chennai

Recipe: MAIDEN SHANGHAI DIM SUM

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THIS MAIDEN TOUCHES THE HEART

I had no idea that “dimsum” translates to “touch the heart”. All I knew is that over the years Ive loved the little steamed, parcels of Chinese delight. And on my recent visit to China I completely tripped out on dimsum. Of all kinds. On returning from China I was hankering for authentic Chinese food.  Here’s the delicious ironiy: It happened again and again. My heart was touched. And that too in Dubai. It wasn’t just the superb dimsum and authentic Chinese food that did it but even  the stunning views and the  evolutionary designs that represent Chinese culture over the generations. Making waves in Dubai, this sexily glamorous, three floored Maiden Shanghai is strategically located in the  cutting edge, Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai. And  here I am on a perpetual feast, from the moment I enter the sparkling glass-clad jewel soaring directly over the Arabian Gulf, and walk into the  pioneering design and trailblazing, amphitheatre inspired architectural masterpiece .

Within the timeless interiors a

recurring honeycomb

hexagonal pattern runs throughout, complemented by a carefully chosen mix of contemporary

furniture. And Im thrilling to it all as I find my way to Maiden Shanghai.

 

CHINA CHARMS FIVE TIMES OVER

And then wham! the sheer seductive energy of the  three floored Maiden Shanghai takes over. It is an exploration of authentic Chinese cooking   there is  a fresh and imaginative vibe. it invigorates traditional recipes for a modern audience.

It  is set in the heart of the Five Palm Jumeirah  and it lets in dramatic views across the marina from everywhere, its outdoor terraces, indoor bar, private dining rooms and an opulent rooftop bar. I love the décor  which playfully fuses the traditional with the boldly modern, creating spaces that feel open yet connected.

 

It is here that the brilliant Executive Chef Luo Bing revitalises Chinese culinary tradition. Drawing from Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing influences, he marries  age-old techniques and flavours with imagination and refinement. Flavourful masterpieces result. Luo Bing honed his skills in Barcelona and Hong Kong, and as Executive Chef at Time Out’s 100 Best Restaurants In London.

He offers plenty of Signature dishes including traditional, hand-prepared Peking Duck and  his take on the Sichuan Kung Pao dish.  But what  delightful dimsum…his dim sum bar selection offers exciting flavour combinations beautifully prepared in delicate parcels.  From tiger prawn dumplings with luxurious black truffle to pan fried Wagyu beef buns.

It is here that the dynamic and dapper Aloki Batra who helms this hot happening landmark  tells me all about the uniqueness of this haute hot Five. From the cutting edge design, artistic work here by Joe  Ngai to the amazing Chinese food.

In the cool of the November night, while nibbling on dimsum on one of the stunning terraces I learn all about Aloki Batra’s over 16 years’ experience in equity financial markets. Formidable business and financial skills as well a flair for masterminding the hospitality industry shine through.

 

 

DIM SUM AND THEN SOME

This delightful  dimsun is not unique to Cantonese cuisine. Shanghai has xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), and there is chao shou (Sichuan wontons) in Sichuan.  However What sets Cantonese dim sums apart, other than the extraordinary variety of dishes is that it takes years to learn the

finer points of making dim sum take years to learn, which is why it is important to have a demanding “sifu” [“master”). Chef Luo Bing has obviously mastered the art and on my request shares his chicken dimsum recipe

MAIDEN SHANGHAI DIMSUM

Ingredients:

(dough)

– Flour 200g

– 1 egg

– Water 30g

– Salt 1g

 

Method:

-Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.

– Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into 1mm thin pastry.

– Use diameter 3/5 cutter to cut into individual pastries.

 

Filling:

– Minced chicken thigh or breast 150g

– 1 egg

–  finely chopped fresh ginger 20g

– finely chopped onion 30g

– salt to season

– soya sauce 15g

– Sesame oil 3g

– cooking oil 2g

 

Method: Mix all ingredients together and put in chiller until filing.

– put a tablespoon of each filling into the pastry and pinch close

– boil for five minutes

 

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ROYAL FLAVORS

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in the shimmering palace: gourmet date: Ned Capeleris and Chef Miguel Piniero

Today, I send you the most delicious, queen of a traditional recipe which is versatile and reigns supreme. I also send you the recipe for good cheer by the global cocktail king.   I taste the very traditional Spanish Salsa verde and watch the cocktail king stir the original Martini in the most iconic Maria Cristina in the stunningly beautiful san Sebastian by the sea. The luxurious iconic century old San Sebastian  landmark is named after Queen Maria Cristina. It  is the superstar hotel of superstars. Not only was it a beloved of Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and others but even today the charming and dapper Ned Capeleris ensures that it magnetises the best. Chef  Miguel Piniero distils delicious Spain on our plates. And somewhere through my gourmet  meal here,  I get to know that Shah Rukh Khan stayed and loved it  here too. History and luxury waltz in the elegant, high ceilinged marbled interiors. Since 1912 it has been magnetising the whos who of the world. And with good reason. Not only does it boast of amazing gourmet fare, superlative  service, glamorously elegant surroundings but also has  the world famous Dry bar and a cooking school (Mimo food, where I attend a cooking lesson) in it’s premises.

