Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food on Voyage - Italy (Part 2)

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My trip continued to the calm and beautiful city of Florence. The well planned city with small and serene streets can sure steal your heart.

Florence is said to be the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany.

We visited the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral or Duomo) which is one of the largest churches in Europe. The architecture is simply jaw dropping. It makes us wonder how they managed to build such large structures way back in 1296.

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The next was the best part of the trip :) or rather the best part of a food blogger's trip or say life!! :)

My dear hubby had surprised me by booking in for a cookery class at Florence. It was a 3 hour beautiful session by the cookery institute called In-Tavola.

I got a chance to learn a 4 course Italian meal and the experience of cooking at their kitchen was fabulous.

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Learnt to make Millefoglie Di Verdure (Vegetable Millefoglie) , Crespelle and Salsa di Beschiamella (Crepes and Bechamel Sauce), Crespelle Fiorentina (Florence Crepes), Pollo alla Cacciatore (Hunter's chicken) and finally Tiramisu :D

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The session ended with dining the delicious food that we cooked :)

All thanks to hubby for giving me the best gift of experience :)

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The next day started with a visit to the Ponte Vecchio bridge which is constructed over the river Arno.

Its a beautifully constructed stone bridge on which there are loads of jewellery shops lined on both the sides.

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We broke the monotony of pizza with some pita for lunch at florence :P

They were fresh and delicious but for me Italian food was generally void of spice. After eating loads of breads, cheese and pastas the Indian tongue started craving for spice which it is used to for years you see!! :P

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We enjoyed eating some fresh spaghetti as well.

Next we headed to Galleria dell' Accademia - the art gallery which holds a lot of works by the great Michelangelo.

The first master piece of Michelangelo - The original of David stands brilliantly tall in this gallery. The picture below is a replica of David which is kept in the city.

There aren't enough words in the dictionary to praise Michelangelo for his talent of painting, sculpting, architecture and so on. King of all arts :)

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Tuscany is famous for its produce of red and white wine. Every restaurant serves wine and you will get to see a lot of stores selling them at a good deal too.

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The next best product to buy at Florence is Pastas. There are loads of shapes, sizes and flavors available and they taste really good too. :)

All you need is good amount of space in your baggage to pack them all :P

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Oh yeah!! You have to wait for part 3 for a virtual visit to Venice and Milan :)

Stay connected :)

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Food on Voyage - Italy (Part 1)

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Its almost a month since I came back from my 10 day fun trip to Italy but I'm still enjoying thoroughly, the reminiscence of the trip.

Recollecting and writing a travelogue is fun for sure. That too when it comes to recollecting the food that I had there, I just can't stop drooling over again and again :P

Italy is simply a FANTASTIC location to visit and every single place we visited was damn scenic and picture perfect. AWESOME is not a word enough to express about the art and architecture of Italy.

We managed to cover ravishing Rome, fascinating Florence, vibrant Venice and magical Milan through our trip.

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The Rome illuminated tour showed us the beauty of the city with bright lights. The first sight at the Vatican brought goosebumps all over the body. The huge pillars and the amazing architecture and sculptures are just too brilliant.

The amazing fresco(Paintings) of Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel are still fresh in my thoughts. Unbelievably beautiful work of perfection and the messages they convey are over brilliant. Just dint want to walk out of that place. The guide told us that it would take 12 long years if we had to look at each painting in the Chapel for just 60 seconds each!! Imagine the number of frescos!!! Oops. An over dose of aesthetics I feel :)

The Trevi fountain - one of the largest fountains in the world was so magnificent. We tossed a coin into the fountain for the belief of getting back to Rome sometime :)


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We got to taste the first original Italian Pizza and OMG, I am still not able to forget the taste of it. Being a vegetarian I choose an onion & olive pizza and can just bow down to the simplicity yet deliciousness of it. A dizzle of fresh home grown olive oil tops it all :)

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The day trip started with the visit to Colosseum. Considering that it was constructed during the 80 AD, architecture at its best is what I can say. I so wonder how amazing an amphitheater it would have been just in case it was not ruined :(

No matter what, it is still an amazing architecture as it is. I'm so glad to have been there.

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GELATO!!!!! I scream for ice cream :)

The burst of colors, flavors and texture is something you go flat for. For me it was 'love at first taste!!' :P

Italy is flooded with gelaterias and you just cant resist having them as and when you see them. Guess what!! I dint miss having them even on one single day of the trip :)

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The cups or waffles are ranged from 1.5 euros to 3 euros and the quantity of gelato you receive is more than the money's worth.

The gelatos are more creamier and smooth than the ice creams that I have had in India.

Simply lip smacking :)

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The flavors are innumerable and classic. Dark chocolate was our favorite of all :)

Sorbets were fun to have too. The berry flavors make us wink in sourness yet tempting to eat :)

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Headed next to the Pantheon, which is commissioned by Marchus Agrippa as a temple to all gods of Ancient Rome. Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.

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On the way to the Spanish steps, we found roasted chestnuts sold on the pavements. They were arranged so neatly and were tempting enough, but was skeptical about its taste and failed to try it out for which I regret now. But guess what!! they were priced a bomb!!

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The market had loads of stores selling candied fruits and candies of other kinds. Just couldn't resist the colorful look of it and we tried few of them like candied mandarin orages, mangoes and papaya etc.

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We also enjoyed munching on gummy bears and more of such kind in various colors and shapes. The soft ice cream shaped marsh mellows were my personal favorite :) Don't they look cute???

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We ended up the three days at Rome with a delicious Penne pasta with Neapolitan tomato sauce. Just as delicious as possible.

A romantic dinner in an open to sky table with sizzling hot pasta on a super cold night can truly make a memory worth a billion :)

An absolute Italian experience!!

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Food at Italy will travel to Florence next with an exciting cookery session that I experienced :)

Catch up in a couple of days for more of Italy :)

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crispy Noodles Dessert

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Noodles is a universally liked dish I guess!! Haven't met anyone who was against noodles. When such a liked dish is converted into a dessert, I am sure it can only get exciting!!!

Had this dish at some restaurant long ago and thought of reproducing it at home. It came out to be yummy :)

Crispy noodles with ice cream

Ingredients:

Noodles(Chinese) - 1 pack
Oil - to fry
Vanilla ice cream - 4 scoops
Honey - 3 tblsp
Sugar - 3 tblsp

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Method:

Boil 2 cups of water with 1 tsp of oil. Remove from flame and drop in the noodles into it and keep the vessel closed for 10 mins. Drain the water and run the noodles under cold water, keep it aside.

Take oil in a pan and fry the cooked noodles little by little until it turns light brown and crispy. Collect them on kitchen tissue to drain excess oil.

Take the sugar in a pan and add 2 tsp of water. Heat this until the sugar melts and turns light brown. Remove from flame and add honey to it and mix well.

Serve some crispy fried noodles on the serving plate and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now pour the sugar honey syrup on top of it and serve immediately.

Enjoy eating crispy noodle dessert :)

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Written by: Nithya
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Aloevera Pickle

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Aolevera pickle!!! Yup.. even I exclaimed when my neighbor shared this with me. It was yummy and damn different. Its my kind of a pickle, sweet and delicious :)

Go ahead and try it out!! trust me you will love it.

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Ingredients:

Aloevera - 10
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Methi Seeds - 1/4 cup
Cooking oil - 1 cup
Chilly powder - 3 + 1 tsp
Jeera - 2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Dhaniya powder(coriander powder) - 2 tsp
Amchur(Mango powder) - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Mustard powder - 1 tsp

Aleovera Pickle

Method:

Cut small squares of aloevera and boil it. Soak raisins in warm water for 10 mins. Boil methi seeds.

Drain the water from all the above and press them against a towel to remove the water completely.

Take the aloevera, raisins, methi in a pan and add salt, turmeric powder, amchur powder, sugar and mustard powder. Toss until it spreads evenly. Now saute these for 5 mins.

Take a fresh pan and pour in the cup of oil. Add asafoetida, jeera, 1 tsp of chilly powder and immediately drop in the above sauted contents and mix well. This has to be down quickly before the chilly powder gets browned. This will keep the pickle red and nice to see.

Now let this pickle get cooked for another 1o minutes in medium flame.

Transfer to sterilized bottle and refrigerate and use. See to that the oil covers the top layer so that it does not get spoilt.

Enjoy eating a very healthy pickle.

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Strawberry Cheese Cake

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I love cheese cake.. Or rather I love anything that is creamy and yummy :) I like it even after knowing how much of a damage it would cause to my waist line!! I always hear my food shouting out to me as "Now or never". Yup! Eat them all when you are healthy and young. Never postpone or keep yourself away from your cravings. Life is short and enjoy it everyday with a dessert of your choice :) My man would love these lines of mine :P

Strawberry cheesecake

Ingredients:
Biscuits (Digestive Marie) - 6
Melted butter - 3 tsp

Strawberry crush - 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup for top layer

