Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

The first time I ate jerk Chick was at a pop up Caribbean food stall near Haymarket Station, it was served with some tasty rice with red kidney beans and the most deliciously sweet plantain. Ever since I have been waiting to experiment and make this spicy chicken at home. Please resist the temptation of using a jerk sauce out of a bottle, it’s almost a crime because in the recipe I used from the BBC Good Food guide,it makes preparing the marinade a thing of joy. Not only will you learn how each ingredient lends its individual flavour but you van learn how to adjust the ”heat” in this amazing marinade. An advance warning, if you have sensitive skin PLEASE use gloves to marinate the chicken as Scotch Bonnet peppers are PACKED with heat. Ensure you THOROUGHLY wash your hands after you handle these ”hot babies” too! Humm now for the recipe, it’s essentially what was in the original but of course I have added my own touches and I think they make quite an impact 🙂 so read on folks. Prep Time: 45 minutes. Plus overnight marination for chicken in marinade Ingredients for Jerk Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs with bone
  • 1 big gralic sliced through the middle to go in the oven
  • 2 lemons halved to go in the baking tray
  • 1 pair of clean gloves if you have sensitive skin – to marinate the chicken

For the Jerk marinade:

  • 4 Garlic Cloves de-skinned
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch fresh spring onion roughly chopped
  • 1 piece ginger size that fits inside your closed fist, washed,skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme – I had none so I used 1 tbsp of Mixed Italian herb powder
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies, de-seeded if you cannot handle very spicy
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil – I used sunflower
  • 4 heaped tbsp brown sugar – I used dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice powder
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

  • Blitz all the ingredients for the marinade in the mixer/food processor/blender and make a thick paste, do not add water as far as possible to ensure a thick puree like grainy paste
  • wash and dekin the chicken thighs and make cuts using a knife
  • Then generously apply the marinade paste all over rubbing into the cuts made to ensure the flavour really seaps into the chicken.
  • Marinate overnight in the fridge.Cover vessel with cling film.
  • Keep about 2 tbsp marinade aside for adding in the baking tray.
  • When you are ready to prepare the chicken pre-heat the oven to 180 – 200 C , I have a fan oven.
  • Prepare the baking tray by greasing with some oil ,place the marinated chicken pieces and surround them with the lime slices and place the garlic halved.
  • Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
  • When the chicken is in the oven start with the rice

Ingredients for the Coconut Rice with Peas:

  • 200g Basmati Rice
  • 400g Coconut Milk can
  • 1 bunch fresh spirng onion finely chopped
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 large cloves of garlic skinned and chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 200g green peas

Method:

  • Wash the Basmati rice under cold running tap water
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, add the washed rice and coconut milk, chopped spring onions,thyme,garlic chopped and all spice
  • Add 300ml water ,mix and add salt to season.
  • Cook with lid on a medium flame till water begins to boil
  • Stir with a wooden spatula and then add the green peas
  • Reduce flame and do not cover completely, leave a bit of space for the steam to pass.
  • Cook until done.

Jerk Chicken & Coconut Rice with Peas

All though the recipe I followed uses red kidney beans since I was already using them in my Caribbean Sweet Mini Pepper Salad , I choose green peas for my Coconut Rice. I made my own home made replacement for allspice powder too , it’s very easy and I intend to make it fresh each time I need instead of the store bought one, simply because its so quick and fun to make! Actually allspice is a spice by itself but it tastes similar to a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. According to an article I found about allspice on About.com: ”Allspice is a spice made from the dried berries of a plant known as Pimenta dioica. A member of the pimento family, allspice is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines, among others.  The flavor of allspice is similar to . Allspice can be used to flavor desserts as well as savory dishes.  Allspice can be used in ground form or whole. Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in pickling and brining.

Also Known As:

  • Jamaican pepper
  • Newspice ”

My Home made version of all-Spice Powder recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaped tbsp Cinnamon powder or if you have a cinnamon stick take one abt the half as tall as your thumb.
  • 1 small tbsp pepper powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp of cloves
  • 1 full nutmeg grated

Method:

  • In a pestle and mortar mix the ingredients and grate the nutmeg into it.
  • Then smash together to makes a grainy powder.
  • Some bits of the clove you may not be able to grind fine, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you want a fine powder then the smallest attachment on your mixer. I have an Indian mixer which I use for my coconut chutneys and it has 3 jars I used the one with 3 blades .Or else just use the pestle and mortar it should work.
  • Store away the remaining home made allspice replacement powder in a tiny air tight container.

A note about the brown sugar vs. dark muscovado sugar

Dark Muscovado sugar is the unrefined form of brown sugar ,its stickier ,heavier,has a longer shelf life than refined sugars and adds a more intense flavour to marinades and since it is stable at high temperatures is great for baking.If you do not have brown sugar its ok to replace it with dark Muscovado sugar. Although as the water content dark muscovado holds is higher one should accordingly taper the use of water in the recipe.

Brown sugar is white sugar and molasses and hence the colour and soft texture. It has the light and dark brown sugar varieties and the lighter it is the milder the flavour.

Muscovado,White & Light Brown Sugar

I am linking this post to the Flavours of the Caribbean event, run by Simply.Food and guest hosted by The Spicy Pear.

Dum-a-Dum Biryani & Kebabs – An interview with an entrepreneur and a passionate foodie.

It was a hot summer evening in Pune, I set out to look for a take away to treat aai- baba to something yum to celebrate a new milestone for mum who was recovering post surgery. Not willing to walk too much I was pleasantly surprised to see this brightly lit signage and a small crowd of youngsters on their bikes outside this place called Dum-a-Dum Biryani

I walked across to this cheery and brightly lit take away, the fiery and tempting aroma of kebabs   wafted around the place.

The place was clean and tidy and the tiny kitchen was buzzing with activity. I ordered a Lasooni Murg kebab and Tangdi Kebab and waited outside, watching the busy main road and the steadily building traffic. Just a few turns away is the Mumbai Pune expressway via Chandani Chowk. A primarily residential area in Pune, it has several educational institutes and IT companies Hence the large student and IT crowd hover around this tiny take away. This young set night disappears by night and mingles with the resident locals and it’s only in the evening when one sees large groups of youngsters with their modern bikes zipping around that one can actually estimate how much of Pune is a composed of this transient population.

This flurry of activity outside Dum-a-Dum keeps engaged in observation and it’s only when I hear my name being bellowed from the counter inside that I snap out of my reverie.

On an impulse I decide to talk to the very busy manager and ask him if the owner would be willing to give me a few minutes as I was curious to know about how Dum – a – Dum came into being.

He readily parts with a name and mobile number and I am suddenly very excited, well after all this would be my very first interview, IF the owner agrees.

Luckily for me, one phone call and a few messages later, I am all set to meet Mr.Rakesh Rajendran, the Founder and C.E.O of this professionally run start-up hospitality qsr firm.

Armed with my new Cannon SLR and a brand new cute blank diary from Either Or at Pune (made by the Doodle Factory), I stroll down to meet the person who will give me my first ever interview.

I get an extremely warm greeting and before we start chatting there is glass of cool and delicious salted buttermilk offered to me. I have written down a few questions I tell him which I will ask him but we get chatting about food and kebabs and well, retail and lo and behold ! He tells me that he too was a part of modern retail in Pune before he decided to turn into an entrepreneur!

Any inhibitions I have of how to conduct this interview are gone with the wind and we exchange notes about the retail industry and the changing scene in Pune. After all only retailers can truly understand and appreciate what it is like to work in the fast paced retail environment in Pune. Food Retail  is a changing dynamic industry which is probably the most challenging form of organised retail .

Rakesh tells me that was the head of IT for one of the leading food retailers in the country and has also lived and worked in Chicago for 7 years prior to that.

Well read, widely travelled, he is a self proclaimed foodie and also rather camera shy as I was about to find out.

RR ( shall call him that for ease of expression and shall refer to myself as well simply MJ), tells me that this outlet is one of 6 outlets in Pune and has been operational since Dasheera of 2010.RR tells me that he believes in soft launches hence most of his outlets open on auspicious days and have always received excellent response from the locals . His retail experience has held him in good stead in terms of zeroing in on locations , setting up a system for home deliveries and hiring and retaining staff.

