Friday 28 June 2013

Microwave Cookie

The moment I made the emergency brownie so well in the microwave, I was curious to see if I can do anything else the same way. I googled and found that there were plenty of recipes. So what see here today is the cookie (single portion) made in my Samsung microwave.

I've always loved cookies and when Cookieman opened a store in Madras, I used to buy them by the tins (not to mention the tins were keepers :D)

Of course the microwave cookie is not going to be as crusty as the oven baked cookie, but this will do. To make just one piece, to satisfy my temporary craving, this one minute cookie is just about enough.


Butter - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 2.5 tsp (The original recipe used 1 tsp brown sugar + 1.5 tsp regular sugar)
All purpose flour - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 pinch
Baking powder - 1 pinch
Choc chips
Egg - 1 tsp
Vanilla essence - just a drop


Soften the butter and mix the sugar in the cup, until light & fluffy. Add the drop of vanilla essence and mix well. Next add the egg. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and mix well. Finally add the chocolate chips. Dollop this to the center of the plate and microwave on high for 40 seconds. Increase by 5 secs if you feel it's not done. :-)

Recipe adapted from

And with the remaining egg, I added salt, some herbs and pepper, poured it into a microwave dish and made a quick omelette :-)

Coming up... more microwave recipes

Friday 21 June 2013

Toss up - Ramapuram, Chennai

For those of us having our workplaces / residences on the Bangalore highway, er.. almost, Toss up is definitely a decent place to spend those afternoons when you want decent meal outside of the crappy cafeterias and overcrowded food courts.

The place is neatly done and boasts of a turquoise / teal (my favorite color) atmosphere. It can seat about 20 pax and when we entered at 1245 this hot June afternoon, the place was crowded with a team celebrating a birthday. The waiters were bustling around and we were directed to our seats.

We immediately decided on the combo meals - 2 non veg and 1 veg (yes that's me). They are priced at INR 199 for the non veg and INR 169 for the veg (taxes extra). The choice is plenty.

My veg combo today had a rich creamy tomato soup, 2 pieces of taro nest, a medium sized bowl of Singapore noodles and a triple chocolate mousse. The non veg combo had chicken soup, one spring roll, a portion of phuket fish, pasta alfredo, aachi kari stroganoff, vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and the triple chocolate mousse.

The soup was rich and creamy; I'd have preferred it slightly spicy but that was just a preference. The soup was hot and tasted delicious. The taro nest was nothing like a nest, instead was fried completely and topped with mayo. The Singapore noodles had plenty vegetables and was filling. The only downside was that it was terribly oily. I wish they'd go a little easy on the oil. The desserts weren't anything to rave about. They were okayish.

My non vegetarian friends' feedback - The pasta alfredo was great, says B; the aachi kari stroganoff didn't make G happy; The soup was super spicy and the phuket fish was good too says G.

We went there not expecting much and were reasonably happy with our meal.

Price: Reasonable
Service: Prompt
Will I go there again: Yes (especially to try Chennai Chillin' which is their beverages and cold stone ice cream joint right next to Toss up)

Toss up is on Mount Poonamallee Road, Opp DLF IT Park, Ramapuram. 

*All pics shot with B's new HTC One HTC One X

Tomato Soup

Chicken soup

Singapore Noodles - Veg

Taro Nest - Veg

Pasta Alfredo and Spring roll

Phuket Fish and Aachi kari Stroganoff

Triple chocolate mousse

Vanilla ice-cream

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Brownie in a cup - Microwaved

I realized I've not been fully utilizing the microwave. I've so far used it for just re-heating dishes and steaming vegetables and at times, making pulao. I always thought I needed an OTG to make / bake certain dishes. I am not a pro baker and my portions are going to be mostly for two. There are fundamental differences in the way a microwave and an OTG operates. If we understand this, then perhaps we can work wonders (on a smaller scale, of courseAnd I will also refrain from the heated debate - is the microwave good or bad)

I've been trying to lose weight and have been moderately successful. To celebrate a milestone I made this microwave brownie (recipe adapted from Cheryl Rajkumar's Kitchen Kemistry).

The recipe itself is fairly simple and calls for ingredients that we can normally find in our kitchen - Flour, Butter, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate syrup. What I didn't have was chocolate chips. Instead, I used about 2 squares of grated Bourneville (dark). I also reduced the amount of sugar(and hoped it'd alleviate some of the sin.). The original recipe called for 11/2 minutes but mine cooked in a minute. The cooking time varies with each microwave, so it's recommended to start with a minute and increase as required.

I brought the cup and fork to my bed, sat down to message Cheryl and even before I could hit Send, I'd finished eating the brownie. It was delicious and a perfect dessert for that late night craving without having to spend too much time cleaning up.

The experiments with the microwave have begun!

Sunday 16 June 2013

The Baker Showcase - League of the Legends - Anniversary Special

A year since the Home Bakers Guild started; A year since my knowledge in cakes, cookies, frosting, fondants and all those terminologies expanded; A year since I made some good friends and a year since I started experimenting with small bakes.

Most of all, a year that saw oodles of talent, tremendous perseverance, some great knowledge sharing, instant brownies to elaborate wedding cakes, bouquets to theme cakes, appreciation, encouragement, record breaking likes and comments - the Guild saw it all. It's now that time of the year, the Anniversary Showcase special - The League of the Legends.

10 talented and experienced bakers come together for the largest bake sale ever. For those of you who have already been part of these events, I need say no more. For the rest, don't fret that you've missed the earlier editions. Be there on the 22nd, at Sandy's, Ganapathy Colony, Off Cenotaph Road, Chennai at 4 pm. The venue is one of my favorite places in the city - great food and a fantastic property.

I'm super proud to have been associated with this event as a blogger and volunteer ever since it all began. KP Balakumar - Thank you for the opportunity and here's wishing you the best! You've been doing a grand job and we know the amount of crazy background work it takes to set up the event and run the guild. You deserve all the success.

Here's a quick look at some of the bakers that are going to whip up a storm

Maaria Kulsum Tanveer - Adoniya

Does this lady need an introduction! An expert in theme cakes, Maaria is mighty thrilled to be part of this showcase. She has been part of many other bake sales but this is her first time with HBG and she claims she's in jitters (like we all believe that). 

Cup cakes, Ferrero Rocher cake and my favorite Espresso Cheesecake brownies and Red "Velvet" cakes are also part of this showcase. 

Karthika Shravanthi - Bakeman Begins 

The IT Pro turned future Le Cordon Bleu Pastry Chef is all set to wow us at this showcase before she heads off to learn the nuances of pastry making. 

Her last showcase was a sell out. And she plans to add healthy and gluten free bakes to her menu this time. Says Karthika "I've worked on all the feedback from the last showcase; so hopefully this one is going to be much better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed". 

Well, so are we. Good luck for the showcase and we hope to see you soon in a different avtar.

Rose Anne George - Oven 180 degrees 

The ever-smiling soft spoken Rose is famous for her French macarons. I've had the chance (the advantages of living close by) to taste her Dulce de leche cheese cake and May I say I was hooked. 

She's bringing some summer fruit flavors this time, eggless and otherwise, cheese cake platters, tarts and a lavender cake among others.

All the best Rose. I look forward to grabbing those blue macarons :-)

Divya Ninan-Eapen - Tangerine's Kitchen 

This gorgeous baker is bringing a whole load of twisted / braided / stuffed breads, not to mention the hot favorites - the choco chip cake and cream cheese cake. The vanilla bean pound cake, which I am eagerly looking forward to, is going to be on the menu. 

Mini quiches, mini cheesecakes and a little kiddie counter are going to be her specialties this time. 

Divya has her home-studio where she paints on sarees, stoles, tee shirts and the likes. You can check it out here -

Can't wait, Divya. All the best and see you soon

Neha and Sapna - The sweetest thing

Sisters in arms, Neha and Sapna are participating in their first showcase. This maiden venture is going to see them bring an assortment of "sweetest" things, with the specialties being chai cup cakes and bread and butter pudding. 

They say that "the sweetest thing" is to make their customers happy! :-)

All the best girls. Bring it on.

Watch this space for the post event pictures and articles on the 22nd of this month. If you don't make it to the venue, all you can do is drool at the pictures :-)

Saturday 15 June 2013

Home Delivered - SarvSri

A few days ago I was scouting for home cooks / home delivery for my friend's parents. It was then that I stumbled upon SarvSri. I was impressed by what they were doing as also by the fact that they were close by. And this morning, I was too exhausted to cook. I'd just gotten back from Tirupathi at midnight and had no energy whatsoever. And, I made a call to SarvSri at 10 am.

Savita Gupta picked my call and I explained what I needed and if it would be possible for them to delivery a single meal for lunch. She said she'd have to check and shortly, a gentleman named Yogesh Gupta called me. I told him I needed just 1 lunch and inquired the delivery charges. He said I do not come under the delivery area and I had to explain I live right about 3 km from where they are and only my area name is different. (This conversation, incidentally, reminded me of what I was told yesterday - there's this 100 m stretch near Kanakkama Chathram, enroute Tirupathi. The left hand side of this stretch is Andhra and the right hand side is TN. You can see all wine shops on the left hand side of the road and are open past 11 pm. Weird but true). Yogesh promised he'd do his best. 

At 1230 I received a text saying the food has been dispatched. At 1245, I received the neatly packed food with a bill for 112.50. (The cost of the meal is INR 100, plus 12.5% VAT and there were no delivery charges)

The menu today was sambar, rasam, potato fry, kurma, rice, pickle, fryums, payasam, and curd rice. There was even a pack of pass pass mouth freshener. 

The sambar was good, and the extra pack of sambar is unused, sitting in the fridge. The rasam was super spicy (with lots of pepper and a bit of garlic) - totally loved it. The potato was well cooked, seasoned and spiced well. I just wondered what a kurma was doing in place of kootu (perhaps a mix up or perhaps that's how it was meant to be?) - was tasty nonetheless. I was totally bowled over by the well-seasoned smooth thachi mummu (curd rice). The payasam was a little too sweet for my liking but was good. Overall a very good Saturday meal and I am happy.

I'd just finished the hearty meal & burped when Yogesh called to check if the food was delivered on time and inquired on the taste.

Price point: Reasonable
Service: Prompt
Taste: Very good
Packing: Neat (the carton can be re-used for something else later on)
Will I order again: Most Definitely.

Sarvsri is on OMR, opp Lifeline hospital. You can call them on +919840014449 or also order via Their menu card is available on their facebook page

Saturday 8 June 2013

Maami's Mess - Mylapore

I've been a big fan of this place ever since my dad introduced this to me way back when. I love the kozhakattais on Fridays and Sundal on Sundays.

I was in no mood to cook today; I'd opted to eat out yet didn't want to blow a bomb.

(This was drafted last Friday)

Within 5 minutes of making the decision, I reached this small place situated in the corner of Pitchu Pillai Street, Off East Mada Street, Mylapore - Mami Tiffin Stall. The place is not so crowded, it being quite hot at 12 pm. The boys are busy making the outer shells for the kozhakattais, while some others are manning the counter for take-aways. There are a few who are hogging on the delicious food, standing at the self service counters.

My order for a full meals is priced at INR 45 (for takeaway; If you eat there, it is INR 40). The meals are already packed and ready. All you need to do is pick up a bag, pay and walk out. I was in and out of the place in under a minute.

The menu today was rice, sambar, rasam, vethakozhambu, kootu, brinjal poriyal, buttermilk, peanut coconut chutney & citron pickle. At today's vegetable prices, I assume tomato was the cheapest, because it was tomato all the way. Tomato sambar, Tomato rasam, Tomato kootu and tomato vethakozhambu (And I dislike tomatoes :-( ). With that being the only drawback, the food was tasty, simple and just enough for 1.

Value for money - Check
Delicious - Check
Quick Service - Check
Clean - Check
Repeat audience - Absolutely

And again, yesterday, I opted to eat from here. The prices have gone up - it is now INR 50 for a take away. Food delicious as usual. Less tomatoes and missing buttermilk. But hey, who's complaining! The quantity of rice was huge today and I had to save a big cup for later use.

