Search This Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Food for Thought catering and a jug of Pimm's

Well I'm back from what I felt was a much deserved break to recharge my batteries. And I'm back with a brand new venture, which is of course food-related. A friend of mine and I have decided to start a catering and party planning company called Food for Thought which will cater parties for a minimum of 5 people. We'll also help plan parties - themes, invites, decor, menu. The whole shebang. So if you know anyone in Gurgaon or even Delhi who might want to serve up some delicious home-cooked Bengali, continental, thai or burmese cuisine do let them know about us. They can check out our menu and website at or check out our facebook page at!/pages/Food-For-Thought-Catering-Party-Planning/218341524858777

And in the meantime, just to beat the heat, here's a quick recipe for my version of Pimm's:

Chop up a bunch of fruits. Whatever you have in the fridge. You should have at least 2 cups of chopped apples, grapes, half a lemon in circles and some strawberries. Also add some chopped cucumbers, without peeling the skin off.

Soak all the fruits in around 200 ml of bacardi/ vodka (basically one of the white alcohols)

Add a can of ginger beer and top up with 500 ml of Pimm's. Stir. Throw in a handful of mint leaves.

Lie back, sip and enjoy.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

White chocolate and orange cake with a cognac orange glaze

I had a bunch of white cooking chocolate with me and since I’m not a great fan of white chocolate, I’ve just been storing it for ages. The other day I decided that I might as well use the chocolate and bake something or the other. I came across this lovely recipe for white chocolate and orange cake which had only fresh ingredients. The main thing with baking is that you have to stick to measurements. It’s precise, an dmight seem clinical while you’re making it – but I find baking like magic. You put in all the strangest ingredients and the most magnificent cretaion pops out of the oven. It is a science, so just stick to the emasurements and you will be so happy with the result. The only thing I deviated from the original recipe on, was my addition of cognac – and it was a fabulous addition if I say so myself. The fresh orange juice and zest gives th cake a lovely tangy fragrance and taste and the cognac gives it a really ncie kick.
Read through the recipe before you begin. It may seem like a lot of work, but it goes together quickly. Don’t substitute the fresh orange juice with the carton one, it really won’t give the same taste.
·         1 large orange
·         2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 tsp baking soda
·         1 tsp salt
·         1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1/4 cup fresh orange juice
·         3/4 cup yoghurt
·         1 cup white chocolate grated
·         Orange zest (about 1 tbsp)
·         1/4 cup orange marmalade – I used Kissan, but if you have any other kind just use it
·         2 Tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 350 F or around 200 C. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter and dust with flour.

Remove the zest from the orange (should be about 1 tablespoon) and set aside. Make sure you don’t get any of the pith in your zester (that’s the white inside part of the orange which is really bitter). Juice the orange (should be about 1/3 cup), reserving the juice for use in the recipe.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating into the mixture. Beat in 1/4 cup orange juice (reserve the rest for icing) and yoghurt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the orange zest and keep mixing till the mixture is well-blended.

Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips on top of the batter. If they do not sink in, tap pan gently once on the counter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and the cake is done. Stick a knife in the centre and if it comes out clean, it’s done.

While the cake is baking, melt orange marmalade and butter in the microwave about 45 seconds. Stir it and then add around a large peg of cognac – good quality cognac.
I of course forgot to dust the cake tin with flour, so as I took the cake out of the over I immediately flipped it out of the baking tray – and much to my joy, it came out in one piece and perfectly.
Brush this glaze over the top of the warm cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Then let the cake cool and cut it into small squares. It’s been a fabulous hit with all my friends and even I wowed myself with how wonderful it tasted.
Pardon the picture, but I took it with my mobile phone.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Raja Mircha and the bestest pork curry ever

It’s definitely been a while since I last posted a recipe and the only excuse is that I’ve been terribly busy with the restaurant.  But enough of excuses. On to more important topics.
Just the other day, my driver who has been on leave for a couple of weeks and hails from Assam, returned with a brilliant gift for me – a bushel of raja mircha or bhoot jolakia a.k.a the spiciest chili in India. In an effort to preserve and relish them for as long as possible, I first dried them on the roof in the burning Delhi sun and then proceeded to think of how and what to cook with them.
The main word of caution while using raja mircha is that it is bloody spicy, so you don’t want to use more than one chili for a kg of meat. It does have a divine taste and fragrance all its own though and you don’t need to add too many spices as a result. Also, if you have a low tolerance for spice, this is not the ingredient for you.
So now that I had my hands on a raja mircha, I decided that the best thing to cook with it was a nice Naga spicy pork curry, which I’ve cooked for the first time. And I must say, you’ll be left licking your plate clean. Two of the best parts of this recipe are that first, you don’t use a smidgen of oil. And second, there’s no bamboo shoot used in it, which makes it more palatable for me as I haven’t really developed a taste for bamboo shoot yet.
So here goes, just follow the recipe and I promise you you’ll be licking your plate clean.  Also, for best results get hold of really good quality pork with a generous layer of fat.
·         Pork 1 kg with meat and fat, cut into small chunks
·         Garlic crushed: 1 ½ tablespoons
·         Ginger: 1 ½ tablespoons
·         Salt to taste
·         One raja mircha fresh or smoked and dried
·         Tomatoes 400 gms pureed
Serves 4
Wash the pork and soak it in 2 tbsps of white vinegar. Puree the tomatoes and keep aside along with crushed garlic and ginger.
Put the pork along with the vinegar in a thick bottomed pan, add salt to taste, add half a glass of water and let it cook until half done. I also chopped some potataoes and added it to the pork while it was boiling. But you can leave it out if you want. Then add the tomato puree, ginger and garlic and let the pork cook until tender. When it is almost done, add the raja chilli and stir until the pork is cooked and tender. The curry will be a bright red thick gravy.

This tasted perfect with steamed rice. Enjoy.