 

GREEN GOURMET QUEEN

Over the years and through my travels, I have been tasting this green-sauce in different countries.  Ive been told that the basic recipe is probably 2,000 years old and has an Italian origin. But there is no documentary evidence. Sure! In Piemonte, I dipped the boiled meats (bolito misto) in it and I loved the cold Italian salsa verde. Rich with coarsely chopped  parsleyvinegarcapersgarliconionanchoviesolive oil, and  mustard.  In France the

verte au pain  is more of a thick mayonnaise flavoured with tarragon, and parsley and sage.  In Frankfurt the

Grüne Sosse  of seven fresh herbs, parsleychiveschervilboragesorrelgarden cress, and salad burnettogether with sour cream, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and added hard boiled egg is  delicious.

So I was pleasantly bowled over when the Spanish version turned out to be the most memorable.

Also the most sparkling. In every way. We dined,  under the shimmering chandeliers of the  stunningly beautiful restaurant with it’s mirrored tables. The talented young chef’s masterpieces were served up one after the other. The pintxos (Basque tapas) delighted with their varied textures and flavors. The well traveled and well informed Ned Capeleris’s knowledge of the local and global cuisines had me riveted. Beans from.Tolosa, Hake and asparagus and the most amazing cloud of sweet bliss…Basque curd with honey followed by petitfours. Everhelpful Bryan Owen paired the finest wines, the local txakoli  and champagnes

SPANISH SALSA VERDE

Ned Capeleris and Chef Miguel share the easy to make recipe

  • 2 gloves of very finely chopped garlic
  • Extra Virgen olive oil to wet the pan
  • A pinch of Salt to taste  add
  • 100 ml of White wine or
  • 200 ml of fish stock  (optional) and then the parsley.
  • Parsley very finely chopped in abundance  stir in the
  • 10g (soup spoon) of flour to give the salsa more body. Keep stirring till it has a pouring consistency.

Use it as a dip, a sauce or even spread. Yum!

 


COCKTAIL KING

Here im privileged to watch the maestro himself stir the most perfect dry martini. The World famous entrepreneur author charming cocktail maestro  Javier de las Meulas founder of the  iconic dry martini concept world over and a fab one in Maria Cristina also shares the perfect recipe.

The cocktail KING Javier de las Meulas

 

From James Bond’s “shaken not stirred” martini to Ernest Hemingway’s  quote “I’ve never tasted anything so cool and clean…They make me feel civilized,” this gin-based beverage  is an iconic one. And fittingly enough, it finds its home in the iconic hotel  in the “Dry bar”

 

FROM THE MARTINI MAESTRO

Ingredients

2-3 dashes of dry vermouth

l glass at Bombay

Sapphire gin

Optional: a twist of lemon

Garnish: a green olive

 

Type of glass

Martini glass

 

Preparation

l Pour the vermouth and the gin into the mixing glass togethr

with plenty of ice

2 Stir tor l5 s

3 Serve in a cocktail glass

4 Garnish with a green olive

5 Optionally add a twist of lemon

Cheers!

Food.. Cutting Edge Perspectives

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Foodies! Chew on it. Savor it. Here’s some food for thought. A mind-blowingly different perspective on food and its creation, on the world of food and chefs and restaurants.

I write from an amazing space, where food is not just being cooked but performed, boundaries are being pushed, new cultures discovered and knowledge exchanged. I write from the beautiful mountains of UpperAustria, from Gelinaz.

One thing is for sure, cooking is not just fine dining anymore. It touches different population segments across the world, and it needs to be both cutting-edge and playful, as well as in phase with worldwide pop culture.

And here in the beautiful mountains of Upper Austria I’m getting a taste of this amazingly different perspective. The worlds most brilliant chefs have flown in and are creating and co-creating together. And I am a voyeur.

SUPERSTARS CO CREATING MAGIC.

Every single continent seems to be represented here. The worlds superstar chefs have flown in. Rene Redzepi of Noma (Copenhagen), David Chang of Momofuku (New York), Virgilio Martinez (Of central Lima), May Chow of Little Bao Hong Kong, Heinz Reitbauer of Vienna, Margot Janse from South Africa, Manu Buffara from South America and a dozen more. Equally renowned artists, musicians, scientists, thinkers have flown in from all parts of the world. Is it about food? Is it about music? Art?  Its all this and more. Its “Gelinaz.” The curators Andrea Petrini & Alexandra Swenden are, in essence, ‘agit pop’ curators of a culinary hub that is pushing boundaries.

It’s a world wide think tank of avantgarde chefs performing food and remixing each other’s dishes like in a DJ set giving form to culinary happenings where art, music and cuisine fusion in unexpected and improvisational ways.

NOT ONLY ABOUT COOKING.

Sure! cooking is a big deal, but today it’s not enough: contemporary cuisine needs to find new ways to get in touch with a wider, younger audience, mingling and dialoguing with art, music and other fields of expression.

And here, I am witnessing  how culinary talent and human qualities can coexist harmoniously inside the kitchen.

How, the main stage for a chef is the kitchen, a place where life and art, personal experience and interdisciplinary longings  find a means of expression.

NOT ABOUT COOKING COMPETITIONS EITHER.

After all the “Masterchef” competitions and fierce rivalry, suddenly here is a welcome space, a happy space, there is:

– no competition

– universal sharing

– experimentation in a collective way beyond meritocracy and classified roles (stars, lists etc..)

Instead the collective of chefs were,

– pushing the boundaries, performing food and take risk as a starting point

– discovering new cultures and exchanging knowledge

– exploring the unknown

– zooming in on the beauty of nature, its elegant chaos

FOOD IS BEING PERFORMED.

Here, in the award winning gastronomic, family run restaurant Muhltalhof of the family Rachinger, the experimental culinary performance is taking place. The brilliant father and son chef duo of Philip and Helmut Rachinger have chosen three core ‘Matrix’ dishes. We get to taste them in a magnificent multi-course dinner the night before. Today the international chefs have been working in small teams of three and four. These dishes are being deconstructed, dismantled, cut into pieces and remixed by the 24 participating international and Austrian chefs. Chefs are asked to freely reinterpret every dish, modify some of the original ingredients and add seasonal produce from Upper-Austria to their new creations. And we walked through the different stations set up by each group as they interpreted the three matrix dishes. Rene Redzepi of Noma used moss he had foraged, Virgilio Martinez from Peru and his team interpreted the gulasch in a dumpling, David Chang from NYC along with May Chow from Hong Kong set up under a tree and even served up Schnitzel shots. The finale dinner is to follow…a sit down seven course dinner with these brilliant chefs in orchestra together. Innovative music and art installations by Joachim Eckl reverberate with the sounds of the river flowing nearby. Though sublime, its not just a gourmet dinner anymore. It’s the pampering of all senses. Nature, art, music food, cultures of different countries, good vibrations, morph into a memorable magical experience.  A Magelinaz experience!

P.S

I couldn’t resist requesting for the recipe of the  three matrix dishes of the potato gulasch, freshwater fish and the summerbock venison

Please email rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com should you want them.

CHENNAI  FOODLINE

So exciting to be in the mountains of UpperAustria and be in touch with you. Thanks for keeping me plugged into the vibrant home catering food scene of Chennai.

For any queries or recommendations,  please mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com  or call 98840 65010 or mail anjalisharma966@gmail.com

  • Gazeenasulu Kunhamed from Ormes Road, Kilpauk specialises in exotic cakes and desserts such as the French Jaconde cake (an almond sponge cake), Choco Coffee opera and a variety of cheesecakes. Her latest offerings are jackfruit and tender coconut cake, mango and passion fruit cake, orange and pistachio cake, cherries and chocolate cake which are made with entremets ( layered desserts with multiple flavours and textures). No home delivery. Call 98409 70353  or mail gazeenasulu@yahoo.co.in
  • Harini Sankaranarayanan from Simply Chocolate is a home baker from Abhiramapuram. She can customise cakes according for to customer requirements for  specific flavours, fillings ( types of nuts or fruits) or themes. Home delivery with extra charges. Call 98414 28798.
  • Sudha Shankaran from Pondy Bazaar takes orders for nankhatais. Minimum order is half kg. Call 99400-62327 or mail srinivaas.sudha@gmail.com
  • Anu Prosper  from Mistletoe Cakes is a home baker based in  Choolaimedu. The latest cake flavours in her menu are cotton candy, butter popcorn and bubblegum. She is also taking orders for low carb pizzas and savouries such as chicken croquettes, cheesy bakes ( veg and non veg) etc. Call  9600116757 or mail  anuprosper@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/mistletoe.cakes
  • Shyamala Sivaraman from Shyamala’s Culinary Classes  is based in Arcot road, Kodambakkam.  She conducts four hours sessions from Monday to Saturday on baking (cakes, cookies, muffins, decorative cupcakes), bread and buns, tarts and pies, puff pastries. She also conducts intensive icing workshops. Call on  98402 51050.
  • Deepika from Aumly is taking orders for  Thai Sweet Chilly Sauce, which is both spicy & sweet, Whole Wheat Muffins which can be stored in the fridge for a week in the following flavours: Apple Crumble Muffin, Carrot & Walnut Muffin and Orange & Dark Chocolate Muffins, organic fresh curd, set in earthenware pots, Idli Podi and organic Curry Leaf Powder. Order by Wednesday for pick up on Friday. Call on 8939774319. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th  St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.
  • Sara Koshy is conducting a Workshop  on Garden Parties.  On the menu:
  1.  Zucchini Loaf
  2.  Cauliflower Crust Veg Pizza
  3.  Green Olive Tapennade (on Brushetta)
  4.  White Choco Chunk Brownies

Venue: The Gormei Market – 6, CIT Colony, 2nd Main Road, (behind focus gallery on TTK road), Mylapore, Chennai:4

Date: Aug 6th, Sunday. Time: 3:00pm to 6:30pm. Cost: Rs.1200/per person.

Call to register: 4217 2229.

Chennai Charms

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I’ve been doing it again and again. Traveling the world but always circling back to Chennai. In fact, in EACH AND EVERY COLUMN there is a local “Foodline” with the latest on Chennai’s home catering and baking as my Chennai based assistant Anjali keeps a tab and has been doing so for over 15 years.

I’ve been flying in from Mumbai and setting up “whats hot tasting sessions” past several years. And with each session I get even more impressed with the enterprise and hard work of the home caterers here. Heres a sampling

ANITHA UDAYA KUMAR

Looking for healthy cakes? Yes! There is such a thing.  This therapeutic yoga trainer’s latest offerings are very exciting…cakes made of 100% whole wheat or ragi or millet. She also bakes without egg , butter and no sugar too. And ensures they are tasty.
Anitha Udayakumar, home baker for the past 4 years is talented and hardworking and takes the name of her company “Fresh Cake Zone” very seriously. She buys only the finest ingredients from Nilgiris and bakes fresh every time she receives an order to do so (she needs  1-2 days prior notice) The staff of Pazamudirnilayam and Nilgiris bulk orders to orphanages.
My other hobbies are painting, fashion designing, swimming and I’m a therapeutic yoga trainer too. Her hot selling cakes  are eggless butterscotch, EGGLESS choco truffle, tea cakes. She also bakes wedding cakes, birthday cakes et al. And teaches too. She has added on basic baking classes, advanced buttercream class, Barbie cake making class, and a chocolate making class too.

14/38,A5, kailash flats, mangadu st,

Nungambakkam

9003030816, 8825537479 (watsapp)

CHENNAI FOODLINE

The Chennai home baker scene continues to sizzle and sparkle. Here’s the latest.

Ranjini from Adyar makes organic vegan chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes.  Ph. 97892-54650. The cupcakes can be customised to requirements of the customer ( ratio of the chocolate to the peanut butter.)

Bhavna Arya from Intox homemade ice creams has two brand new flavours: sugarfree matcha japanese green tea with honey and almond slivers, and sugarfree green coffee beans roasted with cranberry chunks. Call 195001-13344 to book your jar.

R Sivakumar has fresh and homemade sambhar, rasam and turmeric powder and mulitgrain mix also available. Mail ramkumarpn@hotmail.com or call  98848-51119 I can even supply in bulk.

Kumar is offering home made passion fruit  juice without any no colours or essence. Dilution 1: 4. Call Kumar at 26157846 or 99626-37422.

Deepika from Aumly is taking orders for Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Granola made with organic rolled oats, can be used for a healthy breakfast or a snack. No need for added sugar thanks to the peanut butter and  preservative free Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread made using semi sweet chocolate & real hazelnuts (not essence) to make the spread. Order by Wednesday for pick up on Friday. Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th  St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.

Reema’s Swad Cooking Classes schedules for vegetarian and eggless Cake Baking Class:

Date: 26th – 27th Aug; Timing: 11- 4 PM.

This class includes:

  • Baking Cakes and Cup Cakes in Vanilla, Pineapple, Strawberry, Butter Scotch, Chocolate, Tuitty fruity, Orange and  Litchi flavours.
  • Icing on Cup Cakes
  • Pineapple Pastry
  • Black Forest Pastry
  • Chocolate Truffle
  • Photo Cake
  • Barbie Doll Cake
  • Kids Favourite Choco Lava Cake and Cake Pops
  •  Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese
  • Blueberry
  • Glaze Icing

Highlights:

  • All sessions are practical sessions
  • Individual attention given
  • Printed Recipes
  • Sessions are exclusively for Girls and Ladies only
  • All material for the class will be provided

Contact Reema  at 89395-66195 or 49525790.

For any queries or recommendations, mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com and anjalisharma966@gmail.com or call  98840 65010.

VIENNA WOWS

I write from the dazzlingly beautiful capital of music, waltz, culture, psychoanalysis, art and food. And I write this while tasting the delicious hearty Austrian national dish of “Goulash”  Gulasch (adapted from Hungary). And do so in the most famous “Goulash and Champagne” restaurant of the very Austrian Grand Ferdinand. It is steeped in history: originally a 19th-century palace, it was bombed in the last days of the Second World War, housed Austria’s Secret Service headquarters and now combines luxury with history and modernism. It is the only Austrian-run hotel directly on the Ringstraße, the main artery of Vienna. The perfect place to sit with Leo Cyrzyk  and watch the world go by and taste Chef Jurgens authentic Austrian goulash. A delicious thick stew (which originated from the herdsmen of Hungary several centuries ago) Paprika is what adds flavour to this goulash of beef, tomatoes, green pepper.

Hungarian goulash traces its roots back to nomadic Magyar herdsmen in the ninth century. Shepherds cut meat into cubes and slowly stewed them in a heavy iron kettle over an open fire until the liquid.

Vienna has always been very demanding. The second best was never good enough. This was true for music, literature and theatre, in crafts, and especially in food. In the Gulasch & Champagne, one can sip the best of the champagne to the Velkopopovicý beer.

In times of the Habsburg monarchy the Austrian cuisine extended to Milan and Budapest. Just like in the “Grand Ferdinand Restaurant” which is under major reinvention. So meanwhile I sit in the Gulasch and Champagne, getting an authentic taste of Austria and raising a toast to Grand Ferdinand and Vienna. With the finest champagne of course.

 

Luxurious Veggie Wow

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Luxury gets redefined, Claire Huang, Jasmine Webb with Chef Dayan Hartill-Law at Vanitas

I’m in “the worlds most stylish restaurant” . And what am I getting most dazzled by? I am not only amazed at how vegetables parade in their classical, sophisticated swagger yet burst with flavour and freshness, but also with the flavours of our very own Madras Onion and curry powder which is elevated to stratospheric heights (please see photo and recipe) .  Can vegetarian dishes be so luxurious? Or wow with their masterly balance of  textures and flavours? Be art on a plate and a seduction of the palate? For sure. And where else except in Vanita’s, which the internationally acknowledged Harpers magazine justifiably declared  the worlds most stylish restaurant.

It preens stylishly in the worlds first ever fashion-branded hotel, Palazzo Versace which is raising the gold standard here. Palazzo Versace  sprawls luxuriously in the Gold Coast. The transcendence of Italian design shines through the marbles and mosaics, vaulted ceilings hand-detailed in gold.

And luxury just became more unique and bespoke as the stunningly beautiful and everhelpful Jasmine Webb takes me on their unique “Glamour E Lusso“ in their custom made Rolls Royce phantom (Versace cushions et al ). We glide  to the recently revamped  and magnificent Pacific Fare. Not only does the expert stylist guide me through the amazing mall,champagne and chocolates et al  but we also stop by for the Chinese Yumcha.

And on return,  a stone and seasalt Japanese therapy gets me all rejuvenated for Chef Dayan  Hartill-Law’s gourmet dinner in the Vanitas restaurant.

Having honed his skills under the worlds best chefs, like Heston Blumenthal  and helmed many a leading restort, Chef Dayan has developed his own inimitable style. Finedining gets redefined. Dom Perignon sparkles our  winepaired degustation  dinner. Freshest of produce & vibrant flavors implode on our taste-buds. I opt for a mainly vegetarian menu. I love the Evolution of seasonal snacks  from the ceviche  (juicy watermelon, crunchy radish and fingerlime ). The humble potato is elevated to a gourmet status as it is paired with kombu, the fleshy  portobello  and the flavor packed porcini. Its the  Madras onion  that fascinates.  Of course I do try the superb Lamb made intense  with black garlic jus  but its Chef Dayan’s  vegetarian fare that suprises and seduces. The finale  dessert  of the finest French chocolate  and peppermint leaves the sweetest taste. As does my conversation with the vivacious and brilliant Claire Huang  who  helms this iconic landmark. She epitomises style as well as substance, much as the superstylish “Palazzo Versace” does.

Palazzo Versace’s Madras Onion

unnamed (1)

Madras curry powder

2 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp cumin seeds /1 tsp fenugreek

1 stick cassia bark /10 cardamom pods /1 tsp black peppercorns /5 dried red chillies /25 small curry leaves

2 tbsp ground turmeric

Toast all individually until fragrant, then grind till all smooth.

Onion

4 brown onions /4 heaped teaspoons curry powder

100ml olive oil /5g sea salt flakes

Peel onions down to the size of a small apple, leaving the top and bottom intact. Place all in sous vide bag and compress on highest setting then, cook at 68 degrees for 8 hours.

Raspberry pickle

500ml white wine vinegar / 1 punnet raspberries

Bring to a simmer and allow to infuse for 2 hours.

Carrot pickle

1 bunch baby carrots / 500ml above pickle

Peel and clean carrots. Then slice on a mandolin at 3mm thick. Then pour over warm pickle and reserve for 1 hour. Once cooled remove the carrots from the pickle and roll into cylinders.

Chef had also included Onion foam  and  carrot and botrytis in the recipe but this maybe difficult to make at home since ingredients are not available here so am not including it. It does take away from the final dish but even just the onion with the carrot and raspberry pickle tastes and looks superb,

Place the cylinders of carrot (carrot pickle)  around in a circle big enough to fit the onion on, Then cut the base of the onion off  and place on the carrots. I tried this myself and home and soft and fleshy onion tastes sublime with tangy carrots.

Millet Magic and More

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I confess, I am a millet-fan. Millet rotis (made yummy with finely chopped onions and mint, and soft with ghee) are my staple diet.Not only is this a gluten free grain but also has magical healthful properties (more about that later in this column). I am also an idli fan…those soft, fluffy, pillows of steamed delight. So imagine my joy when I chanced upon “millet-idlis”.

This at my latest “whats hot tasting session”

Millet idlis by Phokkisham

Millet fans, this is your mecca. The gifted Nandini Gopinath of Phokisham is obviously not only a millet fan herself but also aware of it’s many health benefits too. She makes the most unique Millet icecream  and millet idlis and dosas  too. And here’s the best part, she sells idli dosa batters in packets too. And it gets even better for us millet-buffs, Nandini makes millet based milagai podi, millet based chapatti atta and millet based dosa flour with herbs like methi leaves and mudakathan keerai too.  Please make a note: all millet based dosa batters are made to order except for red rice and bajra batters which are readily available.Along with the millet based batters, Nandini also makes the traditional rice based idly and dosai wet batter made from pure, traditional rice varieties like red rice, kambu, thinai kudhirai vaali etc. Nandini  has pure mountain honey for sale and also prepares tomato chutney.

Nandini Gopinath from Phokkisham at 4202 89 89. Address: #1-A, Mangadu Samy St, Nungambakkam (opposite Perumal temple).

Did you know? Magic Millet

Did you know that  millet is extremely heart-healthy? It’s  a good source of magnesium, which is known to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Did you know that phosphorus provided by millet plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body?

Did you know  that the magnesium in millet  can also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes? And studies have shown that eating millet (high in insoluble fiber,)  helps avoid gallstones. Millet is rich in iron, calcium and B vitamins. I love millet’s taste and texture too, is it any wonder

I’m a confirmed millet-fan?

La Vita Buono

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Elizabeth’s home baked cake.

Balance. I believe in that magic word “balance”. So when Elizabeth, the talented passionate young IT professional changes careers to bake cakes, its time to revel in them..

Elizabeth from La Vita Buono  lives in Mogappair West, takes orders for cakes  Barbie cakes, brownies. She specialises in Baked dishes and Italian food, especially veg and non – veg pastas, lasagna, white sauce etc . Can home deliver.  Call 89 39 45 07 42

Foodline

It’s all thanks to “Foodline” that I am able to get plugged into  the magnificent foodie network of Chennai. When you write in to Foodline, I not only include your details in this column but also invite you to our “whats hot tasting session” .

What follows that tasting session is a write up (like in the column above) . So please do keep in touch.

Mamta Ki Rasoi

From 2 nd cross street lakshman Road ,CBI colony Khandanchavadi Omr is having a workshop on chocolate making, wrapping, packing, storing and n bouquets on 3rd Jan, professional Baking workshop on different types of cakes  & cup cakes, different types of icing n cake decoration ,Muffins,Brownies, doughnuts, tarts,Cookies, Breads, buns,  puffs,Pizzas,burgers  etc on 4 & 5 Jan. call 98407-24819. visit mamtakirasoi.blogspot.com

Narayani is a home baker specializing in brownies and also takes baking classes. She has conducted 30 episodes of cookery shows in Captain TV and won numerous competitions. Ph. 8056014246

Baked Delightss by home baker Smitha Kuttayya and Global Theeni by Smitha Kuttayya has an offer for new year that you can’t miss!! Order the new year meal for 2 that includes a veg quiche, 4 pieces of roast chicken, herbed baked rice, cheesecake and Irish cream. The package is priced at Rs.2000 and is valid from the 1st to the 10th of January 2017. Ph. Do call at 9444385425 to book your order.

Home caterer Deepika from AUMly  is now  offering the following items:

  • Marinated feta in thyme and extra virgin olive oil which is perfect for salads or on your cheese platters. Rs 262.50
  • Organic tea from Makaibari estate
  • Bai Mu Dan  Darjeeling peony white tea. Ra 249 for 25 gms
  • Darjeeling oolong tea Rs 331 for 100 gms
  • Summer solstice muscatel Darjeeling second flush black tea. Rs 578 for 100 gms
  • Silver green tea. Rs 605 for 100 gms
  • Lime pie Made from organic farm limes. A buttery crust with tangy lime curd filling. Rs 126 per slice.
  • Lime Ginger Syrup. Farm-grown limes are used to make this syrup. No chemicals, no preservatives. No extra sugar necessary. Perfect thirst quencher for our warm days.Rs.315/- for a 500ml bottle. (Makes approx. 20 glasses)
  • Organic Rajma from Uttrakhand (Mix of 4 varieties of rajma, Rs.37/- for 100gms)
  • Organic Raw Rice (Farm-grown, unpolished rice for everyday eating. Rs.221/- for a 3kg bag)
  • Bread Crumbs (Made on the farm, with no added preservatives Rs.52.50 for 300gms). Order by Wednesday for delivery on Friday. Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th  St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.

For any queries or recommendations, call  98840 65010 or mail anjalisharma966@gmail.com and  rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com

Home Talent

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Its been my passion! Past three decades I’ve been collecting deliciously useful and usable information which you can’t get for love or for money.In Chennai and in Mumbai. I’ve compiled many a Times Food Guide of these home caterers and bakers. From ordering cakes from chefs who work out of home, health tiffin dabbas fabulous seafood to more.

HOW I GOT TO THIS PRICELESS INFO

I did this through word of mouth, through readers calling and writing to me, through my Foodline, and the latest through email and twitter too. Now I know what Columbus must’ve felt like. Except that he, the compulsive explorer, did not have the benefit of twitter… like I do! Here’s how I went on my voyage of discovery: I tweet requested for recommendations of favourite caterers, dessert makers, tiffin dabbawallahs and shops.

HERE’S HOW I DID IT…WHATS HOT TASTING SESSIONS

Anyone who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 3 decades, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent. I get flooded with instagrams, tweets and mail requests. We hold “tasting sessions” where we invite all those who had gotten in touch with us. They brought along their goodies and we try, taste and test each one.

HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT…

Should you want to be be part of this “whats hot tasting session” please email your details (background, specialities, pricing, home delivery, contact details) torashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email anjalisharma966@gmail.com Call 9884065010.

It was in my latest “Whats hot Tasting session: that  I got a taste of Chennai’s amazing home bakers and caterers.

AUMLY

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AUMLY’S DIPIKA AGARWAL WITH RICHA GOENKA AND EXECUTIVE CHEF DHARMEN MAKWANA ; AUMLY S KOZAMBHU PAROTA SANDWICH AND STRING SPAGHETTI WITH JHAAL MUDI.

Fabulous fusions. All home made. Creative, innovative and yum. Be it one where Italy tangoes with Kolkatta street food or whisky infused icecream. We loved the Innovative string spaghetti sparkled with spice and with Kolkatta’s popular street food, jhal moodi. As also the unique and tasty North India meets South India Kozambu parota sandwich. The Black label infused icecream was deliciously heady. Helping me with the tasting was Leela Palace’s  brilliant executive chef  Dharmen Makwana. We sampled it all Badam halwa cup to Rice kesari moghlai malai kofta and it was a delight to meet her fashion desinger daughter Richa Goenka too.

It’s not just all this that the creative Dipika Agarwal conjures up but also many a healthy and organic option. organic rice flour for Rs 63/- a kilo, homemade and preservative free chocolate and hazelnut spread at Rs 210/- a jar, coconut macaroons made from organic coconuts from her farm and baked in a wood fired oven for Rs 84/- for a pack of 6, multi-grain pao buns which go well with vada and bhaji for Rs 15.75/- a piece.

Order by Wednesday to pick up by Friday.

Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.

OH MYY

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OH MYY’S APARNA PHILLIP AND HER HOME MADE SAUCES.

