23 December 2015

My Favourite Foodies. And Their Favourite Ingredients.

Do you have that one ingredient that you enjoy cooking with? That one ingredient that you try incorporating in most of your dishes? I decided to ask some of my favourite food bloggers and home chefs what their favourite ingredients to cook with are. These are bloggers that I follow, home chefs whose food I swear by, and food writers who I enjoy reading - an esteemed bunch who I am thankful to for contributing to this post. Read on!

1. Kalyan Karmakar of The Finely Chopped
One of the first food blogs I started following, each post Kalyan pens down is a fable, where the central characters are food! I've yet to find a blog that oscillates between gourmet food from the cobbled streets of Rome, to street side dosas from Mumbai suburbs with such ease.
Kalyan tells me he enjoys cooking with fish - an answer I was hoping for owing to his Bengali lineage. 'My current focus has been on oven based yet flavourful fish grills and bakes. The trick is to ensure that the fish is cooked right. Not over cooked. Not raw. Which is always a challenge in the oven and part of the fun.', shares Kalyan.

Kalyan's Lebanese Inspired Grilled Snapper
Image Courtesy - Kalyan Karmakar
2. Nikhil Merchant of Nonchalant Gourmand
Gorgeous pictures, innovative recipes, and beautifully worded text - Nikhil's blog is a perfect dive into the world of gourmet food.
Nikhil is currently based in Los Angeles, working on a new project, and relishing California's citrus trees - blood oranges, lemons, limes and avocados which are found commonly in most homes over there. 'I have a lemon tree growing here and it's perennial. Not only do they have that quintessential citrus tang but are sweet and mildly acidic. Fleshy skin for some great zest and full of juice. I am a sucker for lemons these days, and they are totally worth it.', quips Nikhil.

Nikhil's Nonchalant Lemon Soufflé
Image Courtesy - Nikita Mody

16 December 2015

My Encounters with Mumbai Rickshaw Walas

The most challenging part of my work day is finding an auto rickshaw on Linking road during peak hours, to ply a short distance. I turn from Zenia to Xena - the warrior princess - fighting my way through the swarming traffic, competing with fellow office goers, all so that I can find someone to safely take me home. Sadly my ordeal does not end there. 
I seem to have the innate knack of attracting auto drivers that range from the obstinately rude to the downright cheap. An interesting rickshaw ride yesterday inspired me to list down the types of rickshaw walas I encounter on a regular basis, and here goes - 

1. The Opinionated Chatterbox
This category seems to have an opinion on everything, and he ain't afraid to voice it. Right from politics, to weather, to Bollywood, to the state of the roads - this one seems to know it all! And then there's the moral police variety as well who enjoys talking about sanskaar and sabhyata. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have faked a phone conversation so that I don't have to listen to him rant. And then there are the times I actually enjoy this category - it feels good to chat with a stranger sometimes, on any and every topic under the sun.

8 December 2015

Flavour Diaries, Khar - Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too!

I remember my first year, Anatomy lecture many moons ago where the professor labelled the laryngeal cartilages for us on a cadaver, that fifty of us were asked to share. When the time came for me to identify them during a test, I couldn't tell the cricoid from the thyroid! The purpose of this extremely useless piece of information is to acquaint you'll with how important 'hands on' learning is in any field. Some time back I attended a baking class where the chef demonstrated a couple of easy treats which I was confident I could pull off. Needless to say when I tried the recipe at home, my cake did not rise and I ended up eating half cooked cake batter for dessert! Had I actually practiced baking the cake alongside the teacher, I'd have a different story (and some cake) to share.
Which is why the Flavour Diaries - a cooking studio perched right on top of Khar Social - is what the doctor ordered! Eight individual work stations where you actually get to practice what you're learning ensures you leave class with not just knowledge but also skill!

Over a wonderful meal of comforting one pot chicken stew and delicious apple crumble cake at this newly launched studio, I understood more about the Flavour Diaries experience.