Cheflife, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals, Travel

Keep calm & juice it up !

Summer is just round the corner & this delicious refreshing drink is my go to.  Just a few simple ingredients, into the blender & it’s done !

Lots of Fresh Strawberries 

+ Lots of Fresh Mint Leaves 

+ a few drops of lemon juice 

(I do not add any Sugar, but you can add as per your choice) 

Just blend into a smooth juice with some crushed ice, & it’s ready ! 

Very refreshing and very healthy πŸ“πŸŒΏ

You can also add a little Sparkling Water if you like a bit of fizz, and a splash of Gin is more than welcome πŸ˜‰ 

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Good News Dhaba – Ishanya Mall PuneΒ 

There’s good news for all Punekars…yeah… quite literally ‘Good News’, coz that’s the name of this Modern-Desi Dhaba at Ishanya !

Going to keep this review pretty short and simple.

So why is it good news…You ask ?

Coz this :

Great Ambiance – βœ”

Interesting (& Potent!) Cocktails – βœ”

Good Food – βœ”

Friendly & Efficient Service – βœ”

This place just ticks all the right boxes.

A special mention to the OTT decor ! All that kitsch, all that bling, the quirky wall art, massive light fittings made with chai kullad & cutting chai glasses, a full size bathtub to chill beer bottles (yeah, you read that correctly, they have placed a bathtub with overhead showers that work, bang in the middle of the bar !)

And as garish as all this sounds, all these elements come together and totally work somehow, giving this place a very fun and lively vibe !

Over to the food and drinks –

They serve some interesting (read- potent) cocktails with equally interesting names. 

The bar bites are not your usual chips and peanuts, but a rather interesting concept where they serve a basket of Khichiya Papads and along with that a tray full of ingredients to make your own chutney.

So you get small bowls of mint, coriander, yogurt, ginger, garlic, chillies, etc along with a small mortar & pestle. Mix and grind ingredients to your liking and enjoy your chutney with those rather addictive papads.


Though not a big fan of soup or shorba,  the Murgh Galliana Shorba was quite the bomb ! I could literally just have that instead of dinner on a lovely breezy winter evening. 

Paneer de sholay , Jhinga Kalimiri, Highway Mutton Seekh Kabab, were my favoutires from the menu we tasted that evening.

Also, do save some appetite for that simple yet hearty and delicious Langar Dal Amritsari , which we mopped up with some hot fluffy naan. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then there’s Rabdi, matka kulfi, Paan- Choco bon bon that you can end your meal with. 

Good News indeed, right ?! 

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Rawa Fried Prawns *warning – Highly Addictive ! *Β 

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* Rawa Fried Prawns * –

These crisp golden fried prawns are so easy to make, & highly addictive ! 

They make an excellent bar snack or even as a side dish with a fish curry- rice meal. 

If you want to serve these at a party, you can marinate the parwns in advance & then just fry them up before serving. 

You will need – 

β–  1/2 Kg Prawns (shelled & deveined) 

β–  Red chilli powder, Turmeric Powder, & Salt – to taste 

β–  Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp

β–  Tamarind Pulp/Kokum Extract/Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp 

β–  Semolina (Rawa) & Rice flour – as required.

β–  Oil – to shallow fry. 
● Shell, Devein & wash the prawns thoroughly. Drain excess water. 

● In a mixing bowl, make a paste using Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Salt, Ginger-Garlic Paste, & Kokum extract. 

● Add the cleaned prawns to the mixing bowl & rub the spice paste into the prawns taking care that each prawn is coated well with the spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 30 mins. 

● In a bowl or plate mix some rice flour & semolina (1 part rice flour : 3 parts semolina) You can add a pinch of Salt, chilli powder & turmeric to this mixture if you wish. Coat the marinated prawns with this semolina mixture & dust off excess. 

● In a non stick pan, heat couple of tablespoons of oil & shallow fry the prawns till golden brown. Do not keep flip or stir them frequently. Cook on one side for 2 mins & then flip once to cook on the other side for another minute or 2. 

Overcooking will make them tough & chewy. 

~ Taste best with a generous squeeze of lemon, some salad on the side & chilled beer ofcourse ! πŸ˜‰πŸ»

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Peshwa – Aundh, PuneΒ 

One of the best things to have happened in this city, as far as Maharashtrian cuisine is concerned. ‘Peshwa’ originally started in Dubai, opened its 1st outpost in Pune, at Aundh recently… And what a great move this is !

If you’ve been a fan of Maharashtrian cuisine, you’d know that there are 2-3 types of places that serve this type of food.

One is your typical Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali place where you get simple homestyle meals like Chapati, Sabji, Dal, Rice, Koshimbir, Sweets etc. But strictly vegetarian.

Another type is the Non-vegetarians delight. These places serve mostly Chicken, Mutton & Seafood preparations, which makes it difficult for vegetarian patrons to enjoy along with the non-vegetarians.

Then there are some places that serve a bit of both, veg as well as non veg food, but no alcohol :-/

And then there’s Peshwaa ….that serves it all !!!

That’s right.. a fine dine place that serves authentic Maharashtrian cuisine from all over the State, that also serves alcohol, and gives you the liberty to enjoy a relaxed meal unlike the hustle bustle of the typical no frills eateries serving similar cuisine.

I was recently invited for a tasting at Peshwa.

The 1st impression of this elegant place, true to its name, the gorgeous Paithani curtains, the wall art and decor definitely scores a brownie point.

Rich, elegant , yet subtle interiors are definitely pleasing to the eye, and I’m glad they’ve taken care not to make it too glaring and gaudy in order to make it look royal.

The tasting started off with welcome drinks.

Solkadhi, and Thandai were both pretty good & refreshing.

The starters which consisted of Vegetarian as well as Non veg preparations were all above average.

Except for the Malvani inspired Chicken Kabab that failed to impress. I couldn’t really identify any Malvani element in that dish. The green marination was like a regular Tikka you get at other restaurants, so maybe you could just skip it altogether.

But what I loved was the Chatpapta Prawns. True to its name, lipsmacking good, chatpata, and well cooked.

Sukka Mutton, Kothimbir Wadi, Matter Karanji were all quite satisfactory.

The mains had a mix of cuisines from all over the State, Masale Bhaat, Bharli Waangi, Birdyaachi Usal, Aluu chi Paatal Bhaji, Kombdi- Wade, Amboli, Goan style fish curry, Biryani, all of which were truly tasty and as authentic as possible.

I know this is strange, but a hard-core non vegetarian that I am, I still enjoyed the vegetarian preparations more than non veg…and that’s quite a big compliment to the restaurant πŸ˜€

What I loved about this place is that they serve desserts which most other Maharashtrian places don’t !

I was absolutely delighted to see my favourite sweet, Kharvas on the menu, and it was very well made, just like the homemade one.

If you love Maharashtrian cuisine, or if you’re new to it, & want to give it a try, I’d definitely recommend Peshwa πŸ™‚

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3 Spices – Double Tree by Hilton, Pimpri-Chinchwad.

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Located in the heart of Pune’s Industrial belt, Double Tree by Hilton is an ideal venue for a lunch meeting, corporate event, or even to stay on a business trip.
I was recently invited to their restaurant ‘3 Spices’ for the launch of their new menu.

A warm inviting ambiance with a lively vibe, this place isn’t just for mundane meetings, but also a good venue for an evening out with family and friends.
We started the tasting session with an assortment of wines from Sula Vineyards, and some delectable starters to go with it.

Keeping in mind the preferences of the guests, the newly designed menu is a mix of cuisines, to cater to all palates.

There’s a wide variety to choose from Indian, Oriental, & Continental cuisine.

A special mention has to be made about the Desserts though. Everything on the dessert counter looked so attractive, that we started our meal with a couple of desserts !

We were quite literally alternating between the sweet and savoury courses.
I particularly enjoyed the Continental cuisine and preferred to stick with that, over the Indian mains. And then some more desserts ofcourse !

The place felt a little crowded and noisy later, as the restaurant was almost packed to capacity by late evening…but then again, that’s a good sign…right?
Everything from the food, to the plating, presentation and the service was upto the mark & definitely worth another visit.

* Bloggers table was hosted by 3 Spices *

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When all else fails, CHEESE.

​When all else fails, Cheese ! 


It’s been raining non stop, & the weather’s so nice & cool. Perfect for a day long Baking session. I made grand plans for the day! 

