July 29, 2014

Mango Curd


Oh my…I am going to face a bad day. I bought four mangoes and had totally forgotten about its existence. Suffocated in a plastic bag it spent almost two days when I suddenly bumped in to them while cleaning my kitchen counter. Yea I am to some extend a forgetful lady who sometimes keeps her mobile phone in the refrigerator or the butter in the Micro-oven. Yea, yea I know. You must be thinking I am exaggerating. Oh no absolutely not. And this might be the only reason that often I am bashed down in a vocal war with my Man due to my forgetful nature (Now he writes everything and stick it on refrigerator so that it should not skip my mind- Aha good solution to avoid the Home Wars. :P). Ok now the moral of the fact was when I picked up one Mango and served to the lil one she instantly rejected. To her, the taste of the mango was too sweet and different.  So I tried a bite. Yeww… It had become over ripen and due to that it was leaving a kind gassy taste and acidic too. Now what to do with the remaining mangoes!!! So I took a whole day to decide what can be made with these (For you people who think Food Bloggers are genius, they know everything, they make recipes instantly blah blah – Here is the proof  they are not – I mean I am not But I know many who are really a genius).
I didn't want to discard the expensive mangoes. The man shouted a bit (As lil K disclosed the secret that she was not able to eat the Mango..grrrrr). And I silently digested it. The next day the idea clicked to make Mango curd. To be fare I have never made Lemon curd or either Mango curd. So I started browsing through the net. And got a recipe after my mind and hit it. Frankly speaking the gassy smell still was remained in the curd. But I did like it with some crackers or just as it is after the meal.  So I came to this conclusion if the mango is over ripen it is OK to make Mango Curd. But if the carbon dioxide raises high in the mango it is better to discard. Or if you have some better Idea then please share with me.
My Food Photography Experience:
Now onward I have thought of sharing how I am learning Food Photography and  trying to improve it.
# For me the first thing one should learn is to FOCUS the main object of a dish which actually is considered as a hero.
# Once you are well versed with focusing objects then you should start concentrating on syncing the whole picture with LIGHT. Trying clicking from every angle. And you will understand from which position you are having the best focus.
#I have started my journey first with the PROGRAM Mode and with the basic lens that comes with camera by default. Then I move on to the 50mm/1.8ft lens. It is the cheaper of the lot and I swear best for Food Photography mainly for the beginners.
# Each dish should have a story. And according to that you should create the background and arrange the props.
# I bought simple and cheap Masonite Boards and colour them to use them as by back grounds.
# Keep some piece of different types of plain colourful and designer clothes, one can use them also as the background.
# I always share it that click in that way so that the picture should not need to get edited. If needed just balance the highlight and shadow that’s all.  For beginners editing in Picasa is the best one.
This much for today. On my next post will share more…Now lets move on to the recipe:
Ingredients:
(Yields approx 1 & 1/4 cup)
{Recipe adapted from HERE}
Mango - 1 large ripe and cubed
Buttter- 6 tblspn
Sugar -1/3 cup 
 
Lemon Juice- 1 tblspn
Lemon Zest - from one small lemon
Egg- 3

Method:
1.  Blend the Mango cubes in a blender and make a puree. Reserve.
2. Melt butter in a Kadai/deep dense pan. Add sugar, lemon juice,  and  lemon zest. Cook over medium heat. Keep on  stirring, until sugar gets totally dissolved and the mixture comes to simmer. (Please see Note: #3)
3. Add the Mango puree and bring to boil.
4.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs one at a time. 
5. Take the Mango off the  heat and gradually whisk in the egg and fold nicely. 
6. Again put the mixture on heat and cook over moderate heat. Keep on stirring continuously to avoid the lumps. When it will start to bubble and the consistency turns a bot condensed then take it off the heat and cool. (Please check Note: #2)
7. When it is completely cooled down pour the mango curd an airtight container  and refrigerate for  at least 2 hours and then serve it. You can have it with bread or crackers or you can make tart and fill it with Mango curd. Some grated chocolates or some fresh chopped fruits too goes very well with it.
Note:-
1. I have made this out of 2 mangoes and used 5 eggs.
2. After the Mango Curd is done it is recommended to run it through a fine sieve to get rid of the lumps if formed any. I have skipped that part. 
3. I would recommend to add half of the sugar first and then the other half after adding the mango pulp. Because if the mango is too sweet then the addition of excess sugar may make it too sweeter. So first taste the sweetness and then add the remaining sugar as much needed.


