING TASTED BY CHEF JAFFAR ALI AND RAKESH RAGHUNATHAN

Age old flowers, forgotten recipes, organic fruits and vegetables…you name it. Sonya Srinivasan grows them in her own organic farm (be it Avarampu flowers or modakathan) and makes the most delicious Anti -inflamatory anti bacterial, anti-aging chutneys, decoctions et al. We do a tasting of the tasty and wholesome Aragarkovil dosa of Black urad dal. Delightfully vibrant and flavorful chutneys and more. Plenty more. Dual grained atta with a little twist,  wheat and oats spiced with dry ginger powder and a hint of fennel powder, wheat sprouted ragi powder with Jeera powder,  azhagar kovil dosa batter made of whole Urad with skin  and spiced and atta with powdered curry powder and corn flour too.

Sindhi food lovers delight: sweets and savories such as Singhar ki mithai ( made from non – salty sev of besan or gramflour), Tosho ( sweet flour rolls) , Seero Malpuro ( Malpua served with sooji halwa) and Sindhi khicha ( Tapioca). Loved the healthy yummy Peanuts and rock.ginger sweet too.

And all that wasn’t enough, Sonya grows and sells Indian pittu apple  to Dragon fruit  and avocado too.  Ph. 944444-2662

Can home deliver too.

 AZRA & SOBIAs SWEETS

KHANDANI SWEETS: SOBIA AND AZRA  WITH  AFZAL KHAN
KHANDANI SWEETS: SOBIA AND AZRA WITH AFZAL KHAN

I cant stop eating it. The purest and sweetest taste of the finest almonds in this “badam ke bhukath”.And to think that its  made of only almond and sugar. Making these traditional Muslim sweets are Azra Zafar and her daughter in law Sobia Habibunissa. These traditional Muslim sweets  are made during marriages. Making these sweets is a time consuming exercise and needs lot of hard work such as  Ande ki piyousi (eggs ,khoya ,saffron and ghee ), badam ke loaz ( pure badam and khoya and saffron). And they also make the humble pumpkin into a delight in their kaddu ke loaz ( pumpkin khoya and saffron ) and  dum ke puri ( puri stuffed with badam halwa and baked). When I request for the recipes I am told these are “fiercely guarded recipes, handed down over generations and cannot be shared with outsiders.” Atleast we can eat them, and that’s fabulous!

Call 98405-38889 or mail sobihabibunissa@gmail.com

 

A MILLION THANKS

I have to place on record my thanks to the ever helpful, knowledgable Foodies who helped me taste my way through this tasting session. Brilliant Executive chef Jaffar Ali who has honed his skills over the years, showcases them brilliantly be it in the Connemara’s  Oriental or the Chettinadu cuisine restaurants. Afzal Khan’s amazing knowledge and skills in food and beverage are well known.  Infact it’s thanks to the everhelpful Ahmar Siddiqui, that we hold this whats hot tasting session at the  Connemara hotel. Rakesh

Raghunathan, food entrepreneur, blogger and TV show host peppers the evening with his lively food comments and Anjali Sharma coordinates and puts it together. Thanks to all the participants and foodies our  Tasting session turns out to be a truly “Whats hot”  one!

#WhatsHotTastingSession in Chennai

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Your attention please! Superb surprises ahead. Please take a look at the photograph Ive shot under the trees. What you can see are Chennai’s talented homebakers and caterers. What you cannot see are the interesting and delicious food they brought along. All this for our “Whats hot Tasting session”. I ‘ve flown down from Mumbai for this and each time I conduct this session, I get surprised. Pleasantly. With the variety and vivacity.

CHUTNEYS R US

Unusual flavors tango on my tastebuds as I taste Sonya Srinivasan’s Avarampu flowers and leaves, Modakathanet al  made to forgotten recipes into healthful, anti inflamatory anti bacterial chutneys and preserves.  Bursting with flavor and texture are Chef Jaffar Ali’s superb repertoire of Chettinadu chutneys. Hand pounded and made of the finest ingredients by

Mani Megaly  and shanti from Kariakuddi, be it the  superb Ginger mango, or the unusual beetroot and broccoli. I taste these again at a memorable Chettinad meal in the Raintree and cant wait to lay my hands on the recipes and share these with you. Infact it’s thanks to the everhelpful Ahmar Siddiqui, Afzal khan, Sanjukthaa Roy and ofcourse Chef Jaffar Ali that we hold this whats hot tasting session at the Connemara hotel.

