No:10 Fort Cochin : Eat your way through Cochin

A delightful new addition to the Bangalore, No.10 Fort Cochin, brings to us the food from God’s own country. With the walls adorned with the sketches and art of prominent historical, cultural structures to the quintessential  Chinese fishing nets and house boats…. and the beautiful home (of the owners) by the backwaters – The original No.10 Fort Cochin. This cosy new place lets you soak in a bit of Cochin while you savour the food from the land.

Butter Garlic Prawns and the Spicy – Tawa Prawns made with house special spices.

 The place is owned by the wonderful couple Vinoo Vijayan and his wife of Karthiyayni Hotel fame in Cherthala. His wife is the brain behind all those dishes on the menu. What they’ve brought for us is the recipes from their family kitchen, some heirloom recipes and a good mix of some popular food the kerala cuisine. Predominantly a non-vegetarian fare , but the menu does have few lovely vegetarian options. But must be praised is the fact that the owners would be more than happy to accommodate special requests – including any veg dishes if you need  (and if it is possible). Truly sign of warm hospitality. ❤

Known for its immense love for seafood, Fort Cochin offers some incredible seafood varieties.

They recently hosted a Seafood festival and some of us bloggers were invited to try out the seafood menu.

This special menu offered a great line up of dishes made with red snapper, pearl spot, Squids, prawns, pompfets and crabs. And an excellent sadhya that would a vegetarian’s delight. The sensational meen curry ( unfortunately, missed taking a picture of) needs a special mention. Followed by some gorgeous sweet treat-  pazham pori – one of the most popular go-to evening snacks , back in kerala ( with cup of chetta’s chayya ofcourse)

Here is a glimpse of some of the delicacies we had :

The traditional all day breakfast – Puttu with Duck roast curry
Tawa squid rings
House special Pomfret fry !!
Meen polichattu – Fish cooked in banana leaf
Prawns Porichattu
Sadhya with elements such as avial, Kaalan , olan , nool puttu/ idiyappam, and payasam etc.

 

Pazham Pori

Although the seafood festival is over at No.10 Fort Cochin, one can still enjoy the regular seafood fare that is on offer. Do swing by the place if you crave for some kerala non-vegatrian delicacies. A lovely little place with food that has it’s heart at the right place and where you can expect a service with a smile. A lovely interaction with Vinoo and his wife would be a bonus.

Thank you Vinoo and family for hosting us and Anuradha for the invite.

Location : #9, Halcyon Complex, 2nd Floor, St.Mark’s Road.

FB Page : Fort-Cochin-Bangalore

 

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Cold Brews by The Flying Squirrel – Artisan Coffee

 It is that time of the year, when some of us may feel “it’s too hot for coffee”! But iced coffee can kick that notion away. If you love coffee in summer , what can be better than an iced coffee?  Cold brew iced coffee ❤

Yes, cold brew coffees – Just what we want for summer. A brewing technique so incredible that you are very likely to get hooked on it all year round.

In lieu of the launch of their cold brew coffees, a few of us coffee lovers in town got invited to The Flying Squirrel Micro-Roastery & Café Bangalore, to learn about the concept of Cold Brewing.

The Flying Squirrel was founded in 2013 by a group of passionate coffee lovers represented by Ashish D’Abreo, Tej Thammaiah – third generation coffee estate owner and coffee connoisseur – and Phalgun Chidanand, entrepreneur and restaurateur. Ashish and Tej, two primary founders, have 15 years combined expertise in the coffee industry. During those years they have greatly expanded their knowledge which includes coffee roasting, barista training, cupping, and blending. The brand primarily retailed online though www.flyingsquirrel.in and supplies coffee to cafes and restaurants across India – as long as they too approach their own offering as artisanal or gourmet.
The cold brew special blend ground coffee

The founders Ashish & Tej shared their start-up story and lead us into the fascinating journey of a coffee bean before it reaches out cup.

 It was wonderful to hear they nurture every coffee plant at the nursery to ensure only the healthiest Arabica & Robusta seedlings are replanted in the estate to grow in patches under heavy shades. It is things like this that enables the brand to know every bean that goes into a cup. They grow their coffee in patches amidst – Citrus, vanilla, spices and a whole of other wild plantations in the estate.

During the harvest, which is usually after 7 months for Arabica & 9-10 months for Robusta, each coffee cherry is carefully handpicked. It is assessed on it’s perfect amount of ripeness, size and colour, and only the best make it into the Picker’s basket.

The beautiful Robusta & Arabica Potted plants
 It is at this stage where the roasters determine the course of action for each coffee cherries in order to yield the best body, aroma and flavour of course.
The beans and the blend

It is also at this stage , where the brand allows customers to customize the coffee to their liking. It starts right here. Depending on the flavour profile we’re looking for from each bean, the freshly handpicked coffee cherries are either pulped, semi-pulped, mildly fermented, sun-dried on brick yards, either whole or washed.

They use their time-tested proprietary profile-roasting curves to extract the desired values of each flavour element (sweetness, bitterness, fruitiness, acidity etc) for each of our variants. 

The Cold Brew coffee blend contains Honey Sun Dried Arabica and some Arabica Peaberry amongst other beans, and uses a medium to medium-light roast coffee, roasted using a unique profile, that delays caramelisation of the bean sugars until the very last few moments of the roast.

Coffee Roasting and Grinding at the Micro-Roastery

In our Brewing – Cupping – Tasting Session, before we got into making our cold brews, we were oriented about how flavours of the same ground coffee differs when brewed differently.

An experiment where the hot and cold brew coffee were compared. We learnt that Cold Brew coffee is up to 60% less acidic than the typical, hot-brewed version. 

Cold brew coffee is when coffee is brewed in cold or room-temperature water for an extended period of time).

Cold brew is an age-old technique of brewing. The first evidence of Cold Brew dates backs to early 1600s , from Kyoto Japan. The Japanese brewing style is more artistic, by brewing drop by drop.

The more popular cold brewing technique now is the immersion and filter. The coffee beans ground to a specific Cold Brew grind size are placed in cold water for about 12 – 14 hours, and then filtered.

The procedure of Cold Brewing

It is best to do a 1:4 ratio for cold brewing. A part ground coffee to 4 parts water ( room temperature or cold) . The filtered brew is then bottled and kept refrigerated (it stays for about 7-8 days)

 

This style of brewing draws out the natural sweetness of the roast perfectly while keeping a check on the acidity and bitterness.

The Cold Brew Blend of coffee is the perfect summer beverage, caffeinated and cold and the coffee blend is specially formulated to make palate-pleasing cold brew at home. It is amazing just by itself. It works really well with different kind of milk and a bit of sweetener of your choice.

While I absolutely loved the cold brew , just by itself , I loved one with coconut milk and one with citrus bloom. We also sampled cold brews with condensed milk , regular milk and with ice cream.

Another interesting coffee we got to try was the Nitro Coffee. A fresh blended espresso which is pumped with nitrogen that is strong & intense in flavor and looks almost like a little shot of frothy stout beer. A great shot of coffee, only for the true blue coffee lovers.

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Yes! But then it is coffee!
A glimpse of the bottle and packaging

 I have been cold brewing coffee for more than year now. And you can find one of my cold brew coffee recipes here on my blog. Since I have done this at home, it was wonderful to learn more about it.

Generally,to learn about where you coffee comes from is a very satisfying feeling. The session talked about all that more.

At the end of the session, all of us were given a little Cold Brew Coffee Kit – The blended ground coffee, muslin cloth for filter and notes on how to cold brew. I plan to do a separate post on how I went about cold brewing using the kit and my recipe. Stay tuned!

Scene from a lunch that followed the workshop

Thank you The Flying Squirrel Team and Radhika for making me a part of this.

 

To know more about THE FLYING SQUIRREL :

website: http://www.flyingsquirrel.in

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fscoffee/

instagram: theflyingsquirrelcoffee/ twitter @GoArtisanCoffee

 

 

A Slice of Food History at the Oberoi Bangalore – Recipes from the Bygone Mughal Era

    If Kitchen archaeology were a profession, I would have probably taken it up , last night. Unearthing the recipes , the techniques , the tools, the ingredients that are lost in time. Unraveling the hidden culinary treasures of the bygone era. Bringing them back to life, one by one.

Imagine the challenge of creating ( or recreating) something that you ( or anyone you for that matter) has never seen, tried or tasted before. Imagine the excitement of having successfully revived a lost piece of culinary puzzle ( and yet be retrained about that because there is no measure of that success. No benchmark to tally it against)

Imagine the joy of doing that…pretty much everyday.

Osama Jalali ( along with his mother Nazish Jalali) do exactly that. Prolific Food Historian, Food Journalist and Chef Extraordinaire Osama Jalali, is one of the few people in our country who is extensively working on towards reviving lost recipes of India. He has taken up baton for bringing them back into the present. He, with his mother, have become champions of such lost genre of culinary experiences.

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One of his collaborations is with The Oberoi, Bangalore where they are showcasing some of the culinary treasures from the bygone era, straight out of the Mughal Kitchens.

The Mughals beautifully synergized elements from their Mother land with the indigenous aspects of India. This same marriage happened in their food as well. Since they were great patrons of art, finer aspects of living and retold definitions of luxury and opulence, the same sense of indulgence and generosity were seen in their food and their feasts.

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For Oberoi Bangalore , they have created a menu that gives a glimpse of some of the cherished dishes which once found pride of place in the Mughal kitchens.

This menu has tapped Khansamas who had retained these recipes for generations tapped to. Locals from Old Delhi, Rampur and Lucknow have also been consulted to gain insight into these dishes which had found a place in local markets and homes including food historians such as Salma Hussain who has extensively researched on Mughal cuisine and have written books on the era too.

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The show casing menu

Appetisers

Murgh pateeli kebab : Chicken pockets filled with raisins, pistachios, apricots, mince, pepper and saffron cooked in a “taambe ki pateeli” or a deep vessel usually of copper. This kebab is from the table of Bahadur Sha Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor.

Yakhni kebab : Lamb cooked in Yakhn or broth flavoured with cloves. The meat is pulled apart and pounded on a “silbatta” with saffron and caramelised onions. These are combined into patties and pan fried.

Kebab e burghul : Broken wheat, pepper, coriander and lentil kebab served with a spicy mint chutney. This is a vegetarian version of the original as Aurangzeb was vegetarian towards the end of his reign. The khansamas employed were not Indians as there were revolts all over the kingdom during his reign.

Mewa shahi kebab : Babur loved dried fruits and this rich kebab of cheese, khoya, yoghurt, spices and dried fruits is an ode to the Emperor.

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Piston ka qeema : Lamb mince cooked with Afghani pistachios and spices. A creation from the era of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was captive at The Red Fort.

Murgh zameen doz : Chicken marinated with almonds, yoghurt and spices, wrapped in dough,cooked in a earthen pot under the earth, Zamin Doz. Influences of this style of cooking may be traced to Akbar’s alliances with the Rajputs.

Amba qaliya : Braised lamb with ‘kairi’, raw mangoes, onions, ginger, coriander, dry fruits and saffron. The fondness of the rulers with mangoes at varying stages of ripening is evident. This recipe is from the tables of Jahangir.

Mutanjan Pulao: Layered rice and chicken pulao with cloves, orange, cardamom, dates and figs. The unique taste of spices, meat and sugar is interesting. Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of creating new recipes; however, he hardly ate them and enjoyed feeding his guests.

Murgh Mussalam: (whole chicken) This is a rich dish in which a whole chicken is marinated, stuffed with eggs, prepared with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and green chilli, and decorated with almonds. It is considered a gourmet dish in the book of Moghul cuisine Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, where it is described as lending a certain majesty to the dastarkhwan (tablecloth upon which the dishes of a meal are places).

