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.

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

Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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

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Baking | Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … #comfortfood #cookies #eggless #wholegrain

“You’ll never convince me that there’s more to life than chocolate chip cookies”
Charles M. Shultz

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain CookiesEggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … cookies that are meant to be shared! I haven’t posted a cookie recipe for a while on PAB. Possibly since I don’t make new variations very often, or when I do, I forget to jot the recipe down. Ones that I regularly make are all time favourites like Wholewheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies & these Not Quite Anzac cookies.

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies That morning I was due to meet a sweet girl who was coming in to meet me from halfway across India. I knew she was a vegetarian and I wanted to bake something eggless for her. Cookies seemed a good idea for the coffee morning. I had some Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse chilling in the fridge for her too.

Spring Spring has all but given way to summer. Mornings and evenings are beautifully pleasant; the season inspires like no other. Flowers bloom, fruits spill off bazaar shelves, birds chirp, butterflies zip around. Baking is fun in this weather though baking cookies is fun any time!!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies The cookies came out delicious, even better since they were packed with nutrition and whole grains. I love the idea of adding nut meal to cookies. In my case I have to since the daughter dislikes nuts with a vengeance. She loves cookies with nut meal though!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies I baked another batch soon after as we flew into breathtakingly beautiful Srinagar for a short vacation. It’s always nice to carry a ‘taste of home’ with us. Though Srinagar is known for its little bakeries that dot the length and breadth of the city, my humble cookies were much in demand with the kids too! Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthOne look at the ingredients in the recipe and you’ll see the cookie goodness I am talking about. Almonds, whole wheat, amaranth {my latest obsession}, oats, and honey instead of  corn syrup!  Told you … these are deliciously healthy cookies. Indulgent too!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Try them. Cookies don’t get simpler than these. One bowl goodness, fun to make, get the kids involved. Do watch them towards the end of baking. Honey in baked goods tends to lead to faster browning. So do keep an eye!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Healthy, fun recipes with amaranth, whole grains, oats {read lots of oats}, unrefined sugars, honey etc have kept me busy of late. I’ve been involved in doing a project for Saffola Oats here in India.

Whole foodShot two recipe videos with the very sweet Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna for Food Food Channel, India as part of the engagement. You can catch the first episode for a Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Gateau {Gluten free} which has been uploaded onto You-tube.

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