Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Brownie Love Affair....

Ever since my ‘brownie-quiche gal’, Kainaz Nunes, immigrated to the UK I have been searching for the perfect brownie.  I have to say, having had brownies made by Kainaz, the bar is set very high. (Kainu, you will always be my ‘brownie’ girl <3 ) I happened to see a review for brownies at a Facebook group and decided to give them a try. After a Facebook Messenger interaction with Fadila, (the lady who bakes the brownies), I confirmed my order for two varieties: half a kilo of Chocolate Brownies and another half kilo of Chocolate Walnut Brownies.

The Brownies arrived, before lunch, at 1330 hours. They were packed in a simple cake box but, the box was beautifully done up with a bow and a card. I wanted to dive into the sweetness immediately but stopped myself as I needed to photograph them. Clicking photographs when all one wants to do is dig one’s teeth into the product is the toughest thing we food critics have to endure. Sigh! But it was worth the clicks as they turned out to be ‘write up’ worthy. :)

As soon as I was done photographing, I decided to skip lunch and go straight to dessert. I gently picked a walnut brownie with all the love and tenderness that I could muster and lovingly bit into that warm, exquisite yumminess. After months I was, once again, back in brownie heaven and all was right with my world.

The brownies were decadent and sinful. Actually both adjectives are bloody understatements. They were all that and more! The chocolate frosting, liberally, slathered over the brownies was a sheer delight. Most bakers tend to over bake the brownies which makes them dry and lifeless from within. These were not so. They were moist, gooey and fell into the category of, ‘There is no way I am stopping at one’. I then picked up the Chocolate Brownie. This was just as ambrosial as the one with the walnut. I do prefer brownies with walnut, though, because they lend an intermittent crunchy texture and also help to cut through the constant richness that permeates the palate. These babies are a must-try for chocolate lovers!

Fadila’s Brownie venture is known as ‘The Brownie Corner’. My understanding of the name is a tad different, and for that reason I feel the venture is aptly named. The deliciousness steadily 'corners' our hearts, leaving us wanting for more. I asked Fadila whether she was planning to extend her menu and venture into the realm of other bakery products. She mentioned that she planned to stick to what she knows best: Brownies. I love it when home chefs are confident and grounded enough to know what they excel at and stick to what they do best; as a ‘Master’ rather than a ‘Jack’.

Fadila, I cannot thank you enough for the fudgy decadence. It made my day! I wish you the very best in your ‘brownie venture’. May the Brownies corner the hearts of all those who bite into their goodness with as much love as the love with which you bake them.

Fadila can be contacted on: +91 8408978652

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Peppercorn – The Home Chef... Food from their home to mine!!

A few days ago I received an inbox message from Prerna Punjabi to request me to give feedback on food cooked by them, a husband-wife team, (Prerna/Anubhav); they are ‘home’ chefs. I agreed and resultantly my Sunday came alive with the food they sent me. (Yeah, sometimes my Sundays can be a tad boring :P )

The meal was sent merely for feedback, not for a write up, but I felt that not writing about the meal amounted to injustice to the food. Why?? Read on!

The dishes sent by Peppercorn – The Home Chef aka Anubhav, were Bengali Style Mutton Biryani and Chicken Chaanp.

The aroma of Biryani wafted through the entire house as soon as I opened the pot. The mutton was beautifully cooked. Its dark colour suggested that it had been koshao’d (sautéed/bhunao’d) really well. The texture of the mutton was soft and succulent! The rice was gorgeous long grain Basmati; each grain beautiful and separate. The Biryani was not over oily even though I did notice a thin film of oil at the bottom of the vessel when I emptied it out. Gluttonous me decided to eat the last spoonful of rice that was in the vessel. That spoonful of rice was not unpleasantly oily, rather, it tasted superbly buttery. In fact I asked Prerna and Anubhav if they had put dollops of butter over the rice before putting the Biryani on ‘dum’. They said they hadn’t. I’m guessing the quality of mutton and method used to cook it was the reason behind that beautiful flavour. The Biryani was so well made that the rice, even when had by itself, was extremely flavourful. The flavours all came together beautifully!

The Chicken Chaanp, was chicken cooked in a rich and spicy gravy. The flavour was simply amazing and I continued feasting on the tantalizing gravy even after the chicken was polished off. The chicken was tender and cooked to perfection. If you are fond of piquant flavours then this is a must-try!

Peppercorn – The Home Chef operates from their residence at NIBM road and has a small but select menu available at this time. They do intend to add more dishes in the future. I found their prices (food prices and delivery charges) to be very fair. Of course, delivery in the NIBM and Undri circle is free. :) Also, let me add, for those of you who find the taste of mustard oil too sharp, Anubhav/Prerna are flexible enough to make the dishes for you in refined oil; the one most of us use at home. Do let them know your preference at the time of placing your order. I’m very sure you won’t be disappointed!! I know I wasn’t! Please visit the page Peppercorn – The Home Chef, at Facebook, and check out their menu.

