Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

The chill in the air is just right for warming one pot meals. Make them healthy, quick and easy to put together and you have a winner on your hands.Last year at the Cake and Bake show which I attended with a dear friend and fellow blogger ,  I ended up spending a bomb (£££!!!!) on four different sized pots – non – stick being one of their biggest virtues.One of them is a huge wok which I intend to use to make a stir fry over the weekend. The coating is said to last for years and each vessel comes with a glass lid. I can apparently also shove them directly into the oven but haven’t tried that yet. The big and rather saucepan is what I use as my crock pot for making one pot meals in. In fact there is something very comforting watching a warming curry or gorgeously tasty and nutritious one pot meals!

heaven in a saucepan - healthy , happy meals begin here!

Ok so coming back to my one pot recipe. I had a bag of baby spinach leaves in my fridge and was craving a wholesome soupy stew with lots of vegetables. So managed to gather a few things that I think would taste great together and then added in Knorr onion gravy pots and Knorr mixed chilli pot for flavour and the result was so very satisfying.  But the best part was adding in Ras El Hanout a delicious and fiery moroccan and North African fragrant spice mix. The delicate dried rose petals look so pretty , that’s why I decided to name my dish Moroccan Chicken one pot.I also devoured it for lunch today – umm.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Make this in a large quantity and it will freeze well. Batch cooking is highly recommended as it saves you time and ensures that you do not eat things that you will end up regretting when you are hard pressed for time and simply cannot cook.The freezer is a wonderful boon, use it!

I purchased a beautiful Red Leicester and Pumpkin seed batard to go with my meal – it is soul-satisfying to mop up the thick gravy with the bread while sitting on the couch watching my fav crime show on the telly, feeling all warm and happy.

The best part of this recipe is I haven’t added in potatoes or extra sugar to taste and yet the flavours are so well balanced. (Though both gravy pots do contain sugar) I love stocking up on these tiny Knorr flavour pots they are life-savers!

A recipe with enough spinach to make Popeye jump with joy! Spinach has several health benefits and is known to be a great source of folic acid and several essential vitamins and great levels of iron too. Best part is a big bag of spinach can be consumed in no time as the leaves are high in water content and it reduces in size when cooked.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: approx 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Mixed bag of broccoli, carrot and cauliflower – 270 gm
  • Chicken thighs – 500 gm – appox 3 big pieces
  • Trimmed green beans – 75 gm
  • Chestnut Mushrooms – 4 – 5
  • 1.5 Knorr onion gravy flavour pot
  • 1 Knorr mixed chillies flavour pot
  • 4 handfulls of spinach leaves
  • Red lentils – without skin and halved 3/4th cup
  • 1/2 tsp of Ras El Hanout
  • 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder
  • Water

Method:

  • Remove the skin from the chicken thighs after washing thoroughly under running water.
  • Chop the chicken thighs to make strips of the flesh leaving just enough on the bone.
  • Wash and cut the broccoli, carrots,cauliflower, green beans and chestnut mushrooms bits into bite sized pieces.
  • Slice an onion lengthwise into fine strips.
  • Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and chop into tiny bits.
  • In a large saucepan or stock pot heat olive oil on a medium flame, when the oil becomes to heat up add the finely chopped garlic and saute’ until they turn a golden brown then add in the sliced onion.
  • Stirring occasionally allow the onion to sweat and just when it begins to brown add in the chopped vegetables and saute for half a minute.
  • Then add in the chicken thighs and saute for another minute.
  • Then wash and add the red lentils , add enough water to create a thick gravy – enough to allow the lentils to cook and not soak up all the water. Then add in the Knorr flavour pots and mix well.

Big, beautiful pot of healthy goodness - absolutely irresistible!

  • Then add the washed spinach leaves, cumin powder and cover and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes.

 

Gorgeous Bowl of goodness with immunity boosting spinach and delicious veggies

  • By now the lentils will have cooked and the chicken will almost be done too.
  • Then taste the soupy water and if it is too spicy add just a very tiny pinch the Ras El Hanout , I added 1/2 a tsp as the taste reminded me of garam masala. Ras El Hanout is a moroccan mixture of fragrant spices with rose petals and gives the stock pot a gorgeous full bodied flavour.
  • Cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a gentle low flame.
  • Serve in large bowls with a big portion of the pumpkin batard bread.

