Friday, 31 July 2015

Swiss Day Celebration at Swissotel, Kolkata

Team KFB with the staff of Swissotel and GM Marco Saxer
The Swiss National Day, set on 1st August is dedicated to celebrate the Swiss Confederacy and like every year Swissotel Kolkata geared itself to celebrate their national day in a grand style.
With the Kolkata Food Bloggers we had the pleasure to be invited by Swissotel Kolkata  to be a part of the celebration which inspires blend of passion and perfectionism.
Looming over an attention grabbing design of one of the Swissotel catalog, which had various characters signifying Indian art, like the old hieroglyphs in a circular pattern, had the Swiss cross at the epicenter of it all. The Executive Chef of Swissotel, Chef Pranay Singh, explained it all so beautifully that though the people at Swissotel are mostly Indian but at heart they they are very much Swiss, representing the character,warmth, love and passion for perfection; and that is exactly what the Swissotel in Kolkata, in my opinion, truly represents. 

Having the privilege of the General Manager of Swissotel, Mr Marco Saxer, joining us over the spread, featuring the popular dishes from seven Cantons of Switzerland like Fribourg, Bern, Valais, Basel, Appenzell, Ticino and Zurich, thereby launching the new Swiss menu at Cafe Swiss, the conversation soon moved from the latest European & English football transfer news to the Swiss flag itself. The history, significance and meaning of the very simple but attractive white cross and red background flag.
The history says that the Federal Charter between three Alpine Cantons, Schwyz, Uri & Nidwalden, was signed in 1291 where they swore an oath of confederation, which today is much referred as the foundation of Switzerland. Slowly other cantons also joined in and Switzerland was formed. However each cantons still had their own flags to represent their region as the actual reason of the confederation was not to build a nation but to defend itself against the Habsburg Count. 
The larger the old confederacy became, the more they had a problem with inconsistently clothed troops that were hardly able to recognize their allies on the battlefield. In descriptions of the battle of Laupen (1339), white stripes forming crosses are mentioned for the first time as a joint recognition sign of confederate troops. In the middle of the 15th century, the white cross was integrated into the flags of the member states of the confederacy. Originally, the cross reached to the edge of the banner also in Switzerland, like in the Scandinavian flags.  (Source :

The story over the dinner table moved from the flag to the legendary Peter and Heidi, who were there to serve us so courteously. 
To honour the foundation of the Swiss Confederacy a number of Swiss dishes have been set in the menu which includes some of the old favourites and as well as some new ones. Saffron Risotto with Swiss cheese and asparagus, Gamberi All'Aglio, Zuri Geschnetzeltes, Swiss Cheese Fondue, Ticino Melting Bites, Doppia Raviolo riempito con mozzarella di bufala e parmigiano salsa, etc are on the offering.

The dessert ranges from the traditional Schoggi Berg,Fonduta Di Cioccolato (Swiss chocolate fondue), Aargau Carrot Cake and much more. 
What swept us away was a simple dessert called Apple Roesti which was served with vanilla ice cream. Crispy chunks of bread with apple pieces sauteed in French butter with a beautiful hint of cinnamon was truly a winner dessert for all of us.  

Mr Marco Saxer, General Manager, Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista said, " Swiss cuIsine is a mixture of many regional influences and the chefs will be giving a true taste of tradition. Each canton features a unique cuisine which is seamlessly blended into Swissness. It is a great opportunity for the guests to feast on an impressive array of truly authentic Swiss delicacies created by the hotel's culinary team. Whichever delicacies the guests chooses is guaranteed to be one to remember."

For Amrita and me it truly was a treat to remember, filled with tales, stories, history amazing food and amazing team at the Swissotel.

Swiss cheese and bread soup

Swiss sensation

Chicken cordon bleu

Melted  Margarita

Mushroom vol au vent


Garlic seared prawns

Saffron Rissotto

Swiss cheese Fondue

Apple Roesti

Nut tart

Happy Swiss Day!
Vishal & Amrita Tupper

PS :
The buffet dinner will be available only at Cafe Swiss Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista from 1900 hrs to 2300 hrs from 1st to 3rd August 2015 priced at 1800 plus taxes per person.

Special Swiss Sunday Brunch will be held on 2nd August 2015 priced at 1800 plus taxes per person.

There will also be special Swiss Buffet every Wednesday for the entire month of August 2015.

There is also a special kids cooking class on 2nd August, 2015

One can place reservations through email to or by phone at (+91) 9007020144

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Tahini Cookies

My bookshelf is full of baking books. But that shouldn't be something surprising to all who know me. The baking bug always makes me end up buying more and more books on baking. The irony is that I hardly try any recipes from them. It is just this fancy, this unexplainable pleasure that I get from collecting baking books. 
This month while cleaning my bookshelf, I took a solemn pledge to at least leaf through one baking book a month. And this month happened to be The Big Book of treats by Pooja Dhingra which I had bought while attending one of her classes held at The Corner Courtyard, Kolkata. The book has easy recipes with simple instructions and I have earlier tried her recipe of Chai cupcakes. 
While leafing through the book, I came across the recipe of Tahini Cookies. Now, we have 2 jars of Tahini sitting pretty in our cupboard which was sent all the way from Israel by Vishal's friends. Having only tried a Tahini Chicken by our friend Vikas, I have been wanting to put the jars to some good use for a long time. So the recipe of Tahini cookies lit a 440 Volt bulb in my head and I was on my toes to make them soon. 
The cookies have a beautiful lingering on taste of the Tahini and the almond adds a lovely crunch to it. 
Pair these irresistible and decadent cookies with a hot cup of tea this Monsoons.  

Adapted from : The Big book of Treats by Pooja Dhingra

Ingredients : Yields around 15 cookies
  • 25 gms butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • almonds
Procedure : 
Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius.
Take a bowl and mix sugar, flour and butter with your fingers till they resemble breadcrumbs in texture. 
Add tahini and lemon juice and mix.
Add milk and knead the mixture to a dough. 
Take a little mixture and shape it into an oval shape with your hands. You can make a round shape too and flatten it from top. My mixture was not very pliable so shape it with a little patience. 
Press half of an almond on top and place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the cookies get a beautiful golden brown colour.
Cool them to get crisp.

Sending this recipe to KFB's Monsoon Celebration event.

Happy Tahini Cookies relishing

Monday, 13 July 2015

Cherry Clafoutis

The markets have been flooded with cherries for a while and I have been wondering how to use them best, apart from eating. For a crazy baker like me, it is not best till they are used in a bake. And therefore the hunt began and I was amazed to find out that I had not yet tried this very simple but very famous French bake. 
Cherry Clafoutis or clafouti (kla-foo-tee) is basically a baked French dessert where cherries are arranged in a dish and covered with a pancake like batter. It is commonly eaten as breakfast too. 
Ideally the best variety of plump red cherries are used which are pitted and then tossed in a little butter and sugar.
The variety of cherries I got were definitely not the best and I had to spend some time pitting the seeds from them. But once that was done, the entire process was literally a cakewalk. 

Recipe adapted from : Joy of Baking

Ingredients : Serves 2

Batter : 
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk (full cream)
  • 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Cherries : 
  • 20-25 cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
Procedure : 
Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
Take butter in a saucepan and add the pitted cherries to it. Sprinkle sugar and cook till the sugar melts. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Mix all purpose flour, sugar, egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract. 
Place cooked cherries in the tin of choice. I used my tart tins and covered the loose bottom with foil. You can use a ceramic ovenfree bowl too. 
Pour the prepared batter over the cherries and bake for 18-20 minutes or till the mixture has set. 
Serve with fresh cherries. 

