Feature & Giveaway | My Favourite Chef {s} … and a holiday giveaway #myfavouritechef #inspiration #giveaway #flipkart

“Do something you love and people will love you for it.”
Maneet Chauhan

Your favourite chef’twas a great way to begin Monday morning. I almost fell off my twitter perch to see that Alice Medrich had followed me. She was one of my first baking inspirations. The author of  an array of sinfully delicious cookbooks like Pure Dessert, Seriously Bitter Sweet, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy and of course Bittersweet {among many others}, never fails to amaze. Chocolate dessert chef, teacher, James Beard and IACP Cookbook of the Year Award winning author … one of my favourite dessert chefs!

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau My first window into her world was way back in 2008 when I was inspired to make her Olive Oil Orange Cake. The inspiration continues … Dark Chocolate, Craisin & Walnut scones, Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies, and one of our all time favourites, the Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Fallen Cake.

Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiTalking of chefs, more specifically favourite chefs, I have a few more quite a few more on my list. These I have been fortunate enough to meet, they are large hearted, affable, poster boy chefs who are some of the nicest human beings I have met. Saby or Chef Sabyasachi Gorai was among the first I met in Delhi. He’s the sweetest ever. A chef who is a painter? Yes indeed!Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi A chef with the midas touch as I always tell him. Down to earth, hugely talented, young, bursting with energy and ideas. As I write this, Saby is in Goa launching his first restaurant  there today, Destination One!

Cook For A Smile with Chef Vikas KhannaNext on my list is one of my favourite chefs, Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna. Down to earth, a crowd pleaser, uber talented, works 28 hours a day, feet firmly on the ground, bursting with stories not necessarily food related, passionate about India, passionate about America … words escape me.

Fullscreen capture 29-09-2014 201138

Saffola Fit Foodie with Vikas KhannaWe worked together on the Saffola Food Food TV series {episode 1 & episode 2}. All of us were blown away by his friendly nature, unfussy attitude and his side splitting humour. From Amritsar to America, he is possibly India’s best and most loved export to the west. .

Breakfast at Olive with the MasterchefsMore favourites … Aussie Masterchefs George and Gary who we had a chance to meet over breakfast when they were here, the heart of gold Chef Kunal Kapoor, the absolutely animated and entertaining Chef Vicky Ratnani, the sweet Chef Maurizio Raselli at the Hyatt…

Chai Bar, Soda Bottle Openerwala, Cyberhub, Gurgaon …quiet and unassuming Chef Anahita at Soda Bottle Openerwala {restaurant pictured above}, the ever charming David RoccoChef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi 4… I could go on forever but instead will leave you with a question and a holiday giveaway.

Who is the one chef that has left their impression on you? Who is your favourite chef?

Since we’re just ringing in the holiday season here. Zoutons have been sweet enough to sponsor a giveaway for one of my readers.

The giveaway is a gift voucher worth INR4000 from Flipkart.zoutons-online-coupons

To be included in the giveaway, there are 2 simple rules:
1. Name your favourite chef
2. At the end of your comment, you must mention “For the contest on “My Favourite Chef” sponsored by Zoutons.com
  •  Please ensure you leave a valid email address.
  • The contest is open worldwide.
  • The contest closes on the 15th of October. We will randomly pick a winner thereafter.
 The contest winner is VJ Sharma . Congratulations. Please send me your email address so I can send you the coupon details.

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

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

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