Eat well - travel often

Month: March 2014

One Cup Cake – Not one cupcake or one cake in a cup!!

One Cup Cake – Not one cupcake or one cake in a cup!!

There have been loads of recipes lately for the ultimate cupcake and how to make one individual cake in a cup in the microwave but this cake is really amazing. It’s quick and easy and very moist and tasty. My friend Val gave me the […]

Steam Technology and not a train in sight!

Steam Technology and not a train in sight!

I get sent some awesome products to review and some not so and funnily enough I gave away an old steam cooker last year.  I was therefore quite sceptical about reviewing the new Steama by Sensio Home. What would I like about this piece of […]

Shaka Zulu – A South African Restaurant Review

Shaka Zulu – A South African Restaurant Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a restaurant in Camden called Shaka Zulu.  It is a South African restaurant.

Camden Market hides a plethora of rather nice restaurants and not just the fast food outlets so I had a look at Shaka Zulu’s web site before we went to see if I could get an idea of the place.  It didn’t do justice to the actual restaurant. It it did look dark and interesting but the reality was far better.

As I often do I invited my friend Val to accompany me. We had just walked around the Knit and Stitch show at Olympia. It would have been a bit of a marathon getting from one to the other by underground but as it happened there was a bus stop outside of the Olympia. A quick look and we found that the number 27 bus went practically door to door and on such a beautiful sunny afternoon we enjoyed a tour of West London as well!

Once inside the restaurant we were delighted to see the authentic carving and statues (all brought from South Africa at a cost of millions of £s).

They had a very impressive and well stocked bar which was very busy with people just popping in for an evening of chat and a few drinks.

 

 

Our table was cosy and we looked at a very impressive and somewhat scary menu. Well I wasn’t brave enough to order zebra or ostrich steak!

For starter Val had the crocadile cigarillos.  I tasted a bit to add to my repatoire that I had eaten it.

I picked the smoked salmon which arrived in a mysterious cloud as it was placed over a block of dry ice – very impressive!

The waitress was very helpful and described all the dishes we were not familiar with. Wanting a typical main course I decided on the Beef Bobotjie, a sort of mince with a thin egg custard layer on top served with saffron rice and a chutney. Val liked the sound of it and ordered the same!

We each chose a side dish and shared them.  We had roasted butternut squash with caramelised cinnamon and sauteed mange tout and red onion.

 

Crisp and crunchy mange tout and red onions.

They have a nice pudding selection and we picked a trio of authentic South African puddings.

 

You can contact Shaka Zulu in all the usual ways.  It is essential to book for Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday lunchtimes.

 
I was a guest of Shaka Zulu but was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.
 
Degustation box – A Monthly Surprise

Degustation box – A Monthly Surprise

The Degustation box is a new concept where you get a monthly subscription and each month you get a surprise box in the post. Its full of a number of random items and you don’t know what’s coming and it it changes each month. I was […]

No Bats in this Belfry!! A Grand Makeover

No Bats in this Belfry!! A Grand Makeover

Mr R was ever so slightly disappointed – you see he doesn’t get home before 7:00 pm (mostly nearer to 8:00pm) so he couldn’t come with me to the event I had been invited to. The Belfry, iconic home to great golfing has been purchased […]

Eating London – East End Tour

Eating London – East End Tour

I would just like to say I love London and used to visit London a lot when I first came here as a tourist in the 70s but as my children grow up I went less and less however now that I write a food blog I have began to rediscover London and I really love it

When I first came here in the 70s London was not necessarily a great food place but now with the different diverse cultures living here London has become a fantastic place to eat.

I was invited to take a tour of the East End of London with Eating London Food Tours and met my guide Emily as pre-arranged at a small coffee shop just 5-9 minutes walk from Liverpool Street train station.

Our guide, Emily, had a great personality and was a pleasure to spend a morning with.  She certainly knew her facts about the East End and gave these to us at appropriate times and with a pleasant humour.

First off we met at the Old Spitalfield’s Market in a little coffee shop and went straight to our first stop.  Emily told us that this was probably the best bacon buttie in London and I must admit it certainly was up there with the bacon buttie greats.  We were welcomed to St John’s (housed in a former bank) known for it’s ‘nose to tail’ culture. St John is a Bakery, Restaurant and Wine Shop.  Our bacon buttie was made with Gloucester Old Spot bacon on their own home made bread and their own ketchup (with secret ingredient!!).

Marching swiftly on – or should I say ambling, we stopped at our next port of call, The English Restaurant. Owners Peter and Kay take pleasure in offering good honest English food and we were treated to a truly fantastic Bread & Butter Pudding with a real ‘to die for’ vanilla bean and rum custard.  I could have eaten this all day long but there was so much more to the tour so had to contain myself with a small portion.

We heard about the arrival of the ethnic groups in the East End,  The Irish

 

The Jews

the wealthy Huguenots (members of the Protestant Reformed Church)

the contrast between old and new.

 

Our next stop was an artisan cheese shop called Androuet.  We tasted three cheeses, one from France and the other two from England, the cheddar which makes up around 51% of the cheese sales in the UK per year and a creamy and gorgeous blue stilton.

and their extensive range of cheeses.

We criss crossed streets and our next stop was a great fish and chip shop called Poppies.  I am not a great chip fan but these were fantastic. The fish was in a light and non greasy batter and extremely tender and the mushy peas a little bit of the old East End.  Mr R would love to come here. Cod makes up for around 60% of the fish eaten in the UK. It was made illegal to wrap your fish and chips in news paper because the ink was making people ill so Poppies had their own news paper printed so they could carry on the age old tradition and still be healthy! Make sure you get their loyalty card if you visit to build up points to get money off your meals. There are cockney rhyming slang words around the walls and there is even a nearby cash machine that will ask if you want to transact in English or Cockney!

We turned a corner and entered the well known Brick Lane and were ushered into a restaurant called Aladin and were treated to three curries, lamb parthia, vegetable bhuna and chicken madras all typical Bangaladeshi food.  This restaurant has won loads of awards and is one of the 15,000 curry houses in the UK and it is roumoured that there are more than in Delhi and Mumbai combined!

If you are thinking we had enough food you would be wrong! We carried on up Brick Lane to the iconic bagel bakery, a shop I have bought my bagels from for almost 30 years! They are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and consistently produce the best bagels I have ever tasted.  There are two bagel shops next to each other but the one on the right if you are facing them is without a doubt the best!! You have to try the corned beef with mustard and a pickle as we did.  I also bought some cream cheese and smoked salmon to take home to Mr R and a dozen plain for our freezer. (I have made many a midnight dash for bagels when I lived in North London!)

Then it was time for a nice cup of Rosy Lee (tea) and a slice of salted caramel chocolate tart at Pizza East.  A bustling restaurant in an old tea warehouse producing the finest chocolate tart I have ever tasted!

We said our good byes to new friends and made our way home after what seemed like half an hour but was in fact around 3 and a half hours of fantastic food and interesting history of the East End of London.

Eating London is a fantastic way to entertain visitors if you want something different to do with them in London or even just a family trip out.

I was the guest of Eating London but all opinions are my own. I was not required to write about the experience nor was I required to write a positive review.

 
A Quick Roundup – February

A Quick Roundup – February

Here are a few of the things I have been asked to review recently. Perkier offer a cheeky little selection of tasty treats that are gluten free. They have individually wrapped snacks and single portions of porridge amongst others. Asda had quite a large range […]

Pancake Day for Mr R!

Pancake Day for Mr R!

For Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent) this year I decided to give Mr R a pancake treat!  He really loves Old El Paso Enchiladas and we have every couple of months which gave […]

The Flavour Pot is here – from Knorr

The Flavour Pot is here – from Knorr

First there was the Knorr Stock Pot then the Knorr Gravy Pot – designed to make our cooking life a little tastier and Knorr keeps tempting us with their little pots to make life easier and dinner tastier! Their new product is here:-

Flavour Pots!!

I have been looking forward to introducing these culinary gems to you ever since I first tried them back in October last year but we were asked not to mention them until they were officially in the shops 01March 2014!
Here they are:- 3 Peppercorn (for a flavoursome steaksauce or stroganoff), Mixed Herbs, Garlic, Curry (13 traditional spices including cumin, cardamom and cloves) and Mixed Chillies.
 

There are no artificial flavour enhancers, colourings or preservatives and are gluten free and all suitable for vegetarians!

The friendly little Flavour Pots are stack of your favourite spices and oil to make adding your flavours to your meals as easy as it can be.  I guess my favourites are the Mixed Herbs (combination of thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil) and the Garlic (enhance any dish from a spaghetti carbonara to stuffed chicken and more) followed closely by Mixed Chillies.  You can use half a pot if you want a subtle flavour or the whole pot for a more intense flavour.

Vegetable and herbs ready to make a dinner

Basics for a Bacon and Vegetable Pasta Sauce

 
All ready for a creamy Three Peppercorn sauce

Spaghetti with a tomato and Mixed Herb sauce

The new Knorr Flavour Pots will be available in major supermarkets and the RRP will be around £1.59 for a pack of four pots.

I received these Flavour Pots from Knorr to use at home in my recipes.  I did not receive any payment to use them or write about them and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.