Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Rasta Pasta - Jayanagar 4th Block, Bangalore

It's fun to drive around town at night, and stop for a munch. That's how we landed at the new location of Rasta Pasta at Jayanagar 4th Block. Previously, Rasta Pasta was famously known as Veekes & Thomas. They seem to have rebranded their outlets, and introduced a few more items on the menu. We liked the new location, and that's on the 6th 'C' Main alongside with Tandoori Nights. This street is filled with eateries. Check it out someday.

We have eaten at Rasta Pasta a couple of times. As the name suggests, the restaurant serves Italian food in street-food style! The idea behind starting this restaurant was to serve Italian food at an affordable price, ensuring that the taste is kept intact. Instead of munching on Indian chaats or snacks, we tend to step in to Rasta Pasta for a quick Italian serving. :-)

We ordered tomato-basil soup and french-onion soup. On a cold night, the spicy soups tasted divine. As main course, we ordered macaroni-cheese and arrabbiata. Was good (, and easy on the purse)!



Our rating of Rasta Pasta (w.r.t it's peers):
  • Ambience - Simple decor; indoor seating
  • Restroom - Did not use
  • Service - 4 rating (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Food - 4 rating (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Cuisine - Italian (vegetarian and non-vegetarian)
  • Smoking - Not allowed
  • Home Delivery - Yes
  • Alcohol - Not served
  • Value for Money - 4 (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Parking - No parking inside the premises. Unlimited parking on the road.
  • Valet Parking - No
Regards,
Asha

Monday, 24 December 2012

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Whole Green Gram Dosa

One of the easiest and delicious dosas is the whole green gram dosa. This is also known as pesarattu.

Usually, at night after cleaning the kitchen, I plan the next day's menu. Some days are tiring, and force me to think about easy and quick recipes. On such a night, I thought of making dosas from green gram. Quickly soaked 2 small cups of whole green gram, 1 small cup of flattened rice (avalakki), 6-7 roasted red chillies, and 4-5 fenugreek seeds in room-temperature water. Closed the vessel with a lid, and said 'Good night' to my kitchen.

In the morning, drained the water from the vessel, and blended the ingredients (along with salt, half an inch fresh ginger, and a few leaves of fresh coriander) in a mixer to form a smooth batter. On a heated dosa pan, poured a spoonful of batter. If the pan is washed, ensure that you rub half an onion or potato on the pan, and then make the dosas. Along the side of the dosa, drizzle oil; allow the dosa to cook, and then turn it the other side. Cook both sides, and serve the dosa with chutney or curd. I made eggplant and curd chutney.


When I prepared this dosa the previous time, I added finely chopped onions and a lot of fresh coriander to the batter. Instead of red chillies, I had used green chillies. I had also added a spoonful of rice flour to the batter (instead of soaked flattened rice).

Sometimes it's fun to experiment! :-)

What's your version of this dosa?

Regards,
Asha

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Ginnu

Ginnu (in Kannada) is a sweet dish made from the milk of a lactating cow. In other native languages, Ginnu is known as Junnu (Telugu), Seem Baal (Tamil), Posa (Konkani), and Kharvas (Marathi). Yesterday, I was lucky to get about a litre of this milk. The cow had delivered an extremely healthy calf, and the cow was milked for the first time that day. This milk is nutritious; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colostrum.

I love Ginnu especially the way my mother prepares it. During childhood, we have eaten Ginnu a lot of times. My mother's acquaintances had farms and cattle, and would gift the lactating cow's milk. Yesterday when I saw my uncle bring this milk, I was mighty thrilled. I got the Ginnu recipe from my mother, and made my version of it.


I roasted one small cup rawa, and also melted sufficient amount of jaggery. In a deep vessel, poured the milk, sprinkled cardamon powder, and stirred the rawa and jaggery in to the milk. You can either heat this mixture, stirring continuously till the mixture starts separating from the vessel, OR you can steam the mixture similar to idlis or momos. I steamed the mixture; got lovely layered Ginnu. After the dish cooled, I blended it in a mixer. Transferred the dish to a bowl for easy storage. Can serve Ginnu chilled, or can dilute it and then serve as a drink. Can use this dish as a spread on breads!


Have you eaten or cooked Ginnu? What's your take on this traditional dish?

Regards,
Asha

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pepper Cafe - St. John's Road, Bangalore

A cold winter evening. Stores decorated for Christmas, and some stores selling decorative items. People returning home after a hard day's work tend to stop and admire the decorative items. Suddenly, they remember that they have a home to go, and they hurriedly walk away.

On such a cold evening, we needed delicious and hot food. Ram's friend, Preethi, had suggested (a long time ago) that we visit Pepper Cafe on St. John's Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore. We drove straight to the cafe, and walked in; only to realize that the cafe opens for dinner after 7:00 pm!


When we returned, a cute Santa on an air balloon greeted us; was hung from the ceiling. Cook books, jars of pickled tomatoes, and jars of pickled gherkins were arranged on a table. Yes, you can flip through the books, and you can also purchase the pickled vegetables. The pickled tomato jar costs Rs. 50 each; a jar of gherkins cost Rs. 100.

