Peter’s Kitchen: Reviving Lost Goan-Portuguese Recipes

Chef Peter Fernandes of the O’Coquerio fame has now opened Peter’s Kitchen in Sangolda, Pilerne Goa. Having worked with the famed restaurant for over two decades, coupled with a few other stints, he realised that his loyal patrons followed him where ever he went.And quite rightly so as he has wowed many an ardent foodie with his Portuguese-Goan style  Cuisine over the years. A stellar reputation in the Goan Culinary world that earned him “Best Chef of India” by the Department of Tourism, Govt Of India.

We had dinner at Peter’s Kitchen a couple of weeks ago and were delighted having discovered this hidden gem tucked away next to his ancestral home in Pilerne Goa. We are greeted by him as we  started  our drinks and  he was  happy to come by and  chat about his journey that got him this far.. As I glance up  at the menu I realise it showcases his love for Goan -Portuguese cuisine. He points out to his chalk written black board that he writes up every day. I notice some un usual recipes such as Kazaracho Stew, Aard Maas and Prawn Risois. I know we are in for a treat. Interestingly he has a variety of home made pickles like Brinjal and lime and some authentic Goan masala that one can pick up too and some home made wine too.

We decide to start off with a plate of Prawn Risois. I’m nostalgic of our Sojourn in Portugal a couple of years ago. This appetizer is straight from a Portuguese era. The half-moon and deep-fried croquettes is made up of a simple flour dough stuffed with a creamy prawn filling. It is absolutely delicious and now has been put on my “must try” list.

Prawn Risois:


For the main course we settle for some Pork Solantulem. This dish is flawless and consists of Pork chucks cooked to a delicate perfection with some Onions, ginger-garlic, red chillies, perhaps some pepper and the star ingredients being Sola or Kokum that lends the dish a hint of tartness. This was brilliant with Goan bread-Poee. By far a delectable dish made in a simple home style way, yet packed and bursting with flavour.

Pork Solantulem

I’m quite crazy about shell-fish, especially the small variety one finds in India.I had been eyeing the Tisriyo on the menu and decided to order a plate full. These were cooked in a traditional Goan way with onions, some garlic, freshly grated coconut and spices. This hit just the right spot for me.

Tisriyo (Clams)

This was every bit a delightful meal. I have heard rave reviews about the Chicken Cafreal and desserts at Peter’s Kitchen, oh well will save that for the next time we are in Goa.

The restaurant is open for large gatherings’ and events and geared up for home catering as well.

 

We loved dining at Chef Peter’s.Each dish was presented well with a wonderful mix of regional traditional ingredients mingled with a reminiscent of by gone Portuguese influence.Food that looks good has to taste good and this was amazing!   His personal attention to us and the rest of the diner’s ensured a great dining experience for all. The chef’s simplicity and humble demeanour reflects well is his restaurants which is every essence of home style cooking and local flavours in a wonderful laid back and cosy atmosphere. Here’s wishing Chef Peter the very best and every success in his endeavours.

Location: Chef Peter’s Kitchen

Sangolda, Pilerne Goa

Phone: 08805145181

( Google maps has great directions)

 

Le Fromage: Of Wine & Cheese

 

Le Fromage: Artisanal Cheese making In Nashik

Nestled amongst the lush greenery in Nashik  ( Maharastra, India)and located in the backwaters of the Gangapur dam is Le Fromage.

This is an artisanal cheese making facility owned and operated by a husband wife duo Mr Anil Pai & Mrs Alka Pai.

A recent trip to Sula & York wine regions took us down to a cheese making visit as well. Let’s say we were keen on pairing our Vino with something interesting to do in the vicinity and what better than some Cheese with wine.

We arrive at Pai farms which is every bit picture risqué surrounded by Lemon trees , various fruit trees and buzzing bees. A warm welcome awaits us as we are greeted by the jovial owners and we settle down in the main waiting area, which looks like the living room of their home.

