Festive Hot Chocolate Vodka Martini with chilli

A girl needs a good Martini at times and I like mine with Vodka rather than the classic gin, although there are times I would be found sipping on a Gin based Martini too. My recipe for Festive Hot Chocolate Vodka Martini with chilli,  is sure to be an instant hit at your cocktail parties and your friends and family are going to beg for more so stock up on the ingredients and learn to shake that cocktail with some style aka Tom cruise from the flick Cocktail!

 

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House of Fraser sent me a very elegant set of 4 Pied e Terre Martini glasses  with REAL GOLD spiral detailing ,yes you heard that right , for review , so a Chocolate Martini was in order.I do have a large bottle of Smirnoff Vodka Martini but this Martini recipe had to be special and befitting these rather special martini glasses.

Hubby was equally excited to contribute towards this fab Martini evening I planned for a lazy Sunday with some friends, so when I sent him out to buy Vanilla flavoured Vodka he came back with a beautiful bottle of M&S ”HOT” Chocolate Vodka with chocolate flavouring and a hint of chilli for warmth – Perfect!

It’s often by such happy coincidences that something really fabulous can be conjured. I have been using rather sparingly the Baileys Chocolate Luxe Limited Edition Creamy Irish liqueur which I purchased at the Chocolate Festival in April this year.And just like an opportunity to experiment with the liqueur has presented itself – aha!

So folks before I share the recipe for my Festive Hot Chocolate Vodka Martini with chilli  served in the Pied e Terre Martini glasses with REAL GOLD sprial detailing, let me bestow upon you – my unsuspecting readers my newfound knowledge about chocolate liqueurs acquired after spending  a few hours browsing the net and harassing several people including a very sweet gentleman who makes a living mixing drinks.This will ensure that you do not endure the angst that poor hubster and I experienced, as we searched high and low for Crème de cacao before realising that a creamy chocolate liqueur can be used instead and gives a creamy consistency to the martini which the Crème de cacao does not. Crème de cacao was not to be found on supermarket shelves and believe you me, we went into most of the big ones, they are available to buy online though – but that for me amounts to hassle and a longer wait than just grabbing whats on the shelves ,right ?

Since Crème de cacao can be replaced by the chocolate liqueur and I had the Baileys Chocolate Luxe Limited Edition Creamy Irish liqueur , I was quite relieved. Or else I would have had to either order the Crème de cacao online or spend ££ on Godiva’s Chocolate liqueur which does sound so very sinfully delicious ummm

A bit about the Pied e Terre Martini glasses  with REAL GOLD spiral detailing – these sophisticated glasses are available to buy from House of Fraser and are rather reasonably priced at £30 for a set of 4, they surely make for a fabulous gift idea for the festive season or any special anniversary or birthday or simply to spoil a martini lover.

 

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Festive Hot Chocolate  Vodka Martini with chilli recipe

Makes: 2 cocktails

Ingredients: 

  • 75 ml ( 1 peg measure of 60 ml +  1 /2 of a small peg measure of 30ml  ) OR 2 and 1/2 ounces of  Baileys Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 2 peg measure which is 120ml  OR 4 ounces  of M&S ”HOT” Chocolate Vodka with chocolate flavouring and a hint of chilli
  • Powdered Lindt Chilli chocolate for rimming
  • Shavings of Lindt Chilli chocolate for garnishing
  • Ice
  • Cocktail shaker

1 ounce = 29.5 ml approx half a peg . 1 peg = 60 ml

Method:

  • Wash , wipe dry the Martini glasses and place them face down on a kitchen roll with the powdered Lindt Chilli chocolate to line the rim of the glass.
  • Place these lined rim glasses to chill in the freezer.

 

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  • Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with the ice cubes.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Strain into chilled martini glasses lined with Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • Garnish with Shavings of Lindt Chilli chocolate to get the extra chilli kick going

Enjoy with friends and family for a fabulous festive feast guaranteed to satisfy ANY chocolatey cravings !

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*With thanks to House of Fraser for a complimentary set of 4 Pied e Terre Martini glasses  with REAL GOLD spiral detailing. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

*Recipe inspiration from Cocktail expert Colleen Graham’s recipe ( http://cocktails.about.com/od/cocktailrecipes/r/choclt_mrtni.htm) and  Murrye Bernard’s recipe ( http://cocktails.lovetoknow.com/Baileys_Chocolate_Martini_Recipe) .

Indian Masala Omelette with Happy Eggs

Weekend mornings demand a good breakfast, especially if you have had a tad too much wine on Friday evening ;)

I love making a simple Indian omelette and my dinner guests who stayed with us for the night, last Friday, had to be fed a hearty breakfast before they set out to go home. Like my aai I am obsessed with feeding people and cannot imagine sending off guests on an empty stomach.

Luckily, now that I am part of the Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network a  #happyeggtastemakers, I had 2 boxes of these lovely Happy eggs at home, red onion or the Mumbai pink onion which I buy from my fav Indian-Pakistani grocery store and loads of frozen coriander.

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This is a very basic recipe for the Indian masala omelette- with a bit of twist , added in my me . I also love adding in cheese and bulking it up with ham or sausages which I did for my guests, but hubster is a purist of sorts when it comes to the masala omelettes (read fussy hehehe) and so made 2 huge omelettes , one using the recipe that follows and another with the cheese, sausages and Parma Ham – so… so… so… good !!

Indian Masala Omelette

Serves:2

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium sized red onion or pink Mumbai onion chopped fine
  • 3 Happy eggs
  • 1 green chillies chopped into fairly large chunky pieces- easy to pick out for the faint hearted!
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 /4th  tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 large tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste

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Additional Ingredients to bulk up the omlette:

  • 1 cheese single
  •  2 sausages
  •  2 thin slices of Parma Ham
  •  1 /2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1.5 medium sized red onion.

Adding the garam masala is something I like to do as it gives the omelette a fabulous amped up flavour but feel free to leave that out if you aren’t a fan ,

Method:

  • Finely chop the red onion.
  • Chop the green chilli into fairly big pieces so they can be picked out by those that don’t want to chew on them.
  • Crack the happy eggs into the bowl.
  • Add in the chopped onions, green chilli chopped, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Whisk with a fork till the mixture foams and is well aerated , this will give you a beautifully ‘fluffy’ omelette .
  • Then add the chopped coriander and mix again.

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  • I add in the turmeric as it has loads of health benefits – it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant, and our guest who do not consume turmeric on a regular basis loved the idea.
  • Now add in the cheese – torn roughly if it using a cheese single or crushed if using a soft cheese or crumbly cheese, sausages and Parma Ham.Lightly beat the egg mixture once more with a fork to mix well.
  • Place a big pan on medium heat and when it begins to heat up melt the butter.
  • See the photo below – when the butter begins to sizzle and pan resembles what you see in the image then it’s the right time to add the egg mixture.

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  • Move the pan around so that the mixture spreads evenly and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes .
  • When the omelette leaves the sides of the pan ,slightly lift it with a wooden spatula and check , if it has browned it’s time to FLIP ,  you can tell by the aroma wafting around too.6-IMG_9200 (Copy)
  • With a big wooden spatula gently flip over and cook on the other side, I place a lid over my pan at this stage to trap the steam and it also gives me a really fluffy omelette, of course it will fall flat if you don’t serve immediately.
  • Once done, turn off the heat and cut in half using a wooden spatula. Fold and place in between hot buttered toast for a fabulous breakfast.

An Indian masala omelette,served at breakfast with hot buttered toast and hot cups of masala chai , I think is a breakfast fit for a king – Made better with Happy Eggs I say!

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I am so egg-cited to be part Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network, they  sent  me this beautifully packaged cute box with a massive chocolate cookie made using Happy Eggs and a lovely picture of the latest campaign – Top of The Flocks – where Happy Eggs produced an original album of classical music following a study by the University of Bristol looking at the positive benefits of music on hens.The results showed that Happy Hens prefer Bach to Beyonce – they have refined taste these hens! Happy Hens produced 6% more eggs in nest boxes playing classical music compared to pop! Awesome or what?! – always good to know where your eggs are coming from isn’t it?!

Ahem… as you can that by the time I actually got around to taking a photo of the welcome kit , hubster and me had managed to devour most of the cookie …well , don’t blame us  - it was soo yum!

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*With thanks to Happy Eggs for taking me on as part of their Exclusive Blogger Network and  for a complimentary voucher sent with their cute welcome pack . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

NO WASTE FOOD CHALLENGE – November 2014

Growing up aai (Mum in Marathi) was always quite good at salvaging leftovers and saving the not so attractive beans lying in a corner of the refrigerator tray and making some exotic recipe of her. This habit of not chucking things in the bin or mindlessly stocking up the fridge have stayed with me and thankfully so.

Some of the statistics I read about food wastage made me shed tears … Can you guess how many tonnes of food end up in landfill every year in the U.K?

A staggering 18 million tonnes! If this is not a criminal waste of food then I don’t know what is . ”Food Poverty” is a very real issue and there are a number of charitable organisations that promote the cause of stopping food wastage. One such campaign known as Love Food Hate Waste inspired Kate over at Turquoise Lemons to start  No Waste Food Challenge in a bid to encourage others to do the same.

This challenge is now hosted by the lovely Elizabeth of Elizabeths Kitchen Diary  and will be guest hosted by me this month.

