Sunday, January 8, 2012


You know that feeling when you meet someone and you click instantly not because you get along but because they inspire you to be more than what you thought you could be. It’s the 8th of January, and the hailstorm last night has left all of New Delhi feeling a little more dramatic than they usually do. The chilly winds and grey skies make is seem like we’re just patiently waiting for something shoddier to come along. The 4th was my uncle’s birthday, so we had a charming little tea party at Elma’s Café which finds itself perfectly placed in the corner of a delightful street at Hauz Khas village. What can I say; I just fell in absolute love with the place! Its so completely Victorian! With their floral upholstery and the pretty blue on white china. From scones (weren't the best iv eaten, but hey, at least they'r available) that were served with clotted cream and luminous berry jam to enormous slices of the royal red velvet cake. The French press coffee was absolutely divine and the lazy afternoon seemed to pass so comfortable as we sipped numerous cups of the delightful honey ginger lemon. It was like a magic potion with glitter in a cup. The staff was exceptionally pleasant, that’s what I thought was terrific about the place- that’s the one thing that wasn’t British and how glad I was!

Today I tried what I would call an Indian English omlette! Pan, olive oil, garlic, ginger, green chilies- sauté. Add to that coarsely chopped tomato and after about 7.5 seconds so its still part raw and you can taste their sweetness and appreciate the striking red color. Add the egg and milk mix (this mixture is basically 3 eggs beaten with 3 teaspoons of milk) Cover with a plate, turn off the stove after 10 seconds and let the steam cook you the most exquisite omlette. Believe me it’s going to be worth it. And let me just say this before you reconsider trying this out, it sincerely doesn't require any effort, it’s easier than boiling an egg!

Eat, cook, shine J

Monday, December 19, 2011


Hello all. I am so kicked even though its 4 degrees outside! I just had a eureka moment. Since I am a student of English literature which in all its enormity fails to excite me even half as much as my limited knowledge of food, I decided to unravel the psychology of food through the course of my study here. So little is ever mentioned about food. But in my understanding, it can do wonders. It not only has the power to change the temper of a scene, it also helps add charisma to the character.

A friend of mine got married day before yesterday. And I mention this because I want to take a moment to thank them for being so kind as to have such a variety of piping hot starters for us. There were golden fried prawns that were so creamy the phrase ‘melt in your mouth’ came to life for me right then and there. Szechwan prawns that felt like one was feeding on tiny rainbows for they were impeccably light and were so pleasing to the eye. Fish tikka, beer batter fish, Amritsari fish tikka, Hyderabadi fish. Chicken tikka, chicken seekh, chicken satay, chicken malai kebab, some version of corn cheese and spinach stuffed into a canopy with minced chicken, kakori kebaba, galoti kebab. Mutton seekh, mutton tikka. Fruit kebab. Cheese puffs. And these were only the starters I tried. There were platters of Mediterranean delights, if you will. There was everything from Black Label and Jack Daniels to Grey Goose! There was such large amounts of food we’d stuffed our faces with we couldn’t even make our way to the main course! You truly have to be Punjabi by nature to know the C of celebration.

The French press coffee at The Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf is beyond doubt my favorite. It’s both visually appealing and it tastes like genuine coffee! And that with the Philadelphia cheese cake makes you want to yank out your arms, attach two wings and fly to heaven.

This post is fragmented and haphazard but there are just too many miniature thoughts in my head. Also the cold makes me think less. This has to be my shortest post but I feel after this great things will start to happen :P


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

L for lazy, L for lasagna

It’s here, you can feel the musky chill in the air, winters are here! All my life I’ve been a fan of the summer, I just always thought they were cooler as getting dressed took only fifteen minutes. The winter is an entirely different ball game altogether. You need to wait for the water to warm up whilst ensuring that it doesn’t start to sizzle lest it burns you (yes), apply lotion everywhere after your shower, wear at least 3 layers of clothing at all times of the day which automatically makes you feel like a potato, and you can’t run fast because your eyes will fill up, get all blurry and you’ll fall flat on your face (true story)! But after 20 years in this big bad world I can safely say I am switching over to team winter! Winter comes with all its celebration and flavor. From hot cups of smooth chocolate topped with severe chilly to gooey homemade apple pie infused with cinnamon and acidic green apples, a Sunday afternoon can be enjoyed lazing in the warm afternoon sun rather than desperate attempts to compel yourself to socialize with dull groups of people only because it has the AC involved.. You can waltz on the streets, appreciate the beauty of the gleaming trees and roll in the grass, but of course one must be cautious of any sudden explosion at all times, but this is a statutory warning only to be kept at the back of your minds, this in no way should come in the middle of all the fun-having.

So October it is, and the magnificent evening with all its glory is here. Even the languid non indulgent sort must pamper themselves by trying out this lasagna. Believe you me, this is nothing but e-a-s-y! First off, we shall categorize. We need lasagna sheet-tomato sauce-lasagna sheet-mushrooms + corn sautéed in cream sauce-oodles if beautiful snowy cheese. That’s it. That’s all.

STEP 1: Start off by chopping 6 tomatoes for the tomato sauce. Heat some golden olive oil on the pan, add to it 3 gracefully chopped cloves of garlic. Tell me that sizzle doesn’t make you instantly happier! Slice open a green chilly, de-seed it and add to the oil for flavor. To this add your tomatoes with pepper and salt and simmer until cooked. (also make sure the sauce looks appetizing, don’t cook its life away)

STEP 2: Add lasagna sheets to boiling water. Please add oil to the water otherwise the sheets will fuse together like sticky fruit-ella does to its much-loved wrapper.

STEP 3: This is the most challenging one, so keep your sensory organs stirring. In a large pan, melt butter and gradually add flour to form a roux. A roux for those of you who don’t know is a traditional French technique of cooking which is a cooked mixture of flour and a cooking fat, like vegetable oil, that is used to thicken sauces and gravies (there, feel smarter already) Add milk gradually over a low heat constantly stirring until sauce thickens. Add to this salt and mixed herbs. Keep aside and feel proud!

STEP 4: Sautee in butter finely chopped mushrooms, spring onions and American corn, when cooked, add the white sauce to this and it’s done.

STEP 5: Layer up! Place the sheets depending on the size of the casserole, followed by the tomatoes, the sheets again, the white sauce and topple with generous amounts of cheddar and mozzarella and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 to 40 minutes.

STEP 6: Its just you and your lasagna now, add to this a glass of intense white wine and treat yoursllf to a cherry pop flavored bubble bath. You’ll thank me J

Also, a very reliable source tells me that a cockroach tastes like crispy flaky mucous. Bon appétit!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

love handles

Hello, all you sparkly people!
I wouldn’t even bother giving an explanation this time. Its just the rains and, well like I said I shall not give any lame reason! So many foods, I must share it all J
First off, the divine patisserie L’opera at Khan market. It was a stifling summer afternoon, and my cousin from Jaipur was visiting. We met a friend of hers who was on a severe diet that only allowed her to eat half a subway sandwich for one meal. So 3 inches of roast chicken in lousy bread with the most unappetizing sauces for concession because lets face it mayonnaise is a synonym for FAT. And being the insensitive jerks that we are, there we were sitting next to her, helping ourselves to sweet almond bread and cream filled macaroons! Overpriced as any other eatery in the snobbish locality, this one had all the right flavors and textures. Not too sweet like everyone’s favorite Big Chill or soggy like the less elite Maxims, they meant business and we could tell. It was a ridiculous 180 Rupees for 3 baby macaroons, but id be lying if id say they weren’t worth every penny. The almond bread was consumed only because it was the cheapest, and generally I always go in for the fancier desert, but simplicity paid off. It was moist and chewy and I loved how serious we got when we got down to eating, there was no talking; only savoring every second of the slice of glory. Next on our plates came this caramel-cream-éclair-only not éclair sort of dessert, it wasn’t sweet or salty. It was a not-so-sweet version of caramel with a flaky pastry that had the most exquisite taste. I swear we were dazed for a while after, it was actually that good, and the best part? I hadn’t even eaten any chocolate!

For me, Big Chill is less Italian and more comfort food. So earlier this week (this isn’t in chronology by the way) when I was torn between pain and resentment, I decided that the only thing that would make me chirpy again would be cheese + garlic + bacon! Penne with Gouda and pepperoni (172), happier days, check! But tell me why I need to pay 800 bucks for that and a glass of coke? Don’t worry, I didn’t go alone, I wasn’t THAT depressed! But seriously, I feel like all my money goes in eating, and I admit it’s a little pissing off. Also I’m becoming fat! I feel overjoyed every time I touch my ‘love handles’ why are they called that anyway? And believe me you, its not love.

Have I ever told you about Mama? Okay! So they are my favorite noodles in the world. I love noodles, sometimes I merely eat noodles cause I enjoy them so much, my friends think I’m demented, but I don’t take offence, cause baby I get my cheap Indian chowmein! But Mama noodles are Thai flavored, 2 minute noodles and with coriander and a squirt of lemon its just like what feels like Lady Gaga food!

Okay, have to run away now. Ill be back :P

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the hills have taste

I won’t even bother making an excuse this time, but I guarantee you its either because of the education business of excessive chilling that I haven’t written. Many days, multiple foods, some delectable, some I’m still trying to forget. Have I mentioned already that I’m attracted to Nigella Lawson, I get that she is married and has kids and well, that I’m a girl. But really, when I see her on my flat screen, life IS good! Just the way she smothers the tender chicken with her flawlessly manicured nails, and  then against the pink of the raw chicken gushes the juice of a bright green lemon, and snippets of brutal red chilies. Its orgasmic, the entire process. I’m not quite sure of my feelings, whether I’m jealous or pleased or miserable. It is depressing, really. I wish I could have that impact on someone, anyone. I think it’s in your stars; my stars seem to be shining in an overcast sky, sigh.

So did I tell you I went to Mcloedganj?! What a beauty, with the mountains, waterfalls, pind boys and everything. Summers are most definitely the worst time to travel; families from all over are all over. But brace yourselves, for I am going to tell you a tale of inspiring food, and this is just as awesome as awesome can get. I have been travelling to the hills since I was tiny, and the one thing I’d concluded was that they had horrible food. But oh, so wrong I was, this trip seemed to wipe out any traces of bad food related memories. We were staying at the Bhagsu Valley Resort, and Vinod bhaia made the most gorgeous food id ever eaten. We had thick aallu paranthas with cubes of butter with each bite, pickled carrots and sour curd! The tea and coffee was intensely sweet but it was holiday time, and so we continued with our consumption. For dinner there was the most delicious home booked chicken with dal and rice and hot rotis. We ventured out a little, but climbing out of our hotel to the road that connected us to the market took us half an hour as the climb was entirely vertical, I’m NOT exaggerating. But then we found Jimmy’s so it was all worth it, we planned put daily departure in a way that we don’t get stalked by the handsome men and we could have lunch at the jolly Jimmys! Such stunning Italian food at even more attractive prices, it was like paradise! I can speak of my chicken in red wine sauce and the other steak like chicken with chunks of tangy tomatoes and mushrooms. Perfectly flavored, not overtly infused with garlic like Big Chill and it was reasonably appealing to the eyes. the waiter who took our order was more stunned than delighted to have 8 girls who ate so much. Our last day there, we tried the pizzas at the monastery’s café. What wafer thins crusts! I’d gone there previously with my family, and the taste was still in my subconscious mind, and if I tried hard enough I could sometimes feel the flavors in my mind. Im so glad I ate there again, I don’t have to go back in time now, I still do in a way, but then that’s fairly recent. Also for desert we ate chocolate pancakes, with bananas. Lets just keep it at that.

I'm too sleepy now, I’ll write about the famous HCF tomorrow. Bonne nuit!

Monday, March 28, 2011

dissapointing berries.

I know I haven’t written in so long, it’s the constant twinge in my lower back I presume. But it’s been sort of like a blessing, really. I’ve done some thinking and I need to tell you about the places I’ve been to, the delights I’ve tasted, the contentment I’ve felt, the mistakes I’ve made, the guilt that didn’t eat me up from inside and how. We live in a world of grave complexities, and it’s fantastic that even then memories always find a way to comfort us. It’s sort of like food in one sense. Ponder over this, what would you want your last meal to be? It’ll always be something that brings back a pleasant remembrance. Food isn’t all about the taste; it’s about the blending of textures. And it often takes a lifetime to perfect that. From elaborate preparations in fancy restaurants to unattractive yet pleasant canteen food, to other shady spots where the food was entirely horrible, I’ve done my bit of exploring.

Ill give you, whoever you may be, a speedy account of my experience. The famous, Sam’s café, located amidst the magical Pahadganj (not anymore) was one of the biggest disappointments I’ve felt in a very long time! It was definitely the most flavorless food iv ever eaten. Overcooked, insipid, burnt, bland all of it only, together! It’s famous for its steak, and I ordered exactly that. Not to gross anyone out, but honestly my meat was stained, and that to my mind is as unappetizing as unappetizing can get. I will give them some credit, the hummus and pita bread was edible, quite delicious in fact. But everything about the place put me off that day, it was not charming, like my previous visits. I had been to Andhra Bhawan when I was tiny, and I remember loving their Biryaani, so much so that I convinced my friend it would still be the same and that going all the would be worth it. No doubt it was satisfying, and we ate mountains of rice, accompanied with 3 sumptuous sabzis, their version of dal and saambar with large helpings of the paramount of spicy chutneys’!  Till today these canteens adhere to the fixed thali system. It works for people with large appetites cause you can keep asking for a refill. It was so fast the entire procedure- you enter, do your thing and get out. It’s really like watching a movie in fast-forward. I didn’t even digest the fact that we’d come there, I didn’t see anything but my plate and the occasional waiter who was so excited to serve us that he forgot the amount that was already in our plates. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t something that was welcoming, in fact it was snappy, yet it was something that didn’t leave a nasty taste in my mouth.

My back doesn’t allow me to write more, some major complexities there too. I’ll write soon, and this time im not just saying it.
Also has anyone noticed that strawberries have started tasting like plastic with that typical synthetic ‘strawberry’ flavor?

Friday, February 4, 2011

dark brown affairs.

Homo sapiens are either born to find chocolate irresistible, in which case they acquire diabetes by the age of forty, or to completely detest it leaving them to be crabby, grouchy individuals. In spite the numerous cavities, and weak bones (I am told) and the threat of a life captivating disease, I am a chocolate lover! Chocolate in any form. It just makes everything lovelier. It makes the trees seem greener, and the chirp of the birds sweeter.  When I was a child, someone or the other was always travelling or visiting, and the dearth of imported chocolates in India at the time, made chocolates the most appropriate gift. I used to eagerly wait for someone to come only to be delighted at midnight by boxes of Lindor truffles, Guylian, Milka, Godiva! Oh, those were the days. Everything is available in the markets today. The vegetable vendor right outside my house carries cherry tomatoes, avocados and asparagus, for crying out loud. These were only names id read in cookbooks, and visions id seen on television. With globalization came all the luxuries, right at our doorstep. But these chocolates never tasted the same, the smoothness seemed to have been misplaced somewhere in the barter.  
My earliest associations with chocolate pastries was this tiny place very close to my house called Gourmet Affair’s (pronounced as Gurmeet by my driver Sahab Singh). I have grown up eating their chocolate mousse, natural ice creams, nougat/sacher pastries, and brownies.  They served their silky brown mousse in these waffle baskets that were so innovatively shaped. They used to make cheesecakes, when I thought actual cheese went into cheesecakes. Their taste has been consistent, and even the smallest bite of their brownie feels like home. So many new bakeries and ice-cream parlors opened up close by, some of them even survived, but there was nothing like Gourmets. Now they have a small joint just opposite, where you can go for a small bite. Its reasonably priced, you get pasta, sandwiches, salads along with an Indian menu that offers hot kebabas and biryani. It’s an outdoor space, which is perfect for Delhi’s chilly winter. Now to keep in the loop of pseudo behavior, it also offers hookas which is why you always find the rich and the useless of GK2 lounging there. I tried the kebabs there today, and they’ve managed to live up to the peaceful image in my head.