 

After a brief introduction we were offered a cheese platter with an assortment of fresh mozzarella, Pepper and Chilli Gouda, Chives Feta, Ricotta and some Chedder. They offer and interesting range and are all available for purchase in 100 grams packs ranging from appro Rs 180 to Rs 250.

I quite like the fresh buffalo mozzarella and the Chives Feta and decided to buy some along with some Pepper and Chilli Gouda to bring back for the family. The mozzarella went into a lovely Caprese salad that I made up for lunch on returning to Mumbai.

 

We then take a quick look at the cheese room which is a small unit with two large Vats that are used for pasteurizing the milk and then further the process of acidification and the addition of Rennet that helps the milk coagulate. Interestingly they only use vegetarian rennet that is available locally Vs it’s counter part that is made from Cows.

Mr. Pai explains us how his sons who are U.S based encouraged them to start the cheese making business a couple of years ago. They seem very content with supplying the neighboring wineries like York & Soma as their regular clients for their wine pairing sessions.

Oh well, happy with our Cheese purchases and the boot full of Vino, we bid adieu to this lovely couple and got on with our journey back to Mumbai. While Le Fromage seems like a small home based business, it is very heart warming to meet entrepreneurs such as them and see their passion that drives them forward…Kudos!

Contact Details: 16/3, Gangapur-Savargaon Rd, Gangavhare, Maharashtra 422222, India, Nashik, Maharashtra 422222

Phone: 098195 8733 ( Mr Pai)

Goa In The Rains Is Magical

Travel It Makes You Speechless…Then Turns You Into A Storyteller..

 

Goa in the rains is just magical. The color green takes on a brilliant  hue and turns the lush landscape into a plush carpet.Coconut palms swaying in the breeze and the emerald green contrast of the rice  fields is a breathtaking sight indeed.

The hubby’s  from Goa. Well lets say all his ancestor’s and family lived there once upon a time and now everyone’s moved away to all parts of the world. Hence he has a natural affinity to Goa. Now being based in Mumbai, it’s a short hour’s flight and very accescssable for a quick weekend getaway.

We travelled to  Goa in  April earlier this year,just before the dear son went off to London for summer school. It was a short break for all of us, with some R &R as the main objective of this trip which is why we choose to return to Alila Diwa as the hotel’s Idyllic and picturesque setting amongst its lush green landscaping and gorgeous aquamarine pools hit’s all the right boxes for a relaxed and chilled out get away.

 

The property is gorgeous indeed and the monsoon’s seem to weave their own magic and bring about every shade of green possible. Well lets say we are prepared as predicted it had been raining incessently with some golden sunny interludes of sunshine in between and we were quite happy to sit back and enjoy every bit of “Goa in the Rains”. Having travelled to Goa on numerous occasions doing the usual touristy spots is far from what we wanted to do. But yes good food is always something the family is happy to explore.As luck would have it the ever popular Martin’s Corner is a quick drive from our hotel and the hub’s announced earlier that lunch must begin there. So that’s where we headed right after arriving at the hotel.

As I mentioned the sole aim of this trip was R &R and not really getting too touristy. So will pen down some absolute must eats around this neighbourhood.

  1. Martin’s Corner:

The restaurant is abuzz with locals and tourists alike, indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon luncheon.Seemed like the perfect ambience with music in the background, tables filled with laughter, chilled beer and aromas’s of some fabulous pork vindaloo and Sorpotel wafting through the air. We get seated and settle down with our drinks and order some fried prawns, Goan chilly sausages which is served with some wonderful fresh bread and a Goan fried fish called “Chonak” which is a red snapper variety of fish. I’m totally sold out on the flavours of this delicate fish. Oh yes and a side of a Veg Au Gratin to get our fix of veggie’s too.A very enjoyable meal and a great place for lunch or dinner. With our bellies quite satiated we decide to return back to the hotel.