It is a simple linky and there are some basic rules to keep in mind while participating:

1. Please link up your url using the linky at the bottom of this post.
2. Feel free to republish old posts just make sure you add a link to the current challenge and add the challenge badge (the blue badge at the top of this post).
3. Make sure you link up before the end of the month (that’s 11.55pm GMT, 30th November 2014)!
4. Posts will be added to the No Waste Food Challenge Pinterest Board to help spread the food waste prevention love!
5. Please make sure your post includes a link back to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and Sliceoffme.
6. Tweet @TangoRaindrop and @manjirichitnis with the tag #NoWasteFoodChallenge and we will retweet all that we see.

No Waste Food November 2014
This is a Blog Hop!

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Grab the linky HERE

 

Powered by Linky Tools

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=243212&type=thumbnail ’’>Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Giveaway and Review – Loyd Grossman Limited Edition Mint Masala – CLOSED

As the nights close, comfort food tops my list of things I crave. And nothing spells comfort food louder than a warming curry and some rice with some spicy kebabs on the side. Problem is when these craving hit mid- week and I am simply too exhausted to make elaborate meals. That’s when I turn to my store cupboard for some help.

Loyd Grossman has come up with a new Limited Edition Mint Masala gravy sauce which I was sent to review along with some delicious naan , a bottle of Chicken Tikka Masala and boil in the bag Basmati rice all packaged in this beautiful box !

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I wanted to create something easy to make using the Mint Masala Gravy sauce and came up a recipe for Minty Chicken Masala Kadhai  - best served with some buttery warm naan!

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Minty Chicken Masala Kadhai

Serves : 2

Ingredients:

  • 450 gm diced chicken breast
  • Loyd Grossman Limited Edition Mint Masala
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 2 tsp Umami paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried Kashmiri red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Butter for the naans
  • 1 large tbsp oil
  • 2 spritz of oil for greasing the griddle pan
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1/2 red onion sliced lengthwise to serve with the naan

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Method:

  • Wash and cut the chicken breasts into cubes.
  • Coat the chicken with 300 gm of the  Loyd Grossman Limited Edition Mint Masala for about 30 minutes.The yoghurt in the Mint Masala speeds up the way the way the spices are absorbed into the chicken
  • Chop the red onion fine.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and when it is hot add the bay leaves and red chillies and saute till the bay leaf begins to change colour , then add the onions.
  • Saute the onions till they turn pink and reduce.

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  • Then add some of the umami paste and 2 large tbsp of the Lloyd Grossman Limited Edition Mint Masala gravy sauce and saute for 2 minutes on a low flame stirring to ensure the onion does not burn. Season with salt. Take off the flame and set aside.
  • After 30 minutes heat the griddle pan till its very hot  on medium heat and spritz some oil on it.
  • Drop the marinated chicken cubes on the pan.
  • ‘Bruise’ the chicken cubes on the pan till they are grilled, flip and grill on the other side , repeat until cooked. Ensure chicken pieces are not too large as they will remain raw in the middle otherwise .
  • Once cooked add them into the sauteed onion thick gravy sauce.
  • Mix well and saute on a very low flame for half a minute.
  • To serve heat some butter on a large pan and heat the naan till they are soft ,buttery and ready to eat.
  • Transfer the Minty chicken kadhai into the shiny balti serving dish and place the halved boiled egg on top.

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The fresh flavours of the minty gravy sauce are enhanced by the delicious umami onion gravy. Lap up the thick gravy and juicy ,tasty grilled chicken cubes with the soft warm naan, scooping up some of the soft boiled yolk as well… ummmmm

Vegetarians needn’t feel disappointed . Try the same recipes using Paneer or Indian cottage cheese, only thing is while ‘bruising’ the paneer on the griddle pan it has to be handled gently so as not to break the cubes and also while mixing it into the thick onion gravy it should be mixed with care.

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GIVEAWAY for 2 LUCKY WINNERS !

WIN ONE OF TWO Loyd Grossman GIFT HAMPERS!

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Each Gift Hamper contains  LIMITED EDITION Loyd Grossman Mint Masala – 1 bottle , Loyd Grossman Chicken Tikka Masala 1 bottle, Pack of 4 naans from Loyd Grossman , one packet with 4 boil in the bag basmati rice pouches and a SHINY new BALTI serving dish – dishwasher proof.

How to enter the giveaway:

You too could WIN ONE of TWO of these beautiful hampers from Loyd Grossman , all you have to do is :

  1. Follow me on twitter – @manjirichitnis
  2. Tweet out the following - WIN 1 of 2 LIMITED EDITION Mint Masala Hampers with , Minty Chicken Masala Kadhai recipe
  3. Leave a comment below telling me what is your favourite Indian food

Please have a read through the Terms and Conditions below:

  • Winners will be picked using Random Number.
  • Deadline for entering this contest is 8th November ‘2014 midnight GMT.
  • Entry is open only to residents of the U.K except Scotland and Ireland.
  • All entrants must be 18 years old and above.
  • Two lucky winners will be chosen using random number generator.
  • The giveaway prize is as mentioned in the post. Neither Lloyd Grossman or I am liable for any damage of hamper and / or contents in transit.
  • Please allow a minimum of 15 days for delivery of the prize, which may reach earlier or later.
  • The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available.
  • I retain the right to DISQUALIFY any entrant who do not complete all the 3 steps mentioned above.
  • The winner will be notified on 9th Nov’14 on Twitter by me and here on my blog post. I shall tag the 2 winners on Twitter via their twitter id’s . If you are declared as the winner you agree to allow me and Lloyd Grossman to contact you via email id  to arrange for the gift hamper to be sent out to you.
  • If the TWO winners fail to respond BY 12th Nov’14  then other winners will be chosen.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2 LUCKY winners of this fabulous GIVEAWAY of LIMITED EDITION Loyd Grossman Mint Masala Gift Hampers!!!

AND The lucky winners are: *DRUMROLLS* …….

Claire Wilkinson –  Twitter id 

Michelle – Twitter id 

*With thanks to Loyd Grossman for sending me a complimentary Loyd Grossman LIMITED EDITION Mint Masala Hamper . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Olives et al review & recipe for Chickpea & sweet Chilli Paneer salad

Chickpeas are comfort food especially when used to make chole , a spicy chickpea curry best devoured with steamed rice. But chickpeas also taste great in salads and because they take up various flavourings so easily , they are perfect ingredients to be used in quick ,filling salads like my Chickpea and Olive salad with sweet chilli Paneer.

On a very rainy weekend , I was alone at home and curled up reading a very good book . Though my tummy was rumbling by mid- day I didn’t really want to let go off my book and cook an elaborate meal. So a hunt around the kitchen cabinets and fridge resulted in the following finds – a an of chickpeas sitting around and some soft paneer in the fridge , half an onion chopped – perfect.Now all I needed was some inspiration…

Sitting in the corner was a brown paper carton sent a few days ago by Olives et al – a few interesting bottles staring at me with beautiful labels and rather interesting names – a quick unpacking of the box revealed the following contents -

  • Smoky Chipotle Chilli Olives - marinated in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil naturally infused with Chipotle chillis.
  • Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and  marinade
  • North African Style Red Chilli Harissa sauce
  • Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish

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I decided to rustle up a quick salad in a jiffy using some of the samples and these ingredients and the result was a very punchy ,pleasing salad that I am sure to recreate soon! Especially on another rainy evening or afternoon when I won’t be able to tear myself away from yet another gripping novel …

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Serves : 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olives et al Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish
  • 1 tsp Olive et al Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and  marinade
  • 397 gm Chickpea can
  • 267gm Paneer /Cottage cheese
  • 1/2 red onion medium size chopped
  • Few Olives et al Smoky Chipotle Chilli Olives
  • Sea salt to garnish

Method

  • Cut the slab of paneer into large chunks so that they do not crumble.
  • Heat a  griddle pan on a low flame and add 2 tbsp of Olives et al Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish to the pan , spread using a  wooden spatula . Place the paneer gently on the chilli relish and allow the relish to caramelise and harden then flip and give the the other side of the paneer cubes the same treatment.

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  • This will give the paneer a delicious sticky and crunchy coating with just the right flavouring.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the entire can of chickpeas and pour some of the salty water it is preserved in over the chickpeas.
  • Toss in a few olives and pour a small amount of the chilli oil they are marinated on over the chickpeas. Garnish with sea salt to taste.Mix well.
  • Then add the sticky paneer cubes . Mix gently using a wooden spatula.
  • I then poured a very small amount of the Olive et al Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and marinade  over the salad – a perfectly beautiful dressing described on the Olives et al site as – ‘Inspired by a Caribbean sauce from the Cayman Islands known locally simply as Mojo Sauce ….Happily unusual, wonderfully versatile and loved by all’ Now I know why its a best seller !

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I would have loved to garnish with finely chopped cucumber but sadly my vegetable tray was quite bare that day but do feel free to add a generous amount onto the salad . Coriander marries well with chickpea in any form.

All this salad now needed was a fork and I fell back into the pages of my novel in like 15 minutes flat, how’s that for a quick and easy filling recipe that tastes fab and makes you go back for seconds and thirds ? Super I say :)

While browsing the website I noticed the beautiful logo for Olives et al and read the fabulous story of how this multi award winning company was born In the early 90s , brain child of Annie and Giles Henschel  who embarked on a year-long adventure that would be the inspiration for Olives Et Al. Travelling on motorbikes through the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, they fell in love with the food we ate along the way and gathered many precious recipes along the way.

