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!

I have linked up my recipe with Credit Crunch Munch which is a frugal food recipe sharing challenge developed by Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All and guest hosted by the lovely Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth’s Diary, have a look at all the other fabulous recipes linked up for Feb 2015 on her blog post too.

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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 preheated 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.

GODIVA CHOCOLATES FESTIVE GIVEAWAY

In early October I was invited to the Godiva ‘Experience Christmas’ preview at the posh Godiva store located at Regent’s Street,London, where their range of luxurious chocolate-filled hampers, Swarowski adorned gift boxes, seasonal whiskey truffles and hot Chocolixir in new flavour sensations was revealed to a few select people from the food industry, journalists, bloggers and food writers.

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To fully understand why Godiva is such an iconic brand the story of Lady Godiva must be shared.

Legend has it that when Lady Godiva, an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman and wife of Lord Leofric, protested against the taxation of his subjects a deal was struck: fair Lady Godiva would ride through the streets of Coventry, “clad in nought” but her long tresses, and if the population remained in shuttered buildings, their tax burden would be lifted. The following morning she made her famous ride, the citizens graciously stayed inside and Leofric kept his word and reduced the taxes.

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Lady Godiva won the hearts of many and her legend has lived on through the centuries. Nowhere is her passion, purity, sensuality, style and boldness more symbolised than in Godiva chocolates, which in turn, am sure win the hearts of those who taste them.

Known worldwide for being irresistibly delicious Godiva chocolates are a treat for all the senses. These decadent chocolates and pralines are made to produce thrilling tastes, textures and sensations in each and every bite by creative Chef Chocolatiers who uphold the Godiva values and by using the finest GMO-free ingredients that are used in every single aspect of Godiva chocolate making to create the highest quality end result – the most sumptuous chocolates imaginable.

Godiva Chefs Selection

As always I would like to share a slice of my experience with you by offering ONE lucky readers to enjoy a box of Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde 16 chocolates from Godiva by entering a simple giveaway, to find out how have a read through the easy T& C’s.

Wishing all my readers a very, very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year, may the spirit of Christmas fill your hearts and lives with warmth and joy and may you forgive and forget any old bitterness and embrace with joy the goodness of spirit , only then will the true magic spin it’s web around you…or so I think..:)

GODIVA CHOCOLATES FESTIVE GIVEAWAY

ONE lucky winner can win this fabulous prize ! Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde Box of 16 chocolates from Godiva

Godiva Chefs Selection from Charlottee

How to enter the giveaway:

You too could WIN a box of Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde Box of 16 chocolates from Godiva, all you have to do is :

  1. Follow me on twitter – @manjirichitnis
  2. Tweet out the following –  with Chef selection box of 16 chocolates from
  3. Leave a comment below telling me who will you share your box of Godiva chocolates and also mention your twitter handle. I will find you on twitter via the hashtag so it’s not required for you to mention your twitter handle in the comments. Do not share your email id in the comments please.

Godiva Giveaway Nov'14

Please have a read through the Terms and Conditions below:

  • Winners will be picked using Random Number.
  • Deadline for entering this contest is 31st December’ 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.
  • ONE lucky winner will be chosen using random number generator.
  • The giveaway prize is as mentioned in the post. Neither Godiva or I am liable for any damage of goods in transit.
  • Please allow a minimum of 15 days for delivery of the prize, which may reach earlier or later. The chocolate box will be sent directly  by Godiva.
  • 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 2nd January’ 2015  on Twitter by me and here on my blog post. I shall tag the lucky winner on Twitter via their twitter id . If you are declared as the winner you agree to allow me and Godiva to contact you via email id  to arrange for the goody bag to be sent out to you.
  • If the winner fails to respond by 5th January’ 2015  then another winner will be chosen.

*With thanks to Godiva and their PR team for inviting to their exclusive Christmas event . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Images Wiki unless watermarked as ‘travelsfortaste’.

CONGRATULATIONS to the LUCKY winner of this fabulous GIVEAWAY of a box of Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde Box of 16 chocolates from Godiva !!!

AND The lucky winner is : Hold your breath! …….

TRACY K NIXON – Twitter id : 

While you are here why not have a look at the other giveaways on my blog and increase your chances of winnings cool freebies!?!

  • Win one of TWO Goody Bags from KNORR packed with 2x of EACH Knorr flavour pots and stock cubes to participate click here.
  • Win one beautiful Hotel Chocolat gift bag with fabulous cocoa cuisine products, to participate click here.
  • WIN 5 delicious sauces from the WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Flavour Sauces, to participate click here.

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Cooking with WORLD FOODS at the School of Wok and WORLD FOODS Giveaway – CLOSED

Cooking out of jar is something we resort to only when we are really hard pressed for time or in a situation when we simply do have access to fresh ingredients, but there are few jarred sauces that defy this belief and World Foods sauces I think deserve to be one of those. The reason I say this thank to a really well planned and executed cookery class at the School of Wok courtesy WORLDFOODS and expertly conducted by Head Chef at School of Wok Jeremy Wong.

WORLDFOODS produces a range of seven ready-made sauces totaling 51 variations in all with tantalising Asian dipping sauces, pastes, noodle sauces, stir-fry, cooking sauces, marinades, chutneys and salad dressings . The best bit is that they do not use preservatives and artificial flavorings. AND their products are food allergens free, trans-fat free and gluten free with no artificial preservatives, coloring or flavouring. The aim being to produce and  maintain a  range of “clean” products that are suitable for Vegetarians, Vegans and Celiacs.

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Once we had a brief introduction from Jeremy, we were each asked to pick a partner to cook with and since I was going to be eating the duck and Nayna is a vegetarian we picked other partners and Fiona and me started working on the ingredients.

Jeremy showed us some really amazing knife skills and we sliced a pepper like I’ve never done before using a rather huge cleaver imported straight from the Far East. In spite of both Fiona and me still having wrists in bad shape we managed this bit smoothly thanks to picking up some basic techniques that Chef Jeremy very lucidly explained.

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The mention of Panang Curry duck with Thai basil stir fry  made my mouth water. On the menu was a also a Masaman roast poussin and for the vegetarians  similar dishes using the same WORLDFOODS sauces but with aubergine replacing the duck and delicious and cute squash used in place of poussin. I love paneer and the squash was stuffed with paneer – I felt slightly greedy especially when I saw the beautiful roast squash was taken out of the oven – turning a visible shade of green (with envy – which scared Fiona a little and Nayna a lot 😉 !). The vegetarians also made Rendang tacos.

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After the veggie chopping when we started cooking I was really impressed with the huge portion of duck that we were going to cook and it watching the duck sizzle and ooze its fat and juices on the pan made my tummy rumble in anticipation of a fab meal.

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What happened next was the most interesting part of the evening – we learnt some cool wok handling skills and the basics of how to get a stir fry going, I even managed to get a really cool video of Jeremy giving us some amazing tips – why not head over to my Instagram feed and watch the video now?!)

After our cooking session we sat down to a delicious meal and really enjoyed the the taste of the dishes – fresh and full of flavour – nothing that you will expect coming out of a jar – ever! The Lemon drizzle cake made with WORLDFOODS lemongrass paste had a beautiful fluffy and light texture and was irresistibly yummy. I am not a fan of traditional lemon drizzle cakes and find the sharp citrusy taste overwhelming but the milder lemon grass was a very welcome taste for me and I really think that this is going to be my favourite not so secret ingredient for my future bakes!

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With minimal prep done for us, I picked up some excellent knife skills and cookery tips, ate some gorgeous Asian Fusion food and spent a very pleasant evening in the company of some old food blogger friends and met some more really lovely bloggers. The most important part was the superb time management by Jeremy and his efficient in house chef.

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WORLDFOODS have kindly agreed to give ONE lucky reader a selection of 5 delicious sauces to experiment with so you too can create asian fusion foods using natural ingredients in the comfort of your own home.

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How to enter the WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Flavour Sauces Giveaway with sliceoffme blog:

How to enter the giveaway:

You too can WIN 5 delicious sauces from the WORLDFOODS rangeall you have to do is :

  1. Follow me on twitter – @manjirichitnis
  2. Tweet out the following –  sauces with , to enter head to sliceoffme blog 
  3. Leave a comment below telling me what is your favourite asian dish and your facebook name used to like my FB page. I will find you on twitter via the hashtag so it’s not required for you to mention your twitter handle in the comments. Do not share your email id in the comments please.

Please have a read through the Terms and Conditions below:

  • Winner will be picked using Random Number Generator.
  • Deadline for entering this contest is 5th January’ 2015 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.
  • ONE lucky winner will be chosen using random number generator.
  • The giveaway prize is as mentioned in the post. Neither WORLDFOODS, nor I am liable for any damage of products and / or contents in transit.
  • Please allow a minimum of 25 days for delivery of the prize, which may reach earlier or later. The sauces will be sent directly  by WORLDFOODS.
  • 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 6th January’ 2015  on Twitter by me and here on my blog post. I shall tag the winner on Twitter via their twitter id. If you are declared as the winner you agree to allow me and Knorr to contact you via email id  to arrange for the goody bag to be sent out to you.
  • If the winner failS to respond by 8th January’ 2015  then another winner will be chosen via Random Number Generator.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LUCKY WINNER WHO HAS WON 5 DELICIOUS WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Flavour Sauces

Sarah Davies 

*With thanks to WORLDFOODS and the  PR team for arranging the fabulous sauces for my giveaway and inviting me for the event. A special thank you to School of Wok and  Jeremy for his time, generosity and teaching me some cool skills . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own

Festive Feast at Bengal Quay to celebrate the launch of their New Menu

Last week hubster and me were invited for a preview of the new menu launch at Bengal Quay. So after work on a Monday evening we both made our way from different parts of the city to the beautiful docklands area. I had never been on the DLR before and as I saw the beautiful landscape unfold it put into a very dreamy mood, something to do with the tall buildings and the water reminded me of the amazing south Mumbai roads, glitzy five star hotels and a gorgeous coast line. I could almost feel the salty sea breeze on my face.

Situated within walking distance from South Quay station this Indian – Pakistani restaurant has a fabulous new menu, as we were about to find out.

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I was delighted to finally meet Asma Khan who runs the popular supper club called Darjeeling Express and also the lovely Lisa who writes guest posts for my Fiona’s blog London Unattached.

It was chilly evening so I stuck to my trusty drink of cognac with warm water – Remy Martin this time and hubster too stuck to the same, the other guests enjoyed good red and white wines while the others tripped on tall glasses of Mango Lassi.

The starters were a selection of seafood which made hubster and me very happy as you my readers know well by now about our seafood obsession! We loved the Salmon Sooa which was Scottish salmon flavoured just right and wrapped snuggly in a little portion of banana leaf, it was melt-in-your mouth soft and I would go back just for this and of course the Lamb Nihari – Slow Cooked Lamb Shank in Pakistani Nihari Curry with Onions and Lemon – though opinions over which was the best dish at the table were a bit divided between hubster and me who went nuts over the Venison and Afghani chicken – humm.

The use of cute wooden clips to secure the banana leaf, the stainless steel lemon squeezer and that tangy tamarind chutney made me feel so very much at home.

The other starters were Imli Scallops – a very different approach to spicing up scallops with Indian spices and Tandoori Monkfish which was just the right kind of flaky and went down a treat – thumbs up from both OH and me.

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The mini seabass fillets served with tangy crispies were served with a bhel like mixture in cute cones – which are always welcome for chaat fans like hubster and me and we really liked the seabass – but clearly this not the case with the rest of the table who had mixed reactions. This unusual combination seemed to work for us and was presented very nicely too.

The mains arrived and suddenly there was no navigation space on the table and we were very- very spoilt for choice.

I mopped up with buttery garlic naan the delicious Diced venison in red wine and mushroom curry  – which disappeared fast from the serving dish and as a majority vote it became the star dish of the evening. The special fried rice was great on it’s own while the pulav rice was great with the lamb shanks. The lamb nihari gravy was fabulous and the meat was cooked to fall-off-bone perfection , for all meat fans out there – this dish is something that you must not miss! Game is not easy to pair with spices and serving it up in a curry form with mushrooms seems to be a winning combination – Asma too was very intrigued and happy with this dish in particular.

Neither hubster nor me are fans of sweet or creamy gravy but the Afghani chicken was fantastic, the mild curry flavoured with saffron and cream and the delicious soft chicken was just too good to resist – the chef did something very right with this dish folks.

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The tarka dal was comforting and done to expected standards, which is always a good sign in any authentic Indian/Pakistani restaurant.

Expectedly we were stuffed to the gills and the prospect of consuming a selection of desserts seemed impossible. But that was only until the dessert plates arrived at the table of course 😉

The Indian in me was very happy with not one but two mango desserts to gobble – though the mango sorbet was definitely my favourite. Chocolate brownie came with a very unusual companion – a moreish passion fruit sauce which complimented the gooey chocolate taste very nicely. Again a winning combination.

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Nestled in the by lanes of London’s business hub and a stones throw away from Canary Wharf this is a place I would recommend you visit and do not miss the Lamb Nihari, Afghani Chicken and the passion fruit sauce and brownie and if you can allow yourself the guilty pleasure the mango sorbet too. But if you cannot visit anytime soon and spend time then you MUST take away the Venison curry to mop up with plain pulavAND some garlic naan!

It’s after such a meal that I forget that I am in London and walk out with a wide grin on my face half expecting to see a Bombay black cab whiz past, I feel I will be passing by my favourite Bombay sights and take in the familiar sounds and the magic of my darling city … until I actually step out into the biting cold and the cold breeze envelopes – but then in so many strange ways I find even this comforting as we stroll into the quiet night air, the sense of intense activity behind the deceptively quite larger than life glass mammoth buildings of Canary Wharf  is obvious to the those who care to observe and the bright Christmas lights can’t help make me feel warm and fuzzy inside – a feeling I could get used to very easily.

*With  thanks to Humayun Hussain and Bengal Quay for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review .All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Knorr three peppercorn Baked fish and Knorr GIVEAWAY

After the masterclass with Master Chef Marco Pierre White, where he cooked us steak in Knorr Beef stock cube and served it with a creamy three peppercorn sauce – I was hooked onto the taste of the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pot. This mix of 3 peppercorns will add a depth of flavour to your dishes. Whether used in a straightforward steak sauce, or a luxury pork stroganoff, this little pot will instantly add a touch of indulgence to your meal.

Unilever has agreed to Giveaway TWO lucky winners a chance to WIN one of TWO goody bags PACKED to the brim with Knorr flavour pots and stock cubes .These stock pots have been created by Chef Cameron Healy who is part of a dedicated professional chefs based at Knorr, who work together to develop KNorr’s culinary creations , with good food, convenience and innovation as the main thought process behind these products.

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As you know by know I love seafood and I simply cannot resist buying fresh fish. Last week on my way home from work I saw fresh herring at supermarket and just had to bring home some for dinner. I wanted a very light quick and easy fish dish which I could have with a heavy creamy soup so I rustled up this easy baked fish. Since we were already going to consume a creamy soup I wanted to avoid using single cream to make any gravy sauce.

This baked fish recipe is a super quick and easy meal idea with very few ingredients and makes for a delicious meal. Served with a fresh leafy baby kale and cherry tomato salad it makes a refreshingly light choice. No oil is used in this dish and though the butter is 2 tbsp it is the only thing that you will add other than the flavour pot. Besides Herring are very high in the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, they are also a source of vitamin D.

A low – calorie meal for two ready in under 25 minutes – can it get any better? Think not!

I have used the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pot that was in my goody bag which all loggers received at the end of a day packed with masterclasses spent at the Unilever headquarter in the U.K at Leatherhead.