Prerna/Anubhav: For trusting my palate and guidance to take this marvellous gastronomic venture forward, thank you! I wish you the very best for the future. Having tasted your food, if you retain the quality, I have no doubt that your venture will be a huge success.  

Prerna/Anubhav can be contacted on: +91 7378386637 / +91 9730115725

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Seafood Binge Continues... Fish Curry Rice!!

We had, had seafood just a day back (please check the review posted before this one at my blog) but for some reason ‘iss dil ne maanga more’ hence, yet again, we honed in on a seafood restaurant for dinner. This time we opted for Fish Curry Rice.

I messaged Sandesh, the owner of FCR, who guided me to their online ordering website and very patiently and politely answered the many, many questions I asked while placing my order.

The dishes I ordered were, Prawn Rawa Fry, Rawas Rawa Fry, Tisrya (Clam) Masala, Crab Masala, Prawn Rice, Bangda Curry (Karwadi, with Tirphal), Sol Kadi and Dashmi (rice chapattis).

The Rawas Rawa Fry, (as one can see from the photograph) was merely fried without the coating of Rawa (semolina), as requested from the menu. The coating/exterior was entirely different because it lacked the Rawa coating, but the fish was very well marinated and texture of the fried fish was spot on!

The Prawn Rawa Fry deserves a very special mention. This food order travelled nearly 8 kilometres to reach my residence but the prawns were fried so beautifully that the rawa crumb on the prawn remained crisp while the prawn within was perfectly succulent. To have achieved that in a home delivery order is extremely commendable!

The Tisrya Masala was the STAR of the day. The coconut masala in which the clams were cooked was outstanding and the freshness of the Tisrya (clams) have to be eaten to be believed. This was the best Tisrya Masala I have had in a long, long time. If there was a way in which I could rate this 11/10, I would do so in a jiffy! This was a superlative dish!

The Crab Masala was another winner. The crab was cooked to perfection in a delicious masala. For me, the reason why Fish Curry Rice wins hands down is because each masala base and each curry preparation is different in taste; depending on the type of fish or crustacean used. No two curries bases or masala are similar. The masala used for the tisrya was way different from that of the crab. The crab masala boldly held its own stance. Delicious is an understatement!

The Prawn Rice was very flavoursome and they were not at all stingy with the quantity of prawns. There is one complaint though! All prawns were cleaned and deveined, except one. I put that down to human error which can happen at time to anyone, just that this error could well have led to the ‘loosies’. Luckily, I’m in the habit of keeping a close watch on the prawns when ordered from a restaurant hence caught the ‘nasty bugger’ in time. ;)

I ordered Dashmi’s (rice chapattis) for the very first time. They are thin and soft and I wish I had ordered more than four. Sigh! As for the Sol Kadi, the hit of ginger came through beautifully, all the while merging gracefully with the subtle, yet noticeable overtones of kokum and coconut milk. Once again, as the night before, I had the Sol Kadi with the Prawn Rice. Take my word for it, the combination is mind-blowing! The leftover Sol Kadi went into the fridge and while, the next afternoon, my family chose to drink it, I had it with steamed white rice. (Oh! Bite me; ab aadat pad gayi toh pad gayi ;) )

Each and every dish was very well made and I could not find fault with anything. It was an outstanding meal. Perfect in every way!

Sandesh, thank you ever so much for executing my order to such perfection! Also, heartfelt thanks for your patience in regard to answering the million questions I threw at you before placing the order. It was truly very kind of you to have been so patient!

Food: 4.5/5 (missed the 5 mark because of that un-deveined prawn and the omission of rawa in my Rawas Rawa Fry)
Service (online/over the phone/delivery): 5/5
Ambiance: Had the food home delivered. If I rate the ambiance 5/5 people are going to accuse me of being biased and corrupt. :P :D

P.S: At the cost of sounding repetitive... Photographs of home delivered food are never up to the mark because I have hounds barking at my feet, telling me to hurry the f#@k up as they tend to get into the ‘hungry mode’ as soon as they see food; more so, if it’s sea food. :D 

They have two branches, with a third one on its way at Baner.
The two branches are:

This is the first branch they opened; a simple, no frills branch
- 586, Gangadhar Apartment, Near Kanya Shala, Kelkar Road, Narayan Peth, Off Budhwar Peth, Pune
- Tel: 020 30162049

This is the second branch; this is an air conditioned branch
- Intersection of Canal Road and Law College Road, Law College Road, Pune
- Tel: 020 30162048