Cooking with the Tadka Girls- Pasta in lemon pepper sauce!

Few weeks or maybe a month ago, I read a blog post by a friend in which she had mentioned this book “Around The World With The Tadka Girls [Ruchira Ramanujam, Ranjini Rao]“.We spoke about the book to a point where she mentioned it was a good book to have, not only were the recipes good, they were easy to make and the ingredients were all simple ones [most of which we would have around the kitchen]
Two weeks ago,I was at a bookstore, when I called this friend asking about the title of the book. Another friend who was with me exclaimed on seeing the book in my hand. We decided to buy a copy and share the book! 
Day before, when I was wondering what to make for dinner, I decided to refer the book. Spotted a Fettucine and prawns recipe, read through it and went ahead to tweak the recipe a bit [since am a vegetarian, i chose to replace prawns with vegetables].. It turned out beautiful, took less than 15mins to cook and I loved the tangy peppery flavours.
The Recipe!
Farfalle pasta- 1 cup
Onion- 1
Garlic- 3 pods
Thyme/mixed herbs- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Black pepper- 2 tsp
Oil- as much as required
Butter- 1 small cube
Water- enough to boil the pasta in
Vegetables- mushroom, baby corn, carrots and capsicum [green, yellow & red]
Lemon/lime juice- 1.5 tsp
Lemon/lime rind/peel- 1 tsp
In a pot, add water, salt and oil- add the pasta and allow it to cook. I added the baby corn to this as it takes a while to cook.Strain and keep aside. Dont throw away all the water, keep 1/2 cup aside. 
In another pan, add the butter and oil, saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes. 
Add the chopped vegetables and saute till they cook
Now, add the salt, black pepper and herbs
Once the vegetables are well done, toss in the cooked pasta and mix well.
Squeeze in the lime juice and add the lime ride/peel[either grate it or chip finely]
Add 2 tbsp of pasta boiled water and turn off heat when all come together.

Serve hot!

Rocking it, CFG style…

Do you love food? 
Do you love to cook?
Do you enjoy eating?
Do you like to party?

Well, if you answered
for all or any of these with a big nod of your head, then time for you to read

Do you wanna see what it was like last year? at our 8th Anniversary..Here you go

If in case you
answered No, well, you are here, so you might as well continue reading,
actually just go ahead read it all.. be nice and nobody gets hurt, alright ;o)

The month is December
The date is 22nd
Time: 6.30pm onwards
The venue is Accord Metropolitan Hotel, GN
Chetty road.

So what is so big
about the day? Well, D’oh. It’s time for you to mark this on your calendar, so
you don’t miss out on this awesome event..

What is the event you
ask? Gosh… its
 Chennai Food Guide’s 9th
Anniversary bash.
 It is going to be an
evening of fun, food and foodies… you will get to meet fellow foodies, chefs,
people from the industry, crack up laughing, groove to some cool beats, dig
into some amazing food- basically have a whale of a time.. 

Come join us for this
wonderful evening… If you would like to attend, ping me, leave a comment with
your name/email id and I shall connect with you Or you could simply click on
the link and pick up your ticket.

Early bird tickets are
available, but the timer is on.. so don’t waste too much time contemplating. Go
for it..

Online payment–

See ya there~  


The Biryani & Haleem Workshop is back… 8th December!!

When you bring two ladies who are passionate about food, and love to experiment you are in for a treat, actually a feast! 

Maaria of Adoniya launched a series of Cupcake workshops and now she has gone further extending a warm welcome to Tasneem Ayub [Aunty] for the Biryani & Haleem workshop. Nope, this is not the first one, there was one 2weeks ago which saw 21 people learn how to make the most amazing Biryani and Haleem, straight from Aunty..  Experiments in the kitchen with recipes from cookbooks or the internet is fun, but when you get to learn from someone like Aunty you are bound to go home with a precise recipe and a foolproof method as well. What is more, you will have a blast learning the dishes~ !!

What can i say about aunty.. She is amazing, and food is all about caring and sharing and giving to her!! She has hosted dinner parties, brought over food, sent across food, and shared recipes freely numerous times. We love her food- zafrani badaam, bread halwa, veg biryani, tomato thokku, walnut chutney, Qubani ka meetha and so much more….She is such a sweetheart that if she has a group of veggie and non veggies coming over, she pays so much attention to make sure both groups have enough options…  🙂 

Have I attended the workshop? Sigh, you had to ask dint you.. Nope. Not because I don’t like Biryani but only because I am a vegetarian 🙂 

Now stop reading and go grab your seat for the upcoming workshop already… Last few seats remain for the biryani and haleem workshop this Sunday at Adoniya Academy!  

For more details and online registration visit

Maaria – 9840285950 
Tasneem Aunty – 9884078631

Have a great experience and do tell us about it.. 

Peaches turns one

“Peaches” is not the 1st
name we thought of. We infact ran through nearly 100 of them, scraping at each
of them- Tiranga, 3 Rascals and what not, till finally we landed at “Peaches”,
shares Raghu.  Hailing from a family
where his father was into business, Raghu met up with 2 other friends and after
much brainstorming they decided to start the restaurant and see where it is

They were 3 guys who were
excited, passionate and wanted to do something new. Subsequently, they met with
Chef Kaushik [Eatitude] who helped transform their idea into reality and get
going on the restaurant. 

After much deliberation, the trio decided to start a “Pure
vegetarian” restaurant, esp since Velachery was an up and coming locality and
pure veg is a cuisine that will work here. Locality was one thing they dint
really have to deliberate over, and they knew there was going to be no
compromise on quality of food they served either. Once the idea was in place,
plans were drawn, they did a survey over 40days among people they knew and got
them to test out the menu as well [12th to 19th Sep 2012].
On 20th Sep 2012 is when the doors opened…

The menu too went through various stages, from being extensive, it was narrowed down, and over time a few dishes were chopped off the list, while others were added in. The restaurant was slowly evolving and getting ready to open the doors to the market. And today, they are a year and 2 months old.  Today, they can serve 58 covers and are proud owners of the 1800 sq ft restaurant.

Targetting families who enjoy Indian food, and who are open to world cuisine, they designed the menu and kept coming up with new innovative dishes and festivals. Earlier this year, they had the Burrito eating contest, where a 2kg burrito was to be eaten in the shortest time. And now, they have launched Sizzlers, about 5 of them. We wonder what they are going to come up with next…

Venkatesh manages the kitchen and back end while Raghu manages the front and marketing aspect of the restaurant [thanks to his experience in marketing & servicing].

Some of their signature dishes
which we got to taste were

Starters : Bread Mozzarella
Sticks, Malai paneer tikka, Aatish-e-aloo and the Mushroom crostini followed by
Phuket Paneer and Schezwan baby corn.

Drinks: Florida Sunrise and Lime
mint cooker

Mains: It was raining sizzlers-
there was the Oriental Sizzler, Italian sizzler, Tandoori Sizzler, Chettinad Sizzler
and finally the Big Fat peaches Sizzler. The best of the lot was the Chettinad
and Oriental Sizzler. The amazing thing about each of these Sizzlers was that
the items on each of them was different, even the wedges and side of
vegetables. There was the veg cutlet to the masala vada, the Chinese fried
rice+noodles to Indian Biryani and the Italian gentle flavoured vegetables. These
should make their way into the menu long term!!

Desserts: Hot chocolate fudge
sundae, Banana boat and Mango sundae… 
Here’s wishing them a great
journey ahead!!! Next time you are around Velachery and in the mood for some
good food, albeit vegetarian, head straight down the road next to Phoenix mall
about 2kms to Peaches [above Andhra Bank]

You can read my earlier review here


No.81, 9th Cross Street,
Rajalakshmi Nagar, 
100 Feet by Pass Road, 
Velachery, Chennai, 
Tamil Nadu 600042
Ph- 044 4201 9454

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Happy 1st Birthday Dessert Safari

The name is Dessert Safari… But
that does not mean it is a place where you find only Desserts. They also serve
up quite a range of Dishes, both veg and non veg. My 1st visit here was
on Sep 3rd. The reason I remember the day so well is cos it was the
eve of my Birthday and we had a blast. It was pouring and we were cooped up
there till past midnight. I even got to cut a cake amidst lovely friends J

It was  therefore quite apt that I was there to ring in their 1st Birthday!! So when I heard Dessert Safari
was turning one and we were invited, I dint mind visiting [esp since the place
held fond memories]. We were greeted by the Manager and the Chef {who has
travelled the world thanks to working in Cruise liners and who also has worked
with leading chefs around the globe, including Gordan Ramsay and Remy [from the
famous Ratatouille movie]}.  He is a true
blue Mylapore boy who studied in Chennai but went abroad for better prospects
and is now back home. He spent about half an hour talking to us, giving us
insight into plans he had for the place, the new recipes, the Tandoor he had
just installed and how he was working on a whole new range of Fusion food.

While I waited, I had a fresh Orange juice, which was quite refreshing. The 1st dish to arrive was the mixed Bean soup, it had chickpeas and black eyed peas among others and was quite rich, we also detected cheese in it. And that was it…we were off to a no “Naan”sense start.. We were served Plain butter naan with a handful of rocket leaves and a dip made with yoghurt and mint, and tamarind chutney. Following this, we tried the Naan pizza- two varieties- 1 with mushroom masala and other with spinach and paneer. Wait; there was one more dish with Naan. It was the naan sandwich- veg had spinach, peas and corn while the non veg had pullapart chicken with pickled carrots.

In between this we were also
served a Rocket salad with carrots and shaved fennel. This had me curious and
the Chef showed me what a Fennel bulb looked like. I was so excited seeing it,
in real [ I had only seen it on TV cookery shows]

We also got a tour of the small
kitchen, with the newly installed Tandoor. It was hot at 690-700 degrees and apparently
is never turned off. A huge wok is placed on top to cool it off and a wet cloth
used to cool down the walls in case it gets too hot, said the chef.

Coming back to the food, we were
in for a treat with the desserts. There were quite a range of them- Chocolate
cinnamon pie [ served warm]- delicious; and then there was the Chocolate
cheesecake served with fresh cream and a dollop of ice cream. This is when Chef
suggested we try the ice cream with his Balsamic reduction. And we were pleasantly
surprised, loved the combo infact. Who would have thought vanilla ice cream and
balsamic went together. This reduction had Dark balsamic vinegar and jaggery
reduced down. Finally, there was the Mango parfait, which was similar to a
mousse but better, with 4 little intriguing balls of sorts on top. They just
popped as they touched our lips, a burst of sourness. We dint know what it was,
but loved it and asked for more of it..

We also got to sample the Chef’s
new sauces- one made with Coca cola and the other with coconut and Indian spices.
All the sauces are vegetarian and these are what is used on the meat dishes as
well, explained the Chef. We were curious to know more, and if opportunity
arises, we definitely shall go back to try his innovative creations.

Happy Birthday Dessert Safari~!

