Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Balinese Lunch at The Orient and meeting some lovely people.

The Orient tucked away in the ground floor of City Centre NewTown may seem to you as another Chinese watering hole but it has much more to offer. I myself being a frequent visitor of the mall had not ventured beyond take aways. But not anymore! The other  day  KFB was invited to sample their fare over a Balinese lunch along with some lovely people from the Ambuja Neotia group. I was joined in by my fellow bloggers Antara of Antipasti and Pritha of Guilt Free - both being big fans of South east Asian cuisines. I am, to be honest not to adventurous when it comes to SE Asian cuisines but I went with an open mind. With non stop servings of Jasmine Tea we tasted a flavourful - not over powering-Balinese meal. My fellow bloggers tell me that originally Indonesian cuisine is very robust and spicy but I presume that was underplayed at the Orient keeping in mind the local tastebuds.

We  started off with a flavourful,mild spicy Soto Ayam - Java's popular chicken and glass noodle broth that could be made spicier by adding some sambal sauce. I stuck with what was being served and quite enjoyed it.

For entrée there was Lumpia Sayur - Fried spring roll stuffed with vegetables and tofu - served with some dips. The filling was subtle with an aftertaste of black pepper. The Sate Udang Besar, Bumbu Rujak - Skewers of king prawns with a spicy west java sauce was something I liked a lot. The prawns were cooked well and went well with the sauce. To be honest by now I was pretty much full and requested the chef to cut down on few of the items that was a part of the original menu.

Sate Udang Besar

Lumpia Sayur

Nasi Goreng - Stir fried rice with shrimps,sate,chicken and pickles,topped with fried egg and a prawn cracker was Chef's choice of main course. I am totally a rice person so was very happy to see a loaded plate and especially that perfectly fried egg had me at it. It is definitely the most popular dish when it comes to Indonesian cusine and as google tells me it literally translates to "fried rice". The flavours were reminiscene of the quintessential oriental fried rice to me and I would have liked it a bit more spicier. There was Ayam pelalah - Shredded chicken,tomato chilli sambal served as an accompaniment.

Nasi Goreng

Ayam pelalah

The star of the afternoon would how ever have to be the Balinese Chocolate Cake with white chocolate and rum ganache served with wasabi icecream. Must admit the icecream did have that kick in taste from the wasabi flavour used and the chocolate cake was one of the best I have had in a while. And this coming from an absolultely non chocolate person like me!

Wasabi icecream with chocolate cake

As we know, Indonesian cuisine is diverse and vibrant and has a lot of ethnic influences, so it is commendable on the part of Chef Ghanshyam  - the executive Chef at the Orient to be able to design and execute an menu that would also be appealing to the local palate. The Orient hosts frequent food festivals from around the SE Asian countries as Tanmoy Roy  - Corporate F&B Manager, Operations from Ambuja Neotia tells us. They also have this brilliant concept of oriental martinis that is a part of their happy hours. So there, now you know where to go for your martini fix!

They also have some vegetarian options in their menu like the Tempe Manis - Crisp soya bean curd,green bean,kaffir lime,lemon grass and palm sugar and Sayur Lodeh - Sweet potato, baby corn and baby egg plant cooked in mild curry sauce.

So there ended my tryst with Indonesian food and a good one I would say. I was lovely meeting everyone from the Ambuja Neotia group present that afternoon and thanks a ton for the goody bag- that ofcourse went to my 7 yr old!

Hand made chocolates as a parting gift!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Italian Fare at Swissotel, Kolkata

"Its the Italian Menu launch" - said Enakshi over the phone and I jumped at the idea. I can get quite restrictive when it comes to trying out new cuisines but not Italian. There is so much beyond pizza and pasta and I would not leave the opportunity to enjoy the hearty Italian dishes sitting right here in my city. Swissotel, Kolkata has always been the pioneers in giving the city of joy a taste of varied cuisines - be it the Penang or the Kenyan and more recently the Turkish Food fare that they presented was talked about very highly. It is a hotel that caters extensively to the expat community and hence it keeps in mind the diverse taste buds!
The Italian menu has been specially curated and executed by Executive Chef Pranay under the supervision of the ever cheerful Mr. Saxer , GM, Swissotel. Arundhuti of My Saffron Kitchen and myself headed off to Café Swiss @ the Swissotel to experience an evening of great food. Now Italian cuisine is varied with each of the provinces proudly presenting something very indigenous to the region. Chef Pranay has painstakingly tried to include a little something from across the provinces. You have the quinesential pizzatini as you also have some exotic hand crafted ravioli served with burnt butter. If hearty Italian staples is your thing then the buffet every Thursday night is where you should head. Some of the dishes like the Eggplant Parmigiano and the Agnello Con polenta - braised lamb shanks literally falling off the bone  that we sampled that evening is now a part of the regular menu at Café Swiss. All I would say is food is something personal and sacred and I would not like to dissect each dish here! All I  will do is leave you with some pictures that would surely make you drool and head out to Café Swiss for your Italian fix right here in your city!