Watch out for a contrasting post - Taj Clubhouse - coming soon!

Monday 29 April 2013

Southern Spice - Taj Coromandel

When you are invited by the Taj for a hosted dinner (as part of CFG Bloggers Showcase), there's this feeling of exhilaration, a feeling of royalty. True to that, we were treated to the maharaja virundhu. (or maharani in my case ;-) ) As we waited in the lobby for someone to escort us to the private dining area of Southern Spice, we observed that security had been beefed up. As we wondered which VIP was staying there, we saw a line of Sun Risers Hyderabad players walking across the lobby towards the elevators. Waqar Younis, Ishanth Sharma and Dale Steyn (<3) were those that I could see :-)

As we all seated around the table and made ourselves comfortable, fresh wet turkish towels placed in front of us to freshen up. This was followed by a little explanation of what was special about this meal. A glass of ginger punch marked the beginning of this elaborate dinner. A plate of munchies with 4 types of chutneys were available.

The first dish on the plate was a mini idli, an idli so adorably tiny. This was followed by a banana dosa of sorts, slightly sweet and tasted excellent with the chutneys smeared on top. For the salad, the kosmalli (Injipuli koshambri), a mixture of grated carrot, coriander and urad dal wrapped in lettuce leaves made a lovely crunch.

A tiny shot glass in white was placed to the right side of the plate and was filled with the most aromatic and tangy mysore rasam. The teeny bit of jaggery in this rasam tasted well on the palate and was not overpowering at all. The final dish of the starter course was the molagu adai.

It's now time for the main course. The group indulged in a friendly banter and conversation ranged from various types of fish and from where each fish is imported to retaining the freshness of the gravies. Chef Anand stopped by to find out if we were happy.

The gold plated plate was set with little bowls decorating the top portion of the plate. Edomame Kurma (Pookose urlai kurma), Asparagus Paruppu usili, Zucchini thenga curry (Zucchini kaara poriyal), vegetable stew (Pachakari ishtew) and Channa gravy (Kadala gassi) constituted the vegetarian sides of this menu. A south Indian touch to international vegetables - the Japanese Edomame, the Mediterranean Asparagus and the Italian Zucchini truly makes one wonder if this is how food can unite the world! The mains included a parotta, idiyappam (string hoppers) and the fluffy aappam.

In between all this, my concentration was on the brilliant yet unobtrusive veena instrumental music curated specially for Southern Spice. I was lost in some of the brilliant renditions, especially Chinnan Chiru Kiliye. The ambiance calls for a special mention - compelling paintings of the kings whose kingdoms' kitchens  were instrumental in what is part of the maharaja virundhu this evening. 

We were beginning to get stuffed. And then they announce that there's going to be more. Rice with the quintessential paruppu podi with gheeeee (er..), small onion sambar (Arachivitta Sambhar - a recipe from Chef Anand's home) and more of the mysore rasam - were delightful. And no meal is complete without the thachi mummu (the one and only curd rice). This was served with a little manathakkali vethakozhambu - totally droolworthy and if you were like me, you wouldn't mind licking your fingers even at the Taj. This food is meant to be eaten with the hands and was sure finger lickin' good.

How can I forget the curry leaf juice spiked with vodka - ha! *sheepish grin* This was one of the best desi cocktail concoctions I've ever had.

Now for the dessert - the elaneer payasam - a hand-me-down recipe from the Mammens of the MRF family was absolutely a perfect way to end the meal. Also were served a Godhi-bella ice cream (banana jaggery ice cream) and belgian chocolate mousse cake filled with lentil, jaggery and coconut (Chocolate purnam mousse). Yum's the word for the chocolate mousse cake.

At the end of it all, if you want me to summarize this dinner, I can only say - Wah Taj boliye! 

* This meal is priced INR 5000 + tax. If you'd like to pair this with an Indian wine, it's priced at 8000 + tax and upwards for international wines. If you want a simple thali, it's priced at 2000 + tax.

* This was a hosted dinner. This is part of the CFG Showcase

* Southern Spice is part of Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai.