Saturday, 20 December 2014

Haji Ali Juice Center, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

I was not very surprised to see this iconic juice center listed on zomato as its endured the winds of change and still stands strong like the Haji ali Mosque in the background. The sheer joy of driving by the sea with our uncle bundling all the cousins in his Trax and we as kids getting all noisy and impish was all such pure fun.

But that was years ago and the few recent visits have left a very mediocre impression about this place. Not because we are used to more exotic and novel juices, but its entirely due to the deterioration in its quality. Milk shakes are no longer creamy and thick, juices are diluted and sweetened with sugar rather than getting the real fruity taste...its just sweet with sugar additives. 

Yet the place attracts and will continue to attract hordes of people because of the name and fame it has earned in the past and also because of the amazing spot its located at. Hope they come back to their Original selves without compromise.

Photo Courtesy: Foodspotting.com

Monday, 15 September 2014

Apoorva, Fort - A Treat for Fish Lovers

Apporva definitely Stands out in its price when it comes to the other popular seafood restaurants in the vicinity. Its a very ordinary looking restaurant which has a typical Udipi styled ambiance and the top floor is more like a shady bar.

They serve superb seafood and I have been here number of times. In my past two visits though I wasn't too happy with the Pomfret fish fry and the Prawn Koliwada that I had. Fish fry tasted not freshly fried and fish were small in size. The batter on Prawns too dint taste all that great to me. Anyways, that dint matter much as Apoorva has proved to me how good they are in my past numerous visits, so such minor discrepancies do happen everywhere. They do serve Good fish fries though, try the surmai, pomfret, rawas or even the less famous Lady fish .!!!

The Fish Curries like gassi (surmai, rawas, pomfret-all are Good) and the prawn curry, The bombil fry is a must here as they make it perfect everytime...crisp and oil free. Crab masala is also Mouth watering. All the curries taste Good with the Neer dosa and the bhakris.

Only once did i try the crispy prawn in Chinese and I dint like it much...So lesson learnt that i should stick to the cuisine they are popular for.

I hope on my next visit i get the same old flavors and quality of the Apporva that I remember of since years gone by.

If you want to binge on good fish anytime, without being particular about fancy ambiance and equally fancy food, head to Apoorva, which is why this review is devoid of any pictures as good food being main focus of my review.



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

AMC : Eat Better, Live Better



Have you ever imagined cooking without oil and additional water??? Yes this is exactly what AMC vouches for...cooking without oil and additional water. When asked how could one cook without adding additional water? This mystery is explained by Mr.Anshu Begai, MD, AMC Cookware India as follows - “when the food is heated, the moisture rises and cools off on the lid and drips back into the food and heats again. The closed cooking cycle between the base of the unit, the cooling zone and the perfectly closing lid allows waterless cooking with AMC.”

Range of AMC Cookware
 Imagine a single cookware used for multi-cooking method - Cooking pulses/ rice/, pasta, Steaming, Poaching, Frying, Double Boiling, Reheating, Stack Cooking, Roasting and Baking...Yes, you heard me right; you can even roast chicken and bake a cake in this cookware !!


Whole range of AMC Cookware
 
Accessory - Idli Stand
 
Accessory - Poaching Moulds

The cookware has different units with the below advantages:

1) The material used is high grade surgical stainless steel, chrome-nickel steel mixture that lasts for decades.
2) The Akkutherum capsule base, which captures the heat and distributes it uniformly.
3) The cooling wall zone, wherein the sides gets less heated compared to the base, thus dropping the temperature on the sides, which causes steam to condense and drip back into the food. The cooking temperature thus stays below the boiling point and preserves the vitamins.
4) The condensation groove, which is on the upper rim of the cooking unit, traps condensing steam to form a film of water between the unit and the lid. This water film prevents moisture from escaping out of the cookware during cooking.
5) The handle which is made of stainless steel with built-in ceramic block in-lays, ensures that the handle never gets very hot and makes it easy to grip.

In addition to the above advantages it also has Sentsotherm, which accurately measures the temperature inside the cookware, Visiotherm which indicates the temperature inside the cookware and Audiotherm which monitors the cooking process and beeps when the cooking reaches the indicated temperature.

Sentsotherm
 
Visiotherm

Audiotherm
Using this cookware is slightly tricky; however they do have in-house demos. They only have direct marketing, so difficult to locate this at any store. So if you are interested and want to experience Zero Oil without excess water cooking, you can call the Customer Care and fix up a schedule for a demo.

Customer Service

Customer Care Contact:  +91 80 676 10 610

Customer Care Timings: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Email ID: in@amc.info



Having said that, I felt that the rate is on a higher side for a common man on his pocket. But for those who are health conscious and don't mind spending few grands on a cookware, can give it a try.

Couple of weeks back we - the Food Bloggers were invited for the demonstration and cook along event.

AMC representative giving Demo

 
 
Cake Batter
 
Ready for Baking
 

Finally Baked Cake
 
Frying onion without oil
Roasting Chicken without oil

Frying ginger-garlic paste without oil

Frying vegetable without oil
Cooking Vegetables without adding additional water


Vegetables cooking in its own steam

Final cooked vegetable

Steamed Vegetable without adding water

We tried our hands on baking cake, frying chicken without oil, cooking pulav and biryani.

Below are the dishes which we cooked without oil and excess water.

Bake a Cake

Vegetable Pulav

Chicken Fry without Oil
 
Vegetable Biryani
 
Chicken Curry without oil


This is the feast that we Food Bloggers cooked without oil or excess water …. Isn’t that amazing !!!!



All that we cooked without oil or excess water


Friday, 8 August 2014

Single-Origin Coffee with CCD - 'The Square'

‘Let’s Talk over a cup of Coffee’ or ‘How about a cup of Coffee?’ or ‘Coffee with K….

Coffee has now become our most integral part of general meeting joint. I, being a South Indian, my day starts with an aromatic cup of filtered coffee. The aroma of filter coffee actually brightens my day. So, when I got an invite from Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, for the launch of ‘The Square’ Café Coffee Day, I was obviously thrilled. ‘The Square’ introduces you to a thriving Single-Origin, freshly roasted & grounded coffee. Though I am a coffee drinker I had never tried single-origin coffee, so wanted to give it a try. 

Entrance to 'The Square'
This was at the CR2 Mall, Nariman Point. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal welcomed me with open arms and then introduced me to other bloggers present there, which made me feel comfortable and at ease. The ambience was warm and vibrant, with two different types of seating arrangements. There was also a Huddle room for corporates or any small private get-togethers.  


In a little while the session started by Rushina who briefed us on her love for coffee and her involvement with CCD since past two years. We were to taste 7 different types of single origin coffee and Rushina had already planned the pairing with each one of them.


Coffee & their pairings
Rhicha Sinha, Senior Manager and Beverage Consultant of CCD took us on a ride of Coffee. Her love and dedication towards coffee was depicted by her knowledge that she shared with us. Rhicha Sinha explained that the reason why 'single origin' coffee is named as they are grown and produced from a single geographic region and the taste is related as per the climatic and environmental condition of that region. She informed that the real taste of single-origin coffee is by brewing it in mineral water. She further explained that the taste changes as per the equipment used in brewing e.g Metal coffee - filter, French press, Buono Kettle, Stove Top Espresso etc…

Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal  and Rhicha Sinha
We started with the Ethiopian Sidamo known as the birthplace of coffee. It’s a small medium, greenish, grey bean grown in Sidamo, in south Ethiopia. Each tree is fertilized, pruned, weeded and harvested by hand, to deliver a bean of an exceptional quality. This had citrusy, strong and bitter taste. Rushina had paired it with Mexican Red Hot Nachos. 

Ethiopian Sidamo with Mexican Red Hot Nachos
Next was Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold, the specialty beans of Indian Arabica Coffee. These beans are originated from Yeinoorkhan Estate in the Bababudangiri range of Chikmagalur, Karnataka - also known as the birthplace of coffee in India. The unusual name (Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold) of which ‘Nuggets’denote the precious similarity to ‘Gold’, while ‘Extra Bold’ speaks of the bean’s large size. This was brewed in the French press kept in front of us on the table. We were informed that the coffee should be infused for 3-4 minutes and then pressed slightly. This creates a vacuum between the coffee and decoction and thereby getting its complete flavor. The taste was subtle, delicate, smooth and fruity. This was very similar to the filter coffee and very much familiar to my daily coffee…Hence; I was very easily taken by it and it was paired with Chocolate Cookies with whipped cream.

Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold paired with Chocolate Cookies with whipped cream
We then moved on to the third variety of coffee Indian Kathlekhan Superior. The name Kathlekhan is derived from the word ‘Kathle’ meaning dark and ‘Khan’ meaning forest in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka. This coffee variety had a very interesting story linked to it. Its been said that the bean directly descended from the 7 seeds brought to India secretly by Saint Baba Budan and planted around his hut in the mystic Bababudangiri Mountains. This was also brewed in the French press. It had chocolaty-fruity mild taste which blended well with the Choco Fudge Fantasy. 

Indian Kathlekhan Superior with Choco Fudge Fantasy
Our fourth tasting was Rajgiri Pearl, known for its mysteries of Bababudangiri Hills in a cup. Rajgiri is known as the King of Mountains and these Rajgiri beans are grown at the peak of the famous Bababudangiri range and are influenced by neighboring cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and shoal tress. This was paired well with Pizza Margarita, which washed down the strong, robust and very bitter taste of the coffee… Not my favorite. 

Rajgiri Pearl paired with Pizza Margarita
 We gathered in the huddle room for the next three varieties of coffee tasting- Guatemala Antigua, Colombian Supremo and Costa Rican Tarrazu. These were brewed in french press and espresso machine respectively. Guatemala Antigua and Costa Rican Tarrazu were more bitter and stronger. On the other hand Colombian was mild, smooth with slight sweet undertone and nutty flavor. These were paired with Chocó Cookies.


Now the most awaited part of the evening - Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal's cooking demonstration. She showed us delicious Coffee Barbecue Sauce that can go well with any sort of meats and veg dishes. This was spread on the thin crust pizza and served to us. It was sweet, tangy and slightly spicy with mild flavor of coffee. It was absolutely YUMMY ……
 
Rushina Demonstrating her signature Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Rushina's signature Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Rushina's signature Coffee Barbecue Sauce served on thin crust pizza
After our coffee tasting spree, snacks were circulated and we had the advantage of choosing anything from the menu. I went for Artic Sun from their signature coffee, which was indeed true to its name. I and my blogger friend ordered for chicken wings to go along with it.

Other snacks served post the session





Chicken wings
By evening I had learned a lot about coffee and also discovered that slurping the coffee is the best way to get the aroma and flavor to its fullest. Also learnt the brewing technique, how the taste differs with each brewing technique, pairing etc. I never knew that a single cup of coffee has such hidden mystic enchantments in it…. My favorites amongst all was not just restricted to one, as I was bowled over by 3 different varieties - Mysore Nuggest Extra Bold, Indian Kathlekhan Superior and Colombian Supremo.
It was a wonderful fun-filled afternoon with food bloggers, food connoisseurs, journalists, editors, writers and social media people and the event was covered by the Food Food Channel.

Group of Foodies
I came home with a wonderful experiences, knowledge and a goodie bag from CCD which had a pack of my favorite Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold and Colombian Supremo coffees, a jar of Rushina’s special spicy-coffee mix nuts and a French Press…. And a hang-over of coffee which kept me alert and awake almost for the whole night…:) 


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Feast with Apples for the Tiffin

‘Cooking with apples’- this was the theme of Rushina’s cooking workshop which sounded interesting to me. I had tried cooking apples couple of times. Once, tried apple soup and other time apple sabji following the recipe from a magazine and cookery show respectively. And both the times it was disaster as didn’t like the taste of the cooked apples. Where was I going wrong?  Do I need to rectify the cooking method, time or something else? All the answers to my questions were now at APB Cook Studio. So I immediately registered myself for the workshop for the 11 am session. The workshop was powered by Washington Apples.


The main focus of the event was obviously Apple. It started with the welcome drink ‘Washington apple and spearmint sparkler’, which was smooth and refreshing, apt for the hot summer afternoon. While there was still some time for the workshop to start, so I thought of taking a look at beautifully arranged Rushina’s Cookstudio kitchen. In a little while Rushina walked in and welcomed me with warm and a sweet smile. Now it was the time to start with our most awaited workshop. 

Welcome Drink 'Washington Apple and Spearmint Sparkle'
Participants
Rushina and Tanvi both had planned a wonderful menu with the Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. Tanvi started with Washington Apple Crumble Tart by making the tart crust followed by the filling and crumble. We could smell the aroma of the baking of the tart which was so tempting…While the tart was baking, she moved on to the second dish i.e. Washington Apple Muffins.

Apple Crumble Tart in Making
One of the participant asked Tanvi what we can substitute for an egg in the Muffing, to this she said that we can add equal quantity of curd, however she had never tried it. “Let’s try it today” said Rushina, so an eggless Muffin was baked. When we had the final product, it was amazingly soft and spongy.  

Washington Apple Muffins
Now the most awaiting part of the workshop was ‘Rushina’s cooking’ which was nothing less than “Cherry on the cake”. After all the high calories food, it was time for something healthy.  She took us on a healthy tour of Washington Apple and Feta Salad. This was one dish which one could have a bowlful without any guilt. The dish that stole the show was Spiced Washington Apple Chutney.  This, Rushina served in a tart shell topped with cream custard and spiced roasted walnuts…. OMG!!! it was sooo yummy and delicious, that my month starts watering just by the thought of it….

Apple & Feta Salad And Spiced Apple Chutney in Making
Many of us had lots of queries which Rushina /Tanvi answered and cleared all our doubts. The workshop was very interactive and informative.  After the workshop session we headed toward the buffet table were Rushina had arranged Chicken and Apple Sandwich with Curried Mayo, Apple Muffins, Apple and Feta Salad, Sliced Washington Apples with Toffee Sauce, Vegetables and Washington Apple Russian Salad Sandwiches and Apple Crumble tart. It was good spread and a hearty food J.

Buffet Table

Buffet Items
It was fun filled, interactive and a learning event. We had lots of fun learning and hogging on to the spread Rushina had laid. I am surely gonna try all the dish that I have learnt, especially the Spiced Apple Chutney. Now I know the right way to cook the apples J….  All Thanks to Tanvi, Rushina and her team.