Category Archives: Dinner

Summertime eats

Here’s a what I have been up to lately with my #CookEatInspire post. Thanks for reading all!

Suji x


COOK

During the summertime I tend to cook food that involves less time by the hob and more easy, light and refreshing dishes that suit the milder weather.  Although vegetable pulao is mostly cooked on the hob, I have used a good selection of veg here that can be pre-cooked in the microwave/steamer before adding to the pan, to make cooking time even quicker.  You can also use a Pressure Cooker, and I have mentioned the cooking times for that method below.

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The first veg pulao was named ‘Rainbow Rice’ by niece and I have decided to name it this in honour of her and let’s face it, it sounds much more fun! The ‘Rainbow Rice’ recipe was one made for my niece and nephew so has little spice, but the other ‘Bulgar Pulao’ was made for adults and you will find a more typical Pulao recipe but replacing the traditional rice with Bulgar.  The cracked Bulgar wheat I find gives the dish different nutrients and more diabetic-friendly and I have tried this with other millets and quinoa too, which all give different textures.

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Rainbow Rice (veg pulao for children)

Serves 2

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I used a of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn) – you need to use veg with different bright colours 🙂
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely (I sometimes use spring onions instead, for a milder flavour)
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter –  1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Soak the Basmati rice for at least an hour to ensure you get the correct texture. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped onions and sautee until transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then drain the rice and add to the pan and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 – 14 mins until the rice and veg are cooked through. If using a pressure cooker you can cook for 2 whistles instead.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using).  You could garnish with purple cabbage (cooked and chopped) for a further flurry of colour!

Enjoy seeing the faces on the children when you announce this as “Rainbow Rice”! 🙂  Ok, so maybe the older children won’t be that excited… haa haa!  It will perfect to take away for picnics or other day outs and you won’t have to worry that your little ones haven’t had a good meal.

Try adding some cococnut milk when cooking the rice to give extra flavour and richness to the Pulao 🙂

rainbow rice

Bulgar Wheat Pulao

I don’t use the pressure cooker for bulgar wheat as it can easily be overcooked so I find it easier to keep an eye on it

Serves 2

  • Bulgar wheat – 1 cup (I used the coarsely cracked bulgar wheat )
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I usecoarse cracked bulgar wheatd a mixture of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)- I also add roasted tofu/seitan instead of chickpeas
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter –  1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped onions and sautee until transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then add the Bulgar wheat and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 – 14 mins until the Bulgar and veg are cooked through.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using) and you can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions.

Bulgar Pulao


EAT

Want to try authentic Sri Lankan home cooked food? Then you NEED to follow Virundhu Supperclub! I was fortunate to finally make it to their third supperclub and I sure am glad I didn’t miss it this time! It was held in the very trendy, easily commutable, Docklands area and the venue had a gorgeous view of the Thames.

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The Supperclub is curated by the effervescent Ashanti Omkar who has done such an amazing job at coordinating the event and is a well known in the London Foodie circles ! The very talented Suhanya is the Chef who hails from such an interesting family of Keralan and Srilankan heritage and her passion for food definitely showed in the dishes she cooked for us! Her husband also helps behind the scenes and Suhanya’s sister, Veena, was the Host and Mixologist for the evening and is also a passionate foodie herself.

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There were about 10 guests in total and all were fabulous company, including the wonderful Chef Kanthi and his business partner from The Curry Leaf Cafe in Brighton (one of the next stops on my Food Bucket List!).  It was a hot day and the Cocktails (and the mocktail version) served by Veena were such a welcome refreshment! The passionfruit really stood out and frankly, I could have drunk a bucketful. Sluuuuurp!

To start off the Supperclub we were served some very moorish ‘Gundu Dosa’s’ which are just like the South Indian ‘Kuzhi Paniyaaram’. It was impressive to eat these with homemade tomato ketchup and Sambal (a typical Srilankan coconut chutney).  There were also some yummy cutlets which reminded me of one of my Aunties from Sri Lanka who often bought these to picnics when we were younger. You will definitely find cutlets of some sort in a Sri Lankan Picnic Basket!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!

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I am not sure where to start with the main meal, as it was a typical Sri Lankan feast with so many curries to accompany the rice, as opposed to the rice being the star of the show.  Sri Lanka has amazing produce and Chef Suhanya had gone to great lengths to ensure the Virundhu Supperclub menu had fresh, good quality ingredients in all the dishes. Being a vegetarian, I cannot comment on the meat dishes that were served but the other guests definitely ‘ooed’ and ‘aaahed’ at all the non veg items and especially the fresh fish that Suhanya had sourced.  The highlights of our vegetarian feast were the Batu Moju (fried Aubergine) , the Mallung (Sri Lankan Kale, which is also known a ‘Ponnaangkaani Keerai’  in Tamil) and not forgetting the Del (Breadfruit) curry which in Tamil is ‘Eerapilaakkai’ and which I haven’t tasted in years! It’s not easy to buy really fresh Breadfruit in the Sri Lankan shops near me, so it was such a treat to taste this vegetable and Suhanya has prepared in such a delicate way so as not to overcook it and lose the amazing texture it has.  You can tell when the food is so delicious, when all of the guests become silent all of a sudden and you can just sense the pleasure that this food gives 🙂

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I’m drooling as type this and revisit the photos, as I just want to have this meal all over again! There were SO many items on the menu and my photos and descriptions do not do them justice. Some tastes you just have to find out for yourself. You can tell the food is made from the heart and for me it was such a warm experience and I felt transported to one of our family homes in Sri Lanka.  The beautiful music collection chosen by Ashanti added to the lovely ambiance and my husband and I couldn’t help singing along to some of the classic Illayaraja tracks during the evening 🙂  If you do get a chance to taste the food at Virundhu Supperclub , then I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. It will be a ‘Virundhu’ (feast) for ALL your senses!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!


INSPIRE

I am very excited to write about a very very talented person who is a continual inspiration to me both as a great food photographer and as a beautiful human being. She is the lovely Nessy Samuel.

 

 

For over a year her photography has dazzled me and continues to do so. As a food photographer and stylist Nessy has a great eye for beauty and can capture a view that you or I could have also seen, but not really focused on and so missed it’s highlight.  She definitely doesn’t miss the highlights and as a wonderful cook herself, she uses her own dishes as well as simple ingredients or lovely props in her shots.  Her website holds pictures of Still Life, Floral as well as Food. Simplicity in it’s most elegant form, is what I like to think of her style but in order to really see Nessy’s awesome work check out her stunning portfolio:  www. nessysamuelphotography.com/index.html

Nessy’s use of light, angles and composition of the photo’s are really awe-inspiring and it really brings out the best in what she is trying to capture. This photo below of Romanesco cauliflower is just stunning and you can get a great feel for the textures and colours with the background she’s chosen.

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Her talent does not stop here! She also has a great eye for the sights she experiences on her travels and her passion for natural beauty is what I admire most.  Nessy’s frames often look like famous paintings and I often feel like I am right there in the shot as well.  Nessy’s travel photography can be viewed here: https://www.instagram.com/wanderingoyster/  You will see what I mean and I hope she inspires you as much as she does me 🙂

 

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This is a snapshot of Nessy’s inspiring Travel Instagram profile:  Wandering Oyster

 

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, Lunch, supperclub, Travel, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Artisan Bread baking at Ann’s Smart School of Cookery

I am very lucky indeed to have foodie friends and even luckier to be gifted a cooking class for my birthday this year! The lovely Dharani and I went on a baking class at Ann’s Smart school of Cookery and this class was held at their branch in St Katherine’s Docks in London. It was a dreary day in London so it was nice to walk into a cookery class which starts with the enticing smell of yeast! It’s a small venue but just enough to fit in the 20 people who signed up and a great long industrial kitchen tables for us to sit around.

The class started off with an introduction with our Tutor, Stuart, who was very charming and explained the plan for the day. It was interesting to learn a different type of making a standard dough which involves adding the flour to the liquid and not the other way around. It was a revelation for me and I am looking forward to trying it out for myself at home! We started off with the Brioche and the dough was given to a pair of participants who very ably used this ‘introverted technique’ of bread kneading and the ingredients put into this enriched dough had such an amazing aroma! YUM! Surprisingly the same basic dough was used to make all of the breads, with adjustments only made for any added ingredients e.g. herbs, spices and olives for the Foccacia.

Some of the different breads made by various participants on the class.

Some of the different breads made by various participants on the class.

Myself and Dharani had the awkward task of making 30 identical crostini’s. It was arduous work and mine were so untidy compared to the lovely ones Dharani made! However it was worth it in the end and they were so yummy with the different dips we had to sample them with.

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Crostini’s in progress!

Me being silly with the Hippo face oven glove :-) (I need to get me some!)

Me being silly with the Hippo face oven glove 🙂 (I need to get me some!)

Dharani's perfectly shaped Crostini's <3

Dharani’s perfectly shaped Crostini’s ❤

The other participants on the class that day had other types of bread to make; pizza, cob, foccacia and seeded rolls.  It was amazing to see such soft bakes turn out so well with very little time for proving. But I guess that’s what happens when you have a bread making class for only 2.5 hours!

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Foccacia

Check out the air bubbles in this soft and pillowy Foccacia!

Check out the air bubbles in this soft and pillowy Foccacia!

Tear n Share rolls. I want to try out those saffron rolls - beautiful colour!

Tear n Share rolls. I want to try out those saffron rolls – beautiful colour!

What the course details do not explain on the website is how much of the baking we will be doing ourselves and I think that it something that I would have liked to know beforehand. In my opinion this class is for beginners to baking or for those who would like to be inspired. If you bake often and are seeking specialty bakes, then perhaps this is not the class for you. However, the school has many different types of classes and you can book here

This pizza was DELISH!

This pizza was DELISH!

Thank you to Stuart and the school for our bread-tastic day! It has definitely inspired me to experiment with different types of bread to provide much needed comfort during this cold season.  Dharani, I couldn’t have experienced this class without you, so a huge thanks and for taking some of these photos:-)

I have yet to experiment with the techniques that I learnt on the class, so watch this space for new bread recipes! But click HERE for my classic white loaf recipe that I use very often and can be adapted with different ingredients.

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Filed under bread, brunch, cooking class, Dinner, Food, vegetarian

The Tilda® Basmati Supperclub by Mallika Basu

I was very honoured to have been invited to a Tilda® Basmati Supper Club earlier this year hosted by the very talented chef Mallika Basu. It was a wonderful evening at The Little Yellow Door venue in Notting Hill and it was great to meet some fabulous foodies to share the food made by the awesome Mallika Basu.

The wonderful decor at The Little Yellow Door

The wonderful decor at The Little Yellow Door

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I was very inspired by Mallika’s menu which included a Chana Dal Khichri made with Brown Basmati. The brown rice gave it a lovely nutty flavour and I always enjoy the texture that Brown Basmati gives to a dish.

Delicious Khichri with Tilda Brown Basmati

Delicious Khichri with Tilda Brown Basmati

I enjoyed the Khichri with a fragrant and creamy paneer dish, a fabulous aubergine curry which used peanut butter (amazing!!) and a tangy, bright beetroot Raita. It was a feast for the eyes aswell as the tummy! 🙂

The other vegetarian rice dishes which were all made using different varieties of Tilda® Basmati Rice were South Indian Uthappams and Saffron Cardomum Kheer. Mallika was very clever in her use of rice and lentils (Urad Dal) for a short soak instead of the long fermentation process that is usually adopted for traditional Uthappam recipes.  The Kheer also made excellent use of Saffron and Cardomum to give this dish a traditional taste but in half the time if you use a pack of readymade Tilda® Steamed Basmati Rice.  Genius! The desserts were a sweet end to the supper and hats off to Mallika for all her inspired dishes!

Sweet and decadent Phirni and Kheer...yummm!

Sweet and decadent Phirni and Kheer…yummm!

It was so nice to meet other foodie friends Binny, Gayatri ,Chintal and Suchismita and you can read a great account of the evening and how Mallika inspired all the guests with her recipes at Binny’s Kitchen and Mummy & Me.

The wonderful food made by Mallika really inspired me to try out some of the yummy bags of rice we were given to experiment with by Tilda® Basmati and I wanted to try out a stir fry recipe using the new Tilda® Limited Edition
Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice. I could’nt think of a better way than adding crunchy vegetables to a flavour packed pouch of this Firecracker rice and I hope you like it as much as I did!

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What you need:

  • 1 pack of Tilda® Limited Edition Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g Broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, the white section sliced finely and the green section sliced lengthways for garnish
  • Soy sauce, to season
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • OPTIONAL: dried red chilli flakes or ground Szechuan pepper

How you make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan or a wok and then add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, broccoli and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly so all the veg are cooked through.
  3. Add any optional spice (Chinese 5 spice, red chillies or Szechuan pepper) and then the pack of Tilda® Limited Edition Firecracker Steamed Basmati Rice and cook for four minutes.
  4. Drizzle with soy sauce and garnish with sliced spring onion.

Best enjoyed if you gobble it up immediately!

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Filed under Chinese, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Lunch, recipe, vegetarian

The purple fruit

Aubergine, eggplant, baingan, kathrikkai…call it what you will! But this veg. Vegetable? Ahem! Actually it’s a fruit would you believe and is one of my favourites! There’s so many different dishes that I have seen from around the world that use this versatile purple plant so I decided to share some of my recipes with you. In English I use the term ‘Aubergine’ and although in botanical terms is classified as a fruit, it is often thought of as a vegetable and used in mostly savoury dishes. However I have seen it used once as a dessert and I am perfecting this to share with you one day 🙂 So the first recipe I have using aubergine is one which is a fusion from India and Persia and is called “Baingan Borani“. Borani is a term used in Persian cooking for a dish containing a cooked vegetable in a yoghurt gravy. We have a South Indian/Srilankan version which uses Aubergine burnt over a flame and I love the smokiness that this ‘pachadi’ (yoghurt salad) gives. I have also seen very similar yoghurt and aubergine recipes from Greece and Turkey and we couldn’t get enough of it during a trip to Istanbul. Baingan Borani is so flavourful that you don’t really miss the heat that you might usually add into such dishes and so it marries well with spicier side dishes or a spicy biryani or pulao.

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Baingan Borani (Aubergine in a Yoghurt Sauce)

The next Aubergine dish is a srilankan classic. “Kathrikkai Kuzhambu” is a favourite in many Srilankan households and is so yummy with Srilankan Roti’s, Pittu, Idiyappam or rice. The aubergine is the best product to soak up the spicy tamarind gravy and just melts in your mouth. I personally love this dish a day after it’s been made as the flavour really intensifies after 24 hours, but sometimes I just can’t wait that long!  When I was young, it’s one of dishes I used to ask my mum to make after a holiday abroad and it’s definitely a family favourite. I actually don’t know many Srilankans or Indians that don’t like it!

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Kathrikkai Kuzhambu (Aubergine in a Tamarind Gracy)

The third dish incorporates aubergine in a stunning salad. Spring Salad with aubergine and Quinoa requires some time for preparation but really is a beautiful dish and will have your guests asking for the recipe. This salad is great during hotter months and as it uses Quinoa you veggies out there will be able to get your protein fix too 🙂 Although I have named it as a salad, you could have this as a meal on it’s own as it contains so many different nutrients and so flavourful. The earthy aubergine hits the tangy feta and the sour and sweet pomegranate and it’s like an explosion in your mouth!

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Quinoa salad with Aubergine

Finally, one of my favourite aubergine dishes from the Orient is Chinese Aubergine Chilli Tofu. This is soooooooooo good with just steaming hot jasmine rice or noodles and I love it especially during the colder times of the year when you just want to have some comfort food. You can make this as spicy as you like and vary some of the vegetables depending on what’s in season. But the base should be kept with Aubergine and Tofu as the texture of these two ingredients I think are really important in this recipe. Oh gosh, I’m salivating just at the thought of this dish!

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Chinese Aubergine Chilli Tofu

So I hope you enjoy these recipes using this stunning dark purple fruit and do let me know what you think! Suji x

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Filed under Dinner, Drink, Food, indian, Lunch, vegan, vegetarian

Chennai Express to Mysore meandering

The film inspiration :-) Pic from www.aceshowbiz.com

The film inspiration 🙂
Pic from http://www.aceshowbiz.com

My recent absence from the blog is partly due to my foodie adventures abroad, which started with my wonderful homeland of India. Well, one of my homelands as the other half of me is from Sri Lanka. 🙂  But I have definitely spent more time in India and with my wonderful family and friends.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a family members wedding in Mysore and the opportunity arose for me to spend some time before the wedding in Chennai. Big smiles as I write this as it’s the first time I have spent time alone with my Grandmother, my ‘Paati’ as we call her, and I dreamt of her food made with so much love and our funny conversations as soon as I booked my flight 🙂

So my foodie adventures started before I even got on the plane in London. And as I hadn’t travelled in a while and seen some of the airports refurbishment, I really was astounded at the increase in culinary delights even before you took your flight. My flight was after lunchtime, so I took the chance to explore the airport restaurants and I was ecstatic about finding Comptoir Libanais, a Lebanese home-style eaterie, which I’ve had the pleasure of dining at in another location. I knew exactly what I wanted and I ordered without hesitancy – the Falafel wrap – oozing with Harissa sauce. Yum yum yum! I was ready and tummy full to set off on my exciting holiday!

So food on the plane is not something that many people like, or look forward to. But I think I find myself in a minority group who eagerly await the mid-air delicacies? I was not disappointed and received a yummy plate of sag paneer, steamed rice and black gram dal. Delish! I was also happy about the side salad, although on the small side (are we still in the “Credit Crunch”?), and the “Sreekand” (sweetened yoghurt) dessert. All in all, a nice plate of food regardless of the presentation it came in.

Having arrived at my grandmothers and her amazing ability to guage all the gossip from me within 10mins of my arrival, I posed her the question that I had dreamed of. “What are you going to cook for me??!?!”. (eyes popping out in real eagerness here).  My thoughtful Paati had already quizzed my mother about what she could make for me, bless her, and was ready with a list of things that she planned to make for my week’s stay. I am a truly lucky granddaughter and here are some phone pics of some of my foodie adventures at ‘Paati’s house’:

The first meal at my grandmothers house (2 more servings followed after this plate though)

The first meal at my grandmothers house (2 more servings followed after this plate though)

A variety of Damson plum, which is called 'Naaval' in Tamil

A variety of Damson plum, which is called ‘Naaval’ in Tamil

The "full works" as I call it :-)

The “full works” as I call it 🙂

My nectar in the morning - can't get this taste anywhere else!

My nectar in the morning – can’t get this taste anywhere else!

Taro root fries - known as 'Chepang kilangu' in Tamil. One of my all time faves!

Taro root fries – known as ‘Chepang kilangu’ in Tamil. One of my all time faves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So my Paati would probably have frowned if I had taken my camera to the table before every meal, so you will just have to imagine the feasts I managed to consume single-handedly 🙂

 

But I did manage to eat out in the crazy city of Chennai, and I couldn’t have missed out on the dining experience in the Pondy Bazaar at a new venue called ‘Rucira’ and my old haunt SVB (Saravana Bhavan)

Tiffin at Saravana Bhavan, Mylapore

Tiffin at Saravana Bhavan, Mylapore

Try this great eaterie in Pondy Bazaar!

Try this great eaterie in Pondy Bazaar!

 

 

 

 
And you can’t leave India without one of the best fast foods of all time…can you? No!!! So I didn’t. And I devoured a packet of instant Maggi noodles without hesitation (thanks Chikku!). Unfortunately I ate it so quickly that I don’t have a photo. And the food snobs out there may prefer not to 😉

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and my precious time with Paati  & the family did just that. But she left me smiling as I left her house, as she said that she hadn’t managed to make all my favourite things so she would prepare those for my next visit. Grandmothers are just the best 🙂

So I embarked on my next leg of the trip, which was taking the ‘Shadapti Express’ train from Chennai to Mysore. This was the first time I was travelling by myself for a 7 hour train journey in India, so I was a little anxious, but I had been told that I would have a comfortable journey and I would NOT go hungry. Yeah I’m sure you’ve heard that one before – but that was honestly the understatement of the decade! I definitely did not go hungry. Infact it was a continuous flow of food! I sat next to a boy, a toddler, who was travelling with his this parents and who asked me a million questions throughout the journey (he really did!). So I didn’t really have a chance to take many snaps of the food I ate on the Chennai to Mysore express 😦 But I did take a pic of part of the menu!

The menu on the Shadapti Express

The menu on the Shadapti Express

 

 

 

 

 

A view from my train seat window.

A view from my train seat window.

 

 

 

 

 

So unlike the Tamil film Chennai Express, I wasn’t a damsel in distress trying to flee from big and scarey villains, but instead I was more of a devouring damsel! Devouring the huge range of delights before me and getting a few odd looks from the passengers nearby as I smiled happily as I ate. Did I care? No. The best part of the train feast was the veg biriyani and raita – wow wow wow! It was amazingly delicious with simple veg strewn in between fragrant basmati rice, served with a cucumber raita. Quite a surprising number from this part of India. I was expecting more of a ‘Sambar Saadham’ or ‘Uppuma’ or an ‘Idli & Chutney’ duet. But nevertheless the biriyani was really simple and really full of flavour and well above the standards that I was expecting. This is not a train full of reserved and shy members; Indians expect good food regardless of how poor or rich they are and would definitely complain if the food was below par. So I felt content that everyone else in my carriage ate their brekkie, lunch and snacks quite happily. I would highly recommend anyone taking this journey, as not only is the food sumptuous and abundant, the journey itself was smooth and much less hassle than taking a flight. Hats off to the train Chef and his team!

So after arriving to the wonderful climate of Mysore, I was immediately struck by how ‘chillaxed’ everything was. And I mean everyone and everything! It wouldn’t have been so apparent if I had not travelled from the hullabaloo that is Chennai, but I really noticed the different atmosphere as soon as I stepped off the train!  I wasn’t hassled by train porters or by busy taxi drivers trying to get through the car park. But it was surprising and relaxed affair as I meandered through the crowds.

But…. the Mysore cuisine was BOOM! and nothing dubious about it at all. It was fantastic to have a home cooked meal on a banana leaf, try ‘Paan’ ice cream for the first time, and the absolutely happy and wonderful wedding events!

A home cooked meal on a plantain leaf

A home cooked meal on a plantain leaf

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Getting ready for the palm leaf wedding canopy

The mehndhi (henna)!

The mehndhi (henna)!

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite wedding dishes would have been ‘Paal Peni’ (thin dried noodles immersed in hot, sweet milk), Pineapple ‘Gojju’ (a sweet and spicy side dish), Beetroot Halwa, the refreshing ‘Kosumalli’ salad..and the list goes on and on and on! I am drooling as I type….

Thanks to our lovely family for giving us such joy and happy times and sharing in the celebrations!

After the wedding we had a chance to check out the local area and see some interesting things. Avi & Arch…you guys are the best!
Beer shampoo?? What??

Why would you want this in your hair??? And who buys this anyway??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another common street food in the state of Karnataka are the ‘Iyengar Bakeries’. Small street side bakeries offering delicious vegetarian bakes. My favourite was the veg puff filled with spicy potato. Thank you to Mr B for introducing us to these yummies! 🙂

The veg puff from the Iyengar Bakery

The veg puff from the Iyengar Bakery

 

 

 

 

 

But I should not forget the nectar-like Mysore ‘Coorg’ coffee with Bonda….ooh la laa! And finished off with purchasing our own ground coffee (which ended up being a rather meandering trip indeed!).

Mysore Coffee with Bonda - YUM!

Mysore Coffee with Bonda – YUM!

The coffee shop with lots of time on their hands! haa haa!

The coffee shop with lots of time on their hands! haa haa!

 

 

 

 

 

But we didn’t stop there….we also had the typical South Indian breakfast at the Airport 🙂 So from Chennai to Mysore, a trip to cherish and memories to last a lifetime. I’ll be back for sure!

 

Dosa, Chutney & Sambar at Bangalore Airport

Dosa, Chutney & Sambar at Bangalore Airport

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Quinoa & Veg Cutlets

It makes me so annoyed sometimes when people think that something so healthy can’t taste good too. So, the quinoa and veg cutlet recipe was born. There is so much flavour in these that whoever eats them won’t believe that they’re nutritious and packed full of protein rich Quinoa! I know I have very limited time to cook sometimes, so being able to freeze these makes Life a lot easier too. There are also lots of possible variations for this recipe and you can just put in whatever left over veg you have in stock. But it’s important to ensure the end mixture will be the right consistency to hold together during the shallow fry.

Even though cutlets are often thought of as a starter or snack, these are just as good for a light main course alongside some tangy Tamarind chutney and salad.

quinoa & veg cutlets

Click here for the recipe.

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Vegetable Tagine – the 1 pot wonder

A one pot Wonder!

This recipe came about when I was visiting one of our lovely Aunts. It was about 30mins until dinner time (well before my tummy was going to rumble!) and I wondered what she was going to make in the short time we had. I was so amazed when she explained this recipe and when all the vegetables were cut I was expecting to take out a couple of saucepans. But to my surprise she just took out ONE porcelain dish and put everything in it. It was like a magic trick! Then about 20 mins later, this beautiful bowl came out with some fluffy couscous and it looked like it had all taken hours to cook. I have made this several times now and it never fails to amaze me how you just need to ‘chop and drop’!

A meal for four in 20 minutes, healthy (no oil!) AND tasty. It’s true – I’m no Jamie! Check out the recipe here.

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Who said soup & bread are boring?

Dinner today was inspired by the cold weather and after watching ‘Fiddler on the roof’. Borscht and Jewish challah bread.  SLURP!

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Thank you to ‘Our Shobbos Menu’ for inspiring me to make challah! You’re awesome! !!

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Room for Roomali?

Roomali means ‘handkerchief’ in hindi and it’s no wonder these roti’s were given this name! So thin, so soft and soooo easy to make! It’s a ‘win win’! You can get the recipe here.

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