chennai

A dream come true

Posted on Updated on

69d874ee-730d-4678-9beb-63a4cda77b05
PIONEERING HEALTH GURUS…DOMINIQUE AND HENRI CHENOT and their amazing gourmet vegan fare.

It’s the ultimate dream: to love food, enjoy it, and still remain fit and healthy and forever young. For most of us, that’s what it remains: a dream.

It’s doubly difficult for me, because as a food critic who has eaten her way through 37 books and countless columns, it don’t “eat to live”  “I live to eat” ( Literally too).

So its been a lifetime search for me to find the balance and the answer. Im on a continuous search… having written weekly health columns for 15 years and  scripted, directed, produced and anchored a weekly TV show on health blessed me with the opportunity to  spend time with brilliant experts in the medical field. From Deepak Chopra in LA to our Ayurvedacharyas at home.  I questioned them relentlessly, chewed on every single answer they gave and digested it. I continue to  zig zag the world in my quest…here’s the latest on the greatest…

EUREKA

It is here, in this  luxurious, historic Palace Merano, in the picturesque  Italian spa town of Merano that I get my answers. Here luxury combines with high-tech and scientific principles behind  this ultra-royal pampering deliver great health and energy.    It’s the dynamic and charming couple  and global pioneering health gurus Dominique and Henri Chenot ‘s Chenot Method  that hits the sweet spot. Having majored in Anthropology, Philosophy Chinese Medicine, as well as Bio-Energetic Psychology and Naturopathy (natural remedies to cure illnesses) Henri Chenot created the first of a series of phytocosmetics and phytotherapy laboratories.

In 1999 Henri Chenot created Biontology, a new concept for studying the evolution of psycho-physical ageing.It reconciles contradictions, takes within it’s sweep the union of Chinese and Western medicine and aims at achieving  balance between body, mind and soul.  This slows the ageing process, to eliminate toxins and tiredness at all levels: physical, sensory, emotional, mental and physiological. Food and digestion are at the heart of this.

FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

Unbelievable flavor and color, presentation and taste…hard to believe that it is calorie restricted, nutritious and vegan fare. Behind it is the brilliant and knowledgable Dominique Chenot.

Nutrition is at the heart of the experience with a mostly vegan diet being adhered to and with strict calorie control, between 800-1000kcals a day.  The chefs weave magic and instead of feeling deprived you feel pampered and coddled.

DOMINIQUE CHENOT’S TIPS

Eating and drinking for health

  • Fruit : ofcourse we all know about the importance of fruit and its  detoxifying effect. Its naturally rich in potassium and minerals. But did you know that fruit is best eaten before meals? digestion is much faster if the fruit is eaten on it’s own? If you eat it after a meal it will tend to stagnate in the stomach.
  • We all know sugary drinks are not good, but did you know that fruit juices are not either? It is beneficial to  the whole fruit. When eating cereals it is best to accompany them with water and lemon.
  • Be careful not to eat too many raw vegetables, because they tend to cause swelling. Go for vegetable soups, which moisturize the body and furnish a good supply of vitamins.
  • Breakfast is not optional. If you’re going to use your car you fill up with first to avoid being stranded…eat lighter at dinner.
  • Hold the salt! Try using herbs or spices, fresh if possible. Drink plenty of water!

DETOX BIRYANI TO YOGA MASSAGE

Its here, that for  the first time ever that I have the most flavorful detox biryani and the most relaxing, stretching yoga-massage. Over the decades, the super-luxurious Palace Merano has been magnetizing global royalty  to sportsmen, the super-stylish fashionistas to the those in need of healing…it also has a huge share of the well-known Indians. I personally know three of the leading industrialist families (who prefer not to be quoted) who come back twice a year.  Its an amazing experience …energy meridians are checked and energized, daily mud baths, jet-hose showers, celllular resonance therapy,  massages using the Chenot method and along with all this there’s a hi-tech laboratory for instant diagnostic results. And the most amazing gourmet vegan food, served in super-plush surrounding. A stay here helps you jettison kilos of weight and heavy psychological stress too. Helps you rejuvenate, celebrate…

P.S. I have specially got the detox biryani recipe and also Dominique Chenot’s favorite Agar-agar recipe. (you can also download plenty from Amazon) Should you need the recipes, please instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh emailrashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

South Indians Sparkle

Posted on

Stop press. Our very own Keralaites are making international headlines. They are being applauded and awarded. Celebrated and feted. I must confess that though I’m a North Indian, I’ve always had a big fat soft corner for South Indians and South India. It was during my tenure in the Indian Revenue Service (I resigned as commissioner of tax after working for 15 years) that I got to know South Indians closely. And since then have been a fan. So it is with great delight and pride that I write about the  three superstars…