Fouziya’s line of organic pickles and preserves  is tongue ticklingly good. Especially her date n lime pickle.

 

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING

How about some traditional Muslim Mithai? Made from the purest of almonds (Badam ke bukath

Badam le lauz)

sobia and noorie zafar  also make a superb Ande ki piyosi and more.

Velvetty creamy home made Casatta icecream made by Sadia gibran’s got top vote as did her Roat semolina cake Mamta ki Rasoi brought along delightful icecream made from natural mint and rose

And an unusual muesli butterscotch

Akshita Agarwal, a student baker’s c

akes in a jar (esp the Pineapple crunchy wit  Praline) was a big hit.

Shivangi Daga’s eggless  dessert classes are in demand. Susan is well known for her  Xmas cakes and Brownies. Cindana of Sugar Monkeys for her

Desserts in jars, especially the Red velvet and  Carrot cake.

Kashish Bathija has just started off and brought along Indian desserts.

 

 

SPECIALITIES & MORE

How would you like to cook and then party with all that you’ve cooked? All in a beautifully appointed recreational Food studio? Shree Periakaruppan’s Foodology with its many specialty chefs (F

Neelima vegan certified chef and stylist from Canada. Damyanti Paul

Srilankan food and more) is the answer. From 16 flavors in coated cashews to food for kiddies parties are Meena and Nisha chabbria’s specialty.

Ready to cook chapattis? Uma Srinivasan has them for you. She does catering too. Mansi of Foody Palace and her home chefs promote home cooked food and each one actually cooks in her own home kitchen.

 

WANT TO BE  PART OF THIS?

Are you  a home baker and caterer and want to be part of this? Or a passionate foodie like Rakesh

Raghunathan, food entrepreneur, blogger and TV show host then emailRashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com, anjali —— instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

 

WATCH THIS SPACEDue to space constraint Ive given you only a whiff of our tasting session. For more details (contacts etc) watch this column every other Friday

#MYDUBAI WHATS HOT TASTING SESSION

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Whats Hot Session
WHATS HOT TASTING SESSION: Faarah Mehta flanked by Kavita Srinivasan and Saagar Shewakramani (standing Danielle Sallam and Sridip Ganguli)

Is it possible? Can just one evening tasting session deliver the best of a city’s food-scene?  The very best of cupcakes Gourmet shewaramas, salads et al? yup! possible, but only when the knowledgable foodie hostess and publishing consultant and whiz, the lovely Faarah Mehta generously sources and then equally generously opens up her stylish villa (private beach et al) for my Whats hot tasting session. As does her  foodie husband, retailing tycoon, the dashing  Saagar Shewakramani. High voltage, brilliant editor  of a leading lifestyle magazine Kavita Srinivasan, Sridip Ganguly, software expert are foodies extraordinaires too.

Read the rest of this entry »

CALLING HOME BAKERS

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Yo! Exciting discovery times begin. Research  for The Times Food Guide 2016 begins and you are needed. If you bake, make desserts, cook out of home and do so professionally (know of any one who does) and would like to be featured in The Times Food Guide 2016 then please send complete contact details on emailrashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh. I will contact you and invite you to a “Whats hot tasting session” for this column and for the Times Food Guide. Waitingly yours.

P.S. The many splendored, many textured chocolate cake for Safdar’s birthday was created by Chef Vikas Bagul of The Oberoi Patisserie within a few hours. It has meringue, chocolate fans, and even a chocolate heart shaped box. For Rs 2000 a kg.