Moroccan Chicken one pot meal recipe

 

Avocado,Spinach and fruity Green Smoothie

It’s a relatively bright and sunny but chilly February morning and the bright sunlight streaming through my kitchen window is not letting me sit down work due to the blinding light getting into to my eyes. I have now moved to a cosy spot on the couch but it’s making me drowsy…

While I was away in India and eating all the wonderful local food, I also started reading up on a lot of things related to food , what we eat and how it affects us and how our body reacts to it all.

Now let me share some facts about myself – I am lazy – very lazy and not the type who will ever go the gym even twice a week – I have ended up wasting money in 2 currencies and 3 cities so I should know that however fabulous the gym it simply does NOT work for me.

Nor does dieting – I feel deprived and end up stuffing my face even more.

So what’s the way out when I have finally made a decision to eat sensibly and loose as much weight as I can without going mad. Well, past 2 weeks I have broken down my meals to smaller portions, trying to eat 5 small meals instead of 3 every day and have drastically cut down on sugar consumption. By sugar I don’t mean granulated sugar but sugar hidden in various food.

I have procured a chart about which foods are high in carbs and thus break down into sugar while they are being digested. Am consciously trying to read up more and steer clear of obviously sugar laden foods and any sugary foods are out. Thankfully I quit sugar in my tea years ago so that is not a problem but yes saying no to alcohol and other foods is not going to be easy. But then nothing good come by too easy does it?

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie - Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie – Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

 

So here goes, my morning smoothie recipe – an attempt to start the day on a healthy note :

Serves: 1 – makes 2 small glass fulls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a Banana
  • 1/2 of a big pear
  • 1/2 of a big avocado
  • 1 Royal Gala Apple
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • a small knob of ginger

Method:

  • Chop the ginger into small bits after roughly removing the skin, if the ginger is super fresh you can use the back of a spoon to easily peel of the fine layer of skin.
  • Roughly chop all the fruits into chunks.Break the banana half by hand.
  • Simply chuck all the above ingredients into a food processor and add very little water just to give the smoothie some movement and consistency.

I prefer a thick consistency the type you can scoop out using a spoon as it is simply more satisfying and increases the feeling of being full.

This made 2 small glasses and I had both of them , simply double up the quantity for 2 people and so on and so forth.

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie - Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie – Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

 

 

Leafy , green, tasty , bursting with fruity goodness and taste, this smoothie is an immune system booster and full of all things good for your body. It will definitely boost sagging energy levels and induce a feel good factor. The smooth creamy taste added by the avocado is a bonus!

Jus-Rol Turkey, Ham and cheese tart

Hello Everyone!

I have been away on a long holiday in Indian for almost four weeks. I got back last week and it has taken my system a few days to throw off the jet-lag completely and my internal thermostat to acclimatise to the massive difference in the weather.But am back now all refreshed and raring to go! So expect a lot of new and fun recipes, LOTS of travel posts and many photographs from my foodie and travel adventures – oh yes not to mention more exciting competitions, fabulous restaurant reviews and events that I will be going to soon – woohoo!

While I was in India I did a fair bit of travelling to Chennai, Pondicherry and shuttling between Mumbai and Pune. So all the resulting fatigue has taken it’s toll too.

Besides have discovered that I do have a fair amount of catching up to do with my blogging as well. hummm

So dinner the day after I landed had had to be a simple affair, because my body clock was still following IST. We decided to make a quick and super easy yet delicious Turkey, Ham and cheese tart using my own recipe. Hubster and me are both big fans of Jus-Rol as it really can save the day when things are crazy busy or plain lazy ;)

I have made a few minor tweaks to the original recipe but other than that it was smooth sailing. Here is my version:

Prep. Time: Less than 10 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Total Time: 35 mins
Ingredients:
  • 320 gm Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet
  • 2 medium onion peeled & chopped fine
  • 100 gm cooked ham diced
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 3 heaped tbsp Gran Luchito smoked chilli honey
  • 250 gm cooked turkey diced
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 75 gm grated Parmesan Cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan, gently sauté the onion until it is translucent, then add the diced ham and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile remove the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet and allow it to rest while the filling is being prepared.
  2. Add the turkey,season to taste and then add the smoked chilli honey. Stir continuously to ensure the chilli honey does not burn and cook on a gentle, low flame for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Prepare a baking tray by lining with a baking sheet and carefully place the Jus-Rol™ puff pastry ready rolled sheet onto the baking sheet.
  4. Preheat oven to 220°C/(200°C for fan assisted ovens)/Gas 7.
  5. Spoon out the turkey and ham mixture onto the baking sheet and sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the mixture.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated for 20 minutes and serve hot.

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I remember going to buy Jus- Rol at a supermarket two years ago post Christmas and it simply wasn’t available anywhere. Clearly people had been smart and stocked up on this lifesaving fridge fav for all those leftover meals after the big day. And have since then made a mental note to stock up well in advance for future occasions. There have been numerous dinners and surprise tea time treats for unannounced but welcome visitors who have been fed piping hot treats with several hot cuppas thanks to that pastry roll lying in my fridge! So like many of my store  cupboard essentials this is one of my life savers and will almost always be found living in my refrigerator.

I loved this recipe and now am looking forward to more experiments with Jus-Rol .

If you need more inspiration to get creative with Jus-Rol why not check out these gorgeous recipes on the Jus-Rol website ?

*With thanks to Jus-Rol and the  PR team for sending vouchers to buy some samples of Jus-Rol  for review . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

 

Beetroot and Chickpea salad

Who doesn’t love a salad that you can put together in no time? This easy to make and super quick to put together Beetroot and Chickpea salad recipe is just the thing when you want to eat healthy and not compromise on taste at the same time.  I have added in amchoor powder which is a tangy  dried mango powder which will give this salad a fabulous twist when combined with balsamic vinegar.

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If possible try and buy baby beetroot cooked in vinegar as these would be the perfect size and also have the right amount of vinegar. If you are not sure of how much balsamic vinegar you can handle, add 1⁄2 tbsp first and then if you feel brave add another half. I have a whole collection of flavoured vinegar and if you can get your hands on cranberry infused vinegar, I highly recommend adding that in as it will totally elevate the flavour of your salad.

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Serves: 4 as a side and 2 as a main

Ingredients:

  •  1⁄2 a can of boiled and cooked chickpeas
  •  4 small beetroot cooked and peeled – roughly 250 gm
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small red onion sliced length wise
  • 2 tsp amchoor powder
  • 2 heaped tsp pomegranate seeds

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the chickpeas
  • Chop the cooked and peeled beetroot into bite size chunks. Add them into the chickpeas. Add the chopped onion and pomegranate seeds.
  • Add the vinegar and the amchoor powder and mix well.
  • Serve and sprinkle with more pomegranate seeds if desired.

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I have found the perfect linky to add my virtuous yet superbly delicious salad to. It’s this month’s Spice Trail with the theme ‘ Temple Food‘ hosted by the lovely Vanesther on her blog called ‘Bangers and Mash’. The whole concept of respecting your body by treating it like a temple is really apt for the way I have recently begun to think about food. I have to re-think and re-align what I feed my system and actually begin to ‘listen’ to what my body is speaking to me. It’s important that after years of neglect I FINALLY pay attention to what is entirely my own – my body.

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By linking to this challenge I take heart in knowing that I am not ALONE . There are other like-minded foodies who are re-thinking their ways of eating. I do hope my recipe is one of the many delicious , innovative and beautiful ones that will help my readers on their journey to eating healthy and feeling more energetic.

 

