I love Cheese. I am sure you must be doing too.. I can literally drown in a dish topped up or cooked with it.. Cauliflower Cheese yummy yumm. Macroni Cheese Ooo la la.. Four Cheese Pizza ...Mama Mia..

Last week, a bunch of us bloggers - Nisha Thomas from My Kitchen Antics and two other bloggers - Suchi from Kitchen Karma and Gayathri from Mummy and me attended a Catello Cheese Pop up Store event   Thank you Nisha for tagging me along.. My first hand experience to a cheese taster session.



Fresh from New York, The Hague and Copenhagen,speciality cheese brand Castello's first UK concept store was launched by foodie 'gastronaut',Stephan Gates on Commercial Street,Shoreditch.
With over 30 varieties of cheese available to taste and buy, the store promises an immensive 360 degree experience like none other.
There was a perfect pairing bar serving innovative combinations for cheese,drinks and nibbles put together by food expert and TV presenter Stephan Gate and Drink Expert Matt Day, which some of us bloggers were lucky enough to experience.
 



Creatively Crafted Canapies were being served during this event which was one of its kind. Just slice your favourite cheese on its own into tiny bite sized morsels or top it up on a designer platter with cracker and chuntey.





Matt explains" When you pair cheese with the right drink, it can elevate the taste to another level.The secret of matching cheese with a drink is a balance."



 The wheelcart chart was a perfect takeaway from the pop store..Chart gives you an insight on how to pair your cheese with cracker ,chutney and the drink.

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Off all the available cheese I tasted the other day ,I relished the Pineapple Halo Cheese pairing.

Base : All Butter Shortbread
Chutney/Jam: Tiptree Timperley Early Rhubarb with Vanilla
Toppings :Strawberries
Drink: Italian Moscato. eg: Luigi Eniaudi Moscato D'Asti

Castello® Pineapple Halo combines soft cheese with small chunks of pineapple with chopped almonds and papaya. This gives a sweet pineapple flavour with notes of warm syrup.
Castello® Cream Cheese with Pineapple is exclusively made of natural ingredients.
- See more at: http://www.castellocheese.co.uk/hosting-tips/#sthash.ectJmzRs.dpuf
Castello Pineapple Halo Cheese combines soft cheese with small chunks of Pineapple with chopped almonds and papaya.This gives a sweet pineapple flavour with notes of warm syrup. Castello® Cream Cheese with Pineapple is exclusively made of natural ingredients
- See more at: http://www.castellocheese.co.uk/hosting-tips/cheese-parties/pineapple-halo/#sthash.b3wwmk9j.dpuf
Castello® Pineapple Halo combines soft cheese with small chunks of pineapple with chopped almonds and papaya. This gives a sweet pineapple flavour with notes of warm syrup.
Castello® Cream Cheese with Pineapple is exclusively made of natural ingredients
- See more at: http://www.castellocheese.co.uk/hosting-tips/cheese-parties/pineapple-halo/#sthash.b3wwmk9j.dpuf
Castello® Pineapple Halo combines soft cheese with small chunks of pineapple with chopped almonds and papaya. This gives a sweet pineapple flavour with notes of warm syrup.
Castello® Cream Cheese with Pineapple is exclusively made of natural ingredients.
- See more at: http://www.castellocheese.co.uk/hosting-tips/#sthash.ectJmzRs.dpuf
Castello® Pineapple Halo combines soft cheese with small chunks of pineapple with chopped almonds and papaya. This gives a sweet pineapple flavour with notes of warm syrup.
Castello® Cream Cheese with Pineapple is exclusively made of natural ingredients.
- See more at: http://www.castellocheese.co.uk/hosting-tips/#sthash.ectJmzRs.dpuf

All together a dramatic taste !!! Loving it.

Heyy did I tell you their Tickler Cheddar Cheese is a perfect everyday cheese.. I can have it almost everyday !! This is an extra mature cheddar with a sweet, tangy taste. Carefully matured for upto 18 months and made by expert Cheese makers at Taw Valley Creamery in Devon.

The Pop Store has some lovely accessories too. Do check them out... The cheese boards are something I totally adorned...





The goodie bag I received was just what I loved !!



Well it was such a wonderful experience tasting the cheese , some creamy, some buttery , some tangy , some sweet and some salty !!

Thank you Castello Cheese for giving me this opportunity to experience Cheese like never before.


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You're my honey bunch, sugar plum, pumpy-umpy-umpkin, you're my sweetie pie, you're my cuppy-cake, gum drop, snoogums, boogums, you're the apple of my eye! This was the song that came to my mind today, after I baked these aromatic cupcakes.. This song was my ringtone 8 years back and I used to get bouncy, springy to pick up my mobile everytime it rung.. SOmewhere deep in the corner of my heart , I hoped my phone rung more often that it did, so I could hear the song :)

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My house smelled coffeee .. espresso, capuccino ,americano, latte and what not ! Lil V returns from schoool, at the door step asks me " What's cooking today?" His footsteps traversed to our experiment corner in the house, Our Kitchen and tried sneaking through..

Shortbread cookies and Cupcakes !! All in a day ! A special day for him as his mama has baked like this after ages.. 
Watching his animation programs as usual after school, he picked his special snack today and was munching delightfully. Coffee is not in V's usual favourable list , but he enjoyed this cupcake just like he would enjoy a fairy cupcake. He loved his shortbread's ,but the GUI was not that great that I can brag about it in the same post.

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National Cupcake week begining from Sept 15th -Sept 21st , this post of mine has come right on time for the national celebration and Betta Bake a Cupcake Competition.#bettabakeoff I have just created my twitter account for the first time in my life.. and now trying to get the hang of # tags :) Looks like everthing is going to get the hash tag.. Additive I m sure !


Amidst all the chit chat and the chatter , here is the recipe for the Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes. I have adapted this recipe from Deeba's Passionate about Baking. A must visit place for all the newbies into baking and for all those who are into blogging for a while, Deeba's lovely space needs no introduction. I drool over her pictures and envy her props. Head over to her space for more virtual baked goodies.


             COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP CUPCAKES

Recipe adapted  from Deeba’s Passionate About Baking
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields 14 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

2  Cups ( 260 gm) Plain Flour
1 ½ Tsp (6 gm) Baking Powder
½ Cup (115 gm) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup (200 gm) Caster Sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. Coffee Powder , I have used NescafĂ© Sachets
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Large Egg
1 Cup ( 225 gm) Semi Skimmed Milk

100gm Dark Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS:
  •   Preheat the fan assisted oven to 180 °C, gas mark 6. Line the Muffin tray with Muffin Cases. 
  •   Cream the butter, sugar and coffee powder together and now add the egg whisking slowly and steadily. Add the vanilla extract to it.
  •    In a clean bowl, combine the dry ingredients - the flour and baking powder. A good mix with a dry spoon to bring them all together.
  •   Gradually add the dry flour mixture prepared above and milk to the wet mixture, stirring to combine until smooth.
  •  Fold in Chocolate chips.
  •  Spoon into muffin cases upto 2/3 full.
  •  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until springy to the touch. Check in the centre whether the skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about a minute before putting the muffins onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

NOTES:
The recipe calls for 1 tsp Baking powder. I have used 1.5 tsp,since my baking powder was nearing its expiry date.
While baking this lovely cupcake, I had misplaced my cup measurer and had to use my weighing scale to do the same. Hence I had to literally convert every single ingredient from cup to grams and then get into the making.

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Onion Tomato Mint Chutney



One more Chutney Recipe that goes into my collection of recipes! A very close Friend of mine, Vidya who lives in Chennai is the master of her recipes.A long story , cut short  - We are more than Friends !!! She knows her recipes in and out and her proportions very well. This recipe comes from her culinary corner and it came to my rescue one of the evenings when I wanted to make some different from my regular chutneys. During our regular conversation, I was asking her about the sides for dosa's and idly's .In a couple of hours, I see a mail with recipes of chutneys in pointers and i totally appreciate the pointers and the proportions to make them :) Mwaah !! Thank you honey!



  ONION TOMATO MINT CHUTNEY

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 PREP TIME        COOK TIME          TOTAL TIME
 7 Min             12 Min            20 Min
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Recipe type: Dip, Side for Idly,Dosa
Serves: 2  People
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INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 Medium sized Onion
  • 1 Medium Sized Tomato
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 10 No’s Mint Leaves
  • 3/4 Tsp of Salt
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DIRECTIONS:
  • Chop onions and tomatoes into small chunks. Crush the garlic.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan / kadai and drop in crushed garlic, followed by chopped red onions, green chilli along with a pinch of salt. SautĂ© for 3-4 minutes. Fry until onions turn slightly brown.
  • Pop in chopped tomatoes and mint leaves. Fry until the tomatoes get quite soft. Allow all the ingredients to cool and then blend them in the blender to obtain a smooth paste. Adjust Salt to suit the taste.
  • Transfer the chutney into the serving bowl.