 

CATERERS & DESSERT MAKERS

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Two joyous whoops! Double celebration time! A shiny brand  new 2015 (I wish you miracles!) . And more of my dreams come true as I discover some amazing talent that creates magic out of home. Ive been finding different ways and means of tracking talent that hums out of home kitchens (so I can include it in our very own Times Food Guides) and this time I find it when I happen to pop in to the dynamic entrepreneur  Shaan Khanna’s Spicy Sangria gathering. It’s at the elegant and stylish Mana Suneil Shetty’s fabulous home store which is buzzing with great food and unique flavours. Heres a taste…

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Nidhi Gadia’s waffles

How about some mobile pleasure food? Waffles on a stick. Waffle House specialises in a wide variety of Waffles. The charming Nidhi Gadia is already well loved for her sweet as well as Savoury waffles along with mobile pleasure food – Waffle Sticks ! : +919820026511

Instagram& Twitter: @wafflehouse_in

 

 

 

 

Raashi’s The Picnik Basket

Make your life into a picnic… add oomph to your table with onion marmalade, slow-roasted bruschetta, cranberry mustard,chocolate peanut butter..or whip up a gourmet meal in minutes with thai curry paste, flavoured mayo’s, marinara & barbecue sauce! The gifted Raashi Sawhney also makes hampers and gifts and  more.

@thepicnikbasket

9987687005/9321954055.

 

Shweta & Sanya’s Teacharmers

Amazing fragrance and flavors.Superb packaging too. The lovely Shweta and Sanya of Teacharmers have a exclusive range of exotic blooming tea from all around world such as rose,chyrsthameus as well as pyramid silken teabags for the ultimate tea experience .

Shweta/sanya -9821532699/+91 98-70-061617

 

Nitika and Minnie’s Cocoa Bean

Chocoholics this way please! The talented Nitika and Minnie serve up an array of the most intense and flavourful sweet delights. Cocoa Bean – Their desserts are all about taste and texture!!! Highly recommended are the  malakoffs and truffles.
Nitikakhemani 9820144272
Minnie mehra 9833079217

 

Srikanta & Neha’s Open Table
Try Open Table’s delicious fresh dips – from a Layered Lebanese Dip to Sundried Tomato Dip, everyone has a favourite! Essence and color-free Cooler concentrates (Simply Rose and their Ginger Lemon Appetizer) Prices: approximately Rs 200 for a box of dip, Rs 220 for a 550 ml concentrate bottle.
Srikanta Taparia 9819592278  Neha Chokhani 9820133487.

 

Amrita Diwanji…Food Photographer

A photographer with a great passion for food, the brilliant Amrita Diwanji has

shot for Ellipsis, Cheval, & Burgs.

+91 98205 48700

 

Rohan’s Pack a Pav

In his time off from work, Rohan Mangalorkar potters around in the kitchen whipping up yummy recipes (his mothers) that typically involve bread, meat, and inventive condiments. Tasty, juicy homemade mutton shammi kebabs, chicken seekh kebabs, and veg shammi kebabs sandwiched between fluffy pavs.

Pack-a-Pav, a stall that pops up at  food festivals and can be called for your next party catering too. “This works well at sundowners or parties that need bread to soak the alcohol,” says Rohan.We agree!

Rohan  9920230240,

@Rohan_power

 

Sanjnaa’s Ellipsis Bakery

Brownies, cupcakes red velvet Oreo and chocolate chip cookies, freshly baked breads…the  gifted Sanjnaa Talwar of Ellipsis gives a sneak peek of their about to open standalone bakery in Worli. “It is a month or two away” she says, but trials are on …give us this day, our daily bread!

 

 

Shweta Parikh 

This talented young home baker, sources the finest of ingredients  and take orders only on weekends. She specialises in customised fondant cakes, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, cake pops, brownies, cheesecakes.  And if you are looking for eggless, she has those for you as well.

Shweta Parikh

91-9930514430

 

 

P.S. You’ll find ALL the above and much much more in your very own Times Food Guide 2015 (the “caterers and dessert makers” volume). Should you wish to be part of the Times Food Guide 2016 and this column please mailrashmiudaysingh015@gmail.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh waitingly yours…