The Joys of Comfort Food!

You know when you have those bad days and you feel Murphy is stalking you and you really feel like banging your head somewhere? Happens to us too. Imagine after that awful day, you seat yourself amidst the warm interiors of your home and bite into some wholesome goodness of food that brings back sweet childhood memories and takes you to your ‘happy place’. Your happy place. And this Zoink! post is going to be just about that – truly loved comfort food.

With everyone being busy to finish work by year-end deadlines, targets to be met, plenty of gifts to be bought and lots of crazy family togethers to attend, we figured that a reminder on the simple comfort food you like will put the cheer right back in you this holiday!

P.S. These foods are in a random order, so there is no ranking here.

Yummy Parathas!

1. Parathas:

This love affair began for us when we were children and volunteered for child labour in the kitchen and happily flattened out those dough balls (while we stole some to make our own dough models). Delicious Parathas stuffed with onion/potatoes/cauliflower/fenugreek topped with that blob of ghee make us very happy, even now.

Bless your soul, Maggi Noodles!

2.  Maggi:

Nothing speaks comfort food to Indians than hot and delicious Maggi. This nationwide loved dish is immensely popular and  has more than a thousand variations among many homes, and is the one dish many find solace in. Maggi with cheese, with chillies and capsicum, with corn and paneer, with chicken strips and tofu, with butter and sweet and sour pickle – the list is endless. And so is our appetite for Maggi. It remains the number one comfort food for many of us till date.

Creamy delicious mashed potatoes!

3. Mashed Potatoes:

You know that creamy consistency of starchy delicious potatoes that you would just ball up in your mouth when you were in the kitchen with your Mum? We remember it too. Those hot potatoes mashed up nicely, smoothened out with heaps of butter, cream and milk, and a pinch of nutmeg, to give it that immaculate flavour. Somehow, no dinner was complete without this.

Mom's hot, comforting Chicken Soup!

4. Hot Chicken Soup:

Mum’s perfect cure for you when you were sick, and something you’ve never outgrown. Drinking the perfect, well seasoned hot chicken soup takes us back to those childhood days when we were sick, cuddled up in bed, and Mom would walk in with a large bowl of her cure-it-all soup and nurture us with plenty of TLC. And we want all of that TLC again. Hence, there will always be a special place that chicken soup occupies in our hearts.

Rajma Chawal

5. Rajma Chawal

For a lot of the North Indians, Rajma Chawal is what speaks of home. The aroma of this rajma with all of those special masalas conjure up a sort of a Homecoming dance by many North Indians, who appear to look deeply languished, but ready to fall in love again. Somehow one bite of this delicious red rajma gravy with that semi-burnt spicy Bhindi makes us agree wholeheartedly.

Curd Rice with Pickle!

6. Curd Rice:

This is the South Indian equivalent of the Rajma Chawal. As children, many were allowed to skip whole meals as long as they downed curd rice. It’s a part of the meal that is considered indispensable to most South Indians, as it was what their mothers fondly fed it to them narrating all these animated fun stories and assuring them that they’ll all be ‘heroes’ some day 🙂 We still spot many curious customers at restaurants who stare at that larger than life European/Indian/Chinese buffet and grin when they find their precious curd rice and run to it like gleeful Rugrats.

And that, is Zoink!’s comfort food that makes us happy. Sure, with a country as large as ours (read: subcontinent) there are going to be more than a hundred different types of comfort foods that appeals to all of our readers. And we can’t wait to hear them all from you. Do leave your comments below! J

And, wish you all a happy and Zoinktastic! New year!

Bite Sized Joys- Cupcakes!

We been reading ‘Like water for chocolate’ ( More on that later!) and consequently Chocolate is at the top of our minds. Chocolate and cooking. So all the more reason why we should be doing some ourselves! And cupcakes ( or fairy cakes, as they are called in Britain.. isn’t that the cutest and most apt description!?) seem just right for the moment.

So here are out some of our favorite fairy cake recipes:

Nigella’s Easy Peasy Cupcakes

Easy Peasy Bite-sized joys!

We love Nigella anything, but when she makes things easy peasy for us we just roll over like a happy dog with it’s tummy rubbed! 🙂

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk

Preheat oven to 200C, or 180C if using fan-forced.

Place all the ingredients except the milk into a food processor. Blitz in short bursts until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Whilst pulsing the mixture, gradually pour in the two tablespoons of milk through the food processor funnel. Blitz until the milk has been incoporated. The mixture should look smooth. Add another tablespoon of milk if necessary.

Divide the mixture across a patty-lined 12-muffin tin. A generous tablespoon should be sufficient, as the mixture should triple in size when baked.

Bake for 15-20min or until well-risen and the tops are a pale gold in colour. Ice when cool.

Variations: 
Lemon cupcakes: Add two teaspoons of finely grated lemon rind.
Chocolate cupcakes: Add two tablespoons of cocoa.

All good things come in cup sizes! 😉 😛 ( Giggle!)

Brownie Cupcakes

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 90g dark chocolate
  • 50g choc chips, any type of chocolate
  • 40g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Melt butter and dark chocolate in bain-marie and leave to cool once melted.

Sieve flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into mixing bowl.

Add chocolate chips,  eggs and sugar.

Add the butter and chocolate mixture.  Beat this chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon til combined.

Pour the mixture into a paper cupcake cases in a cupcake tin. Bake for 15 mins on 180 degrees or until done.They will sink slightly but dont worry. It’s all part of the plan!

 

Now for the icing! What cupcake is perfect with out the absolute indulgence of the soft creamy topping!

Buttercream icing: Beat 125g softened unsalted butter with 250g pure icing sugar using an electric mixer. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and 2 teaspoons of milk. Beat until smooth (a wooden spoon can be easier at this point), adding either more milk or icing sugar if necessary. Use a piping bag to decorate swirls onto cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate icing: Melt 90g of dark chocolate (broken in pieces) and 30g butter in a bowl sitting over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir until melted, then add 1 cup icing sugar and about 2 tablespoons of hot water. Mix well and add either more hot water or icing sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Using a spatula to slather generously over cooled cupcakes.

 

Well, now you are all set to make yourself very very happy! Share the joy.. Share the post! 😛

 

Zoinkalicious Christmas Bonanza!

Christmas is exceptionally special for Zoinkers. To begin with there’s the universal bon homie and cheer, the pretty lights and twinkling decorations all around. But by god, what gets our chops going is the sheer amount of food that seems to practically rain for Christmas lunch.

That's a feast not just for the eyes! 😉

What we love about the Christmas lunch is the fact that all the colors of the season seem to present itself on the table making it look absolutely festive and inviting. There’s the gold and silver of the tinsel sparkling though the apple cider. The red of the cranberry sauce set atop of the roast turkey reminding you of the mistletoe on the branchs.  The brussel sprouts, carrots and peas adds the happy colors of green, yellow and orange on your tree to your plate. The mellow happiness, the glow added by the eggnog sprinkled with cinnamom sets the perfect mood for the family to come closer together!And of course, the desserts… you want a bite out of the traditional Christmas pudding soaked in rum and raisins ( which we know as the plum cake!) while you muse about the snow from the North pole and Santa! 🙂

White frosty Christmas pudding!

Anyways, if you wondering how to get hold of such marvelous and dainty lunch for yourself, No fear, Zoink!’s here! 🙂

We have made a list of 5 places you can appease your palate with all sorts of Christmas goodies! In No Particular order here’s our take on where you should be on the 25th Dec afternoon! 🙂

Sue’s Food Palace:  This lady’s gone all out to recreate the traditional dinner she used to have as a child back home in West Indies. You can treat your self to stuffed turkey, Tabaquite duck curry, pork spare ribs,roast beef, Jamaican Jerk Chicken,Prawn cocktail, sliced backed ham, eggnog,ginger beer,Christmas cake, Chocolate marble cake, coconut souffle.

Make you bookings early because there’s only limited seatings. Call +91 8025290410 for reservations.

They have two timings: 12-2 pm and 2-4pm. We have no idea how we are supposed to do justice to this buffet in just 2 hours! :-/

Ebony Christmas Buffet: Want to feel at the Top of the World and indulge yourself in some delicious delicious Roast Turkey with a classic herb stuffing, in Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Compote served with Roasted Carrots with Mushrooms and Thyme Gremolata ? Then this high rise location is just the place. There’s also Sliced Meatloaf, Roast Chicken, Vegetable Paella and traditional Chrismas Eggnogg .

