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The Food Fantasia at le Meridian – Food Shoot

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Apple-and-Cinnamon-Samosa1

Executive chef JP Singh shows us what’s cooking at Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Kochi.

Walking into the Latest Recipe restaurant, you will be beckoned by a towering shelf, lined with exotic spices preserved in bell jars. Under the play of light, the jars transiently come to life with its chameleon like spectrum. The restaurant is flanked by French windows that paint a picturesque view of the sea, and plush fauna. And as sit to dine, the empty plates in front of you become a bespoke canvas.

Smoked-Malai-Prawns

A Tasteful Rhapsody

Chef JP Singh loves it when food rhapsodises the art of cooking… with its blend of flavours and its modernistic presentation. He gets thrilled when he hears someone say, “Hmm, I never thought I would enjoy it that way.” Just like a magician has umpteen tricks to captivate his audience, chef JP never ceases to experiment.

Honey Sesame Pork Ribs

The air was filled with anticipation as he walked in with a cloche that seemed to hide something enveloped in smoke. When it was lifted, there billowed the scented apple-wood smoke that imparted a diabolical richness to the grilled malai prawns. Like opposites attract, sweet and spice were a tasteful match. Accompanying this was the gnocchi, Italian soft dough dumplings. It came with a blackcurrant- coloured coat. The knife slid through the pillow-like gnocchis that were perfectly coupled with goat cheese and pumpkin purée.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Chef JP explained the trick to make good gnocchi. “Although there are only a few ingredients, what’s important is to know the proper ratio between egg and flour. The secret behind making them so soft is to dry it well after it has been boiled so that the starch is strained out.”

That was the first act, the smoky illusions, and the chameleon cameo. Tables turned when the crab ravioli and shellfish a’la nage were served. Like most shellfish that’s grilled, braised, fried or roasted, chef JP decided to take the shellfish out for a swim. That may seem odd, but in the world of cookery, a la nage means ‘in the swim’. It’s a technique that involves cooking fish in a light broth of vegetables, herbs and aromatic ingredients. Ravioli is not commonly doused with sauces, so it tasted different when served in a very rich court-bouillon of crab claws and mussels. It was a refreshing taste of the sea.

Apple-and-Cinnamon-Samosa1

Though the main course was a simple subtle sauté, chef JP surprised us with the flavour bomb – the honey sesame pork ribs. With a jarring honey glaze and speckle of toasted sesame seeds, there was an explosion of flavours from the punch of oyster and soy sauce. “When it comes to making pork ribs, it is difficult to make it succulent. Sesame seeds must be added carefully, as it can rule or ruin a dish – if done well it elevates the dish, and if excess it spoils the whole thing.”

Le Fin

For the finale, it was a mix and match of the odds. “The greatest thing in the kitchen at Latest Recipe is to experiment and more importantly, we like to compete with each other to get the best recipes.” Thus, when the spoon scooped through the mango mousse, the crunchy layer did not come as a surprise, but a hint of rosemary herbs did. While samosas are a preferred accompaniment with tea, chef JP’s play with the plate replaced the regular aloo stuffing with pears and cinnamon.

Crab Ravioli with Shellfish a la Nage

 

Rosemary Mango Mousse

If you ask us what is the latest at Latest Recipe, we cannot really tell, as the best is yet to come – constantly.

Words and Styling by Atheena Wilson
Photographs by Sreejith
Location Courtesy: Latest Recipe, Le Meridien

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Food

Dabbawala System Finally Comes to Kerala Thanks To Sreejith Jayan

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Dabbawala System
Image from: homefoodfactory.in

The 30 year old is duplicating the popular tiffin service from Mumbai in Thiruvananthapuram, which will begin operating from May 15

Working in big cities comes with its own problems, one of them being the difficulty of finding healthy and inexpensive lunch meals on a regular to daily basis. With an increasing proportion of youth population in India’s cities, who mostly live away from their home, it becomes nearly impossible for them to prepare their meals for work. That’s where tiffin services come to the rescue, with the biggest example of Mumbai’s Dabbawalas.

Dabbawala

Source: WikiCommons

While Mumbai’s Dabbawalas have scaled the peak of productivity with their near faultless system, there has been a demand for a replication of it in other cities around the country. Taking the cue, Sreejith Jayan, a 30 year old from Thiruvananthapuram has been inspired to recreate the system on a startup scale in the city. In an interview with The Better India, Sreejith talked about his venture Vova Dabbawala, which will begin its services from May 15 across four top areas within the capital city.

Sreejith

Source: The Better India

Sreejith says that the idea struck him as he contemplated about the stress on family members who had to cook for office goers, including themselves. “In most families, mothers and wives, irrespective of being employed themselves, have to wake up early and spend many hours in the kitchen.” Impressed by Mumbia’s model of the Dabbawalas, which has secured the six-sigma efficiency rating, Sreejith was perplexed as to why the system had not been implemented in Thiruvanathapuram, which is home to one of the biggest IT hubs in South Asia, resulting in a great bulk of professionals, most of whom are youngsters, coming from not just across Kerala but from all over the country.

Vova

Source: Vova Dabbawala

Sreejith joined hands with his friend Prajeeth P Das to start the initiative. He is supported by his sister Karthika and brother Sudheesh as well, who have their tasks cut out in the enterprise. The four points where the tiffin service will begin functioning are Kazhakoottam, Peroorkada, Thiruvallam, and the main Thiruvananthapuram city. Ten two-wheelers and three cars will be used to ferry the tiffins. “While long-term schemes are also available, one can also book daily and monthly options on our website, mobile application and even through a toll-free number managed by a customer care support,” said Sreejith. Customers can also live-track the status of their tiffin boxes through the app.

While Thiruvananthapuram heaves a sigh of relief, Kochi is waiting for its turn, which will be soon, says Sreejith, as he plans to expand the endeavor to the city by August.

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Food

The Kochi-Based Sugar Sifter Gives Pro Tips For All Your Baking Woes

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Images from: The Sugar Sifter

Successful Kochi-based home baker, The Sugar Sifter, is a treasure trove of pro baking tips for all those budding bakers out there. Your baking woes are sure to end soon!

Text Credit: Rheanna Mathews

All you budding bakers out there would surely agree that your experiments have met with many a roadblock, right? Well, Bhavana aka the Sugar Sifter, is a successful home baker who’s helped us with some baking tips and tricks of the trade when it comes to these things.

Baking Tips from the Sugar Sifter, Bhavana

How do you zero in on recipes?

Trial and error. You try and fail at different recipes. Over the years, you develop a certain knack for knowing which recipes will work for you.

Do you experiment a lot?

I try to stick to the basic recipe, but there’s no end to experimenting with flavours.

When it comes to decorating cakes, what are the most common mistakes we can make?

A messy workstation.  It makes you want to give up too soon. Not measuring your ingredients accurately and not following the right method are other common mistakes. Also, if you substitute the ingredients in the recipe with whatever you have on hand at home could also yield unsatisfactory results.

How easy is it to pipe frosting onto cakes?

Frosting and decorating cakes certainly takes a lot of practice before it becomes easy. Each cake you decorate helps you learn something more. But it’s not exactly rocket science either. Chilling the cake before frosting and crumb coating it definitely makes it easier.

Bakingtips: piping buttercream

How do you reduce wastage?

Wastage generally occurs when you need to trim the cake, especially when you don’t have a flat top or if the sides aren’t straight. This problem decreases as your expertise grows, but in the meantime, use the leftover crumbs to make cake pops, truffles or layer it with custard for a simple dessert.

So how do you get perfect cake layers? And then, how do you store a tall cake?

Again, chill your cakes before before torting them into layers. Chilled cakes mean lesser crumbs and more control.

Boxes to store tall cakes are readily available in the market, these days.

Sprinkles are easy and fun but hardly sophisticated. Are there any easy decorating ideas that we can use to make our cakes look extra special?

Naked cakes are a brilliant trend that’s popular all over the world these days. They’re easy to make, don’t require much skill, and can be adapted to any style you like – vintage, rustic, elegant or chic. Fresh flowers or a chocolate ganache drip around the edges can do wonders for it. Top it with different candies or French macarons and you get a decadent version everyone will enjoy.

Baking tips: how to decorate

Finally, how do you transport tall cakes without toppling them?

Transporting tiered cakes is difficult and quite risky, especially during the summer with its melting heat. Chill the cake before transporting and secure them with dowels. And, to keep it from slipping, make sure that the cake board is nice and snug inside the box.

Armed with these baking tips, if it is inspiration that you need, click here and definitely here. And if you really just want to have beautiful looking cakes and eat them too, get in touch with Bhavana here.

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Food

Top 7 Super Foods You Should Try This Summer

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Image Source: redbookmag.com, indianfoodfreak.com and healthyfoodhouse.com

As the mercury levels are constantly rising, we all are looking for innovative ideas and techniques to keep ourselves cool this summer. Avoid dehydration, body heat and other deficiencies with these nutrient-packed superfoods

Text Credits: Shibul Pavithran

You know summer’s the perfect time to switch from shoes to sandals, but did you know it’s also the right time to change your diet? Being outdoors more often and sweating increases your risk for health problems such as dehydration, skin sensitivities, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Therefore, our primary goal should be to include summer foods that fulfill the criteria.

Wondering what to eat in summer to keep your body cool? We have shortlisted 7 superfoods to let you enjoy this summer vacation in the most healthy way.

Watermelon:

Source: seattletimes.com

Watermelons are recommended throughout the year, nothing beats a glass of watermelon juice or just pieces of this wonder fruit in replenishing the water levels of your body. They also contain lycopene that protects the skin from possible sun damage and helps keep the body hydrated during summer. Moreover, due to its high water content, it will keep you full for a long time.

Tomatoes:

Image Source: chatelaine.com

Tomatoes are filled with antioxidants and Vitamin C, they also contain beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene, which contribute to chronic diseases—especially cancer.

Peaches:

Source: Terradouro

Juicy fruits are a blessing during summers they make sure you keep the body hydrated. They are always known to be good for the skin, peaches also come with a healthy dose of Vitamin A and C. They are a good source of antioxidants and fibre, which improve digestion. It contains bio-active compounds that help fight metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that cause inflammation, obesity and heart problems. Consuming peach on a regular basis helps control cholesterol content in the blood.

Strawberries and blueberries:

Source: 4.bp.blogspot

Sweet, juicy berries are filled with flavonoids, powerful disease fighters found in many fruits and vegetables. Among their other pros, they increase blood flow to skin and decrease sensitivity to light, which improves skin’s appearance, structure, and texture.  They’re also an excellent source of fiber, folate and potassium.

Kiwi:

Source: inetfarms

They are one of the best fruits for summer as they have a unique cooling effect on the body and packed with Vitamin E, potassium, and fibre as well. This exotic fruit with its attractive green colour contains actinidain–a protein-dissolving enzyme that helps in digestion.

Oranges:

Source: blog.halegroves

Nothing can be good thirst quencher than a juicy orange. A low calorie and high-fibre fruit, oranges are suggested to be very good for weight loss. Oranges have significant amounts of antioxidants, the most important one being hesperidin, as it has shown to lower high blood pressure problems. Oranges also have strong anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, oranges work wonders on skin too especially keeping it clean and oil free during summer. Moreover, oranges also contain 80 per cent water so they will also keep you hydrated during your sweatiest summer days.

Papaya:

Source: 1.bp.blogspot

Papaya can be eaten as a fruit, a smoothie or even a milkshake. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain which aids in digestion. It is rich in potassium, Vitamin C (for building collagen to provide texture to skin and hair), Vitamin K (for bone health)), and Vitamin A (for healthy hair and glowing skin). Papayas also contain enzymes like arginine and carpaine. Arginine is essential for male fertility and carpaine is considered to be good for the heart.

 

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