Celebrations galore!

 

 

The countdown to the end of the year has already begun, so here’s wishing everyone a belated Merry Christmas – hope you all had a great time with fun, food, family and friends! Just a few more days left when we all will usher into the New Year – let us all make some realistic resolutions and complete them in full spirits!

We celebrated Christmas in the office with the colour theme of red and white and some surprise gifts for all from the Secret Santa. Unwrapping presents in any form is always exciting and it sure makes one a child again!

In Bahrain today for The Yellow Chilli’s first anniversary celebrations. Time really flies – its already a year since I had gone to open the store there. TYC at Seef Mall, Bahrain is no more an infant. People all over Bahrain visit and patronize this place.

Today, the day will begin with an interview at Your FM Studio, following that, a meeting and lunch at Sun City Venture’s new office with directors. Next in line will be the cake cutting ceremony and press interactions later in the evening and finally the day shall end with a Road Show at The Yellow Chilli store. It’s always ecstatic to be a part of any event related to TYC…and similar is the case with this one. All charged up for a great day filled with some amazing food, interactions with enthusiastic people and an exciting time!

After all of this, I have a morning flight to Dubai on December 28, 2012. Dubai has 3 restaurants of mine namely Options, Khazana and Signature. All doing well and creating waves…various events, meetings and trials lined up. A two-day trip and I shall be back to India on December 30, 2012.

Just after my return, will be again tied-up with the shoots of Master Chef India Season 3. The technical will happen on January 2, 2012 and then the actual shoots will begin. Meanwhile, in office, there is a round of shoots for Youtube with Chef Anupa doing videos for beginners. Keep a watch on our channel “sanjeevkapoorkhazana” to catch the easy recipes. Will keep on updating as and when more of the schedules unfold.

All set for today and more to come in the coming days…

 
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

 

Christmas Undertakings

As the Christmas day approaches the feverish activities reaches its peak. Ingredients for the Christmas cakes and cookies are shopped from the choicest of specialty shops. Guest lists are made and menus decided with much animated discussions. Homes are spruced up, with whatever paint or polish touch-ups needed to make it look absolutely spotless. It is time to shop for new furnishings and linen so that freshness comes into the home to welcome the Lord. Dried fruits and nuts are soaked in rum and kept away till they are needed for the cakes and cookies to be made for the big day. The centre pieces that steal the show are the Christmas cakes and baked goodies. Goodies smeared and loaded with the richness of chocolate and whipped cream. The delectable layered treats with the goodness of fruity surprises are homemade and exchanged as gifts on the Christmas day.

On the Christmas Eve sincere Christians will not miss Midnight Mass which is held to rejoice the birth of the Lord with prayers, hymns and carols. People come to Church dressed up in their new clothes and pray with full devotion. Greetings of ‘Merry Christmas’ reverberate in the air and it is nearly at dawn that they enter their homes for a short nap if at all there is time for it! The children are restless for their gifts and early Christmas morning they rush to where their gifts await. As gifts are exchanged, the cake is cut, vintage wine brought out and members of the family toast each other and wish for happiness and prosperity.

The meal most often relished on the occasion of Christmas is the family Christmas dinner. In India due the diverse regional difference the main dish can be stuffed-chicken or turkey served along with stir fried vegetables and a rich sauce that oozes with the aromas of local spices used in the dish. Other popular items include Chicken-and-Spinach Casserole, Barbecued Chicken Lasagna, Chicken Cutlets, Vindaloo etc. Chicken or mutton biryani and sometimes the expensive turkey biryani is prepared and consumed widely during the Christmas time. While, vegetarian menus include Vegetable-and-Rice Casserole, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, Corn-and-Cashew Cutlets, Mint Salad, etc. Desserts like home-made Banana-Chocolate Pancakes, Christmas Plum Cake, Chocolate Cups with Chocolate Mousse, Eggless Pineapple Mousse, Frozen Fruit Pudding, Apple Brandy Cheese Cake, Cherry Berry Cheesecake,and Quick Strawberry Cheese Cake,among many others ensure that you wind up the Christmas meal merrily.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Chicken and Spinach Casserole
Quick Strawberry Cheese Cake

                  

Busy Week Endeavors

 

Press conferences, shoots, sessions and meetings are keeping me busy this week. Yesterday, the entire day was dedicated to the grooming sessions for the upcoming Master Chef Season 3 with Star TV, while in my office studio second day shoot of “Maa Ki Daal”- show was going on.