Chakra – Indian Fine Dining in Notting Hill

I am on vacation in India but I have a bunch of passionate foodies hard at work in London, sampling the best that the city has to offer, so that you,my readers can continue to get the latest reviews,news and views from the world of food  – after all someone’s got to continue doing all the hard work while I party ;). A few days ago my buddy Harish, who is also a passionate foodie went to Chakra to sample their menu and this is what he thought . Having just returned from a two week-long vacation in India, the flavors of my real home were ever present on my palette reminding me of the good times spent navigating the gastronomical haunts of both Delhi and Mumbai. Expectations were thus pretty high when Flavia, an Italian colleague of mine from work, and I made our way to the swanky Indian restaurant in Notting Hill called Chakra for dinner this last Wednesday. We arrived for our 8 pm seating and were promptly shown to our table, amidst an already buzzing restaurant which clearly indicated its popularity amongst the locals. The interiors were dim, the décor modern and the music modern; all adding to the distinct vibe of this favored Notting Hill establishment. A plate of spicy mini “papads” accompanied by a sweet mango chutney made their way to our table first. The appetizer was crispy, not too oily and very flavorful just perfect to set the stage for the meal to follow. Chakra poppadums An amuse bouche followed the “papad” plate.  Rajma Galouti – mini red kidney bean kebab with yogurt chutney. This was particularly disappointing, as it was cold and lacking any flavor. Having seen previous reviews, I knew that the dish was dressed down. A part of the meal the management team can safely omit from the offer. Chakra Rajma Galouti Appetizers followed and Flavia and I decided to get a mixture of vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters.  We decided to go down the more traditional selection path and got ourselves a portion each of the Malai Kebab Ke Dande, tender chicken breast pieces marinated in yogurt and fresh cream grilled to perfection in the clay oven, Tandoori Paneer, gorgeous chunks of cottage cheese marinated in yellow masala and cooked just right and finally the Chakra specialty, The Lahori Kebab. These succulent skewers of lamb seasoned just right, just melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. Simply scrumptious. Chakra 3   Chakra 4   Chakra 5 Chakra is fairly unique in its offerings of the main course. Strangely it offers up the vegetarian options in half portions (sides) with the similar option lacking from the non-vegetarian options. Needless to say there was plenty to be thankful for, for what we were about to be served was an absolute delight. Chakra 6 Central to our order was a Blackened Cod Fish. Tender, well marinated and again cooked to perfection. By the beaming smile on Flavias face and the mutterance of approval in Italian I knew she was pleased. Frankly so was I. I can safely say that the tandoori Black Cod marinated with lime juice & a cracked pepper yoghurt marinade is reason enough to visit Chakra. Chakra 7 The supporting cast to the Chakra Black Cod performed appropriately as well.  The Butter Chicken (perfect blend of a delicate tomato based gravy and shredded chicken), The Kali (black) Dal (black lentils which were buttery yet not overwhelming) Zeera Aloo (sautéed tender baby potatoes with cumin seeds, ginger and chili) and Chakra Saag (paneer tossed with spinach, petit pois flavoured with ginger & nutmeg & fenugreek) accompanied by Tandoori Rotis (Indian bread) were just wonderful. At this point in the meal I am usually loosening my belt, being stuffed to the brim. But somehow the meal at Chakra did not end up having a similar effect. The concept of sides is simply brilliant and allowed the Flavia and myself to experience the full spectrum of offerings at Chakra. I say we have a wined with this concept. Chakra 8 Chakra 9   We had eaten like royalty. The Nawab of Hyderabad himself at this point would have been twirling his moustache and rubbing his belly experiencing nothing but utter satisfaction. But no Indian meal is complete without the essential “sweet dish” (dessert). Flavia chose the Gulab Jamun (3 Indian sweet dumplings in sugar syrup, accompanied by vanilla ice cream) and I the Mango Kulfi. The Jamun’s were sensational; Piping hot with just the right texture, sugar syrup seeping through and all. They brought back fond memories of my recent wonderful trip to Delhi. That is what good food is supposed to do; excite all the senses and throw up a flashback or two, of good times spent with those near and dear. This was the perfect end to a perfect meal. On our way out I asked Flavia what she thought of Chakra. She instantly replied “I must go to India and eat”. If this is the response that this Notting Hill establishment (Chakra) can generate from one who hails from one of the most gastronomically gifted countries of the world then I can safely say this. “If you haven’t been to Chakra yet, you must do so now”. Experience the true flavors of India, without leaving Notting Hill, London. **** In my book of great eats. *With  thanks to Humayun Hussain and Chakra for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review.

Help Action Against Hunger end world hunger and Win a trip to Spain, £300 to spend at Ibérica,your recipe on the Ibérica menu!

We all experimenting with various types of cuisine when we plan to go for an evening out and I love  catching up with friends over Tapas as I think may of you do too. I also love making Tapas at home for fun stay at home movie evenings with close friends, it’s a great way to enjoy food and cocktails.

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That’s why I am excited with the Tapas Recipe Competition Tapas challenge hosted by Spanish Ibérica restaurant in association with humanitarian charity Action Against Hunger to raise awareness and funds. It is  a great opportunity for all budding chefs and passionate foodies to work with a charity to end world hunger. Action Against Hunger works to save the lives of malnourished children and provide families with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. In 2013 they  helped over 9 million people in 45 countries worldwide.

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Anyone who is interested has the opportunity to have their  very own  tapas recipe included as a special on Ibérica’s menu between 15th Feb – 15th April at the Marylebone, Farringdon and Canary Wharf. The winner of the recipe competition will also  jet off  to Asturias, Spain, where they will visit Ibérica ’s Executive Head Chef Nacho Manzano’s two Michelin starred Casa Marcial!

Iberica Canary Wharf

All you need to do is submit your own Spanish tapas recipe via Ibérica’s website. All entries must be received by 8th Jan’ 2015. The top five best recipes  which are shortlisted will be announced on 9 Jan’ 2015. The finalists will be invited to attend an exclusive 1 on 1 masterclasses with Ibérica’s Group Head Chef César García, to develop their dishes and ensure that they can be rolled out in a restaurant kitchen. Click here to find the Competition entry page.

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Another brilliant opportunity for the 5 finalists is at the Tapas Showdown where they will present their creations to an impressive panel of judges like The London Evening Standard’s Comment Editor and wine critic Andrew Neather , Olive magazine editor Christine Hayes to name a few.

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Consumers and judges will then sample these creations at a drinks reception and raffle to raise funds for Action
Against Hunger. If you are interested to be part of this gala evening and help this honourable cause head over to the Action Against Hunger site and book yourself for only £35 – your chance to be part of a project to help end world hunger.

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Sounds like a fun event to me! And the lucky winners get a whole bunch of prizes to with the 1st prize winner jetting off to Asturias and £300 to spend at Ibérica, if that is not enough also an opportunity to record a professional video for Ibérica’s recipe club ! 2nd and 3rd prize winners both get £300 to spend at Ibérica but the 2nd prize winner also gets to treat family and friends to a very special meal cooked by César García in the comfort of their own home – wow !

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£1 from the proceeds of each winning dish will be donated to Action Against Hunger’s life saving projects.

What are you waiting for foodies? Put on your creative hat on and get cooking!

@IbericaLondon
http://www.ibericalondon.co.uk

No monetary compensation was offered for this post. Images courtesy Action against Hunger and Ibérica.

A week in North Wales – my Travelogue Part 2 – South Stack Lighthouse and Cemaes Bay

After a fabulous day spent walking and lazing on a sandy beach, we had an early start the next day , highly excited that we were off to to see a lighthouse. Now for this excursion we booked a cab as that’s the only way to get there of you do not drive, or you could take bus no 22 from Summer Hill in Holyhead town to the RSPB South Stack Cliffs bird reserve housed inside the delightful Elin’s Tower.

An interesting memory from the day at beach before I tell you all about South stack – The previous evening (Day 2 – 28th July’13 -Sun) we went looking for a place to get some dinner and chanced upon a cute little Italian place on the tiny high street called Graces Bistro which is now closed, I’d imagine it would have had issues surviving because even when we went there, they were out of many things early in the evening and the wine was overpriced. I must admit though that the food was delicious – an Indian – Bangladeshi place called Saffron is now open in it’s place .

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We also had an interesting time at a place called the The Edinburgh Castle – The EddieBar, – which is just opposite the ferry line and was packed on Day 2 – Sunday – 28th July’13 – we had a very satisfying lunch of Spaghetti Bolognese and Burger and chips, the way the locals were there in great numbers and enjoying the roast I’d say we missed some brilliant Sunday Carvery…

Which also reminds me that the day we reached Holyhead (Day 1 – 27th July’13 – Sat)  we found only one pub open close to LIDL near the railway station – The Boston Arms, very welcoming, we were served hot food and decent beer even late in the afternoon, nothing makes me happier than good fish-n-chips after a long train journey – wouldn’t you agree?

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Day 3: Major Sightseeing – South Stack Lighthouse – A 19th century gem

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There is a 400 step stone stairway that leads to a suspension bridge over a dead drop that leads to the lighthouse. A mixture of fear and awe filled me while walking this stairway – fear of being on a bridge that is the only support – a sturdy one – not to worry – that leads to this stunning 28 m structure across a chasm  and awe for the aluminium bridge that was re-built and opened to people in 1997. In the early days an aerial hempen cable ropeway to bridge the deep chasm between the rock on which the lighthouse stand and the mainland –  a hempen cable which was 21 metres above sea level (!!!) was used along which a sliding basket was drawn which carried a passenger or stores- brrrr (shudder – shudder!) finally replaced by a sturdier iron suspension bridge in 1828 – this was replaced in 1983 but replaced by the new aluminium one for safety reasons.

