Indian Masala Omelette with Happy Eggs

Weekend mornings demand a good breakfast, especially if you have had a tad too much wine on Friday evening 😉

I love making a simple Indian omelette and my dinner guests who stayed with us for the night, last Friday, had to be fed a hearty breakfast before they set out to go home. Like my aai I am obsessed with feeding people and cannot imagine sending off guests on an empty stomach.

Luckily, now that I am part of the Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network a  #happyeggtastemakers, I had 2 boxes of these lovely Happy eggs at home, red onion or the Mumbai pink onion which I buy from my fav Indian-Pakistani grocery store and loads of frozen coriander.

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This is a very basic recipe for the Indian masala omelette- with a bit of twist , added in my me . I also love adding in cheese and bulking it up with ham or sausages which I did for my guests, but hubster is a purist of sorts when it comes to the masala omelettes (read fussy hehehe) and so made 2 huge omelettes , one using the recipe that follows and another with the cheese, sausages and Parma Ham – so… so… so… good !!

Indian Masala Omelette

Serves:2

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium sized red onion or pink Mumbai onion chopped fine
  • 3 Happy eggs
  • 1 green chillies chopped into fairly large chunky pieces- easy to pick out for the faint hearted!
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 /4th  tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 large tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste

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Additional Ingredients to bulk up the omlette:

  • 1 cheese single
  •  2 sausages
  •  2 thin slices of Parma Ham
  •  1 /2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1.5 medium sized red onion.

Adding the garam masala is something I like to do as it gives the omelette a fabulous amped up flavour but feel free to leave that out if you aren’t a fan ,

Method:

  • Finely chop the red onion.
  • Chop the green chilli into fairly big pieces so they can be picked out by those that don’t want to chew on them.
  • Crack the happy eggs into the bowl.
  • Add in the chopped onions, green chilli chopped, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Whisk with a fork till the mixture foams and is well aerated , this will give you a beautifully ‘fluffy’ omelette .
  • Then add the chopped coriander and mix again.

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  • I add in the turmeric as it has loads of health benefits – it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant, and our guest who do not consume turmeric on a regular basis loved the idea.
  • Now add in the cheese – torn roughly if it using a cheese single or crushed if using a soft cheese or crumbly cheese, sausages and Parma Ham.Lightly beat the egg mixture once more with a fork to mix well.
  • Place a big pan on medium heat and when it begins to heat up melt the butter.
  • See the photo below – when the butter begins to sizzle and pan resembles what you see in the image then it’s the right time to add the egg mixture.

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  • Move the pan around so that the mixture spreads evenly and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes .
  • When the omelette leaves the sides of the pan ,slightly lift it with a wooden spatula and check , if it has browned it’s time to FLIP ,  you can tell by the aroma wafting around too.6-IMG_9200 (Copy)
  • With a big wooden spatula gently flip over and cook on the other side, I place a lid over my pan at this stage to trap the steam and it also gives me a really fluffy omelette, of course it will fall flat if you don’t serve immediately.
  • Once done, turn off the heat and cut in half using a wooden spatula. Fold and place in between hot buttered toast for a fabulous breakfast.

An Indian masala omelette,served at breakfast with hot buttered toast and hot cups of masala chai , I think is a breakfast fit for a king – Made better with Happy Eggs I say!

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I am so egg-cited to be part Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network, they  sent  me this beautifully packaged cute box with a massive chocolate cookie made using Happy Eggs and a lovely picture of the latest campaign – Top of The Flocks – where Happy Eggs produced an original album of classical music following a study by the University of Bristol looking at the positive benefits of music on hens.The results showed that Happy Hens prefer Bach to Beyonce – they have refined taste these hens! Happy Hens produced 6% more eggs in nest boxes playing classical music compared to pop! Awesome or what?! – always good to know where your eggs are coming from isn’t it?!

Ahem… as you can that by the time I actually got around to taking a photo of the welcome kit , hubster and me had managed to devour most of the cookie …well , don’t blame us  – it was soo yum!

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*With thanks to Happy Eggs for taking me on as part of their Exclusive Blogger Network and  for a complimentary voucher sent with their cute welcome pack . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Zingy Turkish Poached Eggs with Total Greek Yogurt

I am a fan of eggs in any form and when I chanced upon this delightful Turkish recipe for combining eggs with thick and fulfilling greek yogurt I just had to go ahead and experiment! Total Greek Yogurt 0% is fat free, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and pregnant women – all good , no nasties! Besides these virtues its consistency is great and I have in the past few days consumed one of the smaller pots per day part in smoothies and just a dollop with my rice and curry dinner. There are so many versatile combinations that are possible with this yogurt. From smoothies and shakes to use in cooking as a marinade or cooling dip with chopped goodies like fresh chives,garlic,chilli flakes etc.The thick and creamy consistency is a bonus if you’re trying to watch your weight too !

I made these poached eggs for brunch and served them with wholemeal pitta toasted in the same pan where I made my chilli butter – fabulous!

Traditionally this dish is called Çılbır (pronounced as chillburrr, roll the r’s!) is a Turkish dish of poached eggs with yogurt (often with garlic mixed in).There are records of çılbır being eaten by Ottoman sultans as far back as the 15th century. It is now common to serve the dish topped with melted butter infused with Aleppo pepper, for which paprika can be substituted. (Source:Wiki)

 

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Serves :2

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs – 2 per person
  • a handful of fresh mint roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped fine
  • 500gm Total Greek Yogurt 0%
  • Butter 50gm
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sea Salt as per taste
  • a pinch of chilli powder – as per your tolerance levels

Method:

  • Boil water in a large sauce pan(my time saving trick -boil water in the kettle and add to saucepan), then cover with lid and boil on medium flame for some more time.
  • When water is absolutely boiling remove the lid and reduce the flame to a very low simmer and carefully crack the eggs into the water one by one. They sort of seems to freeze frame inside the boiling water. Give them about 30 seconds and when it seems like they have been poached carefully remove them one by one using a slotted spoon. If you suspect that the yolk will just burst open it means it needs some more time inside. Don’t worry if this process isn’t perfect the first time around , its a learning curve and you will get it right in a few tries – in case of disaster scoop out as much of the egg as you can and after you are done with all the eggs use a sieve to save the remaining egg:)
  • In2  bowls or plates scoop out the yogurt and divide equally – season with sea salt and a generous sprinkling of cracked black pepper and a pinch of chilli powder.
  • Create a bit of shallow space in the middle of the yogurt mix and place the poached eggs on top.
  • On a non stick pan melt some butter and before it starts to brown add the finely chopped garlic and  smoked paprika.
  • Then add some sea salt .
  • Quickly pour this delicious golden spiced goodness the butter has become over the eggs and yogurt.
  • Sprinkle some freshly mint leaves roughly chopped over this.
  • Toast the mini wholemeal pitta breads in the same pan that was used to melt and spice the butter and it will give your pitta a kick of flavour!
  • Scoop the flavoured poached egg and the cooling yogurt with the pitta bread. It’s a beautiful sensation as the cold yogurt and smoked paprika work their magic on your taste buds.

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Disclaimer: With many thanks to Total Uk  for the generous amount of samples ,goody box and vouchers sent  to me to test and review.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Smoky Chorizo and Chives baked Eggs in Pots

Of all the crazy boxing day sale shopping I am most happy with what I found for my kitchen (of course!). Amongst a few things the best buys are a massive Denby cast iron crock pot which doubles up as a slow cooker and I plan to use it real carefully,maybe even pass it down as a family heirloom, and then there are the beautifully dark burnt orange mini cocotte from Le Creuset. I couldn’t think of a better way to inaugurate the cute mini cocottes than by making baked eggs.

I created this recipe for Baked eggs and decided to give it a twist with laying a base of wafer thin potatoes, they give this dish a whole new dimension and are like a secret surprise at the bottom of this miniature stockpot of goodness!

Serves:2  Prep Time:10 Minutes In the Oven: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • a small bunch of chives finely chopped
  • 2 large tsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 4 spicy chorizo sausages chopped
  • 5-6 chestnut mushrooms
  • Coriander to season
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/4th potato thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Method:

  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the cream cheese,finely chopped chives,the chopped mushrooms, finely chopped coriander,sea salt and red chilli flakes.
  • In a saucepan add the oil and sautee’ the red onion till they go soft n juicy and then add the chopped sausages, cook on a low flame for not more than 2 minutes
  • Grease the mini cocottes and place the potato slices at the bottom, add the red onion and sausage mixture and then pour the egg mixture on them.

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  • Pre heat the oven to 220° C and place the mini cocottes on a tray, bake for the first 10 minutes with lid  and then wait for 5 minutes then open the oven and bake again for 15 minutes without lid.

It’s super to watch the egg puff up and form the most perfect brown crusty top.I spent so much time getting the setting right that they collapsed by then – gaaaahhh! but still I am so happy with the results of this taste experiment!Serve with hot buttered toast and a large pot of English Breakfast tea.

This  is the perfect indulgent breakfast for a Sunday morning, you could prepare the pots at night if you want to make them in large batches for a big weekend  brunch.Simply cover and store in the fridge with lids on.

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Mind you these may look like tiny pots but one of these and you feel stuffed!!

An evening with Tesco’s Finest* and a recipe for a Sweet Pepper and Wild Mushroom Pie

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When I was on my way to the Food Evening Taste Experience at Tesco Kensington last week little did I expect a detailed and informative presentation about how the Tesco Finest* range is created by a very passionate set of people who are proud to know all about how and where the ingredients are sourced from.Everything including the stunning new packaging has been planned well down to the last-minute detail.