2.Restaurants at Alila Diva Goa:

The hotel too has a great variety of dining options that offer a multitude of cuisine. The breakfast which consisted of a buffet would usually be served at Vivo which had an extensive fare of  international and local fare.The Spice Club serves up a gastronomical array of traditional Goan fare. Another great place to hang out in the evenings is the Edge Bar and Lounge that is located in the main hotel area over looking a gorgeous infinity pool and the back drop of paddy fields.

 

3. Ritz Classic: Mall De Goa

The next day we decided to drive out towards Panjim and checkout Mall De Goa which opened just a couple of years ago. We had not much of a shopping list as all the fresh produce was been reserved for a must visit to the fresh markets in Goa. However the attraction of the mall visit was the Ritz Classic that serves us a delicious Fish Thali at lunch times. While they do have a large A la carte menu as well, the most sought after order at lunch would be the Thali which consists of a various fish curries, fried fish, rice, and some vegetables as a side too. So while the hubs decided to devourer this I choose a Fried Chonak (local red snapper) sautéed in garlic and butter as my main course. I tell you, I’m totally sold out on this fish.

The Fish Thali at Ritz Classic


Fish Chonak (Red Snapper) in a butter garlic sauce:

 

4. Madgao Market: A must do whilst in Goa is a visit to the fresh markets that give you a bazaar kind of feel. Infact  the new markets are covered and have a vibrant display of fresh produce, cashew nuts, pulses and legumes, local spices and lots more. The fresh fish is located in a separate area and just outside the main market are various stores that have several varieties of Pork products, ranging form the local goan sausages,curry spices and pork chops and meat. I love exploring local markets where ever I travel.They are unique and have the best of foodstuff that represent the local cuisine. Needless to say we managed to get our hands on some great stuff to take back to Mumbai.

Goa in the rains is truly Magical….The lush landscape around our hotel proper at Alila Diwa

5. Fisherman’s Wharf: 

A colleague at work very much recommended this place and it’s been on my “Must eat list” for sometime now. As it would be it seemed a short 30 minute drive from our hotel and so I dragged the hubs into driving us on one lazy afternoon.Set on the banks of the river Sia in amid the lush surroundings of Cavelossim village, this place had a great vibe. A live band playing some great music,riverside seating that over looked the water and a great menu that had an assortment of Goan delicacies and International cuisine as well. We settled for a Mutton Shagoti ( meat cooked in coconut and spices ) and a Rawa fry King fish and some Cashew feni to wash that down.It turned out to be a gem of a location and I would very much recommend this place. They do have another location in Panjim as well.

 

6. Fishka: 

Our last day in Goa and a quick run across from our hotel property is a shack style  place called Fishka. Again this place came recommend by a foodie pal so decided to walk across and grab a quick bite before heading to the airport.

Goa has numerous shacks that double up as bars and restaurants and are almost at every nook and cranny of the this beach town. Now some of the popular ones are located on the beach and are a great hang out spot and are perfect for relaxation and good food. Fishka as we discover, is a no frills kind of place with a relaxed laid back ambience.The menu is quite extensive which includes Goan dishes, Indian Chinese and International cuisine as well. The place as we learn is run by Indian-Russian duo and seems like a popular jaunt as there are not too many eating places in the vicinity. Our meal consists of some classic Lamb chilly fry served with some Poi (local goan bread), an all time favourite Fish and chips and I settle for a vegetarian paneer chili fry. A great place for a quick bite.

Well this was our quick getaway to Goa in a nutshell. There is just so much to do and explore in Goa and condensing it into a single blog post is the difficult part. Well you may like to take a look at another post on Goa that I wrote up a couple of years ago: Goa:Spice farms, Food Markets & A Recipe:  wp.me/p2eASG-yq

I do hope I have enticed you enough to visit Goa. The rains are magical indeed and most hotel properties offer great deals from June- September. The peak time of-course is from  November- March with the Carnival and other festivities that make it an interesting time to visit. The gastronomy, beaches, culture and the laid back lifestyle are every reason to make this your next destination to visit.

