Friday, February 27, 2015

The Magnum Masterclass: In a Class of its Own

Last week I got a wonderful invitation to attend the Magnum Masterclass at the Taj Bengal. A big vote of thanks to Kolkata Food Bloggers to give me this opportunity. Generally, I have to give up all the invites during the week, thanks to the hectic office life..but this time the event was on Saturday..so I just took the plunge!

I reached the Taj Bengal with a pounding heart because I was going to meet the celebrity chef Kunal Kapur (of Masterchef India) fame. Wow! I have been an ardent follower of Masterchef India so it was like a dream come true for me. And to meet the "beauty-with-brains" Soha Ali Khan was an added bonus.

Well the event started off with the chef giving us some info about Belgian chocolates. Belgian chocolates are premium quality chocolates that contain nearly 35% pure cocoa. This chocolate also does not have any bad fats. When you bite into a Belgian chocolate, you will not find any chocolate sticking to the back of your teeth or palate.

The Magnum icecream is made of this premium Belgian Chocolate and believe me one bite of this icecream is pure magic!

Do enjoy some pictures of the event.

The charismatic chef Kunal Kapur and the svelte Soha Ali Khan
The chocolate tasting session with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate
The star attraction of the evening: The Chocolate Truffle Magnum
The chef preparing a fusion dessert: Patishapta with Magnum
The dessert that we KFBians made using Magnum
The Magnum is going to hit the stores of Kolkata on the 1st of March. The price would be INR 90. But believe you me...this ice cream is mind-blowing! Do indulge.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Healthy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

(Adapted from Creamy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup: Antypasti)

This spring in the air has led to lot of cough, cold, and fever in most households. Are you suffering from cold too? I am. And so is my little one.

Coughing, sneezing, and sore throat made sure that I spent Valentines Day in bed with a muffler around my throat and Vicks vaporub as my date. Highly unromantic to say the least!

The little one has also become jittery and whiny and refuses to eat most things. "Give me something soft and warm Maa", she said.

And I started hunting for some easy soup recipes. I found a very simple, nutritious soup on Antara's blog.


This soup combines the goodness of carrots and pumpkin, two vegetables rich in Vitamin A.
Since Antara was the Star Blogger of the Week for this week so I hit the proverbial "two birds with one stone" by making this recipe. Antara's blog has an interesting collection of food and travel related posts. Her writing style is easy and each blog post has a relaxed pace. It is truly refreshing to read her posts.

This soup recipe can be called soul food. I was able to rustle it up after getting home from work.



You can check Antara's original recipe from here.


Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

Pumpkin: 150 grams, diced
Carrot: one, chopped roughly
Butter: 1 tablespoon
Dried mixed herbs: 1 and a 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic: 2 to 3 pods, crushed 
Fresh cream: a teaspoon for garnishing

Process:

1. Steam the vegetables in a pressure cooker for 2-3 whistles.
2. Remove the steamed veggies from the pressure cooker and do not throw away the vegetable stock. Puree the vegetables in a mixer and keep aside.
3. In a pan, heat butter along with a teaspoon of white oil.
4. Add garlic and dried herbs.
5. Fry for a few seconds. Next, add the pureed vegetables.
6. Mix well. Add some of the vegetable stock if the soup is too thick.
7. Add salt to taste. Finally, add fresh cream and take off the gas.
8. Serve the steaming soup with toasted bread.


I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event in KFB called "Know Your Blogger".



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunflower Shape Stuffed Bread for the Valentine Week

(Adapted from the recipe posted on Home Baker's guild on Facebook)

Its February! February is synonymous with mild chilly mornings, the Kolkata Book Fair, and of course Valentine's Day.

Though the hubby man and I do not celebrate V day formally, but I love to surprise him with some new bakes. Needless to say, even my little Valentine loves it!

This time I had decided not to post anything sweet. So it had to be a savoury recipe. I got this fabulous recipe for Sunflower bread from the Home Baker's Guild on Facebook. I have forgotten the name of the member who posted it, but she had done a wonderful job of posting the recipe in pictures. Thanks you so much for this lovely recipe.
The sunflower bread can be made with any kind of bread dough and the filling can be altered as per requirement. This bread is not made of sunflowers or sunflower seeds! The name is due to the sunflower shape.

I used a filling of veggies with chopped chicken sausages but you can use paneer bhurji, soya kheema, chicken keema, or mixed veggies. The possibilities are endless. 




This stuffed bread looks beautiful and tastes yummy. 

Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

A ball of bread dough (To check the recipe of bread dough, click here.)
Any kind of dry filling (I used a filling of veggies and chicken sausages): 1 and a half cup
Butter: 2 tablespoon (for brushing)

Process:

1. Knead the bread dough with the ingredients given in this recipe. Grease a deep bottom bowl and dunk the ball of dough in it. Keep in a warm dry place for one and a half hours.

2. The dough will rise to double it's size. Sprinkle some dry flour on the working surface and place the ball of dough on it.

3. Press the ball of dough to release the air trapped inside.

4. Divide the ball of dough into two parts using a knife. 

5. Now follow the step-by-step process as shown in the pictures below:










(You can also refer to the following video to view the steps for shaping this bread.)

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C for ten minutes. Place the tray containing the sunflower bread inside the pre-heated oven.

7. Bake for 20 minutes at the same temperature. After 20 minutes, you can grill the bread using Grill mode (for about 2-3 minutes) for a evenly browned top.

8. Remove the bread from the oven and brush the top with butter.


9. Let it cool till it is warm.

Slice and enjoy with your Valentine!

I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB called "Valentine's Day Special Week".




Monday, February 2, 2015

Portugese Custard Tarts: Anwesha's blog

(Pasteis de Nata Recipe - Portuguese Christmas Custard Tarts: Peanuts on the Road)

This week the blogger of the week is Anwesha. Anwesha has a wonderful blog full of travel and food posts. She is very pretty girl with a lovely smile. I am quite surprised with her amazing repertoire of recipes.

While selecting the recipes, I hit upon this wonderful recipe of custard tarts.

These tarts are pretty easy to make. The filling is a wonderfully creamy custard which complements beautifully with the biscuity short crust pastry base.


You can refer to Anwesha's original recipe here.

Here is how I made it.

Ingredients:

1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks, whisked
Pinch of cinnamon powder
1 ball of short crust pastry base


Process:

1. First you need to make the short crust pastry base. To know how to make this short crust pastry, refer here.

2. To make the custard base, add flour with the powdered sugar. Now add the egg yolks to this mixture.

3. Next, slowly add lukewarm milk and mix well.

4. Place this mixture over the gas on a low flame. Keep stirring to avoid formation of lumps.

 

5. The mixture will thicken. Take off the gas and keep aside to cool.

6. Now divide the short crust pastry into small balls, about 13 in number.

7. Roll the balls into small roundels (rotis). Grease small ramekins and place each roundel in the ramekin.


8. Spoon some custard into each ramekin. Make sure that the custard should not be filled to the brim.

9. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees for ten minutes. Place the ramekins in the oven (on the middle rack) and bake for 15-20 minutes. (I baked for 15 minutes)

10. Once the sides turn golden-brown, take the tarts out of the oven. Let it cool till you can touch the ramekins.


11. De-mold carefully and serve while warm.

Enjoy!

I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB "Know Your Blogger".


Monday, January 26, 2015

Lemon Tarts @ Home: Ume's Blog

(Adapted from: Lemon Tart: Ume's Kitchen)

This week, the blogger of the week is Urmi. Urmi is a pretty mom of the cutest daughter ever. She has a blog full of beautiful baked and non-baked recipes. Check out her blog here. She also bakes professionally. Her cake decorating skills are amazing. I am dreaming of making the Marzipan cake that she has posted,

When I was poring over Urmi's blog, I decided to make the delicate lemon tarts. I have made jam tarts and savoury pies before, but have never attempted the lemon tarts before. So now, was a good time to try. 

The process of making lemon tarts has two essential parts. Making the pastry base and making the lemon curd filling. You can check out the original recipe from Urmi's blog here. For making the shortcrust pastry base, I also referred to Tarla Dalal's recipe for the pastry base here.

Check out the lovely tarts here.



Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:


For the short crust pastry base:

Maida/APF: 1 cup
Buttter: 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar: 2 tblsp
Baking powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Cold water: 1-2 tblsp

For the lemon curd:

Juice of large lemon 
Lemon zest (Grated):1 tsp
Sugar (caster/powder):½ cup
Egg:2 pcs
Butter:4 tbsp. (40 gm. approx.)
Whipped cream (alternately Amul fresh cream):4 tbsp
Lemon yellow colour:few drops

Process:

To make the short-crust pastry:

1. In a pan take APF/ maida and add salt, powdered sugar, and baking powder. Add butter to the flour and mix with hands till the flour resembles bread-crumbs.
2. Now add the chilled water and knead the flour till it comes together as a ball. Don't add too much water. For 1 cup of flour, I used only 1 tablespoon chilled water. Knead into a firm, smooth dough.

3. Cover this dough in cling film and keep in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. Take this dough out of the freezer and divide into 14 small balls.
5. Roll into small rotis and place into greased ramekins.Prick the pastry base with a fork.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the tart shells for 10 minutes, till the edges start browning.
7. Keep aside to cool.

For the lemon curd filling:

1. Beat the eggs well. In a pan, place hot water to boil. On top of this pan with boiling water place another non-stick pan. This is known as the double-boiler method.
2. In the non-stick pan, take the lemon zest, sugar and butter. On a low flame, stir the sugar and butter till the sugar has melted,
3. Now add the beaten eggs slowly and keep stirring. As you keep stirring, the mixture will thicken. Finally add the lemon juice and a few drops of edible yellow color.

4. Keep aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the whipped cream. I did not have whipped cream, so I used Amul Fresh cream.
5. The lemon curd mixture is now ready. Add the lemon curd mix to the tart shell carefully with a spoon. Alternatively, you can pipe the filling using a piping bag.

6. Decorate with tutti-fruiti. Keep the tarts in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.

Voila! The lemon tarts are ready. Enjoy with your loved ones.


I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB called "Know Your Blogger".

Robibarer Maangsher Jhol (The Sunday Mutton Curry)

This time Poush Sankranti went by and I was....not able to make anything. The scenario at the office was so chaotic that I just did not get any time at all.

This extended weekend came as a breather and the hubby-man proposed that I should cook something delicious and typically Bengali. So what better than the Robibarer Maangsher jhol.

This maangsher jhol evokes memories of my childhood. In those days, Sunday breakfast was always luchi torkari and the star attraction of lunch had to be the quintessential mutton curry. My mom use to cook it lovingly and while it was being cooked our house would be filled with the fragrance of this aromatic jhol. Me and my grand-dad used to watch an episode of Star Trek and wait with bated breath for the call for lunch.

This mutton curry with steaming hot rice and a slice of lime was pure heaven.....mmmmm! After this sumptuous lunch the elders would retire for the cursory post-lunch nap and I would curl up with a story book. As years went by, this lovely mutton jhol was banished from our house because my grandma stopped eating mutton and so did my Dad because of cholesterol problems. Though my mom used to whip up a lovely chicken curry instead...but Maangsher jhol is Maangsher jhol as every Bengali knows.

My hubby-man, however, relishes mutton no end. After having the mutton curry with rice, he loves to have a bowl-ful of just the "jhol"! So post-marriage, I took all the pains to learn to cook mutton. And whip up a mean koshano maangsher jhol! 


Don't be judgemental by the reddish colour of this jhol. Though the original recipe calls for a paste of green chillies but I opted out of it because my seven-year-old was supposed to have it. This beautiful color of the jhol is due to the presence of tomatoes and the fact that the masala has been stir-fried for a long time. In Bengali, this is known as "koshano". This stir-frying technique takes a good part of an hour but brings out the true flavour of the mutton and lends this lovely reddish-brown color.

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

(Recipe for four people)
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Mutton: 450 grams (Cut into cubes)
Onions: 2 (chopped into long slices)
Onion paste: 3 tablespoon
Tomatoes: 2 (cut into pieces)
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 teaspoons
Green chilli paste: 1 teaspoon (optional)
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Curd/yoghurt: 1/4 th cup
Mustard oil: 3 tablespoon
Potatoes: 3 big (peeled and cut into half)
Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt: to taste

For tempering:
Bay leaf: 1
Whole garam masala (two cloves, two green elaichis, a stick of cardamom): ground to dry powder


Process:


1. First you need to do the preparation. Chop the onions, tomatoes and potatoes. Next, heat mustard oil in a wok and fry the potatoes till they have reddish brown specks on them. Drain and keep aside. In a big bowl, take the mutton pieces, curd, onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, salt and 2 teaspoon of mustard oil. You can also add a teaspoon of green chilli paste to this marinade (optional). Mix well and keep the meat marinated for 1 and half hours.

