September 16, 2014


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.

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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.


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.

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View the entire feature.


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

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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.


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.

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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.

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Moules en Papillote

July 11, 2014

Moules en papillote

Many months ago, I was a stagiaire at a fantastic little restaurant in Paris. The food was classical,  and the kitchen packed with copper ware. I helped on the line with the appetizers and desserts  for lunch. Before service , I did the mise-en-place  which entailed cleaning squids, battling live scallops and chopping things into perfectly tiny bruinoise among many other things. I also ended up doing everyone’s least favourite task: plucking the beard off the mussels. But that also meant, I got to make lots and lots of moules en papillote. On some days after service, when the kitchen staff took off for their break, I’d hang in the kitchen with the chef making kouign amann with Bordier butter. Good times.

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Brioche Parisienne

June 6, 2014

Brioche Parisienne
I’ve been fascinated by brioche even before I really knew what it was. I think it was the unusual shape of a brioche à tête that charmed me at first. It wasn’t until I moved to France more than 2 years ago that I got a taste of the real brioche Parisienne.

My first brioche was from Boulangerie Au 140 on Rue de Belleville. It was soft, smelled faintly sweet and milky. Quite like a baby. Every other evening, I’d walk downhill to the boulangerie and wait in line for my loaf. If the wait was too long, I’d use it as an excuse to pop into Fromagerie Beillevaire next door for two tiny wheels of Rocamadour. If I was monstrously hungry, I’d ask the vendors at the boulangerie to slice the loaf of brioche  (which I’d otherwise take as a whole to keep fresh longer) because I knew I’d quite easily finish half the loaf in no time. My favourite way to eat the brioche was to make peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches. I then moved on to smearing it with mountain honey from G. Detou.

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Lavender Milk Cake

May 31, 2014

I bring to you this cake as a good reminder of how lovely and versatile the milk cake can be. It’s soft as a pillow and moist and buttery. When it’s baking, the house is filled with the fragrance of summery lavender that’s just coming into bloom. To make the lavender milk cake, I rubbed the lavender buds into the sugar and went on with the recipe as usual (skipping the bay leaves). Slice up, and serve with a dribble of honey.