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RECIPE: GOUGÈRES

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ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON

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

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

ITALIAN GUSTO

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

FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON

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

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

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

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

RECIPE

GOUGÈRES

(makes 2 baking trays)

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

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

cheese.

Ducasse’s famed Gougeres.

INGREDIENTS

300 ml water

8 gr salt

240 gr flour (T55)

110 gr grated Emmental cheese

100 ml dry white wine

180 gr unsalted butter

380 gr whole eggs

1.5 gr ground black pepper

sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)

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

butter and bring this to a boil.

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

forms.

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

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

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

thoroughly combined.

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

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.

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

utes or until golden brown and puffed.

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

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

Gougères are best enjoyed warm.

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India Shines in NYC

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Please take a look at the photograph shot under the beautiful ceiling mural of the Rotunda. For over eighty years, it has been New York’s iconic meeting place. And aptly enough, I’m breakfasting with icons of the culinary world. And India is the focus. America’s most brilliant award winning Food TV producer Geoffrey Drummond (renowned for his shows with Julia Child and Eric Ripert) is working on the ultimate food show on nourishment and India is magnetising him. Putting India firmly on America’s gourmet map, Vikas Khanna, the award-winning Michelin-starred chef, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and judge of MasterChef India sparkles the morning. Interestingly though Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine), did all the initial menus at this magnificent stately Pierre. It was here that America’s first Indian fine dine restaurant was located. Today, the brilliant young Keralite chef Ashfer Biju is making history again. He is reimagining classics with a fresh modern seasonal perspective and has NYC eating out of his hands. The joint-degree holder from the finest in America and France, the dynamic Francois Olivier Luiggi who helms this exquisite icon not only ensures that it retains its historic grandeur (hand-painted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully. Jai Ho!

Grains of Magic

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Strange but true! Here in this frenetic, cacophonic New York city, I am not only getting rare insights into Indian grains and spices but doing so in a treasure trove spread over two floors. And our very own Indian superstar chef Vikas Khanna has been getting accolades for incorporating Grains in American cuisines.  Sharing his insights with me is award-winning Michelin starred chef, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and  judge of MasterChef India. To top it all, the dashing and yet down to earth Vikas Khanna has  been hailed as the “sexiest chef alive” He combines a rare humility, knowledge and passion and I am blown off my feet when he guides me into his favourite New York hot spot.

We are at this iconic Kalustyans set up in 1944. The haunt of many s great chef. Here, he gives me taste of the finest black garlic pistachios, turmeric a sniff of the finest Iranian saffron of butterflypea and a round up of amazing rare grains. Though he works a lot with vendors in Kerala, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu to bring more organic grains to North America and to find creative ways to incorporate them into American diets.

He always tells people that our ancestors ate much better food than us. Organic, disciplined and balanced. The use of different types of grains and organizing a healthy eating around them is pure heaven for him and me. I had no idea that there was such a staggering number of grains and each had several sub-types. For instance Wheat includes Bulgar, Durum, Einkorn, Emmer, Farro, Kamut, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale. Rice (Red, Forbidden, White, Black) Corn (Flint, Dent, Waxy) Barley (Pot Barly, Pearl Barley) Sorghum (Johnson Grass, Broom-Corn) Millet (finger millet, foxtail millet, kodo millet, pearl millet, proso millet) and so on.

“I still remember the first time I entered Kalustyans. It was a much smaller store back then in 2001.” explains Vikas, “But was an eye opening experience, it was like being a kid in the candy store.”

He had come here to find fresh turmeric. It was not available then, but today it is. He has been a part of Kalustyan family since then. It could be buying new stuff or bringing chefs here or taking spices from here for chefs like Eric Ripert to Jean George’s to Daniel Boulud.

We both agree that spices are more precious than jewels. His latest research has been about Blossoms of spices and their evolution and metamorphosis through time. A lot like Vikas’s own fascinating journey…a boy born in Punjab with misaligned feet (not able to run until he was 13) and who learnt cooking  from his grandmother, came to America with no money at all and rose to be awarded and celebrated. And even today continues to be down to earth.

BARLEY AND ORANGE PUDHA

Vikas shared many a creative bread recipe with me, due to space constraint am able to print only one. Should you need more, please email rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com

A great tasting healthy bread made with whole barley flour, which is highly nutritious and recommended for a low-fat diet. Orange juice is added not only for a wonderful citrusy flavour but also because it helps to tenderise the dough.

1 cup barley flour

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon chilli powder

Salt to taste

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Take the flour, onion, cilantro, orange zest, chilli powder and salt in a bowl. Gradually blend in the orange juice and mix well. Add a little water at a time to a smooth batter. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and smear the pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Spoon 1/4 of the batter into the pan and spread to it to even thickness. Cook for 2-3 minutes until crispy golden brown, then turn it over and drizzle a little oil around the edges. Continue to cook until the sides turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve hot.

New. Newer. Newest.

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NYC news: Chef Ashfer Biju, Geoffrey Drummond and Francois Luigi.

I write from Paradise. Why else would it be called “The Big Apple”? Here, in this adrenalin-fueled New York city,  keeping tabs on all that is new is like jogging on quicksand. But here’s some brand new news from  New york city’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,  the brilliant young Keralite chef Ashfer Biju is making history again. He is reimagining classics with a fresh modern seasonal perspective.  Can the American classic of Crab Imperial be immensely pleasurable on Naan?  We re convinced it is as we do a preview lunch in The Perrine with America’s most brilliant award-winning Food TV producer Geoffrey Drummond ( renowned for his shows with Julia Child to Eric Ripert,). Joint-degree holder from finest in America and France, the dynamic Francois Olivier Luigi who helms this exquisite icon not only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (hand painted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully.

MY MEGA FOODIE BLIND DATE IN NYC

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FOR BOX-2

Here it is. My ultimate-mega Foodie Blind date (please see photo). Ive been bonding with foodie-strangers over food in Mumbai, Dubai, LA, London, Paris but this date happened In NYC. thanks to instagram and the lovely  @therestaurantfairy (who I also met for the first time) I landed up in NYC’s newest, hottest, secret Atwood Kitchen and bar, which recreates old New York with a classical and ageless feel by Daniel Rieger, Evan Rosenberg. Here I chatted and ate  with @eatupnewyork @cheatdayeats @cy_eats @food.drunk @ogluttoness @realjayjay @restaurantfairy @thenewforkr @thesweetlifeoflina @womenwhowhiskey @chef_bradleyw@upspringpr Amid the natural brick, reclaimed wood and steampunk decor, we had superb handcrafted cocktails, tartares and NYCs best “mac n cheese”, what else did we do? Sip, snack, snap, eat, tweet, repeat.Would you like to join me on a foodie blind date in Mumbai and check out new eateries? Email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

HIGH ON TEA IN NYC

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My Cup of Tea

 I confess. I am a “High-tea” addict. Over the years I have partaken of  the  British tradition of  the classic High tea in all the gastronomique meccas. In all of  London’s legendary hotels,  The Ritz, The Lanesbrough and The Dorchester. And now joy of joys! I find that this elegant   tradition has crossed the Atlantic and is as, if not more beautiful and memorable in NYC. But first an open letter to the creator of the High tea.

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MY FOODIE BLIND DATE IN NYC

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for the box

My idea of Columbus-fun? Straight   from JFK (after a 24 hour journey) to a foodie blind date in Manhattan. All thanks to twitter and instagram. We meet at the moderately priced,Cookshop (10th Ave) and enjoy their robust and delicious meatballs, fish and chips fare (plenty for veggies) as we do the sensational desserts. It’s a treat to meet each one :“Mihir never sleeps Pathare”, user experience designer and home chef,  Renate Aller, well-known artist, Elaine Goldman, art collector and Phiroza Kothavala hotelier extraordinaire. The exceptionally gifted Chef Ashfer Biju of the iconic Pierre is the only one who Ive met before. We have a super-rollicking time, eating, tweeting, eating.  Please instagram, tweet (@rashmiudaysingh) and mail (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com)  your Value for money NYC recommendations … so that in the land of Columbus I can continue to discover and feel like Columbus too!

NEW YORK NEWS

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Magic begins to happen when you land in this adrenalin fuelled aggressive city. Not only do I trip out in the latest musical “Aladdin” but also end up with many a magic genie. Like the vegetarian gourmet Shom Hinduja (a brilliant student completing masters in Columbia, is a serious cook, plays drums and discovers restaurants). Within 2 hours of landing, he blows my mind with the vegetarian specials in the most revered Japanese restaurant “Bar Masa”. Pure vegetarian Korean “Hungawi”, the cheap and cheerful “Han Dynasty” follow. Michelin starred “Eleven Madison Park” “Daniel” “Blue hill at Stone farm” serve fab veggie options. Budget friendly Totto Ramen, pizzerias (Rubi Rossa with heart shaped pizzas) come next. It’s Chef Ashfer Biju’s ( Two E at The iconic Pierre) outstanding vegetarian masterpieces of flavor and texture that thrill. I eat with a girlfriend at the hottest happening restaurant “Brooklyn Fare” (an 18 seater, no photos, no phones allowed) Japanese inspired mindblowing menu.

P.S. On my very last NYC night I have three dinners (at Uruguay Chef Ignacio’s Estela where Obama just went for his date night) wine at Corkbuzz with the charming editor of “Food and Wine” and then “Harry Cipriani” for gluten free pasta with pesto where Musical maestros Ayaan Ali Khan, Amaan Ali khan and Satya Hinduja share their favorite NYC restaurants. The discerning foodies, the Khan brothers are here on a 7 city tour with their father Amjad Ali Khan .

Want to know their non veggie recommendations ? email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh

GOD IN New York City

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My Meal at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel

Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the  most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by dish after dish’s  visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s  Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.

The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s   creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter  obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.

Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs  cheap and cheerful and worshipped at  many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!