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Get paid to travel and write an Asian cook book!

A big shout out to all my fellow foodies!

What if someone paid you to go anywhere in Asia and research for your own cookbook? Sounds too good to be true? Well Asia House hosts The Yan-Kit So Memorial Award for every year to assist armature chefs (like me and you, if you are also like me) who are interested in writing about Asian cuisine.

This award is offered in memory of Yan-Kit So (1933-2001) – Britain’s leading authority on Chinese cuisine. A tireless promoter of food in Asia, her first book The Classic Chinese Cookbook (1984) went on to win major awards such as the prestigious André Simon Awards and Glenfiddich Award for the Best Food Book of the Year.

You can find the application download form and more information on the Asia House website.

The Last Secret Supper Club

What would be your last supper? This is a question I never thought about till I attended The Last Secret Supper Club thanks to Lauren for inviting me.

Eating out has always been an important part of people’s life but in the last few years it has suddenly gone top of the charts even before gigs and rock concerts. There are foodies everywhere and instagram is filled with food photographs of people posting photographs of food they eat. Back in the days eating out meant going to restaurants – order your favorite thing from the menu, women gossiped about men and men talked about sports and the hot victoria’s secret model and then you went home. But now there are different kinds of eating out and the most interesting and popular of the lot are – Supper Clubs. Supper Clubs are not like eating out at any restaurant but its a mixture of both restaurant and a dinner party. You pay a fixed price in advance for your meal and a great time in advance, it has become the most popular thing to do in London and New York these days. Supper Clubs actually started in the early 1990’s in New York where it was a thing that the High Society people did and now it has made a grand come back – still quite elitist though.

I spend an evening with The Last Secret supper club, which is organized by Food Photographer Lauren and her business partner along with Top Chef Jesse Dunford Wood at Parlour in Kensal. Lauren was kind enough to allow me to bring a plus one with me, so I turned up with my friend Patrick at the venue 30 minutes late – we confused Regents Street in Kensal with ‘The Regents Street’. We were greeted by the lovely hosts and they immediately showed us the way to the bar where we were served Mandarin Infused Gin and Tonic in plastic bags which also contained a plastic fish inside it – quite an innovate way to serve cocktails I must say!

Last Secret Supper Club, Shrimoyee, Food Blogger, London, Foodie London, Supper Club, Dinner, Party
I am busy smiling while Patrick is digging into his fish pie!

There was a mixed bunch of people – Food reviewers, The hot New York media PR woman, Editors of Magazines, The Finance guy who works for a Hedge Fund and has no clue about supper clubs(he was my plus one) and a lot of American Expats (Supper Club’s are a big thing in The States). We were all seated like we were at a posh dinner party and then food was served finally – people ate, joked, talked about work (the introductions), then slowly once the wine and cocktail started kicking in, it went in all different directions including politics, sex and london stereotypes.

I thoroughly enjoyed my starter, Buffalo Wings in Blue Cheese Sauce – never tried buffalo wings before but every one in the table agreed that it was delicious and very well presented. The fish pie followed after that, I have to be honest I would never order a fish pie (I am a hard core meat lover when it comes to pies) but it was definitely tasty. And finally the dessert was served – Banoffie pie! You can’t really go wrong with this classic because its almost everyone’s favorite and the chef definitely nailed it, I loved the way she presented it too.

We had a good laugh, some good food and a very fine evening!

I had a chat with the ‘Brains’ of this wonderful concept Lauren and Lottie, this is what they had to say :

 The initial concept of Last suppers, came from a series of different ways of thinking around people’s favourite foods. This led to a slightly darker side, what would you choose if you only had one meal left? Would it be food from your childhood, or would you pick something you’ve eaten in a restaurant or abroad?

 This was the beginning of our brand. We started by asking friends and family about their last suppers and were amazed by the variety of menu choices. We began shooting their favourite dishes and soon found a style to the food and photography that worked well. The more people, we asked, the more we began to want to expand the idea into supper clubs. It definitely had a new twist compared with other London based supper clubs.

 We started off by running them from home and at a rented location, but soon realised how much work was involved and that it wasn’t going to work financially this way. Lottie is a full time recipe developer and food stylist at Seven Publishing, and I am a freelance food photographer, so it was very difficult to fit into our already busy schedules. This is when we decided to collaborate with a chef.

