Foodhall was filled with glee and camaraderie of the moms who had come to attend Rakhee Vaswani’s cookery workshop cum book launch. The chill of the winter morning gave way to the welcoming warmth of the GurgaonMoms Upasana and Subhashini, whose spirits were infectious . The excitement was palpable as Rakhee entered the hall. With her pleasing personality and affable demeanour, she hardly behaved like a celebrity. She exuded oodles of positivity as she mingled with all of us in there. Having rightly caught the pulse of the picky eaters, with her extremely hands on book, by the same name, she has added another feather to her cap.
The book talks about the tiny bits of innovations we can keep doing in our routine dishes to make them more attractive for our picky eaters. Rakhee also mentions how difficult it is, at the same time important to be patient with our kids when they are being fussy about food .
A picky eater herself, she set her foot in the culinary business at the age of thirty eight, when she started her Palate Culinary Studio in Mumbai, with due support from her family, gradually arming herself with certificates and degrees international institutes, the most prominent being Cordon Bleu from Gordon Ramsay’s institute at London.
With the motto “serving restaurant style food at home”, firmly planted in her heart, she started to play around with flavours and ingredients quite early on, resulting in her brainchild , the Palate Culinary Studio, of great repute. With ten workshops in the initial stages, the studio has now come up with nearly a hundred kinds of courses on international n national cuisines.
Rakhee believes that a perfect dish is a fine balance of health, looks and taste and doesn’t compromise on any of the three elements. She got hooked to cooking as a child and has since then developed a sense of appreciating different food cultures and varied tastes.
She emphasized that the food has to look good to attract one to it. Of course, leave alone a child, we as adults would also love a beautifully presented meal.
Following are Some of the invaluable tips we received from the session that would come handy for all the mothers who have one or more picky eaters back home.
- Rakhee made white sauce with barley atta, skipped the usual maida, which takes greater time to cook, apart from being not so healthy. the resulting sauce had a rich texture and needless to say, a great taste.
Barley atta can also be added as a thickening agent to sauces and soups, a healthier alternative to cornstarch.
- She stressed on using vegetable stock for cooking mostly everything one cooks using water, for eg. Pulav, dalia, soups, sauces, boiling daals, sprouts etc. Using stock instead of water greatly enhances the taste and flavor of the dish, a basic tip in restaurant style cooking.
- Who thought making stock was as easy as the word itself. One just needs to boil the routine vegetables in 1-2 litres of water for thirty minutes and one is sorted for a couple of days.
The white sauce combined with finely chopped and blanched veggies was finally spread over toasted bread slices and the heavenly bruschetta was ready. Before one could say, bruschetta, it was all gone.
- A very practical tip that Rakhee gave was that vegetables like spinach, broccoli, beans and carrots are at best blanched and vegetables like bell peppers and mushrooms are stir fried as a thumb rule.
The second dish was a colorful sizzler combining wheat spaghetti, vegetables, freshly made tomato sauce and vegetable cutlets. This was again a bang on, slurped away in a flash.
The cutlets were a unique combination of potatoes, finely chopped broccoli and onions, ginger garlic paste with a final coating of oats for the crunch n texture.
Something that really struck was that while its good to feed healthy to our kids, but sometimes we tend to go overboard with it and that’s where we lock horns with them. So let’s not blow our tops and learn to strike a balance as Rakhee rightly put,” hide health in the form of taste n looks” with little innovations in the kitchen and keep your kids happy.
Chef Piyush of Foodhall assisted Rakhee superbly throughout the session, with generous help from the participants too. The session was a well managed one by the super moms Upasana, subhashini, Vidya Raja and Vidya Deshpande, our very own photographer mom.
Most importantly, the session inspired me to go all out, don a chef’s cap and experiment for the sake of my kids. I hope it did the same to everyone of you too.
Photo Credits : Vidya Deshpande