107, Eldams Road, Teynampet, Chennai
Ph: 044 33824444

Directions- Dessert safari is down the road from Samco on the left [if you are coming from Alwarpet]

Disclaimer:The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂

Japan Vs China- The Food Debate, Pan Asian, Chennai

Vegetarian vs Non vegetarian
Paneer vs Tofu
North Indian vs South Indian
Coffee vs Tea
and now, things are going global. Yes, we are talking about the
big debate between Japanese Food vs Chinese food. I was wondering what this was
all about, what ITC Grand Chola was hoping to accomplish. Little did I know I was in for a visual and sinful treat. 
They had flown down a Chinese Chef , pitted him against our very
own Chef Vikram and the debate was on. I have been to Pan Asia twice before and
both tim
es, it has been quite a memorable experience. I have tried dishes filled with new flavours and textures, so I knew tonight was going to be no different. Just dint expect the surprise I was in for! 
And this Debate was going to pawn all other debates, beating them hands down. It had the Oomph. The food was paired with Whisky, and no small brand, it was Johnnie Walker. 

We were shown a menu, a set menu, one side of it belong to Japan
and the other side to China and the dishes were paired with different kinds
of Johnnie Walker whisky. After a brief
round of introductions and hellos, we settled in and the evening just flew by.
 When our orders were being taken, I somehow went with the Japanese menu,
but luckily friend chose the Chinese and so we got to taste both  the
The 1st platter, the amuse-bouche was
quite a visual treat, and then my taste buds did the tango wit every sip and
bite. There was a mini martini glass with a drink [yuzo and vodka] and the rim
was filled with celery salt. Then there was a soup spoon with little green
balls that were basically celery, and a crisp tofu skin[sansho crisp] and a
sake?white wine soaked cherry tomato. Every mouthful was like firecrackers in
the night sky. The Celery salt was the highlight. Oh, how can I forget the
glass of Rising Sun that I sipped on. Johnnie Walker whisky blended with Egg
white, soya sauce and Wasabi mix. Loved it, absolutely loved it.

I knew then the party had begun! The soup was
another treat- Edamame, beetroot, truffle in a subtle Broccoli broth and a ring
made with rice and another Japanese ingredient. Reading the word
“Truffle” brought memories of the movie “No reservations”
and of shows I had seen where a dog was used to sniff it out in the wilderness.
What amazing flavours. As the soup arrived, so did the 2nd drink, this time a
Johnnie walker blend with Oolong tea and sugar syrup, served in a long stemmed Martini glass. Moving on, the starter I chose was
Confit Green Apple Carpacio served with plum tomato ice, gold label sichimi
emulsion. Carpcio was yet another dish I had heard and seen on TV, so trying it
out was a new experience and Yes, I loved it. What a blend of flavours and
textures. The Whisky paired with this was Johnnie Walker Double Black label,
such a smooth drink. 

Following this, came the main course– Grilled
Artichoke hearts served alongside sticky rice, tobajan miso, water chestnuts.
The drinnk for this was Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, yet another smooth
drink. The dish was just amazing, loved the crunchiness of the Water chestnut
[infact we had a debate amongst ourselves wondering what veg that was].
 And then, it was time for dessert. We were all grinning and having a
lovely evening. Once again, I went with the dessert on the Japanese section of
the menu and boy oh boy was I happy. My dessert was
Johnnie walker whisky soaked  pear slices served with probiotic yoghurt
ice cream. A vanilla milk of sorts was poured over the pear slices and boom
boom the flavours took me to heaven and back. I am not joking nor am I
exaggerating. I loved the creaminess and smoothness. This was served with the
finest in Johnnie walker, the Premium drink.

Wait, Chef Vikram had yet another surprise in store for us. We were served
another dessert, a dark chocolate one[75%], his signature chocolate
preparation. He came over, chit chatted with us, asked for feedback and
mentioned this dessert was just something he put together, no big deal… 🙂
What a humble man!! We also spent a few minutes chatting about some of his
other creations and the Sunday brunch that he promised was going to be a one of
a kind experience.  
Chinese/ Japanese set menu is priced around Rs 2500 [and if you include the
Whisky, it would be Rs 4000ish].. 
PS: Here are my earlier posts
ITC Grand Chola
#63, Mount Road, Guindy, Chennai,TN,600032
Ph- 044 2220 0000

British Pub Fest, Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai

Courtyard by Marriott food is good! There I have said it. Have been here quite a few times, apart from the Cook & Dine and the Idli & beer fest, and I love the food and quality is consistent as well. So, when I saw the poster to the British Pub Fest, I was curious… The only pubs I have been to are the ones in the county and the food they offer are pretty run of the mill. 