Hung curd - 1/2 cup

Fresh cream - 1/2 cup

Sugar - 2 tblsp

Gelatin - 3 tsp
+ 1 tsp
Water - 4 tsp

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Method:
Grind the biscuits and mix in the melted butter with it, until it forms crumbs. Line the base of the serving dish with the biscuit mixture and press gently. Put in the fridge to set for an hour. Prepare hung curd using a muslin cloth. Beat whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the cream, hung curd and 1/2 cup of strawberry crush together until it blends well to make a smooth mixture. Add 4 tsp of water in 3 tsp gelatin and microwave at high for 30 seconds or until completely dissolved. Then pour the gelatin slowly into the strawberry mixture. Keep stirring continuously.Now pour the strawberry mixture onto the set biscuit base.Cover and put in the fridge to set overnight. Take a bowl with 1 tsp of gelatin and pour 2 tsp of water and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix in 1/4 cup of strawberry crush and pour on top of the cheese cake layer and refrigerate for 3 hours. Serve chill with some whipped cream topping.

Note:

I dint have a spring form pan(Pan with removable base) so I used glass tumblers for my cheese cake. This is an interesting way to make individual portions of cheese cake :)

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Written by: Nithya
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fusilli Pasta In White Sauce

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Pasta is my favorite Italian dish after Pizza. I enjoy every variation of pasta and especially the creamy white sauce base is damn yummy :) I don't mind licking my plate and finger after a delicious pasta :)

If you have a similar taste, just go ahead and try this out :)

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Ingredients:

Fusilli pasta - 2 cups
Beans - 50 gms
Carrot - 2
Spinach - 1/2 bunch
White sauce
Oregano - 1 tsp
Pepper - for taste
Salt - for taste
Mozzarella Cheese – 3/4 cup

For white sauce -

All purpose flour (Maida) – 4 tbsp
Butter – 4 tbsp
Milk – 3 cups
Salt

Pasta

Method:

Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 5 mins. Strain and wash with cold water and keep it aside.

Dice beans and carrots into long pieces and cook them in microwave. Clean, chop and cook spinach.

To make white sauce - Dilute the maida in milk and mix it thoroughly without lumps. Melt the butter in a pan. Simmer the stove, pour in the diluted milk mixture and stir continuously until the sauce thickens. Finally add salt and mix well.

Now take a pan and add the cooked vegetables, spinach and pasta. Pour in the prepared white sauce and cook for five mins. Add oregano, salt and pepper to it mix well.

Transfer this to a baking dish and sprinkle the grated cheese on top and grill in an oven till the cheese melts down.

Serve hot and enjoy eating :)

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Written by: Nithya
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Cucumber Olive Salad

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A salad a day keeps the doctor away. This can be a new generation saying ;)

A salad diet can easily fill your tummy but still make you feel so light and fresh. Salad is the mantra for a fit body. Ooops guess its a lot of gyan which I really don't follow everyday but then its true I say!! ;)

Here is a simple yet delicious salad for you all..

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Ingredients:

Cucumber - 1
Cabbage - 1/2 cup grated
Sweet corn - 1/2 cup
Olives - 10
Capsicum - 1
Mint leaves - few
Curd - 1 cup
Salad dressing (Knorr - Light french salad dressing)
Mixed herbs - 1 tsp
Chilly flakes - for taste
Pepper - for taste
Salt - for taste

Salad

Method:

Dice cabbage, cucumber, capsicum and olives into small cubes. Chop mint leaves. Add them all in a large bowl and toss to mix it up. Add thick curd, salad dressing, mixed herbs, salt, pepper and chilly flakes and mix well.

Serve and enjoy eating :)

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Written by: Nithya
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recipe for Happy married life!

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Born unknown to each other
We are beginning to bond together
for a better and sweeter life...

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Yup! I would be married when this post is up ;) My status has changed from Ms to Mrs :)

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The beginning of a new life :)

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These rings are a symbol of our love. As it encircles our fingers, may it remind us always that we are surrounded by enduring love.

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I'm glad to share the news that, 4th Sense Cooking has reached more people in the form of books. Yes! I have released my First Cook Book with a sample of 50 recipes with attractive pictures as in 4thsensecooking.com.

The overwhelming response for this book and loads of blessings from the readers are boosting my enthusiasm to do more and to keep up the expectation of all my viewers and readers!

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Ingredients:

1 Cup of Consideration
2 Cups of Praise
1 Small Pinch of In-Laws
1 Tablespoon of Contentment
1 Gallon of Patience
2 Tablespoons of Flattery
1 Cup of Encouragement
A dash of Faith and Trust

Method:

Take love and loyalty and mix thoroughly with faith. Blend in kindness and understanding. Add friendship and surprise, stirring well. Fold in passion alternating with an abundance of laughter. Bake with sunshine and rainbows. Garnish with forgiveness and thoughtfulness. Serve daily with generous helpings.

YIELD: Serves 2 for a lifetime.

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A food blogger's view of wedding!

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

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