Pineapple Kesari Bhat| Pineapple Rava Kesari

Celebrations are in order!

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of has turned 200! Quite a big achievement this is, #200NotOut, an occasion that warrants a special recipe. So, here’s presenting to you – Pineapple Kesari Bhat aka Pineapple Sheera or Pineapple Rava Kesari.

I’m sure you guys would have noticed me presenting a new recipe every Monday, based on a certain theme. Well, that’s the way the Foodie Monday Blog Hop works. I joined the group when the group had just reached the milestone of 100 weeks, and have absolutely loved journeying with the other fellow foodies in the group, this far.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop bloggers surely are a talented bunch, and we have creative themes coming up every week. Over the years, we have talked, discussed, shared ideas, suggested tips and tricks, exchanged recipes, critiqued, met and shared food, bonded. And through it all, I have grown.

The group has stretched my horizons, helped me better my cooking from different cuisines around the world. My photography has definitely improved, from where I started out from. I structure my posts better now, and this group has played an important role in that. Learnings – big and small – have been manifold.

For the 200th episode of the Foodie Monday Blog Hop, we members decided to cook from each other’s blogs. I was assigned Renu’s blog, Cook With Renu, which is a beautiful collection of many recipes from around the world. Several interesting bakes feature therein as well. I chose this recipe to recreate from her blog, because all of us at home love Pineapple Kesari Bhat to bits, including the bub.

Pineapple Kesari Bhat is a version of sheera redolent of ghee and fruit that you will come across in several restaurants across Bangalore. I have also encountered it at a few places in Madras, and have been served this sweet treat during meals at weddings and other festive occasions. It surely is a gorgeous thing, something you must definitely try out, especially so if you love pineapple.

Let’s now check out how I made the Pineapple Kesari Bhat, with a few variations to Renu’s recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 3/4 cup fine rava (sooji or semolina)
  2. 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons of ghee
  3. 1 tablespoon raisins
  4. 10-12 cashewnuts
  5. 1-1/2 cups water
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 heaped cup chopped pineapple, cores and thorns removed

Method:

1. Grind the pineapple pieces to a coarse puree, in a mixer. Keep aside.

2. Chop up the cashewnuts roughly. Keep aside.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a pan. Add the rava to the pan. Roast the rava, keeping the flame medium, till it attains a consistency like wet sand and becomes fragrant. This should take 1-2 minutes. Take care to ensure that the rava does not burn.

4. Transfer the roasted rava to a plate. Keep aside.

5. Heat the water in the same pan, on high flame, till it reaches boiling point.

6. Now, turn the heat down to medium and add the roasted rava to the pan, a little at a time. Stir constantly, to avoid lumps forming.

7. Add the sugar to the pan, along with the pineapple puree. Mix well. Let the mixture cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes or till it starts to thicken. Stir intermittently.

8. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in another pan. Add the cashewnuts and raisins to the ghee. Fry on low heat till the raisins plump up and the cashewnuts brown. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Add the ghee along with the fried cashewnuts and raisins to the mixture in the other pan. Mix well.

9. When the mixture has thickened up but is still a bit runny, switch off the gas. The Pineapple Kesari Bhat thickens further on cooling. Serve the kesari hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

1. Use a ripe, juicy, sweet pineapple for best results. However, make sure it is not overly ripe.

2. Make sure all the cores and thorns from the pineapple are removed, before using it in the sheera.

3. Grinding the chopped pineapple coarsely ensures that you get little bits and pieces of the fruit in your mouth while eating. Considering everyone in my family loves that, I keep the puree coarse. However, you may puree it smoothly too if you so prefer.

4. Use fine sooji or rava in this Pineapple Kesari Bhat recipe, for best results.

5. Use good-quality ghee, adjusting the quantity as per personal taste preferences. The above quantity of ghee worked out just perfectly for us.

6. Adjust the quantity of water, depending upon how runny you want the Pineapple Rava Kesari to be. You can also cook the kesari in a mix of milk and water.

7. I have used raisins and cashewnuts in this Pineapple Rava Kesari. You may even add in almonds.

8. Make sure you are stirring constantly while adding the roasted rava to the boiling water in the pan. This is important to ensure that there are no lumps.

9. The Pineapple Rava Kesari thickens on cooling, so make sure you switch off the flame while it is still on the runnier side.

10. Food colour is sometimes added to Pineapple Rava Kesari to give it a pretty golden yellow or orange hue. I haven’t used any here.

11. Jaggery can be used in place of sugar here, but it alters the taste of the dish. I like this version with sugar, as does everyone else in my family, so I prefer this. And it’s a once-in-a-while indulgence anyway.

12. It is not uncommon to add a pinch of salt or a few cloves to kesari, too stop the sweetness from getting too overwhelming. I don’t use these.

I hope you will try out this recipe! Do share your feedback, in your comments.

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Hilton Turns 100, Celebrates With A Big Bash

I had the pleasure of being part of a very special birthday bash, last weekend, and am here to tell you all about it!

Hilton Hotels & Resorts has always been known for its hospitality and excellent service. The chain completed 100 years this May, an event that was celebrated with a grand bash last weekend at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Sarjapur, Bangalore. I thoroughly enjoyed the celebrations, along with some other bloggers from the city.

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The in-house restaurant at DoubleTree Suites By Hilton, Sarjapur – Asia Alive – beautifully decked up for the birthday bash

Asia Alive, the restaurant at DoubleTree Suites By Hilton, Sarjapur, was home to a lavish brunch affair on this day. A unique brunch was served to us to commemorate the special occasion, including favourites from Hilton hotels across the globe. Specially curated by Executive Chef Tanmoy Majumder, the brunch spread was quite elaborate – from North Indian curries to maki rolls, various salads and desserts to dimsums and noodles!

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Some of the dishes from the extensive brunch buffet at Asia Alive

I loved most of the food I tried out from the brunch buffet, but the Aloo Methi Masala, Waldorf Salad, Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers, Avocado Sesame Rolls, Lauki Ka Kofta, Papdi Chaat and Chocolate Brownies stole my heart. The live music playing at the venue kept us humming throughout the brunch.