Bellini - a cocktail of sparkling wine and pach puree - perfect to kickstart the evening
Parma ham with melon - antipasti

Dips - basil pesto and sundried tomatoes

A varied selection of antipasti

Make your own pizza!

Prawn Frito Misto - crunchy yum
Mushroom with provolone - a part of Hot antipasti selection
Eggplant Parmigiana
Introducing Micro greens - the trend of the moment
The mmost amazing Lemon sorbet - a palate cleanser in between the courses!
Herbed Focacia

Hearty Braised chicken stew with beans and Fish roulade in Butter sauce

Fish terrine
Hand rolled ravioli with Burnt butter
Braised Lamb shanks

And some drool worthy dessert too to finish off your meal.
Tiramisu bites
colourful meringues
Add caption

 There is also a wide selection of Italian wines to choose from - Pinot Grigio Collection or the Chianti Barbanera.


The delectable buffet dinner will be available every Thursday priced at INR 1600 plus taxes per person and an a la carte Italian menu will be available everyday only at Café swiss, level 6, Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista.
You can place reservations through email to, or by phone at +91336626666.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Oats and Sunflower Seeds Cookies

I am not much of a baker as I lack patience. But once in a while I do like to whip up some goodies for my little boy. This easy oats cookies recipe caught my fancy and I perked up the health quotient by adding some sunflower seeds to it. The original recipe also called for dried cranberries but I substituted that with some raisins. It can be a good option for kiddie tiffin box too. Trust me your kid will not be able to resist the aroma of this freshly baked cookies!


Sunflower seeds - 4 tbsp.

Olive oil - 2 tbsp.

Butter - 50 gms - I used Amul butter

Castor sugar - 1 cup

Egg - 1

Wholewheat flour - half a cup

Oats - 1 cup - I used the regular rolled oats that we use for breakfast

Raisins - a handful

Vanilla essence - 1 tsp


Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a baking tray.

Dry roast the sunflower seeds and grind into a fine paste adding 2 tbsp olive oil.

Mix together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the egg, the mix in the wheat flour and the oats. Mix in the sunflower seeds paste, then stir in the vanilla essence and the raisins.

Place heaped tbsp full of the mixture on the baking tray, spacing them well apart.

Bake in the oven for 10 mins until golden. Leave on baking tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or store for later use.


  • You could substitute raisins with any nut of your choice.
  • Keep an eye while baking the cooking as they take very little time.
  • Sunflower seeds could be substituted with flax seeds too.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ragi Blinis - A healthier twist to pancakes

Blinis have a Russian origin. They are thin pancakes prepared from batter and cooked on hot frying pan topped with dollops of butter. It has an ancient history of being made for hungry travellers made from oats jelly. But with time blinis have undergone changes and are now also being made with wheat,rye,buckwheat or even barley. In my quest for healthy nutritious recipes for kids and grown ups alike I stumbled upon this dish. I was very happy to see such a great alternative to traditional pancakes that kids across the globe love. So I made some Ragi Blinis - thin pancakes made of finger millet flour. Now Ragi is being considered as a wonder grain. It is rich in calcium and protein and is low on unsaturated fats. It is now easily available across stores in the city and can be used to make varieties of crepes, dosas, adai and similar things.
Now coming back to my blinis. I loaded it up with some grated cheddar cheese to make it kid friendly and it tasted very good. You could also add finely chopped veggies to the batter if your child likes it that way. Serve it up with a side of simple sprouts salad .


Ragi Flour - 1 cup

Wholewheat flour - 2 tbsp.

Egg - 1 no - lightly beaten

Milk - half a cup - approx.

Salt - to taste

Black pepper powder - to taste

Cheddar cheese - half cup - grated

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Butter - for greasing the pan


In a bowl mix together the ragi flour,wholewheat flour and the baking powder.

Add the egg and milk and mix  well to form a pancake batter. Not to thick or thin just like a dosa batter. Add the grated cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and keep aside for 10 mins.

In the mean time heat a non stick flat pan. Grease with a little butter . Cook the blinis in batches. Drop dessertspoon ful of batter into the frying pan,spacing them well apart.
Cook the blinis for 2 mins until the top is bubbling and the underside is golden. Turn them over and cook until the other side is browned.

Wrap the cooked blinis in a clean napkin to keep warm. Coook the rest of the blinis in the same way, brushing the pan with extra oil as needed.

Serve the blinis warm, topped with a little butter or all time favourite ketchup and accompanied by the salad.


  • The blinis can be made into a sweet version too. Just add sugar to the batter instead of salt and cheese and drizzle with honey and whipped cream or any sauce of your choice.
  • Blinis can also be used as base for appetizers in dinner parties too. Load up the blini base with grated cheese or a piece of salami and serve as starters.
  • Addition of oatmeal instead of whole wheat is also an option.

Prawn Curry - Simple Comfort Food

Now with the festive season over for the time being and before we dive into the Christmas - New Year celebration frenzy, how about indulging in some simple comforting everyday dishes. Am sure most of us have indulged majorly during pujas and Diwali and now its time to get back to some easy "ghar ka khana". That ofcourse wouldn't mean that we stop eating tasty food. Sometimes the simplest of meal bring so much respite to our tired souls. I for one is going through a super hectic stressful phase ( would elaborate maybe later sometime ) For now I made this very simple flavourful Prawn Curry with everyday spices and enjoyed it with some boiled rice and a squirt of lime. I made it a little spicy coz I felt like eating a hot curry! You can easily adjust the spice levels according to your taste buds.
Prawn is something immensely enjoyed by us at home and this is a perfect dish which doesn't require much of a preparation.


Prawns - 500 gms - medium sized - de shelled and deveined

Potato - 1 large or 2 medium sized - cut into cubes

Onion - 1 large - thinly sliced

Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp each

Red chilli powder - 1 and half tsp - adjust according to taste

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp + 1 tsp

Cumin powder - 1 heaped tsp

Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.

Bay leaf - 2 nos

Garam masala - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - half tsp

Green chillies - 4-5

Refined oil - 1 tbsp for frying the prawns and 1 tbsp. for the gravy


Wash and dry the prawns. Marinate with 1 tsp turmeric and salt.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and lightly sauté the prawns till they turn golden.
Drain and keep aside.

In the same pan add another tbsp of refine oil.

Add the bayleaf. Next add the sliced onion and fry till slightly browned.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry that too.

Next tip in the cubed potatoes and fry for 2-3 mins.
Add all the dry spices  except the garam masala - cumin powder,red chili powder,turmeric , salt and sugar along with the tomato puree.

Roast the spices well, add a little water if the masalas stick to the sides. Roast on low flame so that it doesn't burn.

Once the spices start to leave oil on the sides, add one cup water and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins.

Add the sautéed prawns , green chilli and garam masala powder. Give it a boil and remove from heat.

Serve with hot rice and some lime on the side. Even some roasted papad would go really well with it #afterthought

Notes :
  • Don't overcook the prawns as they would turn rubbery.
  • You could also add some diced tomates for that extra tang.
  • Tomato purees are as it is very tangy so cut out on that if using fresh tomatoes.
  • You could also garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.
  • Medium sized prawns work best with this dish. But you could use big ones too. You could also replace prawns with either rohu or katla.

Veggie Dunkers with Nutty Yogurt Dip - For kids and oldies alike!

As my primary role of a being a mom to a growing 7 yr old my biggest challenge lies in feeding my kid healty, nutritious food. And it doesn't help if the child is a bit fussy when it comes to eating veggies and nuts. So I am constantly on the look out for recipes that are innovative and helps me make my child eat without complaining. Ever since I started this blog I realised that I have mostly shared recipes that suit that adult taste apart from the occasional muffins and quiches.Meal times are well handled as my kid likes to eat rice with fish curry or a chicken curry but its the snack time that gives me jitters. I get completely lost as to what to serve to take care of the 4 pm hunger pangs. So I have consciously decided to dig out and share recipes that are kid friendly and doesn't compromise on the health quotient. And why only kids we adults too do not consciously take care of what we eat and end up binging many times.

The very first recipe coming your way is super easy -peasy Veggie Dunkers with a Nutty Yogurt Dip - packed with the goodness of fresh winter veggies and nuts. Serve it on play dates and see them polish of the dip in no time. Apart from the dip this dish only needs some assembling.


Assorted vegetables  - cucumber ,carrots, beet root and tomatoes - cut length wise

For the dip :

Yogurt - 1 bowl - use the thick ones - I used Amul

Cashewnuts - a handful

Almonds - a handful

Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Salt - to taste

Honey - 1 tbsp

Paprika /Chilli flakes - for garnish - optional


Cut all the vegetables lengthwise and dip in cold salted water till served.

For the dip:

Dry roast the cashewnuts and almond in a pan.
Ground it into a fine powder and keep aside.

Whisk the yogurt till smooth. Season with salt and honey.
Next add the powdered nuts and mix well. Add a little olive oil too.

Garnish with chilli flakes /few roasted nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

This dip can even be served as a party starter along with some nachos,tortilla chips, chicken nuggets, just about anything.

Notes :
  • Use any fresh veggie that you would want or whatever your child likes. Some sautéed mushrooms would also go well.Or maybe some grilled paneer sticks.
  • You could also use hung curd instead of yogurt.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Mexican Delight at Swissotel Kolkata

I think I did not share with you all that I was on a self imposed exile from food in my quest for a fitter (read thinner) physique! Well that was sometime ago. Throughout Durga puja I kind of stayed away from my favourite foods and resorted to muesli and such funny stuffs. But then it was getting a little too much and the invite from Swissotel to sample their Mexican festival fare specially curated by Chef Lilia Castro from Mexico came just at the right time. I was raring to go and enjoy the spread and give myself the much desired break. Thus on a sunny sunday afternoon along with co blogger Pritha who blogs at Guilt Free I hogged away on a huge Mexican spread. There was everything from Quesadillas to chili con carne to churros!

I started with sampling the salad section and the variety was delightful.I swayed a bit more towards the vegetarian varieties and I wasn't disappointed. I particularly found this phyllo pastry stuffed with mushroom and cheese very interesting. Also the  Cauliflower Mousse with Asparagus was unique - creamy mushy delight!

As we know Mexican cuisine is influenced by a variety of cultures so it uses an exciting and varied range of ingredients. The use of fiery peppers, cilantro, avocados being very predominant.When I told Chef Lilia that the spread was expansive she smiled and said that there could have been many more dishes! I wandered into the main course section and to be honest was a bit lost as to what all to try. I loaded my plate with the goodies and ate away to glory. Special mention of Tamale  - a typical Mexican dish of cheese wrapped in corn peels and grilled. I will leave you with lots of pictures from the amazing spread.

arz ala mexicana


calabicatas Mexicana - zucchini and squash with cottage cheese

carnitas -deep fried pork

chicken in tangy tomato sauce

beef chilli con carne

papas al cilantro - baby potatoes with cilantro

pescado alo veracudano - fish cooked in a light broth with peppers

prawns in tamarind sauce

tamale - cheese wrapped in corn peels and grilled


Hot salsas

I was stuffed and so happy to have gorged after ages. But the dessert section was on my mind and I could not miss that. There were Churros and how can I not eat Churros while on a Mexican gastro trip. There were a whole lot of my favourite dessert items and I tasted each one of it.


 Kahlua chocolate mousse


caramel pudding

cheese cake
This delectable fare was available only for a day on 19th October at Café Swiss but some of the items are a part of their South American dinners on Fridays from 7 -11 pm at Café Swiss priced at 1600 ++

The highlight of the afternoon was the annual cake mixing ceremony of Swissotel and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Cmon my first ever cake mixing how could I not be elated. I even instructed Pritha to click pictures while I was mixing and she very sweetly obliged. Just looking at that tray I was salivating and eagerly waiting for Christmas when I get to sample the yummy cakes.