“After one taste of French food … I was hooked. I’d never eaten like that before, I didn’t know such food existed. The wonderful attention paid to each detail of the meal was incredible to me. I’d never really drunk good wine before, and knew nothing at all about it. It was simply a whole new life experience.”
Julia Child

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteA few days ago we had the pleasure of attending an exclusive gourmet evening with celebrated French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste. As part of a joint initiative of the ITC Maurya and Four Seasons Wines, 30 year old Chef Batiste delighted patrons in Delhi pairing modern French cuisine with a selection of award winning wines from Bouvet-Ladubay & Four Seasons.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste It was an invitation only, formal sit down dinner hosted at the beautiful  roof top West View at the ITC Maurya located in the heart of New Delhi. A pleasantly beautiful early winter evening, an open air antipasti bar, soulful  live music and good company as always ... a promise of good times.

Chef Baptiste at West View KitchenMichelin Star Chef Baptiste Fournier has been voted one of the top 6 young chefs in France by the famed Gault Millau guide. Baptiste took over as the Executive Chef of his family owned restaurant, La Tour, at the young age of 29 and received his Michellin Star in 2011.  He has traveled the world over discovering new cuisines and flavours. The use of  fresh ingredients on his menu is characteristic.

West View, ITC Maurya, New Delhi
Photo courtesy Rekha @ http://mytastycurry.com/

The evening opened under the capitals night sky with a nice, chilled bubbly from Bouvet-Ladubay. It was a nice cozy group. Delhi food bloggers Ruchira, Rekha, Sangeeta and me chatted non stop enjoying the charming good company of ITC Maurya GM, Media Relations, Richa Sharma.

Delhi food bloggers With Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Olive & GM Media Relations, ITC, Richa SharmaIt was a matter of time before Saby joined our incessantly talkative group. Saby {or Chef Sabyasachi Gorai} was just back from an award winning spree in New York where he won the “Best Chef of India” award @ the Varli awards in NYC. Needless to say, the rest of the evening went in animated conversation amidst peels of laughter! {quick clicks by the cel phone!}

 Dinner Menu created by Chef Baptiste at West View Kitchen, ITC Maurya & Four Seasons WinesWe moved indoors for a sit down five course dinner. I opted for non-vegetarian, enjoyed the eggplant caviar with French clams, yet one course down, rapidly changed to vegetarian. The culprit was a sensational Beetroot, orange and goat cheese mousse that vowed one and all. It was the star of the show!

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste
Portraits courtesy Sangeeta @ http://healthfooddesivideshi.blogspot.com/

Next came an artichoke risotto with black truffle which I loved. It had an edgy sourness to it and I loved the neat, small portions. The risotto did evoke mixed reactions as not everyone enjoyed it. I certainly did, right down to the last ‘scraping’ morsel! Nice!! Wine pairing was again the Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteFourth down was a white bean and tomato ragout in basil pesto which was meh. We heard from Abhay Kewadhkar, Director Four Seasons, that the lamb served in the non vegetarian course was one of the best he had ever had! Talk about mixed fortunes and the constant movement from vegetarian to non vegetarian menus. Sometimes I wish we could pick and choose from both!! Wine pairing … excellent Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteThe downside was the delay between courses served, and as the time lag grew, one could see many guests choosing to leave early. Dessert made an appearance around 11pm, close to the Cinderella hour. Since the headcount was quite low by now, I guess they decided to serve both the listed desserts! The pineapple ravioli served with a basil sorbet, with a little passion fruit coulis was awesome. Really refreshing and pleasing to the palette. 

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste Well past 11pm and the the second dessert made its way. Well worth the wait!! A Hazelnut and white chocolate, ice and crispy cappuccino. WOW! That paired with some beautifully chilled just right Bouvet Rose Excellence ended the meal beautifully. It was one of the most outstanding and well balanced desserts I have enjoyed in a while. The dessert plates were scraped clean!

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste

Hardly any photographs of the food served as the event was formal. We did grab a few between delayed courses though. As we left, we were gifted pretty boxes of French macarons, which I thought tied up the French theme quite well. That the macarons were fresh was debatable though. Most shells were brittle and broken. Not quite sure what the problem was here {…my macaron obsession continues!}

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

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
Robert Orben

Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeIt’s been literally a mac-vacation for me, a vacation I dislike as it keeps me away from a challenge I love with a vengeance. I’m back on board to get in with the fun and beautiful Mac Attack Jamie and I host each month. This time our call was for Vacation Macs … and how better could I get there with my mac-a-vacations … Macaron à la Peaches et Crème {pardon my French please}Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeThe flavours are reminiscent of one of the best vacations we enjoyed a few years ago in the Himalayas. Ramgarh, IndiaWe’ve had some other fabulous ones include Goa, Sydney, Hong Kong, Gangtok … but the one the now threatening to be quite terrible just turned 13‘ teen remembers every single day is this one at Ramgarh. Nothing like the serenity of the Himalayas to unwind!Ramgarh, India

That vacation filled in perfectly with our call this month. Our best macarons reminiscent of that ideal vacation or that perfect holiday spot. Mountains, seaside, tiny hamlet lost in the countryside, large, bustling city teeming with restaurants and museums, these are our inspiration. With the best vacation that comes to mind, from that thought, memory or distant dream, create a fabulous Vacation Macaron!

