Today I’m going to let you all know about the inspiration behind the dishes of Calcutta Street. Obviously the main courses and the bulk of the Calcutta Street menu are inspired by my mum’s cooking, but a HUGE part of the inspiration (as the name might suggest) is Calcutta itself. Calcutta is a vibrant city which is so rich in culture and history, but when I was growing up, the thing I really appreciated (and still do) was the food.
When I was growing up, my mum would always make incredible food, but as a child you never fully appreciate the great cooking you have at home, so the food I most looked forward to as a young girl was often snacks and desserts from my favourite hubs. One I often visited that you might have heard of is Golpark. Golpark was just down the road from my house on Gariahat Road, and is still full of snack vendors and food stalls. The variety of food was staggering – anything a young child could possibly want, from phuchka to ghoogni, to kebabs and chops. Some of my most fond childhood memories are making my way home from school, and picking up a snack from Golpark.
On Saturdays, when I had dance classes instead of school, I used to love skipping lunch at home (sorry Mum!!), and head over to New Market for an egg roll from Badshah or Bedouin. When it came to putting street food on the menu, having egg rolls was a no-brainer; they’re a real staple of Bengali street food.
New Market today
New Market in 1945 – it’s changed a lot since then!
Another staple of Bengali cuisine is sweets; Bengalis can’t have a fridge without sweets in it at all times of the day. My mum and grandad (even though he has diabetes!) always made sure that there were sweets from Chittaranjan Avenue at home. My mum especially always made the effort to trek all the way there to get our favourites. Even though we can’t actually bring Chittaranjan Avenue to London, we’ll do our best to make a Bengali home in Fitzrovia, sweets and all!!
Me with my lovely mum outside her university
Sweet shop in Chittaranjan Avenue
So that’s my trip down memory lane, and I can’t wait to bring my small part of Calcutta to London for all of you to enjoy. See you soon!!
P. S. Here’s a video where I’m making the Doi Phuchka:
I am so sorry for spending so much time away from my lovely blog that has got me where I am today. I promise to be a regular again (and I mean it this time!). The reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been busy working towards the launch of my restaurant Calcutta Street, which is opening on 18th July at 29 Tottenham Street, London (Just off Goodge street station) and this blog post is to fill you in on the crazy journey its been!
For all of you who have been following this blog from the start in 2010 – MASSIVE HUGS! Seriously, if you hadn’t followed, encouraged, and supported me back then (when I was posting those horrible webcam videos), I probably would have given up.
In December 2014, I decided to go on a soul-searching trip to the USA all by myself. If you have been a follower, then you might have read my post (and you’ll know that it was more eating than soul searching!) and I had a eureka moment; I knew I wanted to start my food popup.
I got back to London and mulled the idea over for a few months before I decided on a name for the popup – Calcutta Street. Magically, I found a lovely restaurant owner; Steve from Zensai who let me use his restaurant to host a popup. That’s when it all really began – 7th March, 2015.
You can follow the rest of the first year on this very blog through articles and posts about the popups – just scroll down and you can see.
Popups are one thing but opening a restaurant in London is a whole different game – I had always dreamt about it but had thought that it was too far-fetched to achieve.
But that doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride, because each time I even mentioned the idea of starting a restaurant, I would hear the same things a thousand times:
“You are crazy!”
“You are twenty-six, a girl and international on top of that – you will never raise funding.”
“Restaurant is a tricky business, don’t quit your steady job.”
“No one gives funding to single-founder businesses.”
So on and so forth.
But I thought – OK, all that might be true but where’s the harm in trying? I might end up homeless (because I won’t have money to pay rent) but I have friends who will happily lend me their couch to sleep on! I might end up crying every day, but salt water is good for your skin!
So I did it. I decided to quit my job and take the plunge. I wrote a business plan, presented it to people, began the property search, and before I knew it I was fully funded! OK, so I missed out the crying sessions, sleepless nights and surviving on one meal a day bit – but that’s just part of the job!
Next came the tricky part; the fifty-year-old commercial property owners, who firstly refused to believe that I was twenty-six (do I really look like I’m in high school?!), and that I had the money or skills to start a restaurant. Three properties fell through and I eventually found a home in Fitzrovia – my favorite restaurant spot in London. Good things happen those who wait (even if they don’t wait patiently!!).
Finally, after jumping all these hurdles, I managed to gather together a team – project manager, creative director, architect, interior designer, branding guru, menu developer and builders. A bunch of us flew to Calcutta for a research trip for a week, had a blast shopping and soaking in every bit of the wonderful city. The trip also gave me an opportunity to introduce my team to my mum’s delicious home cooking, which after all was the inspiration behind everything!
Alex and Ed dancing in Calcutta
Colour scheme inspiration
Classic Calcutta – rickshaws and trams
View from 33 Gariahat Road (my family home)
Guess where these fans are gonna get used!
I’ll spare you the boring parts of legal, structural engineering, building control, property issues, and get right on to the fun stuff, like building the site, writing the menu copy, creating the website, design, identity, recruitment, music development, food development and all sorts of exciting things. All these different elements make it feel like I’m directing a movie, and the premiere is on the 18th July! It’s exciting and stressful, but after all this, can I handle criticism about my baby? All I want is everyone to love it as much as I do, and even though I know that you can’t please everyone, if you guys keep showing the love that you always have, then that would be enough. I promise to keep entertaining you, keep in touch, and not disappoint you – even if that means the occasional silly video!
Chandelier made with Bengali hand fans
Lease signing party – The Family
Lease signing party 2
I’m about to get drenched in champagne
Our dining room in development
Working hard painting our temporary sineage
By the way, here is a shameless promotion for our social media. Show us some love!!!
I know I have been MIA (yeah I recently discovered this modern day lingo – Missing in action) but that is because a lot has been happening recently. I went back to Calcutta for the first time after I started Calcutta Street, and I thought it would be a nice idea to film a video there to give you a taste of REAL Calcutta. So I headed to The Hope Foundation Cafe in Calcutta and hosted a special PopUp with the girls (who have been rescued by The Hope Foundation and are now independent women) there.
However I have an exciting news to share – Now you can visit my Calcutta Street PopUps every Friday evenings at Woodlands Restaurant, Marylebone. So all those people who missed out on the PopUp’s due to date issues as it was just once a month you have no more excuses now.
I will be making one exclusive Bengali Dish every Friday evening and you can’t start the weekend without Cocktails so I will be making some of those too 🙂
Here is the Menu:
Here are some photographs from the first week!
The menu was : Luchi – Alur Dum (Puffed Bread with Slow cooked potatoes with bengali spices) along with special cocktails – Rum Chai, Fresh off the boat and Maharaja Fashioned. You can find the recipe on the video above 🙂
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – I agree with Henry James and what is even better is Saturday Summer Afternoon!
We are celebrating 6 months of Calcutta Street with a Summer Party – 1st August, Saturday 12pm – 4 pm at Pelt Trader craft beer bar in the city. The menu is very Summery and fresh with goodies like Prawns, Lentil soups, Yogurt, Tamarind. It is a 3 course menu with artisan beer pairing with each course. Yes, you heard that right – craft beer pairing with Indian food! Mark from Pelt Trader does know his beer really well and I am excited with the pairings he has done. There will also be live music by the very talented blues and country singer Charlie Walker!
This Pop up is also right after my 26th Birthday (Yes, I have stepped on the wrong side of 20) so you can always drop by to wish me Happy Birthday and try my special dessert – my mum used to make this for me on every birthday of mine. I am making few of my personal favourite dishes like Prawn Malai Curry, Simui Payesh (Kheer), Doi Phuchka, Paneer Posto. I am certain you won’t find most of these dishes in any London restaurant.
Doi Phuchka, Crispy semolina balls with potato, black chick pea, tamarind and yogurt filling. Very refreshing and Tangy – perfect for a summer snack.
VP or Vivekananda Park in Calcutta has some of the best Doi Phuchka stalls where most bengali youngsters crowd every evening for the tangy snack with some lebu cha (lemon tea) and a cigarette or some good old grass.
Musurir Dal with Gondhoraj Lebu, Boiled red lentils cooked with a slight hint of spice, nigella seeds, fresh green peas, coriander leaves, special scented lemons from bangladesh and a dash of home made ghee – Super heathy and tasty)
Every bengali’s comfort food and a bengali meal is never complete without a serving of Dal and Bhaat. This is the simplest dish ever but very few people get it right.
Chingri macher (Prawn) Malai Curry, Jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce.
This is every bengali’s favourite Sunday lunch, no special occasion is complete without this dish. When Rick Stein travelled to Kolkata, he picked this dish as his personal favourite.Prawn is called chingri in bengali.