Happy Travels and I hope you will visit Goa some day!

 

Summer Desserts: Classy Pavlova

 

Any Pavlova lovers?

Well here is a Pavlova that we bake often at college as it is part of the Baking syllabus.

Essentially a meringue based dessert that is baked at a low temperature that gives it a nice and crisp exterior and a soft and marshmallow texture on the interior. The dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years. In 2008, Helen Leach published The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, in which she argued that the earliest known recipe was published in New Zealand. (Information Source: Wikepedia)

It now is a popular dish in both Australia and New Zealand. I have been baking crisp mini meringue cookies for awhile now. Quite honestly had never really savoured a Pavlova up until I had to teach it to my students at college. The key in baking a good Pavlova is setting the right temperature else they tend  to burn out or stay under baked.

Here are some  essential tips that will ensure a complete no fail Pavlova

  • Ensure the egg whites are completely separated. Even the tiniest bit of yolk will prevent the egg whites from foaming.
  • Eggs must be at room temperature as cold eggs take much longer to beat
  • Always make sure that the mixing bowl for beating the eggs is grease free as any traces of fat can prohibit eggs from getting fluffy.
  • Use caster sugar as it dissolves easily. Whisky sugar and eggs till it doesn’t feel gritty any more. Do not beat this excessively as the Pavlova’s tend to weep once baked.
  • Beating vinegar and cornflour into the mixture creates a soft centre and a crisp shell.
  • Bake pavlovas on less humid days.
  • You may turn off the oven after about an hour and leave the Pavlova in the warm oven for about half an hour for the Pavlova to bake further,  with the oven door ajar. Remember the inside must have a soft texture and slightly chewy on the inside.

Pavlova’s make really pretty summer desserts for entertaining. You may bake a single large Pavolva or choose to make multiple smaller ones. The best garnish for this dessert is topped with some whipped cream, freshly chopped fruits and a coulis if you wish. The addition of a dessert sauce elevates the flavours to another level.

I have used some fresh Kiwi along with a coulis,however most berries like strawberries, black and blueberries, mangoes, mixed fruit work really well too.

Ingredients:

(Makes 2 four inch Pavlovas)

INGREDIENTS QUANTITY
Egg whites 2
Sugar Powdered 100 grams
Vanilla Essence ½ teaspoon
White vinegar ½ teaspoon
Corn flour ¼ tablespoon
Topping  
Whipping cream 120 ml
sugar 10 grams
Fresh fruit (chopped) Kiwi strawberries
DIRECTIONS:

 

1.Preheat oven to 130 (degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 2 circles four inches in diameter.

2.In the bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the vinegar and sieve the cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in. Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.

3.Bake for 1 ½ hour or until the outside is dry and a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and resembles a marshmallow).)

4.Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as the meringue can get soggy.

Lucknow Diaries: In Search of the Best Kebabs

 

The Next Best Thing To Eating Food Is Talking About It…Or Perhaps Writing About it…

Well you probably know enough about me  via my recent posts.It’s been almost four years of moving from Dubai to Mumbai and I do hope you have been following my food escapades.The hubs and me are quite the  incorrigible foodies on the hunt for the best eating experiences from street food to fine dining and anything else that fits in between. Our travels within India have been a delightful experience indeed.Having lived out of the country for over two decades now, exploring cities, their cultural influences and food nuances.

Yes and I may have said this before “We will travel to any length of this planet, in search of good food”. A recent sojourn took us to the Northern India, Lucknow quite aptly named the “City Of Nawabs” and well know for it’s traditional cuisine, the delectable and melt in your mouth Kebabs in particular like the Galawati, Shammi & Kakori. The Lucknowi style of cooking is also quintessentially known as the “Awadhi Cuisine”, the rulers being the Nawabs of Awadh whose origin lies in Persia.And hence the cuisine has the influence of various meats, grains, spices, nuts and saffron.

