Thursday 30 January 2014

Foccacia Caprese

We at 'We Knead to Bake' have completed a year of baking amazing yeasted goodies together and have now entered another year where we are joined by some more members. I have missed on two bakes and plan to catch up on them very soon. 
The bake for this month was chosen by popular demand and after baking and devouring it, has become one of my favourite ones. I plan to make this again and also experiment with the toppings. 
Foccacia Caprese is basically a flatbread where the toppings are Caprese style where fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella is used. 
Since buffalo mozzarella is not easy to get here, we have substituted it with the one we get readily in the markets. 
The Foccacia came out super soft and yummy and was over in no time. I had baked this for tea time and had to hide 2 slices for Vishal as me and Vaanya were all over it. 
The best compliment was from Vaanya when she in her toddler pronunciation exclaimed that the thing was 'Nummy Nummy' and 'So Taesty'. 
Here is Vaanya enjoying the Foccacia with her winsome facial expressions.

This is a super easy recipe where all you need to do is put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them and then top with the easily and readily available toppings.
It resembles a pizza in appearance but the dough is pretty thick giving it a bready texture. 
Eaten best as it is, this Foccacia can be also paired with soup or salad. 

Recipe source : Kitchen Whisperer and adapted by Aparna

Ingredients : I reduced the recipe to 1/4 to get a 6 1/2"x4 1/2" oval Foccacia which serves 2 

  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 4 slices of a tomato
  • Mozarella cheese in 1/4" slices
  • 4-5 basil leaves, chopped
Herb Oil:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dries basil
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic pods, finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Procedure :
Herb Oil
Mix all in a small bowl and keep aside.

Take a large bowl and put flour, salt, sugar, yeast and oil. Mix well. 
Add warm water, little by little, and knead till you get a smooth dough.
Shape into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. 
Cover with a damp muslin cloth and allow to double in size in a warm place for an hour. 
(I place in my microwave oven and keep the light on)
Spread the dough to fit the lined oval baking tray.
Instead you may make a rough oval/round shape and place on a lined baking tray.
Allow to rise for 20 mins.
Lightly oil your fingers and make dimples on the dough.
Brush generously with olive oil.
Preheat oven to 210 degree Celsius.
Bake the bread for 18-20 mins.
Take the bread out and increase heat of the oven to 230 degree Celsius.
Drizzle half of the herb oil on the bread and arrange slices of mozzarella cheese on it. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle chopped basil leaves.
Drizzle the remaining herb oil.
Bake for 5-8 mins or till the cheese just melts.
Remove and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Notes :
  • If you want to make it little healthy, try substituting the quantity of flour with half whole wheat and half all purpose flour. 
  • You may try other toppings but then it will no longer be a Caprese. 
This recipe is being sent to the amazing ongoing event called 'Yeasty Feasty' by Kolkata Food Bloggers where all the members are going to present their droolworthy yeasty bread creations. To make this event more exciting, food bloggers all over are invited to send in their yeasty bakes. Please read the rules and other details here to participate. 

Happy Foccacia enjoying

Friday 24 January 2014

The Wicked Triple Chocolate pudding

24th of each month is a reminder to us to be thankful for the wonderful presence of our loving daughter Vaanya. Today has been 2 years and 8 months of the most beautiful and happy days of our lives. Vaanya continues to bring love, warmth and sunshine to our lives in the most uninhibited way. As parents, we are growing everyday, learning the simple lessons of life like unconditional love and care. Vaanya has taught us tremendous patience and has made us stop and enjoy small moments of life which we would otherwise miss in our fast paced professional lives.
Vaanya has started Montessori and has overcome the stage of crying and reached a stage of reluctance where everyday she tries to think of a new excuse not go to school. On her holidays, I feel more happy to have my little pumpkin catch a little more sleep and enjoy a bit more of the careless life she is used to. Sooner or later, I will have to let her go to face the world. I have to let her make new friends and have a world of her own. 
That reminds me about the amazing set of friends I have found in Kolkata Food Bloggers, a group that was started 1 year back by the most humble and talented person I know, Kamalika Chakrabarty. We have got together to celebrate KFB's first birthday by sharing finger food or desserts on our FB page. This recipe is dedicated to the most down to earth and immensely talented group that I am proudly a part of. Check out more amazing recipes shared on the birthday bash here.
Coming back to today's recipe, this was attempted when I was holidaying in Allahabad. Vishal joined us for the new year and we celebrated it in the most beautiful way with family over a Barbeque dinner. Vishal made the most yummy Chicken tandoori kebabs and Kakori kebabs which got polished in no time. The Barbeque was such a hit that it was repeated soon after a few day for Kushal (Vishal's younger brother) and his friends. This dessert was attempted for that party and turned out to be a unanimous winner and so wicked that it made one of Kushal's friend (who was on a strict diet)  give up his rigorous schedule and plunge right through it, making me have a devilish smile.    

Ingredients : For 4-5 servings

Chocolate Cake layer:
  • 1 cup sugar, powdered
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
Dark Chocolate cream layer:
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 75 gm dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp gelatin, powdered
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup milk
White Chocolate cream layer:
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 75 gm white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp gelatin, powdered
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup milk


Chocolate Cake layer:
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. 
Grease and line a 9" round baking tin.
Take a bowl and mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, milk and oil. 
Mix well so all the ingredients are incorporated well. Stir in boiling water (do not worry about lumps) The batter will be quite thin. 
Pour the batter in the prepared tin.
Bake for 35-40 mins or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool the cake on a rack.
Cut cake into desired shape to fit in the choice of serving bowl/glass. 
Moisten the cake layer with a mixture of 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp cocoa powder dissolved in 1/4 cup warm milk(Optional step)
I served the dessert in small glasses and so cut rounds of cake and fitted in the glass as the bottom layer. 
Dark Chocolate cream layer:
Take cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it.
Allow it to bloom and become spongy for 5-10 mins. 
Heat milk to a simmer and add chopped chocolate.
Remove from heat and stir well to dissolve the chocolate.
Add gelatin to the milk-chocolate mixture and mix well to dissolve it. 
Take whipped cream in a wide bowl and gently fold in the milk-chocolate-gelatin mixture.
Spoon the mixture on the chocolate cake layer in the glasses and refrigerate for an hour. 

White Chocolate cream layer:
Follow the same steps as above.
Spoon the white chocolate cream mixture over the dark chocolate cream layer in the glasses and allow to refrigerate for another hour to set. 

Sprinkle some grated dark chocolate over the dessert before serving.

  • You will have some cake bits left which can be eaten as it is or assembled with leftover cream.
  • You can also make alternate layers of the cake with white chocolate cream for an easier version.
Happy Wicked Indulgence

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Kofieebroodje/Dutch Coffeee buns

Time of the month when I am always rushing to finish off the bakes in the challenges that I am a part of. One such event started by Swathi called the Baking partners is one such challenge I always love to attempt, sooner or later. There is so much that I have learnt and experimented in baking just by being part of this incredible group.
Having spent a relaxed holiday in Allahabad, it has been indeed a little difficult to get back to baking and blogging and hence my delay in this month's challenge. This month 2 recipes, a Dutch Apple tart and Dutch Coffee buns which are also called Kofieebroodje were suggested by Kaveri Venkatesh. I was naturally intrigued by the name and expected a good amount of coffee in the bake. To my amazement, there was no mention of it and I very confidently asked Kaveri to rectify the mistake. That is when I was told that these buns are called so as the Dutch love to have them with their cup of Coffee. With Swathi's permission who is always open to experimentation keeping the original recipe spirit in mind, I decided to add some coffee in the  filling. 
Since the original recipe asked for the usage of vanilla pudding which is easily available abroad, many members decided to make their own custard. I went the cheat's way and used the readily available vanilla custard powder in our country and added some coffee to it. 
The outcome was very pleasing and I was happy to create the yummy coffee custard in a jiffy. The original recipe calls for raisins which I have substituted with toasted almonds to go with my Coffee buns. 
This is such a  super simple recipe which yields amazingly   soft buns. Flavour them to your liking, making them sweet or savoury and it will become a keeper recipe for sure.

Recipe Source: The Dutch Table

Ingredients : I used 1/3 of the recipe to yield 10 such buns

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 almonds, peeled and toasted
  • 2 tsp vanilla custard powder
  • 1 tsp coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup milk (for the custard)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (for the custard)
Procedure : 
In a bowl, add flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix. 
Add butter and mix.
Add milk little by little and knead the mixture to a smooth dough. If required add a little more milk.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn the dough to cover it with oil on all sides. 
Cover with a damp muslin cloth and allow to double in size for an hour or two in a warm place. 
Meanwhile, make the custard which will be used as a filling.
Take 1/2 cup milk and boil it. Add 2 tbsp sugar to it.
Dilute vanilla custard powder with a little cold milk or even water and add to the boiling milk. Stir well to avoid any lumps.
Dilute 1 tsp coffee powder in some warm milk and add to the custard. Mix well and as soon as the mixture thickens, remove it from gas.
Allow to cool.
Prepare the almonds by dropping them in some boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. 
Remove from heat and drain them.
The skin will now come off very easily just by pinching the ends.
Allow the almonds to dry for some time on a kitchen towel.
Dry roast them on a pan or in the oven.
Allow to cool and chop them in pieces.
Once the dough is ready, roll it roughly to a 9x9" square. 
Spread the coffee flavoured custard all over leaving 1/2" on all sides.
Sprinkle the chopped toasted almonds on it. 

