Dhokla!

Dhokla!

Indian Summer Festival this weekend!

To start the weekend (tonight), I’ll be attending a Ravi Shankar night at The Exchange bar followed by an Indian themed burlesque night, all in Leicester’s cultural quarter.

With a quirky outfit sorted for the night as it’s Indian inspired, I’ve taken 20mins out to prepare a packet of my FAVOURITE snack – dhokla! I could eat a whole tray and the pieces missing in the picture shows I can’t ever contain myself…

The packet can be bought in Asda and Asian supermarkets and is very easy! We do add a few additional ingredients such as ginger, sugar and lemon to the mix and then curry leaves to the dressing… However it’s done, it’s just divine…

Perhaps I’ll see some of you around this weekend with the on-goings around town

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A few bits we grow in the garden

A few bits we grow in the garden

It’s very liberating and even empowering being able to step into the back garden and pick out bits to use for cooking. In the UK we’re extremely lucky for being able to grow such a variety of fruits, veg and herbs in our own gardens – I say we could be great leaders in this way of living (of course not everyone can do this but using a few little pots in the house can do so much more than you think).

We even use our conservatory for more growing; from chillies to pea pods and even cucumbers are coming through!

Here is a selection: chive as the stem thyme, mint, rosemary, a random green bean, sage, parsley, bay leaf, coriander and that’s an actual radish at the bottom which we grew! On the top it finishes with home grown lettuce

* I’m happy to answer any questions about growing your own at home

Italian discovery!

Italian discovery!

New restaurant on Braunstone Gate, Fratellis impressed us very much tonight with the relaxed atmosphere, lovely staff and amazing food…

Every dish was packed with flavour, a small starter was breaded cheese with pesto and balsamic vinegar. So good we soaked up all the sauce with some bread! Mains: steak with goats cheese and mine was the pasta, wow… Courgettes, peas and pesto, so good!

That much quality and for such decent prices (think pizza express), I’m sure to visit again and will get dessert next time too!

Indian Parathas :)

Indian Parathas :)

Thank goodness for Indian Mums and Aunties!

I had a lovely evening last week with Mum and one of my Aunts jumping to teach me how to cook these and giving out additional useful tips and ideas too; if you’re not sure what’s in the pic here, they’re called PARATHAS! Oh you must be told of them now if you didn’t know of them before and please, try them as soon as you can! They are deeeeeeeeLISH! I could eat 10 of these if I had the elastic belly I’d love to have (though portions I can get through does test this theory)…

They’re basically stuffed chapattis and here it’s filled with a spicy mashed potato mixture, but they can vary in many types of fillings; my home favourites are filled with spicy minced chicken and another being with gorgeous cauliflower and peas curry. I’ve been given the idea from an Aunty with the suggestion of paneer too, I can’t wait to give this a go!

Recipes will follow when I figure out measurements…!

* Can be eaten for breakfast with yogurt (cucumber, coriander or mint yogurt is amazing)

* Can be eaten for lunch/dinner too btw…

** Hell I’d eat them for all 3 meals of the day…

Escaping in art and food in London

Escaping in art and food in London

A visit to London was really fun yesterday, seeing some talented artists at the Portrait of the Year event (We even saw Tai Shan Schierenberg – I could not believe my eyes!!!)

But my focus was on where we’d EAT! Especially as I FINALLY got to try KOYA (49 Frith Street) after ages of wanting to.

See the top pic of my prawn tempura atsu-atsu which had udon noodles in the broth, so good it took me back to a dish I had often in Japan but it had onions in the prawn tempura mix… Also had a side of braised pork belly with cider “Kakuni” – must try to make this at home!

Then we had afternoon tea at the National Gallery – mines the gooey chocolate cake which was also gluten free – my first time trying a gluten free cake

THEN we went to Plum Valley in China Town for drinks and dim sum! It was the best way to end the long day having been up since 5am and running around… My first order was the honey pork buns “bau” (oh I miss having 5 baus for £1 in China!), Thai chicken steamed dumplings then prawn and pork steamed dumpling… Could’ve had more tbh…!

* Can’t ever get enough of Asian food…

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

Visit to the Turkish Café on Narborough road – Can’t fault their relaxing atmosphere, Turkish tea and what seems to be authentic dishes, even traditional Turkish delight! I’d love to visit Turkey just to know the quality of their food, but an escape here does me fine for now!

I came here years ago and am glad to see they’re still there with their home made pastries with meat and mezze that can goes really well with the home made bread – the menu had some great listings of breakfasts which I’d like to try next.

Here we had a pastry filled with Turkish sausage and egg on top, a feta cheese and spinach pastry and then a mezze filled with lot of yummy treats; my favourite being the aubergine in a tangy, yet sweet tomato based sauce. Went down really well with a Turkish tea and Greg’s very rich, strong Turkish coffee… Not bad for prices either

* I learnt a couple of names for types of food – “Sumit” (Circular bread with sesame seeds) and “Gozleme” (Savoury hand rolled pastry)

* I hope to learn of some recipes I can do at home, especially the pastry dishes…

Scandinavian delight

Scandinavian delight

A Scandinavian inspiration to celebrate my 1 month with this blog 🙂

So the dish is: Smorrebrod (sometimes called open sandwich) chicken and lovage salad on rye bread from “The Scandinavian Cookbook” by Trina Hahneman. Serves 4.

– 1 bunch lovage (from my garden:)
– 1 small chicken
– 1 tbsp sea salt
– 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
– 2 tbsp crème fresh
– 2 tbsp mayonnaise
– salt and pepper
– 4 slices rye bread
– crunchy lettuce leaves (I used home grown rocket)

Take the leaves of the lovage off the stems and set aside for the salad, place the stems with the chicken, sea salt and peppercorns in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour.

When cooked, carefully lift out the chicken and let it cool a bit, then tear off the skin and meat off the bones, discard the bones and skin too!

Chop the reserved lovage, then add 6 tbsps of this to a mixing bowl along with the chicken, crème fresh and mayonnaise. Fold together and season.

Place the lettuce or rocket on the rye bread, top with the chicken mix and arrange with the lovage leaves. It looks delicate but don’t eat it delicately, trust me…

* I simply fancied it up with the herbs we grow in our garden, which I thought would bring a nice decoration to the dish and it just shows what you can grow yourself! The flowers are delicious too btw.