The winners of Maa Ki Daal contest held in different societies, malls and all over Mumbaiare participating in the show, which is being hosted by Chef Harpal. This show has already generated a lot of interest amongst all and the buzz is getting stronger. Tata i-Shakti Dal (pulses) -the main sponsor of the show is quite upbeat about the outcome of the events and how the show is shaping up.

Chef Anupa from my team is judging the dal recipes prepared by various contestants and I am sure she must have not eaten this much of dals in her entire life! This show is really turning out to be very special; recently my mother graced the office sets with her presence and cooked her special Maa Chole De Dal. Her dal recipe was quite a hit and we both (Alyona and me) immensely appreciated it.

Also, “Secret Recipe” season 2 is in full gear. The show went on air from December 15, 2012 at 7.30 pm on FOODFOOD and was quite a hit. Don’t miss the upcoming episodes!

Next the very important cause of Autism cannot be missed. So, as and when time permits yours truly is training and running around to show support and solidarity to the worthy cause. I am giving my support to The Forum for Autism, a registered Charitable Trust, which is the parent support group, formed to help out parents of the Autistic children in our society. United Way of Mumbai is the Official Charity Partner to the Standard Chartered Mumbai who is organizing a Marathon run in January 2013 to spread awareness and raise adequate funds. Do not forget to participate.

Got to run for now…

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

The Christmas Story

Etymologically speaking, Christmas is derived from an Old English word: Crīstesmaesse, which means “Christ’s Mass.” Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, a divine leader whose teachings form the basis of Christian religion.

The Christmas Story

Birth of Jesus – Around 2000 years ago in Israel, Mary was living in Galilee of Nazareth and was engaged to a Jewish carpenter, Joseph. An angel appeared in her dreams and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the blessings of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she must name him Jesus. At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. On their trip to Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable. Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic energies departed, the shepherds decided to see the baby and spread the word around. There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby, in a stable.

At this time three wise men (Magi) from the east saw a bright North Star, they came in search, knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained- In Bethlehem in Judea. So the wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. They were spell bound by the divine child’s presence; they bowed and worshipped him by singing hymns, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh. (These were thought to be the origins of Christmas rituals of exchanging gifts and singing hymns.)

For his first thirty years, Jesus lived a traditional Jewish life, working as a carpenter. During this time, all of Israel was under Caesar’s Roman dictatorship, including Bethlehem. In his thirties, Jesus began his public teaching and display of recorded miracles. Over a three year time-span, Jesus’ reputation spread nationwide. The Roman governors and rulers of Israel’s provinces and the leaders of the Jewish people (the religious counsels) took note of him. To curb his following and teachings, Jesus was brutally tortured and then hung by his hands, which were nailed to a horizontal wooden beam (cross). This method of execution restricted the airflow to his lungs, killing him in three hours. However, according to more than 500 witnesses, Jesus returned from the dead three days later, and over the next 40 days journeyed in both the southern and northern provinces of Israel. To many, this was conclusive proof that Jesus was God.

Significance of Jesus’s life and his teachings: All through his suffering he was patient and forgiving even to those who killed him. Christ saved us, not through his death, but through his life. He overcame evil through forbearance and perseverance. He taught us how we should live our lives and he showed us how to do it. His life was a living example of how only by doing good that we can be truly happy. Jesus set the stage so that we are free to choose. We must do our part to choose good, which will draw us closer to the Divine. Some of his teachings …

• God loves you and is with you
• Love one another
• Immense value of each person
• Reality of judgment to heaven or hell
• God forgives those who ask

Jesus’s life is a true living testimony of how life lived for other is worth living. Shall continue with more such interesting Christmas happenings in my next blog, stay tuned. Meanwhile, why don’t you try out these exciting Christmas recipes and share it with your friends and family…

Crusty Potato Fingers

Classic Roast Chicken

Eggless Pineapple Mousse

    

Christmas On-goings!