Paneer Posto, Indian cottage cheese cooked in a nutty, poppy seed paste. This is my own recipe with very bengali ingredients. Contains nuts.
The most famous poppy seed or posto dish in Calcutta is Aloo Posto, potatoes in poppy seed paste. This is also the favourite dish of Saurav Ganguly the famous Indian cricket team captain who took his shirt off at Lords when India won a match against England and then eventually got suspended.
All mains served with boiled rice.
Simui Payesh – Milk pudding with Vermicelli and sugar coated rose petals (served cold)
Since this Pop Up is right after my birthday, I decided to make the dessert which my mum made for me on every birthday of mine. Payesh is a must on birthday’s its meant to be auspicious.
Mocktail: Aam Pora Shorbot – Smoked Raw mango pulp blended with a spice mix. Perfect cooler on a hot summer day.
Cocktail: Aam Sura – Aam pora with bacardi.
We also shot a little video with some of my customers and people who have been associated with Calcutta Street in any way.
Press coverages are always special but some of them are a tad bit more special than the rest. Couple of weeks back The Telegraph in India featured a story on Calcutta Street, yes it’s a regular press story but it meant a lot more because of more reasons than one – this is a newspaper that I grew up reading , it is the largest newspaper of Calcutta (my hometown) where my family still resides. When the story was out I was sleeping here in London (it was 4 am) and my whatsapp went bonkers with messages from people who I haven’t even spoken to in years or even decades. All I can say is it was emotional.
So I have been taking you through my journey from Eatwithmeshrimoyee to Calcutta Street. I have been doing Pop-ups at restaurants for the last few months but this time I decided to take up the challenge of doing a food stall at a festival. It is a great opportunity for marketing your brand and reaching out to a wide range of people but it definitely has a lot of challenges. A lot of people have been asking me about the challenges of having a food stall, the first one would be getting all the licences and certificates including – HACCP, Food and Hygiene licence and certification with the local council. Once you overcome these you can have a food stall but then comes the challenges on the day, in order to maintain quality you need to be extremely organised and be prepared with everything including washing up liquid because you have no guarantee of a proper kitchen with a sink. And finally it’s always tricky to estimate the amount of food you should buy, so my suggestion would be to have clear idea of how much you need to sell to make a profit and just buy that amount otherwise you might just land up with a ton of extra food – no one can guarantee foot fall in a festival.
My experience at Bollywood Fever at South bank was great over all as I got fabulous response from the people who came, I also added an element of photobooth which people love at festivals and also brilliant for my branding! The dishes I made were extremely simple – Doi Phuchka, Doi Aam and Churmur. All these dishes except doi aam come from the streets of Calcutta and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone loved them as much as I do and the Indian’s said it reminded them of home.
Here is the Doi Phuchka recipe for you.
Ingredients (One plate)
Pani Puri (6) You can find them at any Indian store, try Bangla Town in Brick Lane.
Chaat Masala (You can find this at any Indian Store too)
Bhujiya (It’s similar to a bombay mix)
Fresh Coriander and Green chillies
Dry fry the cumin seeds, coriander powder and chilli flakes in a pan, don’t use any oil. After about 2-3 minutes you will start getting a beautiful aromatic smell from them and it will turn slightly red. Keep it aside.
Beat the yogurt to a fine consistency
Mash the potatoes add the dry fried spice mix to it, lemon juice, fresh coriander and chillies,kala channa and a tea spoon of tamarind paste. Then mash it all together.
Make holes in the pani puri’s and add the potato mix
Then arrange all 6 of them in a plate and add yogurt on top (1/2 spoon for each puri)
Then sprinkle the bhujiya and chaat masala on top
Finally add the tamarind sauce on top (1/2 tea spoon for each puri)
I will be popping up again this weekend (23rd and 24th May) at Southbank at Bollywood Fever festival. I will be serving quintessential Calcutta Street Food including – Doi Phuchka (Pani puri with potato, yogurt, tamarind chutney and coriander); Churmur (Crunchy broken puri with potato, black chick peas and tamarind – very tangy) and Doi Aam (fresh alphonso mangoes with sweetened yogurt and cream – nomnom).
I shall post recipes for all of them very soon! And do drop in and say hello to me at the Calcutta Street Photo-booth too if you are in the area!
After the exciting Calcutta Street Sea Food Pop Up at Bonnie Gull(you can click on this link to read the review), I am popping up again at Stage3 Hackneywith an evening of live Jazz with a classical Indian touch and a three course Bengali meal. And after popular demand I will be making special Bengali dessert this time. I am also going to start putting out the recipes of the all these dishes very soon here – so watch this space 🙂
Here are the posters and menu for the Pop Up on 4th May – 6pm – 9 pm. The venue Stage3 is part of a heritage theatre and just a 2 minute walk from Hackney central station. You can’t miss it!
Which Poster do you like more? Would love to know your feedback and looking forward to see some of you at Hackney!
It was a bright sunny day on April 11 and London was basking in it’s full blown glory – how could I have a better day to host my second Calcutta Street, Seafood special Pop Up? I would love to thank each and every one who attended it and by the looks of it enjoyed my food. There is nothing more satisfying for me than to watch other people enjoy my food – It makes all the 18 hours of cooking and prep totally worth it.
And a massive Hi5 to all the staff at Bonnie Gull for being absolutely fabulous, efficient and super friendly – Makes a sea of a difference! An a bigger Hi5 to Luke Robinson (Head Chef) and Gavin (Exec Chef) for making the whole process so smooth sailing. Finally I can’t thank Cobra Beer and Lord Billimoria enough for sponsoring the beers, they definitely make the food taste better!
I wanted to share the photographs from the day with all of you (who care to read this blog). Hope to see some more of you at my next Pop Up!
Calcutta Street Sea Food Special
Photographs by Kheya Chattopadhyay
My next Pop-Up will be a very special one as it has two of my favourite things Calcutta Food and Jazz (with some Indian instruments like sitar). Save the date!
Calcutta Street Jazz Special – 4th May (6 pm – 9 pm) at Stage 3, Hackney!
I am extremely excited to let you know that, at my second Calcutta Street Pop Up I aim to make some of the famous, mouth-watering seafood and fish dishes from Calcutta. These recipes are all extremely special because it comes from my mother’s kitchen and I have grown up on them. I will be cooking with Luke Robinson, Head Chef at Bonnie Gull and Cobra Beer is the official Partner.
Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar is an ode to the faded glory of British seaside towns. Rose-tinted memories of golden days by the sea: Pleasure beaches, fresh crab rolls on the pier, Mods & Rockers hurling deckchairs, whippy ice creams and jukeboxes full of sweet Northern Soul…And I am going to take these fresh crabs and give it a Bengali flavour.
After a month of running around, stress, promotions and a LOT of cooking finally my first Pop Up was launched at Zensai bar in Camden. I am overjoyed by the response as it was my first pop up and I wasn’t exactly expecting a lot of people to turn up, but to my surprise (an extremely pleasant one) there were more than 80 people. I apologise to all the people who had to wait for a while for the food (I will have more help next time).
I am cooking along with Asia House resident chef Paul Bloomfield and we are planning to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Steve, the owner and DJ of Zensai will be playing some Bollywood Psyc Funk music – cherry on the cake! So it will be an afternoon of food, drinks and fun!
With this ticket you can have any of the 3 dishes below – The portions are big, I am generous with food 🙂
New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas – Till last month, I used to only romanticise about these cities while watching movies and TV series. Woody Allen made me fall in love with New York and Entourage/Californication (TV series, if you haven’t seen them, you must) made me drool over California. So a couple of months back I decided to travel across USA and visit all these cities and more in just under a month all by myself. The whole idea was to meet as many new people as possible and obviously eat and drink while doing so.
So I am going to give you a virtual food tour of all the cities I visited..
San Francisco (Round 1)
I landed in San Francisco first and then flew to New York the very next day only to come back in SF in 5 days – Yes, I know I am an Idiot but hey the flights were cheaper that way! So all I could do was literally have a cup of coffee and some snacks in this round!
New York as they say is a foodie heaven. The highlights for me were – spicy chicken wings at west village, Vietnamese noodle soup at China Town, Halal Brothers ,Rice on Lamb supposed to be the best street food in NYC and a gorgeous Greek Meal at Hotel Wellington in Midtown.
Chinese at China Town
Spicy Chicken Wings at West Village
Random Take Away in Mid town
Vietnamese Food at China Town
Greek Food in Midtown
Halal Brothers – Street Food
San Francisco (Round 2)
This trip was mostly about drinking and (some) eating but the highlight was meeting locals and hanging out with them!
Making new friends
Shot and a Drink
San Francisco Bay Area
Los Angeles/ San Diego
LA and San Diego was stunning, a very good friend John and his family hosted me there and showed me around. My highlights were : Live and fresh oysters, Champagne breakfast, Fruits with chilli powder on the beach, Wilson Creek Vineyard and home made steak made by John’s mum! And I went to Hooters – YAY!
Fruits on the beach!
Santa Monica Beach
Home made dinner
Thai Food followed by a drive
I was at Vegas with a friend who is a professional Poker player hence my this trip was filled with champagne, Michelin Star restaurants, clubs and limo – This is NOT my usual lifestyle (I wish it was).
Highlight : Room service breakfast, best thing ever when you are hungover!
Room Service Breakfast
New Years Eve Dinner
Crystal Room, Vegas
New Years Eve Dinner
New Years Eve Dinner
New Years Eve Dinner
Road Trip from Vegas to San Francisco
This was the best part of my holiday, driving through the pacific coast highway. We stopped at random places to have the real Californian food – burgers, sandwiches and beers! And we rented a Ford Mustang (Hollywood movies are to be blamed) but hey, it was fun! We did have a very good dinner on the last day at this French- Asian restaurant called Ame in San Francisco!
Vegas to SF
Santa Barbara Breakfast
Take away Chinese
Home made eggs
Asian fusion at Ame
My favourite city definitely was San Francisco – love the vibe, the people and the sunshine!
One of the most exciting things about visiting a new country for me is experiencing their culture – Food, Drinks, Music, Fashion. This year I have been fortunate enough to travel around various European cities and one of my recent ventures was to Austria and Munich during Oktoberfest. I know the locals get rather annoyed with thousands of tourists flocking to their country during this time of the year but you gotta experience this massive beer fest once in your lifetime.
For those who are not aware, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. Locally, it is often simply called Wiesn, after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) themselves. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event. (Yes, I copied this from Wiki)
Things I did and recommend:
I decided to stay in Salzburg instead of Munich, because accommodation in Munich is extremely expensive during this time and Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever visit!
I bought a Drindl – Yes! It drilled a massive hole in my wallet but it was worth it. I did feel like very German besides the fact that I am half their height!
Drank gallons of beer – That is the whole point of Oktoberfest! The ones I loved are – Stiegl and Eidelweiss
I took the train from Salzburg to Munich – It’s an extremely beautiful train ride. Takes only 1.5 hours.
Walked around Salzburg and discovered the pretty city – Mirabelle Gardens, Mozart Museum, Little alley’s with shops. There is a lot to do in this pretty Austrian city.
Went on one of the super scary rides inside Oktoberfest after drinking tons of beer – It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, on the contrary it was a lot of fun!
Ate a lot of bread – you will not find such fresh and tasty bread in UK!
1. Saffron – This is an ingredient which I am a big fan of, because it can magically turn a plain boring plate of rice to look royal and majestic. Persian’s love to use saffron in abundance in most of their dishes. So if you intend to make a delicious Persian meal at home, better stock your shelf up with these beautiful strands. Saffron is also used very often in tea or chai in India and Middle east.
2. Rice – Persian meals are never complete without a plate full (or bowl) of thin grained, saffron infused steaming rice. But this is not the regular rice we boil at home, they make their rice with a lot of love and care. They first boil the rice, drain the excess water and then prepare a pan with oil, saffron and even yoghurt and then add the rice to it and let it steam in extremely low heat for about 40 minutes. Yes m’dear that is how much effort they put behind rice – Phew!
3. Herbs – Just like the Indians and Italians even the Persians love herbs, I mean it’s hard not to. They tend to use a lot of Coriander (My favourite), Parsley, Chive, Fenugreek, Mint and the most special one – Dill. The last one is very unique to this cuisine but you might just find it in one of those exquisite super markets, my bet is whole foods!
4. Advieh – It’s not some random ingredient, Persians use this rather exotic term to describe spices. I was impressed with myself when I realised I have most of the spices they use at home. Advieh is extremely similar to Garam Masala, so compositions vary but the basic spices are the same. The most common composition is – Corriander seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Ginger and Turmeric. The other one which is more similar to Garam Masala is – Cumin, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.
5. Dried Lime – Fresh lime has a very tangy and refreshing taste to it but dried lime can create magic too. It is used very often in Khoresh, which is a type of casserole dish with meat to balance the smell and taste of meat.
You must be wondering how did I suddenly become an expert in Persian cuisine? Ah I happened to speak to this wonderful lady Jila Dala -Haeri, who just wrote a new cook book called – From a Persian Kitchen.
She will be talking in details about Iranian and Persian cuisine and her book atAsia Houseon Friday, 14 November along with some light snacks from a Persian bakery!
If you liked this post, then you will LOVE the event, so come along and it will be a lot of fun and you can impress your weekend guests with your newly acquired Persian cooking skills! I’ll be there too, so don’t forget to say hello! 🙂
Here is a special recipe from her book just for my readers 😀
Khoreshts are an essential element of Persian cuisine. The nearest equivalent in the West would be a casserole, a rich dish with plenty of sauce. Khoreshts may be made from meat, chicken or fish combined with vegetables, herbs, fruits or pulses. A khoresht is always served with plain rice (chelo); neither dish is secondary or subservient to the other. Serve a couple of large spoonfuls of rice with one large spoonful of khoresht; eat the rice and khoresht together.
The following recipe is a variation on one of the most popular khoreshes cooked all over Iran.
Chicken and aubergine khoresh with cherry tomatoes and sour grapes
The combination of saffron, sour grapes and cherry tomatoes with aubergine adds layers of aroma and flavour to the plain chicken.I used fresh sour grapes but you can also use the pickled unripe grapes available from Middle Eastern or Persian food stores. I prefer chicken thighs to breast as they are more flavoursome and easier to cook; you can use breast if you prefer.
This dish takes approximately 1 ¼ hour to 1 ½ hour to prepare and cook.
2 medium aubergine
1 medium onion
6 skinless, boned chicken thigh fillets
10 – 12 cherry tomatoes
250 g chopped canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 table spoon tomato puree
3 table spoon lemon juice
3 table spoon sour grapes
2 table spoon liquid saffron
500 ml chicken stock
3 table spoon vegetable oil ( plus extra amount, enough for frying the aubergines)
Preparation and cooking
Peel the aubergines and cut each lengthwise to three slices. Wash and put them in a colander, sprinkle I teaspoon salt and leave them to stand for about 15 minutes.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash the chicken high fillets and trim any extra fat. Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes.
In a medium size heavy based sauce pan heat 3 table spoon of vegetable oil and fry the onions until golden. Add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric, stir and then add the chicken fillets, salt, pepper and the rest of turmeric. Stir well and fry for about 8-10 minutes, until the chicken pieces are golden and sealed. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and the stock, stir well, bring to boil and then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and simmer for 40 – 45 minutes.
The sauce should be reduced by now to half.
While the chicken is cooking, fry the aubergines. In a frying pan, preferably non-stick, heat 50 ml vegetable oil and fry the aubergine slices until golden. Aubergine absorbs a lot of oil, so add more if necessary. Remove the slices with a slotted spoon and pat dry on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
In the same frying pan, fry the cherry tomatoes in a table spoon of oil for a couple of minute. Remove from heat. Return the aubergine slices to the frying pan, sprinkle1 table spoon of liquid saffron and a table spoon of lemon juice over the aubergine slices and cherry tomatoes and set aside.
When the chicken is cooked, carefully arrange the aubergine slices and then the cherry tomatoes in the sauce pan on top of the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, add the sour grapes, the rest of the saffron and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer very gently for about 10 15 minutes. Make sure that the sauce mix is not boiling vigorously because the aubergine and tomatoes will disintegrate.
Serve in a shallow bowl, carefully arranging the aubergine and cherry tomatoes on top of the chicken pieces.
Being a food blogger (part time) has it’s perks every now and again.. wondering how? Well I do get food vouchers worth 120 (pounds) every now and again from the lovely folks at Zomato, or get invited by Bacardi for their launch party.. ok ok I shall stop showing off now!
Look at me posing below like a pro foodie!
Manhattan Grill is one of the few places which ranks in my ‘5 Star’ rating zone, read on for why it is so..
I am more of a West London girl and I like the Victorian and Georgian buildings but the walk to Manhattan Grill, especially the pretty bridge you have to cross from Canary Wharf to reach your destination (Manhattan Grill) is extremely romantic (that is the best word I could use, I promise). The external ambience of any restaurant does add to its charm. Oh did I mention that this steak house is a part of Mariott, these guys are ace when it comes to such things! — 1 STAR!
I made a reservation before going and I was extremely delighted to see that the manager remembered my name without having to look at one of those black diaries. The service was a bit slow initially (it took them a while to get us water which we requested for) but the overall service made up for that little jolt. I was generous to take a friend of mine along with me (nothing is worse than eating alone, I promise) to try this place (did I mention that I won a voucher from this lovely site? Woohoo Zomato!) and we decided to go for cocktails instead of wine, think we both had enough of wine over the weekend.
While I was trying to carefully pick a cocktail from the menu and looking rather confused, the manager suggested that we head to the bar where an extremely experienced bar-genius will talk us through all of them. We made our way to a very old fashioned (in a nice way) looking bar called the G&T bar and as the name suggests they specialise in Gin. The bar-genius, Sam made us try some lovely Gin from around the world – Saffron infused, Spice route and a very London Gin. All of them had their own distinctive tastes – I am not a neat spirit kind of girl but even I loved all of them especially the silk route or spice route one (yeah yeah make those lame curry jokes, go on) because I could taste the cinnamon, cardamom and other gorgeous spices. He made me a cocktail with that spicy spirit and added some more exciting things to it which included rosemary, chocolate and orange liquor – BLISS. Before entering the restaurant I was starving but all this alcohol excitement made me forget my hunger but by the time my cocktail was ready the waiter came and said : ‘Madam your Steak is ready’ – Perfect Timing! — 2 STARS!
I went for the rib eye steak with creamy mash and red wine sauce – keep it simple! My steak was perfectly cooked – medium well (just the way I like) and it was MASSIVE! A person with my appetite can never finish one of those, and needless to say I didn’t either! After being rather satisfied with my steak and cocktail, we ordered for a Manhattan Raspberry Cheesecake – It was again simple but delicious. Perfect sweetness, I don’t like my cheesecakes to be extremely sugary and a generous crust – nom nom nom. — 2 STARS!
The short and simple menu
Busy with my Steak – Don’t disturb
Bar-Genius – Sam
And… I am running out of stars! 5 Stars??? Yes I do feel generous sometimes, unlike the teachers in high school who never wanted to shell out that extra half a mark for a spelling mistake.
Verdict : Stunning location, Great service, Knowledgeable bar genius with a great moustache, Beautiful,well done meat and yummy desserts – That m’dear is a perfect dinner!
I shall rest my case here.
Prohibition/ Live Jazz/ Flapper Dresses/ Men in Suspenders/ Quirky Cocktails – If any of these terms sound vaguely familiar or attractive to you then Night Jar is one bar in London you definitely should pay a visit. It is literally like time travel but without any science involved in it, the only thing you need to do is get yourself a tube to old street roundabout (if you don’t live near there). This place is so ‘cool’ that they don’t even have a sign outside, it literally is a small door in the middle of the hustle bustle of old street shops/ take away’s. You get there and knock on the door (like you were going to visit your friend’s flat) and then you are greeted by a gentleman/ woman (dressed like they belong to the 1920’s) escorting you to the basement.
Once you reach the basement you are taken to a different world all together – you find yourself in a dimly-lit, mysterious speak easy of the 1920s, complete with bartenders wearing suspenders and newsboy caps, curious glass bottles on the various bookshelves lining each wall, and a wooden stage on which a four-piece jazz band was playing their hearts out. Thank god I made an effort to put on a nice dress and some pearls otherwise I would have felt ridiculously under dressed (If you are ever in a mood to dress up, this is where you should go). I made up for my modernism later on by using my cocktail props as hair decoration (see photo above).
There was a live jazz band blasting music and they were mighty good – I took to the dance floor with my friends after I had a couple of those funky looking bad boys (cocktails). I was pining to show off my dancing skills, always wanted to dance to live jazz just like they do in the movies – think Great Gatsby. Coming to the cocktails – they were super fun, decorative (oyster shells, Japanese fans, tumblers, glass coated with cinnamon and chocolate, polo’s pretty much all sorts of weird things) and very very strong. See the photos. Oh you need to make sure you have a reservation – yes you need it! That’s how they rolled in the 1920’s!
Asia House Literature festival is packed with really interesting events and one of them was the launch of a Vietnamese Market Cook Book. I feel the best way to learn cooking is to watch and learn and that is exactly what I did because the two lovely women Van Tran and Anh Vu gave us a live demonstration of how to make some really simple Vietnamese Food.
A lot of people usually tend to have a mental block about cooking ‘exotic’ cuisines because they tend to think most of the dishes will need some kind of magic ingredients which they won’t be able to find in England. The truth on the other hand ladies and gentlemen is – You can literally find everything in London and to cook Vietnamese or any Asian cuisine for that matter you don’t necessarily need ‘out of the world’ ingredients. The ladies demonstrated how to make fresh summer spring rolls and how to make a basic Vietnamese sauce. These are super simple to make.
Drench Rice Paper wraps used for rolls in water (You can find them at super markets)
Chop some fresh herbs along with chicken or fish which ever you prefer
Roll them all up together (Make sure you roll them very tight)
Serve them with a dip (see below for the recipe) or sweet chilli sauce
After realising how simple it is to make the sauce I had to go home and try it out myself, so instead of using Salmon (they used it) I tried it with Lamb and it definitely was worth the effort. I obviously added my slight twist to it.
Noodles with Spring Onions
2 Fillets of Lamb cutlets (chopped into pieces)
3 Red finger chilli
1 tea spoon Fish Sauce
1 tea spoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tea spoon sugar
1 table spoon soya sauce
1 table spoon oil (vegetable oil or sesame oil or olive oil)
Let’s get cooking
For the sauce – Squeeze the lemon juice and then mix it with sugar, chilli, ginger – beat it properly. Add the fish sauce (depending on your taste, add more if you like it or add less if you are not too fond of the smell. I promise the fish sauce tastes great after its cooked.
Marinade the lamb with some salt and pepper.
Cook the lamb for about 5 minutes in high heat and then add the sauce and soya sauce.
Cook for 5 more minutes in the sauce.
Serve it with some noodles or boiled rice.
If you want to try out their food you should visit their restaurant Bánhmì11 in London.
Pop up’s have become the new ‘MacBook’ in the world of foodies – It is cool to visit a Pop up instead of fine dining. I feel it’s a great thing because good food doesn’t always have to be Michelin star, I actually prefer a tasty meal than a beautiful looking meal and guess what going to a Pop saves you a ton of money too (Its cheap). The idea of Pop ups is definitely something I strongly support, I plan to start my own Street Food Pop Up sometime soon (watch out ;p) especially after visiting a few around London – Inspired and Motivated!
Yesterday I was invited by the lovely Miss Cakehead (Emma) to try out one of London’s most exciting food Pop Up – Death by Burrito at The Candlemaker. Death By Burrito are making waves with their contemporary Mexican street food – hotdogs, burgers, unique Sunday specials and, of course, burritos. They started off at the hipster capital of London (Shoreditch of course) and now moved to the posh end of South London – Battersea! Very Cool, I say!
When I heard of The Candlemaker, the first thing I thought was where does the name come from and then Freddie, the manager who also resides just above the pub explained that it is inspired from the candle factory which operated for over a hundred years in nearby York Road. The bar has colourful pop-art and psychedelic imagery which gives it a very retro feel – Not your regular English Pub!
I had a great evening with a bunch of London Food and Drink Enthusiasts, there were not many of us but then Emma said she believed in quality over quantity (I love that I am considered as quality – woohoo). We were greeted with a refreshing lemon Margarita – an alcoholic slush with tequila, lemon juice and mints. I definitely needed it after a long day at work (yes, I have a full time job besides blogging) and you can see how much I enjoyed it from the photograph below.
While we sipped on our cocktails and Modello (which was the choice of beer offered, I switched to it after my first cocktail) we were served nachos with guacamole. I loved the fact that the chef had added pomegranate to the avocado – very hipster! The pork belly and kimchi tacos followed soon after, which was quite a hit with the photographers specially because they looked absolutely stunning! When you are out for a meal with food bloggers, the unsaid rule is – you don’t pounce on the food before everyone has got that perfect photograph (for instagram and twitter ofcourse). The Baja Fish tacos followed soon after (my favourite of the lot) and this is something I have never had before – battered fish with tacos! You should definitely try it at home next time because its ridiculously simple to make but very contemporary at the same time (I definitely will try it at home soon). The (not so hot) chicken wings were also a big hit amongst everyone only till the REAL hot wings came – boy they were hot! Well I didn’t bother trying them after looking at the man who did manage to eat all 8 (which was the challenge) – he looked like he just got dumped, never seen a face as red as that. Finally we were served the mini burgers (which is the most popular thing in their menu) and people did get down and dirty so much so that we all started discussing the famous sexy (read provocative) burger commercials. My favourite one definitely is the Western Bacon Burger commercial with super model Padma Laxmi (It is one of the most viewed ad on youtube).