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There was a very tempting display of Tesco Finest* goodies and it was quite a test of self-control to not start munching on the goodies. We had various types of cheese, large variety of cold cuts, many different types of cakes ,chocolates and lot of exciting new variants of tea and coffee to dig into.

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This event was to celebrate Tesco finest*range being relaunched.

Says Chrish Bush ,M.D – Tesco,U.K – ”In total, we’ll have over 1500 different products in our new finest* range and there’s a story to be told about them all. What we want to do though the new packaging and the way we talk about finest* is to show the passion, care and expertise that goes on behind the scenes to create great food.”

I most enjoyed sampling the cured ham and the various types of cheese,perfect for your Christmas Cheese board.The finest* blue Wensleydale which is handcrafted in the Yorkshire Dales , has its own unique culture that creates the blue vein and it also won supreme champion at the 2012 British Cheese Awards.

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Tesco finest* blue Wensleydale supplier – Image Courtesy: Tesco

I was quite amazed to learn that the finest* Traditionally Smoked Haddock is smoked at a 100-year-old smokehouse in Lincolnshire. Joe Tummey started it up in the 1940s and has passed on all he knows to his son and grandson today. Years of using the same smokehouse makes the flavour even more intense. Boy I love-uh smoked haddock!!

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The images above are courtesy Tesco

As I had earlier on in the day shopped at the mini Tesco near my place, I had given into the temptation of buying this single dark red  sweet pepper from the Finest* range ,this in addition to the new pack of sweet peppers from my goody bag I decided to combine it with the mixed fresh wild mushroom pack also from my goody bag and made us a delicious pie for the weekend .

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Image Courtesy: Tesco

I had some potatoes and a big pack of smoked bacon bits too and decided to make my own stock using some flour and a Knorr cube. This is a very hearty pie and you could mix in any spare veggies that you need to finish. It serves 4 ideally but it was so tasty that hubby and me almost licked the plate dry 😉

 Sweet Pepper & Wild Mushroom Pie – Recipe using Tesco Finest*ingredients

Serves: 4 with sides or two hungry and greedy adults 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of mixed fresh WILD mushrooms from the Tesco Finest* range
  • 1 pack of fresh sweet mini peppers from the Tesco Finest* range
  • 200gm smoked bacon bits
  • 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into thin discs like shapes
  • Butter  4 large tbsp
  • 2 small red onion sliced lengthwise
  • 3 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 1 Knorr Chicken Cube
  • 1 Puff pastry sheet
  • 8” pie dish

Method:

Line an 8 inch pie dish with butter and place the disc like slices of potatoes onto it to create a base. Now add the smoked bacon bits which have been sauteed in butter onto the potatoes.

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Use the delicious dark brown juicy fat after you saute’ the bacon and cook the sliced onion, peppers and chopped mushrooms in the same saucepan, just add a generous squeeze of the garlic paste and sprinkle some paprika powder if you want to amp up the heat quotient.

Now when the peppers start to turn soft load this delicious mixture which I could eat on its own onto the smoked bacon layer in the pie dish, spread it all over the pie dish to create an even layer .Now in the same saucepan add a bib blob of butter and 3 heaped teaspoons of plain flour ,stir in some water and ensure all the lumps are broken and a thick smooth paste is formed ,stir on a very low flame and crush one cube of knorr chicken into this paste. This cube should ensure that the entire pie gets the exact amount of salt it needs. After 2- 3 minutes pour this thick stock onto the peppers and watch it seep down through the layers …ummm soo soo good!

Now seal of this beauty with a sheet of puff pastry and do some creative art on the top with leaves or heart shapes or whatever you like 😉

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 25- 30 minutes until the puff pastry has risen and separate crispy layers are visible and the top has browned to a beautiful golden brown.

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The sweet pepper taste coupled with the chewy earthy mushroom and the rich dark mysterious flavours of the pan fried buttery smoked bacon are simply irresistible and I helped myself to a rather greedy second helping , all washed down nicely with a big bottle of Cava 🙂

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This recipe is very quick and easy to prepare and if you want to do more than one pie you can just double up the ingredients and cook both pies together depending on how big an oven you have. Recommended sides are green peas , baby carrots and a generous helping of  fresh and crunchy Iceberg lettuce salad leaves all smothered in a honey mustard dressing and topped off with freshly ground pepper and some sea salt . I can almost see a large table full of very happy and smiling guests over for a Saturday Pre-Christmas lunch. Just ensure you have plenty of blankets and amp up the heating at home as these happy guests are going to want a long nap after they tuck into your Sweet pepper & Wild mushroom pie!