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Scenes from the dessert counter at the 100th birthday-special brunch buffet by Asia Alive

After the brunch, we were shown a demonstration on the making of the chocolate chip cookies that DoubleTree is known for, the world over. It was a treat to watch the pastry chef take us through the steps in the baking of these sweet treats. The freshly-baked cookies were nothing short of fantabulous, and I now understand why they are so much loved!

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Left: DoubleTree’s famed chocolate chip cookies, straight out of the oven; Top right and bottom right: The making of the said cookies

Mr. Subhabrata Roy, General Manager, DoubleTree Suites By Hilton – Bangalore, then went on to deliver a note of welcome. He was joined by Mr. Bhojraj Sharma, F&B Manager, DoubleTree Suites By Hilton – Bangalore.

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The Hilton team, addressing the bloggers at the birthday bash. From left to right: Ms. Megha Garg, Assistant Manager – Marketing & Communication; Mr. Subhabrata Roy; Mr. Bhojraj Sharma; Mr. Tanmoy Majumder

The guests present at the brunch and the bloggers then joined the Hilton team in lighting earthen lamps, to commemorate the special occasion.

Check out those pretty diyas in the shape of a 100!

The afternoon ended with the cutting of a magnificent cake that was just as unique as the brunch. Check it out for yourselves!

The grandiose cake that was cut on the occasion of Hilton’s turning 100

Would you like to experience the beautiful brunch that I enjoyed, too? The brunch is open for all at Asia Alive on June 2 and 9, 2019, between 12.30 and 4 PM. The buffet is priced at INR 1299 per head with soft beverages and at INR 1699 per head with alcoholic beverages, plus taxes. This is something you must try out, people!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #279. The co-hosts this week are Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

 

 

Amtekayi Uppinkayi| Instant Indian Hog Plum Pickle

Have you had the pleasure of biting into an Indian hog plum? If you haven’t, I would suggest you try to get your hands on some as soon as you can. It is a wonderful thing, this hog plum – it will make your mouth pucker with its sourness and refresh your taste buds like very few other foods will. No wonder it lends itself beautifully to things like pickles, gojju or the South Indian version of a relish, chutney and the likes. Today, I am going to present to you the recipe for a very delicious Instant Indian Hog Plum Pickle.

For the uninitiated, the Indian hog plum is a fruit that becomes available in Karnataka, particularly the coastal regions of Udupi and Mangalore, towards the end of summer. I understand it is also available in parts of Goa and Maharashtra too. The fruit has the scientific name of Spondias Mombin, while it goes by various other local names (‘Amtekayi‘ in Kannada, ‘Ambade‘ in Tulu, ‘Amra Kai‘ in Tamil, ‘Ambazhanga‘ in Malayalam and ‘Adavi Mamidi‘ in Telugu). From a distance, Indian hog plums look similar to baby mangoes, with their glossy green skin and slightly elongated shape – it is for this reason that some people also refer to the fruit as ‘Wild Mango’. Some also call this fruit ‘Ambarella‘.

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Tender Indian hog plums, with an undeveloped seed inside

Taste-wise, the Indian hog plum is not unlike a raw mango – quite sour. However, unlike a raw mango, it has a crunchy texture to it. Hog plums can be tossed with some salt and chilli powder and eaten raw or, like I was saying earlier, be used in dishes like pickles, chutney and relishes. It can also be used as a souring agent in various dishes, in place of green mango or tamarind.

The fruit possesses a number of health benefits, too – it is rich in Vitamin A and C as well as iron. Consumption of the hog plum aids in improving eye health, at the same time aiding in keeping one’s skin and hair healthy. They help in preventing anaemia, and in keeping cold and cough at bay. They are good for regulating one’s body temperature, keeping bad cholesterol under check and in preventing ailments of the gums and teeth. They also aid in controlling indigestion and constipation, as well as alleviating loss of appetite and anorexia. The leaves and bark of the tree are also used in traditional Indian medicine, for the treatment of ailments like diarrhoea, inflammation, cystitis and stomach ache.

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Amtekayi Uppinkayi or Instant Indian Hog Plum Pickle

The last couple of summers, I have been pickling these hog plums, in the same style as my mother makes raw mango pickle. This is an instant pickle – one that is very simple to make and does not require much prior preparation – and can be used immediately. This Amtekayi Uppinkayi (Indian hog plum pickle, in Kannada) tastes supremely delicious, making for a lovely accompaniment to curd rice. You have to try this out, I say!

Here is how I made the Instant Indian Hog Plum Pickle:

Ingredients (makes about 1 cupful):

  1. 20 hog plums
  2. 2 tablespoons salt
  3. 4 tablespoons red chilli powder
  4. 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 1/4 cup oil

Method:

  1. Wash the hog plums well under running water, making sure all traces of dirt on them are removed. Pat dry using a cotton cloth, and sun-dry for an hour or so. Ensure that the hog plums are completely dry before you use them in making the pickle.
  2. Remove the stems from the dried hog plums, and chop them into cubes. Keep aside, in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Grind together the rock salt, turmeric powder, fenugreek seeds, red chilli powder and mustard seeds in a small mixer jar. You can keep the powder as fine or as coarse as you prefer. Transfer this spice mix to the mixing bowl.
  4. Take the oil in a small pan and place it on high flame. When it gets nice and hot, switch off the gas. Pour the hot oil over the hog plum pieces in the mixing bowl.
  5. Immediately mix the pickle gently, using a clean, dry spoon.
  6. When the pickle has come to room temperature, transfer it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle (preferably glass or steel).
  7. Allow the pickle to soak for a couple of days at room temperature, mixing it up about twice a day for all the hog plum pieces to get evenly coated in the pickling spices. Keep it in the refrigerator after that, to avoid spoiling.

