Toast to your Valentine! :-)

Yes, yes, We know! Love’s in the Air and all of us are grinning silly ; either thinking about your valentine or watching other people have silly smiles on the faces that they just can’t seem to wipe off 🙂

Anyways, we could not help but ask ourselves, so which would be the most romantic place in Bangalore to take your guy/girl out for a night to remember! There were quite a few options and we could not narrow it down to one. So here are the top 5 that we decided at Zoink, these are the places which is bound to bowl over your darling to fall in love you.. All over again! 🙂

In no particular order here are our picks…

1. Under the Mango Tree : Apart from the rustic romantic ambiance lend by the mango tree, they are also offering a five course meal. Starting it off is corn n chilly tangy broth followed by light  salads, smoked chicken and Waldorf. Then come the  high light of lobster raviolli in creamy wine sauce & sundried tomato pate (Ymmm!!!) and Hawaian cottage cheese with hot turkish salsa.

And also to set the mood are wines to complement and desserts for completing the indulgence! Priced at Rs 1200 per couple we think it’s a bargain! Call 22111112/3/4 or 9686601021 for making reservations.

2. Olive Beach*: Set smack in the middle of the city ( Near Brigade Road) is a tiny Mediterranean oasis off to which you can whisk away your sweetheart to whisper sweet nothings to. And no need to stay hungry while you gaze into her deep brown eyes, instead reward your other senses with dishes like Smoked salmon Tartare with Toasted Sesame Brioch or Pit roasted chicken with pomegranate glaze. Then both of you can feed each other bites of Pistachio crusted lamb tenderloin,Lobster tail ravioli with saffron butter or Tomato and red pepper risotto with provolone. Toast to your love with raspberry sorbet. All this for Rs 3000* per couple.

3. Ebony : They keep asking you to treat your angel to heavenly food among the clouds and we sure agree with them. The food is exquisite and the view 13 floors up, while not at cloud levels, is high enough for you to feel the high! 🙂 This has been one of the all time favorite spots of Zoinkers and we are sure you’ll not be disappointed one bit!

4. Huckleberry *: ‘Cook for love’ is the theme all over here at this joint in Indra Nagar making the dinner a wee bit more personal and special. The treat is a 4 course dinner including wine pairing for each course and the dessert course can be made by you for your sweet heart ( with excellent assistance from chefs who know what they are doing even if you dont! 😉 ) Either ways, Valentine or not, their brick baked pizzas are beyond scrumptious and a must have for anyone who loves good food. You just cant go wrong here paying Rs 2400* per couple

5. The Lalit Ashok : This one just takes the cake – Moon lit garden with your own private tent and romantic dinner awaiting both of you inside. What could be more perfect?! They also give you the choice between Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. You can have a bottle of bubbly while gazing at the stars or better still, at each other! To book your private tent call 080 – 3052 7777 now!

Well, so what do you think of our picks? You know a secret hideout which is juust purrrfect for Valentine’s? Do share the secret with us!

* Book through PoshVine for these experiences!

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Secret Ingredient X

Hey Zoinkers!

This Valentine's, try Zoink's Secrets instead of Victoria's! 😛

January is long gone and finally the month long awaited by valentines is finally here. And we here at Zoink believe it’s not just the way to a man’s heart; a tummy full of good things can make anyone fall in love. Here are some ingredients right out of your kitchen which will work some extraordinary magic into your cooking and leave your valentine guessing.. and wanting more! 😀

You know that plain jane jar of peanut butter you have in your kitchen? Make it you secret ingredient X by adding a couple of spoons into the brothy soup to add body. Or try adding it to your meatballs instead of egg as the binder.  It’ll add a Thai twist to your dishes without giving away the secret.

For your salads, we have quite a few ingredients to make it special. You can mix in 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into your favorite chicken salad to add a subtle second flavor. Or try one of these salad dressings –

Dressing it up for your valentine! 🙂

  • Whisk together equal parts low-sodium soy sauce, dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and mustard oil for a delicious, full-bodied salad dressing.
  • Mix mayo with lemon juice, minced garlic, and parsley to add to your salad, You can even use this as a dip for your starters. Or try Mayo with Madras curry powder and minced shallots for the very Indian flavor that we love!

Mayo also works wonders with your grilled and deep fried meats. Next time you are thinking of deep frying, coat fish fillets or skinless, boneless chicken breast halves with an even layer of mayonnaise before coating it with breadcrumbs. This will lock the moisture inside the meat. Then pan fry in oil as usual!

Talking of wonders, try adding cinnamon powder to your duck or pork’s spice rub for an enticing yet subtle sweetness.

Sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy..like you!

And if you did read ‘Like water for Chocolate‘, you’ll know that no hot chocolate is complete without a few pinches of powdered red chilli. Yep, Red chilli in your desserts like fruit salad or bread pudding can add a wonderful complexity to the taste. Another surprising candidate is your low sodium soy sauce you use in your Chinese dishes. Create a sweet-salty dessert by stirring 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce into homemade caramel sauce to pour over ice cream, apple pie, or cake. The end result is an amazing play on your senses.

 

Now here’s something that special for making the ladies veryyyy happy on valentine’s!

Love your melons! 😛

Next time, don’t throw away your watermelon rinds, especially if you feeling frisky! Cut the melon rinds into small parts and get the juice out of them with the help of a mixer, or a juicer. What you hold in your hand right now would be some home made, au-naturale viagra! Add some honey and serve it to your honey and watch him get into your mood! (Giggle!)

Well now that we have given away our secret love portion as well, all that remains is for you tell us how well these worked!

 

Ps: do you have a secret ingredient with which you add dazzle to everyday dishes? We would love it if you’d share it with us! 😀

What's your secret Ingredient?

5 Salads You’d Hate to Love! :)

“Me? Salad? No way!” – Yeah, we hear the same voice in our heads more than often too. But there are some salads that have somehow, appealed to our palates in more than one way. The crunchy textures, the tangy taste, the fatty dressings on the vegetables and crispy bacon in the salads – make us hate to love these salads. We’re sure you’d agree too 🙂

1. Cobb Salad 

This is a “composed” salad, meaning the ingredients are arranged on the salad as opposed to all being tossed together. Originally it was a way for the restaurant to simply use up leftovers, but it soon became the Brown Derby‘s most popular dish. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Method:

  1. Fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, crumble and set aside.
  2. Arrange a bed of lettuce on the serving plates. Arrange the eggs, bacon, chicken, avocados, tomatoes, and Roquefort cheese in straight rows on top of the lettuce, covering the surface completely.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking constantly to form the dressing. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad, and serve immediately.

2. Thai Beef Salad 

This gourmet version of Thai beef salad is full of the authentic flavours of Asia. It has the succulence of the beef, the crunchiness of the peanuts, the heat from the chillies and the sweet tang from the sugar. Not to be missed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch coriander 3cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 long red chillies, seeded, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 lemons, zested, juiced
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 55g (1/4 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 700g beef sirloin, cut into 1cm x 4cm strips
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil quick
  • 1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • Chopped roasted peanuts and cooked rice stick noodles (optional), to serve

Method:

  1. To make nam jim, trim roots from coriander and rinse well. Pick leaves and reserve. Process coriander roots, ginger, garlic, half the chillies, lemon zest and juice, fish sauce and brown sugar in a food processor until well combined and finely chopped.
  2. Combine half the nam jim with beef in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat 2 tbs oil in a large wok over high heat. Add half the beef mixture and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until beef is browned and just cooked through. Remove from wok and repeat with the remaining 2 tbs oil and beef mixture.
  4. Place onion, cucumber, reserved coriander leaves, mint, remaining chillies, beef mixture and remaining nam jim in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, scatter with peanuts and serve with rice stick noodles, if using.
Note:
  • Nam jim is a chilli-based Thai dressing with a balance of spicy, salty, sweet and sour flavours. Allow 30 minutes

Tip: Allow 50g dried rice stick noodles per person. To cook the noodles, place in a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water and stand for 10 minutes. Drain, then toss with 1 tbs sesame oil.

3. Potato and Asparagus Salad 

Potatoes are always a crowd favourite, no matter where you go. This salad has our favourite vegetable tossed in with creamy mayonnaise and herbs that are a delightful play on your tastebuds. With the goodness of asparagus, and spikes of herbs, this salad is an easy way for you to impress your friends too!

Ingredients:

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled, halved
  • 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup (150g) whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Method:
  1. Cover the potatoes with cold water and boil for 15 minutes over high heat or until just tender when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water then plunge into iced water. Drain and set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. To serve, arrange the potato and asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with the mayonnaise dressing. Serves 6.

4. Cha-cha Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is so full of surprises and tang that it really is a Cha-Cha Chicken salad. You’ll love this salad if you love the delicious sweet-savoury combination in salads. The flavour of the cooked chicken in enhanced with the sweetness of the pineapple and cranberries. While the cranberries won’t be available in local markets, you can pick them up from the gourmet supermarkets like Nature’s Basket, Gourmet, Sorbet and sometimes Namdhari’s Fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
  • 2/3 cup orange-flavored sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds
  • Garnishes: fresh herbs, blackberries, raspberries, sliced peaches

Method:

1. Whisk together cream cheese and mayonnaise, curry powder and salt in a large bowl; stir in chicken, pineapple, and cranberries just until blended.

2. If desired, spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 8-inch round cake pan; cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Invert chicken salad onto a cake stand, and remove plastic wrap. Gently press chopped almonds onto sides of chicken salad. Garnish with berries.

5. Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad

A cumin-lime vinaigrette spiked with a tiny amount of tequila adds a little something extra to this gorgeous grilled salad of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese. As the seasons change, consider substituting heirloom tomatoes, plums, and other soft fruits for the peaches (traditional peaches work better in this dish than white peaches, which have more sugar and water and don’t hold up as well on the grill).

Ingredients:

  • 5 peaches (not white)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 (6-oz.) package watercress or baby arugula, thoroughly washed (or any other salad leaves)
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs

Method:

1. Peel and chop 1 peach. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 28 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. (Cut peaches inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Discard pits.)

2. Process chopped peach, green onions, cilantro, honey, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, chilli powder, and, if desired, tequila in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse 3 to 4 times or until thoroughly combined.

3. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with some oil, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high). Brush both sides of peach rounds with 1/3 cup peach dressing.

4. Grill peach rounds, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.

5. Arrange watercress evenly on 4 plates. Alternately layer 4 grilled peach rounds and 4 cheese slices over watercress on each plate. Top each with 3 more peach rounds. Drizzle with remaining peach dressing. Garnish, if desired.

And, those are top 5 Zoink! salads you’d hate to love. We’re sure you have many more on your list. Do share them with us, and leave your comments below! 🙂

Recipes Courtesy:

http://www.myrecipes.com

http://www.taste.com

http://www.americanfood.com