Seeing the Shepherd’s pie, the Treacle Tart on the menu had stars twinkling in my eyes. That evening, I wound up work and headed over to Courtyard, maneuvering around the Metro rail construction and twists and turns on the road.  

We met Chef Sridhar, who gave us a sneak peek into the whole concept of Pub food and what to expect. Having been in UK for nearly a decade, he was introducing a few dishes that were quite popular back there..

The 1st dish to arrive was the Veg Burger.. I stared at it for a few mins and then eyes went straight to the JENGA like fries next to it. These were triple cooked fries [i knew this thanks to Masterchef Aus], and as you bite into them, you feel the crispness on the outer layer while the inside is nice and soft. These were amazing. Wasim infact asked for another portion of this which we dug into happily. The burger was good, but nothing different about it.  

 Next up was the Veg Lasagna, served alongside crispy croutons. I quite loved the lasagna, but again it wasn’t a dish I hadn’t eaten before.

And then came the Pie that I fell in love with. Cheese, onions and potato pie. It was simply delicious, light, filled with flavour and such a treat. 

 The non veg dishes that were served were- Cottage pie [same as Shepherd’s pie] along with beef liver in a balsamic reduction on mashed potato and side of veggies. 

And then came the grand finale, the desserts.. The Chef came over as they were served and explained each of the items. One of them was the Spotted Dick, yes you read it right. He told us why the dish was called what it was and what it contained. I couldnt stop eating it. Served alongside custard and with Brandy snaps [Tuille] it was heavenly… 

Spotted dick is a traditional British pudding/cake  with raisins or dry fruit are added, hence the dessert has “spots.”  It felt like a cross between a muffin and a pie loaded with dry fruits.. 

The story behind the name– “Spotted” refers to the dry fruits /raisins in the pastry. “Dick” is messier to explain — the word itself has a fuzzy history, and in the 19th century alone it was understood as an abbreviation for dictionary, a policeman, an apron, a riding whip, and, of course, male genitalia. Around the same time as these meanings were used, the first recorded spotted dick recipe was created. The Chef said the “dick” in “spotted dick” could be because of the texture of the pudding, it being thick [Dick being the German word to say thick].  

The other desserts wereApple pie[deconstructed version] served with a dollop of whipped cream and candied apple slices, traditional Chocolate pudding and Treacle Tart..

The Treacle Tart was made using shortcrust pastry, with a thick filling made of golden syrup, also known as light treacle, breadcrumbs, and lemon juice or zest.The bottom layer was a thick cookie, while the next layer was sticky chewy and you could taste the honey. Normally served alongside cream, it was served here with cones made of Brandy snap biscuits and with finely chopped mixed fruits. What a delight it was…. 

While we had our meal with mocktails, these would work best with a pint of beer.. So, go on, check out the British Pub festival at Marriott and let me know what caught your fancy!! 

[Recipe] Tomato garlic chutney

Damn, it was nearly 7.40pm and I hadnt cooked dinner yet.. Did a mental run through of all that I had and after a short debate I knew what I was going to make for dinner. I had decided to make Pongal for dinner. Wanted to make it with Saamai but noticed there were bugs in the unopened sealed packet [had bought two packets a few weeks ago, was done with one and now this second one was goner], dumped it and went with rice option. 
Phew, the main was decided, but what about the side? This is when I walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge and stood staring at it as if an idea was going to spring at me. Kaboom.Well, it kinda actually did. 

Here is what I made,

Spicy Tomato Chutney:–

Tomato     2  roughly chopped
Dry Red Chillies    3
Garlic      4 cloves
Tamarind    a tiny piece
Salt     to taste
Water- 1 tsp just to get the blender going

For tempering:
Oil  1
Mustard seeds      1/2 tsp
Urad dal    1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Hing      a pinch

In the blender, add all the ingredients and make into a thick puree. If needed, add the water.
In another pan, add the oil and do the tempering
Now add the puree to the tempering and allow it to cook well for a good 5-8mins till oil starts coming out on all sides.
It is now ready to be devoured..

Perfect for any plain rice, dosa, and was good with pongal as well.. Spicy and tangy, with strong garlic flavour..

[Recipe] Dal Tadka

I was getting back home after my evening walk and suddenly I thought of Dal Tadka and the past hour I spent looking at recipes on the net to see how easy/complicated it was.. And now I think I found the ultimate recipe.. I found it on this blog. It sounded easy and interesting so off I went to the kitchen to give it a shot.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, and here is how I made it

Cooking time: 35mins
Prep time: 10mins
Serves- 2

The Daal
2 tbsp  tuvar dal
1 tbsp moong dal
1 small onion chopped roughly
1 green chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups water

Salt to taste

For the tempering

1/2 tsp Ghee
1 tsp cumin
2 red chilies

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger- garlic paste

1 tsp garam masala powder 

a pinch of asafoetida/hing
1 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
salt as required

1. In a pressure cooker, add the washed dals with a pinch of salt, onions, 2 cups of water and allow it to cook [5-6 whistles] . Once done, remove and mash the dal well.
2. In another smaller pan, add some ghee, and all the ingredients listed under “tempering” and let it saute for a few minutes.
3. Add the cooked dal to the tempering and let it come to a boil.
3. If you feel daal is too thick, add water depending on your preference

Serve hot with plain rice. I also had some pickle and it was heaven!! :-))

Cafe Adoniya, Chennai

Maaria Kulsum and Adoniya have become a household name of sorts
in Chennai… 1st came clothes, then came jewellery, and then following suit
were some yumm cupcakes, cheesecakes and now a cute little cafe inside the
Adoniya store. It is quaint, small, and the kind of place that you would hop
into if you wanted a Chocolate/sweet fix. If you are still wondering who this
Maaria is or what Adoniya is, then I suggest you stop reading right here and
get out of your home/office/mall/etc etc and drive down to Harrington Road and
see/experience it for yourself. 

Tucked away in the small lane opp Little sister’s of the poor leading towards Mehta Hospital, Cafe Adoniya serves up a variety of treats. These range from Sweets, savories, beverages and wait for it- ice cream sundaes as well. Voila~!! 
You could hop in, grab a take away, or sit in one of the pretty pink chairs and savour some treats. While you wait for your dish, spend a few minutes looking around the place and you are bound to crack up with laughter… there is one on the billing counter “We guarantee quick service, no matter how long it takes”and then there is one more WTF- Where is the food? And so many more..

We started the evening with a few thirst quenchers. I opted for Blueberry mojito while others chose different flavours of Mojito, ferrero rocher shake, tiramisu shake and then some more.. Following suit came the lovely paneer wraps and the corny corn sandwich. We were nearly stuffed, but wait the sweet treats were on their way said Maaria- there were different kinds of cupcakes- chocolate, mocha and red velvet, followed by the 7 dessert platter that actually has 6 dessert items and one savory that breaks into the sweet palate perfectly. I also had a cup of coffee, it came in a blue cup & saucer with 2 green containers- one with packets of Sweetners and other with normal sugar. Loved the colours.

Don’t expect a fancy café or something that resembles a CCD or
Barista. Adoniya is small, cozy and that is what makes it different.
This cafe is open till 10:30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Apart from Maaria’s treats, you will also find Zaica spices here.
15th Ave, Harrington Road, 
Chennai- 31
044 28360001 for enquiry or place cake orders
reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember
that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food
and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places.
Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