Notes:

  1. Buy tender, firm, unblemished hog plums for best results. It is easier to chop the fruits when tender, including the undeveloped seeds in them. The more mature ones tend to be fibrous, with fibrous seeds, and get difficult to chop and consume.
  2. There is no need to peel the hog plums before using them. Just chop them into cubes or into roundels and use them in making the pickle.
  3. If the hog plum seeds have started becoming fibrous, do remove and discard them before using in the pickle.
  4. I use rock salt (kallu uppu in Tamil) to make this pickle. You may use regular table salt instead, too.
  5. Sesame oil (nalla ennai in Tamil) is the best for making this Amtekayi Uppinkayi. It lends a beautiful fragrance and flavour to the pickle. However, in the absence of sesame oil, you may use any other oil of your preference.
  6. Adjust the quantities of salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, red chilli powder and mustard seeds you use, depending upon personal taste preferences. The above quantities work perfectly for us.
  7. Since we are making the Amtekayi Uppinkayi with limited salt and oil, it tends to spoil easily. I therefore keep it stored in the refrigerator, when not in use. When refrigerated and used hygienically, the pickle stays well for over a month.
  8. I prefer making this pickle in small quantities and consuming it quickly. You can make it in larger quantities too, but then you will need to be really careful about its storage and use.
  9. Use only a clean, dry, air-tight bottle (preferably steel or glass) to store the pickle. Use a clean, dry spoon only.
  10. This pickle can be consumed immediately after making it, but tastes best after the second day, when it has had some time to soak in the spices.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the members of this group present recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme this week is #ItsPickleTime, suggested by Aruna who blogs at Vasu’s Veg Kitchen. Aruna has a lovely blog that includes some beautiful, traditional South Indian dishes.

For this week’s theme, all of us are sharing summer-special pickle recipes. I chose to showcase the Instant Indian Hog Plum Pickle that we have grown very fond of, in the last couple of years.

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #276.

Oki All Set To Tantalise Tastebuds With Its New Menu

One of these days, you must surely visit Kammanahalli and lunch at Oki. The long trek across the city, braving the heat and the traffic, will be totally worth it, I can tell you that. Now, you have all the more reason to trek across the city to this eatery (if you don’t live in that neck of the woods, that is) – Oki has come up with a fantastic new menu, which is all set to launch on May 20!

I had the privilege of sampling Oki’s new menu recently, expertly curated by Chef Surajit Ghara, along with a few other food bloggers from the city. I ended up getting wowed by the experience, by the sheer variety of the new dishes on offer, the perfection with which they have been executed, and the loveliness that they were taste-wise. Oki has created a name for itself in serving some amazing Pan-Asian food, and every bit of the new menu lives up to those standards.

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The simple but chic decor of Oki

The decor at Oki at simple but neat and chic. Tastefully chosen accents here and there – like silk pillows in Oriental style or the painting of elegant Chinese ladies on the walls – add class to the place. The food at Oki reflects the same philosophy – it is simple, but tastefully done, the flavours clean and bold. Let me take you, visually and literally, through all that we tried out at Oki, and all that I fell in love with at first bite.

Left: Gimbap or Korean Sushi, the vegetarian version; Top Right: Burmese Tea Leaf Salad; Bottom Right: Beetroot & Feta Cheese Maki Rolls

We tried out the vegetarian version of the Gimbap or Korean sushi, which was beautifully done. The vegetable-filled sushi had clean flavours, and was extremely delicious. The same was the case with the Beetroot & Feta Maki Rolls we tried next – the sweetness of the beetroot melded perfectly with the saltiness of the feta, to create a delectable whole. The Burmese Tea Leaf Salad was very well done, too, though it was a bit too pungent for my tastebuds.

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Flatbread with 5 Mushrooms, Pesto Cream & Jalapeno-Olive Salsa

The Flatbread with 5 Mushrooms, Pesto Cream & Jalapeno-Olive Salsa was absolutely, mind-blowingly delicious and, I would say, my most favourite dish of all that we tasted at Oki. The soft flatbread was cooked to perfection, the pesto cream silky smooth and fragrant, the plentiful toppings complementing the rest beautifully. I would highly recommend you try this out at Oki!

The dish we were served next, Garlic Bread With Artichoke Pate, went on to become a fast favourite with me too. The artichoke pate was so, so delicious I could eat it with all my meals every single day! It made for just the perfect accompaniment to the well-toasted, garlicky bread. This is another dish I cannot recommend highly enough at Oki!

I adore a well-made bowl of khao soi, and Oki’s Spicy Chiang Mai Khao Soi was exactly that. The coconut milk broth was supremely flavourful and, ladled over the flat rice noodles, it made for a hearty and filling meal.

Top Left: Garlic Bread With Artichoke Pate; Bottom Left: Spicy Chiang Mai Khao Soi; Top Right: Kimchi Ramen, the vegetarian version; Bottom Right: Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles

The Kimchi Ramen was brilliantly executed too. Ramen noodles were served in a flavourful broth that was generously proportioned with various types of mushrooms. The taste was a tad too strong for me, though.

Next up, we were served Oki’s special Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles, which I absolutely loved. The noodles were served with a generous dose of vegetables, in a spicy and delicious broth made using chilli oil and Sichuan pepper. You’ve got to try this out!

The Peach Berry Sauce Feta Crostini bowled me over. Sweet and sour and salty combined together in this dish to create a lovely, lovely whole. Slivers of peach served atop well-toasted bread, topped with sweet-sour cranberry sauce and a drizzle of salty feta – what’s to not love?

Top Left: Crostini With Peach, Berry Sauce & Feta; Bottom Left: Coconut Orange & Lemongrass Martini; Top Right: Peach Cinnamon Apple Crepes With Orange-Butter Sauce; Bottom Right: Chilli Mango Margarita

Oki does not serve alcohol at the moment, but does have some gorgeous mocktails on offer. To go with our meal, we were served two mocktails that will soon be part of the new menu here. The first, Chilli Mango Margarita, was one perfectly made drink, pretty inside and out! The mango was fresh and gorgeous, the hint of chilli in it only accentuating its flavour! This is something you absolutely mustn’t miss at Oki. The second, Coconut Orange Lemongrass Martini, was supremely beautiful in taste too. The flavours of coconut, orange and lemongrass melded perfectly to create this surprisingly light drink. I can’t recommend this highly enough!

And then, it was time for dessert! We were served Peach Cinnamon Apple Crepes With Orange-Butter Sauce, which was sheer brilliance. The crepes were pillow-soft, stuffed with delectable slivers of apple and peach. The orange-butter sauce drizzled on top was fruity and tangy, just the right amount of sweet and all kinds of delicious. The crepes were served topped with just a bit of sweet cream, which took the taste quotient up quite a few notches.

I loved my meal at Oki, and am sure it is something you will not regret either. It is one of the hidden gems of Bangalore, a highly under-rated place that deserves to be spoken of and eaten at. Don’t miss a gastronomical voyage at Oki – you can thank me later!

Limited parking is available.

Address: 403, Mariappa Road, Off Kammanahalli Main Road, Near Sena Vihar, Kammanahalli, Bangalore

Cost for two: Approximately Rs. 1500

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I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #276.

Experience Flavours From The Streets Of India, Now At Bombay Brasserie

The bustling 12th Main in Indiranagar is home to several restaurants, serving a variety of cuisines. Bombay Brasserie, one of the eateries on this road, has managed to create a loyal clientele for itself, in the two or so years of its inception. The place is almost always packed, especially so on the weekends. There is a Street Food Festival running at Bombay Brasserie now, and I was recently invited over to sample the special festival menu. I ended up having a lovely experience!

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Street Food Festival, now on at Bombay Brasserie, Indiranagar

Ambience

I have always loved the charming, rustic decor of Bombay Brasserie and the warm, lively vibes here. Think lots of blue and white wood, good use of glass, ample natural light and greenery, rope-strung lights and cutesy antiques on display. The inside can get a bit noisy, but the outdoor seating is simply lovely, and that is just where I was seated to sample the Street Food Festival Menu.

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Check out those swings!

This is just the sort of eatery you can unwind at with your family. This is not a cramped, dull space, but a spacious one, youthful and vibrant, full of chic.

Ain’t that pretty?!

Street Food Festival at Bombay Brasserie

The regular menu at Bombay Brasserie is a good blend of interesting food and drinks from around India, which is something I love. There are classics from across the country, some of which have been retained in their original form while some have been given an unique twist. The Street Food Festival menu is an extension of this – it includes flavours from the streets all over India. There’s Juhu Beach Gola or Bhatiyar Galli (Ahmedabad) Mutton Tikka, for instance, or Benares-style Mattar Stuffed Kulcha & Aloo Rassa, Chinese Bhel and Cochin’s famed Kulukki Sherbet.

What I tried out

Here’s a low-down on the things I sampled at Bombay Brasserie, and those that I loved the best.

From the drinks menu, I had:

Kairi Sherbet A sweet and sour and salty sherbet made with raw mango, which hit all the right spots. It was delightfully refreshing, especially so on the hot summer’s day when I visited.

Kutchi Beer – This is a ‘beer without beer’, as the folks at Bombay Brasserie put it. It is, in fact, buttermilk mixed with black salt, cumin, green chillies, mint and coriander, served in a beer bottle. The Kutchi Beer I was served was a bit too high on salt, which prevented the other flavours from coming through.

Cochin Kulukki Sherbet – This is a lemon-green chilli-ginger sherbet that is always shaken, never stirred, from the bylanes of Cochin. A potent concoction this is, perfect for hot days. The Bombay Brasserie version was quite different from the sabja seed-laden Kulukki Sherbet of Cochin, but was delish nonetheless.

From left to right: Kairi Sherbet, Kutchi Beer and Cochin Kulukki Sherbet, at Bombay Brasserie

From the appetisers, here’s what I sampled:

Aam Puri Chaat – Staying true to the current mango season everywhere, this is Bombay Brasserie’s version of aam golgappas. Crispy puris are served with a sweet-spicy-tangy mango paani, topped with lots and lots of sev. The abundance of cold paani in the puris was a tad overwhelming for me, but I understand this dish has received rave reviews from most mango lovers.

Crispy Suji Bites – These savoury cakes are made using suji (semolina/rava), crisp on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. They are served topped with coarsely crushed fine peanuts from Bharuch, fried garlic and chilli, along with some in-house dips. Quite an interesting play of flavours and textures this was, and I loved it.

1960 ‘Atho‘ Salad – This is popular street food in Madras, made popular by the Burmese immigrants in Tamil Nadu. It is a cold salad made with noodles, wheat crispies, tamarind, cabbage, onions, chilli and garlic – does that sound like a weird combination? I wouldn’t say I loved this, but I liked it quite a bit.

Top Left: Aam Puri Chaat; Top Right: Crispy Suji Bites; Bottom Right: 1960 ‘Atho‘ Salad; Bottom Left: A close-up of the Aam Puri Chaat

What did we have for main course? Here goes:

Mattar Stuffed Kulcha & Aloo Rassa – This was one exquisite platter, hailing from the streets of Benares, that had me licking my fingers. The Aloo Rassa was beautiful, potatoes cooked to perfection in achaari masala. It made for the perfect complement to the kulcha, supremely soft and stuffed with a delectable green-pea filling. This is a must-try at Bombay Brasserie, according to me.

Tarkari Masaledar – I absolutely loved the Tarkari Masaledar, a melange of vegetables and paneer served in a spicy, slightly sweet, caramelised onion gravy. It was perfectly done, cooked just right. The fragrant spice mix used in the sabzi bowled me over!

Top: Mattar Stuffed Kulcha & Aloo Rassa; Bottom: Tarkari Masaledar

I ended the meal with two sweet treats:

Juhu Beach Gola – This was one soul-satisfying affair! The kala khatta ice gola was simply perfect, a lovely blend of sweet and sour. It instantly transported me back to my childhood when I would patiently wait for my final exams to get over, so I could get my hands on an ice gola off the streets. This gola, though, was prepared in a highly hygienic manner! Served in a cutting chai glass, this was a delight to eat and photograph. I would highly recommend you to try this out!

Bombay Falooda – This was another beautiful dessert by Bombay Brasserie! The falooda was perfectly made, everything in it just right – from the sevai and the toasted nuts to the rose milk. It brought back fond memories of summer holidays spent sipping on cool, fragrant, home-made rose milk. Don’t miss this, I say!

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Left: Juhu Beach Gola; Right: Bombay Falooda

I hope you guys had fun on this gastronomical journey with me!

Do check out the Street Food Festival at Bombay Brasserie, Indiranagar, too. There’s a range of interesting dishes up for grabs. The festival is on till May 31, 2019.

Valet parking is available.

Cost for two: Rs. 2000-2500

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I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #275. The co-hosts this week are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Aamlicious: Rajdhani’s Mango Festival You Simply Must Not Miss

The moment summer sets in, most of us begin to dream of mangoes. The love of mangoes is what gets most Indians through the intense heat of summer. And who can blame us? Eating a mango is an unparalleled experience – be it the sweet and juicy, yellow-orange flesh of the ripe fruit or the lip-puckeringly sour raw mango. Using raw and ripe mangoes in various culinary confections is de rigueur in India in the months of summer. That’s what the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani, Bangalore, is all about – the play of mangoes in various forms, dishes, textures, ingredients and flavours.

Aamlicious is a hugely anticipated affair at Rajdhani every year, and why not? The kitchen team comes up with a huge variety of dishes made with the mango, the ‘king of fruits’, each one surpassing the other. I had the pleasure of experiencing the Aamlicious feast at Rajdhani’s Indiranagar outlet a few days back, along with a few other foodies from the city, and ended up utterly awed by all of it.

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The mango-licious thali we were served at Rajdhani’s Aamlicious festival. Isn’t that simply magnificent?

There is no better way to describe the mango-laden thali we were served, other than calling it ‘a veritable feast’. The Rajdhani team has come up with an astounding array of over 30 dishes with mango, mostly from the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Aam Ki Launji, Kairi Ka Panna, Aam Palak Patta Chaat, Raw Mango Muthia, Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi, Mango Pulao, Kesar Aam Thandai, Aam Jalebi, Aam Ras and Aam Basundi are just some examples of the stuff that is on offer. There’s a mind-boggling variety of mango-based appetisers, curries, daal, kadhi, drinks and desserts – what’s to not love?

Some of the appetisers we were served as part of the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani. Check them out!

Mr. Sugata Sengupta, Corporate Chef – Rajdhani, spoke to us food bloggers about the sheer hard work that has gone into creating the thali for the Aamlicious festival this season. This feast has been designed after over a month of research, trials and testing, and the hard work surely shows!

A glimpse of the main course dishes that are part of the Aamlicious festival this year. Top Left: Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi, a unique offering; Top Right: Aam Ki Launji; Bottom Row (from left to right): Gol Amboliya, Rajashthani Kaju Aur Aam Ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri Amboliya, Gujarati Fajeto

I loved most of the ‘aam‘ creations on offer at Aamlicious, but I will share my top picks here.

Among the drinks, the Kesar Aam Thandai (a delicious mango twist added to the regular thandai) and Kairi Panna (a traditional Indian-spiced raw mango cooler) were brilliantly done. From the appetisers, the Kaccha Aam Na Muthiya (Gujarati steamed wheat-flour dumplings made with raw mango) tantalized my taste buds.

The Aam Ras (ripe mango pureed with milk and sugar) was delectable too, bringing back fond memories of hot summer afternoons spent lunching on it with pooris, back in Ahmedabad. The utterly delectable Kairi Samose Ki Sabzi (raw mango samosas cooked in a spicy-tangy gravy, based on a traditional Rajasthani recipe) was something very new to me. I also adored the Aam Ki Launji and Ker Sangri Amboliya too, both Rajasthani dishes made using raw mangoes.

Top: Kacchi Kairi Khichiya Masala Papad, a special type of rice-flour papad popular in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bottom (from left to right): Marwari Kacchi Kairi Ki Biryani (biryani cooked with raw mangoes); Aam Pista Pulao (pulao made with pistachios and mango); the three drinks on offer – Aam Ras, Kesar Aam Thandai and Kairi Panna.

Both the mango-special desserts served to us bowled me over. Mango Jalebi Rabdi (jalebi stuffed with ripe mango and served with creamy rabdi) and Gulkand Paan Malpua Mango Rabdi (malpua made with ripe mango, served with rose jam and pureed betel leaves on top) were extremely well-done, supremely decadent and lip-smackingly delicious.

Top Left: Mango Jalebi Rabdi; Bottom Left: The king of fruits, crowned, and justly so!; Right: Gulkand Paan Malpua Mango Rabdi; all part of the Aamlicious festival at Rajdhani

This is one festival you don’t want to miss. Do check it out – it’s on till May 31 at all Rajdhani outlets in Bangalore! Please do note that the dishes are served on a rotational basis, so it is best to call them and check in case you are interested in a particular dish.

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #273. The co-host this week is Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.

 

You’ve Got To Experience The New Winter Menu At Farzi Cafe!

The much-loved Farzi Cafe in UB City, Bangalore, recently launched a brand new Winter Special menu. I had the pleasure of sampling this new menu last week, along with a few other city bloggers and, I must say, I absolutely loved the experience!

I’m mightily impressed by the ‘Farzified’ versions of various typical Indian dishes that are part of the new menu. In fact, this has got to be one of the best renditions of the menu I have tried out so far, at Farzi!

I love how the new menu seems to be focused more on local favourites and ingredients, and how care has been taken to ensure that the dishes taste just as beautiful as they look. The ‘uru‘s ellu and bella becomes Farzi’s new Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream, while basket chaat gets a new avatar in the form of Burrata Tokri Chaat. There are some interesting new mocktails and cocktails that have been introduced, too. Now, without further ado, I’ll leave you with some visuals from the new menu sampling!

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We started the meal with some Assorted Poppadums & Dips. Now, poppadoms we have all had, but definitely not this way. We were presented with a grandiose tower containing papads, fryums and sabudana fritters of various types. Alongside were some highly imaginative dips, of which I absolutely loved the Achaari Mayo. What a unique twist to the regular mayo – who’d have thunk of jazzing it up with achaari spices?

Assorted poppadums and dips

Next up, we were served these really cute, little Chilli Cheese Kulchas with a Burnt Garlic Dip. One bite into them, and we realised just how potent they were! Filled with ooey-gooey cheese, with just a hint of chilli, these bite-sized beauties just blew us away. You have to try these out to realize just how awesome they were – I think you won’t regret ordering these. These were one of my most favourites from the entire meal.

Chilli Cheese Kulchas with Burnt Garlic Dip

The ardent chaat lover that I am, I absolutely adored the dish that came next – Burrata Tokri Chaat With Dhokla Sponge. The regular basket chaat was served with a Farzi twist, upside down, the delectable sweet-sour-spicy filling oozing out of it. The dhokla was truly sponge-like, super soft, super juicy, super-duper delicious. And, oh, the soft burrata cheese the chaat was served with was simply mind-bogglingly fresh and awesome. This one is another must try from the new menu, I tell you!

Burrata Tokri Chaat With Dhokla Sponge

We also sampled some of the new mocktails that have been added to the menu. Some very interesting combinations of flavours there! I loved the fruity, refreshing pink drink I had – it was so very well done!

And then, we were in between courses. It was time for the main course to be brought in and, hence, to cleanse our palates. A foaming, frothing palate cleanser came in, which had all of guessing at what exactly would it be. A tasting later, we were all hooked – it was sweet-spicy-sour aam panna served in the fashion of old-world ‘Pepsi’, chilled in little plastic bags. Such a delightful thing that brought back fond memories of school days!

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Aam Panna ‘Pepsi’ palate cleanser

Next was the turn of the Farmer’s Land Tacos, a desi version of tacos as we know them. Crunchy taco shells were served, loaded with an Indian-spiced moth bean filling. These were topped with the cutest of little pickled onions. IMHO, the filling could have done with a bit more flavour, but the tacos were still really good.

Farmer’s Land Tacos

The Ratatouille Pav Bhaji that came next was beautifully done, loaded with veggies, cheese and flavour. It was served with pillow-soft masala buns, which made for the perfect complement to it.

Ratatouille Pav Bhaji with Masala Buns

Then came the desserts! The first one was the Deconstructed Lemon Tart, which I fell in love with at first bite. Sheer brilliance, I tell you! The tart is placed upside down on a bed of cookie crumbs, and there’s a beautiful, beautiful lemony surprise waiting for you inside as you break open the crust. Those who like lemon in their desserts, like me, this is a must-try!

Deconstructed Lemon Tart

The Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream came next, served on a bed of almond chikki crumble. The cone was topsy-turvy all right, but the taste of the ice cream was definitely not! The classic combination of sesame and jaggery has been enchantingly brought together in this dessert – perfectly done! The chikki crumble added an interesting texture to the ice cream, too.

Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream With Almond Chikki Crumble

We ended the meal with some cotton-candy paan straight off a little potted plant. See for yourself. Quirk galore! 🙂

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Cotton Candy Paan!

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Overall, I had a very satisfying, lovely time at Farzi Cafe’s new menu sampling. Kudos to Team Farzi for honing these dishes to perfection!

This is one menu you don’t want to miss out on. Do check it out at Farzi Cafe’s UB City, Bangalore, outlet. A meal for two would cost somewhere in the vicinity of INR 1800-2000. My top picks from the menu would be the Burrata Tokri Chaat, Chilli Cheese Kulcha and the Deconstructed Lemon Tart.

Don’t forget to let me know how your Farzi experience was!

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I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Experience The Flavours Of Winter With Rajdhani’s Swad Kesariya!

Winter is when you get out your shawls and sweaters and jackets. It is when you bundle up in warm blankets and spend entire days reading, gulping down cups of hot cocoa or chai. Winter is also the time to ogle at all those beautiful, beautiful Christmas trees and decorations that seem to be everywhere. Winter is also feasting time – when an abundance of gorgeous vegetables flood the markets, waiting to be converted into delectable, piping hot winter treats. For Bangaloreans, winter is also the time to feast on the delights at Rajdhani’s Swad Kesariya.

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The gorgeous reds and browns and greens of winter, on display at Swad Kesariya, Rajdhani. Doesn’t that sight just make your heart soar?!

Swad Kesariya, the winter-special menu at Rajdhani, is a much anticipated affair in Bangalore every year. This year too, Rajdhani recently launched the winter menu, which I had the pleasure of sampling yesterday.

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Part of the winter-special spread, Swad Kesariya, at Rajdhani

There are several winter delicacies from Gujarat and Rajashtan on offer at Swad Kesariya, including Kand Ki Tikki (patties made using root vegetables), Undhiyu (a Gujarati slow-cooked delicacy made with loads of winter vegetables), Kela Methi Na Gota (Gujarati-style deep-fried fritters using bananas and fenugreek greens), Hare Chane Ki Sabzi (fresh green chickpea curry cooked the Jaisalmer way), Mogri Peru (a curry made using Mogri, a special vegetable that is available only during winters), Kacchi Haldi Ki Sabzi (a Rajasthani curry made using fresh turmeric root), Shakarkandi Halwa (a dessert made using sweet potato) and everyone’s favourite Gajar Ka Halwa (a winter-special sweet treat typically made using those beautiful red Delhi carrots).

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Top left and right: Kand Ki Tikki and Surti Undhiyu; Centre left and right: Mogri Peru and Kela Methi Na Gota; Bottom left and right: Beautifully puffed-up phulka rotis and Haldi Nu Saag or Kacchi Haldi Ki Sabzi. All of these are part of the Swad Kesariya menu at Rajdhani.

I was especially thrilled to see and taste the Undhiyu at Rajdhani’s winter-special festival, as it is something I have grown up with in Gujarat, and have always loved to bits. I am happy to report this Undhiyu tasted every bit as delicious as the one I remember from back home.