Roll it into a cylinder and cut 1" equal pieces out of it.

Cover them and allow to proof for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Place the rolls on a lined and greased baking tray and brush them with some milk.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or till the buns brown well.
Brush the buns with some butter as soon as they are out of the oven.
Enjoy them warm with a cup of coffee.


  • You may use any other flavouring for the custard or simply use the variety of custard powders available in the market.
  • Add your choice of nuts in it or you may even avoid it.
  • For a richer taste, you may make the custard in cream instead of milk.

Happy Coffee buns relishing

Sunday 19 January 2014

Sea Food Sensation, Swissotel- Review

Along with the Kolkata Food Bloggers Group we had the fortuity to satiate through the gourmet indulgence in the Swissotel Kolkata's Sea Food Sensation scheduled from 15th to 26th January, 2014.

The Seafood Sensation was a perspicuous expression of an exquisite dining experience that was augmented with an extraordinary hospitality. Along with our wonderful hosts Enakshi, Maya and Anuj Bidani we had the added opportunity of having Chef Sanjay and Chef Mahesh, specializing in pastries and sea food respectively, interact exclusively with us and explain elaborately the intricacy of the seafood and the dessert selection.

The menu in the offering had a selection of seafood dishes from around the world. Each dish was very original and specific to the particular region from where they were derived. To maintain absolute authenticity the restaurant imports all the ingredients of the dish from the region/country they represent. 

Yum Talay was a thai salad having a beautiful spiced dressing which hit the palate in an very individualistic notation. The mesclun, which is a green salad made from a mixture of edible green leaves and flowers along with scallops and squid gave a beautiful harmony to the dish.

Seared Scallops had an amazing presentation with Cauliflower Veloute, which is a white sauce made from the roux of butter and flour with cauliflower inducement, lemon scented crumb and Daikon, or the flavoured raddish. The dish was brilliant with the synergy of the cauliflower sauce, seared scallops and flavoured raddish.

In the main course we had the legendary Lobster Thermidor with asparagus, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and garlic bread. This is a traditional French dish where the lobster meat is served in the beautiful shell of the lobster itself.  The cherry tomatoes had a dramatic burst in the mouth like a subdued culinary bomb waiting to explode and had wonderful flavours and juices that complimented the lobster.  

The salmon in the Norwegian Salmon was directly imported from Norway. The fleshy salmon was very pink and had a beautiful crispy crust and was accompanied with salsa verde and mashed potatoes. Overall a beautiful dish with the natural rich omega tinge that salmon brings by itself.

Chermoula Spiced Fish was a Moroccan origin dish with the fish marinated in coriander paste and other spices.

The Seafood Sensation at the Swissotel was true to its name, an absolute sensation. Each dish was very different and had ingredients that was very original to the region of the dish. A dining experience that breaches standards and quality found in the city. The genuine hospitality that literally carried the extra mile walk was very extraordinary. It is definitely worth the drive all the way up to the Swissotel. 

The buffet range had a concoction of very distinctly flavoured dishes. Each dish had its own characteristics which overall complimented the theme for the evening.

The range of soup, salads and main course did give a challenge to brainstorm the selection. Each dish was very distinct in its characteristics and flavours.

The dessert spread was comparable to a meal by itself with an amazing spectrum of cakes, pastries, tarts etc.

The Creme Brulee needs a special mention as it had a taste and texture to micro perfection. The torched surface that created the thin glass like brittle crust was like a sheet over the ocean of light cream and without the pungency of the egg flavour. A very classic dish made to an absolute perfection.
The Opera pastry had a perfect balance of its main flavours which comprises of the chocolate ganache, almond cake and coffee buttercream layer. 

In the aftermath of the dessert delight, when we thought that the evening was plateaued off the sweetest note, there was a crescendo to a higher peak which the culinary symphony of the swissotel reserved as an unexpected accentuato with the Paan and Nolengur ice cream.  
The Paan Ice cream had the mesmerizing effect reminiscent to the experience of having the freshest meetha paan. The paan ice cream was served with gulkand, which is one of the essential ingredient in meetha paan, and each bit of it transported us into a spell which punctuated only with exclamations of utter culinary satisfaction. 

We, along with Kolkata Food Bloggers, have been absolutely enthralled, exhilarated and elevated to experience one of the finest dining experience in the city with an extraordinary hospitality and reception. The overall experience at the Swissotel has become a new bench mark for comparison and standards. 

