Cucumber Peanut Salad – Khamang Kakdi [Vegan Recipe]

Khamang Kakdi - Cucumber peanut salad - vegan recipe

Cucumber Peanut Salad or Khamang Kakdi or Kakdi Chi Koshimbir is a staple in our home. It’s something I grew up on, and thankfully, loved even when I was a child. Yup, I was the kind of child who gorged on salads and greens. Veggies have always been a big part of any meal for… 

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Mango Daal with Turmeric – Summer Vegan Recipe

Mango Daal

This time last year, I was busy with my 30 Days of Daal blogging marathon. As many of you know, 30 Days of Daal went on to become a popular book that has been appreciated globally. Well, that was 2015. The summer of 2016 has been pretty slack in terms of blogging. This is my… 

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Conrad Pune & Coriander Kitchen Dazzle

Conrad Coriander Kitchen

Conrad Pune’s been in the wings for the past year or so, but it has finally made a grand entrance. The lesser known Mangaldas Road will take on a new significance with the awe inspiring, majestic façade of the Conrad and you can’t help but gawk. You enter a vast lobby with multiple banks of… 

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Black Bean Burritos for Cinco De Mayo – Vegan Recipe

Black Bean Burrito vegan

Most of the Mexican food we eat in popular restaurants is loaded with cheese or sour cream. I do love it, but it is possible to have a simple, fresh and healthier version of Mexican food. Black Bean Burritos are my answer. They are the perfect quick fix for celebrating Cinco De Mayo from the… 

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Prego Westin Pune Welcomes Chef Eraldo Colazzo

Prego at Westin, Pune has a new chef. Italian Chef Eraldo Colazzo has worked in 18 countries for over 38 years, and has dished out his creations to such luminaries as President Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana. So when an invite for an exclusive preview of Chef Eraldo’s new menu landed in my Inbox, I was ready to head out. Restaurant food or popular food of any cuisine is so limited and it is not always a true indicator of the kind of food people eat every day. I have been stressing this point in my books. Just as Indian food is so much more than spicy oil laden curries, the true taste of Italy goes much beyond pizzas and saucy pastas. Fresh produce and good quality ingredients have always been a hallmark of the food at Prego, or at any restaurant at Westin Pune, really. Now we have a well traveled and experienced chef who cooks from the heart, and lets the simple, honest food do the talking. The long drive in 40C heat was forgotten as I was greeted effusively by Arpit, the restaurant manager. An ice cold grappa was offered and savored, followed by an exotic elder flower based mocktail. I am not sure if it is on the menu, but it is something worth trying. The guests gradually assembled and about an hour later, we finally got to meet Chef Colazzo himself. The mark of a great man (or woman) is how humble and modest they are, and this was evident in the few words the chef said. The wine was poured, a crisp, dry Pinot Grigio in my case, and fresh bread was served. Both the herbed foccacia and a dark boule passed muster. It was served with a tangy tomato basil sauce. I would have preferred some butter and good olive oil with this bread though, with or without the sauce. Chef Eraldo believes in using what is in season. After an amuse bouche of zucchini tempura, we were served a salad of fresh watermelon, mango and feta cheese with a honey lemon dressing. The salad was very lightly seasoned and dressed, but it disappeared in seconds. Another salad we tried was Insalata Itaca, with lettuce, feta cheese, olives, peppers and sun dried tomatoes. Insalata Burrata was the highlight of the evening for me. Burrata is a super creamy cheese, reminiscent of ricotta and mozzarella. The cheese was a lot creamier than ricotta and very smooth, unlike ricotta which is somewhat grainy. Served with a slight sprinkling of black pepper and a slice of tomato, the burrata is pure bliss for cheese lovers. The Penne Norma had bold flavors of aubergine or eggplant with a scant sauce. Finely chopped mozzarella was sprinkled through the pasta which was perfectly al dente. Risottos are quite popular in India, and beetroot is the latest wonder vegetable. Combining the two has to be a winning combination. The beetroot risotto had the earthiness of beet and an oniony, chive like flavor through it. A parmesan sauce was poured on top, a slight variation from the grated cheese we expect. The mixed berry Panna Cotta with sambuca was a fitting finale to the meal. The Panna Cotta was set a bit softer which did not matter since it was served in a martini glass. It was certainly gobble worthy. Chef Anurudh Khanna, the Executive Chef at Westin Pune promises seasonal menus and daily specials based on what is fresh at their farms. Take a bite of the luscious burrata, close your eyes, and you could almost, almost imagine yourself in a Tuscan hill town. Chef Eraldo Colazzo and his new menu launches on May 5, 2016. So bookmark this and head to Prego for fresh, authentic Italian fare. Read more about Chef Eraldo’s creations at MovieRecipe, our partner blog.

Prego at Westin, Pune has a new chef. Italian Chef Eraldo Colazzo has worked in 18 countries for over 38 years, and has dished out his creations to such luminaries as President Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana. So when an invite for an exclusive preview of Chef Eraldo’s new menu landed in my Inbox,… 

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Sprouted Horse Gram Curry – Kulith Usal [Vegan]

Sprouted Horse Gram Curry - Kulith Usal Vegan

Horse Gram, also called kulith in Marathi, is one of those indigenous super foods we don’t pay much attention to. It is a small bean or legume which is high in iron, protein and is also known to be beneficial for many health conditions like diabetes and arthritis. Kulith Pithla, a stew made with horse… 

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April is for Summer of the Legends – Hard Rock Cafe Pune

Summer of the Legends Hard Rock Cafe Pune

While the northern latitudes enjoy a pleasant spring, summer has arrived in full swing in India. 42C+ temperatures make me wonder if I am really in Pune. There is no way one can frolic in this sun. Chilling at your favorite watering hole with some special summer drinks seems like the next best thing. Summer… 

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Beetroot Hummus – Healthy Vegan Dip for Summer

Beetroot Hummus Vegan Recipe

Beetroot Hummus is on the menu today. Who can ever resist the vibrant pink beetroot? I can’t! I grew up eating this earthy vegetable and I love it both raw and cooked. And I love hummus. Combining the two seems so natural. I have a basic hummus recipe here on the blog – older, ‘rustic’… 

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Tikka Spiced Baby Potatoes – Tandoori Aloo Recipe

Tikka Spiced baby potato or tandoori aloo

Tikka spiced baby potatoes have become a mainstay on Indian restaurant menus. A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the thought of Tandoori Potato or Tandoori Aloo. For me, the buck stopped at Tandoori Chicken. Even after going vegetarian, I could not imagine paying much attention to the spud. As I dived more… 

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Chipotle Burrito Bowl – 7 Layer Mexican Bowl

Mexican Burrito Bowls - chipotle bowls

My chipotle burrito bowl is based on the burrito bol at Chipotle restaurants, but the chipotle here refers to the chili pepper that I have used rather than the restaurant chain. That is because this is more of a Taco Bell 7 Layer Burrito meets Mexican Taco Salad meets Chipotle Burrito Bol. In short, most… 

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