Recent Favourites

April 17, 2014

baguettes

Read
10 Commandments of Pierre Herme (French)

Cooking Family-Style With Chef Greg Marchand

The 15 Year Old Chef

How Iñaki Aizpitarte Does Lunch at Home - his restaurant, Le Chateaubriand, is where I’ve had one of my most memorable meals in Paris. I remember when I walked out of the restaurant, and thanked him for the meal, he came across as someone so friendly, so unassuming quite unlike his badass rockstar looks. “Merci, à bientôt!” he said. I’ll definitely be back soon.

Dinner with Iñaki  Aizpitarte and Delphine Zampetti – yes, I’m an Iñaki stalker.

Photo essay of a Tuscan butcher breaking down a pig.

Tartine Book N°3 (USA | UK | India) Given the success I’ve had with the first Tartine Bread book, I can’t wait to start baking from this one.

French Regional Cooking – This book is out of print, but I was lucky enough to find it online for a mere £0.01! My chef at Cordon Bleu recommended I buy this book when he read about my disdain for the bouillabaisse we made at school. He promised I’d change my opinion on the much spoken about seafood soup from the South of France.

Currently on my Kindle: The Belly of Paris (USA | UK | India), A Pretty Good Number One (USA | UK | India).

Watch
Margot Henderson on women in commanding positions in the kitchen.

The prettiest choux video ever.

Christophe Adam (swoon) make Baba au Rhum (thanks, Poppy!)

Iñyaki on video. Last one about him, I promise.

Buy

I’d been contemplating getting a few new tools for my knife kit. I just ordered  9 Pallarès Solsona carbon steel knives and am pondering over buying this oroshigane.

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Bay Leaf Milk Cake

March 26, 2014

Bay Leaf Milk Cake

I’m pretty good at detecting flavours in recipe. I’m even proud of it. But when it comes to identifying bay leaf, I’m foxed.

I can’t seem to distinguish the subtle aroma that everyone else can. Even at school, when we made a bouquet garni of thyme and bay leaf rolled up in leek leaves and tied up with a twine, I’d never be able to identify the fragrance other than that of thyme and leek wafting from the pan.

I wondered about its importance in food, and I wondered why having too much of this might be toxic. A friend of mine even told me that it was absolutely imperative for us to add bay leaves while cooking Feijoada (Brazilian black beans)  because that’s what sets them apart from the way black beans are cooked in the rest of Latin America. I  smiled and I did as I was told, still wondering what difference they’d actually make.

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Thank you everyone for your overwhelming response to the baking classes in Mumbai (as always!) I had so much fun teaching some of my favourite recipes and sharing tips and tricks. I was so happy to see many of you come back year after year, and was delighted to learn from so many of you that attending my class spurred you to start your home baking business. I’m around and happy to help you troubleshoot if you need me!

There has been quite an infux of emails about the classes lately. I don’t have any planned for the foreseeable future, but if you’d like to be updated about them, you can bookmark the page on baking classes, I’ve created just for this or fill out the form below and be the first to know when something comes up!

Happy baking! x Shaheen

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Hazelnut Butter Biscuits

March 19, 2014

Hazelnut butter biscuits

I’ve been on a toasted hazelnut kick lately. Not the kind that’s toasted lightly just until the skin comes off, but the kind that’s toasted until it attains a bronze sheen. The flavour of the hazelnut really intensifies and I don’t see myself using any other method when baking with hazelnuts henceforth.

Hazelnut butter biscuits

Once the hazelnuts have toasted gently and are out of the oven and whilst still sizzling, I pulse it in the food processor until it emulsifies into a runny hazelnut butter. I started with 200g hazelnuts and ended up with 185g of hazelnut butter. For the purpose of this recipe you only need 65g of hazelnut butter so you can start with 75g of hazelnuts if you’d like.  [read more…]

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baking class mumbai

Hello Everyone!

I am happy to say that I’m back home in Bombay for a short trip and I’m going to be conducting a few baking classes! Yet again, my suitcase was weighed down with all the cooling racks, cake pans, rolling pins, sea salt and whatnot because I was wanted to share with you some recipes and tricks inspired from my time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London and working at a few restaurants in Europe over the past couple of years.