Vishal & Amrita

The views expressed in the review is purely an individualist opinion. The reviewers were not paid or offered any incentive for favorable expressions and the review presented is honest and unbiased.

Friday 17 January 2014

Chawlas 2 : Restaraunt Review

Chawlas 2
43 Ballygunge Gardens
033 40630000
033 40640000
Meal for two- 800-900/-

Being married to a wonderful wife, who also happens to be my co-blogger at Sweet'n'Savoury, from an amazing Sikh family from Punjab, I personally have had the privilege to relish and understand the dynamics of the Punjabi cuisine, both at home and at various restaurants.

At first instance my reaction toward reviewing Chawla's was an underlying understanding of the conventional Punjabi Restaurant experience around the city. The overall dining experience was refreshing and different in many aspects.

The Chawla's Restaurant wears a very classy outlook with everything from the entrance to the interiors very tastefully done considering the minutest details in mind.

The walk up the staircase with the sketches and portraits of the Maharajas and the Maharanis warmly welcomes you to a expect a very royal culinary pampering. 

The overall food quality and Standard from the Starters to the Main Course and the Desserts were brilliant.

Starters and Refreshments

The Mutton Kebab (Adrak ke Panje) (Rs 245/-) was exceptional. It is very rare that we come across mutton kebab of that quality. The meat came off the bones so effortlessly and the mild ginger flavour was not overpowering at all. It was a real treat and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tandoori Chicken (Rs 320/-) was different than the usual with the non staining red food colouring which is usually added. Chicken Malai Tikka (Rs 210/-) was brilliant as well. 
Tandoori Stuffed Potatoes (Rs 165/-) had a beautiful presentation and flavours making the simple grill look very eloquent. We loved the juiciness of the grilled vegetables served with it.
The overall quality of the kebabs was brilliant highlighting the flavours, doneness (perfectly cooked) and the retention of the inherent juices. The flavours were very well balanced.
I must make a special mention about the cream salad which was served with each plate of kebabs. It was outstanding with its creaminess and was a wonderful accompaniment. 
The kebabs were also served with coriander chutney.  
The serving size and quantity was adequate.

The Soda Shikanji (Rs 40/-)was one of the best that we have had. The masala was very natural since it was self-prepared and not too over powering like the ones that is served with Jaljeera. It was not too over fizzy as well. A great refreshment.

The Masala Papad (Rs 25/-)had a great presentation however there was a strong ‘pepper hotness’ to it which, in a Punjabi restaurant, can be overlooked.

Main Course
The overall quality, serving quantity, presentation of the main course was brilliant as well. We particularly like the following aspects of the main course:

  The flavours were very well balanced. Usually in a typical Punjabi Restaurant there is a natural exhibit of the dormancy of a single or selected masala. Usually the garlic, ginger, chilli or tomato overpowers the other ingredients. However in Chawlas the balance of flavours were very subtle and to perfection.

  The overall food quality was not too rich. In many restaurants there is an over greasy or fat/butter inducement that does leave a heavy after taste. However we found the dishes at Chawlas on a lighter side and very enjoyable. 

The signature Chawla’s Cream Chicken (Rs 450/-) had very different flavours to it which ee thoroughly enjoyed.

Mutton RoganJosh (Rs 250/-) was cooked very well and came off the bones easily. It had very well balanced flavours.
Butter Chicken (Rs Rs 450/-) was very natural and without the usage of artificial colours. It was very soft, light and flavourful.
Daal Makhani (Rs 135/-) was again very light and flavourful without the aftertaste of the heaviness of the cream that collaborated the other concoction of other dishes. 

 The naan rotis were very flavourful and soft that complimented the main course dishes very well. We were served Butter Naan (Price:45/-), Garlic Naan (Price: 50/-), Lachha Paratha (Price:45/-) and Tandoori Roti (Price:15/-)

The traditional Gajar-ka-Halwa (Rs 95/-)was opted in the dessert section which was so much better than what we have had a most places. 

The overall service of the waiters was very courteous, clean, prompt and timely. The lead attendant was very presentable and spoke courteously. The apparel was clean.

The service timing was very well managed. We particularly liked the little break that was there in between starters and main course. It gave a nice time to chit chat and enjoy the dining experience.

The pricing of the dishes was very competitive. 

We at KFB have been thrilled to have the chance to dine at the Chawlas. We would certainly be back with family and friends sooner.

Check out for other views here by our fellow blogger friends:  
Kamalika@Silence sings
Archita@My Food My Life

Happy Punjabeing

Vishal & Amrita

The views expressed are solely an individualistic expression and is an honest presentation of the views of the reviewers.  The reviewer was not paid and the review is unbiased. 


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