Sending this recipe to KFB's ongoing event celebrating the Monsoons

Happy Clafouti baking

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Mango Phirni

I strongly believe in food being very inspirational. A sudden thought, a casual discussion, an image or even a remote one-word talk of food can really inspire us. It does to me, atleast. 
This recipe is purely an attempt because of the inspiration I got from my husbands casual visit with his friend who were catching up to devour some Eid delicacies. Vishal called me up to find out if I am interested to cook mutton as he was close to a meat shop waiting to relish on some Phirni. It was just this one word 'Phirni' that kept rolling in my head and for who's sake I refused to hear the word meat too. I kept the phone down and went on thinking of that sweet, earthy smelling, milky thick goodness that my husband and his friend were digging into. I refrained from calling him again and demanding my bowl of the heavenly sweet and thus decided to make my own. This silly little incident, you see, made me wake up from my lazy self and churn up this sweet delicacy. 
Since we still have mangoes lingering all around us, I decided to try a Mango phirni version making it all the more irresistible. I took my mothers help who shared her recipe of this rather simple, quite a cousin of kheer sweet. I fetched these typical earthen bowls meant specially to set Phirni which is easily available in the local markets. This gives that earthy beautiful aroma to the phirni. In case one does not get them, set your phirni in any normal bowl. 
The mango version was quite loved by my Sweet guru-my father who has an unmatched authority over everything sweet. But one bite into that earthy smelling, elaichi flavoured yummy normal Phirni satisfied my craving finally. 
Flavoured or simple, this recipe is super simple and a must if you have never tried. 

Ingredients : Serves 8-10
  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 3tbsp rice (I used gobindabhog. You can use Basmati too)
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar (depending on your taste)
  • mango pulp from 1 mango, strained
  • almonds, pista, chopped mango for garnishing
Procedure : 
Soak rice in water for half an hour.
Take milk in a heavy bottomed pan and let it come to a boil. Simmer and cook on low heat.
Meanwhile grind the soaked rice in a mixer. It will not become fine so a little coarse is alright. 
Add the ground rice to the milk and stir continuously. 
Slowly you will observe that the milk has thickened.
Add sugar to your liking and cook till it reaches the required thickness to set. 
This is the normal Phirni which can be set at this stage in bowls. Refrigerate and garnish with almonds, pista and elaichi powder.

For mango Phirni, once the thickened milk has cooled a little, add the mango pulp little by little and use as much as required. Too much addition will dilute the phirni consistency. In that case reduce it again on low heat. 
Set this in bowls and refrigerate. Garnish with chopped mango and pista. 

Happy Phirni Indulgence

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Hilsa festival at The Gateway Hotel, Kolkata

Hilsa or Ilish is a fish that food connoisseurs esp in Bengal die for. Monsoon being the best time of the year to relish on the magic of a Hilsa, The Gateway Hotel, Kolkata have come up with the most awaited Hilsa Festival which is on from 10th July to 26th July, 2015. 
We were invited as part of Kolkata Food Bloggers to ride on this gastronomical ride and enjoy the delicate flavours of Ilish. Executive chef Asish Roy was very kind to guide us through the dishes on list for the festival and informed us of the carefully selected recipes that belong to West Bengal and Bangladesh. 
We were served with a Mango lassi kind of preparation which is from Bangladesh and is called Mango Labang. This was soon followed by a Thali of some carefully selected dishes showcasing the specialties of the ongoing festival. The starter called Ilish Pithe, another Bangladesh specialty, was an amazing way to get introduced to the wonders of the Hilsa. Thereon we savoured on many dishes like Doi Ilish, Ilish Tok-jhal, Ilish Mishtikumror jhol, Ilish Pulao etc. A special mention goes to the amazing dish called Smoked Hilsa where the chef has used western flavours by using fillet of boneless Hilsa smoked with jasmine rice, honey and a dash of pommery.

The festival is on for Lunch-12.30hrs-1500hrs and Dinner- 1930 hrs-2300hrs
Meal for two-INR 1500 aprox, inclusive of taxes(The price is based only on main course items)

Enjoy glimpses of the lip-smacking Hilsa delicacies

Mango Labang
Ilish Pithe
Smoked Hilsa
Ilish Mistikumror Jhol
Narkol diye Ilisher Paturi (Boneless)

Ilish Pulao
Doi Ilish
The review Thali
The entire spread
Amrita & Vishal


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