Thursday, May 26, 2011

oLYpUB

in my blog, i have always published new recipes, and my thoughts on them. but since college has come to an end now, and doesn't know where my destiny is gonna take me, so i decided to list down the names of those places where i have been a regular. along with the food, & ambience , what else mattered is the company. that is what had catapulted a small resturant  to a big 5-star for me, and have thus added to my closet of memories.it starts with the place where i have been a regular with two of my most close buddies. have so many memories of this place.


it was actually named "OLYMPIA" in the begining, but then changed its name to OLYPUB. in the 70's & 80's Park Street in Calcutta was different. the average middle class Bengali could hardly afford the expensive bars & resturants. among those "OLY(as commonly termed by its lovers)" was  a place which gave you value for money. the bearers would pour drink into your glass from the bottle generously.and nobody would ask you to leave even if you have been occupying the place for hours. the clientele base was a mixture of small traders, merchants, traders, students , poets & authors(known aw well as unknown), bookies of trade & rich Gujarati businessman. unlike most other places, no hierarchy, no caste system & thus no difference existed there. all were equally knowledgeable, worried about reaching home late at night , always ready to prove a point. the men also used to be worried about how to pacify wives for being drunk.what mattered to people then were the generous pegs & food & not the decor.

However most of the essence of OLY is still the same today also. it is when you open the gate & enter into this place you could witness the vintage feel of this place. there has been no renovation as such. most of the sofa's have torn sides, the plastic chairs have taken the place of old wooden chairs, but their essence has not changed. people pf all class still hit the place, its still easy on pocket, a heaven for students o catch up with friends, beat the heat with chilled bear or a drink. the best place is that you can occupy your place for hours. and trust me for all those people, who are regular here, gives a damn to the not so interesting interiors.

and for me i love the old world charm of this place. for me and my friends, its an escape from the busy world outside, from the frustrating amount of assignments. it is also a place that cemented our friendship. i first hit the place with Raisa & Atrayee, and felt nice to be a part of this heritage. with the passing time, there has ben a change in the waiters working here. you start knowing them, while you also start seeing new faces. this place is always on a go & buzzing with activity.






the beef steak is still the biggest attraction of this place. for this new world children, like us, who are notreally cowed down by the conflicting & age-old thoughts of religion & all , we find it tasty & tasty & tasty... and everytime it tastes the same. what my friends & fight about, is the egg-poch on top of the steak. the humble blanched peas  add colour to this kind a humble dish. for me . this is the first thing i offer even before ordering my drink. the mashed potato is also a delicious part of the dish.




and french fries are a staple with us. my fried loves to loves to gorge in it & since she loves spicy food, the chilli sauce is something she just swears by. it kinda gets us into the mood for the drink.




chicken ala-qiev is also an age old delicacy of this place. originally an anglo-indian food, but is loved by all and sundry. what is intriguing about this dish i the melted butter that oozes out, as soon as you cut into the fat betel leaf shaped chicken preparation. it has a stuffing of this solid butter & meat & some other secret ingrediant. one gets various kind of food here, depening on their pocket size, but one plate generally satisfies two hungry stomachs. generally divided in two storeys, with sitting arrangements on both the floors, i generally go for the second floor one. as evening creeps in, the crowd thickens, so inorder to choose a place of preference you need to be a bit  fast in arriving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IT@LIAN P@STRY TWISTS


i am not really a big fan of Italian food, but even i like it at times, like last night(my graduation night) i had dinner @ pizza hut with a very close friend & my ex-boyfriend.but what interests me more about this city is their fashion, men & countryside. i love the elegant rustic feel that this countryside oozes out, whenever i come across some kind of picture of those deserted stone villas or small houses amidst some greenary & a huge farm. so this dish was made yesterday.

this is kinda easy, trust me it is. what i love is that this dish isn't too sweet. the sweetness of this dish is kind of mild & it has a savory & crispy taste. and what i like the most is the wine... i have used port wine, which is kinda sweet. this, though i didn't give it to anyone for tasting, was made for the graduation day & to celebrate my loneliness & successful escape from the assignments of college life.
so here goes the recipe:

INGREDIANTS:


  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp melted butter
  • 3-4tbsp sherry
  • 0il, for deep frying
  • icing sugar, for dusting.








METHOD:

  • shift the flour into a large mixing bowl & make a well in the centre. add the eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla & melted butter.
  • mix with your hands until the mixture starts to come together. when the dough becomes stiff, add enough sherry to make the dough soft & pliable. knead until smooth & then wrap in clear film(plastic wrap) & chill for about an hour.
  • roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface & cut into 40 strips, each about 18cm x 1cm. tie strips loosely into a knot.
  • heat the oil in a pan & deep fry the knots, in batches, for 2-3mins, until puffed up & golden.
  • drain the pastry twists on the kitchen paper, dust generously with icing sugar & serve either hot or cold.


this i have served my friends with ice cream. as i had said earlier i have used port wine instead of sherry. this can be eaten anyways, but i felt this could be a good substitute of Darshan with ice cream( the delicious Chinese dessert). moreover i had chilled the dough for more than an hour  so that it becomes easier to work with. and i had put in an extra spoon full of granulated sugar. i did use icing sugar for dusting, and along with that i had used a bit of grated Gouda cheese also.and if someone has a problem in putting in so much effort, then the ready made pastry dough can solve all your problems.and this recipe demanded using some flavour-less oil, but i had to make it different. so had used mustard oil. it's in the Bengali gene, the love for mustard oil. but you can make it in any oil of your choice. try it, sweeten your relationships.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

KUNG P@0 CHICkEN

hey frnds,



m back after a long time. was superbly busy with my final graduation collection. it was loads of work. and now m enjoying kind of a holiday. parents not at home, friends dropping by, loads of party  food. but trust me , m superbly tired. so cooking up sumthing elaborate is kind of out of question. 
and what's bugging me more is the heat. so standing and cooking in the kitchen for long is gonna kill me. i loved the fresh produce of this summer season. a friend was staying back yesterday at my place, and so had to cook for him. he is not a big fan of spicy food like me. so i had to do a kind of a chinese dish(since its easy & most of the time is not spicy). i made KUNG-PAO chicken.
i had had this dish years back at some resturant outside Bengal. & i still remember the delicious recipe. so here's my version of this awesum recipe which is kind of synonimous with chinese cuisine. here goes the original recipe & where all i have made changes.




INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Szechwan peppercorns (optional)
  • 8 red, dried chili peppers
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup of roasted, unsalted peanuts
For the marinade
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
For the sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of Chinkiang or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch

METHOD

1 Mix together the marinade ingredients. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and toss them in the marinade and set aside.
2 Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, whisking well to ensure the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Set aside.
3 Thinly slice the garlic. Break the chilies open and discard the seeds inside, then cut them into a few large pieces (the dish will already be very hot, keeping the seeds will make it near inedible).
4 Place the 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok or large saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the chilies and Szechwan peppercorns if using. Stir-fry for a few second until they become fragrant being careful not to burn them. Add the chicken, as soon as the pieces have separated add the ginger, garlic, and green onions. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
5 Add the sauce and toss. When the sauce becomes thick add the peanuts, toss, and serve.
Serves 4.

the first change was that i had used white wine for the entire thing, wherever wine was required. for people who have a bit more sweet tooth, they can use up Port Wine, its sweet in taste, and is good for sipping even. since i was not using much of the chilli , so had to substitute with chilli oil, as it gives the flavour, yet the dish is not very spicy. szechuan peppercons is  something i dnt have, so had to use noemal black pepper, and along with two green chillies, i had also used two dried red chillies. the quanntity of garlic was a bit more. and i have used both light & dark soya, for taste & colour. i had used a normal red onion sliced in chunks instead of the green onions, for the simple reason, it wasn't there at my home. 
as i have always said, make a recipe your own. u can try this out and see how it works for your loved ones. do let me know.
till then njoy & chowwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!