Gingerbread loaf with apple sauce

IMG_7425 (1)
During the dreary days of monsoon one feels like tucking into hearty and warming food. And there is nothing like adrak to heat up ones waterlogged and flagging spirits . Put small chunks of ginger in chai and boil away till the tannins from the tea leaves make the spoon stand upright in the cup .

And then cut yourself a thick slice of this delicious moist bread made with Soonth ( ginger powder ) and Kakvi ( sugar cane treacle ).

Ingredients

225 gms of chopped tart, greenish apples/ About 2 apples

1 tbs water

2 tbs ground sugar

 

85 gms butter

60 gms light brown sugar

2 tbs Kakvi.(sugar cane treacle)

1 egg

 

225 gms maida ( white flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp dalchini (cinnamon powder)

1 tsp soonth ( dried ginger powder)

Method

Heat your OTG or oven till 180 degrees.

  1. Cover and boil the apples with the sugar and water till soft. Mash well and set aside till cool .
  2.  Melt the butter with the Kakvii and brown sugar. Cool a little and add the egg and whisk till mixed.
  3. Add the cooled apple mash and stir.
  4.  Mix all the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and apple mixture. Stir till smooth.
  6. Spoon into greased loaf /tube tin. 7. Cook in 180 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Check by inserting a fork into the loaf. it should come out clean. Remove and cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out.
  7. You can sift some caster sugar on top or make a ginger icing sugar to prettify the bread. I just like to eat it plain.
  8. Certainly brightens up a rainy day!!

Peshawar to Pune- Chef Altamash Iqbal

Weekends in Pune can be a social whirl . With a bewildering choice of events to attend, from book readings to jazz concerts, presentations on the craft of stained glass, art show openings accompanied by the requisite wine and cheese, and one is hard put to decide which occasion to go to, since most of these are free and open to all.  

Many events now are built around the still relatively new interest in food. Farmers markets with nary a farmer to be seen, Organic Fairs with a lot of additives , restaurants hosting flea markets  and such like are the order of the day. 

Several of these events are held in five star hotels as they have large spaces but now  malls have jumped into the fray of events to attract more visitors to their stores.

Nitesh HUB, till recently known as Koregaon Park Mall , had organised a  chef interaction on their premises recently with Altamash Iqbal, the chef behind Riwaz, a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Bangalore. showcasing  the cuisine of  the North West Frontier, a new, rather dashing term for what basically remains tandoori and dum pukht.

Chef Altamash chose to demonstrate two dishes , strangely enough vegetarian, from a region known for the predominance of mutton , dairy and lentils in their cuisine. I mean its Baluchistan, Peshawar and Malakand!

Nevertheless he spoke to an interested audience. On show were a Mushroom Galouti with Porcini and Morel Soil, and a Stuffed Potato with Kadhai spices and Curried Yogurt.

FullSizeRender (7)

What was interesting about the galouti was the morel soil,  which was made with toasted almond flakes served along with a porcini espuma made of pureed porcini. The mushroom cutlet was made of ground field mushrooms cooked with onions, ginger garlic , cashewnuts and some spices. It was smooth and very kebab like and the porcini foam and shimeji mushrooms added a rather special flavour. Beautifully plated, with edible flowers and a smidgen of mango sauce, it was a pleasure to eat and we could all have done with seconds.

FullSizeRender (5)

The stuffed potato was a scooped out potato leaving a shell. While the chef had pre cooked the potato shells to save time, they are to be deep fried till golden. He then made a tasty mix of cottage cheese, crushed almonds. ginger peas and chillies , sauteed and lightly mashed and filled into the shells. This was then marinated in yogurt and powdered spices and baked for a few minutes. The yogurt was tempered with kadhai spice , made of coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Again the plating was interesting, the stuffed potatoes sliced into perfect rounds and served with the tempered spiced yogurt and a sprinkling of micro greens which were delicious ... this one being from sprouted green gram.

Chef Altamash, a personable young man with an obvious relish for creating new dishes,  fielded  questions from the audience while cooking and even shared a few interesting tips with us.  He said most people  today use foil instead of a pastry to seal the dish for dum pukht  and the trick to making an unforgettable Dal (Bukhara/Makhani/ Kala / Maa) call it what you will, is to add some rajmha  and channa dal to bind the dal plus an amount of cream and butter equal to the weight of lentils used ! 

My afternoon was well spent , having picked up some valuable tips for my home cooking from a true professional and an introduction to several ingredients new to me. Not to mention the delicious food  !! 


Khaansaab- Right Royal Cuisine in Pune

It is difficult to stand out in the restaurant scene in Pune today. New places open every week and the Puneites taste buds are spoilt for choice. 

New on the block in Magarpatta, at the popular Season's mall, is Khaansaab, a restaurant that bills itself as the frontrunner in the cuisine of the northwest frontier.They are a franchise of the well known flagship restaurant of the same name in Hyderabad. 

Located on the first floor of the mall the space  is large, with a lounge area  for cocktails and starters for those who do not want to tarry and a fairly expansive dining area. The tables are well set out and the arrangement gives a feeling of room to spare.There is a private dining area with a long table for those who wish to host their own parties as well,

In keeping with the "Royal " theme the settings are glitzy with chrome plated chargers and goblets in gold and silver. I am not sure how 'Royal' ties up with Northwest frontier as the latter is known for the ruggedness and harshness of its terrain and there is nothing to suggest those qualities in the decor. A couple of kitchy paintings of warriors on horseback and crossed swords  is the one bow in that direction but this contrasts painfully with the rest-  a large chandelier and carved chairs with velvet upholstery. The red curtains draped along the front windows are not in the best taste either.

We begin with a couple of mocktails as Khansaab have not received their liquor license as yet. This situation will not last long as they expect to open their bar soon with a complete range of drinks but if you are keen on a drink with your dinner  it might be  good idea to check before booking.

The Coco mocktail is cool if a little oily. Coconut milk mixed with soda would have been nice if the soda was more fizzy. Their Apple Pineapple ka Panna is much better. A fresh tasting drink of roasted apple and pineapple with a hint of cumin and kala namak , it goes well with the appetisers that followed.

First off -give the Paya Shorba a miss . Made with lamb trotters it is very salty and, with bits of grease and gristle floating around, is most unappetising. 

FullSizeRender (5)
From their huge selection of starters the Malai Paneer Tikka is outstanding. Creamy, melt in the mouth paneer with a filling of cashew nut paste, finished in a clay pot, I could  make a meal of just this. The taste of the Roti pe Paneer ki Boti is also excellent- morsels of paneer in a mint chutney with freshly chopped onion rings served on delightful small puffy rotis. However it was served cold and this was disappointing.  Another interesting vegetarian appetiser is the Tandoor Bharwan Khumb, with spinach stuffed barbecued mushroom with a sprinkling of cheese. Forget the Corn Cheese Kurkure. a nice idea with a tasty filling, it fails completely because of  the pastry which is tough and not at all crisp as it should be.  

FullSizeRender (6)

From the selection of Non vegetarian appetisers go for the Murgh Malai Chandi Kabab. Superb with its generous lather of butter and a smoky flavour from the char grill. I don't  much care for the Sarsone Mahi Kabab as I am not a fan of Basa fish which has no texture at all and is always a bit slimy on the tongue. How much better a surmai or pomfret would be ! Gosht ke Gappe is another nice idea which does not work out. The poories/ gappe are not crisp, in fact  they were quite soggy, and the mutton slivers topped with sev seemed quite alien to the whole.

From the choice in the Main course we like the Baingan Bharta with olives and the Bideshi Sabzi Desi Masala  though it is  a bit run of the mill in its tomato gravy. This gravy finds its way into many other dishes which are fine when eaten individually but might be an overload of sameness if ordered together.

 FullSizeRender copy

Choose the Dal KhaanSaab, a kala dal with a difference . It goes beautifully with the Shahi Malai Paratha. I always say that the quality of a restaurant can be gauged by the dal on offer and, in this instance, Khaansaab does itself proud.