Arbi ka saalan : Fried spiced colocasia in a gravy of fried onions and toasted nuts

Khandaiyan : ‘Katliyaan’ or diamonds of cooked chickpea paste in a yoghurt and Qasuri methi gravy. A dish of Afghani origins that also finds variants in Rajasthan. A recipe handed down by the ancestors to Nazia Jalali.Qubooli : Rice and bengal gram cooked together with saffron, spices and dry fruits. Another vegetarian creation from the era of Aurangzeb. There is also a meat variant of this dish.

Desserts

Maleedah: Pounded ‘makke ke rotis’ with almonds, dates, apricots with sugar, cinnamon and cardamon powder

Gosht ka halwa : Meat, spices and sugar cooked together to create a most unique halwa

Pricing : INR 1600 – INR 1800 per person.

For reservations call 2558 5858.

 

Southern Grandeur – The Launch of Grand Mercure, Mysuru

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 AccorHotels and Brigade Group, Bangalore today announced the opening of   Grand Mercure Mysuru in South India’s popular growing tourist destination, Mysuru. Set in the historical city’s heartland, north of the majestic Mysore Palace, the hotel boasts 146 spacious and well-appointed contemporary rooms and suites and is located within close proximity of all major tourist attractions as well as the central business district. 

A few of us bloggers were invited to be a part of the launch of the hotel in mysuru. This post is an attempt to take your through the beauty and offerings of the hotel though my lens.

The warmth of the hotel staff can be felt the moment one steps in – the traditional royal mysuru welcome sets the tone for everything that follows after.welcome

In this beautiful business hotel, the guests can enjoy and experience the strong local connection of Mysuru and Karnataka’s culture and heritage.

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The vibrant interior décor gives one a taste of the celebrated Royalty of Mysuru in a whole new contemporary way. The chandeliers on display exude a holistic and soulful concept of ‘bringing stories to life’ for the hotel. The philosophy of embracing the local culture and traditions is further reflected in the names of the hotel’s exclusive restaurants, delicatessen, meeting rooms and banqueting facilities.

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Inspired by Mysuru’s rich culinary legacy, guests can feast on an extensive selection of cuisines at the hotel.  La Uppu serves an eclectic mix of global cuisine and local delicacies, is an all-day-dining multi-cuisine restaurant with an option of indoor and al-fresco seating;  By the blue, the rooftop specialty restaurant which overlooks the pool, serves Northern Indian cuisine; Silk Bar, by its name narrates the story of the famous silk in Mysuru and serves a mix of single malts, cocktails, mocktails, spirits and wines; and Deli Shop, a delicatessen at the lobby, serves the finest bakery and confectionary creations by talented chefs paired with an array of Indian coffees.

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The aesthetically designed and tastefully done up interiors reflects the seemless marriage of traditional art and craft of mysuru with the contemporary. The use of silk saris, mythological artifacts, flowers, b&w and muted tones of vintage photos of historical places against the high contrast vibrant piece of complementing decorative subject – exhibits the thought behind bringing the hotel’s vision to life.

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Strategically located, in what could arguably be the best location for a hotel in Mysuru. A hotel that guarantees the best seats for viewing the coveted Dussera procession, without having to the step out of the hotel. A definite clincher for tourists in the festive season.

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“The Grand Mercure brand prides itself as being a cultural touchstone in each destination that brings local stories to life. The Grand Mercure Mysuru will be the epitome of our vision, combining rich local traditions with renowned French touches to deliver a fresh perspective on world-class service” ( Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels India) 

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This upscale network of hotels and apartments combining rich local traditions with renowned French touches to deliver a fresh perspective on world-class service. Grand Mercure is a cultural touchstone in each destination, capturing guests’ imagination and bringing local stories to life.

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The grand opening was graced by the esteemed presence of the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Siddaramaiah , who inaugurated the hotel.  The Minister of Heavy Industry and Tourism for Karnataka, Shri R. V. Deshpande ,  M.R. Jaishankar, Chairman & Managing Director, Brigade Group, Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, Accor Hotels India & Vineet Verma, Executive Director, Brigade Hospitality were the other dignitaries present on that evening. 

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 To celebrate the opening, the hotel is offering a Deluxe rooms stay with breakfast for two inclusive of any one main meal from INR 7250 per night. This offer is valid from now until 30th June, 2016. The rate for a Standard Room is from INR 6000.

For more information on the Hotel and for inquiries , click here – Grand Mercure Mysuru 

Coffee Cold Brew with Coconut Milk

I love coffee. Period.

I love everything about it – the sexy dark beans, the gorgeous aroma, the rich strong flavour , the bitterness , the dark almost color ❤ ..Everything.

While I love my coffee dark, super strong, no milk and not sweet. I do experiment with it to discover new ways to fall in love it. My Coffee Chicken was one such experiment.

In this post, I’m going to share my new found route to happiness through a sensational twist to your regular Cold Coffee. Come fall in love with coffee in a whole new way.

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 One of many million things that folks love to post on Instagram is Coffee!  There is so much love for coffee on instagram…It is a very popular hashtag too. It is like people never bored of sharing their coffee pic!

One such pic that caught my attention was that of a cold brew coffee featured on Food52. A concept so incredible , so ridiculously easy and that carries a potential to be so creatively versatile…. Cold Brew Coffee! I wondered why didn’t anyone thing think of this before. But I’m glad someone did … Thank you – whoever you are!

Such a killer idea, I wanted to give it to a go rightway. And since the time I did, I haven’t been able to stop cold brewing my coffee. I’m officially hooked to it.

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I’ve always been intrigued by vegan diet & gluten free diet. I like them they because present an extremely creative platform for interesting food. Genius alternatives to regular dairy, dairy by products, make gluten free flours of things you couldn’t imagine. Necessity is the mother of invention. And these alternative lifestyles truly emulate that.

The use of coconut milk is a very popular vegan alternative ( apart from being used widely in a lot of SE Asian countries in desserts and beverages).

milk vanilla datesAnother beautiful discovery for me is the combination of coffee and Coconut Milk. I had only see/read about it, but never tried it.

So I decided to put all that I read into making an incredibly flavourful new coffee based concoction. My cold brew coffee with coconut milk.

Cold brewed the coffee and using them as ice cubes. Another genius idea I stumbled upon on the net.

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This drink is really as a easy as a 1.2.3 This is point where you can skip the rest and head straight to the recipe if you want or stay with for a couple of more minutes to hear me going ga ga over this drink 😛

The prep for this dish started the a day before, because I wanted cold brew the coffee and freeze them as cubes for the drink.

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The next morning it is just a matter barely 2 minutes… and you have a gorgeous breakfast drink ready!

Throw in the coffee cubes , tip in the coconut milk and add the flavours you want and that’s it…just drink.

cocodrinkiceThis drink might be ridiculously easy, but it is packed with flavours. It is also a little visual drama in a glass as you sip. As the coffee cubes melt, it forms a beautiful marbled pattern in the glass. While that gorgeousness happens the intense flavour of the coffee slowly seeps into the mellow coconut milk.

I used the rich dark molasses like dates syrup for both flavour and mild sweetness…along with a few drops of pure vanilla extract.

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If you’ve noticed the change in the glasses, that’s because as I mentioned earlier, I’m hooked!

The first few photos were from the first day ( made them in a big shot glasses) and the next day , I got a more gluttonous … hence the big wide glasses)

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Ingredients: 

For the Coffee Cold Brew

·         2 tbsp coffee powder ( ground filter coffee powder – optional)

·         1 cup of cold water

Rest of the ingredients

·         Coconut milk 1 cup (cold)

·         Date Syrup 2 tsp

·         Condensed Milk 1 tbsp (Optional – to sweeten the milk.)

·         Vanilla Essence 2 tsp

To Make Coffee Cold Brew

·         In a Jar , add the coffee powder and cold water. Stir well and keep it aside for about 24 hours or overnight

·         Next day strain the coffee (use muslin cloth if needed) and keep the coffee liquid aside for later use

To Make Cold Coffee with Coconut Milk

·         Mix the condensed milk with coconut milk ( I didn’t use condensed milk. I like the mild sweetness that the dates syrup brings in)

·         Add the Coffee in a Glass / jar

·         Pour the Coconut milk in the jar

·         Add the dates syrup and vanilla essence

·         Drink!!

Tea Tasting by Sublime House of Tea at Rim Naam, The Oberoi Hotel 

The spirit of the Tea Beverage is one of peace, comfort and refinement.-Arthur Gray in The Little Tea Book (1903)

Headshot Title         Tea Tasting is a sensorial experience and elegantly done , it warms up your soul. A cup of tea is a joy forever.

Something I experienced when I indulged myself in the exquisite teas from the Sublime House of Tea at during a specially curated High Tea for the Overseas Women’s Club at the beautiful Rim Naam ( The Oberoi Hotel)

An Autumn Afternoon blossomed itself into a breathtakingly beautiful Monsoon Evening (thanks to Bangalore weather). The beautiful sound of the rainy pitter patter around us, the chirping of the birds, the wet shiny lush greenery, the delicate aromas of the brewing teas, presented itself as a tropical romantic bliss. Tea2_T TT4_T

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India, like a few other Asian countries , is a Tea nation. We take pride in the growing and exporting some of the best teas in the world. Exceptionally delicate in flavor, splendidly fragrant gorgeous teas. However not all that is grown and exported reaches our everyday kitchens. Sometimes what we end up sipping is not even tea leaves, but just the dust. In a country where we are spoilt for choices for teas – how do you tell a good tea from not so good one?  TT25_T

I’m not a tea expert but what I can tell you is that if a certain tea can awaken your senses and take it on a sensual journey, lift your spirits, maybe rekindle your memory, or just make you happy – it is good. Good because it would smell, look, taste, feel just great and mainly you would enjoy drinking it.

The Teas from Sublime House of Tea are just that.

Their delicate range of brews will infuse your senses with a beautiful experience that is bound to steep gently into your soul.

They engage in a perennial voyage to discover newer and better experiences of imbibing this divine brew, while always staying in touch with its traditions and roots.The Sublime range of tea has been hand picked with care to value quality and diversity rather than quantity.

Tea sourcing is an art in itself, like tea tasting. The blender determines the end result and the sourcing agents act in concert. It’s the art of blending that produces the magic of taste and flavours; however it’s the quality of the gardens’ produce that determines the perfectness of the outcome.

All of Sublimes tea ranges comes from the most sort after regions and growers from around the world. To know more about their sourcing, blending, packaging and proposition – Click here

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TT collage 3 _TThe Sublime Tea Menu was curated to showcase their exquisite range of tea brews and the On Ice range.

 

BrewedAssam | Darjeeling | Masala 

On Ice – Seventh Heaven | Apple & Chamomile | White Tea & Raspberry

The High Tea organized was the celebration these teas. The thoughtfully planned menu of the gorgeous platter of savory bites and a dessert platter perfectly complemented the Teas from Sublime.

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 This event was steered into direction by the Tea Experts and Food Connoisseurs from the Sublime House of tea and The Oberoi Hotel, respectively. It was incredible to hear the vision, the brand philosophy , the stories behind the sensational brews, the creative infusions and the pairing.

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The Sublime range of tea is a choice, a bouquet of deep to mellow to infused tea, for the connoisseur of the fine things in life.

It is for those who understand the subtitles of flavour and the fine line between just right and overdone.

   It is for those who intend to take this journey of delightful bliss, a journey either back in time or to discover the unexplored or who just wish to drink good tea.

Thank you Team Sublime House of Tea, Oberoi Hotel, Malavika and Saahiba Virk for giving me an opportunity to indulge my senses into this sublime experience.

Learn more about them  at – http://www.sublimehouseoftea.com  &  https://www.facebook.com/sublimetea

As for me, as much as I love drinking tea, I also love to cook with them. To work with such superior quality rich and flavourful teas would be incredible. Because good dish is mainly about its ingredients! Looking forward to cooking with them. ❤ 

Note – Some of the Factual and Brand specific details have been sourced from the official website of Sublime House of Tea.