Tag Archives: Blogger

From food blogging to Calcutta Street – the journey

 

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry for spending so much time away from my lovely blog that has got me where I am today. I promise to be a regular again (and I mean it this time!). The reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been busy working towards the launch of my restaurant Calcutta Street, which is opening on 18th July at 29 Tottenham Street, London (Just off Goodge street station) and this blog post is to fill you in on the crazy journey its been!

For all of you who have been following this blog from the start in 2010 – MASSIVE HUGS! Seriously, if you hadn’t followed, encouraged, and supported me back then (when I was posting those horrible webcam videos), I probably would have given up.

In December 2014, I decided to go on a soul-searching trip to the USA all by myself. If you have been a follower, then you might have read my post (and you’ll know that it was more eating than soul searching!) and I had a eureka moment; I knew I wanted to start my food popup.

eureka 3

I got back to London and mulled the idea over for a few months before I decided on a name for the popup – Calcutta Street. Magically, I found a lovely restaurant owner; Steve from Zensai who let me use his restaurant to host a popup. That’s when it all really began – 7th March, 2015.

IMG_0976

You can follow the rest of the first year on this very blog through articles and posts about the popups – just scroll down and you can see.

Popups are one thing but opening a restaurant in London is a whole different game – I had always dreamt about it but had thought that it was too far-fetched to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride, because each time I even mentioned the idea of starting a restaurant, I would hear the same things a thousand times:

“You are crazy!”

“You are twenty-six, a girl and international on top of that – you will never raise funding.”

“Restaurant is a tricky business, don’t quit your steady job.”

“No one gives funding to single-founder businesses.”

So on and so forth.

But I thought – OK, all that might be true but where’s the harm in trying? I might end up homeless (because I won’t have money to pay rent) but I have friends who will happily lend me their couch to sleep on! I might end up crying every day, but salt water is good for your skin!

So I did it. I decided to quit my job and take the plunge. I wrote a business plan, presented it to people, began the property search, and before I knew it I was fully funded! OK, so I missed out the crying sessions, sleepless nights and surviving on one meal a day bit – but that’s just part of the job!

Next came the tricky part; the fifty-year-old commercial property owners, who firstly refused to believe that I was twenty-six (do I really look like I’m in high school?!), and that I had the money or skills to start a restaurant. Three properties fell through and I eventually found a home in Fitzrovia – my favorite restaurant spot in London. Good things happen those who wait (even if they don’t wait patiently!!).

Finally, after jumping all these hurdles, I managed to gather together a team – project manager, creative director, architect, interior designer, branding guru, menu developer and builders. A bunch of us flew to Calcutta for a research trip for a week, had a blast shopping and soaking in every bit of the wonderful city. The trip also gave me an opportunity to introduce my team to my mum’s delicious home cooking, which after all was the inspiration behind everything!

I’ll spare you the boring parts of legal, structural engineering, building control, property issues, and get right on to the fun stuff, like building the site, writing the menu copy, creating the website, design, identity, recruitment, music development, food development and all sorts of exciting things. All these different elements make it feel like I’m directing a movie, and the premiere is on the 18th July! It’s exciting and stressful, but after all this, can I handle criticism about my baby? All I want is everyone to love it as much as I do, and even though I know that you can’t please everyone, if you guys keep showing the love that you always have, then that would be enough. I promise to keep entertaining you, keep in touch, and not disappoint you – even if that means the occasional silly video!

 

 

 

 

By the way, here is a shameless promotion for our social media. Show us some love!!!

Twitter: @calcuttast

Instagram: @calcuttastreet

Facebook: Calcutta Street

Calcutta Street, Shrimoyee, Summer Menu

Calcutta Street Summer Party – Pelt Trader

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –  I agree with Henry James and what is even better is Saturday Summer Afternoon!

We are celebrating 6 months  of Calcutta Street with a Summer Party – 1st August, Saturday 12pm – 4 pm at Pelt Trader craft beer bar in the city. The menu is very Summery and fresh with goodies like Prawns, Lentil soups, Yogurt, Tamarind. It is a 3 course menu with artisan beer pairing with each course. Yes, you heard that right – craft beer pairing with Indian food! Mark from Pelt Trader does know his beer really well and I am excited with the pairings he has done. There will also be live music by the very talented blues and country singer Charlie Walker!

This Pop up is also right after my 26th Birthday (Yes, I have stepped on the wrong side of 20) so you can always drop by to wish me Happy Birthday and try my special dessert – my mum used to make this for me on every birthday of mine. I am making few of my personal favourite dishes like Prawn Malai Curry, Simui Payesh (Kheer), Doi Phuchka, Paneer Posto. I am certain you won’t find most of these dishes in any London restaurant.

Menu:

Starter:

Doi Phuchka, Crispy semolina balls with potato, black chick pea, tamarind and yogurt filling. Very refreshing and Tangy – perfect for a summer snack. 

VP or Vivekananda Park in Calcutta has some of the best Doi Phuchka stalls where most bengali youngsters crowd every evening for the tangy snack with some lebu cha (lemon tea) and a cigarette or some good old grass.

Mains:

Musurir Dal with Gondhoraj Lebu, Boiled red lentils cooked with a slight hint of spice, nigella seeds, fresh green peas, coriander leaves, special scented lemons from bangladesh and a dash of home made ghee – Super heathy and tasty)

Every bengali’s comfort food and a bengali meal is never complete without a serving of Dal and Bhaat. This is the simplest dish ever but very few people get it right.

