Greek Food Festival @ Renaissance Convention Centre Hotel

It won’t be an exaggeration if i say that Renaissance, Powai is my favourite hotel in Mumbai. The location is just perfect; in the midst of greenery, by the lake it’s a great place to unwind. Their Italian restaurant is undoubtedly the best in the city and their Executive Chef Jolly probably one of the most charming Chefs. 

I have attended quite a few food festivals, media dinners and bloggers’ meets here. After a long gap I visited Renaissance again to try out their Greek Food Festival at the Lake View Cafe. Chef Douskos George from Ledra Marriott, Athens has flown down to share his recipes for this festival. Here’s what I liked (and didn’t like) from the spread.


Apart from the traditional Greek salad there was one with prunes, bacon and zucchini and a pickled fish salad. Loved both but Greek salad won because of feta, of course. 


Out of hummus, babaghanoush and yogurt dip I liked the yogurt dip best. For some reason I prefer the Lebanese hummus over the Greek one.


Greek version of shawarma or gyro were good. Still, shawarma wins for me. The roast lamb leg in mustard sauce was the dish of the day for me, also the moussaka. Sorry for not taking pictures, I was a little too busy eating.

The dessert section was somewhat generic and the famous baklava was missing. But these Greek yogurt tarts made up for it. The yogurt was mildly sweet and the tart perfectly baked.




Loukoumades or honey puffs were specially recommended by the Chef. The deep fried dough balls were flavoured with cinnamon and topped with honey and crushed dryfruits. The dessert had a crispy and mildly sweet crust but was too dry from the inside. It didn’t hit the right note with us sweet loving Indians. However, the Chef served it again topped with a little Nutella which made it taste almost like a doughnut.


And yes, we did break a plate.


The Greek Food Festival at The Lake View Cafe, Renaissance Conventions Centre Hotel is on till Sunday, September 8; 7.30pm onwards.

Dad, dosa and the hunt for the perfect tawa

As a kid making idli – dosa at our home was a monthly ritual. The preparations that went behind it would’ve easily made us look like a South Indian family. Mom would soak the dal and rice overnight for dosa batter and would grind it into a paste, sil-batta being her weapons of choice till dad gifted her a food processor. Her proportions for the batter were always accurate, consistency always right.

The sambhar that she makes still has the same taste as it had some 20 years ago and I still prefer it over all the Cafe Madras and Cafe Mysores. Her simple chutney made of chana dal, coconut and dahi was the star of the meal, I’ve not eaten similar chutney anywhere else.
While mom cooked her perfect sambhar, chutney and aloo sabzi for masala dosa, it was dad who donned the Chef’s hat to make dosas. His practiced hands poured a bowl of batter on the hot pan, spread it quickly making thin, crisp and even colored dosas while my sisters and I gobbled one after another. Dad’s interest in the art and technique of making dosas started in his college days in Lucknow when he and his friends used to go out to eat dosas. He always stood next to the cook observing him, watching his every move keenly.

After starting to make dosa at home dad used the non stick tawa for a very long time. One fine day he went to the market and got a special flat iron tawa made for himself. The tawa that he has is a lot bigger than the one in the video, and heavier too. His dosas got bigger and crispier on the iron tawa eventually, spoiling him for life. Now every time he comes to stay with my sister in Bombay he cribs at the lack of good tawa. Last year he searched the Kharghar market and bought one that sort of fulfilled his need, only for the time being though. He is in town again and planning on getting a heavy iron one for my sis this time. Meanwhile I took a video of him making dosa in his signature style. I don’t know how much time it’ll take me to make dosas like this but I am in no hurry since the husband is learning.

Sorry for the bad quality and too much noise in the video. I didn’t get enough time to edit it.

Restaurant Review – EAT.Deli.Cafe, Bandra (W)

Bandra’s latest deli/cafe opens quietly in the midst of bustling Pali Naka. We walked in for dinner and comes out impressed with cosy interiors and big portions.

Small pots of plants placed vertically on the wall, a French style door with chalkboard; the entrance of EAT – Deli.Cafe makes you wish that it was in a quaint corner of Bandra instead of the busy Pali Market. The flight of stairs leading to the basement seating has been used intelligently to create the seating space. 

The menu though not extensive, offers enough variety right from all day breakfasts, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, mains etc. We started with a Grilled chicken, hazelnut and herb toasted veggies in balsamic yogurt dressing salad (Rs 390). Full of flavours the salad had poached pears to add a little sweetness, yogurt to cut through the sourness of balsamic and hazelnut to add a lovely crunchiness. This with the fresh bread and mustard based spread gave a good start to our meal. We would’ve loved a glass of red wine to go with it but the restaurant isn’t serving alcohol as yet. 


The beverage section has a very cool option where you can turn any of the dessert into a

cake shake. We tried the Hazelnut ganache shake (Rs 270) – thick and chocolaty, a definite hit among the kids. The big juicy BBQ chicken burger (Rs 420) that we ordered next can easily be added to the list of must try burgers. The juicy chicken pieces slathered in barbeque sauce, slapped between whole wheat burger breads are served with chunky potato wedges and some salad on the side. You can top your burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, ham, sausage, blue cheese, sour cream or goat cheese by adding Rs 90 to the price of the burger. Being the carnivores that we are we topped ours with bacon.

Our pick from the mains was Penne with tossed baby potato, roast garlic, almond, green beans and pesto cream (Rs 370). The al Dante pasta came tossed in a very mild pesto sauce. The highlight of the dish was the crispy baby potatoes with roasted garlic. With our tummies already touching the ground we ordered one last indulgence, the dessert. The Three layer chocolate cake (Rs 240) was sinful with layers of dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate mousse on a thin slice of cake making it very heavy.

Soon after our dinner we were making plans to come back for breakfast. With Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (Rs 370) and Blue velvet cheesecake (Rs 240) on the menu our expectations are high.

Must try: Grilled chicken, hazelnut and herb toasted veggies in balsamic yogurt dressing salad, BBQ chicken burger

Meal for two: Rs 1690 (inclusive of taxes)

Address:
Shop No. 13, Dheeraj Arcade,
Pali Naka,
Bandra (W), Mumbai
Phone: 022 2640 0090

Facebook: EAT – Deli.Cafe
Twitter: @eatdelicafe

Eggs on a bed of chili garlic potatoes

Working from home has its perks; no traveling, no waiting for bus, no fighting with auto rickshaw drivers and no pushing yourself through the nudging elbows and sweaty armpits in a crowded local. Another good part is cooking whenever and whatever you like, trying out new recipes which you hardly get time for. Anyway, I think that the grass is always greener on the other side. I am perfectly happy with my job and enjoy these one off working-from-home days.
Today was one of those days when I stayed home, woke up late and made a nice brunch. Result was two very happy and well fed human beings. For eggs on a bed of chili garlic potatoes, I got inspired from this recipe on http://www.foodnetwork.com. The original recipe had zucchini which I replaced with potatoes. I used McCain’s chili garlic potato bites for this recipe but you can make it with diced potatoes, garlic and chili flakes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
Eggs – 2
Onion – 1 medium (chopped)
Potato – 1 large (diced)
Carrot – 1 small (diced)
Bell pepper – 1 small (diced)
Pickled gherkin – 1 (chopped)
Garlic – 2 cloves (crushed)
Chili flakes – 1/2 tsp
Oregano – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander – 1 tbsp (chopped)
Salt to taste
Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and throw in onions for frying.
  • Add minced garlic, potatoes and carrots and fry till they are almost cooked.
  • Add bell pepper, gherkin, chili flakes, oregano, coriander, black pepper powder and salt and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Bring the whole mixture to the centre of the pan and make two depressions in the mix using a ladle. 
  • Now break both the eggs in these depressions, cover and let them cook on slow flame.
  • Once the yolk is cooked, remove from the pan and serve with toasted breads.

My Doodle recipe is a part of Easy Doodle Recipe contest at BlogAdda.com in association with TastyKhana.com

Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

I love Nigella Lawson and practically everything that she cooks. Of her all the recipes that I’ve tried, this is the one which I’ve tried mastering. The first time I made it turned out brilliant, second time wasn’t so good cause I used desi oranges. This time i went with one of those imported looking oranges, not sure what are they called. Their rind is just bitter enough to give this cake a perfect flavour. I’ve added just 2 tbsp of Nutella but you can add more or less as per your taste but this ratio will give a perfect bitter-sweet taste which is divine.

Ingredients:
Oranges – 2 medium
Eggs – 6
Cocoa powder – 50 gms
Castor sugar – 200 gms
Baking powder – 11/2 tsp
Dark chocolate – 2 tbsp (chopped) I used the Royce chocolate bar that I just bought 😀

Method:

  • Place oranges in cold water in a pan and boil them for 2 hours or till they become soft.
  • Cut them from the centre and remove the pips if any.
  • Throw the oranges in the food processor (with the skin) and pulp everything together.
  • Preheat oven tp 180 degree Celcius.
  • Add eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and the chopped dark chocolate to the orange pulp and run the motor till everything is mixed properly. You’ll get a slightly runny batter, don’t worry this is how it should look.
  • Grease the cake tin and pour the batter in.
  • Bake for an hour. The tester will come out clean by this time.
  • Let it cool for a while.
  • Dust it with sugar, add frosting, decorate it with orange rind or just eat this rich dark goodness plain.
This is when it just came out of the oven. The husband thinks I am promoting Nutella a little too much : / so  the next picture is without it.