Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Travels For Taste Cooks Lamb Curry For Me and Mr R

My friend Manjiri is always offering to come to my house and cook for me.  It suited us both recently to pick a mutually convenient day so I gleefully went off to the train station to collect Manjiri and her husband.

Manjiri had brought all the main ingredients including the lamb already marinated in a mixture of yoghurt and spices to help tenderise it.  After a quick look around the kitchen to see what gadgets, pots and pans I had she got to work.
Whilst Manjiri created I made a raita and some thinly sliced onions with lime juice to have as side dishes.

The lamb was cooked in a large pot slowly which gave us time to get on with the other jobs that needed doing.

Manjiri gently fried the spices for the rice in a bit of coconut oil.
Plates were cleaned and we were all full but fortunately there was loads left over for the freezer for another day!
Cheers Manjiri and thanks for treating us to one of your authentic Indian lamb curries!
If you want to read Manjiri's great blog click here and see what other fantastic meals she makes.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mexico City: Food Glorious! Food

Two things have inspired me to write this post. Firstly my recent trip to Mexico City and the food that I was able to eat and secondly the soup from Glorious! which I tasted at the recent food blogger conference I attended, one of their innovative and interesting range of soups - Mexican Tomato & Fire Roasted Pepper.

I tried the soup from Glorious! with my eyes closed.  I wanted to flood my taste buds and flavour senses with the tastes of the soup and the memories of my recent trip.

When I was in Mexico City there was food every where, every street corner had someone selling street food, fresh portions of Tuna (not a fish but the fruit of a local cactus which was everywhere you looked), tubs of fresh mango sprinkled with lime juice and a spicy chili combination  giving your taste buds the sweet mango flavour and juice in the first few seconds then the lime hits you with its acidity and sourness followed shortly after by the warmth and heat of the spice sprinkled.

Just about every other street corner had a sweet corn seller offering you a choice of your instant pleasure; plain and boiled in huge pans on small burners, bar-b-qued on little charcoal grills and a cup of corn kernels, cooked with a bit of chili and served with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of those moreish chili spices (By the way I did bring some of this spice home with me to sprinkle on pineapple which will be seared on the BBQ!).

The city was full of Mexican chain restaurants, international chains like Subway and KFC and local, individual places to eat like 'Corazon de Maguey' in the Coyoacan Square, the 'Opera' restaurant in the Centro Historico with an interior like an old Parisian restaurant but up to the minute Mexican dishes, 'Saks' in the San Angel quarter on a busy Saturday market day for a delicious lunch and if you are in the Polanco district you could try 'El Bajio' featuring classical dishes brought up to the minute or if you want to push the boat out and can get a reservation 'Pujol' is no. 15 in the top 50 restaurants in the world!

Mexico City's food scene comes at you from all corners, all angles and all tastes.

So I swallowed my mouthful of Mexican Tomato & Fire Roasted Pepper soup and opened my eyes and I was back in West London tasting Glorious! soups again!

This blog post is an entry into the foodies100/GLORIOUS! soup #GloriousAdventures blogger challenge.

I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Its Pumpkin Time! Lets Get Carving

It's that time of the year again, when witches and ghouls come out in the open asking for treats and threatening to trick you if you don't have anything for them.

Many households will have a carved out pumpkin with a light inside outside the front door (almost all houses will have a Jack-o-Lantern display in the USA).  But David Finkle (aka Pumpkin Dave) takes things one step further - he is a double Guinness World Record Holder:- Fastest pumpkin carver and the most pumpkins carved in one hour.
This year David has gone one step further and has carved famous faces in his pumpkins. These are celebrities you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of and the top 5 are:-
1. Lord Sugar
2. Gordon Ramsay
3. Simon Cowell
4. Katie Hopkins
5. Jeremy Clarkson

Asda sent me a pumpkin and pumpkin carving kit but I am afraid I always carve my 'signature' pumpkin face.
What do you think - does it scare you?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Norwegian Escape Inaugural Cruise - And A Reluctant Cruiser!

The things I do for you dear reader! Anyone that knows me knows how reluctant I am to travel aboard any size boat or ship!

So what possessed me to apply to the Mumsnet panel to review the Norwegian Escape Inaugural Cruise from Southampton - I really can't say but I was looking forward to it.

We were invited to board from 11:30 with a sailing time of 18:00 which would include time for a ship tour and mandatory emergency drill.

For the inaugural cruise we sailed out into the English Channel and back at a leisurely pace with an opportunity to try the staterooms, king size beds and super comfy pillows!
This ship is enormous, with a capacity for 4,200 passengers however there are enough places for food and drink and some venues open 24 hours eliminating the need for long queues at meal times.  Almost a whole deck is dedicated to looking after the younger cruiser giving parents a chance for some 'us' time and plenty of above deck activities to keep them busy and happy.