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Built in 1808 to facilitate better navigation in the area of the surrounding waters.The lighthouse is now automated and remotely controlled and monitored from the Trinity House Operational Control Centre in Harwich, Essex.

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(In the photograph above, notice the white aluminium bridge like a closed cage)

We took a guided tour of the lighthouse, where we were given a peek into the history and fascinating facts were shared. We also climbed up a very narrow stairwell as far as visitors are allowed to go and I was the last to go down this one – praying hard – while giggling kids stood downstairs wondering why I was making such a fuss ;)

After a relaxed walk down 400 steps we strolled to Elin’s Tower which now doubles up as an RSPB information centre and an awesome place for bird watching – for several breeding seabirds, including puffins – we even spotted one – bobbing about on the water, what a treat it was spotting it with the help of the staff and their binoculars- loved it! And a great spot for amazing views of the lighthouse.It also has a cute tourist shop and cafe where we sat outside and ate some food- much needed sustenance I’d say – if you sit outside watch your food like a hawk or one of the many naughty birds is going to steal it before you can say the word hello!

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Its good to know that: Ellin’s Tower and the Visitor Centre are open all year, with viewpoint, are wheelchair and pushchair accessible and a network of footpaths provides access to the whole reserve.

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( In the top left hand side of this collage – check out the wings of the sea gull as it is flying away after robbing someone’s lunch – naughty bird!)

Hubster and me were really feeling adventurous so after the cab dropped us back at Holyhead we boarded bus no 61 to Cemaes Bay. I was really not sure if it was wise doing this considering the buses back are not very frequent after 6pm and we were really cutting it very close.

But again we have done this thing before, not the journey I mean literally but yes hopping onto a bus going pretty much anywhere, it’s mad thrilling especially if it’s late evening – sometimes in various places we just wait for the bus to turn back and drop us off into town close to our place of stay for the night. But we have ALWAYS met very chatty and fun locals, including the bus drivers, have seen the most amazing spots like when we took a bus into the villagey part at Brighton, it was mad fun, we saw rolling hills and the setting sun and that part of Brighton which is away from the madness of peak touristy places – it is always fun and totally worth it! :)

The bus dropped us close to a lovely beach at Bull Bay, Amlwch Port, we walked along the quiet beach and drank in the stunning views…..few families swimming, walking along the fabulous beach and admiring the pretty little harbour in the distance.

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A long dreamy walk along the Anglesey Coastal Path later, as we made our way to the bus stop,located on a quite street, all shops shut for the day, very quiet and no sign of any one about we chanced upon a fabulous cafe – Coffee Cups-  at the Cemaes Heritage Centre, run by a very friendly couple, who happened to have lived in Surrey at some pint, what fun, and while they made us a really quick cream tea, I went crazy with my camera taking pictures of the lovely cafe and well-maintained back garden. Both husband – wife duo -Carole and Roy Kearey – knew the area well and shared many tips with us, even offered us a ride back into Holyhead if the bus didn’t show up, that was so kind of them. But mostly importantly they saved me from a rather persistent BEE that insisted on joining in our little tea party – humpfh… we took cover indoors and managed to finish our Welsh tea, locally made cones, fresh jam and clotted cream with yummy strawverries – in peace.

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Did I mention I fell in love with the china they used too? :)

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Safely back in Holyhead by the trusty bus service that arrived right on time, we spent the evening strolling around the Maritime Museum, watching the sunset and listening to the noisy sea gulls…amazingly in that quite setting their screams were part of the calm…

Of course dinner was fish and chips – fresh and delicious – most fun I had was saving my meal from the sea gulls…

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Stay with me as I take you the beautiful Llanberis, home to the tallest peak in England and Wales – the majestic Snowdon.

*References :

**All hyperlinks in the post lead to information websites – check out bus routes before planning a journey. All information is correct to my knowledge but would advise anyone using this post as a guideline to please check for updated information.

A week in North Wales – my Travelogue Part 1 – In and Around Holyhead – Day 1 and 2

It’s never easy to try and summarize all the wonderful feelings one goes through on vacation especially in such a scenic place like the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. The many lakes, mountains, nature trails and remains of many magnificent castles make it difficult to not only go visit the best ones but also to do justice to the travelogue by giving useful information to anyone else trying to plan a trip. I don’t promise to live to these expectations I have and as a reader am sure you will to but I shall try my very best.

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Hubby and me both gave a serious thought to how we should see Wales and decided to start with North Wales to satiate my desire to see beaches and his to see the mighty Snowdon. I love that we could do both in one trip. Since it was pretty much a last-minute trip I had like a few hours to research, call the BnB’s that I had shortlisted, book and draw up an itinerary. Thankfully all the honest and helpfull reviews on TripAdvisor and the many listings on sites like Booking.com helped me plan our trip.

Will try and share as much of our experiences our this week back in 2013 as I can, I am loving seeing our photos and chatting with hubster about how amazing this trip was – as I write it up – makes it all the more enjoyable revisiting a week of fabulous sightseeing and an unexpected achievement!

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Day 1: Arriving from London to Holy Head by train: Euston – Chester – Crewe – Holyhead

We boarded a Virgin Train from Euston- these super fast electric horses that take you to your destination in a flash! I love that as it allows for one to use the rest of the day quickly settling in and walking around familiarizing oneself with the new place and basically collecting brochures, finding a good place to eat and just getting a good local ale from a local pub – always a pleasure in Wales as the Welsh locals wherever we went were very warm,welcoming and chatty.

After 3 train changes ones getting that familiar feeling that … of being well out of London city limits. The First Great Western Rail -a charming 3 coach train journey that whizzes past brilliantly beautiful beaches from Crewe to Holyhead.

The evening we arrived we went to a local pub which is very to Travel Lodge – and a Black Sabbath tribute band called Electric Funeral played some really cool numbers. Love the unexpected I say!

After our unexpected beer evening at The Blossoms where we were swinging away, we could only find emergency food, late at night,at the Globe Cafe next door, it a small little place but very – VERY busy on weekend evenings – try their curry sauce it’s weirdly yum after lots of beer ;)

Day 2: Spent eating, drinking beer , walking around Trearddur bay…sand under our feet , the sea breeze in our hair…  and just chilling – the days of doing nothing without guilt – umm – how rare are these days ….

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I am truly a sailor’s daughter and the allure of miles of sandy beaches with views like that … I find simply irresistible. We met a fit couple who were walking the coastline of Wales, having just sent off their youngest out in the world , they finally had taken off for themselves – I love bumping into people like that, always very interesting and at times highly inspiring.

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Rockpools abound ,one can walk along the beach or go on boating and fishing trips or even scuba diving. Enthusiastic people can even get walking all the way towards South Stack and the stunningly beautiful old lighthouse and RSPB Reserve.

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Bus service from Holyhead to the beach is available, the bus service is not great but dependable, we left around 4pm and had to wait for less than 15 mins for a ride back into town, not bad huh? Check bus time-tables here.

In my next post I shall share some photographs of our walk along South stack where we had  breath taking views of the sea and the walk up to the lighthouse , a visit to a quiet secluded beach and an unplanned visit to a quaint tea shop in Cemaes Bay.

We stayed at Travel Lodge while in Holyhead, as their ad’s claim the beds are very comfortable, it was exceptionally warms as we went there in the last week of July. Don’t bother taking their breakfast deal, go out and discover the village, you will find a decent breakfast place or two in the smallest of towns – only advice – wake up early – after 11:30am scope of getting scrambled eggs on toast is bleak.

Inspired to Travel and discover Wales for yourself? Here are a few tourist information sites you might find useful:

P.S: This is from my travel diaries back in 2013, have been meaning to share my travel tales for ever now, finally shall share all my adventures so far in the coming months!

Amur Beluga Caviar – a Review

The beauty of any food and consuming it is in also understanding the history of its origin and the aura and mystique surrounding the food especially if it is Caviar.

My family and me hail from the western coastal parts of India – namely Konkan and fish was always a part of the daily diet , over the years of course the consumption of fish daily is not practical due to various reasons but the love for all things seafood is deeply ingrained in all of us.So when I was offered a chance to review Amur Beluga Caviar by Caviar Classic, London, I could not refuse.

 

Caviar classic is a small London based Caviar Company, owned and run by Darren Pedersen. They pride themselves on sustainably farmed products that are guaranteed to live up to the highest standards.

Amur Beluga is a hybrid of the Acipenser Schrenkii (Amur Sturgeon) combined with the Huso Dauricus Sturgeon (Freshwater Beluga) resulting in a gold green egg with a bit of a harder shell that pops in your mouth, the aftertaste is light and creamy. This combination of the two of the best Sturgeon in the world, not only takes 10 years to mature, but also produces a magnificent sizeable shimmering silver Roe. Naturally then this is a favourite amongst caviar connoisseurs around the world.

At the moment the Amur Beluga is in many ways considered a better product than most Iranian/Russian Beluga’s as the eggs are bigger (3mm in size) and the quality is in most ways is of a higher standard.
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Caviar is served with mother of pearl caviar spoons to avoid tainting the taste of the caviar. I was also sent this beautiful spoon along with the Caviar and Caviar classic always try to go that little bit further to ensure that their customers receive their purchase at it’s best, such as chilled boxes with small ice packs and an extra gift – like this lovely spoon – in most packs.

We ate the caviar on wafer thin slices of toast with a fresh juicy salad tomato sliced in half – I wanted an absolutely neutral and fresh base to feel the caviar on my tongue …the little gems popping in my mouth …exploding with flavour…

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I paired the caviar with a fine Chablis from Waitrose as dry whites work as well as Champagne. Caviar can be had with a good creamy cheese too.

I have stowed the remaining away in the coldest part of my refrigerator where it should stay upto a month but ideally wouldn’t keep it for more than 3 days. And no matter what happens never freeze caviar as it can damage the delicate membrane.

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For me this post would be incomplete without mentioning how much consuming this Caviar reminded me of a scene from Casino Royale where Bond he is seen enjoying Beluga Caviar on toast as he sips on his nth Vesper Martini and seduces femme fatale Vesper after his big win at the casino.

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“The problem is not how to get enough caviar but how to get enough toast with it.” James Bond in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royal
Image Credit: Aston from the Bond Lifestyle Forum

Thanks to my Baba, who is a great fan of 007 and the movie series, the craze for the books, movies and trivia has been passed down to my sister and me and till date the best movie marathons we have at home are when we watch Bond Films back to back with Sean Connery and Daniel Craig as our top Fav Bond actors with Pierce Brosnan as a hot favourite amongst the women in our family ;)

The fictitious and very Charming James Bond lives the high life and one his many expensive tastes is for the most exclusive and expensive – Beluga Caviar. No one rocks the Champagne and Caviar for dinner combination like Bond does, isn’t it ?sighhhhh

Hope that all of you enjoy the party tonight – Bond style with some splendid Champagne – hopefully Bond’s Fav – Dom Pérignon for the lucky few with lots of Caviar and toast to go around and hope you have great company to ring in the New Year.

Adios dear readers and off I go to ring in the New Year and dance the night away , here’s wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year where I shall continue to share my adventures in the kitchen and outside , a lot of travel stories and yes loads of other great c0ntent – stay tuned folks but for now – au revoir !

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Image Credit: Caviar classic
 *With thanks to Caviar classic and the  PR agency  for sending me a sample of Amur Beluga  for review . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Introducing Britannia’s Nutri Choice Heavens – India’s new delightful healthy cookie – Guest Post

Guest Post by my sister Dr. Mrs.Monika Tandon 

Recently Madison PR gave me a packet of Britannia’s Nutri Choice Heavens to review. A new arrival on health food market; the cookie is filled with cranberries and made of whole grain oats. Mildly sweet and chewy with a fresh baked flavor it’s a great accompaniment with green chai or a health drink like cold veggie juice.

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Each cookie is individually foil sealed and the entire pack is an enchanting mauve. The taste and presentation are appealing to both kids and adults.

A truly healthy and tasty way to say Good Morning.

 

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About the Author – Dr.Mrs.Monika (Chitnis) Tandon - who resides in Mumbai, India

Reviews, research, ratings…all invaluable tools for a working mom who wants to keep up with all that’s healthy, tasty and best for her family. That’s what keeps me going too and adds fun to all my food cooked as a Monday morning tiffin or as a weekend treat. Travel trips with overnighters and client meetings and family vacations are all fun with my meticulously researched itineraries and DSLR. Hope you enjoy my two bits in ink…Writing straight from me to you, Monika.

 

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*With  thanks to Britannia,India and Madison PR for the invite and sending a sample. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.