On Friday the 28th of February, 2014, I’m going to set myself up at the Eighth* studio in a quaint bylane just off Carter Road in Bandra and I hope you can join me. If you are interested in attending, then please sign up by emailing me on shaheen@purplefoodie.com and I’ll help you with the registration.

Last year’s classes were so much fun and I can’t wait to do it all over again. Here’s a look at the photos from an earlier Purple Foodie Baking Class as well as a little TV clipping of when NDTV came in to shoot us.

This is the only set of classes that I plan to conduct in 2014. If last year’s response from 200 baking enthusiasts attending is anything to go by, I expect the seats to fill quickly so let me know soon and I’ll get back in touch on a first-come, first-serve basis. [read more…]

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Croissant

I’m spoiled for good things in Paris with boulangeries on either side of my building, but a train ride across the Channel changes things quite drastically.

Battling Paris withdrawals I’ve been investing most of my free time in recreating the goût of boulangeries, and while I think I’m almost there with my breads, my first attempt at making croissants has been spectacular.

Arjun and I have a little bread blog of our own which we used to track our first sourdough bread or pain au levain we made in Paris, terrified we won’t find it quite as easily in London. Our first attempt was far from desired, but we learned a couple of key things and I’ve been baking something pretty damn amazing in the following attempts. That bread sparked of my new found hobby of bread-baking without or with little need for yeast. It’s been incredibly fun and I reckon I’ll be blogging there a lot more than here, posting videos, articles, insights about bread baking should you care to explore this fascinating science as well.

While Artisan Breads Everyday  (USA/UK/India) used to be my go-to book for baking (excellent for baking with yeast), it’s been sitting back on shelf while I’ve keenly been learning from Tartine Bread (USA/UK/India) and even got myself a copy of Tartine Book 3 (USA/UK/India) to keep me company on the train.

I have my kitchen table filled with all types of flours (just discovered wholemeal Kamut!) and I can’t wait to try baking with other grains and seeds. I’m looking to do more reading on the subject so if you know of cookbook/online resource that talks about the ancient ways of bread making and slow fermentation, I’m all ears!

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Passion Fruit Macarons

January 3, 2014


passion fruit macaron

It’s been far too long since I made macarons. The last time I made them was more than a year ago at Le Cordon Bleu in London – we made macarons using two different methods. The first one involved use of a French meringue (egg whites+sugar), which is made by whipping egg whites while simultaneously adding castor sugar to it until it is firm. The second method for the macarons was a bit more involved, using the Italian meringue method. In this method, the egg whites are whisked gently in a KitchenAid while a sugar syrup boils up to 118ºC. Once the sugar hits this temperature, it is poured into the bowl of egg whites that are now being whisked on high speed. The whites are whisked until they are firm and the temperature of the meringue drops to 50ºC.

The difference in the macarons is most striking after they are baked. The macarons made with the French meringue method look grainy and more “rustic” (though some claim it offers a superior taste), compared to the shiny surface and perfectly smooth macaron shell made with the Italian meringue method. The latter is also the one that Pierre Hermé favours and has based his entire macaron empire on. No reason not to follow suit.

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Chocolate Toffee Tarts

January 1, 2014

Chocolate Toffee Tart

A buttery tart is a thing of beauty. It’s main task really is to hold the filling, be it ganache or the pastry cream with fruits. But every little while you come across a tart shell that’s tender, buttery and crumbly – the kind that makes you realise its presence, the kind that goes above and beyond its supporting role. Those are the best.

I’ve been using this tart dough recipe for a while and I really like it. It’s really simple to remember as well – the ratio of sugar, butter and flour is 1:2:3. The only thing I’d really insist on is to let the dough relax after you bring it together, and try and not over-work the dough by rolling it out just once and cutting out as many rounds as you can, in the event that you are making individual tarts.

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Apple Tarte Tatin

December 16, 2013

apple tarte tatin

Anything baked with apples almost always has my attention. The apple upside down cake has become one of my go-to recipes for dinner parties and there’s nothing better than a chausson aux pommes from Poilâne, warm and flaky, buttery and comforting. Last week, I had a really good pear and apple crumble at La Cantine de la Cigale made with stewed apples and pear, topped with a nutty streusel, and interestingly, a layer of crème diplomat (pastry cream lightened with whipping cream) sandwiched between the two layers. [read more…]

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