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Friday, March 31, 2017

Washington Apples HighTeaMeet at St. Regis Hotel

An invite by FBAI for an exclusive Washington Apples high tea meet  at St. Regis hotel on 38th floor is something that nobody can refuse, specially not me.

I was running late, but reached in time to attend the live demo of ‘Puebla Avocado Tartare’ by Chef Himanshu Taneja.

This was followed by a talk by Keith Sunderlal – India Representative of the Washington Apple Commission who spoke of health benefits of Washington Apples. Rebecca Lyons, International Marketing Director of the Washington Apple Commission (she flew all the way down from Washington USA). She  spoke widely about different apples that are grown in the orchards on western belt of US and how they are harvested. She said “The apples don’t just fall off the tree like mangoes, or other such fruits, but they have to be hand-plucked, every single piece.” Did you know that 50% of apples are from US and 30% of Washington Apples are exported?

Whoever said “One apple a day keeps doctor away” knew the nutrient value of this fruit. It contains vitamins, minerals and fibres. It reduces the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease., it controls blood sugar level, it is useful for treating anaemia, helps prevent cancer, facilitates digestion, the list is endless.

A dessert is a must, so we had another demo of ‘Seb Ka Chenna Payesh’

Apples, apples everywhere, as far as eyes-sight could stretch. I was attracted immediately to those shiny brass pots at the end of the room, a panipuri station and was completely bowled over by crunchy, spicy Puri stuffed with apples and vodka…yes, I loved it.

It was spicy  but very tasty, had just two then walked over to the apple drink station of sweet and sour apple juice.

Alhambra, the banquet room on the 38th floor of the hotel St. Regis had a big spread of savories and sweets, all made of one main ingredient- Washington apples. There were pies, quiches, savories, mustard broccoli quiche, Granny Smith, clove with cottage cheese sandwich, the apple jelebi, sweets, drinks and more

Did you know that apple float in water because 25% of their volume is air.

It was nice interacting with other food bloggers and got into conversation with interesting ones, some spoke of their travels and some of food photography and some simply about food blogging.  We sat by the window, 38 floors up and has bird’s eye view of Mumbai city where rich and poor live side by side, both dependent on each other for finding a better shade of comfort.

It was an lovely afternoon spend with like minded people all who loved Washington apples.

Enjoyable event indeed! Thank you FBAI for lovely afternoon.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Restaurant Review –Bohemian Brew, Bistro and Tea Room

Bohemian Brew, (where all kinds of tea are brewed) is a perfect hangout for people who love food, continental or global cuisine, that pairs perfectly with tea. It is modern age bistro and tea room that serves global selection of handpicked, single origin exotic tea.

First thing that attracts you to this newly launched restaurant at Khar is the ambience.

The restaurant is divided into four sections. The outdoor place behind the long bamboo partition has perfect seating for Sheesha and snacks and that leads to a smaller party room where a smaller group can be accommodated enjoying the Sheesha experience.

The indoors have artistic dining tables, beautiful lampshades, with state of art and curios decorating the walls. Two  steps up is the open kitchen and ten steps down leads to a cozy room with low furniture, bean bags, board games and book shelf. (a room where kids can play/read while the family enjoys the dinner upstairs). There are many plug points near the low furniture where one can chill out alone too, with food, tea, laptop and spend many hours without disturbance.

The drama started in the tea kettle as soon as we were seated. Jasmine tea arrived with a beautiful display of scented flowers, a bulb consisting of a bundle of dried tea leaves and flowers, that began to expand and unfurl in process leaving a sweetly floral infusion.

With mood set to enjoy the dinner, the first course of salads arrived.

Sweet and spicy watermelon slice topped with creamy mascarpone and feta cheese. There was a delightful thai flavors of vodka and watermelon juice infused with fennel and crunchy pine nuts

A special tea leaf salad that had Burmese fermented tea leaves salad with fried garlic peanuts, roasted chana dhal, sesame seeds, cherry tomatoes and lettuce.

This was followed by appetisers, one veg and other non-veg.

Spicy cheesy Kaboos had sautéed vegetables with cheese stuffed between two flatbreads and lightly grilled and this was served with a spicy Peri Peri sauce and rocket leaves. The peri peri sauce was excellent.

I ordered Chermoula Prawns- marination of coriander, parsley green chillies, garlic, and lemon and cooked to the perfection. This was served along with homemade sauce which was garlic hinted and side salad.

While we enjoyed the meals, my eyes roved all around the room. The interiors are tastefully done with every detail in its place. Every table is painted with intricately designed doodles. The tables separated by wooden designer mesh partition giving the privacy of dining experience to every diner. Beautiful decorative lamp shades all over the walls and ceiling, gives you the feeling as if you have entered an arabic zone.

It was nice talking to Rahul Desai, Nevil Kotak and Nitesh Raheja, the three partners, who are the co-owners of this beautiful restaurant. Being experienced chefs, their talent reflects into the food. Rahul Desai offered me a second cup of tea. He brought few bottles of tea leaves to choose from. I took in the deep breath to inhale their fragrance. I settled for deep red Hibiscus tea, although I had loved the vanilla flavored tea too, but then I cannot have all.

There is great variety of tea to choose from that range from normal black and green tea of different flavors, to Oolong tea like fugian, milk, gingseng or white like darjeeling, silver needle, assam hand-rolled or infusion like chamorine, peppermint, hibiscus, vanilla. There are other variety like rose, milk, blueberry. They also have traditional Indian teas like adrak-pudina chai, masala chai, cardomom chai. Adrak-pudina-lemon grass chai.

So we continue with the main course. Didn’t want to have Pizza or Rissotto, or sandwiches or burgers, wanted to order something light. I ordered grilled chicken with three peppercorn velonte served on the bed of mash potatoes and mixed grilled vegetables. I loved it

My friend ordered Cottage cheese, steak served with a side ratatatouille provencale and garnished with basil pasto and pine nuts. She didn’t like it much, she felt it was too cheesy and too heavy for her taste.

However, it was a good experience of dining at this restaurant. We promised to visit again with friends and sit for longer hours to enjoy more variety of dishes. The restaurant is fairly priced with about Rs700 per head, which is good enough if the management allows you to sit as long as you wish while sipping tea over board games and inhaling different flavored hookah like a chimney. Choice is yours......

I was there on an invite this time, but I would love to visit again
Shop 1, Mahesh Apartment, TPS III Road 5, Off SV Road, Khar, Mumbai

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Amaranth Leaves

The other day, my vegetable seller knocked on my door to deliver the vegetables. He had a big bunch of red leaves in his hand. It was an order from my neighbour. He said that he had specially bought for her since not many people ask for these leaves.

I have never before cooked these leaves but I wanted to taste it. I asked him to get a bunch for me. I learnt that these leaves are called Amaranth leaves and are called Lal Maat in Marathi. They come in red and green colors and smaller the leaves, the tastier they are. Before I could cook it, I googled to understand the nutritional value of these leaves. This is what I discovered.

The leaves don’t fall behind in terms of nutritional value. According to Ayurveda, the juice extracted from amaranth leaves help in treating diarrhoea and haemorrhage conditions. It is packed with carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and regular consumption helps in easing digestion, excessive menstruation and weight management. Since it is high in iron content and dietary fibre, it is good for anaemic patients, and reduces cholesterol and risks of cardiovascular diseases. The presence of an essential amino acids called lysine along with other elements are said to help fight against free radicals that result in aging or the formation of malignant cells.
The leaves are also deemed to be an effective measure against hair loss and premature greying. They act as a natural astringent and work wonders for skin problems like eczema and acne. It also contributes significantly to dental care and works as an effective mouthwash for treating mouth and gum related conditions.

I cooked amaranth leaves with potatoes using only garlic, chilies, salt and turmeric.

So simple to cook and so very tasty. I loved it.

I went to my neighbors home to ask her the recipe.


1 bunch Amaranth leaves
1tbsp jaggery
few Kokum leaves
50grams coconut
2 green chilies
5 cloves garlic
1tsp turmeric
2tsp coriander leaves
1tsp mustard seeds
6-7 curry leaves
salt to taste


Boil the Amaranth leaves with jaggery , salt and kokum.
Make the paste of masala by mixing coconut , green chilies, garlic, turmeric and coriander powder.
Stir fry the paste, add the boiled leaves and the stock.
Let it slow cook till creamy.
Temper with mustard seed and curry leaves
temper with deep fried crushed garlic.

Two days later she invited me for lunch and served me this

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