Friday, 12 June 2015

The Food Story- Indian Fine Dining restaurant

The Food Story is a new Indian Fine Dining restaurant specializing in Mughlai and Hyderabadi cuisine. It opened doors to Pune diners only a month ago and already there is such a buzz about this place ! I was delighted at being invited to sample a set menu featuring some of the specialties...

Master Chef, Shaikh Arif Ahmed has recreated royal cuisines of India , primarily Mughlai and Hyderabadi or Deccani cuisine to perfection. 

Every single dish we tried was fantastic be it starters or main course. Meats are succulent ,well spiced ...the curries are vibrant and the biryani is fragrant .

What is wonderful is that the restaurant offers a wonderful array of vegetarian food and even has a separate vegetarian only dining section - surely a first for a restaurant that specializes in Royal Indian cuisine...

Biryani and Mirck Ka Salan

The ambiance is elegant and in all The Food Story is a perfect place to enjoy an elaborate royal spread with friends or family for a brilliant fine dine experience.

This really is a must try restaurant , every single thing we ate was spectacular , but you will only know when you go and dine there yourself...
This is some of what we enjoyed at our meal at The Food Story.............

Kebab Platter - Shikampuri Kebab , Machi Rubayat, Murgh Seekh gilafi & Vegetarian Navratan Kebab
Mirch ka Salan

Haleem 
Vilayati Subz Desi Andaz
Ghost dum Biryani

Gil - E - Firdaus

Khubani Ka Meetha 



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Olive Bistro , Pune - New Menu

Olive Bistro is amongst my favorite places to dine in Pune .

I love the laid back feel , the pebbled walkways and the charming water fountain that add to the Mediterranean Island  vibe .

 An excellent ambiance and wonderfully hospitable staff makes dining here a delight every single time .

The food is lovely , well presented and with clean flavors . Great options for vegetarians and the desserts are excellent .

I was invited to sample the New Menu and this is some of what I ate and enjoyed .

Spinach and Feta Spanakopita was lovely , spinach and creamy crumbled feta cheese in a deep fried pastry casing . It was served with Tzatziki that had a lovely flavor of dill.


Spinach & Feta Spanakopita 260
 Stuffed phylo parcels with  Tzatziki dip

The Bistros herb-ed  chicken skewers were a nice accompaniment to our cocktails , again nice clean flavors , could taste the lovely rosemary .


                                                           The Bistros Herb Chicken Skewers 280

No dining experience at Olive is complete without a thin crust pizza , baked in their lovely wood fired oven we tried the Philly Cream cheese pizza , it was fantastic . Cream cheese on a pizza is a very very good thing , melt in your mouth sort of good thing . The pizza had a nice strong kick of garlic and that only made the pizza so many times better for me .


                                                               Philadelphia Cream Cheese & Chicken Pizza  460/-
Tomato, Onions, Mozzarella & Generous Amount Of Feta Drizzle With Cream Cheese Sauce

Porcini & Vanilla Cappuccino soup was interesting , I guess being in the middle of summer I did not really want to have soup .


                                                                                     
Porcini & Vanilla Cappuccino - 190/-
Dusted With Ground Cinnamon

I loved the Ravioli , tomato infused pretty pink parcels stuffed with ricotta , basil and parmesan and served with a delicious cheese fondue cream . Whats not to like when you have three kinds of cheese all in one dish .


                                                                      Lune Rosse Ravioli @ 440/-
Tomato Infused Pasta Parcels Stuffed With Ricotta, Basil & Parmesan, Tossed In A Sage & Garlic Butter Sauce Served With Cheese Fondue Cream

                                                                


Greek Salad with Watermelon -290/-
Fresh Mesclun Mix with Olives, Cucumber, Red Onions, Bell Peppers & watermelon Dressed In A Balsamic Vinaigrette & Finished With A Feta Crumble


                   Chef Sagar Joshi does a wonderful job with the new menu and y’all must go try it soon .



Dessert was a boozy Gelato sampler  which I loved right down to the last bite! 


Boozy Gelato Sampler 280/-
Trio Of Chocolate & Cointreau / Red Currant & Vodka / Pina colada (white rum)
(Only For Alcoholics)

All Pictures : Suraj Singh




Friday, 15 May 2015

Anti-oxidant Hibiscus Juice shot

I am a teenie weenie bit vain so when a drink promises radiant skin and anti-ageing benefits it must feature in my day!

Well , jokes apart Hibiscus flower has been used for centuries in Asia and in the Caribbean in teas and other drinks. Also used as a medicinal aid the hibiscus flower is known to have several health benefits like lowering blood pressure etc.

Vendors selling a deep red sweet iced tea called  Agua Fresca (hibiscus teain opean air markets in Mexico is a common sight.

Hibiscus flowers contain high levels of anti-oxidants including flavanoids ....the same stuff found in red wine :))

Hibiscus flowers contain 17% more anthocyanins ( anti-oxidants) ....simply put the good stuff that makes your skin glow and helps fight ageing :)))  .....than other juices!

Tastes so refreshing ........a berry like taste with slight flowery undertones ... I dont know about the health benefits but I know every time I have this I feel a spike in my energy levels ....:))))

So here it is ......

For 1 Glass you need

Petals of 2 hibiscus flowers - washed 
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1.5 - 2 tsp honey
Water

In the smallest attachment of your mixer add washed flower petals along with lemon juice. Leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Grind with a little water till you get a beautiful concentrate all ruby red and pretty ...should look like this......



Add a glass of water .

Stir in some honey and drink to good health :))




Thank -you for taking the time to visit :)

Do leave a comment will make me really happy :)))

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Labneh korat


Its no secret that I adore Middle Eastern food , I love the generous use of fresh produce , olive oil and simple clean flavours .

