Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mocha Mojo

At one time, I was a big fan of Mocha in Juhu. Then, a couple of years back, I stopped going there. There were a multitude of reasons I don't quite remember so let's say I had a couple of bad experiences and moved to some of other options in the area. But Mocha's back in my life. In a big way. This time, I've discovered another location they built while I was frequenting multitude of coffee shops : the Mocha Mojo on Bandra's Hill Road.

Mocha Mojo preserves all the niceties that are the hallmark of the chain - the mismatched furniture, eclectic music, huge selection of coffees and nibbles. Only Mojo takes it to another level altogether. The furniture's as unique as all their other outlets; every table different from the next. But here they make kitsch an art form with red velvet covered walls, bar with geometric patterns and those swing chairs outdoors I have my eye on for the next visit.

They have all the drinks that made Mocha popular. Remember those Lindt shakes, or the drink which was a liquid Toblerone. In addition to all those, Mocha has added single origin hot chocolates. Food and service both come with a flair here. Waiters pour water out of a bottle that sports mint leaves. Lemonades come in huge bottles. And the excellent wild mushroom pasta is served in an ancient iron skillet it was cooked in.

You can obviously eat this pasta. Or have one of their paninis. But here's what I recommend : the fluffy three egg white omelette from their all day breakfast menu. It comes with crisp ciabatta toasts, tons of fries and a chive butter to die for.

I've been to Mocha Mojo thrice in two weeks but I haven't had a chance to try any of their desserts yet. I'm impressed with what I've read in the menu though; it boasts of coffee air atop the tiramisu. Then there's also some new age raw vegan stuff that I have to try. How about those swing chairs next weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Dessert for Taste & Create's Birthday


Taste and Create remains my favorite event in the whole blogging world. Every month, Nicole pairs you with another blog. You get to know your partner, then pick a recipe from their blog and recreate it. And this has been going on for three whole years. To celebrate the event's birthday, Nicole added a rider. She asked us to create a dessert from our partner's blog.

I've got to know some lovely bloggers through this event, none of which I would have discovered on my own. Like my partner this month - Glenda over at Busy at Home. This grandmother of three blogs about a lot more interesting things than just recipes. And her recipes are all a delight. At first glance, I shortlisted her chocolate cobbler and cheesecake stuffed strawberries.

But then I found another gem that you see up there : Oreo Balls. First you crush some oreos. You can do this in a food processor, but I found it equally easy (and more delightful) to bash them up with a rolling pin between two sheets of paper. You add cream cheese to these cookie crumbs to bind everything up. Roll them into balls, freeze for 15-20 minutes to set. Melt some chocolate, dip the balls and that's it!

This has to be the easiest dessert in the world. It might even look elegant if you can do the chocolate dipping neatly like Glenda. It's something I didn't manage even halfway, but they were delicious all the same.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blueberry Season

The first time blueberries made an appearance on Mumbai store shelves last October, I was fresh back from a trip to London. Having spent a week eating these berries for all breakfasts and most dinners, I kept away from the very small yet overpriced packs. Almost a year later, blueberries are back in Hypercity.

One of the very few naturally blue foods, blueberries are a little tart, a little sweet. I enjoy my dalliance with strawberries and an occasional date with raspberries, but these little nuggets remain my biggest love, my all-time favorite fruit. The first week, I cringed at the high prices in Hypercity. But it's been a whole year of no blueberries so this second week, I finally succumbed and brought a pack home. And let me confess I've been back to the store a few more times.

Do you think I'd be my baker self and post a blueberry tart or at least a muffin. No way folks; I don't mess with perfection. Instead, I'd just go grab another handful.

And will you all Bombayiites stop by Hypercity and make a dent in stocks. I'm in serious risk of a run on my bank accounts if the blueberries aren't gone soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wine Country



When I think of vineyard tours, I think of Peter Mayle. I also think of idle rambles through acres upon acres of land planted with grapes and olives, a seat by the countryside fireplace with a wineglass in hand. In that sense, last weekend's trip to Sula Vineyards in Nasik, some 5 hours drive from Mumbai, was a disappointment.

But for the camaraderie, the company of friends, the green ghats and impromptu waterfalls that spring up all over Maharashtra in monsoons, and also for a novel, enjoyable experience, it was worth a visit. It is, as I said, a good 5 hours drive. We were sensible enough to leave early in morning, reaching Sula around noon. The place to start with is a wine tour - a short spiel on how many acres they have spread all over (but very few where we were standing) and then a succint tour of the plant where they process the grapes and ferment the wine. This followed by a wine tasting - of six recent vintage, barely passable wines - took around an hour.

But Sula understands you traveled all the way and are not ready to leave yet. So they provide three options to linger and savor the view. Eat at Soma, the Indian restaurant. Or lunch at Little Italy, which is what we did. Rustic surroundings, excellent thin crust pizza, lovely tiramisu - in your wine induced haze, you could be excused for thinking you are in Italy.

And then you go linger some more at the balcony next to the wine tasting lounge. You glimpse the vineyard and the shimmering lake beyond as you reach for yet another glass of wine or a cappuccino. And then, too lazy to explore anything else Nasik has to offer, you get back in the car for your return journey.

Not the French Riviera this one but as I said, a lovely experience and with the right company, a day very well spent.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visiting a friend today


This is a guest post for Nachiketa of The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa. You can also Catch her on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts Join her page and leave a comment to become eligible for her special Giveaway prize.

www.crazyoverdesserts.com<br />


No new post at Bombay Foodie, but I'm visiting Nachiketa's blog today to join the run-up to her 200th post. Hop over to crazy over desserts to know how I met this cute blogger from Delhi. And there's a recipe too, of course! I baked something that reminds me of her - Lime and Poppy Seed Muffins.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Indigo Challenge : Herbed Cheese and Grilled Apple Salad

What's the deal : I am cooking my way through the dinner menu of Indigo restaurant. These are not Indigo recipes; I haven't eaten or even seen any of these dishes. This is my interpretation based only on the name of the dish.

Indigo menu says:
Herbed Goat Cheese, Spinach, Grilled Green Apples Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette



Herbed Goat Cheese : It's not goat cheese, it's my homemade Neufchatel. I scooped out little balls of cheese with a melon baller. Finely minced fresh thyme and rosemary, added a pinch of salt and a bit of olive oil, then rolled the cheese balls in the herb mixture.

Spinach : Not happening. You don't get baby spinach here, and there's no way I was putting cooked full-sized spinach in my salad. So you get oak leaf lettuce instead.

Grilled Green Apples : Granny Smith apple, sliced then put on a grill until browned. As simple as that

Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette : This is the lightly creamy version from smitten kitchen. Only I didn’t have walnut oil so it’s made with the more humble olive oil. I sprinkled some toasted walnuts on my salad to make up for it though.

The verdict : A very interesting combination of flavors, all complementing each other. The easiest Indigo dish so far.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tales of A Female Nomad

This month, our book club goes on a nomadic tour. We traveled with Rita Golden Gelman, a writer who sold everything she owned after the shock of a divorce and became a nomad. Not a tourist, because Rita stays away from everything that a tourist does and instead, tries to live the lives of people she visits.

From Mexico to Israel to Galapago Islands, Rita goes the way least traveled, always preferring to stay as a boarder with natives. And sometimes, going to places not even locals will go, places so secluded yet beautiful that Rita's description takes your breath away, urges you to become a nomad yourself.

Yet even nomads sometimes find their roots. Rita found hers in Bali where she spent eight years. Starting as a boarder with a prince, she eventually became a part of the family. I instantly knew I wanted to cook something Indonesian. I picked Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.



There are as many recipes for Nasi Goreng as there are cooks. Some use tomatoes, others tamarind. Almost all use shrimp paste and kecap manis, the sweet soy sauce from Indonesia. I had neither so I decided to go with the adapted recipe from BBC. I adapted it a bit further to go with what I had in my fridge. And to make nasi goreng, you should first have cooked rice in your fridge. The recipe is traditionally made with cold rice, so I cooked mine the night before for today's lunch.

First thing today, I made a spice paste by blending together 2 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled shallots, a tbsp of sunflower seeds, a tbsp of sesame seeds, 1 tsp salt, 2 bird's eye chillies that I deseeded, 2 tbsp soy sauce, a tbsp of brown sugar and a tbsp of vegetable oil.

Then, I finely chopped a handful of beans and 2-3 babycorns. Added a couple of tbsp of water and microwaved them for a minute. Separately, i chopped a spring onion.

In a pan, I heated a tbsp of vegetable oil. Added 2 tbsp of spice paste and the cooked rice, then stirred for a couple of minutes to mix well. The I added the steamed vegetables and stirred it all for 2-3 minutes. Finally stirred in the spring onions, mixed well and took the rice off the heat.

At the same time, I put the frying pan on to make my fried egg to serve with my nasi goreng. Topped the fried egg with a drizzle of spice paste and some chopped coriander.

Next month, This Book Makes Me Cook travels to the Channel Islands. We are reading one of my all time favorites - the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. If you would like to read with us, please leave a comment here and I will get back to you with details.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bombay's Wengers

I don't know why I put off a visit to Candies for so long. Six years in the city, so many people recommending the place and yet I never made a trip to eat at Bandra's legendary bakery/cafe. Then Kalyan gave me a little nudge and just by coincidence, that weekend I found myself in the neighborhood of Lilavati Hospital. That first trip to Candies was accidental. The two subsequent trips absolutely intentional.

For in Candies I have found the answer to Wengers, my favorite Delhi bakery. Let's recap Wengers for you - an ancient bakery with several separate counters all selling goodies you'd give an arm and a leg for. Lovely bits of deliciousness in cakes and puddings and pies. Candies is all of this and a lot of extras. When you first walk into the cafe near Lilavati (there are three Candies, but this is the only one I've been to), you spot outdoor tables and an outdoor counter. A counter set with salads, sandwiches, tea cakes, petit fours and brownies. And puffs - glorious vegetable puffs and lovely little mushroom and corn puff pastries. The guy will tear out a bill and tell you to pay before he hands over the goodies.

So you walk indoors to a crowded counter that has a lot more in store. This is the world of samosas, spring rolls and potato chops. Also the world of mini-meals - the lasagne verde, the macaroni. And finally, the world of danish pastries. Remember that none of it is exactly fine dining and everything is precooked and just reheated, but it tastes so good when you bring it outdoors to eat.

And then you turn to the most important part of the outdoor counter. After the irritating "go back inside and pay for this", you get a cinnamon laced cappuccino that comes with a trio of petit fours. A bite sized jam tart, a tiny little cream pie and a fluffy chocolate coated eclair. All for free with your coffee; all lovely enough to get you hooked to Candies forever.

What Candies misses versus my beloved Wengers is marshmallows, jujubes and peppermints. But there is still enough variety to make you go back several times; just to sample everything in store.