First up, kneading the bread dough, as it would take the longest to ferment. That done, I left the sourdough to ferment. Then got on with marinating some chicken, which I later planned to bake along with thin slices of potato, onion, cream & cheese. Marination done, I turned to the fermented dough, shaped & scored  a lovely french baguette, & put it in the oven to bake. 

Within 20 minutes the aroma of freshly baked bread was wafting through the kitchen. So now it was the Chicken that had to go in, to bake. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, chicken, herbs, cream & cheese were all set to bake & turn into a magical dish, which would later be devoured while listening to the pitter patter, sitting by the french window. 

I poured myself a glass of wine, & settled for a bit, waiting for the chicken to be ready in another 20 mins….

And then….BAM ! πŸ˜‘ *power cut * 

How could I be SO naive & optimistic about this ‘Baking on a Rainy Day Plan’ ?! 

This is #pune ! Even 10 mins of rain, results into hours of powercut ! Hmmph… 

But I wasn’t gonna let my plans be ruined, just bcoz this brilliant ‘Smart City’ decided to cut off power suply! 😏 

So out came the next best thing – the Cheese Board ! 

Now how can you go wrong with a Cheese Board & Wine ?! 

* That’s why I always say – Stock up your groceries smartly * 

I had all the essentials of a Cheese platter ready, & all it took was a little assembling. 

So within minutes we had – Olives, Parmesan, Gruyere Crisps, Mild Cheddar, some Fruit Preserves, Spanish Chorizo, & the lovely fresh warm baguette ready, for a candlelight evening by the window, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, sipping wine & having an awesome evening. 

Well played ‘Smart City’….But I’m smarter than you πŸ˜πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜‚

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Iberico Salchichon (Sausage) – Delightful memories of Spain.Β 

Are you a fan of Cured Meats ? 

I surely am !  I absolutely love the intense flavour of cured meats like Chorizo and Jamon ( -salt cured Ham- pronounced as ‘Hah-mon’)

Just a tiny bit goes a long way in jazzing up your meal instantly. 

For those who are new to the technique and art of Curing meats, here’s a little info about the process of curing – 

To put it very simply, ‘Curing’ is a technique of flavouring & preserving foods, such as meats, fish, vegetables & fruits. 

The aim of curing is to draw out moisture from the food by adding Salt, Sugar, Seasoning and such other natural preservatives, to increase the shelf life of the food, and store it year round, for consumption when certain fish/fresh produce or not available or in season. 

Dehydration is the earliest form of food curing, which also includes processes like spicing, pickling, cooking, or smoking. 

Curing decreases / completely draws out the water content from foods, thus making it inhospitable for the growth of microbes that cause food spoilage. 

On my recent visit to Spain, I got a chance to sample various types of cured meats, be it in their original form as a quick nibble between meals, or in Sandwiches, Rice dishes, as a flavour enhancer in Salads, and very prominently as Tapas and on Cheese platters, served with Drinks. 

There are literally thousands of types of cured meats, all over the world. 

Some are made using a single meat such as Pork, some with a combination of 2-3 different meats (eg- pork, beef, deer, wild boar etc) or even offal. 

Some sausages also use a combination of spices like Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Pepper, Coriander etc, if the meat is to ‘Gamey’.

The one that I particularly liked, & bought in huge quantities to take back home, was the ‘Iberico Salchichon’. 

(Iberian/) Iberico Salchichon/Sausages are made from the famed Black Hoofed Iberico (Iberian) Pigs, native to Spain.

 They roam free, and feed on leaves and acorns. Extremely flavourful (& needless to say, quite expensive !) these are quite the delicacy in Spain. 

The pork is dark red and marbled with delicate fat, creating an intense flavour and melt in the mouth texture. 

Unlike Spanish Chorizo, which is infused with a lot of garlic, smoked paprika & other spices, (which btw, is also Truly delicious! ) this Salchichon uses only Salt & Pepper (sometimes Oregano) for curing. With a simple curing solution of Salt & Pepper, these sausages are filled in natural casing (read- beef/pig intestines) & are hung to cure in the cool mountain air for several weeks/months. 

Sliced thinly, this delicious treat can be served with a crisp white wine, some cheese & crusty sourdough bread. 

Makes for a perfect gift for someone who loves cured meats & wines, & even to bring back home, and stash it for the days when you want to sit back and enjoy these, while reminiscing about your beautiful Spanish vacation. 😊

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