Chingri macher (Prawn) Malai Curry, Jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce. 

This is every bengali’s favourite Sunday lunch, no special occasion is complete without this dish. When Rick Stein travelled to Kolkata, he picked this dish as his personal favourite.Prawn is called chingri in bengali.

Paneer Posto, Indian cottage cheese cooked in a nutty, poppy seed paste. This is my own recipe with very bengali ingredients. Contains nuts. 

The most famous poppy seed or posto dish in Calcutta is Aloo Posto, potatoes in poppy seed paste. This is also the favourite dish of Saurav Ganguly the famous Indian cricket team captain who took his shirt off at Lords when India won a match against England and then eventually got suspended. 

All mains served with boiled rice. 

Dessert:

Simui Payesh – Milk pudding with Vermicelli and sugar coated rose petals (served cold)

Since this Pop Up is right after my birthday, I decided to make the dessert which my mum made for me on every birthday of mine. Payesh is a must on birthday’s its meant to be auspicious. 

Drinks:

Mocktail: Aam Pora Shorbot – Smoked Raw mango pulp blended with a spice mix. Perfect cooler on a hot summer day. 

Cocktail: Aam Sura – Aam pora with bacardi. 

We also shot a little video with some of my customers and people who have been associated with Calcutta Street in any way.

BOOK TICKETS

summer_party_lr-01

I am hoping to see some of you on 1st and please do some and say hello!

Shrim

xxxx

Chicken Stew – Perfect healthy, lazy meal

So, here is a video after a long time, so I decided to make something very simple and healthy.

This is a chicken stew with lots of veggies and some spices to make it a little more interesting and less bland.

Recipe:

Marinade the chicken with ginger, garlic, salt and turmeric while you chop your veggies

Chop onions, tomato, pepper, fresh chillies.

Add oil in a pan and sauté the onions and pepper and add a bay leaf (if you have any, not compulsory)

Then add the marinated chicken and some garam masala and then chopped tomatoes.

Then finally add some curry leaves (if you have, not compulsory) and a lemon juice.

Finally add a cup of water and cover the pan.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes and finally add some butter and fresh coriander to give it the final touch!

 

Let me know if you make it 🙂

Shrim

xx

Gajar Ka Halwa – Mother’s Day Special

Mum’s are special and super humans, and I love mine very much! She is an absolute super woman, who can juggle a million things at the same time. When she was visiting me in London, she was making all these delicious food for me everyday and my most favorite memory of her was walking to the nearest Sainsbury (Yes I am a big fan, and my mum says their meat is the best) to buy groceries – reminded me of my days as a toddler when I followed her to super markets.

With My beautiful Mum!
Mum and me having a jug of Pimms!

Most of the recipes I post in this blog are actually stolen from her, so this Mother’s day I am dedicating this recipe to her. It is the most delicious Indian dessert and you can never go wrong with it – its a mass favorite. So, why not impress your mum by making this exotic Indian Carrot pudding or most popularly known as Gajar Ka Halwa.

Gajar Ka Halwa
Gajar Ka Halwa

Things you will need 

3 – 4 Carrots finely grated

3 Table Spoon of Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Handful of Almond Flakes

Evaporated Milk (1 cup) or half a tin

1/2 cup (small tea cup) sugar

2 Cardamom pods

Image

Get Cooking to impress Mummy! 

  • Heat the ghee in a pan and then add the grated carrots and cardamom pods (smashed). Stir it for about 3-4 minutes in medium heat.
  • Add the evaporated milk and sugar. mix well and then cook in low heat till the you get a pudding like texture (you want it to be quite thick and not runny).
  • Finally add the almond flakes to garnish!

Serve it hot or cold – its so good that it tastes great either ways!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the Mum’s in the world!

London Fashion Week 2014

Whoever said food bloggers can’t go for fashion week should be shot (okay maybe no one said that).

So I got an opportunity to attend the London Fashion Week 2014 last week – definitely one of the most fashionable experiences of my life. But when you get invited to one of the biggest fashion extravaganza in the world the pressure is immense and the question – ‘what should I wear?’ has never sounded more serious! When its the Fashion Week you know you need to make an effort (or more than that), but guess what? My mind stops working in situations like these and for some reason I don’t manage to find any dress in my wardrobe which I quite like – ah typical girl problems. Anyway I did manage to throw this old steel colored dress on and thought of going for the whole red and steel combination (it’s my made up fashion) and being utterly safe and definitely boring compared to the fashionistas! 

Somerset house has never looked more glamorous or star studded ever before – yes I did spot some celebs! Bradley – Oh so HOT – Cooper and Stella MacCartney. I possibly spotted others too but just did not recognize – not great with this celeb spotting game! I managed to watch two shows too – Ashish show at Tate, which was incredible and Saide Clayton at this vintage Church! 

Here are some of the pictures from fashion week! 

This is my famous steel and red look I was mentioning earlier 😉 

 

Shrimoyee Chakraborty
Shrimoyee Chakraborty

Right after my friend took this photograph, I got asked by a Paparazzi if i was Padma Laxmi (She is an Indian super model but is around 48 years old now) so I didn’t know if I wanted to slap that guy or hug him! Well I went with a smile and no I am not at this instance. 

 

Image

 

The Exhibitions 

 

ImageImageImage

 

Saide Clayton Show 

 

 

Image

 

Ashish Show at Tate Modern

 

 

Image

Okay, I had to take a selfie 😉 

Shrimoyee
Shrimoyee – LFW2014