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Israeli Food Festival at Aloft

Nook, the signature cafe style restaurant at Aloft Cessna Business Park, is hosting an Israeli Food Festival in association with the Consulate of Israel in Bangalore. I was delighted to be part of the Chef's Table event which was curated by Chef Shachar Aschengrau, a culinary expert hailing from the port city of Haifa. Here's a photo tour...




Chef Aschengrau has traveled and worked around the world, thanks to his diplomat wife, Yael Hashavit. Yael, who is currently the Consulate General of Israel for South India, joined her hubby and gave a glimpse of Israeli culture which is very family oriented like in India...


To mark the occasion, the bartenders executed a Jägerbomb domino trail...



My Jägerbomb...



Grilled vegetables...



Lamb on Cinnamon Stick... 


Breads included Pita, Lafa, Jerusalem bagel, challah...


Deliciously creamy Labaneh...


Oven baked Cauliflower with its huge flavors and straightforward presentation keeps the things honest and real...


Carpaccio...


As I dine on the stellar specialties, I realize how healthy and diet-friendly many of them were...


Grilled yellow zucchini...


Israeli salad...



A cocktail called Galaxy...


Falafel...



Chef Aschengrau gave a demo where he used paprika and whole chickpeas to make variations of Israeli Hummus...



His two pretty daughters chipped in...


Meat balls...


Sour Amba mango dip...


Creative cocktails like Orange ice ball...



Carrot & Coriander Gin & Tonic Cocktail...


Chicken shawarma...


Pina Colada...


Marshmallows...


Pistachio and papaya financier...



Thulluma - a Churros like dessert....



Other interesting desserts were stuffed dates, Pink coconut, semolina cake...



The stuffed figs were decadent...


Drunken Watermelon...


And the final surprise from Chef Aschengrau was an assortment of some 50 varieties of desserts including cakes, pastries, macaroons, fruits, chocolates and various other novelty. Here's a video showing the dramatic part where they sprinkle dry ice...


Overall, Chef Aschengrau and the team at Nook has made some mouthwatering spread of delicacies that include Mediterranean, Arabic and East European cuisine washed down by a world class selection of cocktails...




Flower show highlights

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore is currently hosting one of its biannual flower shows. 
Here's a photo tour of some of the interesting finds...

Venus flytrap is a fine example of adaptation in plants that grow in nutrient-poor soil. These carnivorous plants trap insects and supplement their nutrition with animal protein....



It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids—with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves, which is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike...




The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against wasting energy by trapping objects with no nutritional value...


Another carnivorous plant on display was the Pitcher plant. They have chlorophyll in their leaves but they grow in nitrogen deficient soil. So they evolved the power to catch and consume insects to provide them with the nutrients. The funnel-shaped pitchers are topped with an extension, called a hood, that arches over the opening and helps keep rain out. The plants produce nectar near the opening of the tube that attracts insects and may even contain a chemical that drugs them so that they are more likely to fall into the pitcher. The insect cannot get out of the cup because the walls are smooth and slippery and the walls have hairs pointing down. After the insect is dead, its body rots. Rotting releases the nitrogen from the insect's body. The nitrogen then goes into the liquid and the plant takes in the nitrogen from the liquid...



Clown faced Pansy...



Leafy canopy...


Beautiful Bromeliads...


Linaria...



Crown of thorns or Christ plant...



And the amazing camouflage by the Common Jezebel butterfly...



The Pink Moon Cactus completely lack chlorophyll, exposing the pink pigmentation. Since chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis, these mutations are grafted onto another cactus with normal chlorophyll...



Geranium...







Nasturtiums have been used in herbal medicine for their antiseptic and expectorant qualities. They are said to be good for chest colds and to promote the formation of new blood cells.

The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry...




Sweet William...


Mealy Blue Sage...





European white water-lily...



White orchid...



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