If you love cooking with the flavour of fresh herbs and spices, but prefer the convenience of dried , Knorr flavour pots allow you to create delicious meals infused with aromatic and fresh flavours in no time at all AND with the very same convenience that dried products offer.

Knorr three peppercorn Baked fish recipe

Serves : 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole herrings fresh – with the head and tail removed.
  • Smoked sea salt
  • 1 and half Knorr three peppercorn flavour pots
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Method:

  • Pre-Heat the oven to 180 °C. Keep the butter out so that it is not straight from the fridge
  • Wash the herring fish under running tap water. I asked the fishmonger to slit it through the middle and clean it from inside for me after removing the head and the tail.
  • Place the fish on a baking parchment in a baking tray and sprinkle liberally with Maldon smoked sea salt.

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  • Wrap the parchment to make a neat parcel.

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  • Bake the fish in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 °C.
  • Meanwhile heat a heavy based pan on a medium heat.
  • When the pan is at add 2 heaped tbsp of butter.
  • Add in the bay leaf and then finely chopped onion and finely chopped garlic with skins. Then add in the Knorr three peppercorn flavour pots and cook until the onion has gone soft.

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  • Once the fish has been baked , remove from the oven and allow for the steam to escape.

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  • When you can hold the fish in your hand without scalding remove the skin which should come of pretty easily and remove the bone , it comes straight off which is great, one clean sweep. Don’t worry if the fish falls apart , it will still taste amazing!
  • Plate each fish onto 2 plates.

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  • Place the onion onto the fish and serve with baby kale and chopped cherry tomatoes. If you wish sprinkle some sea salt on the salad leaves.

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WIN one of TWO goody bags PACKED to the brim with Knorr flavour pots and stock cubes

Each GOODY BAG from KNORR contains :

  • 2 x Mexican Flavour Pot
  • 2x Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
  • 2 x Paprika Flavour Pot
  • 2x Ginger and Lemongrass Flavour Pot
  • 2x Curry Flavour Pot
  • 2x Garlic Flavour Pot
  • 2x Mixed Chillies Flavour Pot
  • 2x Fish Stock Cube
  • 2x Pork Stock Cube
  • 2x Ham Stock Cube
  • 2 x Chicken Stock Pot
  • 2 x Beef Stock Pot
  • 2 x Veg Stock Pot

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How to enter the giveaway:

You too could WIN ONE of TWO of these GOODY BAGS from KNORR PACKED with exciting products from the flavour pots and stock sauces range, all you have to do is :

  1. Follow me on twitter – @manjirichitnis
  2. Like my Facebook page and leave your facebook name as part of you comment.
  3. Follow me on Instagram
  4. Tweet out the following –  with 1 of 2 GOODY BAGS with Flavour Pots & Stock Cubes,Baked fish recipe
  5. Leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite herb, your facebook name used to like my FB page, your instagram handle. I will find you on twitter via the hashtag so it’s not required for you to mention your twitter handle in the comments. Do not share your email id in the comments please.

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Please have a read through the Terms and Conditions below:

  • Winners will be picked using Random Number.
  • Deadline for entering this contest is 15th January’ 2015 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 Knorr 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 goody bags will be sent directly  by Knorr.
  • 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 16th January’ 2015  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 Knorr to contact you via email id  to arrange for the goody bag to be sent out to you.
  • If the TWO winners fail to respond by 18th January’ 2015   then other winners will be chosen.

*With thanks to Unilever and the Knorr PR team for arranging the fabulous gifts for the two goody bags . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. References Wiki.

While you are here why not have a look at the other giveaways on my blog and increase your chances of winnings cool freebies!?!

  • Win one beautiful Hotel Chocolat gift bag with fabulous cocoa cuisine products, to participate click here.
  • CLOSED Win a box of Chef Inspirations Saveurs Du Monde Box of 16 chocolates from Godiva, to participate click hereCLOSED.
  • CLOSED Win 5 delicious sauces from the WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Flavour Sauces, to participate click here – CLOSED.

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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.

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)

Pauls restaurant sept 2014

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.