2. Now, heat mustard oil in a pan (about 3 tablespoons) and add the powdered whole garam masala and bay leaf and sugar. Add the chopped onions and fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes and fry some more. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add the meat along with the marinade and the fried potatoes. Fry and mix the masala with the meat.
3. Keep a pan of hot water ready because you need to use it for stir-frying the masala. 
4. Now add 2 ladle-full of hot water to the meat in the wok and stir-fry. Cover and keep to simmer over medium heat.
5. After 2-3 minutes, remove the cover and check the meat. The masala will stick to the bottom of the pan. Don't panic. Add two more ladles of hot water to the meat and fry some more.

6. Repeat this process of stir-frying and adding hot water till the meat takes on a dark-brown colour. This will take the better part of an hour so be patient. Your aromatic meat will be worth the effort.

7. Once the meat turns dark-brown, remove the wok from the flame. Pour the entire contents into a pressure cooker and pour enough hot water to cover the meat. Attach the cover of the pressure cooker and let the steam build to one whistle. (After adding the hot water in the pressure cooker, add more salt to taste, if desired.)
8. After one whistle, lower the flame to simmer. Let the meat be on simmer for next 20 minutes.
9. Turn off the gas and let the steam escape on its own.
10. Open the pressure cooker. Your steaming hot, aromatic mutton curry is ready. Pour the entire contents into a large bowl and garnish with a teaspoon of ghee.

Serve hot with steamed white rice. Here is the beauty!




Monday, January 19, 2015

Milk Bread from Manjari's Blog

(Adapted from Milk Bread: For the Love of Food)


This week on the "Know Your Blogger" week, the spotlight is on Manjari. Manjari is the first KFBian I have met in person. We met at one of the restaurant inauguration events. The first time I saw her, I was bowled over by her beauty and her long flowing tresses. In my mind, she is forever "Rapunzel" because I am yet to see such long, beautiful hair being maintained by a person as young as she. Once, I started reading her blog, I was equally smitten by the range of her expertise. She excels in all kinds of international cuisines and her cakes, pies, and desserts are simply...to die for!

While scanning her blog, I was flummoxed to say the least. I had no clue which recipe I should re-create. Finally, I decided to make the delicate Milk Bread that she has posted.

This Milk Bread is so soft....so soft that you want to have it right away without toasting. Its a super hit with small and BIG kids alike! Just check the beautiful bread I made using her recipe.




You can find Manjari's recipe here. I also referred to Dan Lepard's recipe of Milk Bread.


Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

All purpose flour/ Maida: 3 cups
Sugar/ Honey: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 3 and a half tablespoons
Instant yeast: 2 teaspoon
Salt: 2 teaspoon
Milk: 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup

Process:

1. Boil the milk and let it come to warm temperature. Add lukewarm water to the milk. Add honey and instant yeast. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes in a warm place.
2. In a separate vessel, add APF, salt and butter. Rub in the butter using your hands.


3. Now add the milk mixture to the flour and knead using hand/ mixer till the dough comes together as a ball.
4. Sprinkle some dry flour on a work table and place the dough ball on it. Knead using hands for 10 minutes till the dough is smooth and springs back on touch.
5. Keep covered in a deep-dish in a warm place for one hour. The dough will rise to double its size.
6. Now softly press the dough to release the air trapped inside. Divide the dough into two sections.

7. I made one dough ball into a regular log shape and the other one into a brioche shape stuffed with some chicken mince. To learn how to make the brioche shape refer here.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.
9. Make some cuts over the surface of the regular loaf with a knife. Brush both the loafs with milk. Place the two loafs into the pre-heated oven.
10. Take the brioche out after 20 minutes and brush with milk/butter.
11. Take the loaf out of the oven after 45 minutes. Brush with milk/butter. Wait for the loaves to cool to room temperature before slicing.

You will get a pillowy soft bread that is simply yum! I cannot thank Manjari enough for this wonderful recipe. I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB called "Know Your Blogger".