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Nuts about Nuts : Turkish Delight from Azerbaijan

I woke up this morning to find that a sister in law had just flown in from Baku, Azerbaijan. She presented me with a gorgeously wrapped box that I just had to photograph and share.

Image of a gift from AzerbaijanI am a real sucker for gift wrapping and wanted to keep the box just the way it was so that my grandsons could open it when they came home this evening.

But I am even more curious than the cat, so I quickly opened it to find an assortment of Turkish Delight that I’d never seen before.
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A sister-in-law just flew in from Azerbaijan early this morning and brought along a box of the most delicious Azerbaijani sweets. It was an interesting array of Turkish Delight from a famous shop in Baku called XURJUN ( pronounced Khur Jun) . With a strong Arabic influence, it resembled the Karachi halwa that is ever so popular in India. In fact it reminded me of the Halwa I got from the Dubai Mall earlier this year.

Turkish Delight is a sugar and starch sweet meat that is a popular Arabic dish. It has a soft chewy texture that children often love. It lasts long ( rather it keeps long) though in our house it barely lasted the week!

Have you had Turkish Delight before?

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ROYCE’ no Plain Jane chocolate

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a guilty pleasure

The two of us were enjoying a cup of coffee in J’s open terrace one morning, when her uniformed bearer came in with a box of chocolates. It was a birth announcement addressed to her mother in law.

J asked him to keep it on her bed and we continues with our conversation. Suddenly, her curiosity got the better of her and she went inside and brought the box out.

“She’s not returning for a week. Let’s just try one! ”

As she opened the box, we both felt the thrill of girls breaking a school rule. We took a chocolate each and slipped it into our mouths , unconsciously looking over our shoulders for a Prefect to catch us eating in class. As the chocolate melted and the hidden taste of orange hit our palates, we reached out for the next. And the next and the next. It wasn’t long before they were all over.

“She doesn’t eat chocolate , anyway, ” she said as the last bit of bitter sweetness swirled around in our mouths .

That guilty pleasure remains with me whenever I pass a chocolate shop and I quickly look away before I succumb to the temptation of indulging in a bite of sin.

A bite of royce’

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I always wondered what ROYCE‘  tasted like, every time I walked by the shop at Palladium. What was so special about it that everyone whispered around it in reverential tones? Was it bitter? Was it soft and creamy?

Yesterday , I found out ,when I was gifted a box of pure pleasure.

no Plain jane

Carefully removing it from the blue cool bag it was packed in , I gently removed the ice bag and slowly opened up the slim box. Removing the inner plastic cover, I must confess my disappointment at seeing row upon row of plain chocolate finely dusted with cocoa. Where were the fancy curls and swirls? Or the bits of nut ?

But the moment it’s bitter sweetness assaulted my taste buds, I knew just why .

The bite sized pieces were just right . They were soft and creamy as they melted in my mouth, filling it up with a sweetness and bitterness that was …. well …perfect balanced.

Unassuming and unpretentious , they were small but packed  a punch .

In search of the perfect Mawa Cake

It’s all about the #Mawa Cake

The Mawa Cake

Only a Mumbaikar will understand all the the brouhaha about the Mawa cake. A few years ago B. Merwan, an Irani bakery situated bang opposite Grant Road East Station, announced that they were closing down. Immediately there was a hue and cry with some people petitioning the owners not to shut down.

Even though I live just about 1/2 a km away from the bakery, for the past three decades, I’ve never had the time to walk down so this Saturday, I made it my mission to walk over the ugliest bridge to nowhere and visit the shop. The shop was everything I expected it to be – grungy, overcrowded and manned by crotchety gentlemen.

image for B Merwan There was the ubiquitous Family Room which separated respectable families from the hoi polloi dining outside and a distinct separation from the General Store area and the bakery counter selling hot khari and mawa cakes.

B.Merwan takes pride in the fact that by 9 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, their Mawa cakes are sold out and customers will have to do with “pocket” ( ie packed) ones from Surat.

The Verdict

Having tasted Mawa Cakes and Khari from Paris Bakery at Dukkar Gully,Quality Cakes at Bhaji Gully, Kwality at Nana’s Chowk , Appetite at Gowalia Tank and the much tom tommed B .Merwan, I can say that without a doubt Paris is the winner .

Watch out for more on PARIS in another post!

Holi time is ice cream time 

Today is Holi and the official celebration of Spring . Tonight many fires will be lit in different parts of the country while people will dance around it to celebrate the warm weather. And tomorrow the festivities will continue the revelry with colour and swigs of almond sherbet oft times laced with bhang or marijuana. 

Many people celebrate the festival with food that is made in the traditional wa. We , in Maharashtra , for instance, make sweet stuffed Puran Poli  but there’s a better way to celebrate the onset of hotter weather  like a mailer I received this morning informed – tubs of ice cream specially made the way your granny made them- churning them by hand, soft and creamy. 

Sucres des Terres the brainchild of two young Worli based entrepreneurs offer you their latest summer creation for a limited time only – Orange & Rosemary 

  
But don’t worry if you don’t hurry and miss this opportunity . 

Their regular fare is to die for too! 

8 unique flavours in PET bottles .

                       Cinema Paradiso

 
           Chocolate chocolate macaron   
                    Espresso Croquant

   
                   Mint for each other 

 
                Sweet heart lemon tart

   
                        Caramel a salt

 
                   Dark Side of Ginger

 
Clean Mean Vanilla Bean 
sucres des terres 
  
.Deliver from Cuffe Parade to Bandra

So call before the ice cream melts. 

+91 9920985880

Disclaimer : 

Images taken from email sent to me and from official website of Sucres des Terres without obtaining prior permission

   
 

Library of Nuts?

The word library has its roots in the Latin word liber which means books and liberius which means relating to books. 

I was thus surprised when I opened this gorgeous bright red laquer box from ABACA, one of India’s foremost supplier of quality outdoor furniture and specially curated accessories 

  
Eager to find what was inside the box, I quickly tore open the gift wrap and was surprised to find four neatly packed jars.

  
What were they?

Four unique flavours of mouth freshener a or mukhwas , the traditional way of killing the strong flavours of garlic, ginger and heavy spices that go with traditional Indian food. They also serve as aids in digestion, made as they are with herbs and ingredients that aid in digestion. 

  
These four flavours were unlike I’d ever eaten before. Each one had a unique flavour and weren’t sickly sweet either . Moreover, I was intrigued by their provenance “Library of nuts”. 

If you are interested in trying them out  check out their details below.

 
They will definitely help with all the overeating that’s in store for most of us these coming weeks.

Happy New Year all and may 2016 be a happier and foodier year for all!