Monday, December 29, 2008

Holly Jolly Christmas

Hope you are having a wonderful time and enjoying your holidays.
Sharing with you some traditional goodies that are part of the American culture for the Christmas Holidays -


1) Eggnog - Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage made with milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs (which gives it a frothy texture), and flavoured with ground cinnamon and nutmeg; alcoholic versions also exist with the addition of various liquors, such as brandy, rum, and whiskey.

2) Cookies of all different kinds - do read the post on Monster Cookies posted here few months back.

3) Fruitcake - is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices, and optionally soaked in spirits.

4) Gingerbread - is a sweet that can take the form of a cake or a cookie in which the predominant flavors are ginger and raw sugar.

5) Puddings

* Plum Pudding - is the dessert traditionally served on Christmas day.
* Persimmon Pudding - is another traditional American dessert made with persimmons - known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods" and is the edible fruit

6) Pies

* Apple Pie
* Mince Pie - contains minced meat with apple as a base.
* Pecan Pie
* Pumpkin Pie
* Sweet Potato Pie

7) Meats like Roast Turkey and Ham

8) Drinks include Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, Wines, Champagne

Have fun and a happy new year to you all

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Whats on your mind???

Hello people, how are ya all doing eh? Hoping you are all fit and fine. I wonder how did you guys manage to take care of yourselves whilst the cookers of Ambrosia were away. Its just that all the cookers of Ambrosia have gotten busy just around the same time. Just a quick apology for the sudden disappearing act. But hey we are back after a month long hiatus.

So so....this ones not a recipe, not a restaurant review, not some nutrition facts or any tips. Instead how about you particiapte in this post by telling us what's the first thought / thoughts that comes to your mind right now when i say the word 'FOOD'


U wanna know what crosses my mind.....Cookies and Cream ....yippeeeeeeeeeeee me craving for cookies and cream n its 10: 41 pm here and its snowing like crazy but I dont care I am going to pick up a tub of Cookies and Cream.......anyways wanna share? So tell me what r u feeling like right now...come'on quick......everybody at ambrosia is straving...its been over a month now that we talked about food eh....drop in your comments in the mean whhile i'll just get some yummilicious ice cream for moi..

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monster Cookies

All the cookers are in transition at this time - so the delay in this post.



Here is an interesting recipe for MONSTER COOKIES by our second guest blogger - Carolinagal. This recipe includes the Oatmeal that Princess Mia wrote about in the last post.


3 Eggs
1 cup sugar
mix
Half box light brown sugar
mix again
Add 12 oz Peanut butter (12 oz. is about 340 grams)
1 stick of butter softened to room temperature (1 Stick = 1/4 pound or 113 grams or 8 tbsp.)
mix all together
Quaker quick-cooking oats (I usually buy the 18oz container and use about half to three quarters of it)
mix all together
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips
M&M's - a few (or Cadbury Gems )
stir all in together
Place equal size portions on parchment lined cooking sheet
Preheat oven to 350 deg
Bake 8-10 minutes
Do not over bake unless you prefer Monster Charcoal.


They are called Monster Cookies BECAUSE they have all the 'good' ingrediants.
You don't HAVE to add raisins and M&M's (Gems) if you don't want- they can be substituted with more chocolate chips.
You can also add crushed walnuts if you want - the more creative the better.
For those who are allergic to peanuts, simply eliminate the peanut butter.
This is great recipe if you have an office party the next day, and you are asked to bring something. Once you have all the ingredients ready, it takes about 10 min to put everything together, and another 10 min to bake. And everyone will LOVE these cookies!!

Enjoy!

(P.S. I have asked her to include how many cookies this particular recipe will make and if she has any information on the calorie content - will include the information in the comments)
- Recipe by Carolinagal
- Presented by Ceedy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Power packed Oats

A lotta people these days are getting health conscious inne? A lot of are readers here are also on a low cal diet inne.....so this ones specially goes out to all the people who go gymming, are on a diet or are thinking of die-eating and ofcourse for all those who have just been putting on weight reading all the Ambrosia posts ......So lets talk about oats today.....

So for those of you who have only heard of white bread n cheese n whole cream milk....lets see what are oats eh?

Oats are grasses that produce grains just like wheat, barley, rice etc. Oats grow on stalks, with kernels more widely distributed along a looser tree-like framework. They are very popular in the West and slowly catching up in the East too. Its very popular in the health food movement cos of its high nutritional value. Oats are high in protein, calcium, fiber, vitamin E.
Why should you have Oats?
  • Lowers LDL 'bad' cholestrol which in turns reduces the risk of heart diseases. The fibre absorbs excess fat and flushes it out of the system curing constipation also.
  • Highest protein content amongst cereals , which is equivalent to soy protein which has been shown by WHO to be equal to meat, milk & egg protein thus boosts energy. 
  • Stabilizes blood glucose levels, balancing blood sugar levels by eating fibre rich food helps mood swings & depression. Oat meal rejuvinates the endocrine systems & enriches sexual pleasure as it matures the nerves. 
  • Some fatty acids, antioxidants & vitamin E present in oatmeal slow cell damage n reduce risk of cancer. 
  • Being low in fat and salt is a good source of iron. 
  • Contain high calcium content thus good for heart, bones n nails. 
  • Can be used as a substitue for cornflour, thus can be added in soups & gravies as a thickening agent.
BTW Oats can be eaten as porridge, oatcakes oatmeal cookies. Oats can be found in cold cereals like museli n granola being partly cooked in the mill can be consumed with fresh or dried fruits & yogurt.
FYI - Oats are used for brewing beer and also to feed cattle n horses.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Caramel Celebrations!!!

Folks there have been many changes and all good with the cookers in the past one week and thus there have been no updates on Ambrosia.