 I met chef Jesse Dunford Wood about 5 years ago whilst photographing restaurant reviews for a magazine. We remained good friends, making our decision simple when choosing a chef to involve in the brand. Jesse is very innovative, his culinary creativity still manages to suprise me. We have been running our supper clubs for 6 months now, 3 months of this in collaboration with Jesse. They have been a great success and I hope they continue to be!

 The exciting part about the Last Secret Supper Club, is that you won’t know what you will be eating until you arrive. It’s like a game of meal roulette! The menu is very varied, but we always cook an alternative for people just incase. We also ask all our guests to submit their meal and any dietary requirements before they attend. This way there is a chance of one of their courses being selected and winning £10 off their ticket price. This is also their moment to state if there is anything they specifically dislike! We will adjust their meal accordingly.

Our supper clubs are hosted every last Wednesday of the month. The next one is the 30th of April.

We are continuing to write our cookery book alongside, we’re in the process of putting together a shooting schedule, and we hope the book will be released in April 2015.

You can also find out more about the brains behind ‘Last’ via our websites-

Lauren Mclean- www.laurenmclean.com

Lottie Covell- www.lcovell.wordpress.com 

Parlour-  www.parlourkensal.com

Upma – South Indian Breakfast

Upma - South Indian Breakfast
Upma – South Indian Breakfast

‘Eat your breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar’ – All Indian’s take this sentence very seriously, which is why breakfast in all parts of India tends to be a very heavy meal. I am a big fan of South Indian food because it’s not just very tasty but very healthy and wholesome too. Upma is one of the most popular South Indian breakfast which has a huge popularity across the country. It is a healthy meal made with semolina and vegetables which keeps you full for a very long time but at the same time its extremely tasty and delicious!

Nudo Olive Oil
Nudo Olive Oil

Nudo Italia  send me samples of their new rosemary flavored olive oil .  I am a big fan of rosemary and always tend to use it with meat (which is the obvious choice) but this time I decided to see how well it goes with vegetarian food and decided to experiment it with Upma! Guess what? It turned out to be fabulous because the hint of rosemary makes adds a whole new dimension to the dish!

Ingredients

1 cup of semolina

1 tomato

Dried curry leaves (3-4)

Onion chopped (1 small)

Bay leaf (1)

Chopped green vegetables (I used green beans and carrots)

Nudo Rosemary Olive Oil (2 table spoons)

Red Chili flakes or powder (as much as you can handle)

Mustard Seeds – (5-6)

Lemon Juice (1/2 lemon)

Salt (to taste)

Pinch of Sugar

 Let’s get cooking 

Upma - South Indian Breakfast
Upma – South Indian Breakfast
  • Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, onions and bay leaf – fry it till the onions get soft for about 1- 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the tomatoes and green veggies to it and let them simmer and boil for about 3 minutes
  • Add the semolina to it and then add 2 cups of water to the whole thing and let it cook in low heat.
  • Add the curry leaves, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pinch of sugar – let it cook till you get a thick consistency similar to a risotto.
Upma - South Indian Breakfast
Upma – South Indian Breakfast

Serve it piping hot and relish it – 🙂 Isn’t it rather simple to make?

If you like it, don’t forget to share it 😉

xx

Camp Food Chronicles – Guest Post by Vahishta Mistry

Vahishta Mistry is a traveling foodie, who quit his job, sold his house and is currently backpacking and blogging his way across the US, Central and South America.

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I recently spent about ten days camping in Utah, and every meal I had was on a

bonfire – so I thought I’d do a quick guest post showing off what I learned!

First off, you must realize that cooking over coals or fresh firewood improves the

taste of food like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The dried mesquite wood indigenous to

the Utah region provides a wonderful flavor even to such normally insipid items as

rice. I found myself using less salt and spices so as to properly appreciate the woody,

smoky flavor.

The best thing to make when outside and cooking on an open wood or charcoal

flame, is steak. My traveling companions and I bought some nice thick beef steaks

from a local supermarket and froze them for our camping trip. Every evening, we’d

pull out a couple and defrost them, drizzling them in olive oil, salt and pepper an

hour or so in advance.

Building up the flames is an art in itself. A good rule of thumb is to have the coals

be hot enough that placing your hand about 6 inches above the coals becomes

uncomfortable after about six seconds. That’s when you know the heat is just right.

Of course, a complete meal doesn’t consist of just meat. We cut up some broccoli,

cauliflower, beans, carrots and onions, drizzled oil, some fresh rosemary and thyme

and then stuck them in packets of aluminium foil and placed them directly onto

coals. The sizzling noise and the aroma tends to drive you a bit nuts with hunger,

especially after a good day of hiking, but the results are well worth it. Another good

option is to cut a potato in half, scoop out a bit of the inside from each hemisphere

and then spoon in some cheese and butter. Re-form the potato by putting the halves

together, then wrap in foil and place on the coals. In about 35 minutes you’ll have

the best potato meal you’ve ever eaten in your life.

The steaks themselves are an art. You want to cook them thoroughly but not burn

them or lose the juicy pink in the centres. Usually this comes down to timing and

practice but a good trick is to look for when the fat comes dripping down. Turn at

that point and you should be ok!

Finally, a point about presentation. Because you’re most likely in rustic

surroundings, even a little bit goes a long way when it comes to presentation. A

spring of parsley, some garlic sauce laced across the steak and the veggies arranged

artfully across the plate can make a huge difference in the way your meal is

perceived!

Good luck with your camping cuisine and let us know how you fared (or even share

your own tips) in the comments section below!

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Hope you enjoyed this post,  you can also follow Vahishta’s blog on http://www.vahishta.com

The True Indian Cuisine captured by Rick Stein

Rick Steine Show

Indian Food
Full Bengali Meal

When ever I hear the word ‘Curry’ used to describe Indian Cuisine it really makes me very upset and irritated because Indian Food is so much more than curry! I have had millions of discussions with friends here where I tried to explain them what Indian food is all about. Rick Stein has finally captured it in its true essence!

This video just made me very hungry, nostalgic, emotional and a wee bit teary eyed! Ahh I miss home Kolkata now! If you are interested in Indian food or like it, this episode is a must watch! Don’t blame me later if you get really hungry later!

 

Yelping it up!

There have been some major changes in my life in the last 5 months, which is why I did not get any time to update this blog! Thankfully they are all good changes 🙂 I am now the Community Manager for Yelp Manchester !

Thanks to this new job I have been eating out a lot besides doing some really cool things! I wanted to share a few photographs with you guys of my last 5 months of foodie adventure!

 

Yelp Manchester
Yelp Manchester

 

So now that you have seen what I have been up to lately, you can add me on Yelp and also read my reviews there! I would love to see some of you on Yelp and invite you for all these awesome parties and events! Perks of being a Yelper eh? 🙂

New recipe will follow soon!

Lots of love,

Shrim

xx

 

Palak Paneer

http://vimeo.com/57079364

This is a video of me cooking one of my favorite dish Palak Paneer that I made with my friend Daniel as an experiment! The recipe is already there in my previous post! 🙂

Hope you like it and let me know your thoughts! Always open to suggestions!

Palak Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese with Spinach)

Firstly Merry Christmas to everyone, I didnt quite have a merry christmas as I was coughing and popping antibiotics all through and my plan of cooking great food everyday hence was kind of ruined! I finally started feeling better yesterday so thought of making some healthy treat for myself and making those nasty greens taste good (yes I am not a massive fan of the greens) :p

Palak Paneer or Spinach with cottage cheese is definitely a superb invention by the Indians cuz it is not just healthy Indian Food but super yummy at the same time!

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Ingredients: 

500 grams Paneer/ Cottage Cheese (diced into cubes)

300 grams spinach (boiled and grinded) you can also use tinned spinach

1 tomato chopped into small pieces or grated

1 green chilly chopped

1 onion grated

1 table spoon garam masala powder

2 tablespoon oil (olive oil/sunflower oil/vegetable oil)

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon fresh cream

1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan

Fry the cottage cheese very lightly for about 2 minutes and keep them separate

Use the same oil and add the onion, ginger and garlic and saute for a few minutes

Add the tomato, salt and garam masala powder and fry till the whole thing looks like a smooth paste.

Add the spinach to the mixture and heat it till the whole mixture looks green and smooth, and then add the fresh cream and butter to make it creamy.

Finally add the cottage cheese that you kept aside and your food is ready to be served.

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Serving instruction:

Serve it hot with rice/ naan bread/ chapati/paratha

Finally here is a picture of me during Christmas while I was fragile and sick but never the less Hey Its Christmas! 😀

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Cabernet-Pomegranate Braised Beef Short Ribs (Guest Post)

Anthony, my new blogger friend very kindly offered to write a guest post for my blog, I hope you enjoy this post because I surely did! 🙂Image

So, we’re still here. Today is December 22, 2012 and not only am I still here, but there still exist plenty of people to read what I’m typing. Our world has undergone no obvious natural cataclysm or tumult. The hour of the dreaded Mayan apocalypse prophecy that has caused December 21, 2012 to dominate so many imaginations for so long has come and gone with neither a celestial horseman nor a cosmic collision to show for it. This could seem to reinforce the plausibility of another widely-held belief, that the destined December 21st event was intended to reflect less of final curtains than of new beginnings and, as some believe, beneficial change in the collective spirit and consciousness of all humankind. I suppose we’ll see. Either way, it seems my opportunity to learn how the final season ofFringe will conclude is not lost, so color me elated.

Now let’s eat.

The most recent widely-publicized prediction of some sort of major planetary upheaval happened in May 2011, and I marked the occasion on FlavorfulWorld.com with a multiple-course Doomsday menu.  The recipe I am pleased and honored to share here today (Thanks again for having me, Shrimoyee!) is better described as a celebratory “We’re Still Here” dish, because the best kind of global catastrophe is the kind that never came.  In celebration of that truth, here’s my recipe for Cabernet-Pomegranate Braised Beef Short Ribs so tender the meat fell right off the bone when I prepared them just last night.

Ingredients

2 1/2− 3 lbs beef short ribs

1 bottle (750 ml) cabernet sauvignon

1  1/2  cups pomegranate juice

3 cups beef stock

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced sweet yellow onion

1/3 cup finely chopped green onion

1/2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed

1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Vegetable oil (just enough to cover the bottom of a large frying pan or dutch oven)

Directions:

1. Trim any especially thick exterior fat from short ribs before preparing. Into a container deep enough for wine to completely cover short ribs, place short ribs in a single layer and pour entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate overnight (or minimum four hours).

2. Cover the bottom of a frying pan or dutch oven with vegetable oil on stovetop over medium-high heat.

3. Combine flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Remove short ribs from marinade.  Set marinade aside.

4. Dredge marinated short ribs through seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add flour-coated short ribs 3 or 4 at a time, turning them every minute or two to sear all sides until brown.

5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Set seared short ribs aside. When all ribs are brown, add sweet onion, green onion, and carrots to pan. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until vegetables soften. If necessary, add another tbsp or two of oil to prevent vegetables from sticking or burning.

7. Pour in beef stock 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to loosen any cooked-on bits of meat or skin from cooking surface. Add coriander seeds, thyme, 1 1/2 cups wine marinade, 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, and adjust heat to bring to a boil. Discard remaining marinade. Let liquid boil for 8-10 minutes, then remove from heat.

8. In oven-safe cooking dish with lid, arrange short ribs in single layer and cover with liquid. Place covered dish in 200-degree oven and cook for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Optional: For a thicker sauce, after dish is finished in the oven, remove short ribs from liquid and boil liquid on stovetop to reduce it to desired consistency.

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For more recipes, as well as product/restaurant reviews, interviews, and more, please visit Anthony Beal at Flavorful World food and drink blog.

Bhapa Chingri ( Steamed Prawns)

This is a traditional Bengali recipe, from eastern India. This is one of those rare dishes which you will never find in Indian restaurants specially in the UK, infact it is hard to find this dish even in restaurants in other parts of India except West Bengal (Kolkata).

I stole this recipe from my mom but I added my own flavor to it as always.

Ingredients:

Tiger or King Prawns (500 grams)
Mustard Oil ( 2 Tbs)
Mustard Paste ( 2 Tbs)
Poppy seed paste (1 Tbs)
Coconut Creme ( 3 Tbs)
Ginger Paste ( 1 Tbs)
Fresh green cillies (2 )
Cinamon sticks (1)
Turmeric paste/powder (1 tsp)
Red chilly powder/ paste (1/4 tsp)

  • Peel and wash the prawns
  • Put the rest of the ingredients in a grinder and make a creamy smooth paste
  • Add the prawn to the scauce in a air tight microwaveable container
  • Place that container on top of a bigger container which is filled with water 
  • Then place the whole thing in the microwave and put it on timer for 10 mins
Your steamed prawns or bhapa chingri is ready to be served with boiled rice.