Chefs plate up film food memories

Sunday, 6 July 2014 - 6:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
They recreate their fav dishes for After Hrs readers

Whenever I think about food moments, my mind goes back to this scene from the movie Chocolat, where Vianne (Juliette Binoche) literally stirs magic into a cup when she sprinkles what looks like chilli powder into steaming hot chocolate and offers it to her landlady Armande played by Judi Dench). Hot chocolate never looked more sinful and more appealing than in that one scene. We asked city chefs to share their favourite food moments in film and recipes. Here's what they had to say.

Chef Gautam Mehrishi, executive chef at Sun N Sand hotel
My favourite food moment Is a scene from My Dinner with Andre. In New York City, an actor/playwright agrees to have dinner with a theater director who he has not seen, literally, for years. He is afraid of meeting with him because of the stories that he has heard about the director sobbing on a sidewalk and talking with trees. Obviously, something terrible had happened to him. He meets him at an expensive restaurant (he is given a coat and necktie to wear, since he is not dressed appropriately) and waits at the bar for his old friend to arrive. Once Andre arrives, he hugs Wally, who feels that he is really in the theater now. The staff at the restaurant know Andre well and seat the two immediately at a table that provides a fair amount of privacy. Wally needs help understanding the menu, and Andre, with a sense of humor, helps him with the French cuisine. They both order quail. The most touching aspect of this scene is how food becomes a factor for two people to bond after so many years and the very fact that one person does not have any knowledge of French food, is not appropriately dressed still the other guy brings in humour and food becomes the soothing factor like always in any situation in life.

Recipe
Quail with Grape Sauce, Turnips, and Radishes
8 sprigs sage
8 quail, bone in, rinsed and patted dry, neck bones and wing tips removed
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 bunch red radishes (6 to 8), greens discarded
2 bunches baby turnips with greens (12 to 16): turnips trimmed and peeled, and greens trimmed, stemmed, and reserved.
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp butter
2 large shallots, peeled and cut and quartered
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups seedless green grapes: 1 1?2 cups halved and 1?2 cup sliced
3 tbsp cognac
3 tbsp crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Method
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Stuff one sprig of sage in each quail, tie the legs together with butcher's twine, and tie the wings together with more twine so they're tight against the body. Season with cracked black pepper and salt. Using a sharp knife, thinly shave two radishes and two turnips for garnish. Halve or quarter the remaining radishes and turnips into bite-size pieces and set aside. Heat the oil and 1 tbsp butter in a heavy, ovenproof sauté pan over moderate heat until foam subsides, then brown the quail on all sides, while basting with liquid from the pan, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer the quail to a large plate. Drain all but two tbsp fat from the pan, then add the shallots and continue cooking, stirring and scraping up brown bits, for two minutes. Return the quail and any juices from the plate to the pan. Place breast-sides up, and roast in oven until just cooked through (cut into an inner thigh; the meat will still be slightly pink), about 10 minutes.
While the quail is roasting, combine two tbsp butter, 1?2 cup chicken stock, and the chopped turnips in a sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips are tender and the liquid is reduced to a glaze (add spoonfuls of water if the liquid reduces before the turnips are cooked), about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, transfer the turnips to a plate, and repeat the process with the chopped radishes, another 2 T butter, and another 1?2 cup stock. Transfer radishes to the plate. Add remaining 1 T butter to the pan with the reserved turnip greens, and toss until wilted. Return the turnips and radishes to the pan and toss, adjusting seasoning if needed, and keep warm.
Transfer the quail to a platter, remove twine, and cover loosely with foil. Add the halved grapes and cognac to the quail pan. Place the pan over medium heat and lightly simmer for three minutes. Add the remaining 1?2 cup chicken stock, and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the crème fraîche and simmer until slightly thickened for three to four minutes. Puree the mix with a hand blender, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a sauceboat. Place the quail on a bed of the sautéed vegetables and garnish with the shaved radishes, turnips, and sliced grapes. Serve the sauce on the side.

Chef Ranveer Brar, senior executive chef Novotel Mumbai
My favorite food moment is from the movie No Reservations where towards the last scene both top chefs (Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones) after cooking the most complicated dishes put together a blueberry pancake stack that gets drizzled with loads of sugar and ultimately brings cheers and smiles that we were looking for in the whole movie. It symbolises to me that food is meant to touch people, and when made with love, it will surely touch people even (and usually) in the simplest of forms.

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES
155 gms all-purpose flour
10 gms baking powder
5 gms white sugar
235 ml milk
7 gms butter, melted
80 gms frozen blueberries, thawed

For garnish and plating
1 tbsp Whipped cream
Icing sugar for dusting
4-5 nos assorted berries
1 tsp blueberry compote

Method
1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together eggs. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle. Stir milk and egg into flour mixture. Mix in the butter and fold in the blueberries. Set aside for one hour, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Savio Fernandes, Chef De Partie, JW Marriott Mumbai
The food moment that I find truly inspirational is when Remi creates a simple dish like the Ratatouille instead of going for something complex. It's a film that I inspires you to think differently, and that's why I watch it once in three months.

RATATOUILLE PUFF TART
Ingredients
100 gms brinjal
100 gms zucchini
100 gms red bell pepper
100 gms green bell pepper
100 gms onion
75 ml olive oil

Sauce
500 gms tomatoes
50 gms onion
50 gms finely chopped carrot, celery and leek
4 nos bay leaf
10 gms peppercorns
5 gms basil
50 ml olive oil
10 flakes garlic
½ tsp sugar
Salt to taste
500 gms Puff pastry

Method
Dice the vegetables, heat the oil till it sizzles and put in the vegetables, toss it over a hot flame for one minute only, and remove it on to a tray to cool. For the sauce, heat the oil add in the finely chopped carrots, onions, leeks and celery. Add in the chopped tomatoes and allow it to cool for one hour. Cool it and puree the cooked tomatoes. Heat the oil and add in the basil leaves, pepper corn, bay leaf and chopped garlic, sauté this for a while. Add in the tomato puree and cook the sauce till it is quite dry, season with salt and pepper. Toss in the vegetables and switch off the heat. Cool down the mixture. Line a tart mould with puff pastry and fill it with the veg mix. Bake it in an oven at 180°C for 30 mins till it is baked. Serve warm.

Ajay Chopra, executive chef; The Westin Mumbai Garden City
My favorite food moment is this scene from Kung Fu Panda. Po talks about dreaming about noodles, and what it signifies. While Po unenthusiastically put it down as "no big deal", Mr Ping believes it's a sign he will eventually take over the restaurant. Dreams remain dreams until they are realised. Something similar happened to me when my son came up to me and said, "Daddy I want to cook like you, will you teach me how to make food like Mr Ping tries to teach Po." Ping and Po share a very beautiful father and son relationship, something I can identify with. While the noodle dream is an important aspect in the plot, it's also something that we bond over in my family. Khow Suey is one of our favourite family dishes that we enjoy together. So, I am sharing that with you.

KHOW SUEY
80 ml Oil
100 gms chopped onion
40 gms chopped garlic
8 gms turmeric powder
15 gms chilli paste
50 gms gram flour
4 leaves lemon grass
1000 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Accompaniments
Fried onion
Fried garlic
Fresh lemon juice
Chilli flakes, chilli oil
Crushed pepper
Crushed peanut
Fried noodles
Boiled noodles
Boiled egg, omelette
Boiled shredded chicken
Brunnoise of carrot, zucchini
Fresh green peas
Chopped spring onion

Method:
Heat oil in a pan and add chopped garlic and chopped onion. Sauté till light brown in colour. Add turmeric powder and gram flour. Sauté till raw aroma of gram flour evaporates followed by chili paste, tight knot of lemon grass and add it to above mixture with water and boiled for 15 – 20 mins.
Add coconut milk to above mixture and stir continuously till boil. Simmer for another 10 mins, Strain and serve hot with accompaniments.


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