{Food Bloggers & Critics Meet} FUN, FOOD & OLIVE OIL … Bagna Cauda, Aioli, Panzanella & Chilean Sea Bass served with Garbure Catalane … recipes included!

‘The belly rules the mind.’
Spanish Proverb
The Delhi food bloggers got together once again, this time for a meet hosted at the beautiful 19 Oriental Avenue, Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi, with Borges India. Borges is making large forays into the Indian consumer market, trying to increase the acceptability and thereby the adoption of olive oil in Indian cooking, more as a lifestyle change. Olive oils have the highest amounts of mono-saturated fats in the world. Being rich in anti oxidants, the use of this oil helps fight cancer, and increases life expectancy.
The food and critics meet was an interactive session co-hosted by Borges India, Chef At Large and the Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi on ‘Olive Oil in Mediterranean and Indian Cuisine‘. Also present were with Ritika Samaddar, renowned  nutritionist on  the Borges, and Darren Conole, the Executive Chef of Shangri-La. The food sojourn included an open  kitchen format where we could potter around, applying our culinary skills if we so wished.
The meet saw an eclectic mix of Delhi food bloggers and the best food critics, the MD & Marketing Manager of Borges India, as also a nutritionist  and an executive chef! The discussion was thrown open inviting comments about the acceptance of olive oil in India, particularly in the Indian kitchen, its acceptance in India cuisine, how we as food bloggers use it at home etc. Marryam Reshii, a gastronomy writer counted amongst India’s finest food critics, hijacked {in her own words} the discussion in a delightful manner, and set the floor on fire. Her in depth knowledge about ‘olive everything’ was by far amazing; for me an eye opener in many ways. 

LuvOlive’s Photos – Fun & Food Meet

We took off on a delicious note with some delectable Bagna Cauda {also known as hot oil fondue} stirred together by Darren Conole. This fondue is a wonderful hot  sauce from the Piedmont region of Italy. The name comes from bagno caldo which means “hot bath”.  

It is made by combining butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies. The mixture is heated and guests use wooden skewers or fondue forks to spear a variety of fresh vegetables which are dipped and warmed.

Bagna Cauda

Recipe Courtesy Darren Conole, Executive Chef Shangri-La, New Delhi
1.5 liters olive oil
6 tablespoons {3/4 stick} unsalted butter, room temperature
12 fresh anchovy fillets
2 slices of style white bread
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
Assorted fresh vegetables cut into bite-size pieces
1 1-pound loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cut into 2-inch sections
Blend oil, butter, anchovies, bread and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.
Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm.
Serve with the vegetables and bread fondue style.

The Delhi Food Bloggers included Anoothi, Sid, Pamela, Rahul Verma {a food columnist and critic too}, Nachiketa, Apeksha and me.

I soon dumped my camera, and a couple of us poked around in the open kitchen, chopping up some garlic, dipping bread, stirring up salads; the chefs stood by and bravely {read straight-faced} bore our hysterical laughter and noisy chatter! The open kitchen at the event made the meet more fun. The amicable Darren, a passionate chef who hails from Melbourne, kept the session alive. 

Live demos are always fun for foodies and a good way to drive the point home. Darren demonstrated how to poach some Chilean sea bass fillets in a flavoured olive oil, a poaching of this sort was a first for me. We were served the same dish for lunch, cooked to perfection, served over a ‘bursting with good flavour’ Catalan vegetable stew. Amazingly the vegetable stew had the rather underrated pumpkin, which lent beautiful flavours to the dish, and balanced the meal beautifully.

Chilean Sea Bass Poached in Olive Oil with Herbs and Liquorice

Recipe Courtesy Darren Conole, Executive Chef Shangri-La, New Delhi
180gms Chilean sea bass fillets
2lts of Virgin OO
Bay leaves
Garlic cloves
Liquorice root soaked in warm water
Salt and crushed black pepper
Place the OO in a heavy bottom saucepan with the herbs, garlic and liquorice root. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil to a gentle 170F, just bubbling mildly around the edges, place the fillets and poach for 7-8 minutes until tender and flake easily. Make sure you don’t let the oil come to a boil.
Serve over a Catalan Vegetable Stew {recipe follows}
Catalan Vegetable Stew
500gms Tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut in leaves
500gmd Onion cut in large pieces
1.5kg Pumpkin cut into 1×1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic
Hand full of herbs
Bay leaves
300 mls of OO / 150mls virgin & 150mls EVOO
Sauté the herbs, garlic, onions & tomatoes in 150ml virgin olive oil.
Add a little water and allow the stew to simmer until the pumpkin has softened. Don’t let it overcook. Once done, adjust seasoning, pour over the extra virgin olive oil. Serve on a platter with poached sea bass

Lunch began with a Panazella, a day old brown bread salad, followed by the Chilean Sea Bass. There was also the vegetarian option of grilled cottage cheese served over the same veggie stew. The final glory or dessert was charmingly plated Olive Oil Brownies and ice cream which I missed as I had to rush to fetch the lad from an after school photography class. Darren was sweet enough to pack me a serving {sans the ice cream of course}, and I grabbed a picture in the cab. He shared the recipe with me too; will make it soon! It was lovely!