I specially enjoy mezze ....which is a term to describe little plates of food that are brought in before the actual meal . I love my hummus , muhmarra , pickled beetroots , baba gnaoush and tabouleh salad . But most of all I love my Labneh .


Labneh is just full fat yogurt thats strained to let all the whey (liquid) drain out for a few hours so that you end up with a creamy , tangy yogurt cheese .

labneh korat recipe


Labneh Korat are simply savory little balls of yogurt cheese that are coated in dried herbs and drowned in olive oil . They taste FANTASTIC on toast , by themselves and as part of a mezze platter with hummus , pita and kebabs.

I often joke that my death row meal would look something like this !

labneh korat recipe



LABNEH KORAT 

Start with 400g of full fat yogurt . Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 1/4 tsp salt and mix well into the yogurt .

labneh korat recipe


Place a  piece of doubled cheesecloth or soft cotton fabric (preferably undyed and  clean)  over a deep bowl.

Spoon the yogurt in the center of a piece of the cheesecloth. You can also pull the corners  of the cheese cloth up and tie them tightly and then suspend from a stationary object over a bowl (to collect the whey) .

labneh korat recipe

Leave to drain for 24  hours in the refrigerator .

Remove from the cloth and roll into balls using your palms. Roll into dried herbs I used red chilli flakes and dried Italian herbs .

Now place the yogurt balls in a sterile, air tight jar, cover with olive oil.

labneh korat recipe


Store in the refrigerator preferably use after 6-7 hours so that flavor get a chance to infuse . Stays well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days as long as the yogurt balls are always covered with olive oil and no water enters the jar .

Serving suggestions :

As a spread on toast , by itself , with kebabs , with pita bread and hummus!

labneh korat recipe

Friday, 10 April 2015

Baisakhi Menu - Kangan , Westin

Baisahki - Punjabi New Year and the harvest festival celebrated in the land of 5 rivers is on April 14th, 2015 and the celebrations have already begun.

All over Punjab there are Melas (fairs) to bring in this joyous occasion .

No celebration in Punjab or in a Punjabi household where ever it may be on the globe is complete without food , drink and the generous spirit of sharing joy and love.



Kangan - the restaurant at Westin , Pune that serves delectable cuisine from the legendary North West Frontier province and Hyderabad , has put together a wonderful selection of authentic Punjabi favorites to celebrate Baisakhi.

I was absolutely delighted with the spread and here are a few pictures of what we enjoyed.

The Baisahki menu has wonderful Punjabi staples like Langar Walli Daal , Aloo Wadi , Dhabewalli Kukkad , pindi chole , slow cooked sarso ka saag , Fish Amritsari with a wonderful flavor of Ajwain that will take you back to little bylanes of Amritsar where this snack originated and other wonderful dishes


 Wonderful beverages to accompany your meal , we enjoyed some Lassi and Jal Jeera !

Ofcourse the desserts are wonderfully executed , we had crisp jalebi with rabri ....it was just right not overpoweringly sweet and the signature dessert at Kangan - Gulab ke patte ki kheer is something you should not miss!

Do checkout the Baisakhi special menu.


.




Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Sunday!

I had a wonderful Easter Sunday....the lovely people at JW Marriott , Senapati Bapat Road,  Pune hosted a wonderful afternoon full of Easter Joy.



With a fun little baking workshop for children (to which I took my niece) , an Easter Bunny and a wonderful magic show!



We made a basketful of Easter goodies -  cupcakes , chocolate Easter eggs and wonderful white chocolate cookies....A lovely time was had by all and it was fantastic being surrounded by budding young , enthusiastic chefs!




Chef Ajmal Salim , Director , F&B, JW Marriott Hotel patiently took the excited bunch of young cooks through an enjoyable afternoon of making Easter goodies.




Hope you all had a wonderful , blessed Easter!


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Poha Masala Powder

Poha or beaten rice is very popular all over Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Its easy to make , light and still counts as a good hearty breakfast/tea time snack.

 This is not another poha recipe ....I recently went to Bhopal and Indore and was amazed to see how differently poha is garnished and served there....

So this post is about how you can re-invent your poha recipe with just a few small changes .....

But before I tell you about Poha here are some pictures of everything that constitutes a Typical MPwalla Naashta ( breakfast)

There is garam garam doodh ( Scalding hot milk) that has been lovingly heated for a few hours in a kadhai resulting in lots of malai (cream) and thick fudge-y taste.....

There is jalebi crisp and hot to be eaten with poha or alongside your glass of hot milk....



Samosa and Kachori both very well made also constitute a good Bhopali / Indori Naashta



And now moving on to the Poha ....While in the train we were served poha with a garnish of Namkeen , lemon wedges and raw finley chopped onion....it tasted selicious even though it wasnt hot and was at room temperature . I was quite surprised because I dont fancy eating raw onions at breakfast but this tasted delicious.


At another breakfast pit-stop in Bhopal we saw a vendor with a huge mountain of Poha garnished with grated carrot and lots of chopped coriander ! Not only does the carrot add  color it also tastes great . There was also sev , fried green chillies and Poha masala ....


Poha Masala Recipe 

Chaat Masala..............70%

Red Chilli Powder..........30%

Salt ..................to taste

Simply combine chaat masala and red chilli powder (70:30 ratio) , add a little salt , give it all a good stir and store in a dry jar .



All to be eaten simply over a square piece of news paper.......


And here in Maharashtra we love our Poha garnished with grated fresh coconut and sometimes even coconut chutney!!!

So are you ready to spruce up your old Poha recipe?

Let me know if you enjoyed these suggestions....