After feasting and drinking for a good 2.5 hours I was a happy girl with a full tummy. I would definitely recommend people to try out this awesome Mexican Pop up, but if you are not a fan of Mexican food then you should definitely visit The Candlemaker its an awesome pub with really friendly people!
Verdict : Great food , lovely ambience and amazing people!
Strawberry Bellini’s, Champagne, Bread board, Cheese board, Cocktail Making, Fish Burgers and a group of 10 Foodies from London – This has to be a delicious combination and so it was. Andaz Liverpool Street and Zomato organised this exclusive evening for London foodies (Food Bloggers, Chefs, Writers) and I was one of the lucky 10 to be invited – woohoo!
Hyatt’s Andaz is a magnificent 5 star boutique hotel located in the heart of Liverpool Street – it still has the old word charm unlike its neighbour the stunning modern glass landmark, yes you guessed that right, I am talking about The Shard. This 1884 building has a restaurant Miyako, Catch champagne bar and lounge, Eastway restaurant and George pub besides catering the tourists with some swanky rooms.
We got a tour of the restaurants, starting with Catch where we were greeted by Andaz and Zomato with a glass of strawberry Bellini or Champagne (whatever floats your boat) along with nibbles (bread board, olives, cured ham). Then we headed to Eastway for a cocktail class – we all went down and lemony shaking cocktails with the friendly bartender while gorging on the assorted mini burgers, Chicken chermoula and Lebanese Mezze. I made a mixed berry cocktail with fresh berries, lime, brown sugar, Vodka and berry liquor – it was definitely delicious, made me think of an alternative career option!
Finally we ended up at 1901 Restaurant and Wine Bar for cheese board and desserts – by this point everyone had a few to drink so people finally drifted away from food conversation to films, supper clubs and travelling (perfect topic before the Easter break). The Cheeseboard had Innes Log besides Cheddar and blue cheese but my favourite was Innes (Staffordshire Goat Cheese) a Creamy, lactic, tangy, nutty cheese which was my favourite and that is a massive surprise because I personally always thought that I hated goats cheese – so if you are a goat cheese hater then you know what to try. Finally we were served the most awaited section of any menu, yes you guessed that right – stressed spelled the other way round DESSERTS. It was literally a feast because we had everything from Lemon and Blueberry Tarts to chocolates to Strawberry and cream parfait – wowza!
Besides eating and drinking, I also met some fabulous bloggers, journalists and chefs. I had a brief chat with the chef from Catch who happens to be from Pondicherry in India (woohoo – go Indians). That man, has some serious talent in making breads – definitely one of the finest breads I have tasted and the rest of the gang couldn’t help but agree with me. The staff at Andaz were not just extremely hospitable but had great banter and chat too – which is always a great way to relax guests specially in such an intimidating venue.
I got some insider scoop and found out that they are starting – Weekend Brunch Clubs! Keep an eye on their website for more details, I am a huge fan of Brunch clubs and can’t wait to try it out!
Andaz Liverpool Street
Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you decide to try out Andaz!
What would be your last supper? This is a question I never thought about till I attended The Last Secret Supper Club thanks to Lauren for inviting me.
Eating out has always been an important part of people’s life but in the last few years it has suddenly gone top of the charts even before gigs and rock concerts. There are foodies everywhere and instagram is filled with food photographs of people posting photographs of food they eat. Back in the days eating out meant going to restaurants – order your favorite thing from the menu, women gossiped about men and men talked about sports and the hot victoria’s secret model and then you went home. But now there are different kinds of eating out and the most interesting and popular of the lot are – Supper Clubs. Supper Clubs are not like eating out at any restaurant but its a mixture of both restaurant and a dinner party. You pay a fixed price in advance for your meal and a great time in advance, it has become the most popular thing to do in London and New York these days. Supper Clubs actually started in the early 1990’s in New York where it was a thing that the High Society people did and now it has made a grand come back – still quite elitist though.
I spend an evening with The Last Secret supper club, which is organized by Food Photographer Lauren and her business partner along with Top Chef Jesse Dunford Wood at Parlour in Kensal. Lauren was kind enough to allow me to bring a plus one with me, so I turned up with my friend Patrick at the venue 30 minutes late – we confused Regents Street in Kensal with ‘The Regents Street’. We were greeted by the lovely hosts and they immediately showed us the way to the bar where we were served Mandarin Infused Gin and Tonic in plastic bags which also contained a plastic fish inside it – quite an innovate way to serve cocktails I must say!
There was a mixed bunch of people – Food reviewers, The hot New York media PR woman, Editors of Magazines, The Finance guy who works for a Hedge Fund and has no clue about supper clubs(he was my plus one) and a lot of American Expats (Supper Club’s are a big thing in The States). We were all seated like we were at a posh dinner party and then food was served finally – people ate, joked, talked about work (the introductions), then slowly once the wine and cocktail started kicking in, it went in all different directions including politics, sex and london stereotypes.
I thoroughly enjoyed my starter, Buffalo Wings in Blue Cheese Sauce – never tried buffalo wings before but every one in the table agreed that it was delicious and very well presented. The fish pie followed after that, I have to be honest I would never order a fish pie (I am a hard core meat lover when it comes to pies) but it was definitely tasty. And finally the dessert was served – Banoffie pie! You can’t really go wrong with this classic because its almost everyone’s favorite and the chef definitely nailed it, I loved the way she presented it too.
We had a good laugh, some good food and a very fine evening!
I had a chat with the ‘Brains’ of this wonderful concept Lauren and Lottie, this is what they had to say :
The initial concept of Last suppers, came from a series of different ways of thinking around people’s favourite foods. This led to a slightly darker side, what would you choose if you only had one meal left? Would it be food from your childhood, or would you pick something you’ve eaten in a restaurant or abroad?
This was the beginning of our brand. We started by asking friends and family about their last suppers and were amazed by the variety of menu choices. We began shooting their favourite dishes and soon found a style to the food and photography that worked well. The more people, we asked, the more we began to want to expand the idea into supper clubs. It definitely had a new twist compared with other London based supper clubs.
We started off by running them from home and at a rented location, but soon realised how much work was involved and that it wasn’t going to work financially this way. Lottie is a full time recipe developer and food stylist at Seven Publishing, and I am a freelance food photographer, so it was very difficult to fit into our already busy schedules. This is when we decided to collaborate with a chef.
I met chef Jesse Dunford Wood about 5 years ago whilst photographing restaurant reviews for a magazine. We remained good friends, making our decision simple when choosing a chef to involve in the brand. Jesse is very innovative, his culinary creativity still manages to suprise me. We have been running our supper clubs for 6 months now, 3 months of this in collaboration with Jesse. They have been a great success and I hope they continue to be!
The exciting part about the Last Secret Supper Club, is that you won’t know what you will be eating until you arrive. It’s like a game of meal roulette! The menu is very varied, but we always cook an alternative for people just incase. We also ask all our guests to submit their meal and any dietary requirements before they attend. This way there is a chance of one of their courses being selected and winning £10 off their ticket price. This is also their moment to state if there is anything they specifically dislike! We will adjust their meal accordingly.
Our supper clubs are hosted every last Wednesday of the month. The next one is the 30th of April.
We are continuing to write our cookery book alongside, we’re in the process of putting together a shooting schedule, and we hope the book will be released in April 2015.
You can also find out more about the brains behind ‘Last’ via our websites-
Mum’s are special and super humans, and I love mine very much! She is an absolute super woman, who can juggle a million things at the same time. When she was visiting me in London, she was making all these delicious food for me everyday and my most favorite memory of her was walking to the nearest Sainsbury (Yes I am a big fan, and my mum says their meat is the best) to buy groceries – reminded me of my days as a toddler when I followed her to super markets.
Most of the recipes I post in this blog are actually stolen from her, so this Mother’s day I am dedicating this recipe to her. It is the most delicious Indian dessert and you can never go wrong with it – its a mass favorite. So, why not impress your mum by making this exotic Indian Carrot pudding or most popularly known as Gajar Ka Halwa.
Things you will need
3 – 4 Carrots finely grated
3 Table Spoon of Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Handful of Almond Flakes
Evaporated Milk (1 cup) or half a tin
1/2 cup (small tea cup) sugar
2 Cardamom pods
Get Cooking to impress Mummy!
Heat the ghee in a pan and then add the grated carrots and cardamom pods (smashed). Stir it for about 3-4 minutes in medium heat.
Add the evaporated milk and sugar. mix well and then cook in low heat till the you get a pudding like texture (you want it to be quite thick and not runny).
Finally add the almond flakes to garnish!