Since all the news are happy news - the second post on Wine that was mentioned in the last post - it can wait. First sharing the good news -

Vrij and Mrs. Vrij have a new entrant in their life - a cute baby boy :)
D'Sinner got selected to a course to Punjab University as was her dream.
Gunj has got a new job and has moved to a new city.
Princess Mia is looking forward to her vacation to Goa with her friend.
Anindita is looking forward to her vacation.
and as for me Ceedy I am simply celebrating life and new online friends.

Congratulations to one an all!!!!!!!

So to celebrate each of our changes and of any changes of any readers of this blog, I am sharing this easy recipe of Caramel Walnut Brownies by Sanjeev Kapoor of Khana Khazana fame.

I have baked this many a times and it is simple and has been appreciated by all.


Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 40 Minutes


Ingredients:
1/2 cup Sugar
Oil to grease
250 grams Chocolate
8 tablespoons Butter
4 Eggs
2-3 Drops Vanilla essence
1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
1 cup Refined flour (maida)
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
A pinch Salt
1/2 cup Walnut kernels, crushed lightly

Method of preparaion:
- Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease a baking sheet with oil.
1) Preparing Caramel
- Combine sugar and two tablespoons of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Cook, stirring all the time, until the mixture is deep brown in colour. Set it aside and keep it warm on a pan of hot water.
(If you want you can skip the caramel part and simply call it Chocolate Brownies)

2)Preparing the Batter for the Brownies
-Combine chocolate and butter in a pan. To melt this mixture, put some water in a bigger vessel and place the bowl with the chocolate in it and cook till it is smooth and even. Or you can microwave it for a minute at a time till both melt enough to be mixed smooth and even.
-Remove from heat and allow to cool.
-Beat eggs with vanilla essence until frothy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well till all the sugar has been used up.
-Sift refined flour, baking powder and salt.
-Add to the egg mixture, little at a time, folding into it carefully and lightly without losing much aeration.
-Blend in the cooled chocolate mixture. Spread half of this batter onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for around six minutes.
-Remove from the oven and spread caramel carefully over the baked layer. Stir in walnuts into the remaining chocolate batter and spread over the caramel layer. Bake for twenty minutes.
(As an option you can also add chocolate chips at this stage with walnuts)
-Take it out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate before cutting into bars or squares.

The brownies can be had on their own or can also be served with a twist.


Once cut into squares before serving warm the brownies a little and serve it with Vanilla Icecream and chocolate syrup smeared on it. I prefer using the Vanilla Bean Icecream instead. Has a richer taste.

Hope you enjoy it!!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wine -1 (Updates)

Updated the post (in red) under Sparkling Wine and Fortified Wine sections as per inputs from Carolinagal - Thanks
A couple of months back Preethi posted an interesting post on different types of wines. Adding to her input, presenting this two part series on Wines. This post will be an elaboration of what she had mentioned in her post with certain additional information.

In the next post I will talk more about Wine Selection, Grading Process, the Different Types of Wine Glasses and other relevant information.
Wine grapes mostly grow between the 30th and the 50th degree of latitude, in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. (Link to major Wine growing regions of the world) Grapes will sometimes grow beyond this range and minor amounts of wine are made in some very unexpected places. The types of grapes used to make a wine are the most important factor in the taste of the wine. However, the flavors are also affected other factors such as soil, exposure to sunlight, climate, how the grapes are handled and fermented, types of yeast used, whether the wine is aged in wood, etc. Because of this, the same type of wine can be produced in several different regions, but various factors result in wines which taste different. Half the fun of experiencing wine is the incredible array of flavors available.

There are 5 basic types of wines namely:
Red Wine
White Wine
SparklingWine (in other words - Champagne)
Rosé Wine
Dessert or Fortified Wines


Red Wines - are made with red grapes. But the color does not actually come from the grape juice itself. Instead it comes from the grapes being fermented with skins still on. Names of the wine are based on the names of the grapes they are made from. There are about 40 important types of red wine grapes grown in the world today.
Some popular grapes and hence the red wines are:
Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese,
Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo and Zinfandel


White Wines - Almost every white wine is made with white grapes, though it is possible to make white wine using red grapes. This is because when white wine is made, the juice is separated from the skins before the fermentation process. The juice does not absorb the color of the skins. For the same reason, white wine has much less tannin than red. (Tannin - Wikipedia Link) There are 50 major white grapes grown in the world today, 24 in California alone.
Some popular grapes and hence the white wines are:
Chablis, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewruztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling,
Sauvignon/Fume Blanc, Semillon and Viognier


Sparkling Wine - Many sparkling wines made after the style of Champagne, but only those made in that Champagne region in the north of France, according to the painstaking Méthode Champenoise, can rightfully be called Champagne. All others should be labeled as Sparkling Wine. Apparently how the fizziness in the wine is brought about determines the texture and the taste of this wine. They also make sparkling red wines namely Shiraz, Merlot etc.


Rosé wine- Rosé wines are made with red grapes, but are only allowed to stay in contact with the grape skins for a short time. This allows it to keep only some of the reddish color. The provide a perfect backdrop to many of summer's greatest food fare. Rosé wines are sometimes called blush wines. Sometimes they are even called white despite the obvious pink color. White Zinfandel is a rose wine, not a white.


Dessert/Fortified Wine: Also called dessert wines or liqueur wines, this type of wine has been "fortified" with extra alcohol. The Alcohol content of these wines will be over 14%.
Fortified wines are not generally served with a meal. These types of wines are often served after retiring from the dinner table. Although grape brandy is most commonly added to produce fortified wines, the additional alcohol may be derived from a variety of other sources including sugarcane, sugar beets, and even petroleum.
Some of the examples of Dessert Wines are:
Madeira, Port, Sherry and Vermouth

Sources : About.com, Wine Spectator, Virtual Wine Guide
Hope this will help you distinguish different kinds of wines available. - Ceedy

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Delectable Haleem

The Holy month of Ramzan brings to fore the ultimate delicacies of Hyderabad. For 30 days, the fast is broken with some mouth watering delicacies, mostly made with mutton. The Hyderabadi Biryani has spread its wings wide and is probably the most revered global delicacy along with the pasta and the dosa ! But mostly unseen during the normal days is one dish that will leave you begging for more... The Haleem.

No Ramzan is complete without the Haleem. It can be a snack, a side-dish, an accompliment or a full meal in itself. And all in just one avatar, unlike the 101 varieties of pasta or dosas or pizzas.

It might be a cumbersome to make, but then once you have made it, every drop of sweat spent will seem worthwhile. So lets get cooking for the Iftar party :)

Ingredients:

1kg Boneless diced mutton
400gms Whole wheat
200gms Gram Lentils (Chana dal)
2 Cups Thick Curd
3 Large Onions
2 Cups Ghee / Vanaspati
2 Tsp Chilli powder
2 Tsp Turmeric powder
2 Tsp Coriander powder
1 Tsp Cardomom powder
2 Tbsp Ginger garlic paste
50gms crushed Cashews
50gms crushed Almonds
4 Green Chillis
4 Lemons
2 bunches Fresh Coriander
2 bunches Fresh Mint
2 Eggs
Salt to Taste

Lets get cooking:

Soak the wheat and gram lentils in water for 3-4 hours or overnight. To the curds, add the Chilli powder, Turmeric powder, Cardomom powder, coriander powder, Ginger-garlic paste, green chillis and salt to taste. Mix these into a paste and marinate the mutton in this and leave for 3-4 hours.

Drain the water from the wheat, dry the wheat in a cloth and pound it. Add the marinated meat mixture to this along with the cashews and almonds. Add a cup or so of water and cook the meat and wheat mixture till the meat becomes very tender. Use an old fashioned lentil masher to literally grind this into a uniform thick paste. You can use a blender too, but that will make the mix a very fine paste which is not ideal.

Take about a cup of Ghee/Vanaspati in a pan and heat it. Finely chop 2 onions and add to the ghee and fry till golden. Do not let them go brown. Add a pinch of salt to this too. Add the blended paste of meat and wheat to the pan and mix well. Add finely chopped coriander and squeeze a couple of lemons into this. Add some water and cook till the entire mix becomes very tender and pasty.




While the above gets done, make thin slices of a large onion and fry in heated oil/ghee till golden brown. Hard boil two eggs and slice them into thin slices. Also heat one cup of Ghee/Vanaspati.

When the meat/wheat paste is completely cooked, take it into a serving dish and marinate it with hot ghee, mint leaves, fried onions and slices of boiled eggs. Squeeze lemons to taste.

Dig in and Enjoy !!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brazilian Lemonade

This recipe is the quick one when you have guests at home and you want to serve them something other than the regular water/coke etc. It is quick to make and is always a delight with the friends! :D

Ingredients:

* 2 Limes (Not lemons!!)
* 1/2 cup Sugar
* 3 tablespoons sweetened Condensed Milk
* 3 cups Water
* Ice

Directions:

* Wash the limes thoroughly. Cut off the ends and squeeze out the juice.
* Take the juice and along with the sugar, water, condensed milk and ice; blend in a blender.
* Serve chilled!
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Enjoy! Cheers.

-Anindita

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kulfi

Presented here is a simple Badam Pista Kulfi recipe. Kulfi is a flavoured frozen dessert that comes from the Indian subcontinent. Western icereams are whipped whereas the Kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid frozen dense desert.
The recipe for this delicious treat is provided by our first guest blogger Neeku.
From the entire Ambrosia team we thank you for your enthusiasm and participation.
Here is the recipe :
Ingredients:
1 Can of store bought Condensed Milk
2 Cans of store bought Evaporated Milk
* Note the proportion is 1:2 whatever measurement you choose to take*
1/2 Cup of grated almonds (badaam)
1/2 Cup of graded pistachios (pista)
1 gram of Kesar (saffron)
1/3 cup of whipping cream (optional)
Procedure:
Take a bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix it well. Take sauce pan and pour the mixture and bring it to boil two times.

Let it cool and simmer and then pour the mixture into your kulfi moulds. Here we have used the muffin aluminium moulds.
Let it freeze...

to ENJOY it later.


The above recipe was tried and tested and cataloged by me. It was an awesome treat for the palate leaving everyone who tasted it wanting more of it. Also after discussing with the contributor - one can also add crushed Cardomom (Eliachi) to get some extra flavor.
Also I liked to rename this dessert as Muffis - combining the flavor of Kulfi into a mould of Muffin both real sweet treats.

Hope you guys enjoy this delicious treat.

Contributor - Neeku
Presented by - Ceedy

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kuch meetha ho jaye!! :)

I am sure most of you know that today we are celebrating the completion of 100 posts on “High on life”. It definitely is a nice feeling that the blog is getting older! Had it been me, I would have definitely been sad :P and not eaten any junk n tried to look young :P

But since its my dear blog, I sure wanna indulge in something sweet :D
So here I am, dedicating my favourite sweet somethings to each one of you on my blogroll!

GOOEY CHOCLATE WITH ICECREAM from “Market café” for the TALLI sexy naughty bitchy girl gang- Geet, Mia and crazy_neha . Love ya guys sooo much! Muah!
MANGO CHEESE CAKE from “Costa Coffee” for the dearestest ones- Mann, Tanuj, D_sinner_Neha, Echo, Sachi, Vivek, Hitesha, Girish, Rahul_in_the_dream_city, Rohit, Akash, Annu n last but not the least gonecase_sid!:P


CHOCOLATE CHESS PASTRY from “Breads & more” for the lovable girlies- Ayushi, Aditi_jiggs, Anindita, Aqua girl, Arti, Ash89, Bhai with chai, Bulbul, Monica, Crazy_adi, Divkiran, Divya, Elusive, Jane, Shatabdi, Keshi, Lemonade, Ne, Nidhi, Noelia, Pavi, Pooja, Ria, Sahefa, Solitaire, Somya, Vartika, Veens & Zee.



BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE from “Breads & more” for the extraordinary men- Ankur, Anurag, Abhishek_khanna, Aditya, Chacha_shek, Ceedy, Amit, Ataullah, Big_omi, Blogboy, Debashish, Durjoy, Gagan, Jeevy, Kalyan, Love_Joshi, Maverik, Marvin, Mayank, Mysterio, Nits, Nitu, Rushabh, MithuN_Scribbler, Vaibhav,Vrij,--xh-- & Vasanthan.



CHOCLATE CHIP MUFFINS for all the party crashers and others I might have missed out by any chance ;)

Love ya guys loads!!
Cheers :D

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Favourites, anyone??

Well, as I sat about trying to figure out what my next post should be, I couldn't come up with anything specific. There were too many random things coming along. I got Pizza and Biryani together (:O :O :O) and then came coffee and fries (eeekkks) but the icing on the cake was paella and milkshake. (yuuuckkkk!!!) So in the end, I decided to do justice to all the food I loved and I made a mosaic instead! (The tag is the inspiration!)
So before I let you all in on my favourites, I would say; take a good look and tell me what your favourites are! What is it that you absolutely cannot do without? Milkshake? Ice cream? Espresso? Coffee? Biryani? Salad ???
So, let me in on your secrets and I will let you in on mine!


So, starting from left to right, I have:
  • Espresso
  • Pina Colada
  • Creme
  • Coffee Ice Cream
  • Soup
  • Crispy Chicken
  • Russian Salad with Pasta
  • Pasta
  • Chicken Biryani
  • Chicken Breast with flavoured Rice
  • Sandwich
  • Burger patty with fries
  • Cupcakes
  • Paella
  • Date and Walnut cake
  • Chocolate Truffles
  • Tiramisu
  • Chocolate Sundae
  • Milkshake
  • Ice cream

Now, tell me what you like, which dish is your absolute favourite and it does not have to be from the list above! ;)


Bon Appetite!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Feeling Horny???

Yipeee, its Funday Friday, its almost the weekend, so wanna have some fun eh? BTW whats the plan eh? Anything Interesting? Hitting the pub for a few drinks with yur mates? Hitting the dance floor on Saturday night? Having a house party? Or just chillaxing with yur partner eh? Well whatever your plans are Ambrosia is here to add that extra spice to your weekend...... How about something out of the box..... n Horny eh? What say ;)?
Ok! Your pick what would ya like, a 'Slow Screw' or just 'Sex on the beach' or a 'Quick Fuck' eh?
Yeah you guessed it right.....Ambrosia is serving you horny drinks this weekend *wink wink....come one come all for free unlimited drinks on the house....

So lets start with a 'Slow Screw' first
Ingredients
~ 30 ml of Sloe Gin (Red, sweet, plum flavoured liqueur)
~ Orange Juice
So we will take the martini glass with lotsa ice, pour Sloe Gin and fill with Orange juice and stir sloooow. Did ya like it ?

So after some Slow Screw are you ready for some more 'Sex on the beach' eh? Alrighty here we go....

Ingredients
~ 44 ml of Vodka
~ 14 ml of Peach Schnapps
~ 59 ml of Cranberry Juice
~ 59 ml of Orange Juice
So again we take a highball glass with ice and pour the Vodka and Peach Schnapps followed by Cranberry and Orange juice. Stir and served with a smile :) Howzzat?

Alrighty, now they say....save the best for last.....so after the Slow Screw and some Sex on the beach do you wanna have a quickie.....'Quick Fuck'


Ingredients
~ 1cl Bailey's Irish Cream
~ 1cl Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
~ 1cl Midori melon Liqueur

So now lets take a shot glass and pour the Bailey's first, follow by Kahlua and finally top it with Midori and gulp it down....

So gals n guys please vote the most orgasmic drink, and drop in yur requests / dedications and messages for ya pals and we will shout ya all a drink......Have a horny weekend ;) Cheers!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baingan ka bharta-another recipe of the eggplant king!

As Ceedy said eggplant indeed seems the king of all vegetables. Everyone seems in love with it and oh, calling it a versatile vegetable won't be an underrating as not only it has so many names but gives us such varied recipes.
Today, we embark on to make 'baingan ka bharta' which is an Indian name for a recipe of eggplant. Trust me, it tastes yum and takes a short time to get ready. So, here we go-
Making time: 40-60 minutes
Makes: 3 servings
Shelf life: Best served hot and fresh. Can be refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours.

Ingredients-
~2 large brinjals or a big one(supposing you are a bachelor, or maybe living alone). Note here that for this recipe you should get seedless oval brinjal(s). While buying take care to opt for the ones with shiny,unblemished skin.
~1 large onion-finely chopped
~2 ripe tomatoes
~1/2 tsp ginger-finely chopped
~ 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
~2 green chillies-finely chopped
~1 tsp coriander leaves-finely chopped
~ Red chilli powder (to taste)
~1/4-1/2 tsp. Turmeric
~salt to taste
~1/2 tsp mustard seeds
~3 tsp. refined/mustard oil (as per preference)
~1 and a half tsp curry powder/garam masala
~chopped coriander for garnishing.
~Peas are an optional ingredient. You can use them to enhance the taste or you may not use them.
Method
Roasting the brinjals-First of all, do make sure to check to see that the brinjal has no germ holes, etc. Wash them and wipe dry. Roast them directly on an open flame. This would take some 7-10 minutes as you have to rotate them over the flame every thirty seconds, making sure that they are roasted even. Cook till they are soft all over and gain a blackish brown texture. Keep them aside and let them cool for a few minutes.
The Masala preparation-While the brinjals are cooling, you can heat refined/mustard oil in a pan/kadhai. Add cumin and mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add finely chopped ginger, onion, green chillies, coriander leaves, red chilli powder, salt, tumeric, curry powder, peas and mashed tomatoes and fry them over low heat stirring frequently until they gain a light golden brown tint and the mixture leaves oil. Make sure to continuously stir the mixture.

The final take-The brinjals must have reached room temperature during this time and now, you can either put them under running water or scrape out them. Both of the methods will cause their burnt skin to peel off. Transfer the contents to a plate and do remember to check the contents for any sort of worms or signs of such infestation. If infested, wait until you get brinjals next time :). If not, mash the contents which would result in pulp and add the pulp to the above prepared masala. Stirfry for 2 to 3 minutes, add one tea cup of water, cover the vessel and let the mixture cook over low heat for another 25-40 minutes (this also depends on the quantity you are preparing, less quantity would require less time) or till the mixture leaves sides of pan. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with fluffy chapatis, paranthas or warm bread rolls.
Tips
~To check for any infestations at the very starting, you can draw two vertical and two horizontal cuts on the brinjal. Make sure you don't dig too deep or the brinjal would slice into four halves. Check for the worms and if the color in even.
~Also, while mashing the brinjals one can think of using mixers but that leaves the pulp very smooth which isn't a preferred option for this recipe.
Happy Cooking! Till next time, splurge on!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saare Baingan

I am not exactly sure how the term 'Saare' came into existance, but in the typical Hyderabadi household, the saare ka masala is a rather common recipe. Add the baingan to this and it becomes Saare Baingan. And guess what, this is exactly how the Hyderabadis make 'Bhagare Baingan'. Yes, both the terms are synonyms. Probably named so because it has saare (all) possible ingredients found in a kitchen added to it!!

The long list includes...

6 Medium sized brinjals
1/2 cup Sesame seeds (Til)
1/2 cup Cumin seeds (Jeera)
1/2 cup Coriander seeds (Dhaniya)
1/2 cup Peanuts
2 Tablespoons Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
2 Tablespoons Fennel seeds (Sonf)
2 Tablespoons Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
1 Tablespoon Mustard seeds (Rai)
2 Tablespoons Ginger-garlic paste
2 Tablespoons thick Tamarind paste
6 Dried Red Chillis
1 Shoot Curry Leaves
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Tablespoons Ghee/Butter
1 Shoot Fresh Coriander Leaves
Red Chilli powder: To taste
Turmeric (Haldi) powder: To taste
Salt: To taste

Optional:
2 Tablespoons Grated Dry Coconut (khopra)
1/2 cup chopped Onions


Let's get cooking now !

Finely grind the Sesame seeds, Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds, Peanuts, Nigella seeds, Fennel seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Mustard seeds together. Include the cocunut if you are using it. Dry grind the above into a fine powder.

Cut the brinjals into halves horizontally and slice the inner parts of each half into a + sign without cutting the skin. This will make the tempering reach the entire brinjal.

Heat half a cup of Oil in a pan and add one teaspoon of cumin and sesame seeds, Curry Leaves, Turmeric powder, Chilli powder, salt, dried red chillis, ginger-garlic paste, tamarind paste and the onions to this and mix well. Once the onions are golden, take the powder we had made earlier and add this to the pan and add a little bit of water to make a medium-thick paste. Add the cut brinjals to this and cook well till the gravy becomes a thickish paste. It should not become very dry. Once the brinjals are done, garnish with ghee/butter and fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.



You can also pre-boil the brinjals slightly to help in the cooking or can even fry them for a few seconds before using them here.

Best eaten with Roomali Rotis or with rice accomplied by plain Dal.

Modifications:

The Saare ka masala is good not just with the baigans, but also with Karela, Ladies fingers, Potato and believe it or not boiled eggs! So, you will find Saare Karele, Saari Bhindi, Saare Aloo and Saare Ande quite common in Hyderabad.

Sometimes diced mutton is added to the masala and the preparation is called 'Mahi ka Khaliya'.

And of course, the most famous cousin of Saare Baingan is none other than the famous Mirchi ka Salan with green peppers!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kingg of Vegetables

Let me introduce to you to Solanum Melongene - the king of vegetables - with its crowning glory like a jester and doning a shiny brownish - purplish coat. It is commonly known as Eggplant or Aubergine or Bringal or colloquially known as Baingan in India.
It is available in various parts of the world in different shapes and sizes as seen in the picture below
Eggplant is one of the most versatile vegetable. If not convinced now you surely will by the end of this post.
As a respect to the Kingg we have dedicated an entire week to it. In this post I shall take you around the world exploring its uses in different cuisines. In the coming days fellow Cookers Vrij and D'Sinner will showcase recipes from the south and north of India.


My liking for eggplant is two fold - first it is native to India. Wikipedia gives a very detailed description of the same and secondly 2/3 of the worlds eggplant is grown in New Jersey where I reside.

Starting the journey with the homeland India we have the :
- Hyderabadi Bhagare Baingan - presented by Vrij next post
- Baingan Bharta - presented by D'Sinner after that.


- Aloo Baingan (Potato Eggplant Curry) - this dish can have variety of tastes depending on the spices and the region it is made in India.
- Karnatakas Badnekayi Gojju - Eggplant dish cooked in tamarind juice and jaggery with chilly powder from South Central India.


- Gujarati Undhiu - A large variety of vegetables are skillfully combined with baked wheat koftas flavored with greens and its unique spices from Western India.

In the Chinese Cuisine a common found recipe is :

- Braised Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce - This popular Szechuan dish is made with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner and longer than the short and thicker eggplant that is commonly available in supermarkets .

Moving to Italian Cuisine few dishes are:

- Eggplant Parmigiana - It is a recipe where layers of cut, sliced and drained eggplants are baked with marinara sauce and layered with grated Parmigiana cheese.


- Eggplant Rollatini - Sliced eggplant rolled around Mozzarella cheese topped with tomato sauce.

- Eggplant Caponeta - This hearty Sicilian dish makes a tasty appetizer served with crusty bread. It can also act as a side dish or salad.


- Grilled Eggplant - This can be had as an appitizer as it is grilled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Also a variation of this is to grill green peppers, onions, zucchini and have it as a Grilled Eggplant Sandwich - either as a panini in Foccacia bread (image link) or regular Italian bread (image link).
Moving on to Middle Eastern Cuisine :

- Baba Ganoush - Eggplant is baked or broiled over an open flame - mashed and mixed with spices and served with dressing of oil and pomegranate concentrate. It is eaten as a dip with Pita Bread (image link)

Most of the food mentioned above has been tried and tasted by me - besides this here are some interesting links
- Eggplant Salads from Around the World
- Beer Battered Deep Fried Eggplant
- Various other Eggplant recipes - this link shows the versatality of the King - if you are stilll not convinced. It not only shows the use of eggplant around the world in Pasta, Vegetables, Dip, Appetizer and Accompaniment but also includes Ukranian Cenea which even though contains onions and garlic is deemed as Russian Desert. This weekend I am going to try and eat this.

Also fellow readers - if you have any interesting recipes for eggplant please do share it with us. We will publish it and dedicate the post/recipe to you. All the names of the dishes are hyperlinked to online recipes - click away.

Hope you enjoyed this post and are now ready to sing Eggplant is Kingg sans Snoop Dogg though.
Egging and out - ceedy

Monday, August 18, 2008

MARKET CAFE

Ambience-“MARKET CAFÉ” in Delhi is one of the few places that has it.
Located on the 16th most expensive retail street in the world, (according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s annual global report, Main Streets Across the World 2007) Khan market , it holds one of the prime spots there.

A corner location, with two sides open to the beautiful n busy street in the front, which they have made full use of with huge windows, which allow natural lighting in the café, making the not so huge space look big and spacious.
The décor is a fusion of antique and contemporary art pieces, lamps, paintings, mirrors, flower arrangements, stones, and much more, all spread out artfully on the dome shaped shelves everywhere on the walls, without making the space look cluttered.

The basic theme is blue and white which is most prominent in their wonderfully done restroom with beautiful blue tiles! The walls everywhere are white n blue which highlights the showpieces and adds more space to the café! The blue chinaware adds to the theme and brightens up he guests’ moods :)

And the icing on the cake is the sexy terrace they have which is the best place to sit n savor their hookahs, coffee n food in winters! With a book in hand, I can sit there all day! Infact thanks to the free wi fi, a lot of people spend hours at a stretch here.

Now finally coming to the point, i.e – food :P
Their Euro Mexican cuisine includes yummy cheese fondue, pastas, risottos, salads, quesadillas (taste a lil too sexy) , fajitas, nachos (their cheese nachos platter is a must try) and much more! It serves some of the finest fruit coolers (ginger for d adventurous ones, lime for the play it safe set) and desserts.They also have a small bakery which offers a daily selection of fresh Breads and Deserts. The best part- they also serve starbucks coffee(beans) :D
my Gunj_Ambrosia vote goes to gooey chocolate served warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Filled with walnuts in thick melting chocolate, baby its heaven on earth!! :D
Whatever I eat there, my meal isn’t over without this dessert! A must have for every chocolate lover. I’ll let the picture do the resta talking!

Open Everyday from10.30 am to 10.30 pm. offers customized catering. Frequent exhibitions by budding artists and photographers. 8 B, Khan Market (Middle Lane), New Delhi 110003
love - Gunj


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cheese Corn Kartoffel

Kartoffel is Potato in German. I love potatoes in any and every form. Today being a rainy day I just feel like having something warm n cheesy n the only thing that comes to my mind is Cheese Corn Kartoffel. The first time i ever had this was at the Prater in Vienna, and ever since then I am in love with this variation of potato. So today am gonna share with you the recipe of cheese corn kartoffel. By the way this makes an excellent side dish, its quite a quickie , ready in 30 minutes. A very good recipe for bachelors & working couples who dont wanna spend a lotta time cooking. Also a good dish that can be made for your friends when you invite em over to yours. May be you can help your mom by contributing one dish when you have guests over or how about a handmade quickie for your partner with a dash of love in it ;)

Ingredients
5 potatoes
1/2 cup of boiled corn kernels
1/2 cup of milk
250 gms of cheese spread
5 slices of cheese
1 garlic clove crushed (optional)
1 diced scallion / onion shallot (optional)
black pepper to taste
Directions
1. Cooking the potatoes
Take 5 same sized potatoes and thoroughly wash them. You can either choose to bake (preferred) the potatoes in their jackets or boil them.
To bake the potatoes put them in an oven at 230 degree celsius for approximately 30 minutes until the potatoes become soft. Turn the potato occasionally to ensure their baking evenly. Once the potato is taken out of the oven it must be pricked with a fork all over or broken into half at once, to permit the escape of steam so that the potato does not become soggy by the steam generated in the cooking process.
or
Boil the potatoes in a deep vessel and not in a pressure cooker. Make sure your boil the potatoes a little lesser than your normal time as you dont want the potato very soft.

2. You can either cut the potato in half or just scoop it out from the inside. If you have cut it into half scoop out the halves.

3. Making the cheese sauce.
In a sauce pan pour the milk, add the cheese spread and cheese slices. Add the crushed garlic clove, which is optional. Keep stirring on slow flame until the lumps have dissolved and it just starts to boil.

4. Stuffing the potato.
Now mix the cheese sauce with corn kernels and crush some black pepper (optional) and stuff it into the scooped potato. Garnish it with the diced shallot and serve it with a smile :)

5. If your not confident scooping out the potato just mash the potato & mix the cheese & corn.

Enjoy your Cheese Corn Kartoffel n lemme know how did ya find this recipe. Do drop in your comments when you try it out.
- Mia

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shimla and its highway hangouts!


Since the times of British Raj-Shimla has been one of the top-notch tourist destinations. Be it the cool weather or the simplicity of life, set in the lapse of the beautiful and mighty Himalayas it offers tranquility and peace in this fast paced life.

However, that all some other time.

The 85 km ride to Shimla is indeed bumpy and twisted but you may enjoy it especially when it comes to food! Play on Ac/Dc's 'Highway to Hell' and count what the highway offers to you isn't even mentioned in the song. Driving uphill from Kalka to Shimla is a foodies pleasure and if you've had filled your stomach, that would be surely regretted. A drive to this part of the world could be relaxing as temperatures take a plunge down and winds mess up your hair, but it also serves as an appetite booster as you are lured by the fragrance of various delicacies all through the highway.

The highway which earlier had a few options as 'desi' dhabas is now seen dotted with a number of options. NH-22 also boasts of high end options like McDonald's, Cafe Coffee Day outlets and multi cuisine restaurants. The 'desi' hangouts too have found a makeover in order to pull both the locals and tourists.

However, the one place you got to stop is at Giani da dhaba at Dharampur. One cannot have trouble finding it out for every localite knows about the hangout. From nearly three decades the dhaba is serving to appetites of various people. A large, clean and well kept room serves as the hall. They have ample confectionery items starting from chocolates to juices. Their menu has place for both vegetarian and non vegetarian food, which can actually make you lick your fingers. Tandoori chicken, Butter Chicken, Kadi-chawal and their paneer (cheese) delicacies are a must have! The food, I repeat, is amazing and would serve best to a Punjabi's taste and those who are ready to experiment with their taste buds.

So, next time you drive uphill don't forget to stop and grab a bite!

Till then splurge on!

-Sinner

Credit for the image

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chai Biskut with Vrij

Do not kill me for publicising my personal blog on Ambrosia. But the title just gives you an idea of whats being served and by whom.
If there is any 'ready food' that symbolises the city of Hyderabad much the way the Vada Pau does for Mumbai, then it has to be Osmania Biscuits with Irani chai served in the umpteen cafes that one can find splattered across the city. Of course the Biryani, the Haleem, the Lukhmi or the Double ka meetha are the choiciest preparations from the land of the Nawabs, but they sure do not come under the 'ready food' or snack category. So, more about them later!
Now, lets get started with some Irani chai.
Irani Chai was introduced to Hyderabad more than four centuries ago during the reign of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. It is believed that the fifth ruler in the dynasty, Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, who was by far the most successful of all in the dynasty had spread his trade to many parts of the world and had special relations with the Persians. There was a constant flow of businessmen and envoys between Iran and Hyderabad since then. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in Hyderabad in 1591 and after that the trade flourished even more. Many Persian artisans and businessmen even migrated to Hyderabad and settled down here. It was thus that the Irani cuisine found its place in the ethos of Hyderabad.
Tea as a drink was quite prevalant in Hyderabad since a long time, but it was the amalgamation of the Irani culture with the local flavour that led to the making of the Irani chai. Traditionally, Indian tea was made as a decoction of tea leaves in boiling water and a hint was cow's milk was added to bring the colour and restrain the bitterness of the tea. The Iranis used tea powder/dust mixed with flavoured tea leaves to make their tea. Since the tea dust was made by pounding the dried tea leaves, it was a strong concoction. To reduce the bitterness, more milk was used by the Iranis when compared to the local style. Special flavours of teas were also made subsequently by the Iranis which came to become standard concoctions.
Ingredients:
4 cups cow's milk
4 cups water
4 tea spoons tea dust
4 tea spoons tea leaves
2 pieces Cardomon(elaichi)
Sugar to taste


To make:
Heat 4 cups of water till it starts to boil. Simultaneously, boil 4 cups of cow's milk. To the boiling water, add 4 tea spoon full tea dust and 4 tea spoon full tea powder. It is advisable to use fresh tea dust/powder rather than processed and packed ones. Take two pieces of cardomon, powder the inside stuff and add both the powder and the outer cover to the boiling water. Keep boiling the tea water till about 25% of it evaporates.
Sugar can either be added to the milk while it boils or can be separately added to the cup of tea. If its the latter, then add a tea spoon ful sugar to a cup. Now strain milk into the cup so that its half full. Stir to mix the sugar. Then strain the tea water into a separate vessel using a muslin cloth. Only a cloth can effectively strain dust tea. Take the strained tea water and add to the cup of tea to the desired strength.
To give company to the Irani chai, we can have some Osmania Biscuits.

