home chefs

Double Veggie Wow

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Harsh Shodhan with Sonal Pakvasa and Jayshree Thacker (in yellow)

Our hunt for home bakers and caterers continues. And everytime I think that our Times Food guide has them all, I get pleasantly surprised. Like the new age, stylishly modern vegetarian gourmet catering by Harsh Shodhan, which I taste in the hostess with the mostest, Sonal Pakvasa’s elegant dinner in the garden. Pesto khandvi, hummus on edible spoons, mini handvo with chilli jam delight, and enjoying these is the uncrowned queen, Mumbai’s doyenne of vegetarian catering and food,   vivacious Jayshree Thacker. Her iconic restaurant and catering has magnetized Mumbaikars for decades. Double veggiewow indeed!

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.

Whats Hot Tasting Session

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MUMBAI’S BRILLIANT HOME BAKERS AND CATERERS AT OUR #WHATSHOTTASTINGSESSION

I can’t stop smiling. Discovering Mumbai’s talented home chefs at our #Whatshottastingsession has this effect on me.  Organised specifically for our very own “Times Food guide 2017” at the city’s landmark, sixty year old Gaylord, where the ever helpful team plays host to taste magicians (from Powaii, Chembur to  Colaba) who present their sweet and savory magic…

The Bohri Kitchen (TBK), Colaba, 9819908095

Superb Raan, Mutton Samosas, Dum Biryani and other Bohri specials by the brilliant mother and son team of Nafisa Kapadia and Munaf. This exciting home dining concept hosts 12 guests once-a-week. They also deliver across Mumbai, at a day’s notice. If you live between Mahim to Colaba, give TBK two hours’ notice for home delivery.

The Mad Batter, Walkeshwar, 9619117601

Baking since she was 10, Dimple Sanghvi offers all kinds of eggless bakes – cakes, whoopee pies, Glitterati Cookie Tower, brookies… The 21-year-old’s home baking venture is popular for its boozy treats (Jack Daniels Dessert Jar and Cookie Shots).

B.O.H. (Back of House), Nepean Sea Road, 9867199994

For dips, small eats and all kinds of vegetarian fun fare for home parties for upto 40 people, call Mansi Koradia. Rosemary Mushroom on Toasties, Lebanese and Italian starters and maincourse, and kiddie specials, Jain specials… she does them all!

Simple Bakes, Chembur (E), 9820433391

Nothing simple about the baking adventures sisters Poornima and KavithaBalasubramanian undertake. Ask them for brookies, bespoke fondant cakes and especially the fusion cakes. My favourite, the Paan-flavoured cake.

Ambrosia, Powai, 9820968751

 Call Rachna Prasad, for Mughlai, Rajasthani, Goan, and Bengali specials, non-vegetarian dishes being her speciality. A dedicated menu for kids (pasta, cutlets, kebabs, and her popular creamy cup potatoes) too.

Ashey’s, Bandra (W), 8828403690

Eggless macarons? Student and homebakerAshima Chawla’s Sesame and Pistachio macarons will never have you go looking elsewhere. Interesting combos of jar and fusion desserts too.

Baked With Love By Annie, Matunga (E), 9819363304

Hazelnut Truffle Decadence, Vanilla and White Chocolate Torte, Philadelphia Cheesecake, 23-year-old AnneitaaBhambani does them all and does them well. Customised, eggless cheesecakes, brownies, cakes and cupcakes on a day’s notice too.

Love & Flour, Nariman Point, 9930152303

A Hotel Management graduate, Sarah Patka honed her skills in the Taj and Oberoi kitchens before she set up her home bakery that specialises in custom made cakes (fondant and non-fondant), cookie pizzas and brownies.     

Nosh, Worli, 9833104829

Commercial artist, product designer Karishma Mehta moonlights as a home chef with her newly set up catering business Nosh. Ask for dips like the Pizza Dip, bite-sized party food, and desserts ( in glass jars and ready-to-eat containers.)

Icekreamskee, Andheri (W), 9321129029

Looking for freshly made, preservative-free ice creams in a variety of Indian and international flavours? Give mother-daughter duo Asha and Sucheta Thakur 24 hours’ notice. Asha has been making ice creams at home for 17 years now. Must-ty flavours, Masala Chai Biscuit, Thandai, Fresh Orange, Rose Pista and more. Vegan ice creams. Home delivery too!

That’s The Story, Malad (W), 9619946134

Have eggless macarons, pana cotta, crème brulee, gelatin-free cakes and desserts delivered at your doorstep. Premium ingredients and experience in commercial kitchens ensure that 25-year-old Swati Soni’s desserts offer just the right kind of a sensory treat. Try the Deconstructed Lemon and Basil Tarts with Pistachio Shortbread and Saffron and Pistachio Nankhatai!

Whats Hot Tasting Session

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I’m excited and thrilled about our Whats Hot tasting session, which took place yesterday. Many a home baker and caterer attended,. at the Hotel Leela Palace. Its fabulous to be able discover talent like this and then to write about it in this column, instagram and tweet it and share it with all.  Should you wish to be included in the next Whats Hot Tasting session, please instagram/tweet @rashmiudaysingh, email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

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!

#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 »

MY FOODIE FINDS

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As the Times Food Guide 2015 goes to press, here’s what I find …

HEALTHY YUMMIES

Looking for oven fresh healthy and yummy weight watchers  goodies? brownies, Raggi and oat cookies, assorted muffins  and more by talented Pallavi Dayal.
(9619483431. 02223865852)

DELECTABLES

Superb Gourmet & Classic Salads, Dips, Dressings, appetizers & Desserts are brilliantly prepared by

the two sisters Janaki Grover  and Devaki Trivedi.  Fashion  and home accessory designer Rakhee Grover Jain swears by their“Saladicious” fare ( 98202 22342
98200 24842).

H.A.S. It All Foods

Call H.A.S it all.  husband, wife and son (Haresh, Anju and Siddhanth) for healthy low-calorie fare to tiffin services and multi-cuisine corporate party orders. Superb roast cashew peanut chaat, swell n simple
Indian and western desserts.( Ph 23517086, 9870408072, 9870008081)

PARFAIT PERFECT

 Sharmeen Indorewala’s rich, creamy, frozen, preservative free , gluten free dessert in 10 fun flavours.

Place your orders for delivery/pick up at (9920029229)

THE HEALING POWER OF REIKI AND CHOCOLATE

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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.