Siaa, in Hyderabad is one of the best places for dinner. A contemporary and cool place over looking the city lights definitely lets a serene atmosphere for some cocktails with friends. Well, I happen to visit Siaa on an afternoon for ‘Salsa’ reasons. The lunch buffet was classy and a good conglomeration of cuisines. I am a total appetizers person and for me that was the best part. What impressed me the most is the presentation of the food and certainly, the choice of the dishes. Theprawn cocktail had the perfect peppery zing to the continental tomato ‘shorba’, served in cute little cocktail glasses. My favourite was the smoked cheese with walnuts. The after taste on your palate makes you crave for some more of that I say! Another prawn item on the appetizer menu was the sea food salad, where the squids and prawns were generously soaked with the thousand island like dips. The smoked peppers and corn are the vegetarians’ delight…cooked to perfection. I still cannot figure out how they could mince the meat so flawlessly, they make an awesome bite! the assorted treats were irresistible…tiny tiramisu and mousse treats just brightened the end of your meal. As for the main course, they lay the best of the choices from the Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine. Will concentrate more on the main course the next time…I just couldn’t get enough of the appetizers that afternoon!
PS: need to try some look ‘alikes’ in our kitchen, what say Pallavi?
After undivided love for Chinese cuisine, I tried the Japanese cuisine…started with the sushi and loved it. The next oriental adventure was Thai. ‘Thai Express’ is the newest of the chains and yes it is in Hyderabad 🙂
Vibrant yet subtle interiors and a very interesting menu; speaking of which, I think we can take a leaf out of the Thai Express’s menu about it being so well organized with relevant pictures of the dishes neatly numbered corresponding to the aunthentically nomenclatured dishes. Boy! you really wanna ‘read’ & ‘see’ your dish before place an order you havent tried yet 🙂 The must-eat are the soft shell crabs which is under the ‘street food section’. They serve it with a tiny portion of green ‘chutney’ and four amazing dips to go with it. For the main course I tried and loved the ‘phad thai gai‘which is the authentic rice noodles with chicken. Sprinkle the ground peanuts and red chilli flakes & throw in a few tespoons of those sauces. If this is your first thai cuisine experience, then your palate is bound to discover some cool new flavours. The watermelon slush was perfect for the hot afternoon setting! You could try the same ‘phad thai‘ with ‘talay‘ ie with sea food. Sigh, gonna try out the red, yellow and green gravies soon!
Ok, last evening I walked all the 7 km there was to get to Spar(soooper!market).Little did I know I was working up an appetite too. I strolled around and took one quick scan at the fresh vegetables and the diary section. Thats when it dawned upon me that I love quiche and why haven’t I tried making it yet. So there I was scampering around the dairy and veggie sections, thinking on my feet and trying to come up with a recipe for quiche myself..partly myself atleast.So here we go..
For 2 small quiches:
For the pastry (crust)
1 cup flour(maida)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter straight from the freezer cut into small pieces
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 cup cold water
into your flour add the small pieces of cold butter and mix with a forkand not your hands.This is just to make sure the butter doesnt melt.Then slowly start adding the cold water, spoon by spoon.Begin to use your hands nowand start kneading. You need to basically form a dough not too soft, nottoo stiff.Your water quantity could change accordingly.Once the dough is done, use a thin cotton or muslin cloth or cling foilto cover it and keep aside in the fridge for about an hour.After which take it out, roll it with your rolling pin and use any small sized mould suitable forfor a quiche.Or, if you have just one used to bake cakes, that would do as wellPre-heat your oven and place the mould inside with the dough rolled and placedinside. Bake for about 10 mins on med heat. Set aside.
1 tbspn butter
half a big onion finely chopped
10 medium sized mushrooms
2 fists full of spinach (i dont know how else to measure!)
1 tblspn fresh cream
1 tblspn maida
1 cup grated cheddar cheese(you can also use the cheese cubes available anywhere)
salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat butter, add onions, saute them till they’re transparent. Tip in the mushrooms. Let them cook for 5-7 mins. Add the cream and maida.Some salt and pepper. Keep aside.Blanch the spinach in just one spoon of water, drain any excess water. Keep aside to dry.Later chop into small pieces.In a separate bowl whisk one egg white till frothy. Add the yolk and give it a stir.Add the mushroom and onion mixture. Also add the dry chopped spinach and the cheese.Give it a good mix.Pour this into the baked crust. Pop it back into the oven and let it bake over med heat(or as per your oven’s settings for baking) for 15-20 min.Do check after 15 mins by sticking a fork into it.As always, if it comes out cleanyou’re done.Serve warm. Perfect for brunch or even late coffee in the evenings.
Just the other day I was going through my mother’s old diary of recipes.1993 mind you. That’s when I tumbled upon the Sponge cake recipe. I thought I’d add a little twist to it by making a chocolate frosting to go with it. Common, who’d say no to chocolate. So let’s get on with it.
250 gm maida
250 gm sugar
200 gm unsalted butter
1 tspn baking powder
1 tblspn vanilla essence
Separate the egg whites and the yolks. Beat the egg whites to an almost stiff frothy consistency. Beat the yolks separately and fold it into the whites.
In a separate bowl mix the butter (soft) and sugar till it turns a little fluffy. Add the egg mix into it and fold gently. Don’t panic (like I did) if it looks like they don’t blend well together.
Now sift the maida and baking powder and add it to the wet mixture slowly folding it in little by little. What I did was, use a small sieve and added a heaped spoon of maida at a time and folded it into the wet mix. Then you’ll see how after adding the flour the batter slowly takes shape and all the ingredients blend into one harmonious body.
Now add the vanilla essence.
Grease a big square piece of aluminium foil with some butter. Place it in your baking tin.
Pour in half of the batter and pop it into your pre-heated oven for 40 mins when in medium heat. Do check the cake after the first half hour just to be safe. Pierce a tooth pick or just a fork deep into the cake in the center. If it comes out clean, great! you’re done then.
Wait, it gets better..
Butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder.
Blend in these ingredients to a thick consistency. Let the cake completely cool down and only then slather it with the chocolate frosting you just made.
To begin with, all you need is boneless chicken (thigh/breast cut fillet like), mushrooms (2 packets), a cup of vegetable stock, 2 tbl spoons of cornflour, 1/2 a cup of red wine, 2 tbl spoons of ground pepper, dash of vinegar and soya sauce, 5-6 pods of garlic, olive oil and butter.
Marinate the chicken in salt and vinegar for 20 mins.
In a medium non-stick sauce pan, heat some olive oil. Place the chicken fillet gently one at a time and sear it on each side till it browns. That should take approximately 4 mins per side, or till whenever you are convinced it is done. Take it off the pan and keep it separately.
In a slightly wider pan, heat a generous dollop of butter (take in the aroma :),
add a spoon of oil to avoid the butter from burning. Add the mashed pods of garlic, sauté it for a min, add all the sliced mushrooms, give it a good steer and shut the lid to let it cook for about 10 mins on medium heat…(psst..do take a look every now and then!) Now splash in some red wine and soya sauce. Let it cook again for another 5 mins. Now add the corn flour and vegetable stock. Let it further cook till it thickens to a brown sauce. Oh yeah..add salt and pepper!
Place the chicken on your favourite dish and pour the mushroom sauce over it. You could serve it against mashed potatoes, garlic bread, steamed veggies (our fav) or even a bed of rice! Goes perfectly with Red Wine or Virgin Mojito! (keep checking this space for a quick recipe of the later)