I think of miniscule portions, elaborate presentations, punch of flavours, play of textures… basically, lots of visual drama but not enough food to fill your stomach. However, I always associate gourmet with a plate. So a pack of chips meant for gourmet snacking was unique for me. I mean chips… they are just fried discs. Right? Wrong. As I learnt from my brush with Terra chips.
That I am a foodie is no secret really. I love food and I love to try new cuisines and dishes. My preferences though generally veer toward savoury dishes. I enjoy desserts in a limited quantity, in small doses and spread across time. For me, a buffet with a great salad spread is better than one with a big dessert table. You get the drift? Am not really into desserts. And yet, the adventurous foodie in me is always ready to try out a new dessert! Isn’t that such a dichotomy?
Oh well, I am a bundle of contradictions J Give me a dessert saying it is different and I will surely jump at it. I recollect an incident that happened when we were at a Mediterranean themed restaurant in Bandra, Mumbai. I was invited to the chef’s table and the man spared no expense at serving us – a group of bloggers, his best fare! Since the chef was Italian, we were all looking forward to the Tiramisu. His Tiramisu was highly recommended by a fellow blogger and if you know me, you probably know that I love coffee! In fact Tiramisu is one of those desserts that I can have anytime. Anyway, so we were excited about it and waiting to taste what an authentic Italian Tiramisu tastes like. Imagine our surprise when the chef brings out the dessert and tells us that he is serving us a chocolate mousse.
A collective groan went around the table. I kid you not. We were visibly disappointed. The chef looked at us and smiled. “This chocolate mousse is unlike anything you would have ever tasted”, said the man looking part smug and part confident. “Trust me, this is better than the Tiramisu” he concluded giving us meaningful glances. Well, when a man who once ran a Michelin star restaurant tells you that, you sit up and listen. The chef looked around at the table at the transformed faces. He could see that he had our attention now and proceeded to tell us why this chocolate mousse was unique. “Not only does the chocolate used in this mousse come from the best cocoa beans, the recipe has my own twist to it. I am serving this bitter sweet double chocolate mousse with a strawberry chilli jam that I made myself.”
Now we all know what a great but clichéd combination Chocolate and Strawberries are. But have we ever heard of Chocolate, Strawberry and Chilli together? Ever heard that combination? A lifetime of watching cookery and food shows and I had never ever heard of that pairing. “It is my own spin on a classic dessert. Enjoy!!!”
The dessert was served in martini glasses and once I took a bite of that rich yet light mousse, I was in chocolate heaven. Is there such a thing as chocolate heaven? I bet there is. I have been there! I dug deeper into the glass till the spoon made contact with the gooey strawberry chilli jam. I took a small tentative bite and the first taste was that of a sweet strawberry flavoured jam. And then… came the heat. It started out mild and then burst on my tongue as the chilli made deeper contact with the taste buds. I quickly scooped some more mousse and enjoyed the dance of sweet, tangy, bitter and hot flavours playing out together in perfect harmony!
Who knew it was possible to taste so many flavours in one go? But our Italian chef made it work. He truly created and helped us experience a Dessert with a Twist!
What about you guys? Have you tasted any Desserts with a Twist? If you have, then do check out Vir Sanghvi and Vikas Khanna’s food adventures. In fact, you could share some of your own #Foodventures and stand a chance to meet these two fantastic food loving gentlemen!
In the meantime, here is a video of Vikas Khanna talking about a Dessert with a Twist that he created!
Indian Chaat – is there a better example of Sweet and Spicy in the culinary world? As an ardent fan of chaat, I would say no.. absolutely not! The beauty of chaat is that there are so many variations of it, different forms, incorporating regional flavours and yet, the essence of it remains the same. It almost assaults the tongue with the sharp contrasting sweet and spicy flavours. Ironically chaat is catergorised as a savoury snack. What a bland way of labelling a dish that incorporates the savoury bases, the sweet date or jaggery chutney blended with the theekha mint chutney, the slight sourness added by dahi and a myraid of textures. The Indian Chaat has to be experienced, not eaten! The best places to experience chaat are the street vendors. I have loved the golgappe in Delhi as much as the paanipuri in Mumbai. I have enjoyed the aloo chaat, the tikki, the dahi batata puri or the papadi chaat in equal measure. These traditional chaat recipes have been tickling taste buds for ages…
Not only do I love to eat chaat, I also love to serve it. Whether I have guests over for tea or dinner, chaat would definitely be a snack on the menu. The beauty of Chaat is that I am able to adapt it to the guest in question. I realised that while people enjoyed the sweet and spicy combination of chaat, they did not want the fried elements like puri, papadi and dahi vada into it. That has prompted me to come up with my very own version of chaat – the salad chaat!
Salad Chaat Recipe
This is a sweet and spicy take on the regular green salad. So here are the ingredients –
Date / Jaggery Chutney
Since this is a salad, the ingredients are versatile. You can add onions, radish, beet roots, corn or even apples! The steps are very simple!
Dice the cucumber, paneer, carrot and tomatoes to roughly the same size. I prefer to extract the tomato pulp and use just the flesh for this salad.
In a blender, add two spoonfuls of curd, lots of mint leaves, a pinch of rock salt, a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of chutney. Blend together till you get a nice even consistency. This will be your dressing.
Add the dressing to the salad and mix well.
Top it up with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves and serve.
What about you guys? Do you adapt recipes to add your favourite flavours to more healthy food? If you do, then do check out Vir Sanghvi and Vikas Khanna’s food adventures. In fact, you could share some of your own #Foodventures and stand a chance to meet these two fantastic food loving gentlemen!
In the meantime, here is Vikas Khanna sharing a Sweet and Spicy #Foodventure with you…
There are foodies and then there are FOODIES. I belong to the latter category. One look at me and you would know. When it comes to food, I am willing to try most things. Most things that look edible 🙂 My first brush with a non Indian cuisine was Italian. I had a pizza and a pasta and was mesmerised! Needless to say then, when Disha from K.I.S.S who I met at the Indiblogger Dove Meet invited me to join her and a few more foodies at the Chef’s Table that she was curating, I jumped at the idea. I had heard about Chef David Cananzi but did not know that he has opened his own place called Eat Pray Luv at Hill Road, Bandra.
Ambiance at Eat Pray Luv
The decor is done up in a theme of blue and white. It is a very relaxing atmosphere with the idea of relaxing you for the meal coming your way. We sat at the deck overlooking the pool and that is one of the best seating locations! A highlight of the decor is chef Davide’s baby – his traditional wood fired oven. He told us that there are no more ovens in the kitchen and everything they serve is made right there in front of the guests! The bar is tastefully done and not overstocked like some other places I have been to.
Food at Eat Pray Luv
I was looking forward to digging into some authentic Mediterranean fare and I was not disappointed. The chef had an array of dishes planned for us. After a point we had to beg him to stop, we were so so stuffed. We started off with the staff’s recommendation of Spanish Sangrias and Berry Mocktails. The Sangria was absolutely refreshing and full of peachy flavour. The glass looked so inviting that I did not even remember to pause and click a picture! After two Sangrias, I switched to the Berry Mocktail and found it equally refreshing with a tangy flavour. Both the drinks were a perfect accompaniment to the meal and would work anytime in the hot Indian weather.
We sampled the Capricciosa pizza that was the prettiest (and the tastiest) pizza on the table with cherry tomatoes, rocket and ricotta. The ham pizza was high on flavour too but it was a bit too salty. The baked aubergines with ricotta and Parma ham was divine. The brinjals (or aubergines if you wanna call them that) were melt in your mouth. The chef gave a twist on the Sicilian Dessert Cannoli and stuffed it with Tuna instead. The savory starter was light and delicious. Perfect for a summer dinner! We also sampled Spaghetti stuffed chicken wings and Jerk spiced chicken. Both were top notch on presentation and had a healthy dose of spice as well. For the main course, we were served the seafood soup which was extremely wholesome. I did not care much for it because I was stuffed already. I actually preferred the vegetarian soup which was a Russian Borsch. When they brought out the Burrata, I was kicking myself for hogging the pizza. I tasted the creamy asparagus and rose petal risotto but gave the pumpkin and peanut ravioli a miss. All of us begLifestyle Of A Professionalged the chef to skip straight to dessert! The double chocolate mousse with strawberry chilli jam was the perfect dessert to end the meal with. I would have happily gone home had Disha not told me about chef Davide’s famous Tiramisu. It was heavenly!! Second only to the Tiramisu I have had in Sausalito, San Francisco.
And finally, a great part of the evening was meeting so many bloggers. Some I had met before, some I had interacted online and some I had never even heard of. It was a fun group and the easy conversation filled the gaps in the courses real well 🙂