Eat well - travel often

Month: September 2016

In a Pickle – Get Preserving for Christmas with Sarson’s and Kilner Jars

In a Pickle – Get Preserving for Christmas with Sarson’s and Kilner Jars

It’s Boxing Day, you are having cold meats and salad and you open the cupboard to get the chutneys and pickles – and horror there isn’t any left!  Well if you start now you will have a well stocked cupboard in time for the festivities […]

Book Review:- Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

Book Review:- Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

I was sent a copy of the book Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan to review.  This book came to me at just the perfect time! We have an allotment where we can grow a large part of our food during the UK growing season. […]

London: Chakra – Contemporary Indian Dining

London: Chakra – Contemporary Indian Dining

I was invited to review Chakra‘s second restaurant which is on Holland Street near High Street Kensington (Their original restaurant is in Notting Hill).

The restaurant is a short walk from High Street Kensington underground station.  Outside they have about four tables to sit and eat at however this time of the year it was a bit too chilly but I could imagine sitting out there on a warm evening enjoying superb food and a few drinks with family and friends!

The food is based on the traditions of the Royal Maharaja Kitchen with traditional recipes from Punjab and the Northwest Frontier of India with some specialties from the Indian sub-continent.

What I love about Indian cuisine is the marriage of spices and flavours to create a sensual and mindful experience of the places the dishes come from.  What I do not like is food that is too hot and spicy that you cannot taste anything but fire!  Chakra comes from the first point – a really enjoyable foodie experience.

Individual portions of mini papads and a lovely dipping sauce greeted us as we sat down to browse through the menu with a list of dishes I had certainly never heard of before.

We picked a selection of starters so we could share between three – Manjiri, Nayna and myself.
Sweet Potato & Pea Open Samosas & Tamarind Chutney

Spinach Galouti, Baby Spinach Fritters, Radish & Spinach Salad

Tandoori Paneer, Basil & Mint Chutney

Chicken Tikka, Mint & Coriander Spices & Chilli Chutney

We were really taken with the presentation of the starters and the tastes were delicious, fresh and innovative.

After a lot of photo taking of our starters and actually eating them our main courses arrived.  Although we had each picked one we shared (Nayna is vegetarian so was unable to taste what Manjiri and I had ordered but she was more than full with her main course:-
Purple Potato, Ivy Gourd, Red Onions and Baby Tomatoes (We all also shared Basmati Rice and Meloni Daal)

I ordered the Seafood Biryani, Shrimp, Squid, Clams, Octopodi with a side of Sweet Potato with Mustard Seed). It was really full of flavours, the sweet potato was little cubes of crispyness.

A platter of Peshwari Naan and Paratha for the table

Manjiri ordered the Tandoori Poussin with Red Onion and Lemon.  As with many of the other dishes it was adorned with a beautiful edible flower!

Another side dish of Okra, Red Onions, Chilli & Lime.  I have often found okra to be a bit slimy or starchy for me however these were little pieces of savory crispiness!

Even though we were all full and satisfied we did find room for pudding – well it would be rude not to!!
The Mango Kulfi, Fresh mango, Mango Sauce was really not what I was expecting. Usually you get a sort of cone of ice cream, this was like a plate of crafts, each essential part of the whole.

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Manjiri had Gulab Jamun Caviar, Pistachio Toast & Cardamom Creme:- really tiny little crunchy and sticky sweet balls in a cute caviar tin

Finishing with a coffee we left feeling full and satisfied, talking about the meal all the way to the underground station where we went our separate ways. I would be up for a re-visit anytime!
I was a guest of Chakra London but was not expected to write a positive review.  As usual all opinions and photos are my own.
Click here to see what Nayna thought of the experience too.
Great British Bake Off – Batter Week with Rachels Organic Yogurt

Great British Bake Off – Batter Week with Rachels Organic Yogurt

If you have been watching the great British bake off you will know this week was batter week Rachel’s organic yogurt have asked me to use their pancake recipe with yogurt as an ingredient. I have never put yogurt in my pancake batter before. I […]

Travel Tip 7 – Travel Essentials to Travel in Comfort

Travel Tip 7 – Travel Essentials to Travel in Comfort

There are a few items that just help make travel a bit more comfortable.  Whether you travel by car, train or plane these little ‘helpers’ will be worth their weight in gold! Travel Pillow: I have a Tempur travel pillow that I take with me […]

Giveaway: – Chocolate and Love and who doesn’t love chocolate!!

Giveaway: – Chocolate and Love and who doesn’t love chocolate!!

When Richard O’Connor’s daughter became old enough to eat chocolate he wanted to make sure she ate only the best!

Richard and his partner struggled to find quality, organic chocolate so they decided to make their own. They sourced excellent great quality chocolate and committed to pay a fair price to the growers sourcing their ingredients for their chocolate from certified Fairtrade co-operatives, as well as the cane sugar, vanilla and coffee (their Coffee Bar – 55% dark chocolate with coffee was in fact my favourite).  Their cacao comes from Peru, The Dominican Republic – rich with notes of red berries and Panama – decadent and incredibly smooth. With the support of Fairtrade Premium the farmers can invest in their own communities including ensuring a supply of clean water.

Chocolate and Love has won Great Taste awards – 15 so far and they are confident of more in the future.

When I met Richard O/Connor he challenged me to taste his chocolate and not find it incredible. He was right – this chocolate is a rare treat.

This is not only a delicious collection but visually eye ‘candy’ as well! Richard and his partner Birgitte worked with designers in New York to produce the beautiful wrappers for their chocolate bars. The lovely floral wrappers are a delight with their cacao pods, cacao flowers, orange flowers, mint leaves, cocoa beans and so many other beautiful designs.

If you would like to win a box like the one above with four x 100g bars – one of each of Sea Salt (55% dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt), Filthy Rich (71% dark chocolate), Orange (65% dark chocolate with orange) and Creamy Dark (55% creamy dark chocolate and cacao nibs) then complete the Rafflecopter option below:-
I was sent a 4 bar selection box but was not required to write a positive review.  All photos and opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Isle of Wight: A Weekend Away – Dog Friendly too

Isle of Wight: A Weekend Away – Dog Friendly too

We have had a brilliant summer so far and with that I was really looking forward to our weekend visit to the Isle of Wight.  I haven’t been there for years and really fancied visiting for the same weekend that the Isle of Wight Garlic […]

August: Bites (and sips) and Pieces

August: Bites (and sips) and Pieces

Every week I get sent some great products which are worthy of sharing with you.  Below you will find some recent mention-worthy items that I liked. Charles Viancin -Inspired by Nature collection:- Every now and then a product comes along that really tickles my fancy! […]