July 16, 2014

Stuffed Omelette

"What you have Chhotu?" 
Sandy was thoroughly drenched. There was no point of taking any shelter anymore. But he was starving for a cup of tea or coffee to warm up his tired limbs and naturally something to eat. He was on his way back home and hitching for last 20 minutes for a taxi. And moreover the sudden rain had ruined his entire romantic mood that was weaving the future he wanted to spend with Sai. 
"Namaste Dada!!! What you want?" The boy popped up from this dark shadowy roadside snack bar. Sandy was waiting outside and a bit in hesitant whether to enter or not. But the jocund welcome tone of the boy made him comfortable to reserve a corner sit for him.
"First serve me a hot tea and something to eat." Sandy replied.
"Ok. Then try our Egg Noodles.." Cackled the boy.
Sandy just wanted something to eat and the words -Egg Noddles, made his stomach rumbled with a jiggle. He nodded his head and ordered to bring it quickly. He chose a corner table next to the door. So that the dripping water drops from his body could flow down through the door, brushing the wet steps and then get mingled in the water logged street. Ah, this is his city of joy, where a 10 minutes heavy rain turns a dry road into a creek. He could see the two way traffic moving in slow space splashing the water which is curling down again to kiss the stagnant water. 
"Ah, Sai where are you!!!" Sandy felt a bolted emotion suddenly choked his throat. He was missing her so much. If she was here she would be jumping like a little girl and sharing her single precious excitement while enjoying the incessant rain and the music of the droplets paring with the splashing water. She loves rain......Sandy took out his phone and clicked a picture and sent Sai through whatsapp. A sad smiley blinked up right away and then:
"Missing me?"
"Hun.."
"Love you.."
"Love you too.."
"Dada your tea and Egg Noodles.." Chhotu disrupted the song of the love birds and served the ordered dish.
"What is this?, I ordered for Egg Noodles." Sandy with a surprised face asked the boy.
The boy jovially replied, "Are Dada this is the special Egg Noodles. Once you eat, you will ask for more." The boy vanished inside in no time. 
Sandy took a look around the room. It was quite full. All were busy in chatting or engaged with their phones. Munching, sipping and gulping. Sandy's face reflected a kind of disappointment. Though he was an egg lover, right now he was not in a mood to have an Omlette. He was craving more for the Egg Noodles. His mind was slowly getting heated up. He clicked a picture of the dish and sent it to Sai:
"At which angle will you call it Egg Noodles??"
"What!! Are you kidding?? This is an Omlette... hahaha "
"I ordered for the famous Egg Noodles of this place and this is what I was served."
"Hahahaha...Enjoy..."
Sandy was very hungry and whatever was served in front of him had started to lure him. He cut a piece and forked it to make a way to his mouth. Oh, my what was this peeping out!!! Noodles!!!! Therefore the Omlette was looking so fatty than the usual one. A smile twinkled in his face. He took a bigger piece along with the noodles and then he closed his eyes. A sheer joy of happiness shivered down through his veins. He had never tasted such a tasty dish before in his life. 
"Sai, it is Egg Noodles!!!! And it is delicious. I will surely bring you here to taste it."
"What??"
"I mean it is Egg Noodles or rather I should say Stuffed Omlette with noodles."
"Hahahahaha.....So lesson learnt don't make assumption by name. Taste it and then decide... ;) :P"
Sandy finished his plate in no time. And the hot tea helped him to regain back his energy again to start his struggle to reach home through his water logged pathway.
"Chhotu, the Egg Noodles was awesome."
"I told you..It is the famous dish here.." The happy boy bid good bye to Sandy holding a tip of ten rupees in his hand.

Ingredients:
You need some stuffing. Her I have taken Vegetable Noodles (The normal way we make at home)
For each roll we need 2 eggs
Grated Cheese (as per requirement)
Tomato Sauce
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder
Oil/butter for frying
Method:
1. Beat two eggs nicely. Ad Salt and Black pepper powder as per taste.
2. Take a non-stick pan. Heat Oil/Butter and then pour the Egg. Make sure to spread it evenly in a round big circle. 
3. In a low flame let it cook till the surface looks done. Now take small portion of the stuffing (Here I added homemade noodles) and line vertically. Leave a little space on the top and the bottom. Top some grated cheese on it. In skilled hand roll the omlette and wrap the noodles. Let it be done for another couple of minutes. And then serve with some ketchup or salad.

Notes:
1. You can make many variations of it. Different kinds of stuffing can me made, like fried rice, stir fried vegetables, stir fried sausages, dry minced chicken or some stir fried boneless chicken  etc.
2. If you want to avoid the egg yolk then just make it with egg whites. It comes out pretty well. I often make it for my parents and in-laws as they are prone to cholesterol. 
 Nutritional Value:
For the kids it is very healthy and they like it when you serve it with the variations mentioned above. Along with the egg one can get the supplemented proteins, vitamins along through the vegetables too.

July 11, 2014

French Weekend at Swissotel, Kolkata

"French cuisine is known for its exquisite taste and presentation and we are proud to present traditional French recipes brought to us from Lyon which is know as the 'gastronomical capital of France'". I am sure that the people of the city will enjoy the dishes."
- Mr.Marco Saxer (General Manager of Swissotel, Kolkata)
 Kolkata Food Bloggers recently got invited at the inauguration of the French Weekend at Cafe Swiss in Swissotel that will continue till 13th July'14 and to taste the exquisite flavours from France to celebrate  the French National Day (celebrated on 14th of July).  As a part of the team Amrita, Vishal and I reached on time to witness the french culinary journey that will keep the impression in our mind forever. Just at the entrance we got struck to see the decor and the huge replica of the World Cup to keep the spirit of the recent sport fever. Warm and cordial greetings from team Swiss made us comfortable and we were served Cranberry cooler and Sparkling wine. When it comes to French Cuisine the concept of the fine dining with its unique delicacies pops up and make you lure. I always admire the quality of food that Swissotel restaurants serve and mainly when they present the food fests picking up different cuisines of the world, they ensure that they should present the authentic taste of the cuisine. Therefore for each Food Fest they bring the specialised and experienced chefs from that particular country. This time the flare from French Cuisine instantly sealed our lips so that we should not talk but eat and eat and eat. 

Most of the delegates were from France and French Consulate. Busy in chitchatting and munching the delectable starters. We were introduced with the GM, Mr. Marco Saxer and was overwhelmed to see his cordial greetings that made us more comfortable. To enrich our knowledge we were introduced with Louise Arnes from Lyon, the Gastronomical Capital of France, who crafted the menu keeping in mind to stick to its authentic taste and to present the traditional dishes from her country. She also shared keeping in mind the local ingredients that  could be found in India, the menu had been designed. Though she wanted to add two more dishes like Red varrine and a dessert, since the ingredients were not available here therefore it got omitted. The key qualities of the food  were: spice less and the usage of the fresh ingredients. So as our journey started of tasting and exchanging the knowledge of French Cuisine and the dishes served that very day.
The starter menu comprised of: Zucchini and Tomato Verrine, Accars (Fish Dumpling), Asparagus and Ham Ballotins, Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine, Mini Chicekn croquet monsieur and Gourgeres (Cheese Puff). My picks were the Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine and the Accars (Fish Dumpling). How could I miss the Asparagus and Ham Ballotins and Cheese Puffs too. Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine was just out of the world. A layer of avocado seasoned mildly with lemon juice and then topped with a layer of sour cream and crowned with the smoked salmon. One need to scoop out the two layers altogether and to take a bit of the salty smoky flavoured salmon. And here you go- I reached directly to the heaven after each bite. The fish Dumpling was the another one hit my palate. Crab meat steamed and topped with some brown sauce made a perfect pairing and after tasting it the balanced flavour did win my heart. So as the Asparagus and Ham Ballotins. All the fresh ingredients and the usage of minimal ingredients made each dish not only exotic but too savoury.
The Main course menu  goes like this: From the Veg section:
 Dauphinois Potato (Potatoes cooked with Cream). Ratatouille, Herb and Cheese Shouffle, Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroon Fricassee and Onion and Leek Tart.
We were recommended by Louise to taste Dauphinois Potato (Potatoes cooked with Cream). That one is one of the famous dishes of her native land. And so it was. Half Boiled Potato got baked with Cream and Cheese made the pair like made in heaven. The creamy bite of the potato coated with Cheese and Cream made the taste nothing but yum. 
When I first watched the movie Ratatouille, I was hooked to create the dish Ratatouille at my kitchen. I made it but never knew what would be the original taste. This was for the first time I tasted and found it not only delectable but exquisitely good in taste. A mild tangy tomato based sauce coated with the vegetables made a succulent bite. Yes it had then become a winner where a meat lover like me complementing a veg dish like this.
Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroon Fricassee was also a dish worth to mention. Mushroom cooked in thick cheesy-nutty gravy made perfect blend of taste. 
The Non-Veg Buffet Spread goes like this:
Lobster Thermidor,Poulet au Vinalgre (Lyon Specialty of vinegar braised chicken, Bouf Bourgulgnon (Tenderloin cooked with red wine), Gigot d'agneau (Roast leg of lamb served with roaste potatoes), Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple Riesling Sauce.
My picks of the day were the Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple Riesling Sauce and the Lobster Thermidor. Fresh Pork slices cooked in diced bacon and Apple Riesling sauce was out of the world. The Pork was perfectly cooked and the freshness of each ingredients made it more delicious. At each bite one will have the tiny diced bacon along with the juicy pork piece.
Lobster Thermidor here got presented in a different way since it was a part of the buffet spread. But none could beat the taste. I have tasted Lobster Thermidor in variuos places. And each time I came up with a different taste. Here too the taste was different but again taste wise it got the full marks.
The non-veg dishes were also winner in its own way. Mainly when you got a chance to taste the authentic and traditional French dishes sitting in your own city of joy, what life needs more.

How could I miss the Breads and the Cheese Truffles that are French Cuisine famous for. The truffles were exceptionally good in taste cheese rolled in nuts/ pesto/coconut flakes. I have never imagined that a cheese truffle would be so tasty. It went perfectly with the assorted breads that was on the spread. The Spread also had the Famous French onion soup and Bouillabaisse (Sea Food Soup served with rouille). I tasted the seafood one. The smell of the seafood was very mild that would make you more prone to go for the second serving and the next. Assorted seafood crunches would give you a mouthful serving with the warm liquid soup pouring down your throat giving an utmost satisfaction to enjoy the delectable dish.
And last but not the least here I come to the Dessert section that is French Cuisine mainly famous for. All the famous French Desserts along with some from other cuisines too were lined up to made us satisfied. We were pretty full then. But who could resist if you have these luring desserts welcoming you. Croquembouche, Matafaim,Paris Breast, Blue Berry Cheese Cake, Lamington, French Apple Tart, French Swiss roll, Creme Brulee, Cherry Clafoutis. Opera Cake, Chocolate Mousse, Sandesh. Ladoo and so on and forth all were presented at one's service. No need to say again the each dessert was a winner. But my pick was the Croquembouche and the Paris Breast. Paris Breast was a kind of choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut sauce. At each bite the oozing chocolaty hazelnut sauce was a heavenly match with choux pastry.
All over my experience was splendid. Mainly loved the way the taste and the presentation of the dishes were taken care of, keeping in mind to give the utmost authentic flavour of the traditional dishes that were crafted in the Buffet Menu for the French Weekend.

For more Pictures pls visit my Facebook Page.

French Weekend at Cafe Swiss is on till 13th July'14.
Price: INR 1600 plus taxes per person for Dinner Buffet. A special Sunday Brunch on 13th July will cost INR 1650 plus taxes per person.
Timings: 7.00pm to 11.00pm 
To know more detail about French Weekend one may call at this no: 033-6626 6666
             

Crispy Sweet Corn

Feeling so good to be back in blogging again. I was on vacation for more than a month, then all of a sudden my laptop conked off. To replace the mother board it took more than 3 weeks. Ah, I know its a long time. But still happy be a part of this Smart Phone realm that at least, it didn't make me totally deprived from the social networking channel. I didn't think that I would be able to participate this time to the ongoing event: "Gaming Night Bites" that KFB has announced. Yea the event is created to keep the spirit of the FIFA World Cup 2014 final and to munch and crunch instead of biting your nails. So I thought of making something very easy but tasty that can be fully enjoyed to boost up the gaming spirit. Its healthy so you can pass on some energy to your favourite team too..:P 
This Crispy Sweet Corn dish  I was actually created after getting thoroughly  inspired by one of my favourite restaurants- Bar-b-Que Nation in Kolkata. We the food lovers and the Cooking Kings/Queens, whenever we visit a food joint the first thing we do, we take the first bite and then start to postmortem the succulent flavour by dissecting the ingredients in it. Yes of course if it hits the palate and wins the heart. And moreover if your lil one gives a thumbs up of any dish, you become more into it to storm your brain how the dish gets cooked. One will see your lips and tongue are moving in nano seconds. The tip of your tongue is hitting the  palate and with full concentration noting down the ingredients. You may have already cooked the dish in your mind's kitchen and your impatient soul will keep on tapping by making you a bit crazy when you will go back home and hit the dish in your kitchen. Now apart from all the mouthwatering Kababs and main courses this Crispy Sweet Corn gets serve as a veg starter in Bar-b-Que Nation. My lil one wants go back again and again to Bar-b-Que Nation only to have this dish. So Mamma thought let us try in our kitchen. And here it is. (Never thought it will be so easy to make.. ;) ) So here is the recipe. Do try it and let me know..Yes I will be waiting for feedback.....
Ingredients:
Pls Note: This time I am note going to give any measurement. You have to make it with your own measurement.
Sweet Corn Kernels
Besan/Gram Flour
Salt & Sugar to taste
To spice up a bit you can sprinkle after it gets done:
Chat Masala
Black Salt
Lemon Juice
Red Chilly Powder
Method:
It will look like this
before frying..
1. Wash the corn kernels and put it on a strainer so that the excess water should drained out.
2. Put them in bowl and add salt and sugar as per taste. Mix them nicely and keep them aside for a while .
3. Add Besan/Gram Flour 1 spoon at time and keep on folding nicely. Make sure each corn kernel should get nicely coated with the Besan/Gram Flour.
4. Take a Kadai/Deep dense Pan and heat sufficient oil so that you can deep fry the kernels. Make sure the oil is hot enough and then keep on frying the kernels in a bunch till they turn brown.
5. Take them out and pour them on a plate that is covered with a kitchen towel/tissue paper so that the oil should get absorbed. 
6. Now enjoy plain or sprinkling some spices after your mind.

Note:
1. You can spices when you are adding the salt and sugar too.
2. Beware while frying the kernels. They are tend to splutter.
3. Using Arrowroot will make it more crispy. 

It is off to the ongoing event Game Night Bites by Kolkata Food Bloggers..