Bloggers Table | {Delhi} Summer Menu at Italia …. Olive Fest!

“Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.”
Sophia Bush

Summer Menu at ItaliaAnother Friday and we were back together, a busy, hungry, chatty bunch of food bloggers from Delhi, taking our ‘Bloggers Table‘  to a fine dining Italian restaurant, Italia, DLF Promenade, New Delhi. I’d been to the tasting table for a unique Lombardian promotion a couple of years ago. This time Italia was about to usher in the Olive Festival and we were invited for a sneak peek and nibble!
Summer Menu at ItaliaThe decor is pretty much the same as it was when we last visited. What changed this time was the noise and the cameras. Our group is expanding {not just by the waistline, but by the number too}Rituparna was new at the table at the Evernote event, and Tanya was the joined in this time. Tanya baked us some delicious chocolate chip cookies which she packed beautifully for each of us {picture at the bottom}!So there was loads of guffawing, loads of clicking and non stop banter! Did I forget musical chairs and table hopping? The hosts were very accommodating and didn’t bat an eyelid at all the cacophony we created despite it being fine dining and a Friday night!
They spoilt us and how.Olives, Italia, New DelhiWe were treated to olives from every region … my favourite the pimento queen olives!  Chef Somopriyo Basu, Vikas Sehrawat {the manager} along with the charming PR executive, Priya Sharma played the prefect hosts. We were joined for a while by the GM {Park} Abhijit Bose who was delightful company, a perfect gentleman! He is SO passionate about Park; I love it!Italia, New DelhiThe evening began with generous servings of crisp Italian cracker bread like focaccia served with an absolutely delicious roasted garlic in olive oil and some pesto. The pesto was passé but the sweetly roasted garlic and loads of olives in brine more than made up for it. With the Italia Olive Festival {24th Aug-2ndSep} on now, you will be amazed at the varieties on offer.Smoked Salmon Involtini & Four Cheese Pizza, Italia, New DelhiThe menu is VAST … it was almost impossible to sample everythingSmoked Salmon & Mascarpone Involtini with Kalamata Olives was the first course, and much enjoyed by the husband who loves salmon. Next, an assortment  – Milan Style Chicken with Colossal Olives, quite  delicious and cooked just right, Arabian Sea Calamari, Bay of Bengal Shrimp, River Sole & Taggiasche Olive, Panzanella, and Shiitake Button Mushroom & Cepes Skewers … all enjoyable with a light summery feel. The palette was happy, kept even happier with some nice Albizzia Chardonnay Toscana 2011 white!Italia, New DelhiI loved the wood oven Four Cheese & Four Olive Pizza! It had an addictive saltiness that came through with the different olives used in the topping. Wish I could have had more, but then again, the main course was on it’s way. And before that Spaghetti with Trapanese Pesto. The spaghetti wasn’t outstanding, though the Parmesan crisp {turned soft} on top was full of flavour!Pan seared polenta with asparagus spears and mixed mushroom sauceOnward we marched to the main course, most of us now quite full. I opted for the vegetarian main course of Pan Seared Polenta with Asparagus Spears and Mix Mushroom Sauce … and loved it! Well done polenta and beautiful sauce made for a great main course. The folk that picked the Tenderloins Medallions, Garden Vegetables & Rosemary Foam said it was really very good! The third option was John Dory with Israeli Couscous & Salsa Verde, relished by those that chose it. There was something for everyone!John Dory with Israeli Couscous & Salsa Verde, Italia, New DelhiIt was finally time for dessert {something eagerly anticipated} but left both Mr PAB and me rather disappointed. It was Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato with Olive Dust. There was actually nothing that stood out in either. The truffle cake didn’t beg to be eaten, if you get what I mean, and the gelato was nothing to write home about. I would have loved a panna cotta like we had the last time, or maybe a tiramisu.Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato with Olive Dust

That said, it was a memorable meal that we enjoyed. Good food, good company and a great place! Thank you Italia for hosting our table!

The rest of us at the table …
Sid Khullar, http://chefatlarge.in
Rekha Kakkar http://mytastycurry.com/
Parul Shirazi http://www.theshirazine.com/
Tanya Khanna http://communicooking.blogspot.in/
Deeba Rajpal, http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/
Apeksha Jain http://www.veggiewiz.in
Rituparna Mukerji http://chocolatesanddreams.in
Sangeeta Khanna http://www.banaraskakhana.com/
Nachiketa Chandra http://www.crazyoverdesserts.com/
Ruchira Hoon http://thegreatcookaroo.blogspot.in/
Charis Bhagianathan http://culinarystorm.com/
Sushmita Sarkar http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.com/

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


Food Event | Wine Tasting … a wine for every season at Four Seasons!

