Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Don a Cook Gourmet Hat! Cook a Special Meal!

So you've done the wining and the dining, you are through with the wooing-shooing. Many of life's special moments are marked with food landmarks. Food is party to many of our pursuits and celebrations. Sharing a special meal with someone has deep significance.

If one had to chose between an impersonal gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant that does not warm the cockles of your heart and a home cooked customised spread that speaks to you in a language which is familiar and comforting, many would go for the latter. Or ever taken your loved one for a special meal only to realise that your significant other spent more time chatting up the chef than you? Ha!

Hey, but how about combining both. Cooking a gourmet meal but in the cosy comfort of your home, in your familiar kitchen. Yes, that can be a tedious task and much as we claim to be foodies, there is no time to really conjure up something special after a hard day at work. 

Specialised grocery shopping with a long list of ingredients can also be a chore. You may end up spending half your day at a super mart and come back home super tired, maybe packing an insipid cold pizza on the way. Who said romance was easy today! Or conjuring up a meal for that matter!

Which is when I introduce you to 'Cook Gourmet'. A unique concept that I stumbled upon recently. Just visit their website and scan a host of delicious recipes that they keep updating from time to time. Feed in your preferences in terms of cuisine, veg, non veg etc and pick the option that teases your palate. Order and forget.

A magic box is due to arrive at your doorstep at the time specified by you. Yes, there's enough time to take that luxurious shower or a hot bath in the meantime. While you light up the candles and create the perfect ambience, the magic box arrives and as you open it, there is an array of ingredients neatly portioned and labelled, down to the chopped garlic, the sprig of parsley and the wine for flambeing if you please.

No hassles, no worries, the box has a detailed recipe sheet with pictures giving step by step illustrations. This week I tried the 'Cajun Shrimp Rice' and 'Panfried Tilapia with Caper Beurre Blanc served with French Beans Madagascer'(Rs 549 each for a portion for 2). Both the dishes take roughly 20-30 minutes to prepare. Of course, in my case my pre-teen kid walked in intrigued by the box and helped me out to prepare the meal. It is indeed a great way to initiate a child into cooking, so smooth is the cooking experience.

The dishes are ever exciting and keep changing. This week for instance there is 'Carribean Fish and Prawns Curry' and 'Greek Sailor's Souvlaki with Tazatziki and Pita. 'Cheesy Pomodoro Gnocchi' anyone? Or 'Malaysian Tofu Curry with Udon Noodles'. Yes, now it's all possible at home in no time.

The results are superb. It is really a stress-free way of trying out new dishes, new cuisines every week. At the end of it you get the satisfaction of having done it with your own hands and using the freshest possible ingredients one could ever imagine. More strength to this venture by Daman Singh Kohli and Sanni Chaudhary along with culinary expert Chef Narender Singh.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Imperial Ushers in Happy Tidings This Christmas & New Year

        ~ Elaborate offerings and special menus at Imperial restaurants bid adieu to 2014 in luxury~
 It’s the most exciting time of the year at The Imperial. Its Christmas paving way for a brand New year. Experience delightful gourmet across our award-winning restaurants while you partake in the spirit of festivities, the moment you step in.
Enter the lobby at The Imperial this Christmas and the typically traditional décor in the colors of green and red will steal your heart and leave you spellbound. Big pine cones and stars falling from the top and a large crown hinging on the center with red apples , fruits, balls , stars and candles create an ecstatic picturesque Santa town. Moving further, a larger than life size Ginger bread house embeds their patisserie La Baguette, sparkling with Christmas goodies.





Spearheaded by Executive Chef Vishal Atreya, the Christmas treat is designed to tease you with its splendor while offering a satiating experience. Plethora of packages with extensive menus have been put together to experience the festive occasion in style. Be a part of this celebration extraordinaire on the Christmas eve i.e. 24th December 2014  while they entice your taste buds with an exquisite Christmas eve dinner buffet at 1911( all day dining restaurant). The exotic spread features Roast turkey, Brussel sprouts, pig in a blanket, bread stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce on the Western Roast station and selection of international cuisine like Shepherd’s pie, Grilled chicken, celeriac, blue cheese crumble with hot and exquisite Asian spread namely Kung krapao- Prawns tossed with Thai sweet basil, Silken tofu, bell peppers, Chinese cabbage, hot garlic sauce along with Seafood, Indian, Tandoori favorites and Italian specials, salads, desserts and cold cuts. The feast just doesn’t cease to surprise you while you get kick started for your Christmas festivities. Priced at INR 4500 + taxes per person.

Revel in amidst the sun-kissed 1911 lawns, as they you with a lavish Christmas Brunch on 25th December 2014 at INR 4000+ taxes per person. We make sure that you drench yourself in the melody of Christmas carols, wafting through the air, arranged live at 1911 Terrace. A festive spread of global cuisines like Basil pesto marinated chicken, couscous stuffed tomatoes, grilled artichokes, Ricotta and spinach spanakopita, spiced tomato chutney, Smoked salmon and many more tempting offerings along with desserts like Spiced apple mousse, Traditional plum cake and Plum pudding with brandy anglaise put together with classic wines, present indulgent eateries to celebrate the occasion. The festive brunch would be open from 12:30 pm to 3:30pm where your little ones can also enjoy their favorite  Mini Danish or Hakka noodles in the kids buffet priced at  INR 2000 + taxes per child. La Baguette- the French Patisserie at the Imperial would be spruced up with Christmas trees and mistletoes to get you the feel of Christmas, offering all the traditional Christmas goodies – mini gingerbread houses, chocolate Santas and angels, Christmas cookies, rich plum pudding and cakes, macaroons and gateaux for a savory accent- Price starts from INR 650 + taxes onwards.
Christmas hamper at La Baguette is priced at INR 8000 + taxes with wine and INR 6000 + taxes without wine. The hampers and Christmas goodies will be available from 15th December 2014 onwards at La Baguette from 10am to 10pm.
 31st December 2014-1st January 2015:
The year passes by into the realms of fond memories giving way to surprises and new promises for a bright year ahead. Travel through the epicurean legends of Italy, India and South-East Asia at each of the restaurants at Imperial for a gala New Year’s Eve dinner on 31st December 2014. Heighten the excitement and experience pleasurable dining, truly The Imperial way. 1911 offers a sumptuous New Year Eve dinner buffet with a selection of fine delicacies like Seared yellow fin tuna niscoise with quail eggs, Tenderloin picattas amongst other succulent delights at INR 5000 inclusive of taxes per person.
San Gimignano presents delectable Tuscan Italian fare to choose from featuring CAPESANTE CON ZABAIONE ALLA RAPA ROSSA E CAVIALE- Grilled scallops with beet root sabayon and caviar, PANSOTTI CON PATATE E PORRI- butter potato-braised leeks-truffle oil-parmesan cheese and SALMONE ALLA GRIGLIA CON FORNO DI ZUCCA, ZENZERO E CITRONELLA SALSA Salmon-baked pumpkin-ginger & lemon grass sauce amongst others at INR 6500 inclusive of taxes per person.
Secret recipes created at the home kitchens of South East Asia and brought to you by celebrity Chef Veena Arora like Tom Yum Sawarn- spicy and tangy tom yum chicken soup with fresh tender coconut water and pulp flavoured with lemongrass Galangal and kaffir lime leaves; Kung hom–pha- Whole Prawn wrapped with por pia skin deep fried and soaked with sweet chilli sauce,embrace epicureans at The Spice Route at INR 6500/- inclusive of taxes per person. Daniell’s Tavern – Pan Indian fine dining, offers an exclusive celebration with the taste of ancient India with YAKHNI SHORBA, KOSHA MANGSHO, WARQUI PANEER TIKKA and KEERAI MASIAL at INR 6000 inclusive of taxes per person.
Extend the new year celebrations and elevate your festive spirits with The Imperial as their staff lays out the most spectacular new year brunch buffet on 1st January 2015 at 1911 at INR 4000 all inclusive per person, where you can enjoy your favourite world cuisine and welcome the New Year in style. The festive brunch would be open from 12:30 pm to 3:30pm.
An indelible experience awaits you this festive season, at The Imperial!

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival Curtain Raiser at Taj Mahal Hotel, Delhi

The annual countdown to the world’s largest free literary festival officially began on 16th Dec as the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival brought its infectious energy and unrivalled magic to the nation’s capital.

