Coral – a networking dinner with strangers & a Spanish spread

Coral, a networking dinner executed by my husband and I to give people an experience of meeting strangers over food and conversations. A lot of you have asked me or wondered how it all started….

I love to cook and my husband  visualized the concept. We also found a lovely bungalow in the middle of the city owned by Prahlad kakkar. The three combination blended with each other so well that it brought in curiosity.

Our last coral was “Spanish” and  the last one for this year. We will be closed for November and December and will be back with new ideas or maybe a new venue in 2013. Coral has a new website now and allows memberships at a nominal fee. Coral members get better benefits and discounts for future dinners.

We serve a four course meal from different parts of the world and try to keep the cuisine as authentic as possible depending on the  availability of the  ingredients. There are no restrictions on the portions, you can always ask for a second helping. Kima of Mizochican has described his Spanish experience.

Welcome drink: Sangria, made from Indian red wine and Indian red and golden apples.

Appetizer 1: whole wheat organic bread served with Spanish romesco sauce. A delicious sauce made from almonds and red peppers.

Apertizer 2: Tortilla De Patatas, Spanish style omelet with onions & potatoes

Apertizer 3: Spanish style parsley prawns sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley with a squeeze of lime

Main course: seafood paella

Dessert: Bizcocho, Spanish style sponge cake. It is traditionally made from olive oil and lemon zest.

We sometimes end up with a night cap either green/mint tea or some coffee. Coral sessions have no time restrictions and our guests can leave when they please, even if its 2am in the morning 🙂

Some points that I would like to bring to your notice:

When an event is created, it is not by invitation only. Anybody can apply or wish to come.

It is not a dating or singles club.

Couples, singles or even your friends are allowed to come. The more the merrier!

Our aim is to give you a good experience 🙂

My previous post on Food at Coral – dinner with strangers

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Oatmeal & flax seed cracker

I love crackers! Best way to snack healthy. They go well with almost anything or are great just plain. However, I find the store bought crackers either very expensive or not preservative free. I prefer crackers to biscuits for my evening snacking. They also make a good entry into your fancy cheese boards. Oatmeal gives a different taste and wheat flour is used more as a binder. I tried searching some recipes on the internet for oatmeal crackers but found very few that I liked and was left to experiment on my own.

I wanted to increase the shelf life of my cracker so I decided to negate the fresh herbs and use a different kind of flavor instead. I tend to use a lot of cinnamon in my cooking and decided that this time I will try something “different”.

**Star anise not only gives a sweet flavor but really makes your cracker taste different and at the same time, the taste is not overpowering. I’ve also used some nutritional yeast to give it a bit of a cheesy taste. You can increase the quantity of the yeast more and it will only result in more yumminess. All ingredients used are organic and  vegan.

Ingredients:

100gms rolled oats

200gms wheat flour and some extra for dusting

20gms flax seed

1 tsp star anise powder

1tsp baking powder

50gms vegetable or olive oil

**50gms nutritional yeast (optional) see note above

1 cup water at room temperature

1tbs raw sugar

salt to taste

Blend rolled oats and flax seed in a blender into a coarsely ground powder.

Add wheat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, nutritional yeast into the ground mixture and mix well.

Add oil and water slowly into the mixture and roll into a dough.

Flatten the dough with the help of a rolling pin into a thin layer. Cut the crackers into desired shapes and sizes.

Place the crackers on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully towards the end of the cooking time; they should be just beginning to turn brown at the edges.Once done, allow it to cool on a wire rack. Store them in an air tight container for up to two weeks. I got 20 big sized crackers and you may get 30-40 small ones.

My cat loved these cracker and I’m super trilled. No, no its not cat food. Let me introduce to you “Bhunkas” (means vagabond), who sometimes behaves more like a human and less of a cat 🙂

 


Pulla or Finnish sweet bread

Finnish sweet bread – Pulla

I love baking breads and I had to share my new found love on this day “World Bread day”. I like to bake especially wheat breads. But today I wanted to raise the bar and bake  a sweet bread from a different continent.

Pulla is a Finnish style sweet bread which can be baked in either a bun or roll. They are different from American style cinnamon rolls as pulla is traditionally made with some cardamom. They also add raisins to it sometimes. Its not only delicious but it is so satisfying. The aroma can get your mood to a high and all you want is to grab a hot piece; straight out of the oven then and there.

When I first traveled to Finland I felt liberated. I traveled when I was working, unmarried and with my own money. Not that I’m complaining now but your first travel experience will always be “special”. Baking bread also makes me feel liberated and I think most of you agree with me on this ;). I never got to taste pulla when I visited Finland, but today I know, I would have loved to have tasted it. However, I did taste a lot of berries and I shouldn’t be complaining.

At the arctic circle and I received a certificate 🙂

Ingredients:

250gms flour

1tbs (15gms) active dry yeast or fresh yeast

1 glass luke warm water

1tsp cardamom powder

2tbs butter

2tbs raw sugar

1tbs cinnamon powder

1/2 egg

1tsp rock salt

some sugar to sprinkle (I used raw sugar)

Procedure:

  1. In a glass of lukewarm water, dissolve sugar and yeast.Allow it to stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the measured flour, yeast mixture,  and form a soft dough, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Cream the 1tsp fat, cardamon, salt separately and work into the dough. Tip onto a floured work surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until elastic.
  4. Form into a ball and return to the mixing bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes or double in size.
  5. Knock back the dough (punch it in the middle and let all the air escape) and knead again for 3-4 minutes.Roll the dough flat with the help of a rolling pin.Mix butter, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Note that the butter should be at room temperature and not cold.
  6. Spread the cinnamon mixture on the rolled dough and roll into a braid or any desired shape.
  7. Lay the dough on a parchment sheet.
  8. Leave it in a warm spot for 20 minutes or double in size.
  9. Preheat the oven and brush the bread with some egg and sprinkle some sugar on top.
  10. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes or until the surface is browned. My pulla had a slightly burnt sugar taste as I baked it for 25 minutes.However, it tasted good.
  11. The bread sounds hollow when done. Allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon sugar and coffee – you really can’t go wrong with your day 😉

Store in an air tight container for 3 to 4 days. It is best eaten warm with a nice cuppa coffee.

A lot of the recipes that I found online use a lot of egg and milk, which I found not necessary. I’ve tweaked the recipe to my liking and used egg only at the last stage for brushing to give the bread a nice crust. The recipe has been adapted from here.

You might also like the recipe of whole wheat bread (organic)

Perfect with coffee!


Wake up and smell the coffee!

Marc’s Coffee is a unique blend of passion, motivation and correct knowledge about coffee. Marc’s coffee is a  selected Indian blend from  Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh. The key to any good coffee is the right amount of roasting. Marc’s blog gives a step by step procedure for roasting.

“ When I roast my senses are fully awake, its a sort of being in trance” the smell, hues and “crack” sound of the magical bean are whispering me how the process is going. Finally the moment of truth come and the roast is finished, knowing when to stop is the key for a great result. This is something that you acquire by practice and not from books – says Marc Tormo, founder of Marc’s coffee.

As for the future, Marc sees his involvement more into the roasting coffee business, from choosing the beans on selected organic growing places, to packaging and distribution: “India is now ready for a real coffee experience”, says Marc, “with a strong and delicate flavor, with social and ecological issues attached to it, with a good packaging; even the middle class is now ready to pay a little bit more for an exclusive product, whereas ten years back it was not possible…”

At i2cook store, we have two blends – Julien Peak & Buma Devi

Single-estate Selection 9 Arabica coffee, derived from two Ethiopian Arabica species: Tafarikela and Hybrido-de-Timor. Medium Roast. Good Acidity. Aromas: Floral and fruity notes, specifically citrus and ripe berries.

Tucked deep into the Shevarois Hills of Tamil Nadu, the coffee region of Yercaud is still off the beaten path for many roasters. These beans have been certified by Utz (Utz certification is a foundation for the worldwide implementation of a standard for responsible coffee farming & sourcing) for the owner’s sustainable agro-forestry methods, preserving the high-altitude natural forests. Indigenous species in and around the plantation give these beans rich aromatics to help develop their flavour. Julien Peak has a very delicate aroma, mild body and fine acidity. It is roasted at medium to enhance the fragrance and subtle notes of a high-grown coffee. Especially crafted for coffee connoisseurs, it’s best enjoyed after lunch along with some good chocolate!


A dry-processed high-grade Robusta and Arabica beans sourced from Coorg. Medium and dark roast. Medium Acidity. Aromas: Fruity notes of citrus from the medium roast and smoky notes from the dark roasted coffee.

The coffee is shade-grown in the forests of Coorg, Karnataka. The ripe cherries are handpicked and sun-dried, then winnowed and hulled to separate the bean from the dried skin. No water is used in the whole process.
Selected by colour, size and density, the peaberry beans which are round in shape and have a distinctive fruity taste. The blend is medium- dark roasted with some dark roast to give it a hint of a smoky fragrance. Buma Devi is best enjoyed in the morning with milk, as a wake-up call.

You can buy the products here and here.

 To know more…..

Indian coffee

10 ways to reuse coffee grounds