Tag Archives: cuppa

Soulful Soups

Ah! there is something about soups in this weather that is so comforting. If made with the right ingredients and spices, these can be nourishing as well as healthy too. Nothing like a steaming bowl or mug of soup especially for dinner. In fact, on most days I prefer just that.

Goan, Bokdiacho caldo (mutton soup) made from mutton bones, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander leaves and dices of potato, salt and pepper, is my all-time favourite. It is filling and boosts my immunity too. Caldo Verde with potatoes as the base is also a light and flavourful vegetarian soup of Portuguese origin.

minestrone-soup

Being from Kolkata, I am used to relishing a spicy Thukpa, a Tibetan soup made with mixed vegetables, mixed meats and noodles  when the mercury dips. There is something for every palate in global cuisines too. Mulligatawny, Tom Kha, Tom Yum, Miso soup, Lobster bisque. My mouth is watering now.

Be imaginative and play around with flavours and textures. Be experimental. And global soups are not your only options. A plethora of soups from our very own Indian cuisine are a delight in this weather. Soups made from dals or lentils, paya soup, tamatar ka shorba or even a murg shorba. The options are endless.

butternut-pumpkin-soup

Don’t forget to add seasonal veggies in your soups wherever possible for that extra health quotient. Pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, work wonders. And yes, the right spices to for additional warmth and immunity.

Cinnamon works wonders, as do ginger and garlic. I love to add these in my soups where ever possible.

If the soup alone is insufficient, pair it with garlic bread, toast or add macaroni to your soups or even red rice, to make it more sumptuous.

There is nothing like a well-made soup, it is soulful and comforting in winter, keeping winter blues at bay.

 

 

Advertisements

Chai, Teas & More……

A cuppa tea is welcome anytime for a tea lover like me. Can never resist a well-made one and when it is in a great ambience, even better. The newly opened Tea Trails at Vile Parle, close to the station, offered the perfect excuse to make trip there. India’s first chain of Tea Cafés which serves carefully curated range of the finest Teas & Eats  had after all launched their 11th outlet.

The inside area of the cafe is bright and cheerful, well-lit with high ceilings. It exudes a warmth which is so unpretentious. There is an outdoor seating area too, which is perfect at this time of the year.

The outlet  is characterized by its specialty teas, loose leaves, custom blends, mindful tea preparation and sourcing, equipment and tea-related paraphernalia, new approaches to the tea service, and new ways to experience tea.

south-african-red-tea

The menu is exhaustive as far as the tea and chai offerings are concerned. Indian teas, herbal teas, kulhad chai, floral and fragrant teas. Something for every tea lover’s palate. The specialty teas include Smokey Chinese Lapsang Souchong and the South African Red among several others.

The eats are exciting too and quirky. We tried the Eggs Kejriwal, with fried and fluffy eggs served wrapped on a pav. A filling snack and boasted of the quintessential Mumbai flavour but the chewy pavs diluted the effect. Should have been toasted or grilled.

fried-eggs

The samosa thauk I thought was unique and the gravy in which the samosas were immersed was tangy and delicious. The Teazza – pizza with tea herbs was delightful and a good example of innovation.

Vegetarian dishes is what this cafe offers . but there is a lot of variety. It also serves some egg dishes.

The teas are delectable and served by the well-informed staff. The fruity infusion I tried was comforting. Although I felt, the teas are a wee bit overpriced for that quantity.

The staff is warm and friendly and the service unobtrusive.

Overall,  the decor  in black and green, is inspired from their theme “a cup of life” and is replete with a modern, vibrant and friendly vibe. This is certainly the perfect place to relax and unwind over a cup of tea.

Rating : 3.5/5

 

 

 

 

Of Teas and Treats

I felt like royalty on Friday evening last, as I sat at the Atrium Lounge at Taj Lands End Bandra, Mumbai sipping an aromatic  cup of Kenilworth Estates Midgrown and bit into a dainty chorizo sandwich and a creamy fruit tart.

Making Afternoon Tea a highly fashionable beverage, Portuguese Princess Catherine de Braganza brought the royal court’s favourite drink to Mumbai in myriad flavors and aromas. And Taj Lands End is celebrating that.

IMG_20160506_160609

Delving into the rich cultural traditions of the Western suburb of Bandra, replete with historical anecdotes, the Atrium Lounge at Taj Lands End recreates the family ritual of a rendezvous over a cup of tea.

Atrium Lounge_Hi Tea_07

Chef Namit guided us to the buffet spread of the Hi Tea. Dainty sandwiches, freshly baked scones, Bebinca, the quintessential Portuguese dessert, Lamb croquette, custard tarts,  Bolo-d-arro – Rice and coconut muffin, Queijo Fresco – cream cheese tartlets, Chicken Cafreal Buns, Bifanas and a lot more,  were aesthetically laid out on the table. Oh! what a treat for the eyes and palate this was.

Atrium Lounge_Hi Tea_04

I was glad that some Hotel in the city had taken the initiative to revive the fashionable afternoon tea. After all, from where I come, Kolkata, sipping tea in Bone china tea ware at 4 pm is indeed a way of life. To relax, enjoy your cuppa and chat, is a luxury, this fast-paced city of Mumbai is devoid of, but something we all need to indulge in, sometimes, if not daily.

Anirudhya Roy, Executive Chef, Taj Lands End said, “The most quintessential of customs observed by Bandraites have been acquired by the Portugal and European traditions. Inspired by the ceremonious means of enjoying a good time with family and friends, we have introduced a lavish menu of teas and delectable treats to make afternoons a memorable time of the day. ”

IMG_20160506_161943

An array of well brewed teas were on offer, apart from the delectable finger food and desserts, all faithfully representing Bandra and its rich heritage. The service was as always, impeccable and I loved the fact that interesting stories and bits of relatively unknown information was being shared, as we sat back and enjoyed our Hi Tea.

What elevated the tea experience further was Taj Lands End’s  association with Kulture Shop which showcased iconic pieces of art, at Atrium Lounge. Art and Afternoon Tea? I was actually transported to another era.

Affordably priced, given the variety and quality of food and teas on offer, this Bandra Hi Tea at Atrium Lounge is worth giving up your work for.

 

 

 

A Sublime Experience

There is nothing more comforting than a cup of tea. Brewed to perfection of course.

I was excited when my colourful bag from Sublime House of Tea arrived with a bright red coloured box offering an array of exotic brews. I could not wait to sip those.

20160425_184612

Seventh Heaven, Wellness Brew and Green Long Ding, which are extremely sought-after across the world were flavours I was going to sip at home. And that too as tea bags, convenience personified.

What I like is that Sublime’s portfolio of fine tea presents a mix of the classical, the popular and the avant-garde. From sought after bouquets such as Green Tea, Assam Tea and English Breakfast to intriguing localised brews like Moroccan Mint, and Seventh Heaven, eclectic admixtures like White Tea with Raspberry and the complex flavours of herbal tisanes like Rose in Bloom and Chamomile, there is a tea to suit every palate and occasion. I am fussy about my teas and found Sublime teas could please me with ease.

I brewed my Rose in bloom with care. Oh! the pyramid tea bag as against the normal filter paper ones, made a world of difference.

20160425_184433

I could see the water in my cup change colour as a mellow hue was imparted to it and yes, I could get the aroma of rose petals too.

The Seventh Heaven actually transported me to the same place. It rejuvenated me completely serving as a balm for my tired nerves.

20160425_184637

‘Sublime House of Tea’ is promoted by the Prestige Group and Sublime Galleria. Naturally then, one can be sure of the quality.

I have always been an avid tea drinker being from Kolkata and today tea is being touted to have a host of health benefits too. Apart from an evening cup of tea, I enjoy a cup after dinner too and the range from Sublime House of Tea is just right for a cup, last thing at night to relax me before going to bed. There are many flavours waiting to be tried as the box contains several tea bags.

So which flavour shall it be tonight? Moroccan Mint perhaps?

 

 

That Perfect Cuppa

Truly, a lot can happen over coffee, as they say. A lot more can happen with coffee. I discovered that as I headed to the Philips Coffee Brewing workshop at noon last Saturday. Different types of coffees is what I expected to get acquainted with and perhaps some food pairing, but what I experienced, was an intellectually stimulating session with oodles of fun and learning. Kalyan Karmakar, the curator, is known for being a food lover. Add to that Philips as a host and the perfect cuppa brews.

20131116_124223

We began recounting our “first” coffee memories and interesting facts came up. Many similar too. A coffee quiz followed, which made me realise, although I love the beverage, I do not know much about it.

What followed next was a fun group activity of food pairing with coffee and we enjoyed the goodies- orange cup cake, pizza crackers, banana cake, Danish apple cake, cookie and so on with our cuppa. We had to pair the perfect food item with our coffee. Unanimously the Danish apple cake was selected by almost everyone, regardless of whether it paired with the coffee or not. Aditi Juneja of Socially Foodie, had baked the delicious cakes and eats.

Coffee art was the last thing on our agenda that afternoon. Using a chocolate sauce and milk foam, the Philips expert demonstrated coffee art. Voila. He made it look so simple. He made beautiful designs so effortlessly. Some of us tried our hand at it. Many of them succeeded.

20131116_141041

Over a sumptuous lunch we looked at the coffee machines by Philips Saeco, which were for home use as well and quite simple and user friendly.

Over all, it was a Saturday well spent. Sipping your favourite beverage and learning more about it. There can’t be a better combination.