Category: Food

Dinner at Mama Makan

We had dinner at Mama Makan. Though for Hindi speakers it sounds like Mama’s house, in Indonesian it means Mama’s Food. The concept is that you are at Mama’s kicthen, sitting on the table, with mismatched yet charming plates, old quaint cutlery that is heavy and solid like Mama’s love (I suppose), and Mama brings out her passionately cooked meals, just for you.

Perhaps this is the reason why the service is so indulgent. The food is a mix of continental favorites like herb crusted rack of lamb, roast monkfish, and tournedos rossini, as well as Indonesian delights such as Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng, and Kari Ayam.

We ate the Ikan Masak Lemak, poached fish in rich turmeric sauce, along with Sate Campur, assorted satays, and white wine risotto with grey shrimps, broad beans, asparagus and poached egg. The food was exceptional, perfect portion size, beautifully presented, tasty, and not too spicy or oily.

We drank Indonesian beer called Bintang, which the hostess said was, “better than Heineken,” Apoorva informed us that Bintang was a Heineken product, so no offence was taken in that accord.

For dessert, I had the black glutinous rice with fresh mango and coconut cream, the rice was chewier than I expected. The Sulawesi chocolate ice ceam, I was informed, was the best chocolate ice cream ever. This judgement might have been clouded by the champagne we had earlier in the evening, followed by the copious amounts of Bintang.

We were presented a plate of tropical fruit because we were celebrating and offered (another) glass of champagne, which we turned down, because we are officially middle-aged and at 7:30pm wanted to call it a night, get back home, read our book, listen to some old songs, play some games on the iPad, and sleep.

A meal for three, with drinks, cost us: 85 euros with tip, which for the experience, ambience, and food, I would highly recommend as an excellent deal.

Mama Makan: click here

Restaurant Jinso for lunch

We had an outstanding lunch at Jinso in Arena Boulevard. We have eaten at Jinso before (and keep passing it when we have an errand to run at Villa Arena or a movie to watch at Pathe) and I always forget to note down (for the blog) how good the food is, how pleasant the atmosphere is, and how friendly the staff are. But, today, here and now I am making it a point to write the fact that this place is really good.

For those of you curious to know the specs: it is very spacious for Amsterdam standards and has natural light flowing through its interiors. It gives the feeling of sitting in a conservatory. Similar to Kokusai in shape but, with much more natural light and better service.

A lunch main course for three people, and four drinks cost us – 47 euros. Admittedly, not cheap but for a special meal on the Easter weekend, why not, a bit of indulgence once in awhile is good for them old bones!  Be forewarned they have generous portion sizes.

Drover’s Dog, Amsterdam

We went over to the Australian cafe Drover’s Dog for breakfast with our friends. It has a nice laid-back vibe. I could see myself reading the papers in a corner sipping a mug of coffee, the place is great to meet folks as well – warm wood interiors, soft and natural light and lots of vases with flowers. It is a bit noisy on the weekends.

The menu is not run of the mill and has a few interesting options e.g. corn fritters that came with a perfectly poached egg and chili jam. I appreciated that on asking for a glass of water they offered a pitcher of water with herbs and lemon. Small gesture that makes a big difference.

The service is friendly. Children were quite welcome.

We reached a consensus that we ought to give this place: 4 stars (out of 5)
Location: Heemstedestraat 25, Amsterdam Oud-Zuid.

Soya cake for milk allergy

Yesterday I made a cake that was butter-and-milk-free. I wanted to celebrate with my friends and the fact that most desserts have milk or butter in them bothered me. My son, almost 7 years old, has cow’s milk allergy and can’t eat many products that we often associate with kids – pizzas and cupcakes. The more I learn from his journey the more I realize that kids have such resilience and strength. I am teaching myself to cook in a different fashion so I am happy to share the success of this cake.

Recipe for basic soya cake
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or Triple Sec
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soya cream

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the soya cream until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Other notes:
I used Renshaw fondant and Wilton decorating gel for decorating.

The original recipe that I changed: click here 

My cake ingredients shop: click here

Dinner at Sazanka

A special dinner organised at Sazanka – (Teppanyaki cuisine) at Hotel Okura. A meal prepared with such care and perfection. Sazanka never fails in their excellence and warmth. While the food is delectable and the ingredients are of high quality what remains stunning is the performance of the chefs. Such dexterity is a sheer joy to watch!

Contact: Okura deets

Rolling and Smoking Will – A Ghazal

Rolling and Smoking Will – A Ghazal

Leftovers marked impending will
Let go if you can bending will

Old China, teak furniture, books
His never-ending quill

I closed the suitcase lid
No hope left in swallowing pills

A garden of roses and jasmine
He wove magic with his tending till

What is gone can’t come back
Time is never standing still

Tumble bumble rumble forth Das
Life is a spellbinding drill

Pictures from the weekend: Amsterdam Bos, Boerderij Meerzicht, Little Gym Amsterdam, De Veranda

Surya Restaurant

Surya Restaurant
Ceintuurbaan 147
Amsterdam
+31 20 676 7985

Top 3 reasons you should visit Surya:

1. Spare me the India you see:  it does not have hastily crafted Ganesh statues, bad ethnic prints and distastefully made Rajasthani dolls. Neither does it play sad Indian sounding numbers with too much sitar and flute, or ghazals (cliche fest), the decor is elegant, the music easy, and the Indian influences subtle, think a brocade cushion rather than a kitsch kitchen. Their house wine is served in beautiful goblets not silver harem glasses.

2. Food baby: A restaurant that tweets pictures of how the food you eat is cooked has my vote – also it lands up making me hungry on most days. Must try menu items: Momos, chai (I almost wept, a good steaming cup of desi chai as the snowflakes came down – how long I had waited for this taste on my tongue), Gurkha chicken, mutton biryani.

3. No, this is my table: You can have a conversation, unlike most Amsterdam restaurants, Surya has space, the manner in which they have set up the tables gives diners privacy and peace.

Surya is a pleasant experience,their staff has a balanced air about them – not brusque European ‘disservice’ nor the overwhelming presence of overdone hospitality. They give you the space, time, ambiance to enjoy a good meal. 4.5 out 5 stars. I remove .5 stars for them not delivering to my house. This restaurant is a ‘keeper’.

Average price of meal for one person with a drink: 30-35 euros
Star rating: 4.5 out of 5