“If your heart is warm with happiness, you’ll need a glass – if sorrow chills your heart, have two!”
Hannu Lehmusvuori

Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing, New DelhiPut together a bunch of food and lifestyle bloggers {read  eight ladies and a lad} with a few bottles of good wine, a connoisseur who is surprisingly refreshing and great company … and suddenly a searingly HOT afternoon quite unbearable at 45C becomes animated FUN! We were hosted by Four Seasons for a Wine & Food Pairing session at the quaint and charming Fres Co in the heart of New Delhi.Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing, Fres Co, New DelhiFour Seasons Wine & Food Pairing, New Delhi

Whether it is the sprightliness of a fresh spring morning, the joyous warmth of a glorious summer afternoon, the tingling nip of a crisp autumn twilight or the biting chill of an icy winter night, to everything there is a season. And to every season, there is an experience. An experience captured by Four Seasons selection of the finest Indian wines.

Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing

Photo courtesy Sangeeta

We walked in hot and bothered, complaining about the unbearable Indian summer. Purba, the lady with the funny bone, had us in splits, her one liners completely justifying her humor and satire blog A-musing. With her came the only ‘cat’ among the pigeons, Prateik aka Snow Leopard …  it was the pigeons day out as the sweet fellow lent us his ear and we chattered voraciously!Four Seasons Wine & Food PairingThe lovely Shamita Sinha, Miss Earth Universe and a wine connoisseur, a truly passionate wine lover, held our rapt attention for the next two hours. What followed was animated discussions, unraveling the magic of Four Seasons, understanding their philosophy, exploring Baramati virtually where they host their vineyards, and how FS is inspired by French wines  … all this through swirls and sips of different wines from the Four Seasons range paired perfectly with delicious grub.Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing, Fres Co, New DelhiWe began with a still Rosé wine, Mr PABs favourite summer wine, Blush as the attractive salmon pink wine is aptly called. It was crisp, light and refreshing, a beautiful accompaniment for light summer fare … perfect! We’ve been looking for a good Rosé after the fabulous one that Mr PAB got back from France. After a couple of really disappointing local ones, Blush really stood out.Four Seasons Wine & Food PairingShamita Sinha, Miss Earth Universe and Wine ConnoisseurNext up was a still white wine Chenin Blanc, then a still red wine Merlot. We missed tasting the Barrique Reserve, but that was OK. Forks were beginning to fall every now and then, the happy gathering cheered on! Shamita talked us through the old school of thought, wine at room temperature and how the concept came to be in temperatures of 13-14C Europe of the past … and how that just didn’t work especially here at 40C! Times have changed so the rules have to go, basic guidelines lead the way, fusion cuisine is in … ultimately your palette is your guide and best friend.Four Seasons Wine & Food PairingDry vs Sweet, Red vs White, food pairings and fusion food pairings, the richness of the cuisine and the intensity of the wine, light summer fare with light summer wine, Indian cuisine and wine pairings, the tanins, the blush, colours from red to straw to white, the health benefits of drinking wine in moderation, antioxidants and also the ‘yeast’ monster at play here too … yes we talked!Sushmita & Sangeeta

Four Seasons, Wine & Food Pairing, New Delhi

Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing

Photo courtesy Sangeeta

Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing

Photo courtesy Anupama

It was wonderful to meet Sushmita, Sangeeta and Anupama for the first time, bloggers who loved the wine as much as the company. Rekha and Rituparna were there too in fine form, enthusiastic and bubbly as ever. It was a wonderful afternoon get together of high spirited women and a lad; we had a giggly good time. We got a heads up on the nuances of everything wine we could ask for from the very unassuming, down to Earth, warm and affable Shamita.Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing, Fres Co, New DelhiThank you Four Seasons for having us over, for introducing us that hot afternoon to your beautiful range of wines and the inspired story behind it. Our incessant chatter and involved conversation might have told you that we enjoyed the afternoon immensely, wines and all, right down to the last drop!

Four Seasons Wine & Food Pairing

Thank you Ashu for organising the meet, and Jyoti for co-ordinating it this end.

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


Culinary Event |Recipe … The Singapore TakeOut {SPICE} & Recipe for Lacy Pancakes!

“1 mobile kitchen, 9 cities, 10 chefs and 15 food brands on a 365-day gastronomic journey.”
Singapore TakeOut

Singapore Take Out, New Delhi New Delhi marks the seventh stop for the Singapore Takeout on its nine-city world tour.  It has already delighted diners in London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. I was glad to be part of this novel concept, a fun afternoon with live cooking and delicious food, made even more interesting with a good bunch of food bloggers from Delhi. In the picture below – Apeksha, Rituparna Chef Benjamin Seck, me, Parul, Rekha. Also met up with talented fun non-food bloggers like Purba and Prateik.

Photo courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards BlogPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

The event was an exclusive preview and luncheon for the media to a taste of sensational Singapore-inspired food from the Singapore Takeout, a mobile pop-up kitchen concept that unfoldsor should we say, transforms, from what looks like an ordinary shipping container.Singapore Take Out, New Delhi In each city, Singapore’s most innovative and internationally celebrated chefs work side-by-side a talent from each respective destination, whipping up dishes that are so unique, so special, and so incredibly delicious, you’ll be left speechless and wanting more! … Just what happened to me!Singapore Take Out, New Delhi From word go, from the time the container literally popped open with a state of the art kitchen fitted inside, it was a unique culinary experience, one that tantalised the palatte and left us wanting for more. It was an afternoon of inspired food, showcasing the best of Singapore celebrity Chef Benjamin Secks gastronomic expertise. He teamed up with two top chefs from ITC Hotels, Chef Manisha Bhasin and Chef Rajkamal Chopra, to serve up a mouth-watering selection of Singapore-inspired dishes. The result – delightful  renditions of Indian cuisine taken to delicious heights … fusion cooking at its best!Singapore Take Out, New DelhiChef Benjamin’s best-selling dish of Nyonya Prawn Curry with Roti Jalal (lacy pancakes) and his vegan rendition of Popiah Goreng (deep fried spring rolls) filled with cabbage and carrot, were excellent and left us longing for more. The sweet red chilli dip served alongside complimenting the spring rolls beautifully! The spiced prawn curry with the tender lacy pancakes were excellent, full of subtle flavours and spices. We were lucky to see a live demo of the pancakes, and I am happy to share the recipe below. Both dishes reflected the chefs Peranakan heritage and of the diverse cultures in Singapore.

Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche & Chicken Tikka with NaanPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

Chef Manisha showcased Duet of Asian Inspired Antipasti, a dish featuring Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche presented in a traditional methi dhania papdi shell. Accompanying it was ITC Maurya’s specialty Chicken Tikka marinated with Laksa paste to give it a Singapore twist and finished on a charcoal grill. Our tastebuds were screaming for more. The duet fabulous, one cold, one hot, the cold served with a piquant tamarind sauce while the warm tikka tender and moist; they made for a handsome bite indeed. The delicately flavoured tikka was served over a basil naan, the anitpasti plated by the chef herself with expertise that reflected her talent and passion. Laksa Pulao and Vegan Spring Rolls, Singapore take Out, New DelhiAs a flavourful finale, Chef Rajkamal recreated a vegetarian Laksa Pulao, which he showcased during the Singapore Takeout launch in Singapore in April 2011. I finished that bowl of pulao in a heartbeat. Even though I consider myself a small eater, I could have had another serving, it was that good. Each grain of rice separate, flavourful and in harmony with French beans tossed in a laksa curry paste. The touch of a seasoned chef came through in every bite, the spices light and endearing. The pulao was topped with a garlic raita and caramelised onions … a mouthwatering symphony of textures and flavours! Singapore Take Out, New Delhi

The Singapore Takeout is part of the Singapore International Culinary Exchange (SPICE) – an initiative helmed jointly by the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and SPRING Singapore which champions Singapore’s cuisine, culinary talent and food products globally. “Singapore has come a long way in its culinary journey. The country is fast becoming a must-visit destination for all food lovers, providing inspiration for culinary talent and an environment which encourages fast and furious food innovation,” says Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, “SPICE will spur this growth on through initiatives like the Singapore Takeout, where our local food and beverage talent will collaborate, exchange ideas, and network with their overseas counterparts.

Foodies can follow the Singapore Takeout journey on www.facebook.com/SingaporeEats.

 

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

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