Ramgarh, India Ramgarh, IndiaRamgarh, IndiaWe stayed at a beautiful heritage cottage surrounded by peach trees and since it was peak summer, we walked by peach trees plucking fresh, juicy fruit right off the tree. This is where my lad became a peach monster and developed a deep love for the fruit.Macaron à la Peaches et Crème Summer is for stone fruit is my chant. I just cannot have enough of these delicious fruit that are reaching us in the foothills of the Himalayas; better quality and quantity every year! This summer I have had a field day with stone fruit…Stone fruit Apricot Peach Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake, Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherries, Black Forest Cake, Oatmeal Peach Apricot Mango Smoothie {yet to post}, Dark Chocolate Cherry Wholewheat Cakelets {yet to post} … and my fridge is full of cherries, peaches, mangoes and apricots!Peach Ice CreamI have also been developing some food recipes for Del Monte for their website World Foody. The peach ice cream above is one I made last week from their canned peaches, beautiful cling peaches with a fabulous deep flavour. Will let you know when the recipe is up on the website; until then it’s Macaron à la Peaches et Crème!Macaron à la Peaches et Crème The macaron shells were going to be perfect, something deep within me said to me when I was done folding the macaronage. BUT … in my hurry to beat the power cut, I switched on the upper element instead of the lower one, so my feet popped out with the thermal shock and the skins developed a ‘peach‘ blush. It was too late to salvage the batch, and the little macronage left proved my feeling right! Aaaargh! And did I tell you that at 45C ice-cream melts SO FAST? I was RACING!http://www.chillibreeze.com/interviews/chillibreeze-interview-deeba-rajpal.asp#I used the several times tried and tested David Lebovitz recipe that lives in my head. It never goes wrong if you mix the macronage correctly and let it rest! However, a little more advice follows …

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

… these cookies are fiddly creatures and are dependent on way too many things. egg whites {aged or not}, almond meal,oven temperature, room temperature, humidity levels, the hand that mixes them, the way you pipe them out … and above all, lady luck!

Before I get onto the recipe, I’d like to thank Chillibreeze for interviewing me. You can read it here if you like.I’d also like to thank the Financial Times, Times of India, for including me so generously in their feature ‘Gurgaon is Blogging & How‘ on Business Street, 21st June, 2012. Last but not the least, thank you Javelin Warrior for adding my Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake in your delicious Friday Food Fetish.

Thank you all! I feel really honoured.

Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the lovely Meeta @ Whats For Lunch Honey, and this month it celebrates Barbara’s spirit at the wonderful Jeanne @ Cook Sister with a Taste of Yellow. I am sending this to the MM for July 2012.

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

“Macarons should be eaten slowly with each mouthful savoured. They should be eaten somewhere pretty and refined.”
Yellow Magpie

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Nothing in the cookie world seems to have evoked as much interest and admiration as macarons! Sweet and pretty bites, inspirational to make, absolutely charming, yet intimidating for bakers like me. At MacTweets, our mac-obsessed kitchen, Jamie and I called to mark World Macaron Day on March 20th. These Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme are my tribute to this delightful invention!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I’ve missed making macarons for a while now and was happy to be faced with a MacTweets challenge for World Macaron Day. Been thinking long on what to make and what not to, and then thanks to sweet blogger friends like the lovely and talented Shayma, I made these addictive bites. They might not look perfect, but they tasted fabulous!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Life is busy and we have had family and friends from overseas visiting us over the past few months. They all know I food blog, so with them come delicious ingredients and kitchen stuff I might not ever dream of. I feel special … very special!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme …and felt even more so when a few days ago the Spice Spoon girl tweeted to ask when my folk were visiting as she had something to send for me. My cousin from Pittsburgh flew in a few days later. With him came these beautiful spice boxes from William Sonoma – Dried Blood Orange Peel and Pure Maple Flakes.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme The minute I saw the pretty little jars I knew what my macs were going to be – Blood Orange with Maple filling. I had already a thread of orange in my mind as my life is overflowing with tangerines. All the little shrubs have branches hanging heavy with this beautiful fruit … the little pooch seems to take a keen interest in the fruit too; little Coco who is ALL EYES!!Tangerines & CocoPretty orange life and there is only so much bitter marmalade I can make. I thought I would sweeten the filling mildly with maple flakes and add a dash of orange from the little bitter tangerines. The shells baked fine, the little feet appearing in a few minutes of baking, blushing a pastel orange. Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry CremeOf course we had a power cut again, but thankfully the frills had formed so no harm done! I was quite happy. What I wasn’t happy with was my choice of filling. A pastry creme obviously isn’t firm enough for these fiddly creatures. They got soft overnight and I had some fixing to do!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry Creme I had a fix in mind … chocolate can fix anything, even a broken heart, and then I came across Mardi’s macaron post asking ‘Why do my macarons have hollow shells. That set me thinking! It was time to read up again. My macarons are also hollow at times and OK at other times even though my recipe is the same. So mac-obsessed me set off to try Mardis recipe.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I have to say they are the best tasting macarons I have ever made even though the shells weren’t anywhere near smooth. They looked so good 6 minutes into baking, just the perfect macs, but soon after threatened to crack up, but then shriveled slightly. Maybe it was because of undermixing, but the flavours were da bomb! You can find her recipe, perfect macarons and beautiful post here Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme To remedy the filling, I melted dark couverture chocolate and stirred it through the maple orange pastry creme, then chilled it. Delicieux!! There was a slight hint of bitterness from the tangerine peel and the balance of flavours was perfect! Thank you my sweet friend ShaymaThe Spice Spoon for adding wonderful spice to my life; inspiration too! I am sure you’ve been to her beautiful blog; it’s a treat in every sense!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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