2 MICHELIN STARS IN SAN FRANCISCO

He’s the only Indian chef in the world to receive two Michelin stars. Soft spoken, brilliant Keralite Chef Srijith Gopinathan grew up being influenced by his grandmothers cooking and the exotic spices in his Kerala home’s  backyard. From the perfumed kitchen of his family to culinary school and then working with  Raymond Blanc, the genius of cuisine in London gave Srijith a huge headstart.  For six years in a row, Chef Srijith earned a\Michelin star and it was just recently that he got the highly coveted two stars.

I had his most mindblowingoriginal Californian-Indian masterpieces in San Francisco’smost prominent century old, award-winning landmark hotel restaurant located in Campton Place, the throbbing heart of this beautiful city. Helmed by the dynamic and charming AshrafiMatcheswala who never ceases to amaze me with her prowess in hospitality but also as an award winning marathoner. It was with the two of them that I not only tripped out on an amazing dinner but also learnt more about the  Dungness crabs, famous over here. Infact Chef Srijith has shared his fabulous recipes of “Crab and peaches” but space constraint prevents me from including it here. Should you need it please mail, tweet or instagam @rashmiudaysingh

COOKING UP HISTORY IN NEW YORK

Making waves in New york city and getting rave reviews for his brand new Perineis  executive chef AshferBiju. This brilliant and friendly Keralite chef heads up NYC’s  85 year old iconic landmark which keeps reinventing itself.  Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine,) did all the initial menus  at this magnificent  stately Pierre. Today,  AshferBiju is making history again. To bring back the era of celebration of food and dinind, he researched menus and recipes from 1930s 40s and 50s (when Pierre had opened its doors to public.  He found dishes / recipes that are classic which fell into three categories – New York Classic, French Classic & Pierre Classic – with several overlaps. While some classics are retained with its original recipe,  other dishes are made relevant using local produce from Upstate New York and Long Island.Interestingly there is a spice thread which runs through the menu and pays tribute to “The Pierre Grill” one of the first (or the first) fine dining Indian restaurant that existed at the hotel in 1950s. I not only taste history here but have many an amazing meal withJoint-degree holder from  the finest in America and France, the great wit and dynamo Francois Olivier Luigi. He helms this exquisite icon  andnot only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (handpainted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully. Chef AshferBiju and Michael Mignano  share many a superb recipe with us, should you need it please mail, instagram or tweet @rashmiudaysingh

GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD WINNER

“Best Indian cookbook in the world” is her most recent award given by the numero uno Edourard Cointreau of the highly prestigious and coveted Gourmand World cookbook awards. These awards are the worlds most respected and sought after, global culinary awards. Nimi Sunil Kumar, Our very own Conoor resident, was given this honor in China recently.  She is a  highly accomplished author/culinary teacher/freelance writer / food photographer and a part time food blogger/ dietitian.  It is for her third cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of kerala” that she won the title “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” (209 countries competed for it)

She has written three books on authentic Kerala cooking. “Lip smacking dishes of Kerala”.The book bagged the third place for the “Best Local Cuisine Book in the world” in Beijing in 2014. She started “Nimi’s Lip Smacking Classes” in Jan 2012 for foreigners and for these is listed on international websites and books and has received many a certificate of excellence.

Congratulations to all three. You do not just South India but also India proud! Jai ho.

1319a0f7-f3ec-4110-a7cc-953b1b24cb28
GLOBAL AWARD WINNERS: Chef Srijith Gopinathan and Ashrafi Matcheswala ( Sanfrancisco, by the sea ). 2) chef Ashfer Biju and Francois Olivier Luigi ( NYC) 3) Edouard Cointreau awarding Nimi Sunil Kumar in Beijing.

Deepak’s delicious perspectives

Posted on

 

4f396719-2f9d-42fe-a43c-70994d83663c
Food for thought from Deepak Chopra the iconic fountain of youth and well-being.

It’s a treat to beat all treats: to be here with Deepak Chopra, the iconic fountain of youth and well-being, the repository of ancient wisdom and modern medical scientific knowledge. Over the years,  I’ve interviewed him for my TV show on health and many a column. Each time I’ve come away with many a nugget of wisdom, but this time I get the most eye-opening  perspectives of food.

Through my 36 books on food and countless columns, I’ve been on the constant quest to find out more about food, but  it’s Deepak Chopra interpretations of food, on the physical, gourmet, medical, spiritual and even genetic aspects  that are mind-blowing.