So yes ,in a sense this trip to Lucknow was a quick getaway over a long weekend along with catching up with wonderful friends who promised us a gastronomic experience and well for me it was in search for the best Kebab of sorts.The best part of discovering cuisine in a new city is having a friend that subs as a foodie expert and takes you through the finer aspects of traditional cuisine.

Our friends Nandini & Ravi met with us in Lucknow and very sweetly had put together a list of “must eats”and “must do” in Lucknow. Well 48 hours is all that we could wring out of our crazy lives but such as enjoyable indeed.

1.Dastarkhwan:

Our itinerary is left to our dear friends and we are totally excited as Ravi had planned a good packed few days for us. We both arrived into the city around noon and checked into the Hilton in Lucknow which was a very comfortable stay and in close proximity to all our jaunts. As per the plan we head out straight for lunch. First stop is at a mid range restaurant called Dastarkhwan which is immensely known for it’s Mughlai-Awadhi style of cuisine. The chefs in Lucknow are the creators of the “Dum style of cooking”, which is the style of cooking on a slow fire. We are quite ravenous  and are so looking forward to our lunch. We arrive around 3pm to find this place packed with late -lunchers and can’t wait to order. We left the selection of dishes to our friends and they surely delighted our palettes. This place is famous for its Mutton Korma,Paya Curry and Galawati kebabs and also the Paneer Pasanda with rotis of-course. We ate at the restaurant in Gomti nagar, however they do have several other locations as well.

 

2.Sakhawat’s: I’m not a Glutton…Just an explorer of food.

And the exploration and search was for the best kebabs. My friends knew about the obsession for the best ever Galawati and Shammi kebabs is what got me all the way to Lucknow in the first place. Now they have lived in Lucknow and know the hidden gems around the city and were keen that me make Sakhawat’s our next jaunt and explore this hole in the wall kind of place that serves up some finger licking good  Kebabs,with the right blend of their secret spices and smoky charred flavours.We also sample some of their  tandoori Chicken and hot rotis.

 

 

3. Rahim Ki Nihari in Lucknow:

The next morning we start off from our hotel early in the morning to soak in the historical sights of Bada Imam Barah.Our friends have then planned out a breakfast that cannot be missed in Lucknow. It’s around 10 am in the morning now and our pit stop for the day starts at Rahim’s in Chowk. The breakfast dish which is a must try here is the Ghosht Nihari (which is a mutton dish) served with some hot Shermal. The secret of this iconic dish is the melange of the right amount of ground spices and the gentle and slow cooking of the meat. Nihari originates from the Urdu word Nahar which translates to day break and which is possibly why this dish is most often served at breakfast.

Having satiated every carnivorous desire for the moment its time to cool off the spicy breakfast we decided to stop for a glass of chilled Thandai.

 

4. P. Raja Ki Mashoor Thandai:

This popular chilled Milk based drink is utterly refreshing. It is often mixed with powdered almonds, fennel, cardamom, sugar, saffron strands and crushed petals. Another variety of Thandai also has some cannabis added to it which it gives it an extra punch. This drink is very popular during festivals in India such as Holi and Mahashivrathri.

Now with the bellies full it’s time to burn off those calories and turn to some retail therapy. My mind is set on exploring the old parts of Lucknow especially the Chowk and Hazratganj  neighbourhoods and indulge in some “Chikankari work” This is traditional embroidery work that Lucknow is famous for. Apparently this was started off by “Nur Jehan”, the wife of the Mogul emperor Jehangir.

 


 

The numerous stores have an array of different varieties of “Chickanwok”. Unstitched fabric, blouses, dresses, traditional wear and even saris embroidered with delicately on fabrics such as cotton, silk and chiffon. So much to choose from. We browse through a multitude of stores as the variety is just mind boggoling.I finally settle for a couple of cool cotton blouses and some traditional wear that always comes handy for occasions in India. Quite exhausted by an early start and all the walking for the day we decide to have a light bite and then return back to our hotel for the day.