Osmania Biscuits were thought to have been named after the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan, even though their origins might actually date back to much earlier. It was well known to be a favorite of the British who would get the biscuits procured from Hyderabad and shipped to the Old Blighty!
Ingredients:
2 cups Maida
3 Table spoons Natural Butter / Vanaspati
One tea spoon Salt
Half tea spoon Baking Soda
One Tea spoon Sugar
Water
To make:
Take two cups of Maida in a vessel and add three table spoons of natural butter or Vanaspati(Dalda). Do not use pasteurised butter of the shelves or oil. Add the salt and baking soda to this and make a thick dough kneading it with water. Make sure that even though the dough is thick, all the maida has actually been mixed properly. Add sugar only if you want the biscuits to have a tinge of sweetness too.
Pat the dough into a thick round circle about one centimetre thick. Cut out small 4cm diameter circle biscuits out of this using a steel katori or glass. Paint the top surface of the biscuits with some butter. Place these in a tray to be placed in an oven.
Bake these biscuits for about 10 mins or so. The top should become golden brown. Take them out of the oven, make Irani chai and experience the zaika of Hyderabad!
A few modifications to the above recipes that can and should be tried.
* For the Irani Chai, instead of cardomom, add a dash of sonth (dried ginger) and crushed black pepper corns. This is a sure shot remedy for niggling common colds and 'gale ki kharaash'!
* If you eat eggs too, do this to the biscuits. Just before the biscuits are about to turn golden, get them off the oven. Paint some egg white on the surface of the biscuits and continue the baking process as usual. Adds another dimension to the Osmania biscuits.

- Vrij

Friday, August 1, 2008

Barbecue Nation

Location:

Mumbai :
Ground floor, Om Palace, 403 ,

Dr. Ambedakar Road, Junction, Pali Hill,

Khar (West) Mumbai.

Phone: 9323905592 / 022-65934343
Hyderabad :
ANR Centre opp City Centre Mall, Banjara Hills.
+(91)-(40)-66047874
Bangalore :
Indiranagar Opp Nandini Hotel.
+(91)-(80)-66367159



If you like grilled food and moreover you want to see your food grilled right in front of you, Barbecue Nation is the place to be. With their innovative concept of having an electric grill right at your table, all your food fantasies come alive here! ;)



Service:



The service is excellent. The waiters are immensely helpful and they are not too pushy or in your face. They know how to give you your much wanted privacy and yet at the same time are superbly efficient.



Food:



You have the option of choosing between their veg or non veg cuisines. The non veggies are the happier lot as they have more options. (The veg options are open to them too..!!)



The place revitalises the concept of the buffet and trust me, you want to go there on an empty stomach! The live grill at your table always has enough options to make you wish you could stay in there forever! Apart from the grill, they do have an Indian and a Continental spread if you are looking for a complete meal. Their daily menu consists of 5 veg, 5 non-veg staters,1 veg 1 non-veg soup, 4 non-veg, 6 veg in main course with roti & naan, 3 non-veg, 5 veg salads & 7 desserts. Yes people, 7 desserts! The menu is different for every day of the week, so if you visit on two consecutive days, there is no fear that you have to sample the same dishes. What more do you want?? You want more? Okay, have a look! :D



Ambiance:



The ambiance is very nice, very calm and inspite of the number of people there, you are allowed the luxury of your privacy.



Value for money:



For the non vegetarian menu it costs about 500 per head + tax.

Considering that it is a buffet service and we hogs go there on an empty stomach and a really huge and oversized pair of trousers, it is worth the money!



Final Verdict:



Service: 4.5/5

Food: 4.5/5

Ambiance: 4.5/5

Value for money: 4/5



Definitely worth a visit, maybe two! Or more!! :D



Happy eating!



*Burp*



-Anindita.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

COSTA COFFEE!!

The big coffee fan that I am, I am bound to start with a post on coffee :D

Well delhi in the last few years has seen a surge of coffee brands come up and open cafés all around the city. There isn’t a respectable street/corner without a coffee shop to its credit. All major metro stations and even petrol pumps have small coffee counters by any of the big chains.

Ranging from biggies like Barista, CCD, Coffee Day, Coffee Beans and Tea Leaves, Craze Coffee, Costa Coffee, Chokola, Mocha, to the smaller ones like Madras coffee house and Starbeans to name a few.

But my favourite of all these, apart from Mocha which I really don’t think falls under the “coffee shop” category anymore thanks to the kind of crowds it attracts, the elaborate menu more popular for its Hookahs and thick shakes and its ambience in general; COSTA COFFEE totally steals the show when it comes to real coffee!

It is a UK based company who stepped in India only a couple of years ago (where were you guys before that???i missed you! :P ) and don’t have too many stores. All their shops are beautifully done in maroon and wooden brown, just the perfect coffee shop ambience with no loud music and generally a crowd of genuine coffee lovers.



The blend served is known as "Mocha Italia" and contains six parts Arabica beans and one part Robusta beans. My all time favorite on their menu is hot mocha coffee: Espresso with chocolate, topped with steamed, frothed milk and a sprinkling of chocolate:yummm!



For the cold coffee/shake lovers they have excellent light cold coffee and a good variety of chocolate shakes and fruity blends called Frescatos. Gunj_Ambrosia vote goes to “English toffee shake” and “mint chocolate shake”



From the bakery they have the best muffins in town in three awesome flavors: chocolate chip, lemon and banana! All three of them a must try!

Also their croissants available in plain and almond flavor are just perfect when it comes to softness and taste! Their chocolate pastries are as good as any other coffee shop’s if not better but in other flavors like blueberry, Costa wins hands down.

And this time they had me all happy and satisfied with the seasonal “mango cheese cake“ with a dash of chocolate on offer! It was the best cheese cake I have had in my life thanks to the fresh mango topping and chilled crusty base and amazingly dark chocolate all packed in each and every bite! Heaven! :D



From the food bar, again they have good sandwiches, focaccias, wraps and salads both in vegetarian and non vegetarian and chips and juices for the kids as well!



And the best part is the huge portions. Coffee available in primo (small), medio (medium) and Massimo (large) cups are all good value for money. You can choose yours depending on how greedy you are!



So next time you crave for coffee, you know where to go for some real coffee shop experience!
-LOTS OF LOVE: GUNJ