Updated – 18 Nov:

The only seats that still remain are a couple each for Savoury Bakes and Sweet Bakes. If you can’t make it this time, put down your name and email address on the classes page to be notified about future events.

Hi Everyone!

I am so  happy to announce that I will be conducting a string of baking classes in Bombay this November! I’ve drawn up a list of exciting recipes to share with you that I’ve culled from my experience working in Paris, running Friday Lunches and stolen from pastry chef friends. I’ve also included some of your requests on Facebook on breads and even eggless baking!

At the class we’ll bake, talk cake, share tips and tricks and have a good time in the company of like-minded folks. My goal is for you to be able to understand and execute recipes beautifully every single time you turn the oven on. Have a look at a bit of TV coverage of a previous class as well as some student feedback.

Come November 21st, I’m going to set myself up at the Eighth* studio in a quaint bylane just off Carter Road in Bandra. If you are interested in attending, then please sign up by emailing me on classes@purplefoodie.com and I’ll help you with the registration.

*About Eighth: Eighth is a baking studio by Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Anurita Ghosal. Everything here is baked fresh to order. Here’s a look at their menu. Place your order the day before, and pick it up between 4PM and 8:30PM. You can pop-by pick your order, have a coffee with them and enjoy some music while they continue baking. You can also buy their goodies at Yoga House in Bandra. Eighth also offers an array of baking classes – the latest ones inspired from Anurita’s time as a pastry intern in Spain and travels in New Zealand.


photo credit: sheena dabholkar

WHAT’S BAKING
I will be covering the following recipes and sharing tips and tricks as we go along. All the classes are demo-based and seat approximately 9-10 students each. You will be provided printed recipes before the start of each class.

TEA TIME TREATS
These are a mix of my recent favourites, including chocolate and fruity, nutty and creamy.

  • Chocolate almond cake
  • Passionfruit cheesecake
  • Walnut sponge cake with yoghurt mascarpone cream
  • Cinnamon shortbread
  • Chocolate and hazelnut roll cake

SWEET BAKES (all eggless)
I am not one for substituting eggs with other ingredients just to make things eggless. Instead, I’d rather make recipes that don’t depend on eggs, celebrating all the other ingredients. You’ll realise that you are not missing out on anything when you eat the baked goodies, for the proof is in the pudding.

  • Double chocolate sea-salt cookies
  • Apple pie bars with salted caramel
  • Chocolate, seed and nut granola
  • Pear, walnut and cinnamon tart
  • Pistachio and vanilla cake

HOMEMADE BREADS
Few things are better than cold, salted butter smeared on freshly baked bread. I’ve put together a good mix of breads that you can easily replicate at home.

  • Buttery brioche (chocolate and pistachio variation)
  • Garlic and cheese pull-apart bread
  • Seeded whole-wheat olive loaf
  • Chocolate cinnamon babka
  • Olive oil crackers

SAVOURY BAKES
Learn a bit about breads, savoury pastry doughs, and my favourite cheese puffs that are positively addictive.

  • Almond Pesto Rolls
  • Melt-y cheese biscuits
  • Leek and mushroom quiche
  • Gougères (choux pastry with cheese)
  • Tomato and rosemary focaccia

WHEN Friday, 21st November, 2014
11AM – 2PM: TEA TIME TREATS   SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: SAVOURY BAKES One Seat Remaining

Saturday, 22nd November, 2014
11AM – 2PM: SWEET BAKES (ALL EGGLESS) SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: HOMEMADE BREADS SOLD OUT

Sunday, 23rd November 2014
11AM – 2PM: TEA TIME TREATS SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: SAVOURY BAKES  SOLD OUT

Monday, 24th November 2014
11AM – 2PM: SWEET BAKES (ALL EGGLESS) SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: HOMEMADE BREADS  SOLD OUT

Thursday, 27th November 2014
11AM – 2PM: HOMEMADE BREADS SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: SAVOURY BAKES One Seat Remaining

Friday, 28th November 2014
11AM – 2PM: SWEET BAKES (ALL EGGLESS) SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: HOMEMADE BREADS  SOLD OUT

Saturday, 29th November 2014
11AM – 2PM: SWEET BAKES (ALL EGGLESS)  One Seat Remaining
4PM – 7PM: TEA TIME TREATS   SOLD OUT

Sunday, 30th November 2014
11AM – 2PM: HOMEMADE BREADS  SOLD OUT
4PM – 7PM: SAVOURY BAKES   SOLD OUT

WHERE
Flat no 4, 1st Floor, Mudheshwari Building, YMCA Road (off Carter road) Bandra.

HOW MUCH
Rs. 4,000 per class to learn all the five recipes and bring the bakes back with you.

HOW TO RESERVE A SPOT
There is limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Popular classes tend to sell out within a few hours, so register soon to confirm your place. To do so, please send an email to classes@purplefoodie.com with the following information:

Subject: Classes  NOV 2014
Class(es) interested in:
Date(s):
Name(s) of people attending:

Please make your deposits via online bank transfer. [No cash deposits please!]

Arjun or I will get back to you within 24 hours, usually between midnight and 5am IST. Once your deposit comes through and your spot is confirmed, we will email you again with some more practical information about the event.

I’m so looking forward to meeting all you crazy passionate bakers and talk cake. Prepare your questions! I hope you’ll join me.

x

Shaheen

PS: If you can’t make it this time, put down your name and email address on the classes page to be notified about future events!

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Le Chateaubriand, Paris

October 6, 2014

Tocino de Cielo by Inaki Aizpitarte

View Slideshow

I am an Iñaki Aizpitarte fangirl.

I love everything he does. He makes me want to be a better cook, to play with flavours, to be more creative, to think beyond geographic boundaries.

Earlier this year Arjun took me to his much lauded restaurant, Le Chateaubriand in Paris and we were in for a treat. After a series of tasting and exploring new flavours and textures ranging from veal head fritters dusted with freeze-dried raspberries to sweetbreads served with pomelo, I came home happy and inspired.

While the menu at Le Chateaubriand changes frequently, the dessert, Tocino de Cielo, is a constant fixture. Tocino de Cielo literally means piece of heaven. This video shows how Iñaki makes his version of the Andalusian custard pudding made of egg yolks, sugar and water. He explores the region, trying out the classic dessert, while having different people try his. It’s also really interesting how he takes children along in his research to reinterpret this (seemingly) childhood favourite dessert of his.

If you’re planning on visiting Le Chateaubriand, you’ll need to book a few weeks ahead of time, or just show up at 9PM for the 9:30PM seating that needs no reservations.

Le Chateubriand
129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris
+33 1 43 57 45 95

PS: Here’s a little to peek into his home and restaurant.

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plaisir sucre pierre herme

This is quite simply the best chocolate dessert I have ever had.

Pierre Hermé calls it Plaisir Sucré. Maison Landemaine calls it Jivara. Le Cordon Bleu calls it Douceur Chocolat. There might be many more versions of it around Paris, but at its core it’s the most delicate chocolate and hazelnut cake  built over several layers of sublime textures.

This one is a slightly simplified version of it. The only technique that you really need to know for this is chocolate tempering.  Simply put, the chocolate you buy is already in temper. But if you want to melt it to coat truffles, or in this cake, make chocolate discs, it needs to be in temper first. This means that you have to raise the temperature of milk chocolate to 40-50C, bring it down to 25C and then gently bring it back up to 30C, which is the working temperature for milk chocolate. By doing this the fat crystals realign themselves and the resulting set chocolate will have a lovely shine and crisp snap as opposed to being streaky and pliable.

What makes this cake so special for me is the layer that’s spread on the dacquoise – it’s a mix of milk chocolate, butter, hazelnut paste, toasted hazelnuts, praline and feuilletine. While you can make your own hazelnut paste and praline (tutorial coming up soon), feuilletine is the wildcard. It’s crushed up Gavotte Crepes that are incredibly addictive and the ones coated in milk chocolate always find their way into my basket at Monoprix. If you find yourself in Paris, you can buy a bag of feuilletine at G. Detou for about €5 [read more…]

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Financiers

September 16, 2014

Financier

While at a vide-grenier, the French equivalent of a car boot sale/garage sale, I stumbled upon a set of shiny new financier moulds. They were still in their original packaging and had a faded price tag from when Francs were still in use and Le Bon Marché was called Au Bon Marché.

On my return, the first thing I baked were these tiny little petits fours. I used a recipe for perfect financiers (almond cakes)  from Nathalie Benezet, author of Le Petit Paris (USA | UK | India). I followed the recipe pretty much exactly as given. The only variation was that I added a quarter teaspoon of pistachio paste into half the batter for the pistachio flavoured financiers.

[read more…]

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Pistachio and Pecorino Pesto

September 8, 2014

Pistachio and Pecorino Pesto

I’d forgotten just how much I love this roughly chopped up “pesto” made with fresh parsley, pungent garlic, toasted pistachios and a good, salty pecorino. All of this is brought together by a grassy extra virgin oil. It’s perfect to keep bottled up in a jar for tossing with some pasta for a weeknight dinner or as a flavourful sandwich spread.

Recipe for home-made pistachio and pecorino pesto.

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Purplefoodie in ELLE Magazine

September 8, 2014

A little while ago, ELLE India got in touch with me saying that they  wanted to do “a roundup of fun, young Indians in Paris who’re doing interesting work.” I was (/am!) super thrilled to be a part of this. The lovely feature is out in September’s edition of the magazine. We were all dressed in Dior while Errikos Andreou played with light and shadows. The results are pretty spectacular.

Big thanks to everyone at ELLE India.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 11.03.44 AM

View the entire feature.

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Photos from our summer days spent eating cherries, plums and mirabelles bought from the Marché Place de Zurich (every Wednesday).


View Slideshow

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Strasbourg, France

August 19, 2014

What to do and where to eat in Strasbourg – A city guide

If you’re thinking of a trip to France, and have already visited Paris, go to Strasbourg.

Arjun & I just returned from a little summer holiday in Strasbourg. Like every destination we’ve picked before, this trip was planned for the sole purpose of eating, exploring markets, then eating an ice cream until we reached the next patisserie. And just when we began to feel like we’re eating way too much, we walked up 332 stairs of the cathedral for a panoramic view of the city of Strasbourg and beyond. It was quite amazing.

Strasbourg is the capital city of Alsace, the smallest region of France, which shares borders with Germany and Switzerland to the east. You can especially notice the German food influence in the meat consumption (think of myriad sausages) and hearty portions (nobody’s complaining), not to mention staples such as, kugelhopf, pretzels and beer.

We stayed in a little commune of Alsace, right outside of Strasbourg, called Schiltigheim. We were very lucky to have native friends who took us out to dinner at a local restaurant, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

EAT IN STRASBOURG

Aux Quatre Vents 15 Rue de la Mairie, 67300 Schiltigheim, France Phone: +33 3 88 33 16 00
This was the venue for our first meal and for our last meal. Twice, in a three day trip. As adventurous as we are with our eating, we were worried nothing might live up to this experience, and we had to leave Alsace with memories of Aux Quatre Vents. Everything we ate here was perfect. From the foie gras with fig bread and to the girolles (mushrooms) and escargot (snails). But the dish that’s etched in my memory is the Cerises Poêlée (pan fried cherries) that I can’t wait to replicate at home.  Caramelised cherries with a bit of strawberry jam, this was summer’s best in my plate. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The restaurant is located in the commune of Schiltigheim, and if you didn’t know of it, you’d walk right past it. When you go in, you’ll feel like you’re let in on a local secret. It’s a family run restaurant  with the mom cooking in the kitchen and the daughter and grandma (perhaps) serving the restaurant. Also, I learned here, that in Alsace the word “salade” is used as a euphemism only to make you feel better about eating large portion sizes. For even though we ordered a foie gras “salade”, there was no room for a main course. That’s also because they’ll bring along 3-4 creamy, vegetable based side dishes to the table for everyone to share in addition to what you’ve ordered. And when the mum in the kitchen makes too much of something, that finds its way to the table as well – complimentary. Aux Quatre Vents is cosy, kitsch and above all a place for exemplary, affordable food.

[read more…]

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apricot-rosemary-crumble

I have found my dessert fix for the summer – an apricot and rosemary crumble that is dolloped with heaping spoonfuls of maple cream.

I first made it a last week when we had friends over for dinner. Ever since, I’ve made it twice more, and am on my way to make it again right after I publish this post.

I don’t care much for snacking on raw apricots, but with a little butter, sugar and heat the apricots are transformed. And ever since I learned what an outstanding combination apricot and rosemary make last summer at Cordon Bleu, I’m a convert. I’ve roasted them and I’ve pan fried them, and I think I prefer the pan frying method because it gives me more control. First, heat up a cast iron pan until blistering hot, add a knob of butter, followed by rosemary and a sprinkling of light brown sugar. Then, place the apricot halves, searing their flesh. Finally, turn down the heat and let it cook slowly for 12-15 minutes, flipping it over halfway.

[read more…]

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