Ideas worth spreading- Simple caprese and TED Fellowship!

Sunday 20 September 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Salads

There are times you wanna scream and rejoice your excitement…but I had to keep mine hush-hush for a while. While traveling in Amsterdam I found out I was selected as a Ted India fellow.(Where and when: sitting in the public library- highest building in Amsterdam and famous for a view, trying to check my email and my orders and explaining my brother which candles to give to the customer with the cake…heheh!).We were told sternly by them (TED-Technology, Entertainment, Design) to keep it a secret till they allow us to let the world know. You see they say right “The fruits of patience are always Sugar coated”.

For those who don’t know much about TED this the website you can check it out.

I was also quite ignorant about TED myself except that I allied some cool funky videos to it. I had no clue about why/how and in what context I was asked to apply for it. When I checked the website the fellows were either environmentalists, to people in development sector or doing things for social cause. I still couldn’t figure why/how a pastry chef fits in all this. It’s not like cooking meal for the under privileged kids (I do that with my mom on my grandma’s death anniversary and send the food to the orphanage) was such a big social cause. Cutting the long story short…I just applied for it and not even in my remotest vague ideas I had imagined I would get selected for it. Thank god for friends like Ankur who sometimes tell you…just apply dude rest you see later!!

As always to celebrate I cooked. The dinner was flavorful and one of the best that I have made for myself as it was express, trouble-free -salad and penne pasta in red sauce.

Caprese is one of the simplest and most delectable of salads. It necessitates only the right ingredients. Tomatoes those are red, juicy and flavorful but not overly soft, and preferably unrefrigerated. The next ingredient should be truly fragrant, flavorful young basil: I had some green basil grown in the pot at home, not the hydroponically grown giant leaf variety which has little flavor. Another essential ingredient is good quality fresh, moist mozzarella. Finally, the need for some genuine extra-virgin olive oil and only olive oil, the best you can afford. My twist…I added fresh avocado and some tomatoes roasted with garlic.

My version of Caprese salad with avocado!

Caprese Salad


Small tomatoes             5-6 no

Avocado                       1 no

Garlic                          2-3 no

Fresh mozzarella           1 box (200 gms)

Basil leaves                  a handful

Extra virgin olive oil      2-3 tbsps

Salt and pepper             to taste

I sometimes do things old school style. Just pulled the chunks of mozzarella by hand…sliced the avocados and just tossed all the ingredients together.

The secret to this recipe…which is hardly a secret now is the slow roasted tomatoes with garlic. Put the tomatoes, garlic in a 400F oven and wander off for a bit. You can follow the smell to check; there will be a gorgeous toasty aroma as the tomatoes cook. When the tomatoes (and garlic) look like they’ve started to brown or dry out on the top and the liquid in the pan has begun to thicken slightly, turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes to slowly soak in the flavors.

And if you are crazy about lemons like my mom squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the same!! Add caper berries if you have as garnish.

Try and enjoy your happy moment with the simplest of stuff alongside people you love!

PS- here is the press release that was sent by TED.


NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2009 — Organizers of the TED Conference will bring 103 TEDIndia Fellows to Mysore, India, to participate in TEDIndia, the first-ever TED in Asia. TEDIndia, “The Future Beckons,” will take place Nov. 4-7, 2009, on the high-tech campus of Infosys Technologies Ltd.

The TEDIndia Fellows are a diverse group of men and women, representing not only India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but also Indonesia, Canada, Tajikistan, the United States, China, Nigeria and Oman. TEDIndia Fellows include engineers, environmental scientists and pollution experts, human-rights activists, musicians, athletes and filmmakers. One is a female Olympic-class sailor. One runs an innovative rickshaw business. One is a robotics developer. All are committed to the spread of great ideas.

“As the world’s influence moves to the East, the TEDIndia Fellows program is proud to showcase the work of 103 visionaries born or working in South Asia, especially in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and the rest of the world,” says Tom Rielly, TED Fellows Director and TED Community Director.

In addition to attending as full members of the TEDIndia conference audience, all TED Fellows will take part in a one-day pre-conference where, among other benefits, they will receive world-class communication training and collaborate with their peers. Select Fellows will be invited to speak on the TED Fellows, TED University and main TED stages. Their TEDTalks may be selected for posting on, where each has the potential to be viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Fellows will also participate in the TED community throughout the next year, by telling their ongoing stories on the TED Fellows blog, being featured in the online Fellows directory and participating in a private social network.

The principal goal of the TED Fellows program is to empower Fellows to effectively communicate their work to the TED community and to the world.

Here are just a few of the 103 TEDIndia Fellows:

Sean Blagsvedt is the CEO of, an online enterprise connecting employers to informal-sector employees in the developing world — such as maids, cooks and office helpers — through a combination of mobile phones, location, skill and price filtering and social connections.

Svati Bhogle is the chief executive of Technology Informatics Design Endeavor (TIDE), a nonprofit devoted to promoting sustainable development through technological interventions.

Kishi Arora is a pastry chef and the “cakesmith” behind the Foodaholics treats and blog.

Jane Chen is the co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise that aims to help the millions of vulnerable babies born every year in developing countries through a low-cost infant sleeping bag that can regulate a baby’s temperature.

Shiva Keshavan is India’s three-time Winter Olympian and the youngest athlete ever to qualify for the Olympics in the luge.

Andrew Mendelson has been playing the sitar for a dozen years. His documentary film, A Cricket in the Court of Akbar, chronicles his journey to India to compete in the largest music competition in the state of Rajasthan.

Shahida Saleem is the founder of Sehat First, a social enterprise that provides access to basic health care and pharmaceutical services across Pakistan by means of self-sustainable, franchised tele-health centers.

Santosh Sigdel is a Nepali human rights lawyer.

Roshini Thinakaran is the founder of Women at the Forefront, a multimedia project examining war and conflict through the eyes of women.

Rikin Gandhi is CEO of Digital Green, a research project that seeks to disseminate targeted agricultural information to small and marginal farmers in India through digital video.

The TEDIndia Fellows program is underwritten by the visionary investment of “mentor capital” firm Sherpalo Ventures, with additional funding from

“Sherpalo Ventures supports the TEDIndia Fellows program to help nurture the next generation of exceptional Indian leaders, whether extraordinary entrepreneurs, visionary NGO founders, world-class artists and filmmakers, or ingenious inventors, as they work to solve the challenges facing our diverse and multifaceted country,” said Sandeep Murthy, Partner, Sherpalo Ventures India. “We further realize that India is part of a larger South Asian community and wish to foster closer bonds among these nations by connecting innovators across borders in all sectors of society.”

To meet all 103 Fellows, please visit

The TED Fellows program seeks individuals 21-40 years old (although anyone 18 and over can apply) with demonstrated remarkable achievement in their fields of endeavor. The program is accepting fellowship applications through Sept. 25, 2009, for the TED2010 Conference, “What the World Needs Now,” to be held Feb. 9-13, 2010, in Long Beach, California (information available at The program focuses on candidates from five regions: Asia/Pacific, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. The TED Fellows program is made possible by the visionary support of the Bezos family, Sherpalo Ventures, the Harnisch Foundation, the Case Foundation, private donors and Nokia.

Details on each Fellow and the program are available at To support the program or for more information, contact Logan McClure at +1 212.346.9333 or via email at Follow the TED Fellows blog at

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK, and this November, the TEDIndia Conference will be held in Mysore, India. TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where three exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action, and TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world. Follow TED on Twitter,, or on Facebook,

TEDIndia, “The Future Beckons,” will be held in Nov. 4-7, 2009, in Mysore, India. TED2010, “What the World Needs Now,” will be held Feb. 9-13, 2010, in Long Beach, California, along with TEDActive, a simulcast conference of TED2010, in Palm Springs, California. TEDGlobal 2010, “And Now the Good News,” will be held July 13-16, 2010, in Oxford, UK.

About TEDIndia

TEDIndia will be held Nov. 4-7, 2009, just outside Mysore, on the high-tech campus built by Infosys to train its thousands of engineering graduates. TEDIndia offers a fast-paced, highly curated, three-day stage program featuring TED’s famous 18-minute talks, plus music, comedy, dance, short talks, video interludes and other surprises. Preconference, there’s a full day of TED University, during which TEDIndia attendees can give their own short talks or performances. TEDIndia will host a class of 103 exceptional TED Fellows from around the world — young thinkers and doers in all fields who can become tomorrow’s leaders. Sponsors of TEDIndia include Infosys,, Nokia and Sherpalo Ventures.

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Easy meals…sandwich!

Thursday 21 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Easy Cooking,Sandwich

roasted veggies with bread
Sandwiches are a commonly fashionable sort of food. We take them to work, kids love it at school, picnics…Here is my take on an easy meal!


Ingredient /Amount
Peppers 2 each
Tomatoes 2 each
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Zucchini 2 each
Eggplant 1 each
Mushrooms 10 each
Balsamic Marinade 1 recipe
Salt t.t
Pepper t.t
Olive Oil As Needed


Peppers: Wash and roast peppers on an open flame, then place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to sit for 30 minutes. Remove skins and seeds, and then cut into julienne strips.

Tomatoes: Wash and cut off the stem end, then cut tomatoes into quarters. Lie on butter paper-lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until slightly browned and shrivelled.

Garlic: Peel garlic cloves and place in a pan. Cover with oil and cover pan with foil. Place in the oven and roast until aromatic and brown. Reserve the oil for other applications-use it for pasta’s preferably!

Zucchini: Cut off the ends, and cut in half length wise. Lie on butter paper-lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown and soft. When cool, cut them into julienne strips on a bias.

Eggplant: Wash eggplant, peel skin off, and cut off ends. Cut into ¼”-thick disks and place in a strainer (sieve aka colander). Create layers of eggplant and salt each layer very well. Place colander in a bowl and allow to sit for 2 hours, or until eggplant is softened. Rinse eggplant and toss with olive oil and grill (or sauté). When cool, cut into julienne strips.

Button Mushrooms: Remove stems from mushrooms, trying to keep the cap intact and whole, then place into the Balsamic marinade. Moisten all of the caps and line up in pans. Allow mushrooms to sit overnight or at least for a few hours. When ready, grill the mushrooms until the centres are softened.

So for the sandwich:

Roasted Vegetables 1 recipe
Bread 1 loaf pick from any bakery around your house, baguette or cracked wheat…not much choice in Delhi to be true!
Jack Cheese/cheddar cheese or fresh mozzarella 10-12 slices. Or crumble with hands for the latter
Balsamic Vinaigrette 1 recipe (look in the recipe section of the blog)
Lettuce, half leaves 1 head

1. To assemble the sandwich, place the lettuce on the bottom piece of bread, toss all vegetables except the mushrooms in enough balsamic vinaigrette to moisten them, and then place them on top of the lettuce. Top the vegetables with mushrooms and the cheese…I really like fresh mozzarella, which I melt in the microwave for just 10 second before adding. So it’s nice soft and gooey. Place top on and cut in half on a bias.

When you try -play around with different dressings, I personally love honey mustard 🙂

My advice: Do it a day before and make your life trouble-free! Sometimes spare some vegetable and store them in zip locks and make salads with the same!

The roasting of all of these vegetables should be done the day before?? WHY??
You try it and let me know… 😉

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Mothering Sunday

Monday 11 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Italian Cooking,Mother's Day

mothers-dayMother’s day was swamped with cake orders. Stayed up till wee hours organizing all the deliveries and making sure we were sending the right cakes to right mothers.
My big hit for the day was chocolate Torta. Everyone just loved it.
With all this I still managed to go to a party on Saturday night too and lost my earring while dancing -the highlight! Okay enough of junky updates…let’s get to the food bit.

I cooked quick/simple basic pasta salad on the eve of Mother’s day and rest of the meal mom made her self (basic daal roti sabji meal).
Think I will cook her a grand meal one of these days.

Farfalle with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.


Farfalle 500gms
Spring onions 2 ea.
Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves 200gms
Oregano chopped 1 tablespoon
Fresh basil chopped 1 tablespoon
Fresh mozzarella 100 Gms
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Lemon juice, fresh 1 teaspoon
Fresh chopped chilli 1 teaspoon
Garlic, crushed 1 clove
Fresh basil to roll mozzarella


1. Boil the pasta in a large saucepan of quickly boiling salted water until al dente.
2. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Allow to cool and transfer to a large salad bowl.
3. Spruce the spring onions and finely chop. Add to the pasta with the tomato halves, fresh mozzarella, oregano and basil.
4. To put together the dressing, mix the oil, chilli, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste in a bowl.
5. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad. Toss well.
6. For a pretty arrangement add the salad in a small glass. Wrap the mozzarella with a big basil leaf and sandwich it between cherry tomatoes halves on a satay stick.

Had our usual mother daughter natter, made decorations for my cakes for the next day in my kitchen and had our pasta with the satay stick! Mom happy me happy!

Belated Happy Mother’s Day!

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Umami-the 5th taste…

Saturday 9 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Guess what?,Taste

I had made Sushi yesterday and was discussing with Ishu about how I really miss the ones you get in Singapore with alpha alpha, radicchio, and endives in Fortune Centre Building. In my words that building is a pilgrimage for those who are vegetarian and want to experiment with mock meat! In all this I told Ishu that the taste in sushi can be categorized as umami. He was a bit taken back as he was not aware of this term. Ishu has always been very curious by nature, wants to know why, the guy reads around 4-5 newspapers a day! To be true I was also as unware of this term till I reached school. I might say this in a lot of my posts but at school you get to learn not only the techniques the style the recipes in relation to food but also the science behind everything.

So this is the gyan I gave him, will share with you guys also!

Umami is an idiom used for protein heavy items. It’s found in many foods, such as tomatoes, parmesan cheese, truffles, and many kinds of meat, seafood and different type of stocks. A term which originated in Tokyo, Japan. Umami as a separate savour was first identified in 1908 by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University while following a line of investigation on the strong essence in seaweed broth. this is when the concept of MSG in Asian food started as a flavour enhancer.

Okay let’s give you the background of the factual talk he and I had :
We all know we have five senses.
• Sight
• Hear
• Taste
• Touch
• Smell
Senses are the structure mode of awareness. Taxonomy ascribed to Aristotle. In taste sensation, the tongue is composed of five diverse taste buds:

Flow chart

So you see everything is interconnected.
If you guys wanna explore more check this out:
I highly recommend if you want to be a chef start reading on food now. I did it much later in life as I use to restrict my self with recipes and the kind of ingredients.
You know food has a world of its own.

Another interesting read:

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Homemade Burgers

Wednesday 22 April 2009 | Posted by Kishi | Food,Salads

I am a workaholic thanks to foodaholics! I am determined to teach my maid today. You know it’s hard sometimes to multitask…as much as I find irresistible body for sure can get fatigued. So I found the solution. For dinner I decided to make burgers…home style and decided to teach my maid so my life becomes easy. I call my maid “Gudiya” coz she is about 19-20 in age and a darling.

There are days she asks me attention-grabbing questions when I am assembling cakes. She recognizes fruits by colour. I am teaching her how to write, pack chocolates, bake cakes, learning the ingredients my helper in real sense. I make her taste all the stuff I make so she learns the taste. Now and then I get the most genuine/weird/funny response from her. At times she gets confused between spatula and an off set spatula or between fondant and marzipan and when she picks up something wrong I just give her the look…almost saying gudiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa not again!! And she just cracks up. And both of just become the reason for each other’s amusement. Tell you she is a real entertainer.

I think I am getting a bit emotional I am very fond of her and she is thinking of going back to the village. I don’t want her to go. She lost her parents in an accident and I don’t know if she goes back will she have a healthier existence. Nevertheless getting back to the meal so where were we-Vegetarian burgers ok?


So here you go… (Good for 5 people, I ate twoJ)


Burger Buns                                                             6

Potatoes                                                                   3

Soya small pieces                                                   300 Gms (nutrela chura)

Carrots                                                                      2 medium

Beans                                                                         100-150 Gms

Cauliflower                                                              1 small

Capsicum                                                                  2 small

Onions                                                                       1 large

Salt                                                                             2 tsp

Black pepper                                                           1tsp

Red chilli                                                                   1 ½ tsp

Mango powder (amchur)                                                ½ tsp

Coriander powder                                                 ½ tsp

Panko/bread crumbs                                            100 Gms

Oil                                                                               4-5 tbsp

Bread if required                                                    2 slices

Flax seeds                                                                 1 tbsp




1.     Boil the potatoes and grate them.

2.     Add all the veggies together and chop them super fine. I use an electric mixer.

3.     Mix all the potatoes and the veggies together. And all the seasoning.

4.     Add panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular ones. Bread Crumbs: I use multigrain bread to make them at home. I like the concept of flax seeds in the burger. Today I added some extra other than the 1tbsp.

5.     Mix all the ingredients together and form sort of dough. Potatoes and bread help to bind.

6.     Make small balls and shallow fry them on a flat pan.

7.     Make the balls nice and round and press them as they cook that way the whole mixtures will cook evenly and you won’t get the raw feeling in the middle.

8.     Once both sides are nice and brown put them on a mesh plate. So they dry up and still don’t get soggy.


By and large I don’t eat my burgers with mayo like the rest of the world. Did you know I don’t eat ketchup?

So I more often than not put green chutney made of fresh coriander, mint, onion, ginger and cumin.

Another relish I love putting in there is the Thai sweet chilli sauce. It adds a bit of the tang. It’s non-compulsory. Though you can get it at any market INA rocks!!


On the same pan take the buns and cook them till light golden brown.

Take some lettuce, cucumber, tomato; cherry tomato if it’s available. Onions whatever salad items you like toss them in some lemon juice black pepper, extra virgin olive oil or add some balsamic vinaigrette.(check the recipe section) Toss it and fantastic …home style burger ready!


Ps- the preeminent ingredient of this meal…gudiya now knows how to make it! One task overJ 








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