At a highly-anticipated event packed with publishers, authors, media and the literati at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, co-Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale revealed the final line-up of authors, themes and sponsors that will participate in the annual carnival of the mind between 21-25 January 2015.
Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF, announces themes and author line-ups for the upcoming edition at a Curtain Raiser held at the Taj Mahal Hotel
William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF, announces themes and author line-ups for upcoming edition at a Curtain Raiser held at the Taj Mahal Hotel
Jung Chang, whose memoir of growing up in Mao’s China, Wild Swans, which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide is confirmed to attend as well as British biographer and winner of last year’s Samuel Johnson Prize, Lucy-Hughes Hallett, who will discuss her book The Pike. Former President of India and distinguished scientist, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will also travel to Jaipur to share his vision for India, discussing the crucial issues the country faces with Festival audiences.
Sanjoy K. Roy, Producer of the ZEE JLF sharing the mounting success of the festival over the years and expectations for 2015
Shashi Tharoor debated the future of non-fiction writing in India as a member of the panel
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah will bring a flavor of Bollywood to the Festival as he discusses his delightfully frank autobiography And Then One Day with actor and playwright Girish Karnad who will talk about his highly acclaimed play Boiled Beans on Toast. Vishal Bhardwaj will speak about the Shakespearean deconstructions in Indian reality present in his celebrated film Haider. Bhardwaj will discuss the anguish of Hamlet’s dilemma with scriptwriter Basharat Peer and renowned theatre director Tim Supple. The enduringly beautiful and incredibly gifted actor Waheeda Rehman, will look back at her extraordinary life and career with her biographer and film historian Nasreen Munni Kabir, whilst Prasoon Joshi will speak to poet and mythologist Yatindra Mishra about the Indian traditions of popular music and poetry. 

The speakers announced tonight join Nobel laureate V.S.Naipaul, Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned contemporary travel writer Paul Theroux, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi and 228 other celebrated authors to complete the line up for next month’s festival. The festival will also celebrate and honour 50 years since the publication of "A House for Mr Biswas", perhaps one of the best loved English novels ever. The sheer range and diversity of the programme is unprecedented with session on Lawrence of Arabia, tigers, Buddhism, detectives, pirates, aesthetics, science, bumble bees, statistics and the Simpsons all scheduled.

Sanjoy K. Roy moderates debating panel featuring Shashi Tharoor, Anuja Chauhan, Navtej Sarna and Urvashi Butalia at the Curtain Raiser of the ZEE JLF2015, held at the Taj Mahal Hotel

Fittingly, the curtain raiser, hosted by the producers of the festival, Teamwork Arts, featured a debate on the motion, ‘This house proposes the centre of literary action is moving from the novel to non-fiction’. Panelists including Shashi Tharoor, Navtej Sarna, Anuja Chauhan and Urvashi Butalia debated the recent trends in publishing across South Asia, and argued why readers are increasingly consuming more and more non-fiction. The debate brought the audience in Delhi a little taste of Jaipur, with the event featuring the magical Rajasthani drumbeats from Chugge Khan and Nathoo Solanki.
Nagada performance adding to the festival flavor at the Curtain Raiser of the ZEE JLF 2015 held at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi
Given the international demographic of both the Festival’s visitors and speakers, it is fitting that ZEE Entertainment have once again committed to supporting the Festival as title sponsor, fitting well with their vision, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The World is My Family).

Other sponsors for 2015 include returning partners Google and The Glenlivet who will sponsor the Mughal Tent and Author’s Lounge respectively. This will be the fourth year of sponsorship for both partners, demonstrating their commitment to literature as well as the strong value brought by being associated with the world-leading Festival.  The Mahindra Humanities Centre also returns for a second year to support the sessions at the Durbar Hall. will be the Festival’s official book partner and the Festival’s official ticketing partner will once again be KyaZoonga. The sponsors are crucial in maintaining the Festival’s much lauded status as the world’s largest free literary festival.

Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director, said, “The ZEE Jaipur Literature festival in its many avatars has been described variously as a literary Woodstock, a Sahityik Kumbh Mela, and a spreading Banyan tree, a Bargad Ka Ped with both aerial and earth roots. The last metaphor is particularly apt, keeping in mind the perhaps seventy book festivals that have taken root across South Asia, celebrating regional languages and writing, connecting with international writers, being both local and global, rooted and cosmopolitan. I am proud and delighted to bring all these writers together for our annual celebration of books and ideas, and look forward to welcoming our guests from across the globe.”

William Dalrymple, author and co-Director said, “We have two missions at Jaipur: to showcase Indian writing to the world and to bring the greatest writers in the world to India.  This year’s programme will achieve this better than ever and it looks like a particularly vintage year. We have sessions on writing criticism, art history, historical novels and memoir; we’ll take a fresh look at Homer and Marie Antoinette, detectives and spooks, aesthetics and erotics and everything in between. It’s going to be an utterly amazing few days.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, producer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Once again, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has set the standard for world-class programming, reinforcing our position as the world’s largest free literary festival. We are grateful to all our partners, new and returning, who support the Festival and share our vision of giving a global platform to the best writing from India and the world. Without them we wouldn’t be able to make the Festival free and open to all.”