And if you feel like trying something closer to home, they have also thoughtfully added  an Indian main course with Firdaur – e – barien ie Lamb koftas filled with chopped onion, green chillies, and raisins, pomegranate seeds, braised in light pan pickled chilli brown gravy, Khushrang Paneer, Bharrey Aloo ka Qurma, Roti ki tokri to just mention a few!

The amazing view, the gorgeous spread is just the thing to make you Christmas perfect.

For reservations call: 080-4178-3344

Turquoise: They have an expansive menu with classic items like Roast Turkey Roast Turkey and trimmings and some more exotic ones as well like lobsters, grills, X’mas Pudding and lots more fit for even Santa himself . And we do love the ‘Unlimited Champagne wine and Cocktails’ offer! 😉 Added bonus of a live band to set you in the best mood for Christmas! 😀

Call +91 8065776588 for making sure you have a table ready!

Le Jardin, MG Road : Though a bit steeply priced ( 3500 Rs/- all Inclusive Per person) they promise you a wonderful time with Christmas treats like roast turkey, honey glazed ham, grilled scampi, and seafood chowder and mince pie. You can also select from the live Thai counter, Indian spread and wide array of cheese and desserts. This will also include pour of sparkling sparling and mulled wine or beer. There’s also a live band to make your Christmas come alive! 🙂

Call +91 8041358201 for reservations.

City Bar Karaoke + Grill :  If you looking for some swanky location to celebrate your Christmas then UB City is the place to be seen. They promise you a buffet more in line with the Indian taste with a slight European twist 🙂 like Oven roasted tandoori chicken served with Sherry and spinach frittata or Malai paneer steak with malai gravy! It comes with wines or Beer according to your tastes.

Call +91 8042773636 for reservations.

Well, Now that we have told you the places to gorge yourself, here’s wishing you a Wonderful, Merry and Yummy Christmas! 😀

Happy Christmas, All!

Ps: Check out the Google Doodle singing jingle bells.. We are just Zoinked about it! 🙂

F.A.P.S. Food Fest – Photoblog

The Crackers Stall! No, not fireworks. Prawn and Garlic crackers.

This kid is not shy of the Coconut Shye.

Bull's Eye!

Er. Wrong target.

How can you possibly ring the ducks when they don't even stand still for the camera?

Goodies from Candice's stall

"Save me a seat and a bite to eat."

Ms. Candice with all of her baked goodness

A glimpse of the food stalls.

Veggies. Something about that colour.

Robin Uthappa casually checking out the stalls and trying the yummy eats.

Till the MC announced to everyone that he was there and he had to flee.

Delicacies from Lucette's stall!

Lucette and Michael at the kitchen.

"Burn your bum with hot Liver & Heart Fry, Come cool it off with Piggy Boy!"

When we spotted Captain Haddock! 🙂

Beef Sand'witch' anyone?

Pics:

Amith Krishnan,

Zoink! Foodographer

The Fab F.A.P.S. Food Fest! :)

Remember the school fests and carnivals you loved attending as a child? Lots of food stalls, friends  running about in circles in ‘colour dress’, all the fun you could have and best of all, no classes! 🙂 The Zoink! team was reminiscing one of those days at work recently and decided to gatecrash into the Frank Anthony Public School’s Carnival held on December 18th.

This carnival was like no other school carnival we had been to. Sure, it did have the variety of game and food stalls, but it was the kind of food served to use here that impressed us bigtime. For instance, one of the stalls here offered us a delicious Pork Vindaloo (all fatty pork, mind you) with warm Sanas. Pork. At a school in Bangalore. They SO had us. 🙂

Robin Uthappa's fateful cameo

The fest was bustling with energy with children running helter skelter playing countless games at stalls, parents being tagged along with their kids, the MC’s providing a running commentary on a certain Coconut Shye we had to visit to “knock the coconuts and take it home to make a coconut curry”, Robin Uthappa’s cameo appearance (he was casually strolling about till the MC announced that he was at a specific stall, where he got flocked and fled the scene). There even was a stall where one merely had to ring a live duck and could take it home if they did so. Team Zoink! tried to ring the duck, but in vain. The duck just would just keep running everywhere!