One more Santa, resembling a snowman, welcomed us to the first floor of the cafe. Oh, remember that, by default, the cafe staff encourage you to occupy the first floor tables. The decor is warm and friendly. That's what one needs on a cold evening!

The cafe serves wine, and has a tiny bar on the first floor. We ordered minestrone soup with basil, spinach and mushroom lasagna served with garlic bread, and pasta in a rich White sauce with broccoli and vegetables; we chose vegetarian dishes.



The soup not only looked beautiful but also was extremely tasty. The spinach dish was gorgeous. The pasta was truly rich with cheese sauce. However, we felt that the portions were a little too much for one person to eat for dinner; perhaps, for lunch, we could easily polish off the plates. The staff was courteous, and served the dishes as quickly as they could.

Apparently, hummus is awesome and the desserts are something to die for. We didn't taste either of them. Well, there is always a next time! :-)

Our rating of Pepper Cafe:
  • Ambience - Warm decor; indoor seating
  • Restroom - Neat
  • Service - 4 rating (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Food - 4 rating (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Cuisine - Eurasian (vegetarian and non-vegetarian)
  • Smoking - Not allowed
  • Home Delivery - Within 3 kms radius
  • Alcohol - Only wine
  • Value for Money - 4 (5 = best, 1 = worse)
  • Parking - No parking inside the premises. Unlimited parking on the road.
  • Valet Parking - No

Regards,
Asha

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Casa Picola - Indiranagar - Bangalore


We are a big fan of Casa Picola restaurant chain. The ones that were at Koramangala, Residency road, and Cunningham road were our favorites  All these outlets are closed; sad for its customers. When we loitered around the CHM road, we spotted the Indiranagar outlet, and yes, sweet and romantic memories flooded us. We decided to dine there.

We were glad to find one Casa Picola outlet that was still functioning. Ordered macaroni salad (veg), caribbean veg curry, and grilled sear steak. Click to see the menu. Ram liked the grilled sear steak, while I kept wondering if macaroni salad and caribbean curry really has tomato ketchup in it. Both the dishes tasted weird. Obviously, the dishes had deviated from the original recipe or taste! I truly miss our favorite outlets of Casa Picola and miss the taste of the original recipes.


Well, our rating of Casa Picola on CHM road, Indiranagar, Bangalore is an all time low 2. The whole dining experience was terrible (though the service and staff's courtesy was good).

Regards,
Asha

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Char kway teow with tofu and veggies


Well, it's no secret that I love good food. I love to try different cuisines. And... I love to cook. I had to treat myself to a yummy yet non-spicy and healthy dish; I deserved this little treat.

I understand that Char Kway Teow means stir-fried flat rice noodles, and that's the dish I cooked today at our kitchen. My version has carrots, french beans, bok choy, and garlic, topped with roasted sesame seeds. I used rice vinegar and dark soy sauce to flavor the noodles.

To a hot wok, I added a tablespoon of cooking oil. Added chopped garlic, carrots, and beans. Stirred. Sprinkled sugar, salt, and freshly grounded white pepper. Stirred. Added a dash of rice vinegar and a spoonful of dark soy sauce. Stirred. Just before tossing the boiled flat rice noodles into the wok, added roughly chopped bok choy and neatly chopped tofu. Tossed everything well and let it cook for a minute.

Meanwhile, I made black tea with apricot and peach flavor. Served the noodles with this cup of hot fruit-flavored black tea. Oh, I loved my brunch!


You may also want to see my version of vegan Indian rice noodles.

Regards,
Asha

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Bread and Cabbage Fritters

Rained at Bangalore today also, due to depression at Bay of Bengal. I'm glad because my plants at the terrace garden will be delighted. :-)

At our kitchen, fritters made of white bread and cabbage were served with mayonnaise during tea-time. It's the first time that I tried this combination of ingredients, and the fritters turned out delicious. The sourness of mayonnaise seemed to enhance the flavor of the fritters. I recommend this snack for parties. People of all ages will enjoy the taste.

Yes, you guessed correct; way to man's heart is through his stomach! And Ram loved the fritters. :-)


Regards,
Asha

Monday, 3 December 2012

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Spicy Urad Dal Vada

The weather application (on the smartphone) indicates that Bangalore's temperature is about 25 degree centigrade, and that parts of the city are receiving rain. That's fantastic news and calls for a celebration!

Most Bangaloreans love to eat fried snacks along with their evening cup of tea or coffee. You can see road-side vendors encash this weakness of Bangaloreans. The famous fried snacks are bajjis, bondas, vadas, and so on.

As a true Bangalorean, I trooped into the kitchen to prepare some spicy vadas. The taste was already lingered on Ram's tongue even before I started preparing the snack. I also prepared fresh filter coffee, which Ram loves. I served the hot vadas with hot tomato-chilli sauce and strong coffee. Yes, you are correct - Ram is one happy person! :-)


Enjoy your evening!

Regards,
Asha