Serve it hot or cold – its so good that it tastes great either ways!
‘Eat your breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar’ – All Indian’s take this sentence very seriously, which is why breakfast in all parts of India tends to be a very heavy meal. I am a big fan of South Indian food because it’s not just very tasty but very healthy and wholesome too. Upma is one of the most popular South Indian breakfast which has a huge popularity across the country. It is a healthy meal made with semolina and vegetables which keeps you full for a very long time but at the same time its extremely tasty and delicious!
Nudo Italia send me samples of their new rosemary flavored olive oil . I am a big fan of rosemary and always tend to use it with meat (which is the obvious choice) but this time I decided to see how well it goes with vegetarian food and decided to experiment it with Upma! Guess what? It turned out to be fabulous because the hint of rosemary makes adds a whole new dimension to the dish!
1 cup of semolina
Dried curry leaves (3-4)
Onion chopped (1 small)
Bay leaf (1)
Chopped green vegetables (I used green beans and carrots)
Nudo Rosemary Olive Oil (2 table spoons)
Red Chili flakes or powder (as much as you can handle)
Mustard Seeds – (5-6)
Lemon Juice (1/2 lemon)
Salt (to taste)
Pinch of Sugar
Let’s get cooking
Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, onions and bay leaf – fry it till the onions get soft for about 1- 2 minutes on medium heat.
Add the tomatoes and green veggies to it and let them simmer and boil for about 3 minutes
Add the semolina to it and then add 2 cups of water to the whole thing and let it cook in low heat.
Add the curry leaves, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pinch of sugar – let it cook till you get a thick consistency similar to a risotto.
Serve it piping hot and relish it – 🙂 Isn’t it rather simple to make?
Every time I go to an Indian restaurant with my friends, the first thing they order is a plate of bhaji’s. I have seen peoples eyes brighten up with happiness the minute they see a plate full of warm crunchy bhajis (or bhajias – thats the real Indian term) and rightly so because they are absolutely delicious. This is one of the main reasons why I always make different types of bhajis (onion, coriander, potato, bread, okra) whenever I have guests at home for tea. It is ridiculously simple to make – I mean literally you can make them in less than 10 minutes time!
Lets look at the ingredients:
Gram Flower (Chick Pea Flower) – You can get this at any asian super market
Vegetable of your choice – Onion, Coriander, Spinach, Potato, Okra (literally anything you want)
So there are 3 simple steps to making a Bhaji/ Bhajia –
Chop – Chop the vegetable you want to use, make sure you don’t chop them too much because you want it to be chunky and a good size. For example for potatoes, make thin round slices; for okra keep them about an inch long; onions could be chunky too and same with anything else.
Mix – Mix the gram flower, lemon juice, garam masala together , add some water to it to get a batter which is similar consistency like the pancake mix. Then add the vegetable to it.
Fry – Add a generous amount of oil to a pan which is wide spread (I usually shallow fry as its healthier) and then pick up a spoon full of the batter and just add it to the pan to fry it. Turn it the other way round and make sure both sides are cooked and it looks crispy and golden (slightly deep golden/ brownish).
Your hot, crispy, delicious bhaji is ready to be served with some chutney (whichever you want) and a steaming cup of tea!
The best thing about living in London or any big city is definitely having friends from different nationalities and backgrounds. My Swiss- Chinese friend Julian (btw he is very British as he grew up in Cambridge) invited me over to his place for dinner for some authentic chinese food, but the best part was he actually did all the cooking in front of me – yay! The minute I entered his flat I got the smell you get in a really good chinese restaurant and thats when I knew the food is going to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
Here’s the menu, which was so simple to make but equally delicious. He made all three of them in less than 20 minutes and I am not even joking, never knew cooking such delicious chinese food would be so simple.
1. Beef Stir Fry – 7 minutes
Shredded Beef – 300 grams
Light Soya Sauce – 3 table spoons
Sesame Oil – 2 Table spoons
1 red Onion (Big one)
1 tea spoon cornflower
1 table spoon oyster sauce
2 table spoon rice wine
Shred the beef into really small pieces so that it gets cooked easily and marinade them with soya sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, cornflower and sesame oil. Ideally leave them over night but its not essential.
Then fry some red onions in sesame oil, but not much because you want them to be crunchy.
Add the beef and cook them for about 5 minutes – Ta -da your beef stir fry is ready! As simple as it gets.
2. Spanish Omelet with a Chinese twist – 5 minutes
1 tablespoon Winter Cabbage (Magic Ingredient)
Chilly Oil (My addition, because I feel it will enhance the taste)
Salt and Pepper
Spring Onions (Chopped)
Heat the oil and add all the ingredients like you would for a regular Omelet and you have an exotic omelet ready – trust me it tastes absolutely delicious!
Serve it with some chilly sauce or sweet chilly sauce (whichever you prefer)
3. Stir fried beans (3-4 minutes)
Sesame Oil – half table spoon
Fresh Green Beans
Salt and Pepper
Heat the oil and add the beans to it, let it cook for about a 30 seconds.
Then sprinkle water and put a lid on top of it (I have been told, this is the trick to make the best beans), let it cook for about 2 minutes
Add soya sauce, salt and pepper and serve them HOT!
There you have 3 simple but authentic chinese recipes, so go get the magic ingredients from your local oriental supermarket and get cooking! 🙂
Whoever said food bloggers can’t go for fashion week should be shot (okay maybe no one said that).
So I got an opportunity to attend the London Fashion Week 2014 last week – definitely one of the most fashionable experiences of my life. But when you get invited to one of the biggest fashion extravaganza in the world the pressure is immense and the question – ‘what should I wear?’ has never sounded more serious! When its the Fashion Week you know you need to make an effort (or more than that), but guess what? My mind stops working in situations like these and for some reason I don’t manage to find any dress in my wardrobe which I quite like – ah typical girl problems. Anyway I did manage to throw this old steel colored dress on and thought of going for the whole red and steel combination (it’s my made up fashion) and being utterly safe and definitely boring compared to the fashionistas!
Somerset house has never looked more glamorous or star studded ever before – yes I did spot some celebs! Bradley – Oh so HOT – Cooper and Stella MacCartney. I possibly spotted others too but just did not recognize – not great with this celeb spotting game! I managed to watch two shows too – Ashish show at Tate, which was incredible and Saide Clayton at this vintage Church!
Here are some of the pictures from fashion week!
This is my famous steel and red look I was mentioning earlier 😉
Right after my friend took this photograph, I got asked by a Paparazzi if i was Padma Laxmi (She is an Indian super model but is around 48 years old now) so I didn’t know if I wanted to slap that guy or hug him! Well I went with a smile and no I am not at this instance.
You need food to live and a great cocktail to wash it down – this is what Ian said when I asked him to pick between a great meal or a lip smacking cocktail. I cannot agree with him more because even I face this dilemma every time I am out, should I spend more money on food or cocktails. Ahh the first world problems!
Ian Burrell is the Global Rum Ambassador which basically means he is the man you need to go to when you want to find out about Rum and he tours the world talking about Rum and making cocktails, when I say world I mean literally because he has even been to Antarctica and set up a pop up Rum shack there. He now owns Cottons, the rum shack and restaurant in Camden where they also serve delicious Caribbean food. Besides being the cocktail and rum expert Ian is also an Actor, Rapper and Basketball player – talk about wearing different hats. Phew!
So when I asked him for a lay man’s guide to making a professional cocktail he said you need to remember 5 different elements (yeah he treats cocktails like chemistry he said) because the best cocktails are punches! So here is the basic recipe to make the best cocktails!
3. Strong – Obviously any spirit, but according to Ian – Rum!
4. Weak – Coke, Soda, Juice, whatever floats your boat!
5. Spice – To make it nice, that is what they say in the Caribbean – Cinnamon, Chilly, Cardamom and likes.
Shake these 5 elements up with some crushed ice and impress your next guest!
When I asked him to make me a cocktail, he made this exotic litchi cocktail and I must say, being a non-rum lover I absolutely LOVED it. I must say, I was a very anti rum person till I met Ian and he definitely convinced me otherwise, i had a great time chatting with him at his bar Cottons Camden, you must visit and try their cocktails.
So this lovely blog of mine somehow got noticed by Channel 4 sometime back and they asked me to participate in a food show (can’t name the show just yet) a couple of weeks back. Yesterday was the day of filming and guess who was the presenter of the show? Simon Rimmer (Yes the BBC breakfast guy, he also has his own restaurant in Manchester) and the guest judge was Michelin Star chef Paul Rankin! Yes, I did feel like a lucky foodie to meet them and do a show with them, and I must say they were lovely people with such enviable knowledge about food!
I can’t disclose more than this now because of copyright reasons, but will definitely post the video link when the show gets aired or just keep an eye out for a new food show on Channel 4 😉
Here are some of the pictures from last night – Had to show them off! 😀
On the sets of Channel 4 Show
Channel 4 Show
Hope you enjoyed the pictures and will keep you posted on the date and time of the show, in the meanwhile I also created a facebook page for this blog – https://www.facebook.com/eatwithmeshrimoyee?fref=ts
The sound of dhak (percussion), loudspeakers on the road playing the latest bollywood numbers, every street lit up with bright lights, people flocking into shopping malls and other markets to get themselves the best outfit to wear for that special time of the year and ofcourse every restaurant/stall/food market coming up with pujo special menu’s — That is Durga Pujo or the biggest Bengali Festival in Kolkata, India.
After 7 long years I finally got to be in Kolkata for this crazy madness and boy I could feel the butterflies and excitement in lower abdomen the minute I made the decision. I decided to absorb every bit of it and dive into the whole craziness and fun right from shopping, eating, pandal hopping, raiding my mum’s wardrobe and wearing all the beautiful saree’s and dancing to the beats of the dhak! I am sharing a few photographs from my trip which could give you a very very faint idea about the festival because you can never know what really is without actually being there!
These are all the pictures from my trip and the festivity in Kolkata, hope you enjoyed it and let me know your thoughts or if you wanna know anything more! I definitely recommend everyone to visit Calcutta during this time of the year which is usually during September-October .
Hello folks, I wanted to share this short film with you guys as this is very special to me. I acted in the lead role and we are sending it for a few festivals now. It would be great to get some feedback from you.
There is a saying that if you go to Calcutta (or the new name Kolkata) then you MUST try Egg Roll from a street stall. Yes, that is how popular this dish is in India. All bengali’s (the people of Calcutta) swear by this dish and will have it atleast once a week if not more. It is almost like the fish and chips of Bengal – greasy, eggy and very very tasty! And the best part is, you can make it in less than 10 minutes in your own kitchen, but obviously you won’t get the taste of the ones that the street vendors make because the dirt definitely adds to the flavor :p
Ingredients (Most of them you always have in your kitchen) for one Roll
1/4 cup (tea cup) plain flour
Vegetable Oil/ Sunflower Oil/ Olive Oil
1 chopped green chilly
1/4 chopped onion
1/4 chopped cucumber
Let’s get cooking (be ready to get your hands dirty)
Knead the flour with one tablespoon of oil and handful of water (I mean sprinkle some water) and after about 3-4 minutes you should get a soft dough.
Then make a round ball and flatten it with a rolling pin, till you get a nice big round somewhat like a pancake or chapati.
Heat up a pan and add one table spoon of oil and then fry the flattened dough till you get a light brownish color and then keep it aside, this is called paratha. (look at the image)
Then beat the egg and make an omelet, while still raw place the paratha on top of it while still on the pan. Then fry it together for a few seconds till you feel the egg is cooked.
Finally add the chopped onions, cucumber, ketchup and chilly sauce and make a roll and enjoy!
I promise if you make this, you won’t regret or rather thank me for it! It is delicious and so simple to make! Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts once you make it and of-course share it on sorts of social networking platform 😀
When people ask me what is my favorite dish of ALL times, I can’t help but say Lamb curry but having said that I am very fussy about the lamb curry I like. This is the one that I was used to having since childhood and never got bored of it, rather appreciated even more when I grew up. I have obviously made my own twists and turns in this but this is one dish that always has been a hit whenever I have made it for anyone!
1/2 kilograms chopped lamb
1 Tbs Yogurt
2 Onions finely chopped
1 Tbs Garlic and Ginger paste
3 Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tbs Turmeric powder
1Tbs Red Chilly Powder
1 Tbs Garam Masala Powder
2 Bay leaves
3 diced potatoes
2 Tbs Mustard oil/ regular cooking oil
Salt according to your taste buds
Lets start cooking..
Marinate lamb with yogurt, salt, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric and red chillies for 1 hour
Fry the potatoes in the oil and then keep it aside
Use the same oil to fry the oinion, remaining ginger and garlic
Add the tomatoes
Add turmeric, chilly and garam masala powder
Add the lamb and then cook it for 10 mins
Finally add the fried potatoes and let it cook on low heat for 1 hour
Keep stirring it every now and again
Test if the lamb is soft and the potatoes are boiled
Your lamb curry is ready to be served with boiled rice or Polaw Rice.
2 Cups Basmati rice
2 Tbs Ghee (Indian butter)
Few stands of saffron1/2 cup sugar
2 Bay leaves
3 Cardamom and 1 Cinamon stick
10 broken cashews
Heat the ghee in a deep pan
Add the bay leaves, saffron, cardamom, cinamon and cashews
Add the rice, fry till golden
Add 4 cups of water
Rice will be ready in 20 mins
Hope you liked the video and had fun making this meal and do not forget to let me know your thoughts by liking the post or dropping me an email. And please share on FB, Twitter or any other social media site if you liked it, remember sharing is caring? 😀
Whenever I feel like eating something simple and fresh or when I miss home too much this is what I resort to. This dish is not just extremely simple to make but it is as real as it gets when we think of Indian food. And for all you health conscious folks who like eating non-bland food this could be your next favorite dish.
Ingredients you need for one person:
One breast of Chicken chopped into chunks (you can also use chicken with bones, if you like to chew on them later like me)
One table spoon Coriander Powder
I tea spoon salt
2 tea spoon turmeric powder
1 tea spoon chilly powder
3 chopped green chillies
One small chopped red onion (you can also use white onion but red has a bit more flavor)
3 baby potatoes cut into halves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger and garlic paste (I prefer more ginger as it gives the fresh taste)
1 fresh red chopped Tomato
2 tablespoon of mustard oil/ vegetable oil/ sunflower oil (either is good but mustard gives the best taste)
Let’s start cooking :
Marinade the chicken with ginger- garlic paste, turmeric, chilly powder and salt and leave it while you chop the onions and make other arrangements. Its good if you keep it for 30 minutes but not set in stone.
Heat Oil in a pan and fry the onions, green chilly and potatoes for about 4-5 minutes till the onions start getting brown.
Add the chicken (which you kept aside) and let it all cook while you stir it occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and half a cup of water and let the whole thing cook in medium heat till you get a really thick gravy. It should not take more than 7 minutes.
And then believe it or not your chicken curry is ready to be devoured! 😀
Yes you don’t need any yogurt, cream or anything fancy! This recipe is as simple as that…serve it with hot boiled rice or even fresh chapati (indian bread). Btw you could add fresh coriander if you wanted to but this one tastes good even without it!
Let me know if you liked it by sharing this post or even dropping me a line, always love a good conversation about food!
I went for a professional baking workshop and discovered the joys and simplicity of baking – what a rewarding hobby to cultivate! I always wondered how bagels are made because they have a very different texture than any other bread and finally all my doubts were cleared after attending this super awesome workshop at The Baking Lab, London.
Here are 5 simple steps to make your own bagel :
1. Kneading – First and foremost, you will need to knead the dough obviously. So if you take one full cup of flour you need 1/4th cup of water and half a tea-spoon of oil and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Then keep kneading it till its not sticky and is stretchable. If it gets too sticky then all you need to do is leave it for 15 minutes and get back to it but do not add more flour, this is the mistake most of us make.
2. Shaping – Now you have your flour ready so the next step would be to shape it into a bagel (yay). Get chunks of balls from the dough and again knead it for some time (this is the part I enjoy most) and then with a sharp circular cutter just get rid of the center. After which you just keep playing with it and make the ring as smooth as possible. All done?
3. Boiling – Yes it sounds strange but this is what gives it the texture of a bagel, boil all of them in plain water for about 10 minutes. Then slowly take them out and keep them aside.
4. Coating– Glaze each one with raw eggs, use a brush for this almost feels like painting (haha). Then dip the glazed side in your favorite topping like poppy seeds or sesame seeds, you can use anything you feel like.
5. Baking – Finally put all of them in the oven and bake them for 15-20 minutes in 250 degrees temperature. In lay man’s terms bake it in medium heat so whatever oven you have just make sure its not in high temperature or low.
And your bagels are ready to eat! Woooohooo!
Let me know if and when you try it, don’t forget to invite me! 😀
When ever I hear the word ‘Curry’ used to describe Indian Cuisine it really makes me very upset and irritated because Indian Food is so much more than curry! I have had millions of discussions with friends here where I tried to explain them what Indian food is all about. Rick Stein has finally captured it in its true essence!
This video just made me very hungry, nostalgic, emotional and a wee bit teary eyed! Ahh I miss home Kolkata now! If you are interested in Indian food or like it, this episode is a must watch! Don’t blame me later if you get really hungry later!
There have been some major changes in my life in the last 5 months, which is why I did not get any time to update this blog! Thankfully they are all good changes 🙂 I am now the Community Manager for Yelp Manchester !
Thanks to this new job I have been eating out a lot besides doing some really cool things! I wanted to share a few photographs with you guys of my last 5 months of foodie adventure!
So now that you have seen what I have been up to lately, you can add me on Yelp and also read my reviews there! I would love to see some of you on Yelp and invite you for all these awesome parties and events! Perks of being a Yelper eh? 🙂
One thing that makes India such a colorful country is definitely the street food, its not just absolutely mouth watering and delicious but also extremely vibrant. I cant help myself from gorging on all those gorgeous treats while I am taking a stroll down the streets and I am lucky that I have family back there so I get to visit the land of exotic food almost once every year!
Street food in India is definitely my biggest guilty pleasure even more than chocolates (yes you heard it right) and trust me once you experience that you cant help but agree with me (of course once you get over the Delhi belly fear). This time my visit to India was restricted to Calcutta (I refuse to call Kolkata) and boy this city is known for the food and Bengalis (The native inhabitants even though its extremely cosmopolitan now) LOVE their food! No wonder I am such a foodie!
Here are some of my personal favorites:
1. Dahi Phuchka (Crispy semolina pancake cups with yogurt, potato and tamarind sauce filling)
2. Aloo Paratha ( Indian bread with a potato filling usually to be had with yogurt or any curry)
3. Indian Saffron Tea
4. Nolen Gurer Rosogolla ( Most popular Bengali Sweet and my personal favorite)
5. Baked Rabdi (Baked Milk Pudding and extremely addictive nom nom)
6. A special Indian Breakfast ( Different Kinds of Kachuri)
Well after gorging on all these delicacies I definitely am having withdrawal symptoms after coming back to Manchester, but that is why I love cooking so that I can try making all these at home! 🙂
Finally a pic of me in Indian traditional clothing with my beautiful Mum (A fantastic Cook) who is the inspiration for me to make this blog and most of my recipes! Yeah needed to show off my Indianess :p
Hope you enjoyed this post! And don’t forget to share and care like I always say 😉
Firstly Merry Christmas to everyone, I didnt quite have a merry christmas as I was coughing and popping antibiotics all through and my plan of cooking great food everyday hence was kind of ruined! I finally started feeling better yesterday so thought of making some healthy treat for myself and making those nasty greens taste good (yes I am not a massive fan of the greens) :p
Palak Paneer or Spinach with cottage cheese is definitely a superb invention by the Indians cuz it is not just healthy Indian Food but super yummy at the same time!
Anthony, my new blogger friend very kindly offered to write a guest post for my blog, I hope you enjoy this post because I surely did! 🙂
So, we’re still here. Today is December 22, 2012 and not only am I still here, but there still exist plenty of people to read what I’m typing. Our world has undergone no obvious natural cataclysm or tumult. The hour of the dreaded Mayan apocalypse prophecy that has caused December 21, 2012 to dominate so many imaginations for so long has come and gone with neither a celestial horseman nor a cosmic collision to show for it. This could seem to reinforce the plausibility of another widely-held belief, that the destined December 21st event was intended to reflect less of final curtains than of new beginnings and, as some believe, beneficial change in the collective spirit and consciousness of all humankind. I suppose we’ll see. Either way, it seems my opportunity to learn how the final season ofFringe will conclude is not lost, so color me elated.
Now let’s eat.
The most recent widely-publicized prediction of some sort of major planetary upheaval happened in May 2011, and I marked the occasion on FlavorfulWorld.com with a multiple-course Doomsday menu. The recipe I am pleased and honored to share here today (Thanks again for having me, Shrimoyee!) is better described as a celebratory “We’re Still Here” dish, because the best kind of global catastrophe is the kind that never came. In celebration of that truth, here’s my recipe for Cabernet-Pomegranate Braised Beef Short Ribs so tender the meat fell right off the bone when I prepared them just last night.
2 1/2− 3 lbs beef short ribs
1 bottle (750 ml) cabernet sauvignon
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
3 cups beef stock
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced sweet yellow onion
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Vegetable oil (just enough to cover the bottom of a large frying pan or dutch oven)
1. Trim any especially thick exterior fat from short ribs before preparing. Into a container deep enough for wine to completely cover short ribs, place short ribs in a single layer and pour entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate overnight (or minimum four hours).
2. Cover the bottom of a frying pan or dutch oven with vegetable oil on stovetop over medium-high heat.
3. Combine flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Remove short ribs from marinade. Set marinade aside.
4. Dredge marinated short ribs through seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add flour-coated short ribs 3 or 4 at a time, turning them every minute or two to sear all sides until brown.
5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Set seared short ribs aside. When all ribs are brown, add sweet onion, green onion, and carrots to pan. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until vegetables soften. If necessary, add another tbsp or two of oil to prevent vegetables from sticking or burning.
7. Pour in beef stock 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to loosen any cooked-on bits of meat or skin from cooking surface. Add coriander seeds, thyme, 1 1/2 cups wine marinade, 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, and adjust heat to bring to a boil. Discard remaining marinade. Let liquid boil for 8-10 minutes, then remove from heat.
8. In oven-safe cooking dish with lid, arrange short ribs in single layer and cover with liquid. Place covered dish in 200-degree oven and cook for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
Optional: For a thicker sauce, after dish is finished in the oven, remove short ribs from liquid and boil liquid on stovetop to reduce it to desired consistency.
I am a total sucker for red meat, be it lamb, beef or mutton I love them all! But one thing that puts me off cooking red meat is the amount of time it takes to cook the meat. Hence I came up with an alternative idea of making minced lamb/ beef when I am in a rush to satifsfy my taste buds, because it not only cooks super fast but also saves me the hassle of chopping the meat! 😀
Minced Lamb curry has always been an instant hit not just for me but also my office colleagues and friends, they all love it when I make that for lunch! But the secret is it just takes me 20 mins to make that.
500 gm Minced Lamb
4 Tbs Yogurt
2 tbs garam masala powder
1 green chilly chopped
2 fresh tomatos (chopped)
1 tea spoon of salt
2 boiled potatoes (chopped)
3 tbs sunflower oil/ vegetable oil/ olive oil
1/2 tea spoon chilly powder
1 onion chopped/grated
1 tbs garlic and ginger paste
Handfull of chopped corriander
Marinate the minced lamb with Yogurt, Garam Masala and Salt
Heat oil in a pan and saute the ginger, garlic and onions
Add the marinated minced lamb mix to this now and cook it for about 5 minutes
Then add the tomatoes, potatoes and chilly powder
Fry the egg and scramble in a separate pan with a bit of oil and then add the egg into the main curry with the lamb and mix it.
Finally add the chopped corriander to garnish it and serve it hot with boiled rice/ bread/ naan.
Hope you will try it yourself and let me know your thoughts! I am a massive chatter box and always love to talk about food! 🙂 Do drop me a line and if you like the post dont forget to share it with your friends on FB/Twitter/Pinterest! 🙂
Durga Puja or Sharadotsav is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Vijayadashami. Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil.
It is the biggest festival for all Bengali’s and the Bongs (short form of Bengali) look forward to this festival through out the year. I am no exception, even though I have been living away from Calcutta for over 9 years now, each year during this time my heart is in Calcutta, I want to hear the dhaki (Drummer) play the beats or enjoy the dancing, eating, drinking and all other festivities that goes on in the city. You have a few Durga Puja’s in London but they are all very traditional and back home that’s not how I or other youngsters celebrated it, we participated in the religious bits for probably an hour or so but the rest was always about adda session with friends.
With this PopUp I aim to recreate the whole vibe of Pujo in Calcutta – Music, Alcohol, Food, Dressing up, Dhaki’s tal, Rabindrasangeet and a lot more. So if you want to experience this amazing carnival experience from Calcutta come along for the Calcutta Street X Jhalmuri Express Durga Pujo PopUp at Stage 3 Hackney on 20th October 2015 (Saptami).
Angus Denoon from Jhalmuri Express and I got together during Notting Hill Carnival 2015 and we had a lot of fun so I am expecting just the same this time. Have a look at the photos.
Calcutta Street and The everybody love love jhal muri express presents to you – An evening to celebrate the start of Durga puja with the sensory pleasures of music, food, drinks and each others company in true bengali style in a beautifully decorated space. Durga puja is kolkata’s greatest festival that salutes the victory of good over evil and the authentic and original street food stalls and live music will transport you to the mighty city for the night.