Undoubtedly, the taste is enhanced by use of fresh ingredients !Many Thanks to the very cheerful and efficient team at Tesco Kensington and the efficient PR for a lovely evening, a generous goody bag and all the tipples 🙂

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Egg Curry/Anda Curry/अण्डा कारी from my college days

Egg curry and soft paav or square buns are the most common hostel food that one can make with a saucepan,some eggs and a few basic ingredients.It is hugely popular as a filling,tasty curry and there are as many variations as the imagination, ones budget and availability of ingredients on a particular day will allow 🙂

This version is what I always make and is sort of derivative of what would be made in the North of India.I sometimes like to make it into a coastal flavoured one by adding fresh grated coconut but that’s only if I want to make it posh but that’s very, very rare. After all this is a quick ,save the evening sort of curry!

It’s National Curry Week and it’s wonderful to see how Britain has embraced an Indian food habit and made it, its own over the years, spinning off British Indian versions of popular Indian home cooked curries.

I wanted to start of my posts for National Curry week with this one because of how easy it is to make and a great recipe for students everywhere 🙂

Serves:2

Total Preparation Time :20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs and use the same proportion of 2 eggs per person to scale up (for very hungry fells the more the merrier 😉
  • 2 medium-sized red onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – it’s easier on my conscience , use any oil or butter or ghee in dire straits!

Method:

  1. Boil the eggs in an open saucepan and leave aside to cool
  2. Roast the chopped red onion on a saucepan and spritz it in the mixer with the chopped tomatoes and green chillies.(If you want a coastal touch add 2 tbsp of fresh grated coconut in this mixture and puree it together,ensure to use atleast 3 finely chopped garlic in the pan as they set of the taste of fresh coconut beautifully)
  3. In a saucepan heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida,then add the chopped garlic and roast till it’s a light brown ,then add the ginger paste,turmeric,red chilli powder,garam masala,coriander and cumin powders.
  4.  Stir in the onion and tomato puree.
  5. Cook on a low flame for 2 minutes.
  6. Then add some water to make a gravy like consistency and ad the boiled, peeled eggs after cutting them in half, add salt and cook for a further 5 – 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with hot chapartis/naan bread,paav,soft fresh wholemeal bread or with steaming hot boiled white rice – to make the rice taste heavenly drop a blob of butter, the steam trapped in the grains of rice will melt the butter into a golden pool of gooey goodness – pour the egg curry into this and enjoy the best and simple pleasures of curry!

Anda Curry

Looking for a Curry Recipe? You might also like:

Irani Cafe Colony – An interview with the owner Agha and his daughters Bibi Sadat ,Bibi Fatehmehand son Mirza

Interview with Mr. Agha and his two daughters – owners  –  Cafe Colony – Hindu Colony,Dadar,Bombay.

Manjiri :

Ever since I moved back to Bombay after a few years in Pune and with Cafe Colony within walking distance, I wanted to meet Agha and have a heart to heart  chat with him. I soon became  a regular customer  as well as established a friendly rapport with  him and his daughters that calling this piece an interview is not apt. It’s just snippets of a long conversation over several cups of Irani Chai and  several  evenings. But it was only after I had moved to London and then on one of my unplanned visits to India that I got an opportunity to really get talking with Agha’s daughters, Agha himself was too busy but did let me come and click a dozen pictures, he never lets anyone do that so I guess my skills of persuasion worked! In fact there was so much more to catch up on even after my conversations with Aghas daughters, that I let Mrinal (who blogs at Retro-Reflections) catch up with  Agha after I came back to London after my visit to Bombay this May. I am so glad she managed to get him talking!

My earliest memories associated with Irani cafes are of eating giant omelettes with soft buns slathered in butter with my father  at a now nonexistent Irani cafe  opposite Dadar Station. This happened a few years in succession as we waited for my grandmothers train to arrive at the station, invariably delayed we confidently sat down to have breakfast at this quaint cafe instead of sweating it out on the platform. This Irani cafe  no longer exists and has long been replaced by an Udipi joint. The typical wooden chairs, the glass-topped wooden tables with a simple plastic ‘’tablecloth’’ and the trademark maska-pav dripping in butter was great fun to eat and I also got to feel all grown up and important by having a cup of tea to myself instead of the daily glass of milk!

Omlette at Cafe Colony Irani

A full spread - typical Irani anda pav breakfast with chai n maska pavAghas daughters are shy by nature and very simple too but standing behind that counter and ‘’manning’’ the post has taught them a lot. After being cheated and fleeced silly by a manager who they had for a short while, the girls decided to take over when Agha needed a break. The elder one started coming to the shop when she was 18 and her brother when he was even younger . Soon they learnt the ropes  of the working of the cafe. Mind you managing a shop in a city like Bombay is no mean feat. No one would know that better than me, after managing 9 supermarkets in Pune including lauching them. I got to see a bit of live ‘’action’’ when during my visit to Bombay in November’13 all shops were forcibly made to shutter down due to some political tension in the city and the girls very ably managed to safely shut shop and get themselves home. Believe it takes some major spunk to do this sort of stuff.I had to ask them if any other Irani cafes they know are now ‘’manned ‘’ by the women in the family , I was so happy to hear their reply, ”Light of Bharat” Irani cafe is at times managed by a lady and Crown Bakery has the Irani Parsi girls managing the show.My thoughts are interrupted by a customer who come to buy a few eggs and another person seeking change for a large amount is politely but firmly turned away ,atta girls!