 

5. Royal Cafe: For Chaat:

 

Street fare is delightful and reasonable here in Lucknow and a great way to absorb the local flavours of a city.Now even though the list of these delicacies and the restaurants are endless, we decide to pop by the Royal Cafe and indulge in some Katori Chaat and pain puri and wash it down with a lemonade.That’s it for today I remark to my friends. It’s been an eventful day and a foodelicious one that too.Tomorrow will be another day I know and will bring in more food adventures I’m sure as its our last day in Lucknow like I said I was on the hunt for the best kebab.

6. Tundaay Kebabi:

 

It’s our last day in Lucknow and we have a relaxed morning  at the hotel.I’m in awe of the city, it’s culture and traditions. We seem to have absorbed a whole lot in our three day trip. Yet, I had started off in search of a delectable and delicious kebab flavour in mind. A flavour that i had very often relished at the Al Afadil kebab place in Sharjah during our stay in the middle east. I had not eaten anything that came even close to the shammi and galouti kebabs I had eaten there. so with that as a point of reference I still was in search.. We arrive at the iconic 100 year old Tundaay Kebabi place in Aminabad lucknow late afternoon. The place is simple and unpretentious and  filled with the mid afternoon diners  feasting on plates full of deliciousness, varieties of kebabs, curries, scrumptious plates of biryani’s, the aromas wafting through the air. I can feel my excitement build as I know I have come to the right place. ad sure enough the kebabs are absolutely delicate and they melt in the mouth. the galouti is essentially finely minced goat meat with and addition of almost 160 spices.

The story behind these juicy and succulent morsels of ground meat is that.  There was once a Nawab  who apparently was very fond of kebabs.As he aged he lost his teeth and was unable to chew and hence waged a contest for his chefs to create the softest kebabs so that he may enjoy them.This  secret recipe of the kebabs was was created by Haji Murad Ali, who in trying to perfect the best kebab fell off the roof and broke his hand. However this did not disuade  him from creating his recipe and he perfected it.When presented to the nawab it was served as Tundaay ke kebab i.e. Kebab made by a single armed person.As a one armed person in India is called Tundaay, that is how the name Tundaay Kebab came about.

I’m at peace with myself and oh so very satiated at having eaten at Tundaay Kebabi. These flavours will linger on for years to come. I hear they have a branch in Mumbai too, all though the flavours from Lucknow are a class apart. I’m happy and all i want is some cream that I had spotted before we came in here. So off we go to nurse that sweet tooth to our final destination…

7. Prakash Kulfi Lucknow:

Apparently yet another must do when in Lucknow I’m told by my friends.again an institution in itself severing up delicious pots and cones of Indian ice-cream called Kulfi made with condensed milk, nuts such as pistachios, almonds and cashews, flavoured with sugar and saffron. Every bite is so refreshing and just delicious. A family run business for the past 50 years, this place is abuzz with ice-cream lovers, beating the heat and digging into various flavours of Malai, Strawberry, Butterscotch and Chocolate.

8. The Taj Vivanta: Oudhyana

We also visited the The Taj Vivanta for a fabulous meal (lots of kebabs of-course). We dined at the Oudhyana which is a fine dining restaurant and an elegant one too serving up some delectable and delightful Awadhi cuisine.

9.Historical Sites:

  • Bara Imambara
  • Chota Imambara
  • Hazratganj market
  • Chowk
  • Husainbad Clock Tower
  • La Matineire school

All in all this trip was a great discovery of the land of Kebabs and Nawabs (royalty). I highly recommend every food enthusiast to take a peek into this foodie haven and trust me you won’t be disappointed. That said, I do hope my Lucknow diaries has lured you into visiting a truly delightful city filled with Culture, history & delectable Cuisine. Huge thanks to our wonderful foodie pals Ravi & Nandini Dayal for making this such a memorable holiday.

Happy Travels & Foodelicious Wishes!