Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Food Blogger Meet - Spa Lunch at Out Of The Blue, Bandra




Last Friday we were invited to try out the ever so amazing Spa Lunch Buffet at Out of The Blue's second outlet in Bandra, Mumbai. The place is located in the Le Sutra Art Hotel, just off Carter Road. What an amazing spot to be!



We arrived just a little later than we were expected and the valet took our keys at the door of what looked like a really cramped up entrance. But little did we know, we walk inside and there is this humongous place with all the amazing seating one would ever dream of. From dates to family meals to just friends chilling out, Out of The Blue, Bandra has a space which is fit for each type of customer.



Although the outdoor area was very inviting, we decided to settle into a nicely air conditioned corner, thanks to the heat and humidity. That is also the reason for extremely poor pics coming your way coz there is only so much my cell phone camera could do! We were served this amazing Orange-Ginger-Mint concoction as a welcome drink. Perfect way to beat the heat.




I also ordered for a Grand Cosmopolitan, one of my most favorite cocktails, and it was pretty spot on. But the house specialty and the general favorite throughout the lunch was the Jaljeera Mojito! The perfect balance between the hit of the Rum and the tang from the Jaljeera, the fragrant aftertaste of the Mint, it was like a party for all senses.


Since we were wasting too much time chattering away, we decided to do so over a plateful of the awesome Salads on their Buffet at the time. Oh did I mention? The Buffet is priced for Rs. 375 + taxes, and offers a pretty large variety of Salads, Breads, Dips, Live Pasta Counter, A Main and Desserts. Add Rs.45 for a Glass of wine. Isn't it awesome? I think it is :) Here is why.


The Salad Bar included Salads like a fabulously refreshing Beet and Pear Salad, A Carrot and Raisin Salad, An Egg and Avocado Plate, A Mexican Chicken Salad, A Herbed Chicken Pasta Salad amongst more! One could get full on these alone.


Their collection of breads baked in-house is fabulous to say the least. They should probably think of serving them warm though!



And how can you let those gorgeous beauties be left without dipping sauces? The Chef outdid himself with the amazing dips, we had Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Nutty Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Dips. The Pumpkin and the Sweet Potato were favorites, Nutty Mushroom was good too and no one really cared for the Caramelized Onion Dip.



When you have so many choices, your plate ends up looking like this. At least mine does, coz my middle name is "Confused" when it comes to buffet Lunches or Dinners.



And then there is no space for Bread so you pick up another plate and do this.


And then you have to get up so many times for dips that the ever so courteous staff offers to get you this.


It was really sweet of them to do that by the way!! Well, moving on to the Live Pasta Counter. I did not have any coz I really wanted space for Mains and DESSERTS. But here is a pic!



The best part about this Spa Lunch is that you also get to order a Main Dish from their Spa Menu. Non Vegetarians had the option between a Spiced Basa with Lemon Caper Sauce and a Chicken Preparation, whereas the Vegetarians had a choice between Polenta Cakes and Polpettes.


Both options for Vegetarians were unavailable on that day which was a disappointment, but they opted to go for Paneer Shashlik. I ordered the Spiced Basa and another friend ordered the Spiced Chicken. Both of them were equally good tasting. I liked my fish dish better though.


There is only so much one could do with Paneer Shashlik, I feel, but I think it was liked too.




We were recommended their baked Pasta dish which did have a different flavor with the Red Chili Flakes, but I found the Chicken Pieces to be a bit too big to chew on.


Like a good girl, I only "tasted" the food coz I really am a dessert person. Plus Kunal, the organizer asked us to keep space in our tummies for a surprise. We decided to tour around the dessert section and got these.


There was Mango Cheesecake and Baklava, both of which were purely average. The base of the Mango Cheesecake was soggy.



The little pink Tartelettes from heaven were perfect with their crust and creamy with their Strawberry topping, Chef hit a home run right there. It was unanimously praised. The Chocolate cake was good too, and I did not care much about the Chocolate Roulade and the Chocolate Krispies. Chocolate Eclairs were Average.


But then came in the Surprise, THE surprise, to save the day, and people I am not kidding, you HAVE to order this to experience the kind of awesomeness that happens with you when you pop in anything dipped in this Gorgeous to perfection Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondue. Words cannot explain how amazing this was. Out of The Blue should really push their Fondues out more. It's what they do best. With the Desi Fondue and the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondue, people are going to be very very happy.



The dipping assortments included a lovely chocolate mini biscuit, fruit skewers, densely rich Brownie and a spongy Pound Cake. Within few minutes, this happened.


And then there was another plate of assortments. But as much as we loved the Fondue, we were really, really full and it was time to pay compliments to the chef and say our good byes.

Oh and yes, how could I miss out on the Spa part? There are also free Hand and Foot Massages at this buffet :) But we were a bit too engrossed with the food to try them out!!

Until next time, Out of The Blue! You guys are doing a great job!



Special thanks to Kunal who invited us for the great experience!

The special foodie gang present for the meet up included

Salonee from Belly First , @BellyFirstTweet on twitter
Reema from Sumthinz Cooking, @ScrollsNInk on twitter
Amrita from Life Ki Recipe, @AmritaRana on twitter
Gaurav from Eating Out in Bombay, @GauravGJain on twitter
Kunal and Amy from Out Of The Blue @OOftB and @KunalAilani7 on twitter
and last but not the least, yours truly, @CaramelWings on twitter

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bettering Breakfast #2 - An Oatmeal Affair.




This week has been so crazy, erratic sleeping patterns, busy schedules, having one drink too many at times and hung over mornings. So much so that I was not even able to go up to the kitchen and do one of my favorite things in this world, cooking breakfast. Add to it all the backlogs. Okay, enough of complaining and back to action!!

Oatmeal is one of my most loved breakfasts. I do think it is difficult to get it just right when making Oatmeal, either it's too runny for me or a bit too cloying. After years (literally) of going wrong I have finally found something that suits me best, and is perfect on my palette!



Oatmeal is one of those things where you can go completely crazy. Oats with Mango with a hint of Cinnamon is my favorite! And I discovered some new flavored Oatmeal treats from Quaker Oats at the Supermarket the other day. The Lemon and Veggie combo seemed intriguing. So I gave that a try too. Here's my recipe for Mango Oatmeal.

Mango Oatmeal
Serves 2
Recipe : Self

Ingredients:

1 Cup Instant Oats.
1 Cup Warm Milk
2 Cups Water
4 tbsp Sugar
A pinch of Salt (1/2 tsp)
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 tbsp Butter
Half a Mango, Chopped into dices.


Method:

Soak the Oats in 1 Cup Milk and 1 Cup Water. Reserve 1 Cup Water for later. Let it sit for 30 minutes.



Chop the Mango. Let it chill in the refrigerator.



Mix the Cinnamon and Sugar. I ground the two since I had no powder. I used 1 inch of Cinnamon. Also add the Butter. Then turn the heat on medium low.





In a Saucepan, add the soaked Oats, remaining Water, Salt, Sugar and Cinnamon. Add the Butter too.




Let this cook stirring continuously for 10 minutes, till you get a nice fluffy texture. Pour in a bowl and top with chopped Mangoes. Enjoy!


How are you guys liking this series? Feedback will be appreciated :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Easy Peasy Chicken Biryani! Especially for bachelors and novice cooks!






This quickfix Biryani is a special dedication to all the guys (bachelors) out there who asked me to put up some simple recipes which they could easily make! (I have made a special Label called "Bachelor Cooking" at the bottom of the post so all such recipes can easily be tracked) So I'm gonna keep it short and sweet here. Oh but let me assure you, it's high on flavor and low on labor. Absolutely yummy!! And a new style of posting too, to keep it quick. I know guys don't like to read through a lot in a blog post!