”The Agha girls” as I shall call them here because I choose not to name them, I could but as they very kindly told me a few reasons why they wouldn’t want to be photographed , I genuinely think it’s a mark of respect to not use their names here either – they later changed their mind after ma in law convinced them that they should be PROUD that they stand alongside the men in the family their father Agha and brother Mirza and help run the cafe so efficiently, so the photos you will see in this post are old photographs they have kindly agreed to share with aai and me.

It seemed apt to munch on some mawa cake and down it with tea at this juncture,always a good way to keep the conversation going.

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Moving to Surat in India one of the reasons for migration was the growing discomfort between Irani Muslims and Irani Parsis they tell me.The elder of the two sisters started helping out her father at the shop when she was 18. Labour issues, staff theft and skyrocketing taxes, the girls have seen a lot.The LBT strike are happening on and off in India during this period (April 2013) and sugar and dal stocks are badly affected. Imagine an irani cafe that can’t serve tea they say …shudder shudder…

Someone has ordered a plate of dal rice, the common mans daily meal in India and supremely satisfying as a comfort food.

dal-rice plate

The girls recount that biryani was added onto the menu much later and even today Irani cafes continue to serve authentic rice and kheema in-spite of mutton getting more expensive each passing day.

Increasing taxes,expensive ingredients, political turmoil, staff issues are just some of the many daily challenges the surviving Irani cafes face, many have shit shop, yet others have renovated to keep in step modern and risked loosing the old world charm and so many others are on the brink of extinction as future generations have migrated or chosen other professions. But the elder of the Agha girls remembers the 1992 communal riots vividly and how the locals came to their rescue and they agree Bombay is home and the Cafe is their only means of livelihood, and they wouldn’t trade what they have for anything in the world. I heave a silent sigh of relief …

A consignment of sweets from Iran has arrived and I get to to inspect the package,photograph it before it goes into the freezer, all this is done with a great amount of fanfare and Mrinal and me have managed to attract a small amount of giggly kids outside the store. One bold but very cute kid one comes and tugs at my shirt ,”tumhi reporter aahe? newspaper madhe photo yenar? majha ghya na” – Marathi for ”you a reporter?wil these photographs be printed in tomorrows newspaper?please click a picture of me” ! 🙂

Gaz is nothing but Persian for nougat originating from the city of Esfahan and Boldaji, located in the central plateau of Iran. The same nougat is also made in Iraq where it is known as Mann al-Sama

Irani sweets

The Cafe’ was now getting very busy and lots of customers were approaching the counter, business as usual….

Busy Times ahead

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In the ‘’interview’’ with Agha below Mrinal takes a walk down memory lane with, of course with rather distractedly tempting photographs in between the paragraphs.

Mrinal – (blogs at Retro-Reflections)

It was after a great deal of persuasion that Mr.Agha of Cafe Colony, Dadar agreed to talk to me putting his busy schedule on hold.  He was apprehensive at first   but once he got into the mood there was nothing to stop his enthusiasm talking about his experiences in running of the cafe. But first, my association with Agha’s extended family (when there were several partners in the business) goes way back to the sixties and the early seventies when Cafe Colony was run by Mr Mohammad. He was a jolly young man who lived close by with his wife and two cherubic children, little Mohammad and Fasila. I remember them constantly running in and out of the shop and making a terrific ruckus to get attention whenever their father sat on the counter. Many a times these children were invited   to our house  for goodies they had never had and they came most willingly  and also  out of curiosity.Cafe Colony at the time was a small cafe with very little to offer.  My memory is quite  hazy but as the years went by it began to expand gradually offering a wide range of items and a buzzing place , a hub where all  gathered .I learnt later Mohammad and his family left.

Agha fav pose

Several of Agha’s family was involved with the running of the cafe till Agha himself took over.Like other Irani families, his  family too migrated and came via Surat. The cafe opened in 1933. Since then it has steadily and surely catered to hundreds of residents living in Hindu Colony and around it. There were other Irani joints nearby —–Yezdaan, round the Dadar T.T corner now where Metro Shoe shop stands. Point out  Agha’s daughters , ‘on a clear day one can see the etching of the name Cafe Yezdaan on top of Metro shoe shop ,if you are tall enough) and Cafe Premier near Dadar station. Both these have closed down now. But Cafe Colony still survives despite all odds.

Cafe Colony entrance

Says Agha . those days  it was easier to man the cafe . Raw stock was easily available and labour was cheap. Even the effect of the LBT affected items like sugar, flour and dal. These are the things one has to grapple with.The ‘irani Boys’ who waited at the tables were loyal and honest  and did all the odd jobs. I remember there was personalised service if one was staying nearby.  They used to personally deliver eggs bread and other items.People were friendly and the crowd was motley. We even had a juke box and a weighing machine.Many residents from Parsee colony too would come to the cafe and enjoy the music and sit around till late. But soon all this disappeared as the suburb began to grow and old structures gave way to new ones .The footpath in front of Cafe Colony widened as traffic increased on the Tilak Bridge. Cafe Colony was no longer the same where one could sit quietly and enjoy a cup of chai without the blaring of horns. But with it the cafe too began to expand and many more things were added to the cafe besides bakery products and tea accompaniments.Nearer to Cafe Colony (two shops away) Agha’s family purchased another corner shop called Bakery and Candy Store, which did a brisk business for a short period but ran into a considerable loss and was sold off. But Cafe Colony soldiered on.

Agha loved posing for us!

Any political issue resulting in a strike  or  (since the area came  under  a party’s stronghold) shops would  down their shutters but not Aghas Cafe . In fact people used to collect there for major discussions and endless cups of chai would be supplied just to keep the bonhomie going. His daughters recall how the colony people protected them and their shop during the communal riots  and they are more than grateful till today. However, it was sad Candy Corner bore the brunt  and was vandalised . On 26th July 2006, when Bombay was under water Cafe Colony was open all night despite no lights and was offering customers whatever was available as well as refuge.

The tiny army at Cafe Colony

Other highlights in the life of Cafe Colony are when Ramdas Athavale (political figure ) visited the cafe and it catered for his entire security guards  about thirty to forty of them. Another time when Agha himself prepared Biryani for Dr Ambedkar’s grandson.

Today all that has changed and the struggle goes on . The Irani boys keep changing and one has to keep a hawk eye on them. Very often I see Agha himself in the kitchen giving a helping hand, just rustling up a quick breakfast or giving finishing touch to the Biryani on a Sunday morning or taking the delivery of the meat from the butcher . The delicious mutton and chicken patties which earlier were available any time at the counter now need to be ordered beforehand.  Although his own supply of almonds pistachios figs Turkish delight Irani jars and occasionally a lovely carpet may be on sale. The versatality of the shop is just amazing!

Turkish Delights

Unlike other Irani cafes around Bombay whose owners are apprehensive about the second generation manning the cafe cum restaurant, Agha’s cafe is currently in the safe zone as his son and daughters give him that support he desperately needs to keep it going. The future according to him is uncertain. But what of the good old residents of the Colony for whom Cafe Colony has been a landmark . A closure of this iconic place would surely herald protests of all kinds .

The old timers meet here everydayIt's a struggle to survive and this bun maska is at stake...

The next post in this 3 part series will take you to an Irani Cafe London….coming soon!

Cheers,

Mrinal (who blogs at Retro-Reflections) and Manjiri

References:

Wikipedia

13th Sept’13 – Friday

Mrinal and me were so happy to receive an email from Bibi Fatemeh who is Agha’s younger daughter.She has very generously and proudly agreed to share their names and their photographs taken while they are at the counter.I cannot express my joy and pride at how much this means to both Mrinal and me. Bibi Fatemeh  has been very generous in her praise about this article:

”It was pleasure reading about our interview and seeing pictures of Cafe Colony. A real proud moment for us. We all liked to whatever you & Mrinal has written. All the credit goes to my Dad for the struggle & all the hard work he has put in till date.”

Thanks Bibi Fatemeh, we too are very proud of your Dad and we can only say one thing ”LONG LIVE CAFE COLONY”

Bibi- Fatemeh has shared a picture of her at the Cafe Colony where she and her elder sister Bibi Sadat proudly manage the counter.Bibi Sadat’s picture will follow soon enough.

(What I love about Bibi Fatehmeh’s photo below is the beautiful and confident smile and the huge stack of eggs behind her that sell off quickly as they are sold at the wholesale rate, a respite form the other crazy expensive retail rates! Another feather in the cap for Cafe’ Colony!)

Bibi Fatehmeh

Watch this space for Bibi Sadat’s photograph – up soon!

Ok Folks!Bibi Sadets picture is here!And a lovely photograph of Agha with both the lovely girls.

Bibi sadat

 

Agha and daughters at the shop

Last but certainly not the least is Bibi Fatehmeh with her brother Mirza.

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Prawn and Samphire in butter and chives – Sides in 5 minutes and lesser!

I first came upon this delightfull crunchy and salty coastal plant –Samphire -when I went into a tiny  shop which sells some amazing fresh sea food on Marylebone Street on my way to the Daunt Book store ( click on the hyperlink to read that blog post)

I found it a supermarket aisle and had to bring it home! I had a few prawns remaining and it was a great way to use them and create a side dish which is no fuss and really quick.

Simply saute the Samphire on a pan when it’s not very hot on a low flame in butter, then add another dollop and saute the prawns add a tiny bit of salt and sprinkle with Chives, Serve by squeezing some lime to add a zing, easy and quick isn’t it? Just what one needs to create good tasty meals without the fuss !

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Sun Dried Tomato and Chilli Spiced Bread

It’s amazingly sunny this week and my spirits are up so I decided to make some  spiced bread with sun dried tomatoes and chilli, it turned out so yum I want to gobble it all up! This bread is a very filling,wholesome bread and is great for mopping up a thick gravy or having perfectly scrambled eggs with asparagus sprigs a dollop of butter – ah – sounds heavenly, my breakfast tomorrow for sure!

The oil from the sun dried tomatoes and the oil that goes in dough and really adds to the taste. It takes some kneading as I don’t own a bread maker (yet !) and didn’t really want to get into the hassle of trying the dough function on my food processor, still if you do possess one the bread bread dough tools, good for you!Recipe adaptation from here

Considering it was my first ever homemade bread, it turned out really nice, bursting with aroma and rich flavours and am now prepared to move on to well more bread making!

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm strong bread flour
  • 25 gm butter
  • Sun dried tomatoes and chillies about a large spoonfull
  • A sachet yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 280 ml water at room temperature
  • Plain white flour for kneading
  • Oil from the chillies and tomato
  • Oil to grease loaf tin
  • Cling Film

Method:

  • Sift the flour and add the yeast salt and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Ensure butter is soft and rub in the butter with your hands till the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the finely chopped sun dried tomatoes and chillies and some of the oil and mix well.
  • Now add the water slowly, folding it using a wooden or plastic spatula and then knead to make the dough.Keep kneading till a soft dough forms, fold in some oil and plain flour as and when needed.It will take about 15 minutes, yes I know but its worth it!
  • While kneading use the same process as you would while kneading chapati/roti aata , kneading out from center and then folding sides back into the center.
  • Cover in cling film and coat with some more oil. Leave to rise for about 2 hours in  a warm and dry place.
  • Now remove the cling film and knead the risen dough again at least for 8-10 minutes, you will notice that the dough will loose air and will almost go back to its original size.Its like mini air pockets getting tiny punches with your hands.
  • Repeat the cling film process and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a loaf tin in a warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 210 degrees , I have a fan oven,bake for 25 minutes,to ensure it’s well risen.
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then on the wire rack.
  • Serve sliced and enjoy with curries as a great alternative to regular wholemeal bread or as I plan to tomorrow with soft, perfectly done runny scrambled eggs, thinly sliced ham and asparagus sauteed in butter!

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Basic Chocolate Cake with Frosting

What better way to celebrate a new FOODISTA Badge for my post on Shahi Khichadi than by baking a chocolate cake , I firmly believe that chocolate is the one word that instantly lifts sagging spirits and the whole baking process itself is cathartic ! So sistah’s lets BAKE !

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 30 mins

Level :EASY PEASY !

You will Need the Following :

  1. 225g butter, softened
  2. 225g caster sugar
  3. 4 Eggs
  4. 220g Self Raising Flour
  5. 3 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  7. Half tiny spoonfull of Soda Bicarbonate

For the FILLING

  1. 100g Butter
  2. 100g Icing Sugar
  3. 1 level tbsp Cocoa Powder
  4. Chocolate for adding chocolate shavings,or crunchy choco balls or FRESH strawberries sliced – whatever suits your mood , mine says GO ALL OUT FOR CHOCOLATE !

Preparation:

  1. Lightly Grease two cake tins and line the bottoms with non stick-parchment. Perheat Oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. I manage without parchment , it’s up to you, if your baking for the first time use it as it prevents the sides from burning.
  2. Ensure butter is completely softened or else use the old foolproof way – heat water in a pan ,place a vessel on top with the butter inside minus any packaging, watch it soften like a man melts when he looks onto the eyes’s of his dearest ,ahem …
  3. Measure the Butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well they form a creamy mix, I used a fork and gave it a good old whipping:) – think of someone you dislike – your boss , your mil, your annoying neighbour, Baba Yaga the Witch – whoever – just whip away hehehe
  4. Add 3 medium or 4 small eggs, I used 3 medium-sized eggs.
  5. Swift the self-raising flour into this mix ,followed by the baking powder, soda bicarbonate ,cocoa powder and beat till really smooth , I didn’t even need a hand blender as the butter was perfectly soft and the flour well swifted , though do go ahead and use a hand blender on low setting for about a minute , have added a picture so you know the look of consistency.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins and put into the oven to bake for 25-30mins.I used the foil of the butter packaging to grease the cake tins, no wastage in my kitchen !
  7. While in the oven make the icing by creaming together the butter and icing sugar and add cocoa powder, mix until smooth.
  8. Sandwich together the two cakes with the icing.Add some on the sides and sprinkle the crunchy choco balls on the top , go all crazy and add some chocolate shavings , I did !
    When you bake this and sink your teeth into the chocolately heaven , enjoy the moment and then….drop me a line ! 🙂
    PICTURES !
    Hover over the pic for a title …

”POSH ”Victoria Sponge Cake

What better way to celebrate the excitement surrounding the Olympics happening in London than sinking my teeth into a perfectly delicious soft Victoria Sponge Cake !

It’s an easy recipe and the result left me feeling like so very happy !

I tried to read up online why it is called a ”Victoria” Sponge cake and the apt answer seems that since Queen Victoria loved this soft cake with her afternoon tea ! So I am going to savour the cake and afternoon tea as I cheer myself hoarse in front of the telly whilst watching the Olympics 🙂

Lovely! So let’s get baking and when your done gobbling some of it , drop me a line and let me know how much you enjoyed creating this yummy delight !

This cake serves 8 people, takes about an hour to prepare.

I choose to call it ”POSH” because that’s Victoria Beckham’s pop name,our very own British star and this cake is modernised version of a British Classic recipe with a twist as it is layered with Creme Chantilly’ – very posh sounding indeed !

Ingredients:

  1. 225 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  2. 4 Medium sized eggs, organic if you please
  3. 225 g caster sugar
  4. 225 g self-raising flour
  5. 4- 5 Large tablespoons of Strawberry Jam , the traditional version uses raspberry Jam, I used strawberry conserve.
  6. 250 gm fresh strawberries sliced lengthways
  7. Icing Sugar for dusting on top of the cake
  8. Soda Bicarbonate – 1 teaspoon
  9. Baking Powder 1 Teaspoon

To make the  crème Chantilly:

  1. 300 ml double cream – so sinful 😉
  2. 25 g icing sugar
  3. I tiny cap full of Vanilla essence , the original recipe inspired by The Good Food Channel advises to use – 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped or vanilla extract- Please click on the hyperlink to see the original recipe on The Good Food Channel website !

METHOD :

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line two 18cm cake  tins with a removable based with baking paper.I inauguarted my brand new weighing scales and cute cake tins I purchased for all future cake making experiments !
  2. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream well until light and fluffy – this will take at least 10 minutes to get it properly aerated.Use the 10 minutes you have to wash and clean the strawberries and slice them lengthwise.This was also a first for me in terms of using my food processor to mix the butter and sugar mix.Then empty this butter sugar mix into a large mixing bowl , I also have a NEW nice bright Orange bowl !
  3. Break each egg and add one at a time , whisk the mixture  well after each addition to ensure its soft and fluffy.
  4. Add the self-raising flour to the above butter ,sugar and egg mixtures , I added one spoon at a times and mixed it really well each time . Add the Bicarbonate of soda and Baking Powder to this mixture , I used this as I do in every cake but the original good food channel recipe does not mention these 2 ingredients.Later I used a hand blender to really get this mixture feel like one entity and till it felt right to pour into the ready cake tins .
  5. Now pour the above cake mix in equal portions into the  2 cake tins and smooth the top with a plastic spoon, the type you get with a food processor.
  6. Bake for 20 minute,with a timer , until risen and golden. Ensure you do not go over the 20 minutes,also if you are using a fan oven like I do , use only the setting that heats from below.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the baking pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the crème Chantilly:

  1. Put the cream in the food processor , add the icing sugar and  the vanilla essence. Whip to the soft peak stage, using the slow speed setting  then refrigerate until slightly firmed.
  2. Take the strawberry jam into a small pan and warm gently whilst stirring ,use low flame and do not leave on pan for tool long.
  3. Remove the cakes from the cake tin , on the top of one cake spread the jam from the pan and add the chopped strawberries .
  4. Then get the Creme Chantilly’ from the fridge and spread generously over this.
  5. Place the second cake on this and press down ever so gently .
  6. Dust the top of this lovely sponge cake with a bit of icing sugar and decorate with a blob of the Creme Chantilly’ and some sliced strawberries !

Voila , the classic British cake with a twist – Posh Victoria Sponge is ready for you to savour, impress your family and friends and enjoy baking over and over again !

The above recipe is now part of an exciting link up with Delicious Dish Tuesday , to find out more please click on the link below- please copy and paste the below URL into your browser window,also look for the ”Delicious Dish Tuesday”Badge on this blog 🙂

http://www.mamachocolateblog.com/delicious-dish-tuesday-recipe-link-up-23.html