Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

For tomorrow....some strawberries dipped in white chocolate. Pic taken from a shop on the King's Road. yum...

and pic below from the Barfly in Camden on Sat night... you can see some great new acts there...and see some interesting hair cuts.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Farewell India

Farewell snake charmers, crazy bus drivers, elephants, camels, smiling faces, spicy food, the busy city and drivers who are honk-a holics.

Back to England where all is a little more orderly and the assault on my senses is a little less. It was a great time and I will miss my lovely hosts the Gils and the Chawlas (below) Thx for a great time and a brief glimpse at life in India.
Mrs. Chawla taught me some Pranayama breathing exercises which help mind, body and soul to become focused, stronger, centered and to bring peace to mind and body.

Do this first thing in the morning...
Sit in a quiet place on the floor in the lotus position (legs crossed and arms resting gently on your knees)
1. Pranayan -breathe in deeply raising the chest and exhaling through the mouth -do this 10 times (Mrs . C does this like 100-but you can slowly build up to that)

2. Kaban Bhati - breathe in and out flexing the stomach for 5 min (or do as much as you can to start)

3. Anulome Vilome -I like this one - take a deep breath holding down one nostril then exhale holding the other nostril. All breath should be inhaled and released from the nostrils. This is good for balancing and bringing oxygen to the brain and for hormones.

4. Bhramari - hold your hands out flat-palms facing inwards, take the middle three fingers and cover your eyes with them, put your pinkys on your chin, and your pointer finger on your forehead, with your thumbs gently plug your ears and take deep breaths (100 reps = Mrs Chawla or 10+ for us beginners) this one is very good as you hear all the sounds your body makes.

5. Om -take a deep breath and do the OMmmmmmm sound as you exhale, feel the vibration in your mouth, tongue etc.. 10 times
You can buy the book that Mr. C got me from the master and learn more.

Then you are ready for your day with lots more oxygen and peace in the body. This doesn't relate to cooking or the cookbook but thought it would come in handy for any one experiencing stress...

Thx to my new Indian family for being so kind and loving. They are a true example of a loving family with their actions, words, life and passions - they work on some wonderful charity projects and a dispensary for poor people to give them access to medical attention that they would otherwise not have.

(pic of Mr. & Mrs. Chawla at his birthday dinner celebration at Punjabi by Nature restaurant)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

After dinner treats
After dinner and drinks at Shalom, a very trendy bar in Delhi, Kuran bought these mouth fresheners....can't remember what was inside (I know Pomegranate) but they were cute colourful little packages wrapped in a banana leaf (my memory is failing me!)

Kash - any suggestions/help?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fancy foot work at the butcher shop
For preparations for Diwali which is a religious festival which celebrates the coming of a goddess who brings, prosperity, health and good luck we went to get some provisions.

On the list:

Candles-for lighting the path for the goddess to find the home -the house had candles and marigold and rose petals lined from the drive way all the way up to the little altar set up in the home

Firecrackers -for celebration afterwards-these are the illegal kind you can't get in Canada or the UK anymore -they are massive -think Symphony of Fire at Ontario place -this is what we did on the terrace a few feet away from all the guests.

Sweets -traditionally eaten after dinner or exchanged as gifts (this festival is very similar to Xmas)

Mutton - for the main meal -this was where the talented butcher came on the scene.

The two butchers were on a little platform stage like place in a shop selling fish, meat and more... There was a round tree stump which he is sitting behind on a smaller stool where he chopped the various meats. But then to my surprise his hands went down behind visible terrain and there he was with a large meat cleaver held between his toes (keeping both hands free) for trimming fat off some other cuts of meat. Very clever use of space and body parts I thought, although a bit odd at first. Got to have strong feet for this type of job!

Didn't take a pic of the footwork but should' time. And most Indian men love getting their picture taken so this man adjusted his handlebar moustache for the camera and gave a few poses...enjoy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mr & Mrs. Gil
Our hosts in Delhi...a pic of them smiling sweetly after the spiciest Chinese dinner ever.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Spicy in India

We didn't get to Kasa Gelato today in the market to scope out the ice cream but am sure it was spicy! Actually everything here is spicy, even our Chinese food dinner tonight was mouth burning, nostril cleansing hot! (except for the locals Mr & Mrs. Gill who ate it all without flinching)

Have seen some great sights like the Taj Mahal and the colorful city of Jaipur in Rajastan along with several others. All were stunning and filled with fascinating histories. India has such a wide variety of sights, smells and tastes -it can be overwhelming at times but it needs to be taken in quite quickly as there is so much happening all at once. The country is filled with many religions, the roads filled with many travelers (horses, donkeys, camels, cars, trucks, bikes, rickshaws, mopeds, scooters, old men walking across motorways at a slow pace, elephants, people, monkeys, dogs and more!) and the restaurants are filled with several types of food -Indian food from all areas; north, south and more and other foods that all seem to have an Indian twist.

I have tasted some great and v.interesting food but all very spicy enough to make a man's moustache curl!
Namaste...and Happy Divali for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adventures of Food
As in the title of my blog, I speak of adventures of food. Well I am in India and the adventures have begun! Starting from Richard Branson's great idea to have food on flights to India half western (ham and cheese sandwich) and half Indian (a full Indian meal) which was tres spicy! Even my Indian travelling companion said the cauliflower was super spicy -thx Richard!

