I was born on the 2nd of January, so every year, it’s the day people are going back to work after the Christmas break and tired and depressed after over eating for two weeks and then having to change out of pyjamas and head to the gym.

Because of all the busy times, we always end up celebrating later on in the month. This year, we went to a new Indian restaurant in London, Bombay Bustle with friends.

In their own words:

Bombay Bustle in Mayfair captures the essence of Mumbai, our love of home comforts alongside our rapid pace of life, both existing side by side. The restaurant is a place just as well suited to a leisurely dinner with friends as a quick lunch for one, always inspired by Mumbai’s diverse flavours, and home style cooking

We were amoungst the first to arrive as we had a really early booking, the first thing that surprised us was that our booking for 4 people was only for 1 hour 30 minutes. We haven’t been anywhere with such a short table time previously so we weren’t sure whether we’d feel rushed or not.

The restaurant decor feels just like a Bombay railway, there was some light music in the background and we were seated in a booth which felt just like a sleeper carriage in India, along with the little luggage racks up above us.

We were swiftly approached by our waiter and he gave us the drinks and food menus. As we were celebrating my birthday, we ordered cocktails and some papadoms to get our dinner juices flowing. They all arrived in good time and the popadoms were served in a really quirky little tiffin box which added an element of fun to the presentation.

To start we ordered a few bits and pieces, I had my eye on the duck Chettinand dosa and the goat keema pau since we’d booked the table a week or so beforehand so we ordered those two plus lamb chops, chicken wings and a samosa papdi chaat. I also really wanted to try the fish and chip starter, but when I asked if the chef was able to remove the skin for me I was told they weren’t able to.

All the food came out in good time. My favourite dish was the duck Chettinand dosa, the crunchy dosas were filled with tender spicy duck and masala, served with chutneys, they were the perfect way to start our meal. The goat keema came a close second with it’s rich flavours and creamy texture.

Main course, we went for a couple of dishes to share, Dum Nalli Biriyani and a Bohri Chicken Curry. We also got some naan bread, EmJay requested a truffle naan, which is available on the starter menu with a scrambled egg, as delicious as it was, we were disappointed that we had to pay for the entire dish (Masala Akuri) instead of just a subsidary to a regular naan. The biriyani, was tasty, but certainly didn’t tantalize our taste buds like other dum biriyanis we’ve had. The curry was delicately spiced and had a lovely creamy texture with tender chicken, it was spiced in a way I hadn’t had chicken before, and it was definitely something I’d like to recreate.

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Once our main courses were finished, our waiter advised that for desserts, they would relocate us to their dessert bar downstairs; we guessed this was because the table was on a 1 hour 30 minute limit, so they needed to move us relatively quickly once this time was over.

We followed the waiter downstairs to a great area around the dessert station. This has the potential to be absolutely brilliant. The only problem is, once seated, we can’t actually see what the chefs are doing as the glass is frosted.

For dessert, our friends had kindly gone to the Hummingbird Bakery and bought us a cupcake each which was served to us by the chefs. Following this we took a look at the dessert menu and EmJay and myself ordered the Chocolate Samosa dessert to share. I was really looking forward to this, samosas are one of my absolute favourite snacks, so to have one filled with ooey gooey chocolate would be the dream. Sadly, it was pretty underwhelming. The chocolate wasn’t ooey gooey, infact it was a little grainy, so much so we both took a bite and stopped eating.  While we were eating it, the chef was plating up the jalebi dessert, this looked more like the kind of thing we wanted to eat so we requested a taste. The chef kindly gave us a little sample, this was really interesting, cheesecake with hints of cardamom and spices, with pieces of crunchy jalebi and a saffron caviar. We also tried the masala chai, it was lovely and spiced heavily with ginger which is just how I like it.

Overall, our experience was a positive one. The staff was friendly and attentive, the cocktails were great and the food was really tasty.  We did however begin to feel a little rushed while we were eating our desserts which was a little disappointing. I’m sure it’s the kind of place we would want to visit again if the menu was to change, we felt like we tried all the things we wanted to, so we probably won’t be going back in a hurry as it’s on the more expensive side of a ‘Let’s just go to dinner’ evening.

So if you’ve been following the meal prepping series, you’ll already know I feel like I’m eating a lot of chicken and turkey recently. Given that these are lean meats which are high in protein, it means I’m winning on all bases.

I did however get bored of eating egg cups relatively quickly, and I’m now beginning to bore of the chicken and cottage cheese combo. It’s tough, I’m trying my best to stay on track!

Last week I really really wanted something sweet after I’d eaten my dinner, and I had around 200 calories from my daily allowance remaining after I’d eaten. It’s probably worth noting, this rarely ever happens, so I was excited at the thought of eating something sweet.

So, what to have?

I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge which I thought would be great mixed with a little vanilla flavoured sweetener but I wanted something with a little bite too. Seeing as I was along at home, I decided to make some granola. A little trial turned out super yum so I wanted to share it with you all as it would make a great addition to your usual cereal breakfasts! It was really quick and is also super adaptable to personal tastes too! Having looked at a few recipes online, I came up with the combination of butter, maple syrup, oats and nuts along with a handful or two of cornflakes. You can of course add dried fruit and any number of other seeds and grains to your liking. I prefer it simple and I’ve been serving it with slightly sweetened Greek yogurt or snacking on it by itself for a little sweet crunch with my cup of tea while I’m working!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! The recipe can be found here, it’s also super easy to scale up as required!

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Hijacked By Twins

 

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s taken me almost 3 weeks to get my first post of the year to you! I apologise! BUT, this does mean I’ve been pretty busy in the kitchen in the last few weeks too.

After hosting a Christmas Eve (and Birthday) party, we then also hosted Christmas day too! Luckily, a few weeks before Christmas, I had caught site of Helen’s post on The Crazy Kitchen. I knew with so many people coming over and such a small kitchen I’d have to be prepared, and prepared I was. A couple of weeks before, I part cooked my roasties, pre-cooked my carrots and parsnips with spices and half roasted my sprouts. I also had all my starters ready and dessert was super simple and took 15 minutes on the big day to whip up (I used a recipe from Marcus Wareing’s book New Classics).  I even got my vegetarian main courses ready too and popped them in the freezer, on the day all we had to do was pop everything in the oven while the turkey was resting.

We also got to use our dining table for the first time since we bought it more than a year ago! Check out how our living room transformed for Christmas Dinner?

Anyhoo, back to reality happened pretty swiftly for us as EmJay returned to work on Boxing Day, and I was working in between Christmas and New Year. Once we were back to work, all we wanted was to eat wholesome food and vegetables again, as much as we love cheese and charcuterie, it’s taken us till now to fully recover(!!!).

While we were off, we talked a lot about our goals and plans for the year, the trips we’re going on and of course the list of many many restaurants we’d like to tick off our ever growing list!

Our first trip is Cape Town, South Africa! We’re super excited to have been invited to my cousin’s destination wedding and can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends. Apart from the celebrations, we’ve read lots about South Africa being a food lovers dream, we’re already planning a wine tour and a visit to a local chocolate factory. Do you have any restaurant recommendations? If so we’d love to check them out too! We’re lucky enough to have time to also incorporate a trip to Mauritius along with this too! EEEKS! The excitement is too much to handle! I’m hoping to taste some delicious food there too, since seeing Shelina Permalloo win UK Masterchef a few years ago, I’ve wanted to try this cuisine even more!

If you follow me on Instagram (@JoshiCooks), you’ll know that I’m currently eating ALOT of protein (my trainer has recommended a target of ATLEAST 150g a day). I’m trying my hardest to get this via food instead of supplements. The first few days were really hard, I couldn’t believe it, but I was SO hungry! ALL THE TIME!  As we’d just been through the festive period, it meant my body was used to a few extra calories for a couple weeks too. Since then, it’s been around a week since Daniel advised on these new goals and I’m glad to say with a little bit of a experimenting, I’ve managed to get around 99g of protein into my work day! So I thought I’d give you a run down of what I eat through a regular day. Getting 99g of protein through the day gives me a little bit of a buffer to have a lovely dinner with added carbs when I’m home from work.