This year 234 speakers will participate in the Festival, and a further 117 musicians, speakers and artists, will take the number of Festival participants to 351.

Roland Landers, Head Corporate Brand ZEE said, “Corporate Brand ZEE’s integration with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival further signifies its identity as a global media conglomerate. Since its inception, ZEE has been the cultural ambassador of our nation to the rest of the world, and with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival we further reinforce this key message of the brand. Corporate Brand ZEE has always been associated with knowledge based global intellectual properties, and our support to one of the world’s most prestigious literature festival for the second consecutive year, reinstates the same. This year, ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival promises to offer some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across the World. Acclaimed as the largest free literary festival on earth, we at ZEE are all set to bring it to an all new level!”

Satyajeet Krishnan, General Manager The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi said, “We are privileged to present an exclusive glimpse of the world-famous ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 in the capital city. It has been our constant endeavor at Taj Mahal, New Delhi to create meaningful experiences to our patrons. As purveyors of art, culture and heritage we are delighted to partner with Teamwork Arts, to offer a taste of the country’s most eagerly awaited literary festival.  With some of the finest literary minds coming together for this curtain raiser at The Taj Mahal Hotel, we are sure it will be a memorable evening with thought-provoking conversation and discussions.”

Registration for the Festival is FREE, open to all. All visitors must pre-register on the Festival’s website at

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Hobson Jobson- Anglo Indian Christmas Specials at Monkey Bar, CP

Delhi, December 2014:  Christmas or Bara Din as the Anglo Indians would say is just around the corner. And this Bara Din, Monkey Bar, India’s favourite Gastropub, is serving up Panthras, Jalfrezi, Kedgeree and Plum Cake and some awesome Anglo Indian grub with that quintessential Monkey Twist at the ‘Hobson Jobson: The Anglo Indian Christmas Specials’ at Connaught Place, New Delhi.

Hobson Jobson gave us Chappatty, Choola, Curry and Tiffin and this Christmas, much like its namesake, a dictionary of colloquial Anglo Indian words‘The Hobson Jobson: the Anglo Indian Christmas Specials’ at Monkey Bar, Connaught Place, New Delhi is a menu full of eccentric, entertaining and curious inspirations from Anglo Indian cuisine, to bring you a really fun and offbeat Christmas! Calling all you Porki fellows and Missy Babas to Monkey Bar, Connaught Place, New Delhi from Dec 11-Dec 25, 2014 for lunch or dinner (from 12 noon to 11:45 pm), for a taste of a time gone by!

Rethinking pub food with firm Indian roots, the Khansamas at Monkey Bar stumbled upon the perfect inspiration for the festive season – Anglo Indian food with that unbeatable Monkey twist of course! So there’s Chingree Samosa- Short crust pastry stuffed with curried prawns and fried brown onions served with mango chutney, Pui Saag and Cheese SouffléMalabar spinach and cheese custard baked to order served with toast wedges and tomato chutney, Jalfrezi – the chilli marinated lamb tossed with baby potato, onion, green chilies and aromatics, Kedgeree – originally from Colonial India, a wholesome combination of smoked fish, long grain rice, boiled eggs, parsley and spices; and the Dak Bungalow Murghi Roasta lemon yoghurt spice marinated chicken curry served with saffron and coconut pilaf, roasted baby potatoes and baked tomatoes stuffed with mushy peas. 

However, it’s all not just about the feast, so worry not you boozards, they have the Classic Gimlet, the Pink Gin with that dash of Angostura bitters, Oddennino’s Hot Punch with whiskey, brandy, gin, orange curacao, lemon and sugar, The Royal Bombay Yacht Club East India cocktail with Cognac, pineapple, cherry, orange, bitters and a twist of lime and the Cinopple with Whisky, fresh apple, cinnamon sticks and lemon, all lined up at the bar for you. How can we ever wrap up a festive menu without desserts? So dig in to the warm Plum Cake with Vanilla Sauce, delicious Flagstaff House Chocolate Eclairs, and sinful Strawberry and Almond Tart or rich Bibinca to complete this feast! Bring on the Bara Din, Men!
Monkey Bar, Connaught Place
P-3/90, Connaught Circus (Opposite PVR Rivoli), New Delhi 110001
Phone: 011 41500170
Twitter: @Monkeybardel
Instagram: Monkeybardel
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