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Top left: Lilva Kachoris, Gujarat- and Rajashtan-special deep-fried dumplings with a lovely green pea/pigeon pea stuffing; Top right: Hare Chane Ki Sabzi from Jaisalmer; Bottom Left: Shakarkandi Halwa; Bottom right: Churma Laddoo and Saunth Ke Laddoo, sweet delicacies from Rajashtan that are typically consumed during the months of winter.

Apart from the Undhiyu, my other favourites from Rajdhani’s Swad Kesariya menu were the Lilva Kachoris and the gorgeous chutneys made with wood apples. I also loved the Adadiya Pak (a Gujarati winter-special sweet made using urad daal flour), Gajar Ka Halwa and the Shakarkandi Halwa too. As always, the home-style, simple Daal Khichdi at Rajdhani delighted. The Kesar (saffron) Lassi was just perfect, great to wash down the hearty meal we had.

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The man behind that sumptuous spread – the Head Chef at Rajdhani, whom I had the good fortune of meeting at Swad Kesariya yesterday

Well, I hope you enjoyed the visuals from Rajdhani’s Swad Kesariya!

If you are in Bangalore or plan to be here sometime soon, don’t miss this chance to grab some exclusive North Indian winter delights in the ‘Uru. The Swad Kesariya menu will be available at all Rajdhani outlets across the city for a couple of months, depending upon ingredient availability.

PS: Please do note that the above is a showcase of all the dishes that are part of the winter-special menu at Rajdhani. While the Swad Kesariya menu is available every day at all Rajdhani outlets, all of these dishes might not be served every day. The menu rotates every day, so it is best to call the outlet and check availability if you are looking forward to sample any dish in particular. That said, major dishes like Undhiyu are served at all outlets on an everyday basis.

 

 

 

Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding| Steamed Fruit Cake

It’s almost Christmas! I absolutely have to share this Christmas-sy recipe with you – one for an Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding!

Bangalore is extremely beautiful right now. There’s a nip in the air, the weather just gorgeous, the diffused light perfect for photographs. Big Christmas trees, Santa Claus cut-outs, reindeer, red and green bobbles, lanterns, silver snowflakes and golden stars are everywhere. Plum cakes and other Christmas treats have started making an appearance in the bakeries of the city. There are Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and Christmas-special menus galore. Little and big shops, homes, and shopping malls (and food bloggers too!) are getting ready to usher in Christmas.

Our humble little Christmas tree is all set up, but we are yet to decorate it. That will be an afternoon project for the bub and me, one of these days. Did I tell you that the bub’s year-end holidays have started? She is already running amok in the house, wreaking havoc. 😛 This Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding was prepared with her in tow, over the weekend, to keep her from getting into too much trouble. 😀 Well, I can’t say the pudding served its intended purpose, but I did have loads of fun making it! Also, it did turn out absolutely delicious, a sweet treat just perfect for the holiday season! You can make a sauce to go with this pudding if you want, but you don’t really need one – just dust it with powdered sugar, and it turns into one stunner of a looker!

What do I say about this pudding? The name says it all. It is an eggless dessert, a steamed one made in a pressure cooker. It contains loads of fruit and nuts, cinnamon and cloves, like a Christmas fruit cake. Texture-wise, this is less dense than a fruit cake, a bit softer. Taste-wise, this is an almost-fruit cake.

If you are looking for something different, yet awesome to make for the Christmas season, do try this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding out. The process is a bit time-consuming, but I wouldn’t call it laborious. Put the pudding in the cooker to steam, turn the flame to low, and you don’t need to hover around the stove-top. Not really. The end result is totally, totally worth it, I can assure you of that.

Now, without further ado, let’s check out the recipe for this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Lite Bite

Ingredients (makes 1 medium-sized pudding, serves 8-10):

  1. 2-1/2 cups of mixed fruits and nuts
  2. Juice of 2 oranges
  3. 1-1/4 cup demerera sugar
  4. 1 cup maida
  5. 1 cup bread crumbs
  6. 4 cloves
  7. A 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon
  8. A small piece of nutmeg
  9. A pinch of salt
  10. 1 tablespoon oil
  11. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  12. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  13. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  14. A little butter, to grease the pudding mould

Method:

1. Chop all the nuts (like cashews, almonds) you are using into small bits. Similarly, chop the candied fruit (like oranges, ginger, kiwi, pineapple) into small pieces. If you are using fresh apples, grate them medium-fine. Take all the prepared fruit and nuts in a bowl.

2. Squeeze the juice out of the 2 oranges. Pour this over the prepared fruit and nuts in the bowl. Cover and let the fruit and nuts soak for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.

3. Pound the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg using a mortar and pestle. Powder them together in a small mixer. Keep aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, place the maida, bread crumbs, salt, the cinnamon-cloves-nutmeg powder, the baking powder and baking soda. Mix together. Keep aside – these are the dry ingredients for the pudding.

5. Place the demerera sugar in a pan, and place it on high heat. When the pan gets hot, reduce the flame to low. Wait till the sugar is dissolved, and switch off the flame – don’t cook the sugar for too long, otherwise it will turn hard. Immediately, pour 1/2 cup of room-temperature water into the sugar and mix well. You should get a dark brown caramel syrup.

6. Pour the caramel syrup into the fruit and nuts, once they are done soaking. Add the oil and the vanilla essence to it, and mix well – these are the wet ingredients for the pudding.

7. Add the wet ingredients little by little to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well, ensuring that all the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated together. The batter should be thick, and not very runny.

8. Grease a medium-sized vessel or pudding mould with a little butter. Pour the batter you prepared (in the step above) into the greased mould/vessel. Cover the mould/vessel with aluminium foil, and secure it with a piece of string. Keep ready.

9. Take 10 cups of water in a pressure cooker bottom. Place it on high heat and allow the water to come to a boil. Place the covered pudding mould/vessel with the batter (which we prepared in the step above) into the water. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, and turn the flame down to low-medium.

10. Let the pudding cook on low-medium heat for 2 hours. It is ready when a knife or toothpick inserted into the centre of the pudding comes out clean. You can serve this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding warm or at room temperature, dusted with some powdered sugar.

Notes:

1. The mixed fruits and nuts should come to roughly 500 grams. I used one apple (grated), 50 grams of broken cashewnuts, 50 grams of black currants, 100 grams of raisins, 100 grams of candied oranges, 100 grams of candied pineapple and a few chunks of candied ginger.

2. You can use any odourless oil to make this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding. I used refined sunflower oil.

3. You can use ordinary white sugar to make the caramel here, instead of the demerera sugar. However, demerera sugar adds a lovely dark brown colour and a beautiful flavour to the pudding, so I would suggest you use that instead.

4. Make sure you don’t burn the sugar while making the caramel. Keep the pan on low heat, and switch off the gas as soon as the sugar dissolves. Add water immediately. If these steps are not done correctly, the sugar might become too hard, making it difficult to prepare the caramel.

5. Stand away while pouring water over the dissolved sugar. It sputters.

6. You can use any permutations and combinations of fruits and nuts, while making this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding. However, I would suggest you not miss out on the candied orange and ginger, grated apple, cashewnuts and black currants, for it is these ingredients that add a lovely touch to the pudding. Bananas, candied mixed fruit peel, cranberries, dates, cherries, candied kiwi, slivered almonds, etc. are some other things you might use.

7. Ensure that you place adequate water (10 cups) in the bottom of the pressure cooker while steaming the pudding. Keep checking at intervals, and refreshing the water in case you find it has come down.

8. The time that this pudding needs to get completely steamed would differ, depending upon the make of the cooker and ingredients used. Keep checking after 1-1/2 hours (by inserting a toothpick in the centre of the pudding – it should come out clean), and steam till fully done. Mine took exactly 2 hours to get done entirely.

9. Cover the pudding mould securely with a sheet of aluminium foil, and tie a piece of string around it. This will prevent any water from getting into the pudding.

10. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use any large vessel or pan with a lid to steam the pudding.

11. Allow some space for the pudding to rise, in the mould that you use. I didn’t have a pudding mould, so I used an ordinary steel vessel for the steaming.

12. I have not tried making this Eggless Steamed Christmas Pudding with whole wheat flour yet, but I think it should be doable.

13. I have used store-bought bread crumbs here. You may make the bread crumbs at home, instead, too – just pulse 6-8 slices of day-old bread in the mixer till you get crumbs.

14. Make sure you steam the pudding on a low flame, to ensure even cooking.

15. You can soak the fruits and nuts in the orange juice a day in advance, before you make this pudding. In that case, take the fruits and nuts in a bowl, pour the orange juice over them, and allow them to soak in the refrigerator, covered. I just allowed the fruits and nuts to soak for about 30 minutes, before I started making the pudding.

16. Once the pudding is completely steamed and ready, set it aside for 20-30 minutes before unmoulding and slicing it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘#ChristmasSpecial Recipes’.

I’m sending this recipe for Fiesta Friday #254. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Kat @ Kat’s 9 Lives.

A Class With Ben Ungermann, Of The MasterChef Australia Fame

If you have been watching MasterChef Australia, I’m sure Ben Ungermann needs no introduction.

Ben Ungermann, runner-up at MasterChef Australia 2017, was recently in Bangalore for a few days, conducting events for World On A Plate. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a masterclass by him, at Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts yesterday. It was an experience that I will cherish for a long, long time to come.

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Ben Ungermann, regaling us with tales from his MasterChef Australia days, at his recent masterclass in Bangalore

Ben demonstrated to us, a fascinated audience, some really unique dishes –

1. Beer Can Chicken With Smashed Potatoes
2. Coffee-Cardamom Ice Cream With Cream Cheese Mousse, Butternut Pumpkin Puree, Shortbread, Rum Caramel & Micro Greens
3. Fish En Pappilote Roasted Tomatoes & Fennel Mayonnaise
4. Sake Ice Cream With Matcha Microwave Sponge, Puffed Rice & Wasabi Mousse

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Ben at the masterclass, demonstrating Beer Can Chicken With Smashed Potatoes

Ben kept us spell-bound by creating these fantastic dishes right before our eyes.

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Ben demonstrating Fish En Pappilote Roasted Tomatoes, i.e. the French way of cooking fish in a bag

He wowed us with his understanding of various ingredients and cooking techniques.

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Ben demonstrating how fennel mayonnaise can be prepared in exactly 30 seconds, which is then used to plate the Fish En Pappilote Roasted Tomatoes

Ben regaled us with anecdotes from his life and MasterChef Australia 2017. He told us of how he had children early on in life, and how he was forced to make a living selling shoes back home in Australia while he actually wanted to cook in a professional setting, just because he couldn’t support his family on an apprentice cook’s salary. MasterChef opened the doors to the world of professional cooking to him, as risky as it was for him to take a chance, quitting his job to enter the competition. Ben also told us of how his quest to make good-quality, healthy ice creams for his family led him to open up Ungermann Brothers in Queensland, Australia – now, a bucket list destination for me. 🙂

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Ben demonstrating Coffee-Cardamom Ice Cream With Cream Cheese Mousse, Butternut Pumpkin Puree, Shortbread, Rum Caramel & Micro Greens, at the masterclass

All through the masterclass, Ben’s humility and down-to-earth nature, his warm and friendly personality, shone through. It is evident that this person takes pride in his roots, and that he loves being a family man. Cooking for his loved ones is the highest form of adulation for them, it was clear, and this did win us over.

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Ben involving the participants of the masterclass in little tasks

Ben made us smile by involving us in little ways throughout his demonstration. He spoke to us of how India will always occupy a special place in his heart, because of the immense love that the country has given him and MasterChef Australia in general. Being the sweet person that he is, he indulged us by taking posed photographs and selfies with us, giving us personalised autographs, and giving the go-ahead for short video clips with him.

 

Ben at the masterclass, indulging his big and little fans with autographs

At the end of it all, we felt we had met a friend, Ben, from Australia, not watched THE Chef Ben in action.

Ben, thank you for being the lovely person that you are!

World On A Plate, thank you for making this experience possible for me!