Being an entrepreneur (part 1)

I have so many things running in my head that it’s not funny anymore. It has driven me out of my comfy bed, late in the night to come out and share with you about what I’m feeling.

It’s been a year (well almost) stepping into the shoes of ‘being an entrepreneur’. It took me a year to come out and write about my feelings not because it  didn’t matter but because I thought that I wasn’t ‘ready’.

A year (or even few months) back I didn’t even know whether I could call myself an ‘entrepreneur’. I always thought that I’m not ready for it..maybe not yet. But now I feel different.  Different because I want to blog more and share my experiences with you and not bury my emotions of  good and bad times that I have had.

Being from an architectural background and not practising it for sometime was a ‘ Big’ deal for  me at one point. My family and friends thought that I was a lost soul and that I wasted five years of studies for what – Cooking?!

When I started off my gig at the Farmer’s Market selling bottled products and making simple salads for people to relish. I realised that I was enjoying myself more than what I have done anything else in my life. The experimentation with products and cuisines is what got me started to start a small brand of my own – i2cook.

After the experimentation and getting some audience to taste what I cook – the next big question  was  – what next?

I chose a line with no experience what so ever and no one in the family doing the same thing. I just dived into the pool of ‘Retail’ – like they say there is always some room for more :).

Dealers, suppliers, payments, manufacturing, prospecting, pitching is all that life has been since I started. Sounds boring but trust me I never felt bored. I did have short bursts of frustration, when people would keep me hanging for months to just give an answer – not now, maybe later…. Arghhh.

But there have been some good times – when your family and friends realise that this is the only thing you want to do and start encouraging you. I have met some amazing people who saw something in me even before I was confident of myself, as a cook. I thank them from the bottom of my heart because people like them have kept me going.

Entrepreneurship is not an easy ride and it took me almost a year to call one myself. Everyone has their up’s and downs, mood swings or one of those pessimistic moments, but at the bottom of it all ‘Passion’ can only make you work and deal with anything that comes your way.

Goodnight and look forward to share more experiences with you.

 

 


Salt to taste

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            Image source: Unp

My encounter with different types of salts (non-iodized)  available in India has been recent and I thought that it will be good to share the same with you.

When I started using organic products, like most people I was not aware of different sources from where I can buy most of my supplies. Now things are more progressive! Most of the big supermarkets and gourmet stores stack up Indian salts along with some imported ones. I find the imported ones too expensive for my pocket and I think I’m going to try to make some of my flavoured ones at home soon Smile.   Meanwhile have a look at some of the varieties that I’ve tried.

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Rock Salt

Very essential ingredient in my kitchen. I’ve been off refined/iodised salt when I was introduced to rock salt. It is used in all my daily cooking Indian or Western. You can also use them virtually in all your cooking like a regular salt and can  be used as a table salt too.

Brands that I have used for rock salt – Conscious food and Eco farms.

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Sea Salt

I’m slowly getting used to this salt. It’s a little moist salt and takes time to judge as to how much to use.  Sea salt can be used in pickles, salads or in baking. You can also use them in gourmet cooking if you are up for some flavoured salts,  Heidi’s recipe for citrus salt.

If you are interested in making your own salt, try this! I wouldn’t dare to make some in Mumbai.

Brands that I have used for sea salt – Conscious food

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Himalayan Salt Crystals

The crystals are pale pink in colour. However, when I grounded them they were more of pale white. It can be used similar to the table salt

Brands that I have used for sea salt – I bought some from a store in Auroville.

Black Salt a.k.a Kala Namak

An unrefined pinkish looking salt, found in both crystals and powder form. It is mostly used in Indian cooking like juices and chats.

Brand that I have used for black salt – Navdanya

So next time when you shop around, you know what to look for Smile.

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Some interesting salty reads…..

Types of Salts

What kind of salts matter in your cooking

Some Indian Salts

Debate between rock salt and sea salt


36 Oak & Barley

36 Oak & Barley is the new place in town (well fairly new) in Kemps Corner. An all day restaurant and also watch out for the sign board cause you may miss it!

It is a cosy restaurant started by 2 partners along with well known chef – Nachiket Shethye . We also had the pleasure of dining with Mr & Mrs Nipoon Agarwal, who suggested the dishes and made sure that we almost tasted their entire menu :).

They have a decent range of cocktails and I ordered a glass of sangria. The sangria was a little too citrus and adding sweet lime to it kind of ruined it for me. I did ask the chef to change it and he did make it less citric but wasn’t a perfect for me. The restaurant welcomes you warmly with their in-house cheese straws and sprouted salad. The salad is a little spicy and gives you a welcoming zing.