Meal 1: 7am – Vanilla Protein Shake (23.2g protein, 125kcal)

Meal 2: 10.30am – 2 Spicy Egg Bites (14.3g protein, 100kcal)

Meal 3: 1pm – Turkey Chilli (45.3g protein, 258kcal)

Meal 4: 3.30pm – 50g cottage cheese, 50g spicy chicken breast (15.9g protein, 107kcal)

That’s a total of 590kcal for my working day and a whopping 99g of protein, pretty good right? And I still have 846kcal to have 51g of protein plus, 90g carbohydrates and 27g fat!

I’m working on lots of different high protein recipes, the first one being my high protein, turkey mince chilli, using my own spice blend! It’s taken me a good few weeks but I think I’ve nailed it now. A chilli which isn’t too spicy, but is packed full of flavour. You can of course add more spices and jalapenos if you like it super spicy! I usually make this is as a batch which then lasts me around about 8 lunches (around 250g of chilli to get my 45g of protein). It contains no added fat either with a cheeky little hack on how to saute off your mince without oil.

Go check out the recipe if you want to try it for yourself here.

Hijacked By Twins

 

I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of the year! Christmas is next week people! How are you all getting on with your present shopping? I’m one of those anal people who starts thinking about her Christmas shopping in September, just because that way I can spread the cost…

Every year at Christmas, we almost always have a double celebration, it’s EmJay’s birthday on Christmas Eve, so no matter what’s going on, we’ll always do a little something if he’s not rostered to work. This year, we’ve gotten super lucky, he’s OFF! This rarely happens, so we’ve been planning on hosting a Christmas Eve birthday party for friends and family for a while now.

We’ve got a total of 15 people coming over, that’s more than we’ve ever had at our place so far (eeks!). So, like any sane human, I’ve delegated a little of the cooking, and by delegated, I mean I luckily have family that are helping!

In typical Indian style, the night before Christmas, we’re having a curry night! So we’ll have lots of finger food throughout the day followed by samosas, spring rolls, some chilli paneer which are being homemade by my mum, as well as lots of other bits and pieces.

For main courses, my sister in law makes the best lamb curry so we’ve got her coming over to make that for us, my mother in law is making the vegetarian option of chick pea curry (chana masala) and finally, I’m making a chicken saag.

I first made saag with my mum while I was young, in Gujarati we call it bhaji.  It’s literal translation is ‘spinach’ and saag refers to a way it’s traditionally eaten in Punjabi homes. Loaded with ghee to make it super rich and creamy. I cooked my version in my Instant Pot and EmJay loved it so much he’s requested it as one of the dishes on his birthday. Who am I to say no huh?

You can make this vegetarian by using paneer or even vegan using some tofu and omitting the butter. It’s got a huge long list of ingredients, but please don’t be daunted. The method is simple and the flavour is absolutely amazing! I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do… You can find the recipe here.

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CookBlogShare

 

So I’ve been a little quiet as we went away to the Dominican Republic for a week. EmJay even treated us to the luxury of flying Business Class with BA, more about that on another post which is coming later this week.

Being mindful of what I eat is something that Daniel talks about all the time, one way to make sure I really understand what I’m eating (and how much) is to track it on an app (MyFitnessPal). Before I discovered tracking, I’d guestimate how much food I was eating, oh boy did I get it wrong! *face palm!* Actually getting a scale out and physically measuring everything I eat has really helped me making progress with my health and fitness journey in the last few months.  It may seem tedious (and it sometimes is VERY tedious for those who sit and eat with you!), but it really does open your eyes to what a regular portion is.  Give it a try the next time you buy a package which says ‘4 servings’ or ‘per 200g serving’, I can almost guarantee you are having too big a portion, I know I was all these years!

Before we went away, I did a batch of meat and fish marinating as I knew we’d have to come back and go straight back into our busy lives at work. 1 of the things I love to marinate in a huge batch is lamb mince. We usually buy the mince in packs of 3 as it’s always on offer. Now there’s 2 of us that live at our house, so buying more than 1kg of lamb mince seems a little excessive you may say, but actually, this then sets us both up for at least 4 different meals in the coming weeks.

Marinated mince can be used to make all manner of dishes,  burgers, seekh kebabs or koftas come to mind. Another option is my super quick kofta curry if you’ve already made my onion tomato masala (recipe here).

This week, as we needed something quick and easy, I took out the mince the night before and when I got home, heated up a pan and then flash fried for a super quick meal. I served it piping hot with toasted pitta bread and a fresh crunchy salad. Sometimes we even have a dollop of hummus and some grilled halloumi cheese with it, it’s such a quick and easy weeknight meal whenever you fancy it.

I usually use minced lamb as we don’t eat beef at home, but this recipe can easily be used with beef, turkey and even pork mince. A little tip before you freeze, make some indentations in the meat while it’s flat in the bag you are storing in, this way, you can break off chunks easily if you only want to make 1 or two portions without having to defrost the whole lot!

I hope it’ll make your life a little easier getting this mince ready to cook and in your freezer… It certainly helps us to get meals on the table super quickly! You can find the recipe here.

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*Disclaimer – Please be advised, I have made slow and steady changes to my diet and lifestyle under professional supervision, these posts are based on my personal experience and are in no way advising the reader to change their lifestyle without seeking advise from a Doctor or other trained professional.

 

 

 

Apart from all the dinners we go out for, my love for all things sweet is one of my biggest weaknesses.

I absolutely love baking, creating and mostly importantly EATING all things cake. You might have seen the cookies that I baked a few weeks ago, if not, I did double chocolate chip and sugar cookies and they were amazing.

Anyhoo, I digress into a cookie/cake heaven everytime I think of baked goods so it’s a good job that London has some of the best Afternoon Teas that the world has to offer. Rumour has it, Afternoon Tea was invented by the the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna. She would always feel hungry between lunch and dinner, she sounds like my kind of girl! EmJay often refers to me as a Tamagotchi as he has to make sure ‘I’m fed’ every couple of hours!

So, back to the Afternoon Tea. I’ve been to a few around London, ranging from traditional (This one was most certainly the most traditional), to the quirky and a little bit different (The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Beauty and the Beast inspired tea’s come to mind). I love the thought of getting together with friends to have a good old gossip with some sweet and savoury bits and pieces and lots of tea to sip on. If I have friends or family coming to visit, it’s often one of the first things I think of doing with them.

Fortnum and Masons was certainly one of the most British and traditional afternoon tea’s I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, it has a range of several different kinds of food options including a hot dish option and a savoury option for those without a sweet tooth. All this and they cater for all dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free which is always a bonus as everyone is taken care of.

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Out of the 4 of us, 3 of us ordered a vegetarian afternoon tea. We were advised when we ordered that it was unlimited and so if we wanted to have more of anything we could order. We got to choose from an extensive list of teas which arrived promptly and then awaited our sweet treats.

We all fell in love with the tea strainers, so much so we took a pit stop to check out if we could buy them on the way out. You could indeed buy them, for a hefty price, it’s safe to say we gave them a miss.

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Next up our afternoon tea was served. A selection of finger sandwiches, scones and patisseries.

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The sandwich selection included cucumber with mint & lemon butter, an open barber’s cheddar and red onion chutney, rare breed hen’s egg mayonnaise with chives, coronation cauliflower hummus and grilled courgettes with a tomato dressing. All of them tasted amazing. Freshly sliced bread, and beautifully balanced fillings. We got seconds of them all too.

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The scones were served with Fortnums strawberry preserves, lemon curd and clotted cream, they were lovely and fluffy and the preserves were so tangy, they married perfectly with the cream. The patisseries were equally delicious. It’s safe to say we were almost bursting at the seems by the time we’d finished.

When we were ready to leave, our waitress reminded us that we could also choose a slice of cake from the cake carriage to take away with us. Just look at the selection we had to choose from!

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I went for the raspberry sponge, along with our left over patisseries, the slices were carefully packed up for us and we were all given our bags full of goodies to take home.

We had the best time, the service was great and our teas were always topped up. I can’t wait to visit Fortnum’s again. I’m secretly hoping EmJay enjoyed his slice of cake so much he’ll book it for us so we can go and have a nice afternoon in London on one of the rare weekends we get together, here’s hoping!

You can find out more about the Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea here. Be sure to make your reservation in advance to avoid not getting a table, it’s definitely a must do for anyone visiting the city for the first time!

So as you know by now, I love getting prepared for the week ahead by pre-making different parts of my meals to make my life easier when I get home from work during the week.

Chicken is our go to protein of choice, we usually have around 6 chicken breasts delivered a week, often we’ll make lots of different things. Ranging from chicken curry with my onion tomato masala (recipe here) or some awesome popcorn chicken and chips if we’re in the mood (that’s a great recipe, you can find it here).

One thing I always like to prepare if we end up having extra chicken or fancy a quick snack is Mexican style chicken. Fajita seasonings always add so much flavour to chicken. As we prefer the breast piece which has a tendency for being dry. I’ve overcome this problems with two things:

  1. Browning off the chicken on a high heat to start the cooking and then turning the heat down
  2. Adding my veges to the chicken after I’ve started cooking it. (I always used to do veges first as it’s what I was taught to do!)

This Mexican style chicken cooks up in less than 30 minutes without the addition of the beans and rice, so it’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner when served with tortillas and salad. It also makes for a great burrito filling once you’ve added the beans and rice and given it a bake through in the oven, I usually wrap up burrito fillings in individual portions so I can make a quick burrito with a fresh wrap for EmJay to take to work in a rush; but also for a quick dinner when I get home from the gym.

This one is super easy and really flavourful to make sure you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of something yummy while eating healthy. It would just as easily work meat free using quorn or even with some firm white fish fillets.

You can find the recipe here.

If you want to check out Meal Prepping Part 1 and 2 you can find them via the links below.
Meal Prepping Part 1
Meal Prepping Part 2 

 

*Disclaimer – Please be advised, I have made slow and steady changes to my diet and lifestyle under professional supervision, these posts are based on my personal experience and are in no way advising the reader to change their lifestyle without seeking advise from a Doctor or other trained professional.

As I’m a big foodie, I’m signed up to almost every restaurant and food subscription going. Mostly, emails just go straight into my virtual ‘Trash’, but occasionally the contents catch my eye and really make me excited!

This was the case when I received a subscriber mail from The Cinnamon Club. They were putting on a Bijoya Thali especially for Diwali! A thali, for those who have never had one before, according to Indian food custom, a meal which consists of 6 different flavours; sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy all at the same time. Traditionally, they are served in big stainless steel plates and each item is in a small stainless steel bowl, with bread and rice placed in the middle.

If you’re Indian and ever throw a dinner party, it may not look like a thali, but there will ALWAYS be an element of each of these flavours in the food made. I remember moaning to my mum about how many varieties she’s going to make when I was younger, it just seemed like such a big effort to me! Looking back now, it really makes sense, everything on a Thali is put there for a reason.

The Cinnamon Club thali was no exception. We had 11 different dishes each of which had it’s place on the plate:
Kosha mangsho (Salty/Spicy) 
Rich lamb curry with Bengali spices
Murghir jhol (Salty/Spicy)
Home-style chicken curry
Chingri malai curry (Bitter/Salty)
Shrimps simmered in coconut cardamom sauce
Tawa mach (Astringent)
Pan fried sea bass with hot spices & poppy seed
Aloo gobhi (Sour/Salty)
Stir-fried potato and cauliflower
Tadka dal (Astringent)
Yellow lentils tempered with cumin and garlic
Mango lassi (Sweet)
Tomato chutney (Sweet/Sour)
Kachumber & lime (Bitter)
Ghee rice
Paratha
Mishti doi, rossogulla (Sweet)

The vegetarian thali had beetroot cakes and paneer and morel mushroom koftas instead of the meat dishes.

Having held a Michelin star for several years, we knew the service would be good. We went as a family of 8, our party included 2 children, 1 who needed a high chair. We arrived at the restaurant a little early but were greeted, had our coats taken and were led to our table. The table was ready in a quiet corner of the restaurant, high chair already in place.

After we had settled down, a waitress brought out colouring pencils and some paper for the children to keep them entertained while drinks orders were taken.  As we had children, the hostess kindly offered to merge the sauce from one dish and the pieces of chicken from another dish to make a child friendly version of the butter chicken dish, this was brought out before our Thali so the children were able to begin their meals before we got our food.

I ordered a Botanical Martini from the ‘Gin Trolley Experience’ selection. The bar tender brought the trolley out and made the drink at our table and provided us with an explanation and history of the Gin being used and the measures he was using to create the cocktail. Other drinks we ordered included Rose Champagne and a lovely Kir Royale.

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Before we got the Thali, an amuse bouche of crispy potato cake with sweet mustard sauce was brought out to whet our appetites. It was crunchy, spicy and sweet all at the same time. Delicious!

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Shortly after we got our Thali’s for main course, they were presented on big copper plates with all the elements in individual bowls. My dish served minus the shrimp curry as I’d advised of my allergy. img_9511

We were advised by the server to ask if we wanted any more of anything. Every single dish was superb. I started off by trying the sea bass which I ate alongside the tomato chutney, it was marinated and fried covered in poppy seeds, this was a really unusual texture and something none of us had experienced before. It was my first time trying sea bass and it certainly won’t be the last! The chutney was sweet and sour, the chunks of tomato and nigella seeds gave it a great texture too. The chutney wasn’t to EmJay’s personal taste but he enjoyed the sea bass with a little lime juice.

Following this, I started on the curries, the chicken curry was so delicious, it actually tasted just like my mums! I’ve never been able to say that about any restaurant curry before so this was a real treat. The lamb and was soft, tender and melted in your mouth as you ate, it had a spicy kick which was complimented when eating alongside the paratha and rice served with it.

The vegetarian dishes included a delicious aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower) and a tarka dhal (lentils), both of these were great to accompany the chicken and lamb. They were full of flavour and spiced just enough to not over power the meat and fish dishes.

The sweet element of the thali was a mishti doi and rossogulla, a caramelised baked yogurt which was infused with cardamom and pistachios which was served with a milk dumpling which had been steeped in a sugar syrup, this dish along side the mango lassi made the whole thali come alive. It’s natural in Indian households to serve a sweet (mithai) alongside your savoury main course so that you are able to eat them along side each other.

 

We were able to request extra portions of everything which was on the thali if we so wanted, and by the time we were finished eating the smallest person in our party had very comfortably fallen asleep on his daddies arm which was placed on the high chair with a full belly, if that’s not a sign he enjoyed his lunch I’m not sure what is! Seeing how he was sleeping, our waitress kindly brought out a pillow so he could sleep comfortably while we relaxed and ordered desserts.

We all ordered different things, EmJay and myself shared a fig and date sticky toffee pudding while other orders included the gulab jamun and yuzu tart, kulfi with honeycomb and the cheeseboard. All of which were devoured. The sticky toffee pudding was served with a cinnamon ice cream, this extra little hint of spice really brought out the flavours of the fig and dates in the pudding and gave it a completely different dimension to anything we’d tried before.

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As we were celebrating Diwali, we also went for some after dinner digestif cocktails, and coffees. I got the ‘India Alexander’, a mix of cognac, chestnut liqueur infused with garam masala, cacao dark and double cream. It has to be one of the best things I’ve ever drank, so smooth and creamy with a hint of chestnut. Beautiful. I drank a little as it was then ordered an espresso to mix into it, this just made it taste even better! I’ll definitely be trying to recreate this one come Christmas time!

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All in all, we loved our lunch at the Cinnamon Club, the food, drinks and service were all brilliant and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

They are currently running the offer of the Bijoya Thali for £32 per person over lunchtime until 31 October 2017 so get in quick if you’d like to try it!

