Product Review | Classico ‘Espresso Coffee Machine’ from Tecnora #perfectcupofcoffee

“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.”
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Classico 'Espresso Coffee Machine' from TecnoraOur recent trip to Sydney was brought even more alive with good cups of coffee from the crack of dawn to late into the night. They know how to brew a good cup. Oh those flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos, short blacks. Never ending delight sitting at cafes just looking at the variety of choices on offer, and how much folk Down Under enjoy a good brew. For those who have known me for long, you know that coffee is my first love. For those who don’t know me, welcome to my world flavoured by coffee. Coffee and me are inseparable. The mere aroma of coffee in the air is uplifting, seeing a barista at work, invigorating. Add it to dessert, and it’s nirvana!

Coffee in desserts @ PABWell homecoming had a pleasant surprise waiting for me, an espresso coffee machine standing tall on the counter. I still remember a coffee maker that I had bought from the UK years ago. For some reason I never used it as it involved filters and a 1000 bits and bobs that made life more work, less coffee! Cut to now, I took a little while getting used to this new machine from Tecnora. I’m a bit lazy {read plenty} on reading small print and instructions. That I had to do eventually, and soon I was brewing perfect little cups of coffee.Classico 'Espresso Coffee Machine' from TechnoraThe Classico ‘Espresso Coffee Machine’ is a neat machine, the colours stylish in steel and black. Sleek with classic good looks, it blended seamlessly onto my kitchen counter with the Thermomix, the air fryer and the blender. It is lightweight, quick off its feet and quite simple to use. Switch it on, push a few buttons and it surprises you with how snappy it is. It’s also really simple to wash up, with a handy removable drip tray. Easy clean is what I love!Wholegrain peach and cherry tray bakeThe sweet guys from Tecnora also sent me a bag of fine ground coffee beans to get me going. I also have some stash of Coorgi coffee that I love, some vanilla flavoured coffee, and a few more sachets as a lot of people gift me coffee. I made a rather nice rustic bake the other day, a Wholegrain Fresh Peach and Cherry Tray Bake. It paired beautifully with a shot of espresso. Do keep an eye out for the recipe.

Wholegrain Peach and Cherry Tray Bake with  espresso from TecnoraThe same day, I was doing a product shoot for UnTied, and the classic espresso cuppa turned out to be the perfect missing piece to complete my shot! I loved the way the frames worked!!

UnTiedNow that I have about mastered the perfect espresso shot, I have a few plans for more coffee madness. In the pipeline are affagato, espresso panna cotta, espresso coffee cake, probably Vietnamese iced coffee. My mouth is already watering as I share my plans.  Do you guys like coffee? What is your best way to enjoy it? Coffee in desserts? Tell me, tell me, tell me!

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Review | Coppre … Indian traditional copperware. Reviving old traditional skills, timeless designs

“There is no creation without tradition; the ‘new’ is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.”
Carlos Fuentes

 Terracopper Jug, CoppreIt’s no secret that I love amassing kitchen collectibles, the incorrigible prop collector as it may be! It’s a passion I have stoked for years, even before the blog began, and I don’t see the passion diminishing. Glassware, ceramic, stoneware, metal ware all call my name, be it from India or overseas. It’s an obsession I try to tear myself away from, each piece has a story!

produce or props...anything newThe house now resembles a museum of sorts, with old kitchen collectibles dotting nearly every visible space, yet I march on greedily at times! Nothing seems to stop me, the better half still as accommodating and indulgent as ever. My favourite medium remains metal ware. So I was elated when the good folk from Coppre asked if they could send me something from their collection. Yes please I said, I would be honoured!

Coppre … inspired by creating beautiful things. Objects that are crafted by hand embody a unique identity. And convey a special sense of purpose. We look at objects from yesteryears and marvel at the craftsmanship. It never ceases to amaze us how every utilitarian object had an element of ornamentation. And vice versa. So many handcrafting traditions have ceased to be. There were game changers. The colonisers, the industries. And today, the dynamics of a market driven economy.