Well it’s time now to ask some questions

 MJ: Silly first question, why the name Dum- a – Dum?

RR: (smiles) Haven’t u heard the song ‘’Dum -a-Dum’’ mast kalandar? Well on a serious note, we started out with the name ‘’Village Kitchen’’ which was quickly vetoed by friends and family. The whole idea of a Kebab and Biryani take away should be a fun concept and has to have a catchy name , hence the name Dum-a-Dum , of course it has to with the fact we offer Dum Biryani on the menu.

MJ: Why a kebab and biryani joint and not any other kind of cuisine?

RR: I conceptualised this format and got a core group of friends who had worked with me in the past and who understood my passion for the hospitality industry to back my efforts by funding this venture.  I managed to convince my friend Tushar Bhole also to actually quit and help start-up this hospitality business.

It was a very well researched decision and was something I was keen on, it also thanks to the fact that I have travelled across many places and always wanted to set up a place where great tasting food and convenience go hand in hand.

MJ: What is your involvement in recipe development?

RR: We have done a lot of research on the best selling kebabs and popular flavours and have worked with my chefs to develop our own unique Biryani flavour. The most popular kebabs that people normally expect on a menu are tweaked. As such we are always looking at experimenting with say a new ingredient or a new rage and are very open to feedback from our patrons as well. I am not a trained chef but have travelled extensively across the north of India and have then with great though come up with the current menu

(Phew! it’s hard work this kebab business I think ,  while I gobble up the lasooni kebab comes from the kitchen for me to devour , what a treat ! Little does one think about what goes on behind the scenes)

Lasooni Kebab Image 1

Lasooni Kebab Image 2

 

RR goes to tell me a little bit about biryani’s and how we develop our liking towards a certain type of biryani which for us is ‘’THE’’ absolutely best biryani ever. Ofcourse it’s to do with where one grows up and has tasted local flavours packed into the meat and rice . The most popular biryani currently on our menu is the ‘’Lucknowi’’ Biryani . To get to a place where we develop a known type of biryani and get the taste upto our liking and then have our customers come back to us and tell us that they ‘’loved’’ our biryani is very satisfying.

We give a lot of thought before we add anything to our menu and since we are a take away only chain, it’s very important that we get the taste right as the only interaction a customer has with anyone representing us our delivery boys and the voice over the phone!

I come from Kerala where I can say that there are at least 7 types of Biryani which are popular and known, there would be as many variations of taste and recipes as there would be regions and local culture.

(So true, I think to myself, food is so much about the place and its people)

My idea is that we should become known as a place that serves ‘’FOOD with a SOUL’’, not just another ‘’regular’’ food take away joint.

By now there is a plate of soft Aloo kebabs called Tandoori Aloo ke Gutkeand Makrana tangdi kebab – a juicy succulent version of Tangdi Kebab (aloo meaning potatoes in Hindi, the ones used here are the baby new potatoes , tangdi meaning chicken legs in Hindi ) , I get busy clicking and try to get the best angels , I request RR to pose with the team but he politely refuses saying ‘’ in this interview the heroes are my team and of course the food’’ Well said isn’t it ?

The Aloo ke Gutke are so tasty, it’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted ummmm

Tandoori Aloo ke Gutke

 

Tangdi Makrana Kebab

 

kebabs with chaas

 

MJ: What are the biggest challenges you face?

RR: Finding and retaining good staff, the home delivery ones, who are the ‘’FACE’’ of the brand and are not just delivery boys. We try and ensure that each outlet is like a tiny unit in itself that  runs on a deeply ingrained feeling of ownership in itself .It’s important for me that each employee understand my passion and treats the place as their own. It’s all the more important for me as I have in turn to convey that confidence and spirit to all those who believed in me and have also invested their monies in this venture.

Also managing operational overheads is very challenging.

MJ: Who is your closest competitor?

RR: Well, we like to think that since we are primarily looking to become the best take away chain in the city and country, I would like to benchmark with Domino’s.

MJ: Any new branches opening up?

RR (Face lights up with apparent joy) Yes! One in a big mall in Pune and one in New Bombay .Am really looking forward to the one in New Bombay as compared to Pune, the attitudes and expectations differ.

MJ: Do you serve goat or lamb meat in the mutton Biryani?

RR: we offer both and also offer halal meat, for bulk orders we need a day or two’s notice ahead for large orders. As such we have 6 different Biryanis on our menu and also offer family packs and party packs. The Chicken Mutka Duma Dum Biryani cooked in a clay pot is heavenly and also very popular.

We don’t use any artificial food colours and we use raw paya to tenderise our meat, that gives the meat it soft, succulent and juicy nature, we are quite proud of our creation.

Meanwhile, some regular customers stroll in and RR gets up, excuses himself and goes to have a chat with them.

I find a rare quite moment at the counter and get the smiling team members to stand still for a few seconds, click away, polish off the last of the mouth watering kebabs and wash it down with yet another glass of the chilled heavenly chaas.

I thank my mild mannered host and trudge back home, happy to have wrapped up my first ever interview for my blog!

Now for the details: For heavenly kebabs and Biryani head to Paud Road, next to Reliance Fresh, Bhusari Colony, Paud Road, Kothrud, Pune. The menu can be downloaded from Zomato.com – use the following search string – Home / Pune / Kothrud Area / Kothrud / Dum-A-Dum – Biryani and Kebabs.

Busy Counter

Customer Waiting in the evening

 

Happy Team members

 

Pic of poster in store

 

Kebabs all set to be grilled!

Clear Veg soup- my way, Easy Cooking,Healthy Food.

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a great way to start a new year on a healthy note hence some soup for new years day lunch light and easy !

Nothing warms us up in winter like a steaming hot soup, if it is filling , easy to make and wholesome it makes life even better! Agree? I love ordering clear vegetable soup when I go eating out and though this is not the typical chinese take away and is a very home cooking and simplistic approach it’s still what a soup should essentially be – wholesome…

You can add as many veggies as you like that would marry well with the basic list I think is essential, I basically use whatever is available in my vegetable tray on the said day !

The following roughly make for 2 large bowls of soup and a small leftover portion for Lunch next day, perfect I say !

  1. Cauliflower 1/4th finely chopped
  2. Small hand full green peas
  3. 2 – 3 large sprigs of spring onion finally chopped
  4. Bottle Gourd – 1/4th finely chopped
  5. 2 large cloves of garlic
  6. A pinch of cummin seeds
  7. Half a tea-spoon ghee or low-fat butter example :Lurpack
  8. 2 small carrots finely chopped
  9. Hand full french beans very finely chopped
  10. 1/4th tomato very finely chopped for flavour
  11. Large bit of fresh ginger smashed with skin to add flavour

Optional : Brocoli, sweet corn,potatoes,cabbage

Method:

  1. Boil all the veggies in water with salt to taste and the large piece of ginger with skin after its washed thoroughly , if it has too much mud on it please remove the skin , no knife skills needed just let yourself go, as Jamie Oliver would say !
  2. While these are almost boiled ,take the ghee/butter in a tadka pan(image pasted below ) add the garlic cloves with skin smash them using a mortar pestle before adding and then add the cumin seeds when the gee/butter is hot and sputtering.Add this ”tadka” or seasoning to the boiled veggie water mix and serve hot.
  3. The toasted garlic and ghee combination give off a sweet flavour and an appetising aroma.
  4. An ideal accompaniment is a boiled sweet corn stub slathered in low-fat butter and a slice of your favourite baguette !

Cheers to good health , easy cooking , healthy and wholesome meals and of course winter warmers !

Clear Veg Soup with an Indian Tadkawholesome goodness of vegetables in a broth!

Healthy Kale Smoothie

Hearing of the contest for winning one of 2 free passes to the Food Blogger Connect UK 2012 sponsored by  Vitamix UK,I had to think up of some unique tasty and healthy smoothie recipe , Lucky for me that I has been treated to this by Brian the host of London Real TV!

Vitamix is helping two lucky winners get a free ticket to FBC12 + an opportunity to feature the recipe and participate in the Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre with Chef Bev Shaffer at the FBC12 Market.

This blender can create fresh smoothies, refreshing frozen desserts and even hot soups – it is a kitchen essential which lets you perform more than 50 tasks quicker, easier and faster.The entries will be judged by Vitamix Chef Bev Shaffer, and the two winners will get to make their recipe with her at the FBC12 Market! Also, all five Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre machines will be given away to #FBC12 attendees during the closing ceremonies.

This is his special recipe and he drinks it every single day and is FIT as a fiddle, I say! And guess what he USES VITAMIX to make this smoothie, cool I say!

Here are the ingredients, give them a whirr in your VITAMIX and drink up folks! Thank Brian in your mind and me for sharing it !

  1.  1 Apple
  2. 1 Pear
  3. 1 Carrot
  4. Ginger
  5. A lot of Kale
  6. 1 Beetroot
  7. 1 Cucumber
  8. Natural apple juice

Am keeping my fingers crossed for winning a free  Food Blogger Connect full weekend access ticket to FBC12!

Cheers !

Visit http://www.foodbloggerconnect.com , connect to the event via Twitter – @BloggerConnect,Post one of the cute badges from the site to promote the conference to fellow food bloggers.Like the VitamixUK & FBC Facebook pages, announce your submission on the official VitamixUK Facebook and FBC Facebook pages, follow @VitamixUK and @BloggerConnect and your tweets include all the following:  #FBC12, @VitamixUK, @BloggerConnect.

P.S: London Real TV hosted by Brian and Nic, a weekly talk show dedicated to challenging the status quo, exploring the human experience, and exchanging ideas and perspectives with a full range of eclectic guests from Miss Universe to Members of Parliament.Check them out on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LondonRealTV , add some zest to your week!

The Humble Cauliflower spiced up for bhaji/sabzee/sabji with green peas!

I love cauliflower as a vegetable for its taste and sheer possibilities in the kitchen, my fav everyday vegetable to be eaten with chapatis is a mix of cauliflower and green peas in a spicy,semi dry sabzi form.I used biryani masala to add a twang to my usual taste and the result was worth sharing:)

Skill level beginner,basic

Serves :2 with rotis and curd to make a light meal

You will need :

  1. I medium-sized cauliflower
  2. A handful of fresh or frozen green peas
  3. 1-2 red onions very finely sliced
  4. Curry leaves – 3-4
  5. Green chillies – 2 chopped in big pieces
  6. Biryani Masala
  7. 1/4th red juicy tomato chopped into tiny pieces
  8. ginger paste
  9. 2 cloves of garlic very finely sliced
  10. Oil for tadka
  11. Mustard seeds
  12. Cumin seeds
  13. salt to taste
  14. Turmeric and red chilli paste as per taste and colour requirements
  15. Coriander powder
  16. Jeera Powder
  17. 2 large spoon full of any packet biryani masala.
  18. few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped to garnish
  19. a tiny squeeze of lime
  20. A pinch of asafoetida/hing

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan – when it’s hot add the asafoetida and mustard seed, when the seeds start to pop add cumin seeds and the finely chopped garlic bits,as always I love the garlic skin, I let the beautiful aromas take over my olfactory senses ,my imagination ,my kitchen and umm well probably the building hallway as well ;)’
  2. Ensure the cumin seeds turn a toasty brown and then swiftly move on to the next ingredients
  3. Next go in the fresh green curry leaves and green chillies, chopped onion, I used the food processor this time so it was almost a puree and this onion takes up the flavours of the spices faster I imagine.
  4. Add the coriander powder,ginger and garlic pastes and stir well and allow it to become a sticky sort of paste
  5. Then add the biryani masala and feel the explosion in the aroma as it marries well with the paste we had ready
  6. Then go into  cauliflower florets neatly chopped and the green peas
  7. Turn off the heat for a bit,sprinkle turmeric powder,red chilli powder,cumin powder and salt to taste.
  8. Turn on the heat on a low flame and sprinkle some water enough to wet the veggies and allow for some steam to happen to cook the cauliflower.
  9. Stirring occasionally cook with a lid for about 10 minutes.
  10. garnish with freshly coriander finely chopped and a tiny squeeze of lime to add an extra twang.
  11. Eat with hot puffy rotis off the hob!

 

I am linking this favourite Maharashtrian vegetarian recipe for Cauliflower and Green Peas sabji with In My Veg Box for May2014 hosted by me for Nayna who Blogs at Simply.Food and Citrus Spice.

In my veg box cauliflower

 

I just noticed how I wrote my blog posts earlier on and how greatly my food photography has changed for the better – no its not a case of a donkey praising his own tail just a mere observation 😉

Experiments with Food Photography

Inspiration for posting some Splendid recipes from the  secret closet of my mind or some hand me downs from my mother , mother in law ,grand mother or a close friend have been waiting to come onto this blog , but I have been lazy , though now it is time , so I have decided to bombard my readers with these rocking recipes that can add some serious fun to your kitchen adventures !

I know that at times it takes a lot to inspire one to get out of a rut and get there , so I take these food pictures from time to time to keep looking at whenever I need a little nudge !

Hope they work their magic on those hidden culinary desires inside you as do so work their magic on me !

P.S: I shall keep adding pics as and when I get to click some yummy images,slurrpp !

”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

 

The Day the internet failed……

I wrote this piece on Monday evening ,the internet went up after a few hours ,after I wrote this , spent all of yesterday doing god knows what , so here I am updating my blog with stuff I should have uploaded long back …guilt guilt … sighh:)

It’ s been a very wet day , I woke up at half past 11 , quite late for a Monday morning for most of the world , including my hubby , but well ,probably acceptable for a retailer like me for whom a weekday becomes her Sunday . I would have typed 11:30 but the habit of saying half past so and so has finally seeped into my head thank to all the people around here at work in London , just another small, subtle but noticeable change at how one’s surroundings make us change our long learnt habits .

I do feel like stepping out and just talking a walk but my back has been sore for a few days and yes the weather isn’t helping at all in pushing me to step out , maybe if I treat myself to a new pair of wellis in a bright and cheerful pop colour it may help.

 

I just saw a movie ‘’Sabrina’’ on T.V as I tried many times unsuccessfully to get my internet up and running , I started cooking too , now am brewing some hot ginger tea and am frying some spicy , hot dal vadas (fried crunchy finger food made from ground dals) , waiting for hubby to get home .

I know that by the type I upload this to my blog, the whole moment will have passed away but just wanted to write about it.

I am at home alone , it’s still a bit bright outside , there is a slight drizzle, a lonely person is trying hard to stay warm in a thin flimsy wind cheater on the bus stop opposite our building gate .I feel grateful for being indoors, having a warm place to stay , food to eat , a husband that loves me to bits and pampers me rotten , a laptop on which I can type this piece onto and a fairly decent life with very few things to crib about ,of course it isn’t perfect , but then isn’t perfection another illusion, shall I just say that I am happy with my life for now , it does suffice for now, certainly does .

I have a book next to me that I want to read , I will after I write this and sip my tea as I wait for my husband to get back from work.

I know what’s for dinner, a spicy traditional fish curry with steamed rice, comfort food for the soul.(The fish of choice is Bombay Duck – or as we call it in Marathi my mother tongue – ”gatgate” or ”Bombil”)

I don’t want to call anyone though am missing home back in India real bad since morning. I am sedate in a way but totally restless in some far corner of my mind.

I am not sure what the reason for that restlessness is, but then if we always knew all the answers for what we feel and why, life wouldn’t be what it is, would it?

I have no idea if anyone will read this and if they do what would they think about it? Spot a few grammatical errors perhaps or maybe incorrect sentence construction. Some might even think, ‘’what garbage, just because blogging is free, everyone who can type thinks they can write’’ Partly true perhaps as well I guess…

Anyway , I am not writing for anybody , it’s more of a release, a diary of sorts , a catharsis even , who knows …just that I want to write this for now …

 

Aaah the husband’s back, now to get cracking on preparing dinner, catching up on how we spent our day and other daily stuff that life is made up of…..

Bye bye or as the babes in the new Fosters telly ad say ‘’Toodles’’ ….

 

 

 

 

South Indian Food – A family obsession !