It is this motorbike journey that is hidden as a story in their beautifully intricate logo , reminds me so very much of my days in Pune spent zipping across the city in a black Honda Activa scooter that I prefer to call a bike , it had fantastic pick up, was gearless and because of it’s heavy errr ‘bottom’ on which the seats rested it didn’t shake like an autumn leaf even at high speeds on the highway – sigh… seems like a whole lifetime away …

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They launched Olives Et Al in 1993 to satisfy their own culinary cravings and to share quality olives with a wider audience. They began producing Marinated Olives using some of their “souvenir” recipes. Over time, their range of products has grown and now includes, Oils and Balsamics, Speciality Olives, Sauces, Snacks, Kiln Roasted Nuts and Dressings and Marinades – all made in Dorset and free from  free of artificial colouring, flavours or preservatives.

Their products can  be purchased directly from their website or in delis across the country and in  various food stores.

With  thanks to Olives et al  for the complimentary samples. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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POM Wonderful COCKTAIL X 3 Giveaway & recipe for POM Wonderful warming cocktail

POM-Wonderful Giveaway

Pomegranates – have always been tempted to buy them off the wooden fruit vendor handcarts at street markets in Mumbai. Growing up my mum would keep me engaged in her kitchen by assigning me the important job of peeling the fruit and collecting the shiny ruby red juicy insides in a clean bowl – waiting to be sprinkled over her many creations.

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In supermarkets shelves here in London, it reminds me of home and I cannot resist buying the peeled ones for salads but making pomeo juice at home has always resulted in a rather messy end result.

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Now highly coveted as a highly nutritious super food, packed with antioxidant vitamins C and K, minerals, antioxidants, and other unique plant phytochemicals – pomegranates are firmly a delicious part of our modern day diet.

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POM Wonderful sent me a cute cocktail kit and I came up with this recipe for a warming cocktail with a kick of chilli :). My complimentary kit contains a cocktail shaker, measuring beaker, 2 cocktail glasses, cocktail muddler, 2 stirrers, ice-cube maker and bag of Wonderful pistachios.

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POM Wonderful warming cocktail recipe

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Serves :1 – Double up measurements for 2

Ingredients

  • 250ml or 1 cup freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
    60ml Martini
  • 10ml concentrated cherry syrup
  • ½  tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 sprig of mint crushed
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 green chilli split lengthwise
  • Ice cubes – I loved adding the cute heart shaped ice cubes made in the complimentary ice-cube maker sent to me as part of my cocktail kit.

 Garnish

  • 1 sprig of mint

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Preparation

  •  Shake all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and add a few of the chilli seeds from the split green chilli.
  • Place a slit green chilli on the side of the glass and add a long stem sprig of mint inside the glass for garnish and style
  • Serve chilled.

TOP TIP from me: Chill the washed and dried cocktail glasses in the freezer for about 20 minutes before serving – the frozen glaze on the glass will look beautiful and the cocktail will stay cooler for longer allowing you to sip and enjoy your drink longer.

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POM Wonderful COCKTAIL X 3 Giveaway

POM Wonderful have agreed to give 3 of my lucky readers one POM Wonderful Cocktail Kit each. Each kit will contain a cocktail shaker, measuring beaker, 2 cocktail glasses, cocktail muddler, 2 stirrers, ice-cube maker and bag of Wonderful pistachios.

How to enter the giveaway:

  • STEP 1 :Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which is your favourite cocktail
  • STEP 2: Like my Facebook page – sliceoffme and leave your facebook name as part of you comment.
  • STEP 3:  Follow me on Instagram (click on the hyperlink to find me on Instagram) and leave your Instagram handle  as part of you comment
  • STEP 4:  Follow me on Twitter  (click on the hyperlink to find me on Instagram) AND  Tweet out the following (simply copy and paste !)   #Win a #COCKTAILKIT from @pomwondeful enter at #sliceoffme blog http://bit.ly/1CStoJ9  #giveaway #sliceoffmelovesPOM

(I will find you on twitter via the hashtag #sliceoffmelovesPOM , so it’s not required for you to mention your Twitter id  in the comments)

I will be verifying entries ,please ensure that you follow all of the of the above 4 steps , any step missed and you will be disqualified. All the steps are mandatory!

Please have a read through the T&C’s – will take just a teeny weeny minute !

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Terms and Conditions:

  • Deadline for entering this contest is 30th November ‘2014 midnight GMT.
  • Entry is open only to residents of the U.K and all entrants must be 18’s old and above.
  • THREE lucky winners will be chosen using random number generator.
  • The giveaway prize is as mentioned in the post and will be sent directly as a free delivery to the winner by POM Wonderful and I, Manjiri, accept no responsibility for any disputes.
  • Please allow a minimum of 28 days for delivery of the prize, which may reach earlier or later and is the sole responsibility of POM.
  • The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available.
  • I retain the right to DISQUALIFY any entrant who do not complete all the 4 steps mentioned above.
  • The winner will be notified within 15 days of the closing date via the email id provided by the entrant .Winners names will be announced on this blog post and by me via Twitter.  If you are declared as the winner you agree and allow me to pass on your email id  to POM , and  agree and allow POM and me to contact you to notify you in case you win.
  • If the THREE winners fail to respond within 15 days then other winners will be chosen.

*With thanks to POM for sending me a complimentary POM wonderful Cocktail kit and vouchers to buy POM wonderful juice. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. All images courtesy POM except one watermarked ‘travelsfortaste’.

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Win a pair of tickets to Foodies Festival Christmas 2014 – Old Truman Brewery,London – CLOSED

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With only a couple of months to go until Christmas day arrives, it’s time to start working through that Christmas list, and there’s no better way to start than surrounded by food, friends and fun at Foodies Festival Christmas.

Join ‘Foodies’ at The Old Truman Brewery, 28-30th November, for this festive three-day celebration featuring London’s best street food, produce and culinary masters. Here’s what to expect when the UK’s biggest food and drink festival puts on its Christmas jumper:

-Michelin star and top chefs cooking live

-Drink masterclasses with champagne, cocktails and craft beer

-Street food and feasting tents

-Artisan markets, pudding halls and wine and cheese villages

-Hands on cake and bake masterclasses

-Ski bars, pop-up breweries and vintage Soda Bar

-Ceilidh dancing, Christmas quizzes and live entertainment

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Foodies Festival  have offered me to giveaway a pair of complimentary tickets to share with all foodie fans. 

To win simply leave a comment on the blog post telling me what is that you are looking forward to most at the Foodies Festival 2014 AND tweet out the following:

a pair of tickets to at ,28-30 Nov, enter at

For more info visit Foodies Festival here

Terms and Conditions:

  • Deadline for entering this contest is 10th November ‘2014 midnight GMT.
  • Entry is open only to residents of the U.K and all entrants must be 18’s old and above.
  • One lucky winner will get one pair of complimentary tickets.Children under 12 go free.
  • Tickets are non transferable. One pair of tickets per winner only.
  • Complimentary tickets are valid or one day’s use on the day of the winner’s choice.
  • No cash alternative available.
  • Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated.
  • All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show.
  • Winner will be picked out via Random Number Generator.
  • Winner will receive tickets directly , I accept no responsibility for any disputes arising out of any anomalies.

CONGRATULATIONS to Veronica Still  - You have won a pair of tickets to Foodies Festival Christmas 2014 at Old Truman Brewery,London, drop me an email at fruitsnveg@yahoo.com

The Spice Traveller explores Great Britain’s culture and cuisine

Crab Kasoori Methi  - sounds intriguing right?  If that piqued your interest then there’s lots more in store in the creative repertoire of Celebrity Indian chef Saransh Goila who’s food and travel show aptly titled The Spice traveller debuted on his YouTube channel last week . For the uninitiated Saransh Goila won the hearts of millions of fans when he won the  Food Food Maha Challenge which was hosted by Sanjeev Kapoor ( a chef he has watched on tv  in his formative years & greatly admires! ) and Madhuri Dixit ( Bollywood super start, mommy to 2 and possibly the most graceful dancer Hindi films have had in the 90′s !) . He then went to host the TV show Roti Rasta aur India on Food Food channel where he travelled 20,000 km of India by road in 100 days  - exploring local flavours and cooking feats for a lucky few along the way.

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First of its kind , India’s youngest celebrity Chef Saransh Goila’s digital food travelogue show is a 20 part series where the celebrity chef travels across England and Scotland exploring  beautiful travels destinations , local food and culture . He attempts to change perceptions about how people travel across England and Scotland and what they normally except to eat while they discover new destinations. Goila’s  1000 km journey take him to exotic locations around Cotswolds, Yorkshire, Edinburgh and Fife where he cooks up finger licking fusion cuisine.

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Chef Saransh at Kellie Castle –  Fife

 

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Chef Saransh making cheese in Yorkshire

Saransh also managed to throw in exciting experiences including cider making ,also pretending to be ‘Alice in wonderland’ for a day at what he described as a the best cream tea party ever , took over the reins of a Michelin starred kitchen , spent a day at a trout farm in Yorkshire and fell hook ,line and sinker in love with fishing – while learning all there is to  about fly-fishing and Rainbow trout !

 

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 Chef enjoyed some amazing  cream tea and warm scones with clotted cream and jam  polished off with fresh British strawberries!

And while he was cooking , travelling and making exciting cocktails at the Virgin Atlantic  bar in the air at 35,000 ft, he also managed to get a designer kilt made and ermmm pose  :)

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Chef Saransh in a pensive mood , maybe his day out in Scotland left him enamoured with the Scottish Highlands!

So throw away all those musty old travel guides and  hop onto an exciting culinary journey through English and Scottish countryside with Chef Saransh !

And what better place to start that journey than in the city I have fallen madly in love with – London city ! Watch the second episode of The Spice Traveller as he explores multi cultural London  - learns to make Britian’s favourite Fish-n-Chips with Chef Micheal Brown at Fishworks @FishWorks , discovers a resturant that serves 100% vegetariane food in the heart fo Central London , cooks up England’s favourite curry  - Chicken Tikka Masala in the kitchen at Cinnamon in Soho – @cinnamonsoho , explores the sights and sounds of Covent Garden and wanders the beautiful street markets of London city !

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Don’t forget to leave comments after you watch the YouTube video!

Chef Goila’s 1000 km has only just begun and you have lots more episodes to look forward to and exciting contests to participate in too!

So fasten your seats belts, as VisitBritain  - @VisitBritain and Virgin Atlantic Airways – @VirginAtlantic in partnernership with One Digital Entertainment and Zenga TV.com – @ZengaTVMedia take you on fabulous journey – no passport or air ticket required for this one folks!

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Hungry for more ? Watch this space for an exclusive interview with the charming Chef - COMING SOON!

Disclaimer: With Thanks to Chef Saransh Gola for a sharing his fabulous culinary adventures with us ! Why not subscribe to his YouTube channel to continue watching the adventures of The Spice Traveller and watch the Chef cook delicious dishes?!

All images are courtesy Chef Saransh – Please do not reproduce without seeking prior written permission , feel free to share with due credit.

Le Restaurant de Paul – Boulangerie transitions into a restaurant

Originating in France in PAUL bakery  continues to be be a family owned company  five generations on. Today they are present in more than 25 countries  in London, Washington, Dubai, Tokyo  ,Singapore and Moscow. They have been the go to bakery for authentic French bread, cakes and pastries for Londoners with  30 other branches located across the length and breadth of the city.

Their first bakery in London at  Covent Garden has recently become a  full fledged  restaurant . We were invited there for a relaxed dinner on Sunday evening .Located in the heart of theatreland , its walking distance from Covent Garden tube station but I prefer walking from Waterloo station . Walking beats taking the crowded tubes and my reward is a beautiful walk by the river with stunning views of the London eye on one side and St.Pauls cathedral on the other.

The famous black shop front with the name in stately lettering made famous by Francis Holder in 1993, is difficult to miss amidst the evening crowds, theatre goers and many shops.The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans is a welcome olfactory assault that is complimented by the the beautiful display of meringues, cakes ,pastries and fresh bread .

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The restaurant was packed when we arrived  and the front of the restaurant which functions as a delicatessen  had people queuing up for French bread , coffee and cake at the counters up front when we reached , so we busied ourselves taking pictures of the beautiful baked goodies .

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Our waitress for the evening was a smart young lady who showed us to our table a beautiful semi circular sofa against a wall and comfortable chairs on the side. The beautiful décor which is comprised of hand picked antiques is pleasantly distracting and a lot of photos later we finally settled down.

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Our two sharing ,one a charcuterie and one a vegetarian platter arrived with a large tray full of colourful glass jars stuffed with bright ,preserved vegetables – which were used as a base to rest the sharing platters wooden boards on – now that is going to be an idea all of us will end up using for our food photography !

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The charcuterie is a selection of saucisson, jambon cru, coppa, rosette,terrine,smoked duck breast, pickled baby onions ,cornichons,butter and assorted breads.

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The veggie platter was such a beauty – so colourful and fresh – selection of grilled and marinated vegetables,tapenade,aioli,hummus,sauce vierge and PAUL cheese gougere.

Heidi enjoyed her oven baked Camembert and  toasted Campagne bread.

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If anything these starters had made us hungry for more and our mains were so good that when they arrived all conversation came to a standstill ….

My main of Loup de Mer - Pan roasted fillet of sea bass, braised fennel with sauce vierge was flavourful and the sauce was faulous , my sea food loving self was very , very happy!

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I also had a delicious side of Gratin Dauphinios – Traditional French potato gratin   (£2.95)

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We shared a bottle of red which went well with the mains - a French Pinard Classique  2013 – best described as a lively bouquet of plum, bluberry and hints of blackcurrant on the nose, the palate is beautifully rounded, soft and juicy.

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Our group of food bloggers had these fabulous French delights :

Clockwise Top left to right - Demi Poulet au Grain Rôti à l’Estragon – Roasted free range corn fed half chicken marinated in tarragon ,lemon & garlic ,green salad (£12.50) ,

Saucisses de Toulouse – Traditional course cut Toulouse sausages served with crushed buttery potato mash & Bordelaise sauce (£10.50)

Poivron Fraci  (£7.50)  and

Confit de Canard aux Olives – Slow-cooked duck leg, crushed buttery potato mash, black olive & red wine sauce (£10.50)

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I am glad I could squeeze in some dessert as well after all that food – I really needed some coffee so mini macaroons paired with a latte it was.

Am positive that I shall be returning to dine at Le restaurant de Paul and would highly recommend that you check it out for yourself – a taste of authentic French food in the heart of  London – with a sensibly priced menu too – Why not ?!

Have a look at what Karen had to say about our foodie meet up here and what Heidi thought about the food at PAUL here , Nayna’s thoughts are penned down here , Tina , who is still dreaming about gougeres, shares her thoughts here ,the lovely Sylvia shared her thoughts here. Read Karen’s post with beautiful photos here.

Stuffed Marrow Bake

It was on a sunny  summer sunday morning that I finally went to the local car boot sale to look for any treasures that I may find to use as food props and found this beauty .

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But it wasn’t just this beauty that we came home with. We found a a beautiful marrow and I instantly knew what we would be having for dinner. sometimes things just come to you by some sort of divine alignment of separate incidents to become one . I had some Lactofree mature cheddar cheese which I was looking to experiment with and this was the perfect chance to use it in a bake. Had a packet of smoked bacon cubes and yes had some cute , tiny bottles of olive oil which had been sent to me .I normally would infuse my own oils and always have a big bottle  of olive oil into which I stuff a few cloves of crushed garlic , some chill flakes and fresh herbs – the oil adds beautiful depths of flavour in whatever I use it for and because it is a lovely bottle , it looks pretty on my kitchen counter too – which reminds me I need to get around to doing this again soon – hummm

Also I had these bright and colourful mini chilli plants now sitting on my window sill ,looking all pretty and waiting to be used – yellow and deep aubergine coloured chillies – this was going to be one colourful bake !

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So this beautiful marrow came home with us and just like that became part of our dinner plans…..

Stuffed Marrow Bake 

Ingredients

  • 1  beautiful marrow
  • 3 heaped tbsp grated Lactofree mature cheddar
  • 3 flakes of garlic chopped fine
  • 500 gm smoked bacon cubes
  • 4 tbsp sweet corn
  • 2 medium sized red onions
  • 2 tbsp chilli infused Terra Rossa Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • Sea salt to taste

Method

  • Chop the red onions lengthwise , set aside.
  • Cut the marrow into half and scoop out the insides and discard , I know I should have saved them for making something else …

 

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In a saucepan heat 1 tbsp chilli Terra Rossa Olive Oil.

  • Sauté the chopped garlic first and when it begins to brown and the aroma explodes into the kitchen its time to add in the chopped red onions and toss them around till they begin to change colour.Then add the smoked bacon cubes and cook on a medium flame stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.
  • Then add in the sweet corn and mix well for about a minute , season with sea salt and chilli flakes.

 

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  • Remove the saucepan with this onion, bacon and sweet corn mixture  off the flame and set aside.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment and brush some olive oil on the marrow inside out so that it has a bang of flavour when you bite into it.
  • Stuff both halves of the marrow with the mixture.

 

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  • Wrap the stuffed marrow halves in foil and bake for half an hour at about 180°C – I have a fan oven , please adjust time accordingly to suit  your oven.
  • Remove from foil  and add the grated Lactofree mature cheddar cheese on the top.
  • Then bake again without foil till the cheese browns or for 10 minutes approximately.
  • Serve with a warm fresh baguette or a cheesy bread – simply so that you can scoop every single bit of juicy goodness as you eat.

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The Terra Rossa oils ,I received a pack of 3  exquisite Jordanian infused extra virgin olive oils – chilli and lemon infused oils and a unfiltered, cold dripped Sinolea extra virgin olive oil. Not only is it good to have in the store cupboard , I think it makes for a lovely gift idea too ! Yes it isn’t too early to start planning your x’mas gift list is it ?

It is incredible how much flavour this humble marrow packs in. I cannot wait to use it again in soups and stews. Yes it’s autumn and we are going towards colder weather . So along with getting those woolies out we also need to get started with beautiful soups and stews hummm – the seasons they are a changing ! This easy recipe is perfect for busy weekend evenings ( or for a lazy Sunday evening when you want to spend some time watching telly sipping a glass of wine and chilling out rather than slaving in the kitchen!) when you do not want to compromise on flavour and want a wholesome meal too. For a meat free option replace the bacon with a spicy potato and cauliflower mix . Whatever you choose to add as the stuffing, the result will always be satisfactory – that’s the nature of this beautiful marrow ….

*With  thanks to Terra Rossa  for the samples. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.