… the plan. To reinvigorate. And make old artisan traditions come alive. That’s what we love to do. To make beautiful things, that matter. Things that are owned, treasured, loved and then passed on. Things that make you feel good and do good. Because it gives us joy. And purpose.

Food props, food styling, food photograph,IndiayMy love for Indian metal ware dates back to my first little copper tumbler I bought from Vishwanath ki gali in Benaras, now Varanasi. It’s been decades since I’ve visited but the Coppre jug brought a flood of memories back.

Make a morning ritual of drinking copper-charged water with the Terracopper Jug. With a combination of handbeaten etches and plain surface, the jug reveals the innate sheen of copper. The silhouette is inspired by the simplicity of earthern water jugs. Terracopper Jug, Coppre

I used to religiously keep the little copper glass full of water every night and glug it down the copper-charged water first thing next morning. It was a ritual and held a deep connect with Benaras, where we spent most of our childhood summers. My daughter was there on a college trip last year; her sketches of Varanasi below captured some of my favourite memories….Varanasi, ink sketches, Meher Rajpal 2014…and that resonates with what Coppre has done. It’s brought alive an age old tradition, breathed new life into a dying art, and they’ve done it with class. It’s the craftsmanship they have resurrected, hammered metal now so popular in the West, is available here. The possibilities are immense. Copper is a beautiful metal, artistic, long lasting and has great medicinal properties.Indian copperware, CoppreTo reconstitute and revive is the Coppre promise. To breathe new life into our heritage. What a beautiful journey they’ve undertaken. It’s no small task but look at how brilliant the beginning is.  Because this is what they do best – design | craft | propagate. This will bring the spotlight back on our artisans, our craft, and our heritage. Do stop by and look at their range – everyday use, corporate gifting, wedding souveniers. It’s uplifting, it’s inspiring and it celebrates the revival of an almost lost art…

Terracopper Jug, Coppre… and they do it in style. Beautiful craftsmanship, stunning finish, great packaging, thoughtful bag of polish, cloth bags to protect, useful instructions, international shipping. What more can one want ask for ….

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Cheftalk |Unlock the destination with Chef Tanveer, Exc Chef, Le Meridien Gurgaon

“My two rules of cooking: keep it fresh and keep it simple.”
Mike Isabella

Unlock the destination with Chef Tanveer, Exc Chef, Le Meridien Gurgaon 600It did seem like a daunting idea to jump onto a chefs bandwagon at 7am. Yet with an itinerary that promised some fun unlocking of a destination, the journey was full of promise. That it was going to be so so fun was something I didn’t envisage. I would do this again in a heartbeat, so what if the mercury rose to almost 50C that afternoon as we literally spilled into the fish market! This is just a peep into the day we spent with the young, very affable, energetic, creative and impressive Tanveer Kwatra, the executive chef at Le Méridien Gurgaon.

We joined Exec Chef Tanveer Kwatra on a typical day as he took us on a culinary journey unlocking CR Park, microgreens, exotic seldom used local produce like phalsa berries and mango ginger etc. Later, he went on to create magic with the food we bought!

A step into the lobby, and the mood is set.  So pleasing to the senses, what welcomes you is a visual delight, a celebration of art! A Pareesh Maity work greets you as you enter, warmth exuding from the yellow figurine. A number of sculptures by Satish Gujral add to the character, as does the large  art wall behind the reception which illustrates natural forces weathering rock shores and land and has been beautifully depicted by PR Daroz.Le Meridien, GurgaonThe hotel has numerous art pieces which starts from the Tree of Life at the entrance by Vibhor Sogani to the chrome installation at the lobby that depict the transformation from day to night. Vibhor Sogani, Le Meridien, GurgaonCreative, creative, creative …it’s a feel good ambiance! ’twas a cracker of a start to the day as the three of us, Sangeeta, Ruchira and I, landed up in the well lit airy lobby, to be greeted by a bright and cheerful Tanveer. He’s one of those people you take an instant liking to – easygoing, friendly, enthusiastic, and as we learnt through the day, large hearted and very talented. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonWith Eye Opener shots that offered intriguing local flavours – ginger coffee {very new to me & refreshing} and mango jeera, we soon headed for a culinary tour of the property. Our first stop was Latest Recipe, the signature dining restaurant at the hotel. It offers bright, picturesque views of the garden outside the hotel and draws in natural daylight that lights up the space. We returned to the venue for all our meals that day!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonWith a delicious double espresso shot and a smattering of fresh tropical fruit  to awaken our senses, we headed into the chefs den. Well organised work spaces, the men were all busy at work. With the breakfast service already underway at Latest Recipe, the lunch menu was being prepped. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon We were in the ‘Indian’ kitchen, such a delicious space. Local produce, native ingredients, native cooking utensils and methods of cooking. Butter paneer, dhungaar-e-butter chicken {the gravy smoky, earthy, lip-smacking good; very rich too}, a kachchi gosht ki biryani had our taste buds on red alert. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon The chef of course got dizzily busy {was hard to keep up with him} readying up a line of the Le Meridien Gurgaons signature breakfast for us. Duck Khurchan Dosa with Mulligatawny Soup, Brioche Burger, Crab Omelette! Latest Recipe at it’s very best. Great beginning. Need I say more?

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonLatest Recipe : An all-day dining restaurant featuring global cuisine presents guests with a sensory world cuisine experience. Located at the Lobby Level, the restaurant exudes a warm contemporary feel and a visual delight for the eyes; the bespoke music, styled to suit the mood of the day, the alluring aroma of food wafting through the restaurant, authentic & delectable world cuisine. It revolves around five interactive show kitchens displaying a sumptuous array of food, a dining concept that brings the excitement of cooking from the chefs.

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon What strikes you is the creativity at every meal, the small touches, the rustic and earthy feel, above all the chefs personal connect with how he presents things. Bursts of colour from Stappu and Le Crueset dance in the daylight, fresh fruit to make your heart sing, eggs sitting sweetly in ‘nests, ceramic baskets of spice, live counters functioning.

Chef Tanveer KwatraA young lad from Agra who has studied Down Under, he gathers experiences from as far as Fiji to closer at home doing Marwari wedding cuisines, his stories reflect how he picks up and learns on the go. For someone who is as enthusiastic about Agra ki dalmoth and flash fried prawns, Benaras ki chaat and okonomiyaki from Japan, food talk lights up his eyes! Mind you, through the conversation, nothing escapes his eye, what his staff are doing, if anything is incorrectly placed, a runaway crumb. The place runs like clockwork.

Chef tanveer Kwatra It was a packed day. As you read on, {LONG POST ALERT}, you will wonder how much we packed into a day. The chefs day was busier actually. He took loads of time out for us. Before lunch we took a recce of his well organised and well maintained stores, , we sneaked into the pastry room, watched the pastry chef make a TON of choux, piped some wriggly eclairs, inhaled the sweet smell of soft buns baking, then saw them get slathered with butter, got heady with the aromas of lavender and tonka beans … we were welcomed into every nook and corner!Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon That worked up an appetite and ‘those’ colourful dishes with the lunch menu beckoned our famished selves. We ate right off the kitchen counter! Roasted thyme garlic pumpkin with Evoo and feta {we polished it off}…I think it’s the best pumpkin I’ve ever had. Potato daphnoise, fish in a citrusy burre blanc, meaty mushrooms with chicken were just some of the fare. We couldn’t stop eating, pampered under the chefs indulgent gaze…

…and yes, love him or hate him, he swallowed anchovies with great pleasure!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Rolling out were colourful Le Crueset dishes prettily dished with dal, smoked butter chicken, gobhi masala, butter paneer…so much more. In the meantime the kachcha gosht ki Hyderabadi biryani that started cooking on dum in the morning was ready and was being lavished with ghee, saffron, vevetier. We dug in. WOW!! One of the best I’ve had, very authentic, fragrant and done right. On the side, their was a spicy, bursting with flavours mirchi ka saalan!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon A quick pit stop at the lab, nice and neat, where food testing is carried out, and we tripped along to stop by at the cafeteria. What a well organised place, with huge vessels with a finger licking good dal, chicken, paneer, boondi raita and the works. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Stuffed as we were, we queued up to taste the communal lunch served to all the staff. Completed with refreshing glasses of Roohafza and crisp cucumber, pickles too, it was yet another meal to remember! We were joined in the cafeteria by David Hopcroft, GM Le Méridien, Gurgaon.

