Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Valentine’s Day is upon us. This year I will be showcasing the desserts I love. I will either be posting tried and tested recipes, which I have baked time again and have never disappointed me or I will be giving a special twist to my favorite desserts.  People declare their love for their special someone. This year I will declare or showcase my love for my favorite recipes and my special someone is going to enjoy eating them.

I am starting this series with the light and refreshing Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake. I love tea cakes. Their flavor profile is so simple, yet they are so delicious. Simplicity takes the cake sometimes (literally taking the cake in this scenario). The cake is pretty much very simple to make. My family loves this cake so much its over in one sitting. So don’t expect any leftovers if your family also loves desserts like mine.

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf

 

Ingredients –

Cake –

  • 135 gms butter, melted
  •  215 gms castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Few Rosemary Sprigs, chopped
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 170 ml milk, room temperature
  • 235 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • 1 lemon
  • 100 gms sugar
  • 150 gms water

Lemon Syrup –

  • 100gms sugar
  • 150 gms water
  • Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Method –

Cake –

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 7in x 3.5in loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
  • In a bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
  • Using a stand mixer – mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, rosemary and vanilla until well combined.
  • Alternate adding the flour and milk, one third at a time to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well.
  •  Add the melted butter in the end. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes on 180 C.
  • Keep checking the cake after 40 minutes whether it is done by poking a toothpick inside and it should come out clean.
  • As the cake is baking get ready with the Candied Lemon Slices and Lemon syrup.

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • Cut thin slices of a lemon.
  • In a saucepan add sugar and water. Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the lemon slices and let is simmer for about 20 minutes or till the water is almost evaporated.
  • Remove the slices and let them dry on a plate for 5 – 10 minutes.

Lemon Syrup –

  • In a saucepan – add sugar, water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook on medium heat till the mixture is thick for about 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it will reach the soft ball stage and wont be a syrup consistency anymore.
  • Strain the syrup and keep it ready.
  • When the cake is baked. Remove from the pan and while its hot pour the warm syrup on it. Let it cool. Arrange the candied slices on top.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm with a cup of tea.
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Community Menu at Indigo Deli

Last week I was invited for a small yet extremely fun blogger’s table at Indigo Deli, Bandra, Mumbai for the launch of their new Community Menu. The community menu is a lunch menu available at their Bandra, Malad and Ghatkopar outlets. The menu consists of a set menu with non alcoholic drinks, soups, salad, pizza, mains and desserts. The items you order can be refilled to your likes with a whopping price of 899 plus taxes per person. The only catch is that you need a minimum of 6 people and only then can you can enjoy this wonderful meal.

So as we took a good dinner break on a Monday night. I will take you through the huge amount of food we hogged that day.

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First with the drinks –

Virgin Sangria

Virgin Sangria

Citrus Mojito

Citrus Mojito

The drinks were virgin versions of Sangria, Mojito, Iced Teas and more. My personal favorite was the Sangria and the Citrus Mojito. They were super refreshing.

Salads –

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Though there are four types of salads but I didn’t seem to find any difference when all four arrived apart from one or two ingredient. Not much happening on the salad section.

Pizza –

Sun dried Tomato with Olives and Capers

Sun dried Tomato with Olives and Capers

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizzas are extremely delicious. I absolutely loved the BBQ Chicken, the sauce was slightly on the sweeter side. But on the whole with the extra crunchy crust and loads of chicken, it is a must try. The second one with sun dried tomato, olives and capers is also really good. On the whole the pizzas are a winner here. So close your eyes and just order them when visiting.

Mains –

Now mains has an amazing 7 items to order from. You have four options of vegetarian pastas and risottos and three of meat and fish. For the price the mains is a steal deal.

Salman with Rice

Salmon with Rice

Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken

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The Grilled Chicken was decent. But the Saffron Risotto was delicious. I don’t eat fish but as you can see the salmon was looking pretty impressive. Pesto pasta was slightly on the okay side. One thing I like to point out is that the mains are very rich. You may feel slightly too full when done with it. So you can control on the quantity cause as you can see we guys kind of went berserk.

Desserts –

My favorite is here. No matter how full I will ever be, I will always have space for desserts.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Blueberry Cheese Cake Ice Cream

Blueberry and Mint Ice Cream

Eyes closed just go for these three. I loved them. The cheesecake may not be the best you have tasted but definitely on a nicer side. The ice creams are a real treat. You can go and go on with these sinfully delicious ice creams.

On the whole, I would like to say that Indigo Deli has come up with a Black Friday deal for us in Mumbai. Seeing the quality and quantity of food you are getting for the price, “bang for the buck” will be an understatement.

 

Jumping into Happiness at Hopipolla

Hopipolla in Icelandic means “jumping into puddles” but I think Hopipolla in Khar, Mumbai has a new meaning “jumping into happiness.” A while back, on a Saturday night I was invited to the launch of Hopipolla at Khar, Mumbai through FBAI Food Bloggers Association India. Honestly I didn’t do much research on the place. All I knew that it was already up and running in Bangalore and Pune. The event was said to have food tasting, Beer games and more. So I was expecting a fun evening with my fellow foodies and a fun evening I got.

As I reached and entered the place. The first feeling you get is – it is so open. The interiors of the place is what makes the place come to life. The work is commendable and inspirational. The walls and most of the furniture is white. The ceiling is tall with hanging bright lights. The big walls have huge tinted glass windows which makes it bright and lively even in the night.The indoor and outdoor glass partition just makes the place more grander than it already is.

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I absolutely love the idea of the blackboard on the table. It is so cool! There are chalks and duster given on each table to make your imagination go wild and get nostalgic remembering those school days. Now on to my favorite part the wall consisting of books, comic, board games and an old school 32 and 62 bit gaming console. This is the section where all the fun begins.

So you will definitely love the place. They have the perfect chilling out and drinking with your friends ambiance, but do they have the food which will keep you coming back for more. Lets see –

Hummus and Lavash

Hummus and Lavash

It all started with this delicious Hummus and Lavash. I am obsessed with Hummus. If it was up to me I would be having Hummus in every meal. I simply love it. And I definitely loved this one. There were two different types of Lavash served with it, once just plain and simple, and the second a multigrain one which was very tasty. I kept eating and I think I finished the most of it.

Cheese Sticks

Cheese Sticks

Then they served some cheese sticks. Which weren’t exactly those that you take one bite and the melted cheese is just oozing out of it. But they weren’t bad tasting also. A decent dish to order when you craving something fried.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza topped with Basil leaves were a saver in this dinner. It wasn’t the best I ever tasted but it wasn’t the worst either. I liked the crust and sauce was also good. Basil leaves were a nice touch to it and enhanced the taste more. This one is a definite order if ever you are here.

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I really didn’t like this Chicken Satay (I think that was the name) I liked how they served it but the chicken was bland and sauce didn’t help either.

Meatball and Pasta in Tomato sauce

Meatball and Pasta in Tomato sauce

I think this dish could be avoided. I did not like the meatballs at all. It had a very weird stiff texture and taste. Pasta was really okay. And also I like the concept of the spaghetti and meatballs and not Penne and meatballs. I don’t know if the twist was deliberate.

Ginger mocktail with a twist

Ginger mock tail with a twist

I was skeptical to order a ginger mock tail but as I asked the manager to get me what he thinks he is pretty good, I went with it. Surprisingly it tasted pretty good. It had just the perfect amount of ginger. And I would be ordering this again next time.

On the overall food experience I would like to say is that Hopipolla can do better. Though serving an array of dishes but they have to improve on their taste. Some dishes are really nice but others are okay.

But what I really love about this place is the vibe. Some places you just want to go back because you know you are going to have a great time there. And that is what Hopipolla does. All you need is your close friends and a few hours here. I guarantee you will be having an awesome time here.

European Luncheon

This week is the European Food Week in Mumbai. Where The Taste of Europe has joined hands with some of the best restaurants serving European food to promote the intricate and delicious cuisine. So I happened to tag along with my chef and blogger friend Mohit Chotrani from http://www.hungrybawarchi.com/ to Smoke House Deli. Now things are never simple with Mohit Chotrani and things are never ever simple when I am in Bandra Kurla Complex BKC. Firstly we happen to reach at Smoke House Deli in Bandra, only to be said there is no table waiting for us. Thus realizing we were at the wrong one. Realizing it is in BKC, wasn’t much of a help either. Lets just say a very distinct experience at BKC a few months back, has kind of jinxed the place for me. But anyways arguing the whole time on the way and tweeting about the blunder of my friend, we finally reached there.

I love the interiors at Smoke House Deli. Open space and wooden tables aside. What I love is the walls that are painted with white and black paint. The cute detailing and same color props that enhance the look even more. You could just keep gazing at it the whole day. But we were here to eat. So we got on with our work.

There was a special menu for the food week. It consisted of Appetizers, Main course and Desserts both having the vegetarian and non vegetarian options at a very decent price.

Asparagus Salad with Toasted Flax Seeds

Asparagus Salad with Toasted Flax Seeds

We started off ordering one from each option. From the vegetarian menu we ordered the Aubergine mozzarella fry with sun dried tomato and garlic salsa and from the non vegetarian menu Asparagus salad with grapes and toasted flax seeds.

I would say both are perfect in their own way. If you are looking for a healthier option then Asparagus salad is the way to go. Lightly seasoned, filled with green leaves, grapes and cherry tomatoes, topped with asparagus and toasted flax seeds, this salad can’t get any better. I loved the flavor in this salad especially when you take a bite of the asparagus, salad leaves and grapes together. It is harmonious.

Aubergine Mozzarella Fry

Aubergine Mozzarella Fry

Coming to the Aubergine, though this one takes the cake on the appetizer front. Fried aubergine stuffed with spiced mozzarella, topped with salsa and pesto and more. It is screaming deliciousness. A perfect dish and rather a big one. This is a must have and should be kept on the menu at all times.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Shifting to Main course now. We ordered Wild Mushroom Risotto and Smoked Chicken with Five Spice Jus. Now as I don’t consume alcohol and yes not even in the food. Yes I know it evaporates but I don’t care as much as I know its there. I forgot to ask the whether there will be wine in it. And as it happens it was there. (It is no ones but Mohit and BKC’s fault, I am telling you) But here comes the wonderful staff at Smoke House Deli to the rescue. They saw me not eating and asked me what the problem was. I told them and they asked to make a new dish, without the alcohol for me. Though I felt bad, as it was my fault and I should have informed them. I told them it is okay, but they insisted and hence came my Wild Mushroom Risotto without any alcohol.

Now I am not saying this because I got special treatment. But this is one of the best risotto I ever had. Packed with flavor and perfectly cooked. Amazing taste, I almost can tell it removed my jinx from BKC. I won’t stop raving about this dish because it was that good.

Smoked Chicken with 5 Spice Jus

Smoked Chicken with 5 Spice Jus

They Smoked Chicken was kind of okay. Though the quantity was pretty great. It lacked the certain wow factor to it. Also I would prefer the Risotto any day.

Desserts –

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

As you know my self acclaimed pastry chef hat comes on when I eat desserts. But this time, I will remove it and eat the Panna Cotta and Raspberry Oreo Mousse Cake.

Panna Cotta is again one of the best I ever tasted in Mumbai. It was sublime. Perfectly sweetened. Soft, melt in your mouth texture. I can actually eat kilos of these. Perfect would be an understatement.

Raspberry Oreo Mousse

Raspberry Oreo Mousse

Raspberry Oreo Mousse was also good. The only problem being that the crust was burnt and because of that it was hard and had the sour burnt taste. But the mousse was spot on. Every bite was an absolute pleasure. Pity about the crust or else this was a tie with the Panna Cotta.

Hence ended the fun, eventful and pouring great food lunch at Smoke House Deli. The food week is on till 12th September and I please suggest to go and eat or else you would be really missing out on some of the best dishes.

 

 

 

UK diairies Part 1

After being MIA for 3 weeks, I am back. I am back from a much needed / much wanted / much epic holiday. My visit to the United Kingdom was fabulous. I visited four cities in the UK, first Birmingham then Peterborough, then London and then Lincoln. Now lets get to our main point – Food !

First stop Birmingham –

Ah! the midlands of UK. How I love the long summer days, the type of sunny day where you want to get out and enjoy the sunlight, and then the cold winds in the evening giving you the perfect chill. We were at Birmingham for three days. First day out, we figured we take the bus to the city center. I am pretty sure all of you have seen the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ( those who haven’t seen the Harry Potter series please shut this down and go and see it NOW ! ). Let just say Harry in the Knight Bus = Me in the Birmingham buses. Somehow we reached the center and were off to our main work – shopping !  But we are talking about food here so –

Birmingham has loads of food chains with McDonalds, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Dominos being the obvious. There were also the ones I never tried. This trip was aimed at trying new best places to eat and finish my ” to – eat list. ” My first try was Pret A Manger and also my first time try in the UK was Nandos. I tried Nandos in Mumbai, but everyone just keeps raving about the Nandos at UK, so had to try right.

Apple Tea

Apple Tea

Pret A Manger, is an awesome place for tea, coffee and sandwiches. It is filled with healthy and organic food, which is made fresh everyday and supposed to be consumed on the same day. The leftovers are given to charity at the end of the day. Lets just say Pret A Manger has been my lunch and evening snack option a lot ! I absolutely loved this place. The English Breakfast tea, Apple Tea, fresh Smoothies, and their special juices and cold drinks was simply great.There was a hot and cold section for sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. I tried both the hot and cold sandwiches and they were just delightful. I didn’t get time to click the snaps of all of the items but trust me the food was delicious. Other savory and sweet items where also fresh, yummy and the portion size was more than good.

Nandos Peri Peri Chicken

Nandos Peri Peri Chicken

Then we shift to Nandos. Everyone would probably know about Nandos. If not, it is an African – Portuguese restaurant chain famous all over the world, especially for its Peri Peri sauces and obviously for its delicious food. My Nandos craving was finally fulfilled with 1/4 Chicken with Extra Hot Peri Peri sauce, mashed potatoes and spicy rice. What a meal ! Super tasty, bang for the buck and filling, all and all epic ! I will be going to the supermarket and getting the Extra Hot Peri Peri Sauce for myself soon.

An Almost English Breakfast

An Almost English Breakfast

English Breakfast was on my “to eat” list. English Breakfast consists of eggs, sausages, bacon and other side dishes like hash brown, toast, tea, etc. We were staying at the Hampton by Hilton, Birmingham. Nice hotel with a good breakfast to start your day with. I ticked my almost English Breakfast here, cause I had to avoid the bacon and sausages. So my almost English Breakfast consisted of tea, eggs, hash browns, baked beans and toast. I absolutely hogged on the baked beans and scrambled eggs. They were too yummy.

Next stop – Peterborough

I was staying at my relative’s place here for like two days in Peterborough. So pretty much had nice and tasty home cooked meals. But we did go out for an Italian meal at Fratelli.

Located in the town center, Fratelli was packed and bustling with people when we arrived. We were lucky we didn’t get any waiting. Though we were seated outside. I went inside for some quick snaps.

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I absolutely loved the decor here. The Sicilia map, vegetables and meat hung across what I think was the bar or something (didn’t get to go inside and see that part of the place properly). They also had a special section selling olive oils, pastas, sauces and Italian desserts.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

Potato Pasta

Potato Pasta

The pizza tasted much like the ones we get here, but the Potato Pasta (I forgot the original name, you know me) was my favorite dish. It was what I remember as baby potatoes cooked with a delicious spicy tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella. It was something new and full of flavors.

So that was my short trip in Birmingham and Peterborough. Next stop is London and that will be continued in the next post. This is one long three part post. I know three ! But I cannot help it, I ate too much.  So you guys have to bear with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juggling Pizza

So what comes to mind when I say Acrobatic Pizza Chef. Not much eh? Same here, but when I saw the banner of the world renowned Chef Pasqualino Barbasso at Marriott, Juhu. I was confused and curious at the same time. Hence I decided I had to see what was all this about. But thankfully before I made any plans, I received an invite for the media table for food bloggers with the Chef himself, and I was excited. So I reached at Mezzo Mezzo, the Italian restaurant at JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai. Mezzo Mezzo is very close to my heart. It was almost my first and earliest fine dining experience alone with my nephew. It was his birthday and I had taken him there. Though we have some very fond and embarrassing memories there, but that is for another post.

So we come to the Acrobatic Chef. Well let me begin by telling you that an Acrobatic Pizza Chef in Italy is a Pizza Chef who does great tricks with the pizza dough, and by tricks I mean juggling, swirling, throwing, catching and much more. It is like a full on magic performance but the main point – the dough doesn’t break ! And that’s the beauty of it. God knows I can’t even roll the dough without breaking it, how the hell does he do these tricks. And Chef Barbasso has won world championships in it, not once but twice. That’s not his only talent and as I said “Chef Barbasso” he also makes great pizzas. And I was lucky to taste and see his great work. Now I will straight away rush to the food.

 

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For starters we were served with warm breads, various cheeses, olives, Brushettas and more. I really like the spicy Ricotta balls (I think that was the name, I am very bad at remembering names).

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While nibbling on the starters, Chef Barbasso and Chef Davide came and chilled with us on our table. After some fun interaction with the chef, we got ready for the performance.

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The perfomance was spectacular. The ease with how Chef uses the dough is just plain fantastic. It is worth a watch. The perfomance is around 10 minutes but worth every minute. It is something new, fun and never seen before. After the performance the Chef went to bake some pizzas for us.

Arrotolata

Arrotolata

This is the vegetarian pizza on the menu. Though not a traditional looking pizza, it does taste like one. The pizza is made of Artichokes puree, Artichokes, Mozzarella, Bresaola, Rocket and Parmesan flakes. It is nice if you like Artichokes.

Best Pizza Every - Shrimp & Caviar

Best Pizza Every – Shrimp & Caviar

Now this I feel is the winner of the night. It was delicious. It is called the Lilly, made with a perfect thin crust, Mozzeralla, Shrimps, Artichokes and Caviar. The taste and feel of this pizza is something new, creative and delightful. If you are going to visit Mezzo Mezzo between 9-17 May just close your eyes and order this.

Asparagi e Salmon

Asparagi e Salmon

This one is also good. It as an Apsagaras puree with Smoked Salmon, Mozzarella and Herb Riccotta. I really liked the Herb Ricotta.

So on the whole, it was a damn good night, with some great food and people. I would really recommend everyone to go and check out Chef Barbasso’s performance and eat the yummy food. The best part, he performs it twice in the evening, once at the Lotus Cafe and second at Mezzo Mezzo around 9.30 pm and 10.30 pm. So go ahead on a perfect evening with delicious pizzas and fun performance. It is on till 17th May, so don’t miss it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Mangii

Le Mangii is a well known name. Whoever adores Italian food absolutely loves the food at Le Mangii. Le Mangii which is situated in the posh area of Juhu scheme, is a perfect dinner spot. I have gone there a few times and have come back satisfied and truly happy. So when I got an invite for the pre – Valentine’s Day bash aka launch party of Le Mangii’s new outlet at Kamala City, Lower Parel, Mumbai. I was thrilled and said yes in like 2 seconds. So hence on 13th Febuary we went to the launch party of Le Mangii.

Now obviously the interiors are well done. Simple yet elegant decor is what you see when you enter Mangii. So we entered and I met my fellow foodies and was then showed the table. My excitement just kept increasing and increasing I was hoping to hog on the lovely breads, pizzas and pastas. So started the starters, now just a minute we weren’t given a written menu. So when people come and lay a tray of well plated food in front of me and tell me the dish’s name. All I remember is the main ingredient’s name whether I want to eat that or no and rest of the time the brain is just memorizing what the dish looks like and I need to click a snap !!!

So I don’t remember any of the dish’s name but I do remember their main ingredients. So forgive my female fish in Finding Nemo memory. I actually don’t even remember her name. I just remember Ellen DeGeneres gave the voice over. But anyways back to point.

Starters went something like this –

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When Calamari was served I was impressed. I couldn’t wait to eat it. It tasted nice but then suddenly the night took a turn. A totally inedible substance came out of the calamari which was almost eaten by my sister but thank God she didn’t. As the complain went to the management the owner Mr. Prashant Chaudhari himself came and perfectly apologized. As Mr. Chaudhari really looked sorry about it, we let it go and thought things would get better with better food.

But as much I as I was finding reasons to love Le Mangii. Le Mangii was giving me reasons not to. The starters were just okay, some like the bruschetta and the potato dish was nice. The two slices of pizza that were served were okay. Where else in Juhu the pizzas are delicious. I thought never mind maybe the main course would save it. For the main course I was shown a menu with 5 options and we had to choose one per person. So we chose Zucchini Paperdelle in truffle sauce and Saffron Risotto. We asked them if we could add chicken to it but somehow it wouldn’t have gone with the taste and they declined. So the dishes came after a long wait. I don’t want to be mean and harsh over here so I will just say one thing NOT GOOD.

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I have one complain – Why didn’t I see a proper pasta in an opening of an Italian restaurant ?

I guess its all and all the fault of whoever made the menu for the night. He/she seriously edited all the good dishes and served all the bad ones.

I really hope that Le Mangii keeps its standard and serves similar food to what is served at the Juhu outlet, because I know they can do better.