Foodie adventures

Love.Cook.Learn - At Pink Poppadam

Thursday, February 14, 2013Me! In words

We are not major fans of Valentine's Day... I mean, ours was a love marriage and with life coming in the way of love for most of the week, every weekend tends to be Valentine's Day(s) for us. Eating out, cooking together, spending time with pipsqueak. So when Poshvine announced their Love.Cook.Learn events for Valentine's Day (which thoughtfully were on a weekend, making it possible for us to go), we decided to give it a shot. For Rs 1250 a person, you got a three recipe demo, a wine paired three-course lunch and a bottle of wine to take with you. The wines for the event were from Four Seasons and the demo/lunch was at the Pink Poppadom. 

Wine and a strawberry dessert - love can't help but be around!

After a small little welcome and introduction to the workshop by Chef Gautam Chaudhry, the proceedings were handed over to Jr Sous Chef Sumeet Priyadarshi. The menu for the day was a Ricotta Kebab on a bed of zucchini carpaccio with a fresh tomato salsa, a seafood hotpot for the main course and a rose syrup infused strawberry phirni.

Chef Sumeet Priyadarshi

What was really nice about this workshop was that it was quite the hands-on one. Chef was very generous with his tips on cooking and knife skills. He kept the floor open to those of us who wanted to pitch in and try. Sudhakar jumped straight in for the ricotta kebab. The idea, Chef Sumeet says is to mash the paneer with the flat of your palm to a smooth mixture and then add in the ricotta. This reduces the need for more besan in the coating and will give you a light kebab.

Sudhakar prepping for the tomato salsa

While we hovered around the cooking station, a glass of Four Season's Blush found its way into our hands, and it literally created a stir. On the slightly stronger side than I am used for the afternoon, it gave me a nice buzz and made me give my tummy strong instructions to pipe down on the rumbling. What I loved about the ricotta kebab is its lightness. Since it was pan-fried, it did not suck up oil and turn greasy. It coats your mouth in a nice way, giving you the time to taste it well. The acidity from the salsa and the moisture from the carpaccio bring it together nicely.

Four Seasons Blush

Ricotta Kebab on a bed of zucchini carpaccio with a fresh tomato salsa

Next came the seafood hotpot. This was the first time I was seeing black pomfret fillets being used in a dish of this nature. Its flaky texture means it takes a while more to cook. As chef put together the dish, he let out a few tips in cooking  with fish - soaking the pieces for an hour or so and then washing them thoroughly 2-3 times in running water ensures you never end up with a scale in your mouth. When you marinate your fish always apply the oil last. This is to make sure your fish absorbs all the marination. It is always a good idea to sear your fish on a pan a little before introducing it into a gravy. After you fry fish, pour a little water into the pan and make sure you scrape the edges of the pan so that all the flavorful bits come to the center and you get a nice glaze to use on your fish. And if you have mussels that you plan to use in this, deglazing them in white wine or butter will heighten their flavor. The seafood hotpot was quite like a coconutty creamy fish moilee. Yum!

The ingredients of the seafood hotpot

And in the midst of all that talking, out came the seafood hotpot.
The crunchy discs you see are fried lotus stem

What's a Valentine workshop without some strawberries for dessert. Chef was making a phirni with a rose infused strawberry glaze. Honestly I would have been happy with just the strawberries, the phirni and rose part were an absolutely delicious add-on.

The strawberries - before they went into the dessert

The phirni - hot off the fire and into the dessert glass

Topped off with a strawberries and rose syrup glaze

As soon as the demo was done, the tables were set and ready for lunch and we too settled down. The little tastings we had while watching chef cook had completely whetted the appetite.

At the table

The wines were served in a slightly reversed manner and we had the Four Seasons Chenin Blanc with the Ricotta Kebab.

Four Seasons Chenin Blanc with the Ricotta Kebab

Abhay Kewadkar, Chief Wine-maker at Four Seasons dropped in at our table to chat

The Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc was served with the Seafood Hotpot. Despite the reversals in the wines, it did go well with the seafood.

Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc with the Seafood Hotpot

Four Seasons Blush was served with Dessert.

Four Seasons Blush with Rose infused strawberry phirni

The workshop was beautifully organized and very well conducted. Having Anoushka join us did not pose a problem at all and the staff at the hotel ensured she was comfortable and even got a lunch customized for her. Kudos Poshvine, and I hope to attend more of such workshops in the future. 

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