Ever since I immigarted to London ,it’s been a year by the way ,already (!), I get these craving sto go eat some certain type of food that is so commonly available in Bombay that one take sit for granted .

But once you live abroad and you know that you are a self confessed FOODIE , it becomes a real thrilling task to keep a track of all the places that offer “AUTHEHNTIC” Indian food !It’s easy to get confused by the number of options available but clearly many of the places do not live up to expectations of “AUTHENTIC” Indian taste or simply fail mierably on offering basic service or are just so grubby looking one wouldn’t want to sit after setting foot inside !

There are marked ghetto like area’s in London,namely East Ham,Croydon,Tooting,Wembley and ofcourse the FAMOUS South Hall, which are easily accesible by the tube which serve up some really authetic Indian food in the form of mouthwatering delicacies at awesome rates !

My most favourite for south indian snacks – I crave MEDU VADAS and Doa’s with a passion at times and I head staright to Tooting to SARAVANA BHAVAN !

The first time I visited a branch of SARAVANA BHAVAN was at East Ham after the Roayl Wedding . I did manage to catch a glimpse of the beautiful ,now Duchess of Cambridge,  Kate Middleton .She was waving to the cheering  crowds whowent absolutely MAD when the car inw hich she was travelling passed us by , she ofcourse was then taken to the abbey to wed her Prince Charming ,my husband and me never made it anywhere near Buckingham Palace to watch the famous kiss on the balcony but yes we did manage to see it live on a MASSIVE screen set up at one of the branches of the HOUSE OF FRASER and all the people who had crammed themselves inside actually sat down on the floor and a very gracious member of the staff served us a yummy fruit flavoured bubbly as soon as the couple was married on screen, with millions viewing teary eyed, the world over!After watching the wedding we decided to escape the crowds of Central London and the thousands that were moving out from the streets after having waved to the Princess. So we rushed over to Victoria Station before the tubes became suffocatingly over crowded or worse !

On a whim I suggested we head to East Ham  to dig into some really good south indian snacks.

I must confess it was LOVE at first BITE  for me at SARAVANA BHAVAN, they are present in many locations worldwide and I frequent 2 of their branches in london , the one at EAST HAM and the one at Tooting. Noteworthy feature is that they have an impressive JAIN MENU , since my closest buddies here are a Jain couple, S even has her own Jain Food blog(!),it is always a challenge to find tasty JAIN food options in London. For the uninitiated JAINISM is a religion in India and one of the aspects is that followers are quite strict with NOT consuming onions and garlic in their food.In the past few months I have learnt so many recipes which I didn’t know existed all thanks to my JAIN buddies ,not to mention that S is an exceptional cook and stir up the most amazing recipes in a matter of minutes.My tummy is witness to many such preparations, she also her own versions for Bombay’s most popular street foods!

Anyway back to our discussion about south Indian snacks,The upma was so tasty at SARAVANA BHAVAN- EAST HAM , I was transported straight to Matunga where I often head to a place called ANAND BHUVAN to savour their yummy dosa’s vada’s idli’s and my favourite comfort food BISIBELE BHATH– a rice and dal dish all spiced up , dish which satisfies the mind as much as it does the tummy and is extreemly healthy and good on the pocket too .Here’s a few blog links to someyummy recipes for  this dish :

http://mysoorean.blogspot.com/2007/02/bisi-bele-bhath.html

http://madhusvantalu.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/bisibele-bath-a-classic-karnataka-dish/

ANAND BHAVAN is a traditional south indian UDIPI joint in Matunga East in Bombay. The food is exceptionally taste , the service is warm, the look and feel of the place is totally old world and charming to say the least ,something like walking into an old irani restaurant for “maska pao and cutting chai”.

I had ONE  photograph, I had clicked using my Nokia E63 in 2010 of ANAND BHAVAN , here it is:

ANAND BHAVAN is THE BEST place to eat yummy south indian snacks according to me as there are a zillion outlest in close viccinity in Matunga thanks to the large south Indian community that resides there ,but nothing as quaint an experience and so good on the pcoket as ANAND BHAVAN .

MATUNGA , a suburn in BOMBAY,INDIA,also has a huge market selling every imaginable fruit and veegtable erquired for south indian cooking and regular cookingas well , shops selling traditional clothing, a temple,a dance school , a NALLI store and ofcourse shops selling freshly ground coffee powder , just one whiff is enough to take you staright to Chennai I suppose :).You there is a unique quality about this suburb that there are pockets that feel diecidely south indian , some extreemly Gujju dominated and some so very Maharastrain. It’s this amazing way of different cultures mixing and offering such a mindboggling variety of culinary experiences that makes Bomaby much of what it is today. A cosmpolitan city with a rocking attitude, a space for and BY everyone so to speak.It’s a city that liberates and ofcourse because it is an ISLAND city the best and most breathtaking sea side experience is yours for a taking.I could go on and on but I wish not to ramble, because there will always be a large part of BOMBAY in everything I write about .

Though at my in laws place there is a huge debate over which of these many south indian outlets really is THE BEST .My mother in law likes another small but great place bang opposite the station called SHARDA BHUVAN, she like the fact they are still so old world with no A/C and no fancy seating but that the charm of the place really and the food is amazing ,really , she often heads there eraly morning before she heads to the library at FORT to get some steaming hot idlis and chutney followed by the traditional Filter Coffee- aah !My hubby is a fan of HOTEL RAMA ASHRAYA and has a particulary yummy sweet prepartion that he heads there to gobble ona regular basis with one of his buddies.This one is a short walk from SHARDA BHAVAN and  HOTEL ARYA BHAVAN, is set between flower shops and a coffee powder shop and faces the lane which has the local post office,which in turn is surrounded by about a dozen flower shops selling garlands big and small and an apt place to pick some for a visit to the temple or for a wedding.

Now my dad in law likes a totally different place,it’s called HOTEL ARYA BHAVAN,it has seating at a basement level ,is hot and humid and crammed but the food is tasty and the loaction is spot on!

South Indian Restaurants or UDIPI joints as they are more popularly know are so popular in Bombay and so easily accessible in Bombay that one gets really used to just popping in and eating an idli or a dosa and walking out happy, the whole thing about craving such ood in London is trying out several such places and coming up with THE BEST and a second best, I have picked mine already.Ofcourse SARAVANA BHAVAN is “THE” best  in terms of the quality of food and the number of loactions, additional brownie points for the Jain Menu ofcourse, now there is another outlet called DOSA and CHUTNEY , they have 2 branches one at Tooting and another at Croydon in London, they also offer Non vegetarian options ,my favourite is Kottu Rice,it’s a spicy rice dish with meats,veggies and a Sri Lankan roti ! They serve generous protions, the prices are very good and the place is clean not to mention the sevice is swift as well , I normally wash down a spicy dish like Kottu Rice with a delicious Mango Lassi or followu up a dosa with a hot filter coffee :).The staff is friendly and I often reach there on a lazy weekday , eat some lunch and then do my grocery shopping !

I am right now walking this streets of Bombay especially MATUNGA, in my mind right now and taking a million pictures , I promise myself that I shall do justice to this post by uploading pictures when I do go to Indian this year , I simply cannot wait now!I do plan to visit all my favourite haunts including BADE MIYA for kebab’s and hopefully catching a glimpse of SRK who is said to visit them at times ( a famous rumour in my college days’s),eat berry pulao at Brittannia , ofcourse gulp down unlimited amounts of PANI PURI at Elco ,Bandra and the list goes on and on and on!

P.S: Loads of information about MATUNGA and the many Udipi Joints on http://mumbai.burrp.com/

When the DAY takes control …..

I had a lovely day today, a close pal came over with her cute four year old and I cooked us a simple meal , we then went do some much needed shopping for groceries for us and after the boy had a good run around in his favourite play zone, I was dropped home to spend the evening relaxing.

I honestly hadn’t planned any of this and expected today to be like any typical day at home when I am not working part time and spend my time doing an unpaid job – LOOKING for a job – applying online to as many suitable vacancies as I can.

But that’s exactly what I love about today. Sometimes such unplanned surprises what turn a ho hum drum day into a simply delightful one .Cheers to more such relaxed simple days.

Oh , spring when will come so we can spend more time outside than freeze every time we step out of the door??