I kept expecting to feel queasy but aside from a few shudders around 23:00 I really didn't feel a thing.
As a group we attended a drinks reception at the District Brew House and onto Food Republic, a Japanese style tapas restaurant with an up to the minute tablet ordering system for dinner.
We were advised to pick three items each but this was really more food than we could eat!
The ship spans 20 decks with a central atrium connecting decks 6, 7 & 8,
giving easy access to some of the 28 dining options and 21 bars and lounges such as Tabacco Road named after the famous Miami establishment.
Not to mention some of the others:-
There is plenty to do outside, including a joggers track, pools, slides, bars, zip wires and climbing wall.
On floors 17 & 18 is the private key card only entry area called The Haven. The Haven by Norwegian on Norwegian Escape offers 95 spectacular, ultra-luxurious suite accommodation. Imagine sitting in the bath and having a view like this!
The Escape will have Miami as it's home base and operate seven-day Eastern Caribbean trips from Miami; ports include St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas
The final decision is that I would certainly try a longer cruise (in calm waters) with Mr R and will be pouring over the Norwegian Cruise Line cruise book.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet.  I have not paid for the product or to attend an event.  I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. (I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Time to Clean Up - Dyson V6: No strings attached!

What was James Dyson thinking when he first bucked the trend and designed a wheelbarrow with a ball instead of a tyre at the front? He wanted to create a product that served it's purpose better than anything else available.

After the wheelbarrow came the revolutionary vacuum cleaner.

A recent afternoon spent in London and I was introduced to the new Dyson V6 cordless vacuum cleaner. This machine has110 revs per minute and twice the suction!
Mat from Dyson showing us the first Dyson vac motor - not looking too big
however look how small the new V6 motor is!! Hardly any size at all but loads of power.
Because the motor is in the handle all the weight is at that end enabling you to lift the V6 right up to the ceiling to even get those pesky and seasonal spiders.
|At the event cereal, rice and baking powder were sprinkled on a variety of surfaces and vacuumed up using the new Dyson V6 and each time and under each circumstance there was nothing left.
All of the adults loved the new machines however it was obvious it was 'child's play' cleaning up the show room!
Compact and cordless they don't take up much room and are available when you need them, all ready to go.
I was a guest of Dyson using the opportunity to get to know the new Dyson V6.  All opinions and photos are my own.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Review: Pizza Express Winter Menu

I always love having a meal at my local Pizza Express. Pizza Express opened it's first restaurant in 1965 in London's Soho and have not changed their menu much whilst at the same time have kept it up to date and interesting.

The current menu includes the classics and has several new items added.

I went with Mr R for a quiet Saturday evening out together, something which doesn't happen often due to my hectic schedule.

For starters Mr R had the new Risotto Mio, lovely and creamy with mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil.
I had the new Calamari, rings of really tender squid covered in breadcrumbs and served with a Caesar dressing.  I almost expected to find an onion ring inside as I am used to calamari coming in chunks.
Mr R had the new Soho pizza designed to celebrate the original menu of 1965 and opted for the extra selection of cured meats. He picked the classic base not being that fond of the really thin pizza bases.
I wanted to have a new item but the Pizza Express Calzone is my all time favourite and I am afraid that I had to have one of those.
Calzone means pocket in Italian and this is a pizza that looks like an over sized pasty filled with tomato, salami, spinach, cheese and herbs. Mmmm, delicious as usual and far to big to finish so I have half of it to take home.
Mr R ordered the new mini potatoes from the menu and because it took a bit longer than the manager liked he brought us over a huge piece of mozzarella cheese covered in pesto and sweet mini tomatoes.
The Noci potatoes followed shortly and Mr R also called the Potato Monster got stuck in.
Dessert time and neither of us wanted a really heavy pudding.  The two new additions to the dessert menu were perfect.

Bombolini - little doughnut bites filled with strawberry jam surrounding a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Salted Caramel Profiteroles - just three little filled profiteroles dipped in a caramel icing with little bits of honeycomb accompanied by a cafe late - the prefect way to end the meal and the evening.
All the while our waiter, Fabrizio looked after us perfectly, not ignoring us nor being too pushy and recommending his favourites as well.

We slowly waddled our way back to the car park feeling full and satisfied.

We were guests of Pizza Express and as usual all opinions and photos are our own.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Giveaway: Desert Island Dishes - cookbook

I have an extra copy of this lovely cookbook - a collection of recipes from top chefs celebrating 130 years of Maldon Sea salt.
Beautiful photographs
Delicious recipes
Up to the minute preserves,
All make this book into a kitchen shelf 'must have'. 

If you want a copy of this book follow the rafflecopter instructions below because I have one copy to give away. 

This giveaway is only for the UK and USA  and there is only one copy to give away. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway