Tag Archives: dessert

Indulge your taste buds, luxuriously

One does not really need an excuse to bite into a piece of sinful decadence – chocolates, I mean. I can never say no to chocolates. But yes, it is not every chocolate that I enjoy. The percentage of cocoa solids and sugar, matters to me, as this indicates the quality and taste of the chocolate. After all, the higher the cocoa content, the less sugar it contains and the more ‘chocolatey’ it’s going to be.

The epitome of chocolate for most chocolate lovers is the indulgent chocolate cake. But today, there’s more to chocolates than just that. Having tasted  many a luxury chocolate across the world, when I tried, Fabelle, our very own desi luxury brand of chocolates,  from ITC, I could safely say they had raised the bar. From now on, it is going to be difficult settling for any other.

fabelle-single-origin-cacaos

A visit to the Fabelle, exclusive boutique at ITC Maratha Mumbai, was a revelation of sorts. Fabelle chocolates have been in the making for almost a decade, with extensive research and innumerable trials in the company’s pursuit to craft the finest luxury chocolates in India that  compete with the best in the world. Fabelle has been created by  international chefs together with ITC master chocolatiers. Small wonder then that the end product is a piece de resistance.

 

The range of Fabelle creations  I experienced, were overwhelming. Fabelle Elements – intricately crafted pralines inspired by the elements of nature, Fabelle Ganache – velvety soft cubes of exotic cocoas delicately churned with butter & fresh cream, Fabelle As You Like It – personalized chocolate cup creations offering myriad possibilities of fillings and toppings, Fabelle Single Origin Cacoas – single origin bars, crafted using cocoa from 6 different countries (Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Ghana), each asserting its own distinct flavour and Fabelle Gianduja – recreation of an Italian delicacy from the Napoleon era fashioned with infusion of hazelnuts into rich, creamy milk chocolate.

 

I was in a trance, mesmerized and my palate awash with decadence. It was difficult to decide which one I had relished the most. But yes, my instant vote went to the apple and cinnamon ganache. Those flavours, so intricately combined, plunged me into a coma, hitherto unknown to me.

Menu card 21st mar 16 single pages

The chefs at the Fabelle boutique enthralled us with their artistic creations, poetry on plate to say the least.

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A chocolate made from a single cocoa sourced from a single country, imparts a distinct characteristic and flavour which is unparalleled. Undoubtedly, chocolates made from blended cocoas cannot match this perfection. The cocoa % in these dark chocolate bars starts from 67% right up to 84% for the chocolate bar made from Ghana cocoa.The Fabelle Single Origins Cacaos – Rich Dark Chocolates were just that and stood apart, like none other. Each pack of Fabelle Single Origin Cacaos is a collection of 6 carefully crafted chocolate dark bars, each perfectly sized for a single serving. This is the most coveted box, a chocolate lover can possess.

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The chocolate boutiques also provide a range of exquisitely crafted desserts and cocoa beverages, created live by Fabelle Master Chocolatiers. Additionally,  one can pick up  the exquisite gift packs too for friends and family.

I left the Fabelle boutique, in a trance and of course with my dessert quota for the week. With the best around, there was no way I was not going to give into my guilty pleasures.

 

With the launch of the chocolate boutiques at ITC Maratha & ITC Central in Mumbai, Fabelle  is now present nationally across Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai & Kolkata.

So indulge all ye chocolate lovers!

Rating : 4.5/5

 

 

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Rustic & Robust Flavours from A Village

Pind da khana sounds comforting at once. After all it means, food from your village. And here, if the ‘pind’ in question is Punjab, well, automatically it spells familiarity and comfort for me.

Baluchi at The Lalit, Mumbai is currently hosting a Pind da Khana festival till Saturday for both lunch and dinner.

My lunch began on a refreshing note with the Shikanji soda or lemonade with rock salt and soda. The right amount of sweetness and salt. Just the way I love mine. It helped me create an appetite.

shikanji

The menu was fairly exhaustive and I was in a dilemma. What shall I eat or skip? Amritsari Chholey kulchey, Patialashahi kadhai Paneer, Kadhi pakoda, Jalandhari barrah boti and Amritsari Machhi. I was impressed with the vegetarian options too. .

The traditional Atte Gond ka halwa, whole wheat flour sweet delicacy with nuts and natural gum- recipe which originates from Phagwara district- a sugar producing belt of Punjab as well as gulabi phirnee, gulab jamun et al, adorned the dessert section of the menu.

Executive Chef Angshuman Chakraborty came to my rescue and promised to send me small portions of some of the special dishes. I was sorted.

The chicken tikka and Macchi Ajwaini tikka arrived. A bite into the succulent chicken tikka and I figured out this was no ordinary fare. The tikkas were well marinated and the flavours of the marinade had enveloped the tikka perfectly. The fresh pieces of  River Sole fish with the right amount of spices that teased my taste buds, was equally a delight. No overdose of ajwain or spices here at all.

tikka platter

Executive Chef Angshuman Chakraborty , Master Chef Rais Alam and his culinary team had surely whipped up an array of authentic, robust and flavourful delicacies, which I was thoroughly relishing.

The dhaniya mirch da kukkad with whole chillies, onion and coriander was a delectable medley for my palate, subtle yet, spicy. It paired well with the laccha paratha, besan ki roti and naan, the chef had sent. The methi matar preparation and the dhaba dal in the main course, got my vote instantly. For a change it was not the usual dal makhni but a tasty mixed dal with interesting spices. And the methi, rustic and appeased my palate.

The Rarah gosht and kukkad pulao looked inviting on the menu, but there was no scope to try more today.

Nothing in the meal was oily or greasy that made one feel uneasy. That’s what set this meal apart.

The aate gond ka halwa was easily one of the best I have ever tasted. The variety of textures- creamy, crunchy, were a delight, as were the flavours and the aroma of fresh ghee. The phirnee too was excellent, but today, paled in comparison.

The ambience and decor of the restaurant was in keeping with the theme and the service was warm, attentive and efficient, yet, unobtrusive, as it should be.

My experience at Baluchi, had actually surpassed my expectations. I was glad I had stepped in to savour such an exceptional meal. I knew for a fact, I was going to be coming to The Lalit Mumbai more often, if this is how Chef Angshuman and his team succeeded in luring food lovers like me.

 

 

Trifecta: This one’s worth a try

Although Trifecta, the newly opened restaurant at Royal Garden, Juhu, looked classy and appealing, the dining experience initially proved to be a tad disappointing for me. The Oriental food section on the menu seemed unusual and extraordinary in terms of the choice of dishes. I was excited, but as I ate the first spoonful of my burnt garlic chicken soup, I realised it contained oodles of MSG aka ajino moto, which I am severely allergic to.

That was rectified, but it was a long wait before my Homemade Spring Chicken Tortellini, Garden Vegetable Broth arrived. It was mediocre in taste, although had a great visual appeal.  The lemon grass chicken potli too was extremely dry and the flavours were not too exciting. The chicken satay and steamed chicken momos, which my friend tried, passed the test with flying colours.

Food Trifecta (Pic 1) copy

For me, Trifecta was a washout, but alas I was wrong. As soon as our main course, of the Grilled Basa with Potato Rösti in Curry Lemon Sauce and Florentine Duxcelle Stuffed Chicken Breast, Creamy Mash with Porcini Dusted Sauce was served, I was floored. Not only was the presentation par excellence, but the flavours, textures and taste, too were unparalleled. These were easily five star quality dishes which Chef Sandy aka Sarvesh had created. And that too, at affordable prices. Incredible.  The continental cuisine is easily one of the best I have ever had. They have a vast array of Indian food too, but we decided to skip that.

The dessert, bailey’s mousse cake, made in-house, was exotic to say the least.

It is a swanky place with a great ambience and good food. The F&B staff needs to get a little more proactive, attentive and energetic and be able to give suggestions to the guest.  The person serving us was exceptional though.

It is a perfect choice for an exciting continental meal. The well-stocked bar too is an added plus for those who drink. It is definitely worth a try!

Grilled Oranges :Recipe

Oranges are suddenly abundant in Mumbai, so why not make the most of them? Here is a simple recipe. Sweet and delicious.

grilled oranges

 

Ingredients:

4 medium sized oranges

50 gms sugar

125 ml cream

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp orange juice

a few chopped pistas

icing sugar

 

Method:

Slice off the oranges from the top and peel. Ensure you remove the white pith. Remove orange segments and arrange them in four portions on plates. Pre heat grill in your micro. Stir in the egg yolks with the sugar and whip in a double saucepan, till creamy. Remove from heat and stir till cold. whip the cream next and fold slowly into egg yolks mixture with orange juice.  Spread this mixture evenly over orange segments. sprinkle chopped pistachios and serve.

Aamer payesh (Mango Kheer) : Recipe

Ingredients : 

1 -2 Mango, ripe 

3 cups Milk (c0ndensed or whole)

50 gms raw rice 

50 gms Jaggery

For garnishing

a few chopped cashews 

elaichi (cardamom)

Method:

Wash & Boil rice in cup of milk in a pressure cooker.

Peel the mango, cut into small pieces.

Boil the remaining two cups of milk in a kadai, till it gets reduced to one-and-a-half cups and changes colour.

Add the mango pieces, the boiled rice and jaggery and stir well for few minutes.

Garnish with cashews and elaichi. Serve  hot or cold.

 

The Ultimate Italian Dessert

Tiramisu with fruits

Can never resist a Tiramisu after dining out, more so if it is an Italian restaurant. Not surprising therefore, Tiramisu, the Italian dessert is gaining popularity in India. And not in five star hotels only. Stand alone restaurants too are contributing towards this. Can vouch for it.

Light, fluffy and delicious, this layered cake originated in Tuscany. Tiramisu is a favourite with Italian food connoisseurs and an Italian meal is not complete without this heavenly dessert! The key to preparing good tiramisu lies not in the technique, but in its composition. There are different types of tiramisu recipes besides the authentic tiramisu. The ingredients may also be varied, for example, liquor may be substituted with almond extracts, cream cheese may be used instead of mascarpone cheese and savoiardi may be replaced by regular cookies or sponge cake.

Consistency and texture are critical in a well made Tiramisu. While many may not like the usage of eggs in Tiramisu, Chef Rossano is emphatic. “Traditionally eggs are used in making tiramisu however in India, as per the clientele, some chefs do egg- less tiramisu, however I don’t recommend it.” Bill Marchetti goes a step further when he says, “Instead of lightening the texture of the mascarpone with an egg sabayon you can use whipped cream and make an eggless sponge.”  Chef Rossano Renzelli, Executive Sous Chef, Westin Mumbai Garden City says, “For the perfect Tiramisu the two most important things are mascarpone cheese and coffee (Tia maria or kalhua) or almond liquor. Mascarpone cheese in Tiramisu can never be substituted with something else.” Celebrity Chef, Bill Marchetti of Spaghetti Kitchen feels, “Tiramisu means, pick me up, so it needs to be a rich liqueur and coffee laden concoction. The dish is all about mascarpone. You can also use a sponge cake instead of Savoiardi cookies. It’s main purpose is to soak up the coffee and liqueur.”

My first tryst with Tiramisu was when I was in London. Although had tried it earlier in India, I got hooked onto it there, when my colleague, Richard Mosquera, an IT wizard used to make the most delicious tiramisu. It used to simply melt in the mouth and have us carving for more. The ingredients were in the right proportion. Back in Mumbai, I’ve been scouting for the perfect tiramisu and a few places have offered me that. Olive Bar & Kitchen does a great tiramisu, as does Stax at Hyatt Regency. Ofcourse some places pass off a cheesecake with some element of coffee in it as Tiramisu. But my all time favourite are the ones at Spaghetti Kitchen and Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott. Chef Salvatore at Mezzo Mezzo made one with mango as well, which was unique. I even tried an Amarula Tiramisu myself with the caramel liqueur, it was good but I still prefer the classic one. Am old fashioned, what to do??