Fish Market, CR Park, New Delhi

CR Park, New Delhi With the day flying by, it was time to hop into cars and head into the city. Tanveer was going fish and vegetable shopping to CR Park and even though it was 47C, or more like 50C, we leapt to it. I have a never ending fascination with India {in particular Indian markets and sadhus in no particular order}. My first time in CR Park, my first time at the fish bazaar, and I was fascinated!

CR Park, New Delhi Later when I shared a few fishy images on FB and IG, I was welcomed by the local Bong community as one of their own! “full Bengali accredited” as one said. I was loving it. Tanveer bought loads of fish for dinner that night – hilsa, seabass, rohu, sardines. He was in his element!

CR Park, New Delhi Being a non Bong meant getting the right royal ignore when I tried to buy some block printed fabric. Was far more successful shopping for kasundi and earthenware matkis after we dug into the best mishti doi ever on Ruchira’s recommendation. She knows!! Tanveer bought some more mishti doi for a surprise back at the hotel, while we continued the food indulgence finally wrapping up with an addictive radhabollobhi kachauri. Sigh, the deliciousness!CR Park, New DelhiJust a little more shopping, vegetables this time, and the spring in ‘his’ step was infectious. There too he was in his element – mango ginger, jamrul or wood apples, falsa/phalsa berries. There was a glint in his eye as he thought of what he would make with his loot! One more stop on the way back, a small microgreens unit, where we picked up some beautiful beet greens etc, and we headed back to Le Méridien Gurgaon.Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon While we were ready to expire and were packed off to a much needed and very relaxing spa, the good Tanveer zipped off to get dinner ready. How we were pampered all day! Daylight was ebbing, but not our appetite! An hour or so later, back to the ‘now bathing in sunset’ Latest Recipe, we were gobsmacked to see his creativity. Out of the box thinking, fresh ideas, great pairing, perfect balance of flavours, a party on the palette I tell you! Here’s what he bought that day … CR Park, New Delhi and here’s what he did…

Falsa berries – Burrata with Balsamico Scented Falsa and Ciabata Toast
Jamrul & Mango Ginger – Cabbage Onion and Edamame Bean Salad with Jamrul and Mango Ginger, Ponzu Dressing and Wakame
Seabass & Mango Ginger – Pan fried Seabass with Mango Ginger Chutney and Pan Roasted Sweet Potato
School Shrimps & kasundi – Crispy School Shrimps with Kasundi and Apricot Sauce and Burnt Garlic
Mishti Doi – Mishti Doi Eclaire topped with White Chocolate and Popped Amaranth

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Well here’s what we did. W I P E D  I T  A L L  C L E A N!! Not a crumb left. I thought I wasn’t a fish person. I’m not, but am certainly a cooked by Tanveer ‘fish person’! Gosh those school shrimps in the kasundi and apricot sauce with burnt garlic. Mind blowing flavours. Each and every dish was outstanding. I could eat that burrata all day. Paired with falsas & pine nuts, it was to die for! The edamame bean salad saw the flavours waltz off the palette, making magic with textures. And the sea bass with pan roasted sweet potato and beet greens was brought ALIVE with a sharp chili mango ginger ‘kutti’ chutney. AMAZING stuff and so well presented!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon …and an amazing way to finish the day! I LOVED that there is huge focus on local produce, an inclusion of native flavours in the menu, that as far as possible, the ingredients are locally procured. There is a system in place, efficiency is high and the place runs like clockwork. It was a day I will remember for a long time, twelve hours that flew by in a heartbeat in the peak of Indian summer!

Thank you Chef Tanveer and Le Méridien Gurgaon for hosting us.

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