FOOD AND GENETICS

Here’s the mind-blowing great news: food  can actually alter our genetic makeup. Spearheading this research on Epigenetics, Deepak explains the complex scientific mechanisms of mind, brain, genome and microbiome.  Together with prof Rudy Tanzi, authority on genetics ( who discovered the Alzheimer gene)   their groundbreaking research, on the Super gene (and the role of the plant-based diet)  has been making global waves. For me its this cutting edge finding of how food interacts with our  genes that is thrilling.I talk to Prof Rudy. he is Vegetarian (loves indian food, paneer korma, in particular). Deepak is vegan. Both explain how we need not be at the mercy of our genetic inheritance.  Super genes. Super news indeed!

FOOD AND GOURMET 

It can’t get better than this. Would you have credited the thousands of years old Ayurveda with gourmet sensibilities? Deepak Chopra  points out… “If the meal isnt delicious it isn’t nourishing you. Enjoy your meal. If you are struggling with a diet that you think is good for you but you do not find it appetizing, it will ultimately not be nourishing and you will not be able to stay with it for long”.
According to Ayurveda. everything can be classified according to one or more of six basic tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. If you sample foods that correspond to these tastes your food will provide an assortment of health promoting nutrients. In fact Sweet:- Sweet is the taste of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. (Breads, grains, nuts, fruits, starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy, oils and animal products are considered sweet.) Sour:_ Any food that is mildly acidic is experienced as sour. Favor oranges, berries, tomatoes while reducing your intake of pickles alcohol and vinegar.

Salty:- Salt is the flavor of ion producing minerals on the tongue. In the right dose salt adds flavor and promotes digestion. Too much salt can aggravate high blood pressure and cause fluid retention.

Pungent;- Most pungent foods contain natural antioxidants and infection fighting chemicals Due in part to their anti-spoiling properties pungent spices have been valued for millenia. These include chilli peppers, black pepper, fresh and dry ginger, cloves, mustard, garlic cardamom. Adding spices and herbs will serve your palate and
your health.

Bitter;- Bitter is the taste of most green and yellow vegetables. Bitterness is due to natural plant chemicals known as phytochemicals which have detoxifying, disease preventing and healing properties.

Astringent;The last of the six tastes is more of an effect than an actual flavor.Astringent foods have a drying, compacting and puckering influence on your body. Beans, legumes, peas, pomegranates are all considered astringent.

FOOD AND EMOTIONS

Ofcourse, we are all aware of the connection between food and emotions, about how mothers express their love through food, romance blossoms over that candlelight dinner or families bond over the table. But I learn even more when I spend time in California’s sprawling and picturesque headquarters of The Chopra center, four hundred acres of lush, sun-dappled, palm-tree-lined beauty. Here I meditate,  attend talks and enjoy some superbly delicious vegetarian food. I explore the connection between our environment, physiology, food and emotions. Much as I wish to, I cannot compress all that in one column, Suffice it to say that the mind controls the body and even what we eat is metabolized depending on the state of mind we eat it in. I learn to eat mind fully and  in a calm state of mind.

FOOD AND BEAUTY

“Radical Beauty “   ………. is  what happens when two powerful, influential founts of knowledge and experience come together.  Deepak Chopra  and Kimberly Snyder serve up trailblazing solutions on “how to transform yourself from inside out”.  Kimberly is a nutritionist for the mind, body & soul, a yogini and the New York Times best-selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution and many other books and  nutritionist for many of the top celebrities.

Deepak brings his unique medical, spiritual perspective and together they share secrets everyone can use to experience extraordinary health, vitality and a radiant glow. How to transform yourself from inside out. And Deepak is an inspirational example of this!

 

Whats Hot Tasting Session in Chennai

Posted on

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

20150901_162422
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

Posted on

20150901_173009

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

OUR ANNAM WOWS AMERICA

Posted on Updated on

I’m rejoicing! Im about to share some very heartening food news with you! It’s news that makes our country proud. It’s all about our very own pure vegetarian “annam” which not only stunned the carnivorous gourmets of the world but had them asking for more. This happened in the foodie city of New Orleans at the very prestigious “Dinner lab” and presenting this pristine “annam” along with its benefits as “supreme medicine” was our very own knowledgable and talented, author and chef, the Chennai based Viji Varadarajan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sabira’s Chicken Lollipop Recipe #WhatsHotTastingSession

Posted on

Sabira and JavedWhich is the first place Id look for recipes and love passed down through generations? A home kitchen ofcourse. And when that home kitchen also caters professionally then the treat doubles.And each time I fly into Chennai I find that the home kitchen magic works wonders. Heres a happy story that began in Bangalore, when three gifted women cooked together. Marium Banu and her two young daughters Sabira and Rashida not only cooked to their mothers recipes but were also actively encouraged by their father to attend cooking classes and learn Moghlai and Continental cooking. Not only did Sabira learn and cook at the young age of fourteen but also rapidly picked up all her mothers cooking tips and guidelines. After marriage Sabira moved to Chennai. Along with her husband Javed,

Sabira has been catering from home for the past fifteen years. They pay personal attention to every detail…from shopping to cooking. They also customize their cooking and menus to the specific needs of their customers.  She devotes most of her time to cooking and refining her skills.

At our “Whats hot” tasting session she brought along some of her signature dishes for tasting. Fragrant and rich with masala  Biryanis (both mutton and chicken) their  specialties are malai chicken, butter chicken, tandoori, drums of heaven, sachlik kebabs, shami kebabs, chicken croquettes, malai kebabs, kheema naan, vegetable naan and assorted desserts. While home delivery is free within 2 kms, they take orders  atleast 24 hours in advance.

Sabira shares below her easy-to-make and yummy-to-taste chicken lollipop recipe,

 

48 Ramaswamy road, D 2. #rd floor,  G R A partments, KK Sagar,

Contact Numbers: 9962023786, 9380668064, 9382209805.


SABIRA BANU’S RECIPE OF CHICKEN LOLLIPOP

Ingredients:

 

Chicken – 4 Breast Pieces (Boneless) Grind in the Mixer
Add Chopped Coriander, 2 Onions, 4 Green Chillies, Salt, Red Chilli Powder (As Requried), Juice of 1 Lime.

Mix the above ingredients along with the chicken and form lollipops and insert a toothpick for easy holding. Dip in egg and bread crumbs and shallow fry.

Serve Dipped in Garlic Sauce.

 

Recipe for Garlic Sauce:

Ingredients:

 

2 Tbsp ginger, 4 Tbsp Garlic and 4 Green Chillies ( Grind Coarsely in the mixer )

Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce – 4 Tbsp

8 x 8 Sauce – 2 Tbsp

Ajinomoto – A pinch

Sugar – 1/4 Tsp

Salt – 1/2 Tsp

Tomato – 1 (Blanced and Cut Finely)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Corinader – Finely Chopped

 

Fry the Ginger Garlic Chilly Mixture in 1Tbsp of oil till all the smell is gone. Then add the finely chopped tomato and fry again. Add the sauces kept measured one at a time. Bring to a boil and switch off.

THE HEALING POWER OF REIKI AND CHOCOLATE

Posted on

One of my greatest joys is flying down from Mumbai to Chennai to spot talent that hums in home kitchens and cooks and bakes up delights. At these fabulous fun and exciting “Whats Hot tasting sessions” anyone and everyone who wants to take part emails (rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com) and we invite them to bring their culinary creations and join us. And each time I get amazed and delighted with the amount of talent and the diversity. Its also such a joy to meet the dedicated and passionate home talent. It is at the very latest such session that I meet Jayashree Manohar.

jTHE HEALING POWER OF REIKI AND CHOCOLATE

Grandmaster in Reiki, Jayashree Manohar turned her attention to making chocolates eight years ago. Ofcourse, she continues to give Reiki (to those who need it) and does not charge for it too. Her chocolates are in multi-generational demand. Other than her clients, her parents as well her children love them. Ask for her chocolate roses ( created on sticks, like lollipops and priced at Rs 25 each) they make for great party giveaways. She also makes a Boule’D’ Amande,spice Almond chocollates,Truffle Balls,Swirled Marble Chocolates and Crunchy Peanut coins too. The creative Jayashree also makes “Model Of Taj Mahal” chocolates with imported brand of chocolate combination of Dark, milk and White chocolate. Rates differ according to the varieties of the chocolates. She offers special discounts for bulk orders. Jayashree makes chocolates for the Rotary club of Chennai. Do you believe in the healing power of chocolate? I ask her. No prizes for guessing that she responded with a big resounding “yes”

JAYASHREE MANOHAR, 482,Pantheon Road ,Egmore,Chennai-600008.Mobile No 9841974601/ 9176069367 /42146706


 

 