So far my Indian hosts have made me Italian pizza, and luckily they just returned from 2 weeks in Italy so they know that Italian food is not as spicy as theirs, samosas with a twist, a vegetarian kebab on the grill with tofu (yum) but also very spicy and that's it so far...will have a proper lunch today and let you know the scoop...(oh and they bought ice-cream and croissants for their guests-so nice) Indian hospitality is superb.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

She is a good freind and moving to the land of OZ very shortly, we may have to go visit her in Brisvegas too and have her cook some great Australian fare, Jen start practicing please as I know your culinary skills are a bit dire at times...

We will greatly miss her in London Town! Here's a pic of her eating a whopping slice of watermelon in Sicily! That is what you get when you order 'a little fruit after dinner' in the south.

And below is the pasta I made last night which accompanied turkey dinner,(it was actually chicken) it is called Pasta con Spinaci and the recipe was given to me by one of the aunties in Italy. Unfortunately, no pumpkin pie to the dismay of some guests but KD will make it up to us right!?

Fresh mushrooms
Panna (cream)
Salt & pepper

Monday, October 09, 2006

What are you thankful for?
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I will be hosting a dinner party at mine tonight. The question is do I try out some Sicilian recipes or do the traditional bird which everyone is expecting. I think I may do a mixture of both as there are some vegetarians coming so they will have to have pasta, non? Anyhow will let you know how it goes. Am going to India on Friday so there will be few posts posted, unless a) my lovely sister posts for me or b) I have net access at Shruti's house in Delhi. Not sure of either but stay tuned. Will post this week and tell you more about Sicily as it has been scant info so far. Above is a photo of one of my favorite foods, fennel. (pics from Pasquale's farm in Sicily) Now before it became popular with Jamie Oliver bbqing it and using it in all sorts of recipes it is normally eaten just freshly washed after dinner.

It has a celery-like texture and crunchiness and has a slight taste of sambuca and licorice. Look how beautiful it is when it grows, like a gentle and delicate grass (see pic).

From wikipedia's insight, fennel is considered to be a weed in the US and Australia (?!) It is one of the three main herbs used in the poisonous and highly drunkenness-inducing drink absinthe (do not ever have a shot on your birthday!), Indians often chew fennel seed (or saunf) as a mouth-freshener. Fennel is also used as a flavoring in some natural toothpastes. Some people employ it as a diuretic, while others use it to improve the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers.

This is the way to eat it Sicilian style:

-wash and slice into small pieces and use in a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and beans with olive oil, oregano and lemon/vinegar -or any fresh summer salad

-cut it into large chunks and put it in a roasting pan when roasting a chicken with potatoes and carrots on the side


-just wash and eat after dinner as a refreshing desert. (the most popular way!)

and call it by its Italian name -finocchio -just like Pinocchio with an f!

Well Happy Thanksgiving to those over the pond...for all others try and reflect today on all the things you are thankful for. Am sure you will see that they far outweigh the other minutiae of life that annoy you...


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fresh Bread Daily -how lovely!
This is what London and any other large city needs.

This is the local bread man in the town who comes around each day with a variety of breads in the back of his truck baked fresh each morning. Each day you have a fresh loaf of bread and because of this it goes stale v.easily as there are no chemicals in it (someone at work was surprised to hear this as they said their bread from the shop lasts forever, duh-read the label it has a million ingredients that are not part of the simple ones that make up bread) .

This fellow loved coming to the home each day as two pretty and bubbly 15 & 16 year olds who were in town for the wedding would greet him and choose the day's bread. (they are from northern Italy where bread is bought in the local bakery not delivered like this) so they liked to go down and choose and have some banter and see what the sweets were too...he always had a basket of pastries, croissants and other chocolatey treats. Yum!

Not sure exactly how this would work in bigger cities, he would have to deliver to offices so people can take their bread home for their evening meals, bar them being on any of these crazy carb-free diets.

Will have to have a think about this and put out a the meantime have a look at the lovely treats in the back of Joaquin's truck (not sure how to spell his name in Italian)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ta da....Mrs. Pat Hale's Gorgeous Pavlova
Remember folks in an old posting when I told you about the lovely Mrs.Hale and her pavlova recipe. Well the picture I attached to it was probably made out of fake plastic and hairsprayed into place as it was so perfect looking and gleaming.

This is the picture that actually accompanies the recipe and Pat made this especially for us to view and drool over. The photo took a while to arrive in the UK as the cord to the camera was lost (the cat may have ate it!) but here is what my lovely NZ mother said...

Had fun making this for a dinner party with friends. Robbie loves it and would eat it every day!!! But hes not allowed!!! Farmer Robbie am sure ate all the left overs-that's Pat's hubby.

MANY THANKS PAT for submitting recipe and photo, now all you other lazy buggers get on it and send me some of your recipes and pics - I know you cook at least once a month ;)

More Sicily posts to come just swamped with the day job....always seems to get in the way.

Love to readers in New Zealandxxx