Book Review | Vicky Goes Veg … green, fresh and exciting – and a copy to giveaway

‘Going green has never been so deliciously exciting. Bon Apetit…’
Farhan Akhtar

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes VegRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad from Vicky Goes Veg. Everything about the book is colourful, fresh, exciting, full of flavour and vegetarian of course! It’s an exciting new book by Chef Vicky Ratnani and holds a LOT of promise. Vegetarianism is no longer considered ‘second food. Slowly but surely vegetarian centric cookbooks are appearing on bookshelves, grabbing eyeballs as they do so!Vicky Goes Veg @ The Palms, GurgaonWe were hosted by Harper Collins & Nachiketa at the lush and beautiful ‘The Palms‘, Gurgaon for the book launch. Vicky Ratnani has infectious energy, is animated and absolutely passionate about food. I was fortunate to meet him in Jan last year at a tea & food pairing session, and it certainly was a pleasure to meet him again.Vicky Goes Veg, The Palms,.Gurgaon

Vicky Goes Veg He held fort by the poolside under the blazing setting sun, which shouldn’t have been quite so blazing in Mid March … but was! Sporting that he is, he didn’t blink an eyelid, no complaints nothing. He was there well before the guests began to arrive and after a short delay {thanks to the TV crew}, he fired up!

Eggplant & Bok Choy in Sambal, Vicky Goes VegSauteing, chatting, sharing tips and trivia and a load of his passion, he held the attention of the select audience. As he stirred up magic, we were served the same from the kitchen alongside. The flavours blew us away! Who wants to eat non vegetarian food if vegetarian food can be so exciting. Not me!! The Braised Plantain with Thai spices was out of the world good, as was the Eggplant & Bok choy in sambal.

Local produceI love the energy throughout the book. It entices you to ‘try’ something different. I also love that Vicky has stuck to the concept of  sourcing local produce, something that makes the locavore in me do a merry dance. The photographs that liberally colour the pages are a journey of the food chain in India including the merchants and the local bazaars.

Carrots,beets, home grown 2Vicky is often seen arm in arm with the guys who matter … yes, those who grow, deliver and sell local produce. It’s refreshing to see so much space dedicated to the local sabziwala i.e. vegetable vendors. The recipes in the book are unique, hail from across the world but come with an Indian twist, all green and fresh!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg The good thing is that Vicky encourages you to think out of the box, constantly innovate and evolve. He offers his book as a stepping stone for new ideas in vegetarian cooking, and tells you to be fearless. If you don’t have this, use that. There’s plenty of trivia tucked within that makes the book even more interesting. One downside is that the number of portions or ‘servings’ aren’t specified.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg So I set off to make the Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad.  Of course, my heart followed his advice and my recipe meandered off as I was short on time. I didn’t blend the dressing, only whisked it. Substituted apricots for walnuts, simplified the dressing a bit. I also made Stromboli from the book which disappeared too quick!

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, VICKY GOES VEG, please leave a comment below telling me which your favourite vegetarian dish from across the globe is. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. This giveaway is open to residents of India, or anyone with an Indian mailing address. {Giveaway sponsored by Harper Collins}

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Smoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … giveaway to end 2013

“People close to me called me ‘Curry in a Hurry.’
I was moving through life at 100 miles an hour trying to further my career and be a great mom and make everyone happy.”
Ann Curry

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka MurghSmoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … a simple slow cooked baked Indian chicken curry that makes life on the table seem somewhat easier. I normally cook curries on the stove top. This time was different, and it worked out quite well. Smoking it added a delicious dimension!

Chicken KormacurryI haven’t posted a curry for ages even though I cook them often, including chicken and lamb korma. I’ve recently done a ‘butterless‘ butter chicken and the feedback was great. Mr PAB even commented saying it was better than buttery butter chicken!! At the time I took no pictures as it was still ‘work in progress‘…

Nirlep Anodized CookwareNirlep contacted me and asked if I would like to review any of their products. With a range as varied as Premium Steel Casseroles to a simple sandwich pan, I left it to them. All I asked for was something I could maybe pop into the oven, since I know they do a stove top range. Not that I don’t cook stove top {read I DO ALL THE TIME}, but the baking blog needed a connect!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh They sent me a beautiful hard anodized handi, so I grabbed a chicken and set to work. The curry is simple as can be. It’s a simple overnight marination which tenderises the chicken. I cook it on the bone, but you can go boneless too if you like. This time I added green chutney to the marinade, some caramelised onions too. Experiment as you like because you never know what will hit the sweet spot!

Caramelised onionsAs all Indian cooking, this curry works on beautiful ‘andaaz‘, eye balling as it is better known. A bit of this, a dash of that, a few green chillies for flavour, maybe a couple of beautiful red ones too. Mix it all in and marinade straight in the pot, and then throw into a low oven the next day. An hour and a half later, you have CURRY, a nice thick wrapped one!!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh OR … heat a little clarified butter in the handi / pan {OK you can use oil}, caramelise some finely sliced onions, pick out the chicken pieces from the marinade and cook over high heat to seal the juices and get the pieces beautifully browned. Add the rest of the marinade, give it a quick gentle stir, seal tightly … into the oven again! Of course you could also cook over a very gentle stove top.

Passionate About BakingI have a few idea for the handi. A Basque Lamb Stew, kaali dal, stir fried veggies, Thai green curry, kadhi … all in the pipeline. Maybe a little ambitious but pot bread too. It’s quite cold {read freezing} here these days, so as soon as the weather lets up, it’ll be time to bake bread. Have to keep the yeast monsters happy!

What I love about the Nirlep Ebony Handi / anodized pot…

  • Good quality, feel good pot with a snug lid
  • The handles don’t get hot
  • Heavy duty
  • Convenient ergonomic design which is ideal for sauteing, cooking, heat distribution
  • That it goes from the stove into the oven, and back with ease
  • That you can serve right out of it, fuss free!
  • Easy clean up

So tell me dear readers, what would you make if you had a pot / handi like this? Nirlep will be happy to giveaway a similar pot to a reader of my blog. Additionally, I will add a cookbook from one of my favourite Indian authors and chef Vikas Khanna. He’s a large-hearted, fun, talented guy who is passionate about what he does. I love ‘My Great India Cookbook‘ {one of his 3 cookbooks ranked #1 in India by Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2013}. I figured you might love it too, so I am including it in the giveaway. The giveaway is open to anyone who has an Indian postal address and loves to cook/bake of course!! {Entries close on the 15th Jan 2014}

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Tea Rose Fondant Cake … and a floral giveaway #serenataflowers

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
Hans Christian Andersen

 Tea Rose Fondant CakeA Tea Rose Fondant Cake … inspired completely by Peggy Porschens ‘Pretty Party Cakes’. I have had this stunning book by this very talented sugar craft artisit for years. It sits by my bedside and provides infinite hours of eye candy. I didn’t once think I could attempt her beautiful work; until yesterday …

Tea Rose Fondant Cake 2I have long delayed making sugar paste at home. LONG! The one day I saw a fondant cake at The Great Cookaroo, sometime late last year, and I knew she had beaten me to it. Bah humbug! It still seemed pretty formidable to me, even though Ruchira convinced me it was quite easy. She made her fondant out of marshmallows.

Sugar Paste icing is a very sweet edible sugar dough usually made from sugar and glucose. It is sometimes referred to as fondant or sugar gum or gum paste. It can be used to cover cakes, mould features and create decorations for cakes and many other uses.

Tea Rose Fondant Cake Then a few days ago I met a very talented Amrita at I Bake who commercially does cakes with fondant. She convinced me it was really easy to make at home. The sweet girl even offered to send a batch home for me to work with. Enough! It was time to give fondant from scratch a shot, and was promptly entered as a new year resolution; rather an update of one which has been long postponed.

Tea Rose Fondant Cake

Seems like flowers are ‘in season’!! A few days ago, I was asked if I’d like to host a floral giveaway for readers of PAB from the beautiful Serenata Flowers in the UK. Serenata Flowers is a gift shop where other then flowers, you can find chocolates and wine too. They are hosting a giveaway well in time for Valentines day.


The prize is a £30 voucher at Serenata Flowers, that should give the winner the chance to choose a nice gift. Delivery would only be to an address in mainland UK , the winner may live outside UK though. All you need to do is visit the site and leave a comment saying which bouquet you like best. The contest is on until the 31st of Jan, 2013, and the winner will be announced thereafter.

Tea Rose Fondant CakeIt was time to pair real flowers with edible ones, and also time to ‘fondant or sugar paste’! This was my first attempt at working with fondant and I have to say I loved it! The end result wasn’t perfect, creases that peeped through, yet it took me back many years. Back to those play dough times, flowers, leaves, roses …

Tea Rose Fondant Cake I loved using the leftover bits to cut out ribbons etc. Later thought I could have done bees and butterflies too. Maybe the next time I feel so inspired, now that I can ‘do it’!! Fondant is therapeutic; makes you rediscover the inner child in you!

Tea Rose Fondant Cake  8See the ‘cake’ platter? I have to confess that it’s actually a salad plate from Urban Dazzle. It’s a classic white, round platter. The interesting bit is the offset centre which gives you a slight forward tilt. It’s a great aesthetic platter to have, and happily one that doubled up as a cake plate as in this case.

Tea Rose Fondant Cake Cookies, finger foods, cupcakes, fruit, candy seem like some other fun uses. Until I do salads in it, I’m enjoying its versatility! This Tea Rose Fondant Cake was the best baking beginning to my new year. I love you fondant!!

Tea Rose Fondant Cake I learnt something else. Kids never grow up! You should have seen their eyes light up when they saw all that sugary sweet prettiness! I thought they were both way beyond it. Pictures of the cake furiously ‘WhatsApped‘, the urgency to have dinner done, the impatience to cut a slice, the happiness at devouring the cake {the vanilla buttermilk pound  cake is wonderful on it’s own}… so worth the effort!

Tea Rose Fondant Cake If you don’t want too much sugar overload you could always just do a 1 egg mini cake. The little one came away neatly and looked sweet on it’s own. The fondant recipe is minimally adapted from ‘Essential Guide to Cake Decorating’ by Alex Barker, which the kids gave me us on our anniversary 4 years ago. This was my first foray into the book … and I loved it!Tea Rose Fondant Cake

Tea Rose Fondant Cake So go on guys. Spread out some fondant if you are so inclined. Otherwise send someone you love a beautiful bunch of flowers from Serenata Flowers. Share some joy!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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