Are you ready to Jam?! :-D

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Toast to the perfect toast! 🙂

Sometimes the only perfect way to start your day is by taking a bite out of the perfect toast fresh and still warm, with butter melting all over and that slight sweetness and tartness that comes with the orange peel grated into your marmalade on top! According to us, while buttered toast by itself is a treat, the cherry on top is having your favorite preserve by your side to add the right amount of sweetness. 

Jam by no means is a recent phenomena. There are mentions of jam recipes in the earliest cook book written in 1st century Rome. It is speculated that jams, jellies and preserves are most likely to have started in the Middle Eastern countries where there are plenty of fruits and sugar. By preserving it, they could enjoy the yummy taste and nutrition of fruits all year long.  

They found their way into Europe when the Crusades returned with their spoils ( who knew it included Jam recipes!! 🙂 ). Marmalade though is said to have a more royal beginning. The legend goes that in the 16th century , when Mary Queen of Scots got sea sick, her physician mixed orange and sugar to help her seasickness. In fact some even suggest that word ‘marmalade’ comes from the phrase “Marie est malade”  meaning ‘Mary is sick’ but we don’t think that’s very likely! Either ways, it became an instant hit with the royalty and if you visit the Queen for tea, for sure you’ll see a small pot of marmalade sitting right beside your tea cup! 🙂

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Perfect for almost anything!

The best thing about jams though are the fact that it’s an accompaniment for almost anything. As a spread over cakes, scones; for a quick fix we have spread it over chapattis and made sweet rolls for a bite on the go; to add a different flavor with ice creams or cheese cakes.

And we found this awesome and unique recipe which is sure to a favorite of any jam lover : The Banana Jam.

Ingredients:

  • 50 Plantains (the small and over ripe is best suited) 
  • Sugar – 750gms to 1 kg ( depending on how sweet you want it)
  • Orange juice- juice of 5 oranges
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Going bananas over jam! 😛

Method:

Boil the plantain in a cooker. When cool, strain the juice and discard the residue. To this add sugar (quantity may vary according to the sweetness of the plantain- this is usually trial and error) and cook till thick, add the orange juice and remove from fire when it attains the consistency of viscous liquid. The color will be a deep-almost-black purple in the jar. 

Enjoy with almost anything – appam, puttu, idyappam and of course bread and butter. 🙂

Do let us know how your version worked out! 🙂

 

 

Food & Kitchen Expo 2011

Food & Kitchen Expo 2011

The Food & Kitchen Expo held last week in Palace Grounds was a must visit for Team Zoink! The expo played host to having countless stalls of many restaurants, food service outlets, kitchen equipment, bakery produce, dairy products, food machinery and packaging, etc. The expo was mainly an opportunity for businesses to create new leads, promote their brand, and advertise their products to the Suppliers and consumers of food and food related industry- Food manufacturing, Food retail, Food service, Restaurants, and Kitchen Equipment & technology.

This expo was not just going to be an assembly of foodies, but also an opportunity to network with and interact with distinguished personalities from the hospitality industry. At the expo, ‘food stalls’ took a new meaning – gone were the single counters manned by 2 people who’d furiously be taking your orders. Some of the restaurants (Zaffran and The Solitaire Hotel) had set up full fledged stalls with dining spaces so that the customers could sit down and have a good meal (we actually found this quite delightful). Other stalls were Hungry Hogs (where you could find some juicy hot dogs catering to the Indian palate), Prawn Crunch (with high-end tablet PC’s offered as menus to order from) Beijing Bites (who doesn’t love Indian Chinese? :P) and Pizza Corner to name a few.

The HUGE yummy fruit cake! 🙂

But more than anything, what really grabbed our attention was Just Bakes’ attempt in breaking the Guinness record of baking the largest fruit cake in the world – which weighed a whopping – wait for it – 3510 kgs (our jaws dropped just as much as yours did). The dimensions of the cake were 20ftx30ft (yes, much bigger than the HUGE carpet from your grandmum’s house). Preparing this cake, of course, was no Herculean feat.

The fruit mixing and preparation of the cake began in early September. 1700 Kgs of fruits, 500 Kgs of flour, 550 Kgs of sugar, 17,500 eggs and 150 bottles of rum (oh, wow!) went into making this ginormous cake. The processes of baking all of the fruit cakes and preparing the fondant and icing started only 15 days prior to the expo. Edible gum paste and plenty of fondant went into keeping the large cake together and giving it that unbelievably immaculate Christmas cake taste!

Mr. Rami Reddy, Director of Just Bake said “We always wanted to do something innovative with baking every year. Last year, we made Asia’s largest Choco Jungle, and the year before last, we made the longest cake in India. This year, we wanted to do something different again and decided to break the Guinness record of the largest fruit cake.” Customers could place orders in the expo for the cake (priced at Rs.400/kg), which could be picked up from any of the 45 Just Bake outlets in the city.

What also intrigued us was the Starvin’ Marvin’s ‘BBQ Eating Contest’. Inspired by the TV show Man vs Food set up a large stall with live counters for grilling meats wherein food fanatics could claim their right to glory by destroying gigantic proportions of BBQ chicken in record time. We tried, but failed (somehow, finishing an entire chicken in under 4 minutes was too much of a task for us – our excuse was that we needed some more time to devour the flavour and succulence of the meat).

We personally thought this was an impossible feat, but Starvin’ Marvin’s Founder and ‘Chief Grill Officer’ Sarfaraz Soudagar assured us otherwise. “I have finished this BBQ chicken under 4 minutes on umpteen occasions. And it’s not a sole achievement – many of our patrons have done this earlier on, and so I’ve banned them from participating in the contest”, he cajoled.  But Mr. Narayan, a self-claimed carnivore, did manage to finish the BBQ chicken in 4 minutes, and was absolutely ecstatic. A huge crowd cheered him on, and along with being able to eat for free and earning bragging rights, he also managed to get a space on the Wall of Fame. Pretty damn cool.

And, yes, that was pretty much what you missed at Bangalore’s first Food & Kitchen Expo. Though we felt that the overall response was lukewarm, there were some things we did enjoy – like the BBQ chicken, the delectable prawns and sampling the largest fruit cake in the world. Who says dreams don’t come true? 😛

Top 5 2D foo-D!!

We love food, and we love foodies. So we cant help but love these guys. In no particular order, here are our top 5 comic characters who love food and hate diets as much as we do!

He’s the star of the longest running scripted show in history of television. The greatest comic creation according to The Sunday Times. In 2000, his family of 5  from Springfield were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Still don’t get it? Do’H!  Homer Simpson.  The lazy, boneheaded yellow man from Springfield knows his donuts and that alone is reason enough for us to love him.

The only known feline who can be caught using a tuna sandwich baited trap. Club president and first tiger of G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid OSlimy girlS). Philosopher, patient listener to ego maniacal ranting of a six-year-old and friend extraordinaire. But why we love him is because this tiger eats his veggies! 😀 You rock Hobbes!

Preferred customer for Pop Tate‘s Chocklit shoppe. Possibly gay* drummer for “The Archies“. A gourmet cook coupled with a metabolism that F tv models would die for and the most fine tuned taste buds in the world, Forsythe “Jughead” Pendleton Jones III**  has to be one of the best loved Foodie of all times! 😀

Collector of ancient roman legion helmets. A big softie with super human strength. A menhir delivery boy with a weakness for roast wild boar. We adore him as much as Dogmatix because Obelix … well  what’s there not to love about this bog boy with his good cheer and voracious appetite !

He’s rude, lazy, sarcastic as hell and hates mondays as much as anyone could possibly do. But he loves his Pooky bear and would die for Jon.. no, wait.. he would die for lasagna. Though we hate the way he bullies Odie, we just can’t help liking the fat cat who hates diets as much as we do. Go Garfield!

So here’s our final line of 2D Foo-Ds! So who is your favorite 2D foo-D!? 🙂

Dreaming Donuts!

Tuna Sandwich Connoisseur

Faster than light metabolism!

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Zoinkers! are crazy!

Lasagnaaaa!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Zoink!

* What?? Don’t tell me you have never considered the possibility!?

**Bet you dint know his first name till now!! 😛

Foodies’ book of the month: The House of Blue Mangoes

Disclaimer:  This is not a book review. It’s a review of the food in the book!

David Davidar's The house of blue mangoes

There are times in a book which makes you desperately wish you were one of the characters because you seem so near, yet so far away from a wonderfully aromatic, subtly laced with saffron and generously proportioned mutton biriyani. You can almost feel the soft meat falling away under your fingers, practically melting ( writing about it is turning my insides into goo!) and the smell of the masala is lingering just beyond tips of your nose. And suddenly you are craving a biriyani, but not just any biriyani will do. It has to one prepared by Charity*. Then you cave in and for the lack of better option, you order in from Nandhini. While you are perfectly happy with Nandhini’s you cant help but wonder what it would have been like to have just a bite of the real thing.

Not many writers talk about food, leave alone inspire a craving. Occasionally a snatch or so escapes though, but most often they are used more as a background for setting a conversation, or framing a silence. Which I think is the most unfair because whether you are a foodie or not, there is no taking away how central food is to our lives. Good food always makes everyone happy. And it’s as simple as that.

Least as Indians we just can’t get over food and we drag it in, in one form or the other, to celebrate, to mourn. Isn’t Dewali much anticipated as much for the sweets as for the lights? And isn’t Holi without bhang a Holi without psychedelic colours? Imagine Christmas without it’s cakes and puddings, or Eid without it’s biriyani?

And Davidar gets it. Who else would show the height and decline in prosperity by pointing out how many courses were there in the feast? Of course we don’t expect anything less from a guy who chose to name his book after mangoes**.

Love Mangoes.. In any colour!

We think you should just pick it at least for the chapter where they go mango tasting. It’s a wonderfully whimsical chapter, rather unrelated to the rest of the storyline, about how the hero goes around the country to find the best mangoes in the world. Everything related to mangoes. You almost wonder if Davidar is purposely teasing and taunting you while sitting on a pile of mangoes just to see you writhe with craving. Unfortunately in the middle of October there is no place you can go and order, so for the next meal you placate yourself with a generous portion of grandma’s special mango pickle that you had been saving for times you are home sick!

All through the book, you get a sense of the writer as someone who loves food. Each of his words are chosen the way a master chef chooses his ingredients, with infinite care and precision. The end result is just as compelling; it’s sensual in a way that the writing inspires all the senses. The very last scene in the book is also the, in some ways, the sum of his book. The gleam of the blue mangoes, the smooth texture of the skin and the weight of the mango against the palm; the slightly sharp smell of the sap mixing in with the heady soft ripe of the pulp. The slight pressure against the teeth before breaking away to the first taste and feel of the juice against your lips and your mouth. The way your brain lights up at the information and how you feel complete with sun on your skin and more yellow nectar running down your hand towards the elbow… you can feel against your skin as your read it. And it makes you just as happy 🙂

Don't you just love licking it off your fingers! 🙂

*For us it was Charity’s mutton biriyani…Not fish biriyani that enticed!

**Best read in summer. Else you’ll be forced to dream for a bite till the next mango season. Telling you from experience!

The Gourmands are Here!

While we may not be champions born with effortless and splendid culinary skills, we proudly call ourselves the Zoink! Gourmands who like to mix business with pleasure (gastronomic pleasure, before you jump to any conclusions). While we dine at some of the best restaurants in Bangalore, our minds are always racing and figuring a way how the wonderful product could be marketed and shared better on a social platform.

Yes, we are a social media agency, but we like to focus exclusively on restaurants, because, that’s where our strengths lie. And just because we are a social media agency, we don’t want to abuse this space by just dishing out Facebook and Twitter gyaan taken straight from Mashable. No, sir. We want to create a space where we can discuss our favourite food hot spots, favourite dishes, easy recipes – to unite everyone in the universal love trance of food. Coupled with that maybe, we’d like to share how social media is helping us spread this love! 🙂

Yes, we paid for the Bruschetta:-( No, we didn't get paid for the Z! Approval 😛

Many of you have already seen our FB page (those who haven’t, ‘Like’ us on the right.. Right Now!!), and have been asking us on the food recommendations that we dish out on the pages.

Just a disclaimer – whatever recommendations you see on the page are entirely by the Zoink! Team and are not a sponsored story whatsoever! We do not promote restaurants on our FB page. Period. There have been a lot of people asking us whether we are paid by restaurants to put up these glorious food updates. The answer is a big fat NO! The Zoink! Team dines out very often and knows which are the best places in Bangalore to eat at suiting your taste, cuisine, budget, etc. We will NEVER recommend a restaurant to our Zoink! followers that we ourselves don’t like, or haven’t tried ourselves. This blog space, and the FB pages and Twitter handles are dedicated to giving YOU honest recommendations that we know you’d love! 🙂

Before we sign off, here’s a little food trivia of the day – Did you know that carrots used to be purple before the 17th century? Yup, you read right. Purple (also the Zoink! Team’s favourite colour :P)

The Ancestral Purple Carrots!

The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant

strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white carrots, and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including these yellow and white carrots among others.

Pretty cool, huh? These Dutch farmers could put Gregor Mendel to shame! Follow us to learn more fun facts on food and get Zoinked! 🙂

The Beginning

How did Zoink! Start? Yes, that’s a question we’re getting a lot lately. Well, it all started on one fun evening when two very drunk  and extremely cheery friends decided that all those social media agencies out there didn’t do much justice to the fabulous food offered by some good restaurants in Bangalore.  No, really.

The Zoink! Team has dined in more than 400 restaurants in Bangalore and we really felt that a lot of the restaurant out there were unable to/incorrectly expressed in a lot of social media forums. With our deep understanding and love for food (even more than Edward Cullen* could love Bella), we realized the need for a social media agency that understands the best of both worlds – food and social media.

 

We are taking this integrated space not to offer restaurants only-Sheldon-Cooper-understandable metrics, fake FB Likes or forced fan activity. We offer quality content, trivia and facts on food many of the customers were unaware of, promoting not just the in-house specials and menus, but also the culinary skills of the big chef comfortably hidden in the kitchen (How many of us can even flip an omelette without dropping it?).

Being hard core foodies, we understand food. And being hard core FB addicts, we understand social media. It’s amazing how that 1+1 adds up to give a solution that not only promises a great brand identityfor the restaurant, but also retains existing customers and invites new potential customers. We don’t give the customers what social media norms dictate us to; being customers ourselves, we give customers what they want.

That's what we want, right? Steak, Chicken Fillet and TWO servings of Dessert!!

That’s enough about us. Lengthy blog posts tend to make us sleepy too. Watch this space for more social media gyaan and some of the best places in Bangalore to indulge that gastronomic urge!

And it’s only the beginning! (Buahhahaahhaa!) J

Zoink! Team

*who sparkles [giggle!] 😛