Christmas phenomenon has been around for more than two millennia.  People around the world have been observing it with traditions like exchanging gifts, attending the mid-night mass on 25th December, decorating the Christmas tree, leavingout the chocolate cookies and milk for Santa and last but not the least listening to Uncle John talk about his hernia removal surgery while you are trying to enjoy yourChristmas cake!
Christians celebrate, Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, a piousleading light whose teachings form the basis of the Christian religion. In India, the colonization of British till 1947 lead to percolation of this religion and its teachings amongst certain sect of Indians. Christianity in India is a minority and around 3% of its population observe Christmas. Christmas in India is also known as “bada-din” (the big day).
Christians in India decorate pine or banana or mango trees (this varies from region to region) during Christmas. They also light small oil lamps as decorations and fill their churches with red flowers. They give presents to family members and baksheesh, or charity, to the poor people. In India, the poinsettia is in bloom and so the churches are decorated with this brilliant red flower for the Christmas Midnight Mass. In South India, Christians put small clay lamps on the rooftops and walls of their houses.
At home families prepare cakes and cookies and traditional regional sweets.  The Midnight Mass precedes the Christmas day when the church resounds with the joyful singing of Christmas carols and thanksgiving.  The Christmas dinner is an important affair, where the whole family sits down together for athanksgiving meal, which includes Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and Roast Chicken or Turkey with all its traditional trimmings and numerous other dishes.
Feasting and merrymaking takes precedence during Christmas. Though each region has its specialties, it is an exciting opportunity to explore the newer possibilities of a sumptuous array of X’mas goodies this Christmas. Prepare these yummy treats suggested and do not forget to share it with your family and the much-loved Uncle John!

Christmas Punch
Christmas Cookies
Christmas Pudding

Too many things…

Its 12.12.12 today…a special date to remember as it happens once a lifetime! Nothing unusual, just the usual happenings will go on as the day moves ahead.
First things first, attended the India Food Service Forum 2012 at Bombay Exhibition Centre this morning. Was invited to speak on the topic “bringing out the best of the food entrepreneur in yourself” to an audience with professionals including chefs, restaurant owners and food writers. It was really great to meet the zealous crowd and interact with them. Hope I was successful in inspiring them, as well I could!
Besides this, flew to Kolkata on December 7, 2012 for the first round of auditions for Master Chef India Season 3 and had a super time with my co-judge Chef Kunal Kapoor and the ever-enthusiastic Kolkata crowd. The city of joy always has great foodies to offer, and this time we managed to choose some of them to compete for the Master Chef Title. The next round of auditions is happening in New Delhi, so will be catching the flight on December 14, 2012 to be there, the competition already seems fierce with all the talent around and I can say that its going to be tough to choose the best!
Returned and had a lavish dinner at home with some close friends and acquaintances on Monday with a menu that included dishes like Mutton and Veg Biryani, Rawa Fried Fish, Palak Raita, Chocolate Shells stuffed with Mango and Saffron Mousse to name a few. Enjoyed the time to the fullest!
Also, our channel FoodFood is now on Tata Sky – so tune into channel 572 and enjoy your favourite channel and khushiyon ki recipe 24X7!
Yesterday, started with the auditions of “Maa ki Dal” with Chef Anupa judging the dal recipes at a housing society in Goregaon – a new programme, coming very soon on FoodFood. The shoots are to begin in the office studio from December 17, 2012 and to go on for three days.
Besides all this, Youtube shoots with some contestants of FoodFood’s “Secret Recipe” Season 1 are going on in the office studio along with some recipe trials in the kitchen to go on the website. “Mummy ka Magic” host and a dear friend Amrita Raichand will also be shooting some fun recipes for our Youtube channel very soon!
All for now, keep a watch at this space for more updates…
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

More good news!

Its that great feeling again…The Yellow Chilli chain of restaurants just celebrated over a decade of excellence in innovative Indian Cuisine at Pune, and just after that came another grand news –  “The Yellow Chilli Cookbook” won 2 more titles – ‘Best Indian Cuisine Book’ and ‘Best Chef Cookbook’ at the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards 2012. Earlier this year, it already had been a winner at the International Book Awards 2012.
After launching the first TYC restaurant in 2001 in Ludhiana and satisfying patrons with our ever-innovative and delectable Indian cuisine served there, they had been requesting me to share The Yellow Chilli recipes with them and thus the seed for this book were sown.
Choosing the recipes to go into this collection was not done overnight. All the outlets had to be surveyed, the dishes that are best sellers had to be pulled out, scaled down to fit four portions perfectly and then triple-test them. Adapting the recipes for home use was as enjoyable and educative as they were for the restaurant. Today, The Yellow Chilli Cookbook is ruling the hearts of many and has become bestseller. Feels super thrilling to know that all our hardwork has been aptly paid off!
Besides this, shoots for FoodFood’s Secret Recipes are still going on. Its exciting as ever to cook up recipes of all the lovely fans and their secret unique dishes. To go on till tomorrow.
Many societies and a few malls in Mumbai will witness fierce competition in making of dals to match the recipes of our Chef in a new programme of FoodFood titled Maa ki Dal. Chef Anupa will judge the events.
Also, Master Chef India Season 3 shoots to begin very soon…this week itself!
This is it, as of now. Will definitely keep all of you posted with the latest happenings…
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor