Chocolate Pots & Raspberries: Will You be My Valentine?

Love is just Love…It can never be explained.♥

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Ah yes, if it’s a decadent chocolate post  mingled with sweet nothing’s and love, it’s got to be that special time of  the year. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and everything seems like looking through rose-tinted glasses.Right from heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, red roses,cards professing undying love, special romantic dinner’s, exotic getaways’ and pink champagne on ice.

Yes,I’ve done it all.I have been wooed,wined and dined in style on various Valentine’s with my darling hubs.However the one memory closest to my heart is my first Valentine’s with him  many years ago.We were newly weds and I was moving to live with him in the Middle East. Not knowing what to really give him ,I got him a bright Red heart-shaped pillow that had “I Love you”, embroidered in white, and I picked  up one for myself as well. He had planned a  special home-coming for me too.A table setting for two with a lovely meal all laid out , a dozen red roses, some bubbly  and a sweet little note stuck on the Kitchen counter that read “Welcome home Shy”.The simple joys of life that I cherish till this day.

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Zucchini Noodles: Loving My Spiralizer

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All right I may as well admit it.I’m an absolute and out right gadget freak.More specifically a Kitchen gadget freak.Travelling does that some how.An incessent and obsessive need to browse through home and kitchen stores,walk down endless aisles of supermarkets,on the look out for some kitchen gadget or house ware that would make cooking a lot more interesting.That, I do not have any more shelf space  is another story all together.Amongst the stuff that I’ve been amassing over the years are hordes of  Bakeware, Cookware,Gizmos and  various other kitchen memorabilia collected over numerous travels ,making the insides of my pantry  resemble a well stocked Kitchen-ware store.No,I’m not complaining,just overjoyed at my stash.After all having the right equipment makes all the difference.

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Saffron Infused Rice Speckled with Tangy Barberries-Zereshk Polo:A Persian Delight

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Having lived for fifteen wonderful years in the Dubai and now currently in India,my taste buds have been hankering for some Middle Eastern flavours. Yes we did make a couple of short trips last year and revelled in all our favourite haunts. Especially the Lebanese,Persian and Moroccan ones.I’m very fond of Iranian cuisine ,especially the varied assortment of flavourful kebabs and the buttery,crispy rice that is an accompaniment with them.An all time favourite over the years has been the Pars Iranian cafe that served some of this deliciousness.This Persian  rice is termed as a Zereshk Polo or very simply put-a Saffron and butter infused rice and garnished with some sweet and sour Barberries,which are ever so popular in this cuisine.

A family dinner a couple of weeks ago got me making up some aromatic chicken kebabs and I thought I’d delight them all with a lovely Iranian rice dish.  Zereshk translates into the Barberries and Polo is the rice in Farsi.So it was decided I would go ahead and serve this rice. It was just as well  that my pantry had been recently replenished  with packets of Zataar, Sumac,Freekeh,Dried lemons and of course a generous amounts of these tart and tangy Barberries that lend a burst of flavour to this rice dish. Continue reading

Muhammara: Roasted Red Bell Peppers & Walnut Dip

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Smoky flavours of roasted Red bell peppers combined with a hint of Garlic,a burst of Lemon juice and Olive oil mingle together to make up this delightful Middle Eastern Meze. If your taste buds are sharp enough you will detect the coarse texture that is brought about by the addition of breadcrumbs and coarsely ground walnuts to this dip.Tracing its origins to Syria,this is now a popular accompaniment with most Levantine cuisine.

I’ve been shying away from making up this favourite dip of mine due to the lack of being able to source Pomegranate Molasses which I feel is an essential ingredient.I do believe the brilliant red tones and the tartness in a Muhamarra are certainly lent by the molasses.I’ve been impatient to make this and went along by substituting with some honey. Continue reading

A Chef’s Recipe:Beetroot Halwa

 

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Bangalore, a city in southern India most popularly know as the Pub City is also host to a plethora of South India restaurants and eateries. The cuisine offered  can range from authentic Karnataka cuisine to even delicacies from Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad.A recent trip turned out to be a quite a delightful one indeed with the hubs and me partaking in the ever famous Hyderabadi Biryani at Nagarjunas,the finger-licking good Dosa’s and Wada Sambar at MTR, going down the foodie trail at the ever so vibrant Fraizer Town and of course bar hopping in the evenings.We stayed at The Gateway Hotel which is located in the older part of Bangalore and is still as charming as ever. Since most afternoons and evenings were spent exploring the streets of the city,our breakfast most often would be a choice from what was offered at the hotel buffet. Now you are probably wondering why one would give such importance to a hotel buffet?

Well lets say his one was a quite an exceptional fare of a mix of Indian breakfast items and a reasonable selection to appeal to the International palette as well.On one such morning after having a small portion of the regular South India fare,I decided to indulge some Beetroot halwa that stood simmering on a burner at a central display of an assortment of desserts.Rather unusual to serve that for breakfast I thought! Just as well,it was the most delectable halwa I’ve ever sampled.Every morsel just a delicate hint of softened beetroot with hints of fresh Mawa and crunchy pistachios. I absolutely had to ask the hotel kitchen for this recipe.I went right ahead and let the wait staff know of my intentions and asked to speak with the Chef for the restaurant. Continue reading