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It is a restaurant set in a contemporary style with a jaguar dropped from the ceiling. The tables are set in with nice solid wood and designer plastic chairs. The idea to introduce the chairs was for light weight and blend into the interiors but I somehow feel that they don’t add any character to the place. The section is divided into three- fine dining, a bar and the last section with high tables and chairs with a projector screen. The place has tried to provide a little detailing like a thin rail to hold the runner across the table which is so convenient. The glass jars in which they serve water has also been well thought of (in picture above) though I did not like the red caps to top the nice idea.

 

We started off with a wide variety of apperizers and salad which was more than fillling. A Warm Salad of Grilled Zucchini & Tomato with Katsiki Cheese and Roasted Beets, Arugula & Goat Cheese Salad with Orange Dressing. I liked both the salads and the combination was something that you can’t go wrong with too much. Katsiki cheese is made from goat’s milk and is of Greek origin.

Moving on to the appertizer, you will also find a wide range favouring the vegetarians. I must say that I was partly convinced to order veg dishes because of the variety that they had to offer.

Hummus with pita crisps. The pita crisps were made in house like their bread. They were a little sweeter than the usual but not overpowering.

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Baked Asparagus & Cream Cheese Phyllo Triangles with a Chive Cream Cheese Dip – I liked the triangles but found the dip a little not balanced. The dip being an enhancer should have been made a little spicier.

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Honey Chili Glazed Chicken Wings – Traditionally the wings are juicy and a little sticky in texture which I found to be missing in the dish.

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Shrimp & Calamari Ajillo with Ciabatta – It’s a stew based dish and quiet filling. I tried the calamari stew for the first time and loved it! A must try and I would highly recommend it.

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The highlight would be the Tomato & Basil Soup. I imagined it to be the regular soup and to my surprise came in with a dollop of orange sorbet. It’s more like a cold soup.

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Cheese fondue – too cheesy :).

They also have chocolate fondue on their menu

 

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Imported Basa Filet with Parsley Lemon Butter

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Barramundi Filet with Mustard Kasundi Cream

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Seared Fish Filet with Braised Onions & Pineapple Salsa

 

I tasted almost all the seafood available on their menu and wasn’t much impressed with either of the dishes. The seared fish filet was a big disappoint. It seemed to me that the flavours were not blending in to tickle your taste buds at the right spot. I guess the seafood section needs to be improvised for seafood lovers like me.

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I must admit that after reading couple of reviews about them, I was tempted to try their vanilla and berry panna cotta and I liked it too. It’s light and not very sweet like the way it’s supposed to be. Fresh Fruit Pizza with Apricot Glaze & Cinnamon Whipped Cream was the second option that I would go for if you are in a group. It’s made with all seasonal fruits.

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The best part about this place is that they also make their own breads and are good too. I found that the portions are big and that some of the dishes can easily be shared amongst your partner. The menu is not highly priced and the owner also wanted to introduce large portions keeping in mind the value for your meal.


Lets spin some salad!

I’m excited to share with you my experiences with food and kitchen gadgets. It’s sometimes difficult to make the right choice when it comes to even buying a bottle of jam or mustard from a retail shelf. There is so much of variety in the market that as consumers it becomes a bit confusing. I go through it all the time. So I decided that every time I get my hands on  a new product, I will test it out and let you know about it 🙂

I’ve been looking for a salad spinner since a year and never knew that it is  available in India. Until recently I chanced upon Home Collective’s FB page, selling salad spinners.  I was super trilled to discover. Life is simple now!

Salad spinners are not only meant to make your life easier but they also help salad leaves to last longer and give crunchiness to your leaves..The beauty of this product is that it is designed so simple that it is not complicated at all to handle. It is a very simple gadget to have in your kitchen, provided you are a salad eater like me :).

 Pros

  • It does not require any electricity, which means that you can spin your salad manually
  • It is  easy to handle and use
  • Easy to wash and dry
  • You can even spin your herbs in smaller quantities too
  • You can use delicate fruits like strawberries, mulberries.

 Cons

It is a little bigger than I thought and requires some storage space in your shelf/cupboard.

Available at Home Collective & The Gourmet Company (online store), India.

psst…Did I tell you that I won a salad spinner recently for entering my salad in a contest- Spinach, Strawberry & Ricotta cheese Salad.

If you want your salad leaves to last for a week and are a bit fussy. Then, there is another way of drying your salad leaves and they say it works!

My first salad with  my new salad spinner. ooohhh I’m so happy 🙂
Hop on to Natural Mantra’s blog to view some salad tips and the recipe –  Chickpea Salad with Lime & Mustard Dressing.