Again the main course sea food choice,  Kadai Jhinga Amritsari, isn't great. While I like the fact that the jumbo prawns are not floating in a sea of red gravy there is no particular Amritsari taste about it and the crushed coriander seeds are a bit overwhelming combined with the other spices. Highly recommended on the other hand is the Rajwada Raj Ghosht, excellent tender pieces of lamb with a strong flavour of smoked cloves. Delicious !

From the desserts we try the Khubani Ka Meetha, which seems hurriedly prepared and not a pleaser, and the Flambeed Gulab Jamuns which are too large, stodgy, with a thick skin and a brandy which does not soak in, making it very inedible.

Our dinner is memorable for the excellent quality of the ingredients , from the vegetables to the meat and poultry. Each dish is presented well . The service is good and we were not short of attention.

All in all this is food to remember and  we think Khaansaab will be a winner especially as all the dishes are priced most reasonably. We plan to return soon for the promised "bater", (quail) and another helping of the Malai Paneer !

Khaansaab

Address: First Floor East Wing, Seasons Mall

Magarpatta, Pune

Meal for 2- Rs 1500 without drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday Carvery at Royal Haathi Mahal, Cavelossim, South Goa

Goa is about sun, sea, food and  fun. Several trips made  over the years have made the cultural and historical sights and sounds of Goa so familiar that we no longer feel the need to do the touristy thing and visit those places again, wonderful as they are.( Old Goa, Tambdi Surla, Fort Tiracol, Divar) .

We do what every one else does....relax and think about the next meal.

Finding a good meal in Goa isn't as easy as it sounds. Beach shacks serve up a pretty standard menu and after a couple of days one starts getting nitpicky about the size of the prawns  in the curry rice. While its necessary to taste the local food when on holiday, two weeks of any one cuisine can get a trifle boring.And  in these days of choice it is not necessary to exclude all other options as chefs in Goa get better and better at producing other cuisines--Italian, Mexican, Burmese, French ..besides Indian regional food be it Kashmiri or Bengali, its all available in Goa. 


One of the best dinners we had was on a Sunday at Attwoods Bar in Haathi Mahal, close to Cavelossim Beach. Good old British Pub food but then a mite better than you get in Blighty.IMG_5362

IMG_5363

Roast chicken , beef and pork, all perfectly cooked, accompanied by roast potatoes, carrots,  cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.

 

IMG_5360The ingredients are sourced and their cooking supervised by Jeremy Westcott, who once ran pubs and hotels in Somerset. As a result you get custard of a perfect consistency, Yorkshire pud, crisp but not dry, and sauces the likes of which I haven't tasted outside of the British Isles.

IMG_5347

The apple pies are made in a light and crumbly pastry not the stodge one is generally served . Jeremy also makes the outstanding sausages on site at the Haathi Mahal . His genial  presence is a big plus to the otherwise fairly sleepy resort and he has crafted a menu to remember. 

IMG_5354Attwoods bar is a bit of a throwback, in style and decor, to the ubiquitous corner pub in every British town. Its low ceilings with exposed timber, beer barrels and dart board all add to the theme. The name of the bar is a touching tribute to a former manager of the resort by the owner and, except for the large portrait of the India hating, racist Winston Churchill which is quite  inappropriate here, manages to be a cosy place.

The Carvery is a right royal feast , with unlimited portions of everything on offer and highly recommended to those craving a change from red chillies and rice. 

 Every Sunday  from 7.30 pm . An amazing Rs 750 per person inclusive of taxes.

 

At Haathi Mahal.

Cavelossim, Mobor, Salcette, Goa 403731

Phone:0832 672 5300
 
 

Brooklyn Shuffle - Restaurants In Pune

Situated in the up market Koregaon Park area, Brooklyn Shuffle Diner is fortunate in its location. It is part of the lovely “Sanskruti” complex on the seventh lane, set amongst three old style bungalows and a large and pretty garden. The restaurant is welcoming and attractive. A large parking lot adds to the appeal considering the space crunch in Pune and the ever looming threat of “traffic police” trawling quiet roads, ready to haul off your car, never to be seen again.

Brooklynshuffle-1

The décor is eclectic. Red and blue rexine covered sofas and black and white checkerboard tiled floors, reminiscent of a 50’s American diner, is mixed with white brick walls decorated with baseball bats and mitts and a large picture of Billie Holliday. A cheerful outdoor seating area comprising of what looks like a reading room is interspersed with details like a vintage Leica camera and other references to the era.

It is all very hipster and smart yet comfortable and pleasant at the same time. The clientele seems to match. A modelling photo shoot is in progress as we seat ourselves in the large, high ceilinged room overlooking the gardens.

The menu

Brooklyn Shuffle 3

Burgers, Subs and sandwiches are the main attraction on the menu. Grilled corn, potato wedges, Spanish omelette, chicken nuggets and fish fingers, those olde familiar favourites form the opening section. Some interesting Burgers listed are with combinations such as mushroom and brown rice, paneer and oats , a Moroccan chicken burger and a lamb burger marinated in cumin and spice and served with feta cheese and yogurt. Among the subs the Vietnamese Banh Mi style chicken sub and the Prawns Po’ Boy sub sounds mouthwatering with deep fried maize battered prawns in a remoulade sauce nestled in a soft roll.

The sandwiches

The sandwich menu has 11 classic choices. Vegetarians can choose from Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, the Roast Pepper and Bocconcini , the Three Cheese Toast or the Veg Brooklyn Club . Non vegetarians have a larger choice- familiars like Roast beef, Egg and chicken, Turkey, Ham and Cheese amongst others.

My companions, all the way from Brooklyn, New York, U.S. of A have been here before and order their favourites, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Ham and Cheese. I go for the Veg Brooklyn Club . Our orders come charmingly arranged on individual wooden, painted trays, with French fries in a metal bucket, onion rings and a tossed salad on the side. The sandwiches are generously sized and we have to manouevre them into our mouths. The filling for the Club is a mixed vegetable mash made of carrots, potatoes, peas and garbanzo beans in the first layer and cucumber, onion and tomato slices in the second layer. It reminds me a bit of a cutlet filling with green chutney spread on the toasted bread. The Ham and Cheese has back bacon and a slice of cheese and is a bit dry. “It would benefit from a dash of sauce” says my fellow diner. The Pulled Pork sandwich is polished off and pronounced “good” with the caramelized onions, but “just a trifle soggy”.
Brooklyn Shuffle 3

The onion rings are perfectly crisp in the Panko batter and juicy inside, the French fries outstanding and while the menu states that each order is served with coleslaw, we get a tossed salad with a few leaves of iceberg lettuce and sliced black olives and a balsamic vinegar dressing. Nothing to write home about.

Signature /vegetarian:

We are told that the most popular sandwich on the menu is the Roast Beef served with mayo and French mustard.

Provenance:

The bread is freshly baked in house, every day. Whole wheat and white for buns, rolls and sandwiches. All the other ingredients are locally procured including the cheese, ham and bacon.

Drinks:

The watermelon juice I ordered was a little thin and watery. I would have preferred a thicker more textured drink but there are not many to choose from. The menu could do with some smoothies besides the ubiquitous tea and coffee.

Insider tip:

Try the baked cheesecake for dessert. It is “Just as good as ‘Juniors’   in Brooklyn”, says my friend, who adds fervently, at the end of the meal, “If I had to take people out for lunch I would bring them here!”

Address:

390 Sanskruti Lifestyle Complex, Opposite Post 91, Lane 7, Koregaon Park, Pune 411001.Tel : 8657419724

Timings:

11.30 am- 11.30 pm

Prices:

Sandwiches between Rs 180-280. Meal for two Rs 1000

Ratings

Quality: 8

Choice: 5

Provenance: 7

Atmosphere: 9

Value: 8

Originally published in BBC Good Food, India