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The Bank Holiday Monday - 25th of August 2014 !! We cherished every bite, every morsel of the new flavours , the new twists & variations and some familiar cuisine at tibits - A vegetarian restaurant based in London at Heddon Street , a short hop off the Regent Street.
You heard me right ! A vegetarian restaurant , right in Central London. Its not just Indian Cuisine , multi cuisine it is ! Seldom, one finds in London!! Being a vegetarian by choice, since birth , I see a poor state of vegetarian choices in most restaurants in UK and Europe. This is something that took me on board and we are glad we made it up to tibits for Lunch.The communication manager Mary Jones was ever gracious and sent me an invite for 2 people to visit tibits. Using this opportunity, I visited the restaurant with a foodie cousin , who had travelled to London on holiday from Dubai . We made sure to leave the kids behind with their beloved dad's in their fun filled care and call it the Girl's Day Out. Non stop Banter and chatter over a delicious meal. Yet light, filling and content when we made our way through the gallery.
Sssh !! It was a rainy day .. Encapsulated from top to toe in my down jacket ,I just wanted to make it to the restaurant after all the splish splash splosh on the road. We alighted at Oxford Circus Station and took 8-9 minutes stroll before we reached the much waited lunch. So much to my hullabaloo, what an atmosphere it was.The ambience was modern, contemporary, serene and benevolent.
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We were very well received by the manager in charge - Anthony. He took me around on a restaurant tour, introducing the amazing Head Chef and giving me a insight on how the system works.
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We, the pair of us tried 27 off 40 available selections , carefully filling our plate just enough to tickle our tummy.
The manager first handed us over a card ,assigned to our table. So any food filled in will be weighed and the amount will be added to the card. The drinks were available to be bought across the counter.
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We chose our drinks to be Carrot Ginger Apple Juice , a palate and tummy cleanser as I refer and  Wassionata , a Lemon Mint Mojito where the mint was squashed with the lemon syrup.
To begin with, I favoured the traditional onion rings,potato wedges, jalapeno poppers and some corn salad to dip in with cocktail sauce, sweet chilli dip and more. The Cocktail Sauce was the Star!The starters were bang on . just how it should be . Except the poppers had gone a cold on the outer .Wish it was Teeny Weeny bit more crispier..
Rupa , my cousin friend decided to fill her plate with a total contrast starters – Coleslaw Salad,Corn Salad and Jalapeno Poppers.. The Coleslaw had some perfectly julienned vegetables whereas the the corn salad was very well seasoned.She loved her Cocktail sauce too…
How we wish we had a little chat with the chef on how he went on making it .. I carefully noted the ingredients to try it out sometime at home. It was Tomato Sauce, Yogurt,Chives and Onions.. Very unique and subtle…

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Our second serving had an entirely different cuisine onto our plates. I  had delved in Mediterranean Cuisine .Falafel with Baba Ganoush was just perfect !! My cousin exclaimed.. she hadn't had such mouth watering falafels in the middle east . Isn't that a remarkable comment to make.
This foodie cousin who is not a salad person dived into a Salad alacarte with a tsp. of serving of each.
Peruvian Quinoa Salad rich in Iron , something that can be easily replicated at home.The veggie's in them gives such a refreshing summery toast to the salad .
Having a foodie conversation with the manager,he recommended us to try the Dried Bean Salad and we took his word to try the Swizz Speciality.The Dried Bean is available to buy across the counter ,as it travels all the way from Switzerland.. Mama mia Smile . The nicer part of these delicacy’s are the  free recipe cards that kept right at the entrance for the customers to try them at home. Anthony kept our company on and off,helping us with the must try salads from the food boat like the Panzanella Tuscan Bread Salad and Pasta Salad. My my.. These Italian delicacies were authentic to its dishes.Absolutely delectable! Basmati Rice with Indian Dal was absolutely delicious , finger licking till we cleaned the plate. Thai Aubergine curry was a bit too spicy, surprisingly..
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The clean contemporary sign boards all over the restaurant caught my attention as soon as we stepped in, giving a clear picture of what tibits has to offer .The whole atmosphere is self explanatory and is easy going.
The buffet had so many accessories, we were royally spoilt with choices. The cherry on the cake was the desserts. Raspberry Cream with Strawberry and Pineapples got our votes universally.. Not that the cheese cake , Banofee Pie and the Vegan sticky toffee pudding was lagging behind.
Raspberry cream with sliced fruits was a royal ending to a sumptuous meal. Once we completed the buffet meal, I handed over the card to the manager and very kindly with a beautiful smile, he swiped it on his machine and handed over a bill of 35£. Very reasonably priced for the meal we divulged in. The management at tibits wanted me to enjoy the whole experience just as any other customer would. The bill was dummy from my end .
Thank you tibits for having us over there. Thank you Anthony for helping us around piling our plates with the right choices of delicacies. It was an afternoon well spent with some amazing food and an amazing company.
Vegelicious !!! A recommended restaurant for vegetarians and meat lovers with your kids.
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Still reminiscing this wonderful experience and if you are looking forward to replicate their recipes, tibits have a book to takeaway priced at 25£. It is also available to buy it over Amazon.
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