Beef Cutlets and Chicken Wings from Lucette's stall! 🙂

The aroma from many of the food stalls beckoned to us, and we stopped by each and every one of them to try what culinary delights they had to offer. We began with Lucette’s stall where she had a host of goodies whipped up for us. We tried the Chicken Sandwiches which were simply minced chicken and mayo and was delicious, crispy tasty Beef Cutlets, and the best of all Chicken Wings marinated in red wine. We simply couldn’t get enough of them.

Moving on to other stalls (the stalls are mainly set up by the FAPS’ teachers or parents of the students), we discovered other yummilicious food! Hot dogs with fresh sausages and mustard and ketchup, beef sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, Prawn and garlic crackers; the spicy Pork Vindaloo was our favourite though. There even was a stall by Town Essentials (a gourmet grocer that mainly runs its business online) that sold amazing pickles – we liked the Mushroom Pickle and the Lime & Dates Pickle the most, and picked up a couple of bottles for experimentation.

Cakes and Marzipans from Candice's stall! 🙂

In addition to all of these amazing stalls, there were also those that were dedicated exclusively for you to indulge your sweet tooth. Being the Christmas season, almost every stall was selling home made fruit cakes, chocolates, candy canes, cookies, carrot cakes, home made wines, sweets and yummy marshmallows and marzipans. We tried every single one of these goodies and came out of the stalls licking our fingers clean.

You have to hand it to the parents and teachers here though. Given the generation of takeout and ready-to-eats, a lot of them turned up bringing packed food from home and whipping up hot dishes in the stalls for the kids. Add to it the once-a-December-stinging-heat-day on the fest, and kids demanding food constantly, it becomes sort of a hellish task. Zoink! salutes y’all!

So that was that. While there were a lot of other activities happening alongside (pairing up little kids with the choice given to the lady to pick her partner 😉 ), we were mainly hovering around the food stalls and loved every moment spent there. If your school/college is having a food festival/carnival  soon, please get in touch with us. We LOVE food! 🙂

P.S. Anyone who wants to purchase the gourmet pickles we mentioned could log on to http://www.towness.com

Anyone who wants to buy home made fruit cake, carrot cake and marzipans can contact Ms. Candice on +919886024790

Pics Courtesy: Amith Krishnan

 

This is not calamari… and this is NOT for the squeamish!

We love our seafood here at Zoink! We even love our sushis and sashimis. But this Japanese dish left us, well, morbidly fascinated but ( think for the first time evaaaa..) without an appetite.

Calamari fries! 🙂 And we looovvee our calamari fries!

It’s called Odori Don. The main ingredients are sushi rice, sashimi and to top it all off, a dancing squid! Yeah, you heard it right. It’s a dancing squid. Before you let your imagination carry you away and start wondering about ballet trained cephalopods , let me assure you it’s a dead squid.

Still don’t believe us? Check this out:

Odori is a traditional dance form of Japan which explains the name of the dish. But guess you must be more curious about the dancing than the naming. This is possible because of the physiology of the squid. Cephalopods  ie squid family, are head-footed creatures which means their limbs are attached to their heads. And Odori Don is prepared by separating the head from the body, killing the squid but keeping the nerve ending of the tentacles intact.Turns out the sodium in the soy sauce acts on the muscles causing it to contract, thus the involuntary dance.

As simple as the explanation sounds, the end result is pretty, hmmm, eye-catching? entertaining? grotesque? Whichever adjective you choose to label it, you just can’t ignore it.

Ps: they also have Odari Ebi, which is dancing prawns :-/

Pps: what’s with the Japs and live stuff?! 😕 The only movement on our plate we are comfortable with is from the plate to our mouths!

The Fruit Cake in Pictures!

Zoink!’s photoblog on how the world’s largest fruit cake was made by the awesome Just Bake.Enjoy, Zoinkers! 🙂

I have an idea. Let's make the world's largest fruit cake! 🙂

Careful. It's all about perfection.

Does it look perfect enough?
It’s all about team work, you see.
Slathering on that gum paste! (which is edible, btw)
Looks like a little dance, eh?
1115 Kgs – Gotta reach that 3000 number soon!
Well, someone has to ensure that this fondant is awesome!

And the Christmas lights are all set up!

*Must not eat*

Smoothening that yummy fondant.

We would need some thermocol reindeer for the flying sleigh.
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Santa would be proud! 🙂

Now that the reindeers are done, let's get back to the cake! 😛

Adding the finishing touches.
TADA! And it’s done! 🙂