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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brunch at Palate Culinary Studio

Sunday is the day of rest. It's a day to spend quality time with loved ones, to have delicious lunch then to enjoy few hours of recreation or a long snooze.

I love Sundays

This week was something more special. A brunch invitation at Palate Culinary Studio for launching a new product Alpen Koch Recletta Grill and to try some flavors of Aspri spirits

On the note of Brunch, mind wanders off to Guy Beringer, a man who invented the term and the concept of ‘brunch’. This word was coined in 1895 or 1896 for a magazine article to help understand the heavy breakfast that extends over several hours.

It was easy to locate the studio at the back of Survodaya society at Santacruz, (a large garage is artistically transformed in state-of-art studio) Green and yellow entrance stirs the positive moods immediately. The studio is tastefully done with food quotes adorning the furniture and the shelves, hand-painted plates on one wall, while colorful kitchen articles on other, all shining brilliant under numerous spotlights.

An open kitchen in the center of the room was the setting of the proceeding for the morning. The table was set with all the ingredients we would require to grill the meals: raw meat of lamb/chicken/sea food, marinated meat and vegetables, sauces, dips, salads, condiments, all neatly arranged increasing our hunger pangs with every glance.

The idea was to understand the product and its usefulness. I remember having grill food at Korean restaurants where the center of the table is the hot plate and we are served raw meat and veggies, that we toss it on the hot plate and watch it cook while we drink. The idea is similar. Recletta grill can be placed in the center of the dinning table; every guest gets his own pan that fills the grill.

We used it to melt Recletta cheese and made egg omelets that we poured over grilled meat. Most of us made our own choice of combinations of meat and veggies. Very soon the kitchen was smoky and fragrant with roasted smell of food.

 The brunch included gourmet Raclette cheese, assorted vegetables and meat, sausages, Asian style rice, a selection of breads and dips followed by some amazing deserts (Tiramisu, Chocolate cake and Blueberry cheese cake).

Aspri, the official spirit partner served some amazing white and red wine during the brunch. I am not much fond of drinks, but having said that I did try the sparkling white wine and it tasted good with meals.

All said and done, it was an entertaining brunch. Meeting food bloggers is always a wonderful experience of sharing notes and getting inspired to try something new, the food, the wine, the company, everything seamlessly falling in place.

Came back home with beautifully gift-wrapped plum cake stuffed with fruits and raisins that I shared with my family during late afternoon. It tasted divine with a cup of coffee.

Honestly, life cannot get better than this.

Thank you Rakhee Vaswani for hosting the event at your Palate Culinary Studio, thanks to Sameer Malkani of FBAI for the invite and thanks to food bloggers who shared their morning with me

Monday, December 9, 2013

Launch of 015’ Cafe

Before you can even find your table, you are enamored by the ambience of the restaurant 015’ Cafe at Seven Bungalows, Versova.

The murals speak in graphics of food recipes under sauces, snacks and drinks. Different musical instruments, mainly guitars, harmonium, tablas adorn the shelves. Rustic bricks behind the photo frames on the walls glitter under spotlights.

Long wooden community tables occupy the center of the room running parallel to bar, for smaller groups there are 4-seater tables randomly placed around and for more privacy there are two more tables behind the room shaped as telephone booth.

Smoking is not allowed in the restaurant, not even in the service-room, however, there is a enclosed glass room outside the restaurant where you can smoke away till you drop dead. Two large Televisions and loud music in the background is reason enough to dine in silence because conversation is impossible.

So, the next possible thing to do is to enjoy the meals. 

Reasonably priced, the cuisine is international with Asian, European and American. The portion is good enough. Just salads with chicken or prawn skewers and a glass of cocktail can make a satisfying meal.

Menu card clearly explains in detail the dish so that you know what to expect. For example, ‘Chicken Potli Kebab’ is chicken drumsticks stuffed with mutton mince marinated in Indian spices, cooked in tandoor, served with mint chutney (for the price of Rs256)

Food is exceptionally good. I shared the table with six other food bloggers and we decided to share each dish so that we were able to taste many of the dishes. To start with, drinks were the winner. Each one of us ordered different drinks and we got to taste many drinks but the winner was Minty Rita, an attractive looking green drink with dust of salt at the rim, (sister of Margarita) and as the name suggest, taste was ‘Minty’ and sweet. All the Chicken dishes were soft, melt-in-the-mouth with well-balanced spices. However lamb was let down, chewy and a bit raw, we were glad that we were sharing just a bite, so there was no wastage. I was unhappy with Spanish Paella too; neither the taste nor the presentation was appetizing.

During my travels abroad, I have noticed that if you request for chili sauce as an accompaniment with your food, the worried chef might come to your table and inquire about the quality of the food. It is considered rude to kill the original taste of the food by extra serving of chili sauce. But here, in India, even when the food is tasty in its original form, just Tobasco or chili flakes may not suffice. Indian palate is used to spicy foods and not having an in-house chili sauce to go with meals is a let down.

Overall, it was a satisfying meal with great company of good friends. My sincere thanks to Sameer Malkani for the invite and thanks to food bloggers who shared the table with me

Thank you Purvi, Joel and Yeshi for being there and a special thanks to my friend Monika Pant, who shared her evening with me

image source
Had a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stuffed Dinner Rolls

Last week I had attended an event ‘Pizza Off’ where each one of us made pizza with different toppings. I had blogged about this in my earlier post.

The dough that I brought home, I made stuffed dinner rolls, which was so tasty that I made some more the next week too to share it with my family.

I realized that once you know the basic of making pizza dough, you could play around and create different types of bread.

In the basic method, flour and salt were mixed properly. But I added mixed herbs and basil powder to the flour.

In the warm glass of water, I added sugar and active yeast (they told me Prime Yeast is the best). Mixed it well and kept it for 5 minutes.

This solution was then used for making soft dough. One tablespoon of oil was added to remove stickiness. The dough was kept covered for 3 hours to rise.
The dough was beaten once again and kept for another one hour.

 I made mushroom stuffing using finely chopped mushrooms, green chilies, crushed garlic, lime juice and vegetable-cube. You just need to stir-fry on high flame for 2 minutes.

Made a round shape, stuffed the mushroom filling, closed in and placed it in a greased baking tray and baked it for 15 minutes.

Best enjoyed with garlic sauce and plum sauce.

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