Saturday, 16 May 2015

Craving Goodness

I found a new pizza place and it is AWESOME. It was Thursday night, I was sitting home alone playing Super Paper Mario and trying to finish the level. The phone rang and my mum in law asked if I would like to join the girls and try a new pizza place that had just opened in Prabhadevi.


 Pizza is one of my favourite foods, and one that seems most forbidden to me most of the time (the diet you know). Crave Comfort Food has been opened by the same people who run Di Napoli at Nariman Point. The result is lovely thin crust wood fire oven pizzas that melt on your tongue.

I fell in love with Crave when we walked into the restaurant. The walls and ceiling are painted in thick yellow and white stripes and the entire space compliments that. I’m a sucker for anything that is bright, happy and yellow and this place has matched everything from the packaging to the little pots that sit on the table.

Love it
Super pretty
From the outside
We decided to start with 2 orders of fries and some of their dips – the cheese & chive and the honey mustard. The fries came out deliciously golden and crunchy, but I have to say I didn’t like either of the dips. They were too gelatinous and didn’t taste very natural or fresh.

Yummy fries
We’re big on meat, and even bigger on bacon. Cue the ‘Bacon of Hope’ - ham, bacon, onion & paprika brought together deliciously. I’m not a raw onion person, as we all know, so half the pizza came without it. Yum.

Bacon of hope
Next up was the Italian Job – parma ham and arugula lettuce lightly sprayed with olive oil. This was my favourite part of the meal – I could have eaten the 9 inch pizza in 4 giant bites if I’d been alone.

Cool packaging
Crave’s menu also boasts sandwiches and burgers. In the interest of trying everything, we ordered The Knockout – a lamb burger with onion, lettuce, tomato, gorgonzola sauce and bacon. It was pleasant enough, but I think I’ll wait till beef is back on the menu. This was slightly reminiscent of seekh kebab. I couldn't get a picture of the burger because we asked them to cut it into 4 pieces which fell apart because I unwrapped it the wrong way. 

Wrapped up lamb burger
2 baskets of fries, 2 pizzas and a burger down and we were still hungry. We decided to try the Awesome Foursome – scarmoza, cheddar, ricotta and mozzarella with bacon. The different melting points of each cheese resulted in a lot of burnt fingers and palettes and a lot of stringy goodness that oozed all over the place.

Slurp
Dessert is also available, and plated in tiny plastic shot glasses that are perfect for one person- we tried the tiramisu, blueberry cheesecake and the vanilla panna cotta. I liked them all, though the panna cotta was a bit boring after the wallop the tiramisu packs.

I’m waiting for Crave to open an outlet in town – unfortunately I don’t live in their range of delivery. I’m happy to go there over and over again though!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Eggs Benedict a la Fram

The best time to experiment in the kitchen is when you’re home alone and there is nothing in the fridge. It makes you get creative, it makes you try different things, it makes you attempt to make food you have sworn off because its too ‘difficult’. Let’s set the scene.

It’s Monday night, and my band of usual suspects are conspicuously missing. We’re home alone and craving a little bit of comfort food. The only thing we have in the fridge are eggs. And some old bread and ham. We decided to make eggs Benedict and greet the elephant in the room – the Hollandaise sauce.

Halfway through dinner 
You will need:

2 toasted English muffins (or any regular bread works too)
Thin slices of ham/bacon/smoked salmon
4 eggs (every recipe I’ve read says that the eggs MUST be as fresh as can be)

For the Hollandaise:

125 grams butter
2 egg yolks
½ tsp white wine vinegar
Some tarragon
Salt
A little ice cold water
Pepper

Making the Hollandaise 

Step 1
Melt the butter and skim anything that solidifies on the surface.

Step 2
Put the egg yolks, vinegar, a little salt and a splash of ice cold water into a glass bowl (you can use a metal one too) that fits over a small pan. Whisk together for a few minutes.

Step 3
Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (you will need to keep the heat down low) and whisk continuously until the sauce is pale and thick (this will take up to 5 minutes).

Step 4
Add the butter slowly and keep whisking. It may seem endless and hopeless, but I promise you that the sauce will come together eventually and start thickening up. If it gets too thick, add a little water.

Step 5
Season with a little lime juice & pepper and keep warm.

How to poach an egg (slightly imperfectly)

Step 1
Bring a small pan of water up to the boil. Add a teaspoon or so of white wine vinegar to the water.

Step 2
Crack your eggs into individual bowls – you will only be able to poach one at a time

Step 3
Using the back of a spoon, swirl the water in the pan to create a little ‘whirlpool’, which will help keep the whites around the yolk.

Step 4
Slip the egg into the water & leave to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Swirling away
Step 5
Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and make sure it is drained well before putting it onto your ham.

Assembling the Eggs Benedict

Step 1
Toast your muffins or bread.

Step 2
Add a few slices of ham to the bread and top it with the poached egg.

Yummy
Step 3
Smear the hollandaise all over the poached egg and season with pepper.  

Deliciousness

Serve with asparagus and a smile.




Thursday, 23 April 2015

The On Tour Diaries: Coimbatore

The last stop for me On Tour was Coimbatore. I haven’t been to many places down south and I was pretty excited about the different kinds of food I was going to eat. I dreamed of dosa like I’ve never eaten before, of medu wadas and appams, of sambhar and ermm.. sushi? Until I was told that South India’s non vegetarian food was even better. *Rub hands together in glee*.

COIMBATORE

We stayed in a pretty clubhouse called Jennys Club, which is one of the older buildings in Coimbatore and reminiscent of the British Raj. The façade is still covered with statues and carvings, and your first few steps into the echoing hallways transport you back in time. Unfortunately, that’s when reality sets in and you see the modernizations they’ve made to the place, which have not been done keeping design sensibility in mind.

Reception hallway
Beautiful old staircase
Lovely building
More stairs
That being said, the rooms we were given were HUGE – if I needed to, I would have been able to sleep my entire family in mine – and I was pretty comfortable.

I woke up hungry the next morning, and we set off in search of Coimbatore’s best dosa house. Hello, Sree Annapoorna. A multi level place that boasted of an A/c ‘family’ section and a regular section, it was completely packed. We waited around for 20 minutes and were then ushered to our table. Did you know that in South India, they call dosas ‘Roasts’?  First up were 3 Ghee Roasts, and a Masala Roast.

Unlike in Mumbai, the dosas are presented to you as tall conical shapes and it is only the amount of ghee shining on mine that prevented me from putting it on my head to take a picture. It was pretty damn good. Crispy and crunchy is how I like my sada dosas, and that is what I got.  

Le ghee roast
I also tried the Rava Roast, which sadly, did not come to me like a top hat, but more like a regular dosa, and a few bites of upma, medu wada and south indian coffee (which was too milky and had waayyyy too much MALAI for me to manage).

Rava roast
I prefer the upma we make at home
Coffee
All in all, the show went great & we had our biggest turn out in Coimbatore. Naturally, we were starving by the time we wrapped up and went on our biggest adventure yet – finding a place that would serve us street food at almost midnight in Coimbatore. Not an easy task I assure you. We found a tiny hole in the wall called Burma Bhai that was just shutting up for the night and convinced them that 6 starving travellers were a good reason to stay open. 

The decepticon guarding our venue
We didn’t have a choice on what to order – we got what they had left over, which was not a problem. Creamy tomato chicken, pepper chicken, chicken masala and south indian parothas were fantastic. Each slightly more spicy than the next, and demanding to be eaten with more and more of the flaky buttery parothas. We washed the meal down with lime sodas (apparently a specialty of the south as well) and called it a night.

Pepper chicken
Parothas
More chicken
Tomato chicken
My plate
The menu is super simple and tiny - you take what you get and you love it. 'Nuff said. 

The On Tour Diaries: Jaipur

This year has been full of travel. Yes, I know that we’re just about a quarter of the way through, but it’s been full of flights & food in different places that I would never have eaten at on my own. High fives for working in different cities!

JAIPUR

My usual trips to Jaipur involve eating at the Rambagh Palace a lot, and I miss out on all the street food. Now I’m not really complaining, I love Rambagh, but it's nice to eat at other places too :) We did an event at Mahima Trinity Mall which unfortunately didn’t boast of any food court whatsoever. 

woefully under exciting food
Luckily, there were 2 guys with food carts right outside that kept us happy all day.

Aloo parathas (Rs 20 for 2) with a little bit of lime pickle & some gravy made amazing breakfast every day, as did the Chole Khulche – something I have never eaten before! 

Slurp
I peeked into the Chole-walas cart, and got some up close pictures. I am onion-phobic and refuse to even taste food with raw onion in it, which meant that I was eating a lot of food on my own each time. (It explains the few kilos I put on in Jaipur too).

Yum
Prepping the chole

Heating the kulcha
Mixing masala
The lal maas in Rajasthan is world famous, and my favourite place to eat it is at Dhola Maru, in Clarks Amer. ‘Handi’ comes a close second. Lal Maas - translated as 'red meat' - is essentially a mutton curry that's made with lots of spices and yogurt to temper it down. The gravy is thick and delicious, and the meat is so soft it falls apart at the lightest touch. 

It was the first time I’d eaten there. You walk through a narrow doorway into a huge space that is brightly decorated with Rajasthani art. Uniformed waiters hand you menus that are just confusing – how do you choose from so many different dishes!  I can’t really tell the difference between one gravy & the other, and let someone who has been here before order for us. That’s the most intelligent thing we did! Say hello to Jungli Maas, which is succulent, tender pieces of lamb cooked in an equal weight of ghee and red chilli. Unbelievable. So good for the soul, so terrible for the waistline. 

Heart attack on a plate
While we did eat a lot of the other food, the one that's worth talking about the most is the Jungli Maas. Their tikkas, butter chicken, lal maas and fantastic kulchas and naans are also pretty awesome. 

This is definitely a place I am going to visit again and again and again. Oh my lord! 


Parathas in crime