Looking for delicious salted caramel sauce? extra fudgy hot fudge sauce ? and that too home made and preservative free? The dedicated and talented Aparna Philip from “Oh Myy” has  them all for you. These are great any which way you like them, lick them, slather them on bread, on a biscuit or top up your sundae.  She also makes a rich, lemony and tangy lemon curd which goes well with a hot buttered toast or  as a filling for tarts, crepes, cakes or meringues. Check out Oh Myy’s honey roasted peanut butter  which can also be give a savoury twist by adding some spices to make an exotic satay sauce.

Contact Aparna from Oh Myy!  @ 98410-29931.

Home Talent Unlimited

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I’m rejoicing! It’s a joy to discover Chennai’s amazing home-bakers and catering talent. To fly down from Mumbai for our”Whats hot Tasting session” and to get a taste of the delicious and  healthy variety too that is cooked up at home. Today,  I feature two of the talented participants. More follow in the fortnights to come.

Warm brown Baking Studio

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WARM BROWN‘s SURESH AND VYANJANA NAMBIAR with CHEF DHARMEN MAKWANA AND SHVETHA JAISHANKER

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph. I shot it in the midst of our “whats hot tasting session”. You can see the array of home made goodies which   Suresh and Vyanjana Nambiar  from Warm Brown Baking Studio  bake up. Not only are some of these healthy and tasty but have many a nutrient benefit too. They use flaxseed, millets, amaranth and more.  Some are low calorie and others gluten free too. They are gifted home bakers who  take orders  for  organic and regular cookies, brownies, cakes, breads and also pesto, hummus, pickles  etc. Their USP is no margarine or preservatives in both the organic and non-organic products . Vegan, organic, glutenfree can all be sourced from them.

Before I tell you more about their creations, let me introduce my official tasters. Shvetha Jaishanker, former Miss India International not only painstakingly tasted through each and every item of each and every home baker (as did Chef Makwana) but also shared her opinion. Not only is she a discerning foodie but her book Eat well, look great will be a treasure trove of foodie-secrets to looking as fabulous as her. And ofcourse, the official taster-in-chief, was the brilliant and creative executive chef Dharmen Makwana. He  heads up the stunningly beautiful Leela Palace by the sea. Having honed his skills  nationally and internationally, Chef Makwana  now masterminds the  Leela Palace’s  authentic Chinese and Indian restaurants and a versatile all day dining restaurant too. So together we tasted our way though  “Warm Brown’s” organic 100% Whole wheat bread, gluten free Millet cookies, Vegan cookies, Organic, gluten free cakes and muffins, Organic savouries, Organic breakfast cereals, amaranth Ladoos, Millet Ladoos, Flaxseed sesame dates Ladoos, Fruit and nut energy bars.

We all loved the texture and flavor of the amaranth cookies the most. Delicious flaxseed onion crackers,   Millet ladoos, and flaxseed sesame date ladoos too. We all  agreed that those looking for Gluten free items have found their mecca here. As though all this wasn’t enough they also make the most delightful Hummus and Pesto to add zing to your snacks and meals and home made drinks like Jaljeera  and Ginger Nectar. Cheers to that.

Warm Brown Baking Studio, 30/18, 2nd Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore.  Ph. Tel 98840-60652

Milagro

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SRIHARI SHETYE of MILAGRO’S HERBS

If you are looking for Italian herbs to spike your dishes with zing, but are particular about them being organic and grown with utmost care, then look no further. Sreehari Shete & Ishwarya Thirumalai  from Milagro grown these herbs in their farm in Ooty. They do so  with utmost care. They do not use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers and ensure that their herbs are completely organic. These herbs are then airdried.  Ask for their Oregano, Rosemary & Thyme  herbs. Here’s the best part, you can get them Bottled, Fresh and also Potted. Rosemary Crackers, Rosemary Scrub, Herb Regalo, a festive offering too.

Visit them on  www.themilagro.org or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/themilagro/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf or pick up the herbs from them at  J block, No. 47, 7th street, Annanagar East.

YOU ARE INVITED

Discovering. Tasting. Writing. Especially about home bakers and caterers has been my passion for the past two decades. I ve done this in Pune and Delhi and continue to do it in Mumbai and Chennai. This column was a result of one such #whatshottastingsession.  Are you a home baker? Provide foodie services out of home?  want to be part of our next #whatshottastingsession? And be featured here? The please mail  mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com,Anjalisharma966@gmail.com, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh. Call 9884065010 Watingly yours.

You are Invited

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I write this column from Chennai, where I am conducting an exciting #whatshottastingsession too. Are you a home baker? Provide foodie services out of home?  want to be part of our next #whatshottastingsession? mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh.  Dr Rajul Matkar, from Dubai (a gynaecologist who for a passion, bakes, develops healthy recipes, caters malwani food too) came specially. As did Sameer Malkani, dynamic chief of the Food Bloggers Association of India who has been conducting many a #homechefmatters session.  All are welcome.