Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Roundup The week gone by and the week to come.

A roundup of all things foodie (and some things not), that caught my eye last week and things to look forward to next week.

Last week ended on a sour note,


Well, when food permeates your life to the extent it does mine, reading about it is quite important in the scheme of things. The morning papers usually prove disappointing on the food related articles front, because we just don't get the kind of food writing we deserve in India. This Sunday added to the dreaeyness of the foodreading week, because the one meaty bit of food writing that I get via Vir Sanghvi's legendary Rude food column was also denied me (he wrote on travel as he occasionally does). I read anything by the Grand Fromage of HT but with my predeliction for food, I look forward to his erudite writing on food most.

But Monday brought good portents for foodwriting, first of all I went to the ET website to see Vikram's (Vikram Doctor) latest column and was thrilled. As of today, us Vikdoc fans need not (hopefully anyways) brave the ponderous ET website in search of his columns anymore! The powers that be have FINALLY added a feature that allows one to access all his recent stories!

And then I followed a google alert to the Mint website and found a cornucopia of writing by Vir Sanghvi. Don't know why I never thought of  checking on the Mint website, its very navigable as well and they have lots of food coverage besides VirMr. Sanghvi's column.

And while we are at it, I also like to go read Marryam Reshi's column every alternate Saturday. She also writes for the Asian Age online which is where I was very excited to find a story by hr that detailed Kashmiri pickles. I love pickles and have always been curious about Kashmiri ones so this made illumintating reading. I love the enthusiasm with which Marryam approaches food and her determination to ferret out the littlest detail. I am really glad I met her because in her I have found a like mind (at the risk of projecting myself as more than I am).
Note to self, On a roll here, do a roundup of foodie reading in India for later in the week.

Food writing might have been a let down but cookbooks more than made up for it. I splurged on bought a couple of new cookbooks - Eat Smart and One Perfect Ingredient and also received a couple of cookbooks for review (I'm bonkers about cookbooks for those who don't know, LOVE them collect them like ppl collect stamps).

I cooked from One perfect ingredient last week and will blog about it this week. But the highlight of the week on this front was receiving a review copy of Italian Khana. (I had asked for the PDF but I am glad that they sent me a hard copy because it would have lost impact in soft copy).

I was looking at two current favourite cookbooks "Exploring taste and flavour" by Chef Tom Kime and One Perfect Ingredient by Chef Marcus Wareing and Italian Khanna by Ritu Dalmia arrived. I have to tell you I was EXCITED. Because in every way, perhaps more so in some Italian Khanna was at par with the aforementioned two books. I was excited because this is an Indian book. I have lamented often at the dismal standard of cookbooks that come out of India, but Italian Khana has raised the bar really really high. At the risk of sounding a tad over the top, this really is an exceptional book that I am proud to have on my shelf! 

I am going to review it in A perfect bite style next week but I love it because Ritu's love for Italian food comes through in this book, as she writes about her love for soup, completely disregards protocol to celebrate baigans - one of the most reviled vegetables and the spicy aspect of Italian food in the chapter on chillies. Chillies are a subject I love so anyone who loves them has my vote!

In fact the Chillihead in me wants to try the Bollywood Burner, the fiery curry created by Vivek Singh at the Cinnamon club. They're aiming to get it into The Guinness Book of World Records as the 'hottest' thing you ever ate. It incorporates  two of the 'hottest' chillies in the world and Vivek Singh, recommends "lots of plain yoghurt, steamed rice, a bucket of ice-cold water and possibly a fire extinguisher" as accompaniments in and HT article on the Bollywood Burner. It reminds me of the time I went to an Indian restaurant in Melbourne. I was asked the scale of hotness I would like and I said 5, they recommended 2. Thank God because even the "2" blew me away! But it was an unforgettable experience.

Last week I baked after ages and it was a total success. I  want to bake some more this week. I was motivated enough to pick up some baking accessories from Arif while on my foodie walkabout through a couple of markets with Vikram for My Mumbai Cookbook on Saturday.  Some muffins are definitely on the cards for my sons tiffin in the silcone muffin tray I picked up from Arif.

That was a good trip, am looking forward to cooking with all the stuff I picked up, fresh fennel, sorrel and sweet potato leaves, thai chillies, water chestnuts, Moras bhajji and Kantolas. Yeast, Gluten, Dried onion flakes, papadi (a tiny nut I have never seen) Aam papad, chiki.

And then, it was also a weekend of foodie gifts, Vikram got me Manuka honey from New Zealand  Mom;s friend was in town from Turkey and brought the customary box of Baklava for my son (she knows he loves it), mom gave me a packet of Apricots from South Africa, that my son and I both love, Nani (my grandmom) dropped of some Ganthia.

The foodie theme continued into Sunday, we had company for lunch so I did a Malvani fish curry and a kebab curry for lunch that we had with rice bhakris and I found a treasure of Kitchen Gadjets in my own backyard. Was window shopping in Hiranandani market when I found the local gallery had an exhibition of kitchen stuff happening. Spent a pleasant half hour browsing and fighting with myself over buying /not buying about 10 different things. Finally settled for a nifty Oil pouring thing with a measuring cup attached and a lemon zester which I really needed in my kitchen (though the hubby will disagree). 

What I am REALLY looking forward to is Ritu Dalmia's show Italian Khana launching on NDTV this week, am cooking a meal from the book to accompany it, look forward to it. I do hope that the show does justice to the book.

GYAN and Links....

Vikram Doctor's column is here. Bookmark it, I suspect it will update itself every Saturday (which is when his column appears). Here is a link to a whole lot of Vir Sanghvi's writing, food included and here is Marryam Reshi's column every alternate Saturday (there are links to previous columns at the end of the article.

Another Indian restaurant that has made the news... Check out this post on Kamla Bhatt's blog about Mint & Mustard (M &M) Restaurant located in Cardiff, Wales that won this year's Tiffin Cup award.

Here is the HT article on the Bollywood Burner I mentioned above.
Web trailer for Italian Khana the show on NDTV -

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