YUMMY RESEARCH

I admit, I am a chocoholic. But what follows is not the delirious outpouring of an addicted chocoholic. This is the result of the most recent research and it “was not supported by any cocoa or chocolate companies,” I follow not just the culinary advances but also the medical and health research that is being done on my favorite subject. Till now we are all aware of the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure, but here comes a research which presents another beneficial aspect. This was conducted in May, at the University of Reading in England. They measured the visual awareness and motion detection skills of 30 healthy young adults two hours after they ate either dark or white chocolate. It might interest you to know that dark chocolate contains antioxidants from cacao beans called cocoa flavanols or CFs, whereas white chocolate contains only trace amounts. 30 people were divided into two groups One group ate dark chocolate (containing 720 mg CF), and the other was given white chocolate. Then they were given a series of tests two hours later, when the CFs would be producing their physiological effects. The effects on vision were measured by various complex tests. The researchers recorded the results and then, a week later, they actually repeated the same experiment with the same 30 subjects, only this time they swapped sides. The 15 white chocolate subjects now ate darkchocolate instead, and vice versa.What they found, both weeks, was an improvement in visual andcognitive performances of the subjects who ate the dark chocolate. Quite clearly, CFs increase blood flow to the eyes and brain and that this is what leads to enhanced functioning of those structures. Chocoholics are rejoicing.

Gulnaz Ali’s Recipe – Banana Walnut Cake

Posted on Updated on

SAILING INTO HEALTH

Gulnaz and SamariaWhat on earth is this photo of a sailing regatta  doing in my Food column? The answer is simple, the young sailing champion Samaria is the inspiration and the reason behind her mother Gulnaz, baking the most unique and  healthy cakes. Having tasted Gulnaz’s baking in Chennai at our “Whats hot tasting session” I realized that I had not taken the recipe for her healthy cake. So when I called Gulnaz from Mumbai, they were in the midst of a sailing regatta in Hyderabad which the talented young Samaria was taking part in. I also requested for an on location photo. Voila! Thanks to high speed internet, here it is.

FROM BANKING TO BAKING

The multi-talented Gulnaz Ali having worked for more than ten years in a successful bankers job quit to take care of her daughter and turned to her other passion, baking. “I did this to keep my daughter’s sweet tooth satisfied”. And then ofcourse, ensured that she not only used the finest and freshest of ingredients but also the healthiest. Gulnaz’s healthy cakes are in great demand, as are her regular cakes.  She has studied baking and taken special fondant classes too. Ask for her scrumptious banana walnut cake. Amongst her regular cakes, it’s the   orange and a Almond cake, hazelnut chocolate cake and strawberry pies…which are her signatures. The recipe for Gulnaz’s part wholewheat cake follows, as do her tips for healthy baking.

GULNAZ ALI, 2/157 Karikata Kuppam, Muthukadu, Near Mayajaal, Chennai. Ph 9840943500/ gulnaz13@gmail.com

 


 

Gulnaz’s tips for healthy baking

*Use homemade cream cheese/ mascarpone cheese instead of store bought. This way you can keep a check on the amount of sugar in the product.

* Replace sugar with jaggery.

* Replace maida with wholewheat flour. Start with replacing 1/4 quantity in the recipe and slowly increase the amount of wholewheat flour used.


 

GULNAZ’S RECIPE

healthy cakePart wholewheat banana walnut cake.

Maida – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Banana – 2, large
Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
Jaggery – 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar – 4 tbsp
Buttermilk – 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp
Egg – 2
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Chocolate chips and walnuts/ almonds – 1/2 cup



Preheat oven to 180C. Grease one 8 inch pan. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the banana, unsalted butter, jaggery, sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Coat the chocolate chips with maida and mix into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake at 180C for 30 to 35 mins or till done when checked with a skewer.

 


 

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE

Do you want to be featured in this column? Like Gulnaz Ali today. Then read on to find out more,The hunt is on, I am looking for baking and cooking talent. Do you bake or cook out of home and so so professionally? Do you know anyone who does so? Please do get in touch with me and we will invite you, along with some others for a “Whats hot tasting session”. After tasting your creations and chatting with you and photographing you, I will then write about you. Please do  email rashmiudaysingsingh2015@gmail.com with the subject CHENNAI FOODLINE. You can also tweet and instagram t @rashmiudaysingh.


FOODLINE

I write this from Gulmurg and I am delighted to hear from you on email, instagram and twitter. Thanks for keeping me plugged to the foodie network of Chennai. Love your foodie news and views…on foodstores, food services, dessert makers, caterers and more. Please do keep calling (9884065010 ) emailing (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com) tweeting, instagraming, FB (@rashmiudaysingh). Waitingly yours.