Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The twain meet

As a child Skeeter heard about wine and cheese pairings, also, about wine and continental food pairings. A crisp rosé or lighter varieties of Pinot Noir with white fish (yes this is still a vegetarian blog) or crabmeat, oyesters et al have always been on the wine connoisseurs description of heaven on earth and so forth. A few moons ago, there was much debate on Indian food being paired with wine. Great stories were penned around the Indian food and wine combo.
All this while Skeety thought, dadi (grandmom) always said khaane naal paani ni peen da(with your food don't take water). Wonder where that came from or where it went. Times are certainly changing, and how!
Skeeter attended a food and tea pairing event at The Park hosted by Ty-phoo tea. TV show host and chef/owner at Aurus, Vicky Ratnani, led the show. Vicky has given an edge to vegetarian food in India through his food show Vicky goes Veg where he shows how much vegetarian variety can one enjoy with the relatively new vegetables (think Zucchini, Red/Yellow/Orange peppers, Broccoli) that are being sold by the neighbourhood vendor these days. Also, how the traditional ingredients can be adapted to new world recipes.

At the Ty-phoo event, Vicky went one step further by demonstrating, how to cook with tea and how to pair food with tea.
Traditionally, in North Indian cuisine, we steep a black teabag with chole (chickpeas) to give them the blackish/brownish tinge. Also, we often pair chai and samosa. This is perhaps the oldest tea and food pairing Skeety can think of. An often heard 4 o clock anectode is...'chai aur samose ho jaayein'(let us have tea with samosas). Whether you are spending an afternoon at work, at home or with 4pm guests, this is one hit pair.
With the new variety of teas hitting the supermarket shelves teatime is only becoming more and more enjoyable. So, sit back and infuse your foods with tea or sip it along with your food (yes there are health benefits and jazz).
For some 'out-of-the-pot' pairings, Vicky served well-assembled Harissa spiced grilled veggies, mint and rocket leaf cous cous, chickpea puree with Moroccan Mint tea. Peppered cottage cheese (infused with a Ty-phoo Masala tea bag) was served with a side of masala mashed pot and pickled cucumber ribbons.

Skeety particularly loves and recommends an orange infusion with a cinnamon stick for a tangy, robust flavour. Drink it as is or pair with your favourite food. Better still, steep it, chill it and add a dash of gin or vodka. Other infusions available are Black Currant and Lemon & Lime Zest.

If any of the readers would like to try making the above mentioned dishes by Vicky Ratnani, drop me a mail at

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Zomato Restaurant Summit 2013

Last week has been full of good food and sweetness. Amid the hustle bustle, Skeeter sneaked out to attend a fun and enlightening half-day event by Zomato- Zomato Restaurant Summit 2013 at The Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon. 

Zomato's been anyone's first stop at putting to rest the 'where and what to  eat' question in many states of India. So it is always good to know that they are expanding to London, Sri Lanka and UAE. Would not be fair to comment on UAE, but London and Sri Lanka definitely are great food destinations for Skeeter as all others. If someone can tell Skeety where to find the best bakeries in London or where to get good hoppers, sambol, devilled vegetarian food (okay SL food is that and much more!) in Lanka land, she would be a happy person!

(L to R Mayur, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Rashmi Uday Singh, Deepinder Goyal, Pankaj Chaddah, unknown, Sameer Kuckreja, Manish Mehrotra, Rocky Singh)

While, the Lanka portal makes searches available only for Colombo, the UK one is better in terms of the number of restaurants covered. Two restaurants covered on Delhi Foodies' Zone turned up at a click - Spaghetti House and Govinda's. Skeeter's other favourites in London - Prezzo, Chennai Dosa,  Tamarind, Pizza Express, Veeraswamy (on the hit list) and many more are on the rolls. Thumbs up to that! Next time Skeety is in London, Skeety definitely knows where to direct the search button.
Moving on to the most interesting part of the event, Rocky & Mayur (Zomato’s brand ambassadors and hosts of Skeeter's favourite show Highway On My Plate) were there to unveil The Connoisseur’s Guide To Eating Out 2013 (Delhi,NCR). The guide, unlike others, has reviews by commoners who love to eat out and give unbiased opinions. 
Post the launch, Skeeter spoke to Mayur (as he is a vegetarian too), to know his favourite places to eat out in Delhi and the whole of India. Here is the list for Delhi:
Naivedyam, Andhra Bhavan, Indian Accent, Amici (in no particular order of preference).
And Mayur's favourites in the rest of India are Ummiya Kathiawadi on NH 8 in Gujarat, Kesar ka Dhaba in Amritsar, Mother's Kitchen in Kerala and Paradise in Guwahati.