Easy Peasy Chicken Biryani.
Serves 2-3-4 depending on appetite :P Seriously, but with a normal appetite it serves 4.
Recipe by Self.

Ingredients:

500 gm Chicken, cleaned.
1 Cup Rice (Basmati, or any will do)
2.5 Cups Water
1 Bay Leaf
2 tbsp Sugar, white or brown.
1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Pepper Powder
1 tbsp Cinnamon Powder
2 tbsp Nutmeg Powder (Jaiphal)
2 Red Chilies, Dry, Crushed.
1 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tbsp Rosemary Leaves, Dried (Optional)
4 tbsp Ghee/Oil
Salt to taste


Method:






















That easy!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bettering Breakfast - A new series!! And what better way to start it than with Pancakes? and Mangoes? AND Chocolate?







Breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day. Most nights I go to sleep thinking what I would be having for breakfast the next day. I am so crazy about a good breakfast that I many times end up having breakfast for Lunch and sometimes for Dinner too. Not too proud of that but it's kind of an addiction. So one would be able to imagine how my reaction was when I saw a Re-tweet by Culinary Storm on my Twitter Timeline about 50 of the best breakfasts in the world, by Victoria Philpott. My reaction was somewhat like this.




And then I thought, I HAD to do something about it. What if I try making some of these recipes? So I tweeted to Ms. Victoria Philpott and she loved the idea too! I then put up a status on my facebook page asking for people to tell me what their favorite breakfasts were. And I got a lot of variety there too, mostly Indian variety, which is awesome coz people around the world really don't know what are the types of breakfasts in India. Finally I decided to go ahead and do a feature on my blog, 50 breakfast dishes that I think would be great to try out in the kitchen, and what a great variety it would make!

It was the most difficult thing to pick one recipe to start with, but for the first time I would like to thank my PMS that made me crave Mangoes and Pancakes and hence this recipe was born. Tangy Buttermilk Pancakes, with Diced velvety Mangoes and drizzled with Chocolate Sauce, topped with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. What more could one ask for?


Tangy Buttermilk Pancakes with Chopped Mangoes and Chocolate Sauce.
Serves 2 (2 pancakes each. And these are heavy)
Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking and Chocolate Sauce from none other than David Lebovitz

Ingredients :

For the Pancakes:

1 Cup Flour (All Purpose or Whole Wheat)
2 tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp melted Butter (I used Ghee)
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg

1 Mango.

For the Chocolate Sauce :

6 tbsp Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
4 squares of Chocolate.


Method:



Peel the Mango. Cut into dices. Put in a bowl and refrigerate.



In a small Saucepan, add the Sugar and Water. Heat this up until Sugar is dissolved. Add in Cocoa powder and mix, then add in the chocolate and mix till melted. Transfer to a container and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools.



In a big bowl, sift together Flour, Sugar, Salt and Baking Powder. Set Aside.







In another bowl whisk together Buttermilk, melted butter and the Egg until well mixed.



Add the Buttermilk mixture to the Flour mixture and mix, don't overmix. You don't want all that air to escape to have fluffy pancakes.



Heat up a pan on medium and add a little bit of butter/ghee. Pour in 1/4 cup of the mixture and let it cook till it has small bubbles on top, or up to 2 minutes. Flip it over and give it another minute to 90 seconds.



Make two of these and then add half of the mango dices from the refrigerator.










Then top it up with the remaining two pancakes. Put the remaining Mangoes on top and around the assembly.



Pour, Drizzle the warm chocolaty beauty of the sauce over the pancakes, and feel lucky that you're viewing this spectacle. Nothing could make this better. Oh except...



Top it with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream!!






Nom.








This picture deserves to be put up. It was finished in record time!



So how did you guys like the idea of 50 breakfast posts? Do let me know, also do recommend or send me awesome breakfast recipes! :D

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