 

 

So this week we celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights which is then followed by Hindu new year. When I was younger I used to love this time of year. The main reason because, we got to take a day off school to dress up and spend the day playing with friends at the Temple while our parents socialised and wished everyone a Happy New Year.

I’m sure you would find 1000’s of different stories; I used to love hearing the many interpretations of the story every year with my childhood friends. The most basic story I was taught while studying at Gujarati school was that Lord Rama won a battle against the evil Ravana and rescues Princess Sita whom Ravana had kidnapped, with the help of his brother Laxshman and Lord Hanuman, on their return to the village, they were led home by Diwa’s (or candles) from the forest all the way home and were greeted with a big celebration.

Hindu festivals means there’s going to be food (YAY!). Diwali and New Year are the biggest days in the Hindu calendar, so just as many people start preparing for Christmas in the weeks (and months) ahead of the holidays, many Hindus across the globe will start their Diwali food prep a couple of weeks ahead of the festival. They like to be ready in preparation of the many visitors that will come over throughout the festive period (and often beyond that).

Last year, we were fresh into our new house so I hadn’t quite settled and got everything ready by the time Diwali came round. This year, I’ve done a selection of bits. Infact, I did so many different options I even put together some little Diwali packs for my family and posted them out 🙂

I’ve done:
Airfryed Methi Puri (Indian savoury crackers infusd with fenugreek leaves)
Chocolate Barfi (A nutmeg and cardamom spiced milk powder fudge topped with chocolate)
Mawa Penda (Caramelised condensed milk and milk powder fudge infused with almonds)
White chocolate fudge
Shortbread oat biscuists
And last but not least, a not so traditional but equally delicious banana & nutella cake (recipe for that one here)

 

Today I wanted to share one of the easiest recipes I’ve made this Diwali and also one of the most popular sweets at our house, chocolate barfi (EmJay loves a good chocolate barfi!). I based the recipe on what my mum usually does, although her method is a little more laborious than mine, she heats up the mixture on a stove and stirs continuously for a long long time! Mine uses a little shortcut, and why not I say? I use condensed milk in the recipe which gives it the perfect sweetness without having to add any more sugar.

These make a delicious snack at any time of the day, we usually have them alongside a nice cup of masala tea!

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as my family and I do, you can make your own chocolate barfi using this method here.

This recipe was also published on the Roots and Leisure website here.

So if you haven’t noticed from the recipes and restaurant reviews I’ve written so far, I LOVE Indian food, which in turn means I love a good curry.

Curry is an interesting word if you think about it. You could use the word with so many cuisines, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian but to name a few. The word curry itself just means ‘sauce’ so using it to describe the 100’s (if not 1000’s) of dishes available in Indian cuisine kind of feels wrong to me.

Growing up in Preston, my mum had 100s of vegetarian recipes, a handful of fish recipes and around 3 chicken staples, Gujarati chicken, methi chicken and jeera chicken. All three of them had a completely different flavour profile and consistency. With lamb, again there were a few staples; a Gujarati lamb, lamb dhal and meatballs. Of course, alongside these there were the favourite Indian restaurant starters/snacks of samosas, dry roasted chicken and sheek kebabs.

I often get asked questions like ‘Please could you cook me a lamb rogan josh?’ or ‘Can you do me a korma chicken?’ and if I’m honest, most of the time I have no idea what I’m being asked for. I then go off on my merry way to have a google to see what I’m up against on the flavour front.

Having a decent palette and a good few years of cooking experience in my back pocket, I usually come up with something similar to what’s being asked for. I’ve still got a way to go, and I have a vast number of recipes to trial from all the cook books I now have on display in my kitchen (thanks to EmJay for that!), but I still always love to go back to basics and make a really good Gujarati chicken.

So for National Curry Week, I’m sharing something I grew up eating which was made weekly by my mum. I’ve made it with the addition of mixed peppers to give the sauce a bit of body and thickness. I make it with my onion tomato masala and it comes together super quickly on a weeknight.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Find the recipe here.