Purplicious!

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Growing up, I didn’t care much for aubergine. It was one of those vegetables that just so happened to be part of the week’s repertoire. Also, I didn’t quite appreciate how its seedy gut oozed out once Mum was done roasting it on an open flame.

But as a food journalist you get bored ordering things that you know — for a fact — are good, and experiment with the unknown instead. At times you also want to test restaurants by trying out items that aren’t popular with the public.

This instinct (and instruction) led me to ordering Berenjaras Rellenas, baked aubergine with goat cheese, at Poco Loco in Bandra. Needless to say, aubergines soon became an obsession. I was ordering auberjine pakodas and sabji at Indian restaurants, and picked the most fragrant basil for the pesto sauce on the aubergine carpaccio I was cooking as a staple. I even wrote a feature about it for The Indian Express, much to the amusement of my editor who claims to have foreseen the headline: Purple Fever. Ah well. She knows me. She truly does.

Full feature here

Photo taken in a friend’s kitchen, Mumbai

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Dish Pick | Banana Caramel Pie

I don’t indulge in it very often, but the coffee and cake course after a meal can be really special. You do need a cup of good coffee though. Like the Guatemalan variety at Indigo Deli which comes French pressed and pairs beautifully with a banana and caramel pie. I love how the silkiness of the bitter coffee – sans milk and sugar, always – breaks the monotony of the sickeningly sweet pie. Opt for some baked yogurt if you’re not a fan of rich and sugar heavy desserts. This combination tastes best on a Saturday afternoon just after a heavy and fulfilling meal.

Photo taken at Indigo Deli, Bandra

Dish Pick | Tomato and Boconcini Salad, Salt Water Cafe

Ever met a flavour that changed your opinion of a dish? Like a lemon butter sauce that turned broccoli into a staple? Or a particularly good pâté that made chicken liver more than palatable?

I hated tomatoes growing up. Tough skin, gooey centre, bite into it for the fruit that it is and it sprays you with juice you just can’t wipe off fast enough.

But there’s something different about the Tomato and Bocconcini salad at Bandra’s Salt Water Cafe. The combination of rocket, onion sauce and the tender slices of cheese sent tomatoes from my detested to most desired list. It is now, in my books, one of the most amazing appetisers in the city and it goes best with a glass of white wine sangria on a warm summer afternoon.

Photo taken @ Salt Water Cafe, Bandra