The exchange of ideas, threw up new ways to use olive oil. Interestingly one way to cook veggies Indian style is to add a few spices to cut veggies {squashes and gourds work well here}, simmer covered until tender as the vegetable cooks in it’s own juices. Once done, give it a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and enjoy! Or then like Marryam, sprinkle a crisp ‘roti‘ with sea salt, dip it in EVOO … new ways and all exciting! 
Borges India, a fully owned subsidiary of Borges, has recently launched a diverse range of olive oils in India, including balsamic vinegar. As the company’s core focus is on health & nutrition, and in the wake of lifestyle ailments in India, it plans to throw light on healthy living and healthy options. Olive oil is gradually gaining acceptance in the Indian kitchen as a cooking medium for Indian food, something I would go with completely, but for the prohibitive cost. 
That said, having used different versions of Borges Olive Oil quite often in the past month, thanks to a  bag of product samples from Borges India, I love its appeal. I used it in just about everything from  Eggless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Plum Fro Yo Popsicles, Whole-wheat Chicken Basil Wraps, Ottolenghi’s Preserved Limes, Pizza Dough, Slow Roasted Oven Tomatoes, Olive Oil Schiacciata, Cottage Cheese & Bell Pepper Quesadillas … and then breakfast French Toast /Hot House Eggs,  to everyday ‘zeera-aloo‘, cottage cheese/paneer stir fry etc! Of the different versions, EVOO is my first love!

I am partial to EVOO, and do not mind the deep flavours it lends to Indian food. In ‘economic terms‘ though, I’d rather use olive oil, or extra light olive oil as cooking medium. It is a matter of evolving tastes, and I like to balance EVOO  using minimum spices, letting fresh flavours speak for themselves. It’s a quite revolution in my kitchen, a choice I actively seek to make whenever possible, and love the outcome. My experience teaches me that a little goes a long way, and surprisingly enough, I use a lot less olive oil as compared to other refined oils.

Do you have a favourite Indian recipe that you think works better or as well with this cooking medium? Do you like to experiment? I’d love to hear your experiences!

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  • Prerna@IndianSimmer
    6 years ago

    Your gorgeous photographs tell us how great the meet up must with all the fun, food and olive oil 🙂

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums
    6 years ago

    What an awesome event! Lovely food and people.



  • Natashya KitchenPuppies
    6 years ago

    That is some sexy food!
    I use olive oil in Indian food, but then I am Canadian and can get away with anything. 😉
    Mediterranean and Indian fusion – sounds like pure love to me. ♥

  • Anna Johnston
    6 years ago

    What a fantastic meet, the photos say it all. Love the fusion mix of Mediterranean & Indian food, a lot of Australian Indian Restaurants seem to be moving in this direction, we love it.
    Olive Oil is a must, I always use Cold Pressed Olive Oils in cooking, so much healthier.

  • Happy Cook
    6 years ago

    Looks like you had a delicous day. Just look ate that perfectly cooked fish. I am drooling for that piece of fish.

  • Happy Cook
    6 years ago

    Looks like you had a delicous day. Just look ate that perfectly cooked fish. I am drooling for that piece of fish.

  • Chef Dennis
    6 years ago

    wow you all certainly had a great time!! Thanks for sharing all of those wonderful images with us….we need to do one of those in Philly!

  • tasteofbeirut
    6 years ago

    sounds like a lot of fun! interesting how olive oil is being marketed in your neck of the woods too; here it is common, of course, we have olive trees all over the place; I love olive oil and eat gallons of it; however I tried it once on brownies and did not care for it; thought it was too strong. I would be curious to see your take on it; love that poached fish with the spices.

  • Amanda
    6 years ago

    Wow what fun Deeba! I'm jealous!!

  • VeggieWiz
    6 years ago

    Beautifully written Deeba! You've captured the event perfectly! 🙂

  • Eleanor Hoh
    6 years ago

    Beautiful new design. Of course your writing, photos and food MAKE it so. Nice way to get introduced to olive oil. I use canola oil to cook my Indian dishes which I'm sure is frowned upon. Admire your blogging, Deeba.

  • Purnima@a creative project
    6 years ago

    I love your blog..So glad to have found you today..I am drolling over your lip smacking dishes and photography..and also your narration is fantastic!!!

  • Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes]
    6 years ago

    WOW! Looks like a wonderful event 🙂

  • Barbara Bakes
    6 years ago

    Sounds like a fun event. I love spending time with other food bloggers.

  • Arwen from Hoglet K
    6 years ago

    The bagna cauda sounds really flavoursome. I like the idea of a reduced-guilt brownie with olive oil too.

  • Magic of Spice
    6 years ago

    Fantastic event, and what glorious recipes…The photos are perfect 🙂

  • 6 years ago

    Assolutamente d’accordo con lei. Ritengo che questa sia un’ottima idea. Sono d’accordo con te.
    Condivido pienamente il suo punto di vista. L’idea di un buon supporto.

  • 6 years ago

    interesting, thanks

  • 6 years ago

    nice read, keep up the good work

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