Dishoom Kings Cross

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I visited Dishoom Kings Cross on the first night of their soft launch. 

The restaurant is situated in a restored Victorian industrial building that was formerly a railway transit shed built in 1850. Vast quantities of goods once flowed through this building, and for 100 years it passed goods to and fro between Britain and its empire, and between London and Bombay. 

Small details such as sephia photographs, bench toilette seats and room fragrance have been painstakingly selected to give a genuine Bombay atmosphere. 

Upon arrival we were shown to The Permit  Room, a basement bar, where we enjoyed spectacular cocktails. The East Indian Gimlet was my favourite, which once upon a time given to sailors to avoid scurvy. It containes celery bitters, lime and gin. 

Taken upstairs to our table, we overlooked a private seating area that was home to an impressive wooden table large enough to seat 16. 

A friendly waitor talked us through the menu and made recommendations. I decided to order the Vada Pau, Bombay's version of a chip butty, to start. The red Ghati masala served with this dish really packed a punch! 

I'm not one who handles spice well, so was apprehensive. However, one thing this restaurant taught me is that it is possible to have a dish that is both hot and tasty. 

I retuned to the restaurant again last weekend and ordered a selection of staters. I'd recommend the crispy Prawn Koliwada which is served with a sweet date chutney and the Dishoom Camari, which has a closely guarded secret recipe.   

For main course on both occasions I ordered the Nalli Nihari, a lamb on the bone stew with generous spice (for protection against faintness of the heart). For more taste and power, lambs brains can be served alongside - unfortunately they had sold out on both evenings. 

I also ordered a side of House Black Dahl, which is simmered for 24 hours, and a bowl of creamy Raita.  

The dish that stood out the most for me is the Mattar Paneer, which you can find on any good Indian roadside restaurant (so they say). It is packed with vegetables to give texture, which contrasts beautifully with the soft cheese. Utterly unforgettable. 

The Life and Dreams of Pimientos de Padrón

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fried Padrón peppers are the inspiration behind my latest read ‘The Life and Dreams of Pimientos de Padrón’. 

They’re mostly mild in taste but around one in every five peppers is extremely hot - luckily the ones I fried up were mild. 

Author Katherine Anne Lee was holidaying in Spain with her husband when she became hooked on the little green peppers. 

The book charts the journey of six peppers. Starting from when they’re first sown in a Spanish field to being transported to exciting vibrant cities and ending their life on a table thousands of miles away. 

It's a vivid and inspiring book, full of lush landscapes and magic - a must read for those wishing to escape the glum British weather. 

To make the peppers yourself, simply fry them in olive oil (we charred ours further with the help of a kitchen blowtorch) and season well - we topped ours with Maldon smoked sea salt. 

Chilled Beetroot And Dill Soup

Monday, November 03, 2014

Ideal for a hot summer days, yet comforting enough for an autumnal evening, chilled beetroot soup is one of my favourite treats. 

I made the above with beetroot I grew from seed on the allotment. 

If you're cooking the beetroot yourself, simply simmer them whole in a pan of hot water for around 2 hours - make sure you don't cut into them before boiling as they'll loose their vivid colour. 

Once cooked allow them to cool in the water, then place them in a blender along with dill, sea salt, fresh chicken stock and sour cream - measurements to taste. The more cream you add, the more pink the soup will turn. 

Blend until smooth, serve and garnish with a spring of dill and black pepper. Chill again if necessary. 

Nomadic Mango Lassi Review

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When I first heard about a low fat mango lassi, I thought it was too good to be true. 

With a stunning label featuring graphics reminiscent of India, I had high hopes when i received Nomadic in the post. 

I shared a bottle with my colleague at lunch yesterday (along with a delicious home made lemon drizzle cake). Unfortunatly, what greeted us was a bland experience that coated our mouths with thick yogurt. 

Usually avid Lassi lovers (if there is such a thing) this product really missed the mark. 

Looking at the ingredients, we started to understand why.

The drink states it is low fat, however with 273 calories per bottle it's the equivalent of a 7oz steak.  

It's also loaded with artificial flavourings and stabilisers, giving it a 30 day shelf life, and contains a pitiful amount of 'real' mango (3.5%). 

I really wanted to like this product, and found the fact that Nomadic makes it yogurts and drinks in small batches reassuring. I haven't tried their yogurts, but I wouldn't give this chemical minefield a second chance. 

If you'd like to try it for yourself, It's stocked in 330ml bottles at Tesco and Ocado at £1.49 (however, upon publication of this post there was no sign of the product on either retailer website). 

British Beef

Monday, October 13, 2014

Since global media outlets reported the EU horsemeat scandal, the British meat market has suffered a severe blow. 

Despite the fact that the majority of meat cuts were 100% genuine, local and international consumers began to doubt the authenticity of labels, packaging and sources. 

Thankfully, with the support of the British public, British meat is once again emerging among the top markets in the world. 

Thanks to the recent reintroduction of premium breeds such as wagyu, the British beef market is on track to flourish. 

Improved labelling and supply chain laws  will allow both local and international buyers to trace the exact journey of every cut, giving consumers peace of mind. 

Locally, the rejuvenation of historic trading hubs such as London’s Borough Market has greatly contributed to a growing interest in premium quality meat and a preference to ‘buy British.’ 

Farmers Markets have made a come back across the nation. They allow consumers to cut of the middle man (or men, in most cases) and purchase meat that is fresh, organic and 100% genuine straight from the farmer. 

Another factor contributing to the UK’s rekindled taste for beef is the emergence of online butchers. With just a few clicks of the button, British meat connoisseurs can take advantage of a meat delivery service direct to their doors. 

With EBLEX reporting that global meat consumption is expected to grow by 60-100% by 2050, the opportunities for British farmers are enormous.