Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A wonderful Sunday & Plum -Cherry Cobbler to round it off...

I had a fantastic weekend! Erm... even though my whole weekend constituted of just the Sunday. Now that I’m back at work and have only alternate Saturdays off, Sundays just whizz by. By the time I’m up and awake half the day is gone… and then by the time I catch up on all the newspapers with their weekend supplements and magazines, sort out the house, and plan the meals, the rest of the day is gone too! But this Sunday, we decided to go to town for lunch to celebrate Sid and his writing partner G finally taking a break from the crazy world of Television writing.
Now those who are familiar with Mumbai will know that for us suburbanites, going to town is an event. On weekdays with the kind of crazy traffic there is, going to town, i.e. South Mumbai, takes almost 2-3hours! And that for an actual distance of about 30-40kms… But on Sunday, the roads are empty, the drive is lovely and you begin to understand why ‘town’ is all that it is made out to be.

Just after crossing the Bandra-Worli sea link... overladen sky above and swirling waters below!

So we left at 2pm (I told you by the time I’m awake half the day is gone!) and went all the way up to the Gateway of India. The drive was just beautiful! It had been raining heavily all day, the grey-black clouds loomed large, it was windy and cold and plain awesome!! The Bandra-Worli sea link, especially, looked magnificent against the overcast sky.

An old picture of The Strand Hotel off the internet.
 There is a decrepit hotel grandly called The Strand Hotel. And it has a rooftop restaurant called Starlite Café with a sweeping view of the sea, the promenade, the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, and the Gateway. The food is a mix of Indian and Chinese with a few good surprises like the Potato and Cheese Croquettes, the home-style French Fries and the amazingly delicious Crumb-fried Stuffed Mushrooms! Even the Chicken Reshmi Kabab was soft, delicately-spiced and melt-in-the-mouth. We stuffed ourselves with the starters and actually did not order any main course. Except Sid of course, who had his staple Chinese order of Egg Fried Rice. Which was also good! The only disappointments were the fish fingers (strictly ok)and paying Rs 165/- for a few salted cashew nuts to munch on! And of course, they only serve Beer, no other form of alcohol. But Sunday afternoons and beer are a perfect combination as I understand, so nothing much to complain there! Damages – Rs.2000/- for 4 people - for all the above dishes plus 2 pints of beer . Well worth the view and the breeze…
View from the Starlite Cafe - Pic Courtesy: Strand Hotel website
On our way back, we picked up some delicious pans from opposite Colaba causeway, did some roadside shopping and bought cheap but pretty tops, pajamas and shirts and went home really happy :)
For those of you who wish to visit the Starlite Café, do remember that the hotel staff is not too savvy and may tell you there is no roof top restaurant at Strand! And the restaurant is sometimes also known as Bayview Restaurant. Don’t ask me why! But just keep going straight on the Taj Mahal Palace road and you won’t miss it.

Now that I have got the inadvertent restaurant review out of the way, let me get back to the recipe at hand. The whole Sunday lunch trip left me with a warm, sweet, comforting feeling. And so here is a dessert that will make you feel the same way.

A few weeks ago, I managed to find a packet of fresh, sweet cherries at my regular vegetable vendor. They were yummy to munch on, but I kept wondering if  could use them in a simple dessert recipe. So out came the cherries and a few tart plums… I decided to go with a simple Cherry and Plum Cobbler since it was a weekday and I did not have the energy to get into full baking mode after braving an entire day at work and 3 hours of traffic! But this cobbler is the answer to all problems! Its super-easy and super-yummy with its tangy and sweet flavours. 


Fresh Cherries – 2 cup
Plums – 3
Sugar – ½  cup
Cinnamon powder or Vanilla Extract  – ½ tsp
Corn Starch – 2 tbsp

Flour – 1 cup
Milk – ¼  cup
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Butter – 3 tbsp
Baking Powder – 1 ½ tsp

Pit the cherries and slice the ripe plums. Pre heat oven to 200 degrees C. In a non-stick saucepan, blend the cherries, plums, 1 cup sugar, cornstarch and the vanilla extract or the cinnamon powder – whichever flavor you prefer. Cook till the mixture starts to bubble and boil. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Once the mixture thickens, remove from flame and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, 1 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp of melted, cooled butter and the milk.  It should form a dough-like consistency. Increase the quantity of milk if it’s too dry.

Now pour the cherry-plum mixture into a pie dish or a glass casserole. Take the dough and drop 6-8 dollops (about a tablespoon size each) all over the cherry-plum mix. It should cover most of the surface but leave a few cracks for the juices to bubble through. Now pop it into the oven for 15-20min until the top is golden brown.

The way I like it:
The cobbler should cool down a bit, but not get cold. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

As usual, I baked at night. So the pictures do not do any justice to the cobbler! Promise to make this again and upload better pics this time…