Sunday, 30 December 2012

Tongue Ticklers at Mamounia


If you've been reading a while, you'll know that I've been pretty much living on Prezzos, Pizzas & Paneer for a long time now (not a complaint, all three come in abundant combinations). Buuuuuuut, as much as Indian and Italian are well up there on my list of loves, what's with cutting out all that Mexico & Morocco have to mete out, all the flavour Greece has to gloat about? Let's not forget Jamaican, Japanese & Chinese, Thai, Turkish & Lebanese. Oh and smashing Spanish, super soups and sharp sushis. Mmmmmmm. 

And so I guess it's just as well that there's been a sudden but very, very, VERY welcome explosion of new restaurants close to where I live. Japanese, check. Tex-Mex, check. Fast food American style, check. But the glittering, sparkling, dazzling jewel in the crown, for when you just can't decide (/feel hungry enough to eat an elephant)? A world food buffet. More on that later though. 

At the moment I'm here to tell you of recent escapades in the Knightsbridge area. Don't you think the best evenings unfold when you hit them without a plan in place? I like to think so. Especially when you end up in a cosy, Christmassy corner you didn't expect to find. Mamounia Lounge, slap bang diagonally opposite Harrods, describes itself as broadly Middle Eastern - one glance at the decor and you'll understand why. It boasts "menus inspired by the tastes, recipes and flavours from the great cuisines of Morocco and Lebanon"... which would be numerous variations of humous, falafel, cous cous, tagine & pitta.

 Considering it's been... an age, at least, since a pitta last passed this pout (and I've never had a tagine before) I'd be hard pushed to say just how good the food was. All I can say, really, is that it was guuuuuuud. And affable, efficient service in a beautiful restaurant. Plus SO many (v)s on the menu!  


It's very rare, as a vegetarian, to be flunked with so many choices that you don't know if you've chosen right - then there was dessert we were too full to deliberate, shisha we were shivering too much to give a shot. But always a next time. 


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland


Yes, I seem practically to be living here this December. Let's just say the appetite for fairground rides, mulled wine & Christmas magic is insatiable (so much so for my pre-25th Scrooge mood - we all knew it would catch up on me eventually). 

If you haven't been, go. And definitely ride the star flyer. Your eyes will sting, your hair will be ravaged & the wind will pinch your cheeks... but the view is absolutely breathtaking. 


P.S. 54 hours of 2012 to go!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Seasonal Surfeit

One of the best things about Christmas time, in my opinion, is the ready availability of overly indulgent, rich, luxurious and lip-lickingly delicious food, both in and out. I know there's always something special on the hob/in the fridge around my house (even leftovers are a treat in December!) but should we choose to eat out, many-a-seasonal-special on menus as well. And what with birthday celebrations, Christmas dos, family meals, dinner dates & girly catch-ups, there's a plethora of excuses to overindulge too. 

On the flip side though, one of the worst things about Christmas time is probably the ready availability of overly indulgent, rich, luxurious and lip-lickingly delicious food (!). I've been eating no less than a little piglet (I literally have a muffin top to show for it) and silly as it sounds, I'm quite looking forward to eating slightly more moderately (hey, let's not push it okay?) once the Christmas goodies, and spirit, have run out. Yes, I know how out of character that sounds for me but... a picture paints a thousand words: 


That, in case you're ogling, drooling and curious, is the Gnocchi al Quattro Formaggi I had a few nights ago at a little Italian called Zinco. I.e. hot, fresh, oven baked Gnocchi in a bubbling, creamy four cheese sauce of fontina, mascarpone, mozzarella & parmesan. As if one cheese simply wasn't lavish enough for Christmas. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Look at it. Just look at it. So extravagant (and I daresay, calorific!) I think I'm gaining weight just eyeing it up. 

Word of advice - get in the door before you embark on your post-Christmas detox. It really is one of the better Italians I've had in a long while. 


Zinco, 89-91 High Street, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 1LN

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Done, Dusted.


Christmas over, sales well underway (apparently we were shopping online on Christmas Day?!) and plenty of us back to work. So now? Well of course, it's time to reel in the new year - the last burst of pomp and cheer before the inevitable January lull. January. Britain at its skintest, coldest, grimmest, fatest. Ahhh so much to look forward to. 

To me, January has never felt like the time for new starts - dietting at a time when only comfort food will do? Nah. Exercising in the snow? Naaaaah. Spring time seems much more fitting an occasion for change - warmer mornings, brighter days and promise of summer in the air. 

All said, it wouldn't really be New Years without the age long tradition of making resolutions... and subsequently breaking them within a few days due, of course, to the aforementioned lack of motivation. So what are yours? I have three, #1 being a resolution to not break any further resolutions I resolve to make. ;) Let's see how long that lasts! 


Monday, 24 December 2012

Evening of Anticipation


Isn't in funny how we spend a whole month shopping and wrapping, running and planning, organising, decorating, co-ordinating & cooking; in anticipation, in preparation, in an utter state of commotion for just two measly days of lazing, grazing and vegging out (well chez moi at least - reliable sources tell me it can be quite the opposite)? 

December, in all honesty, is only bearable because of the promise it bears - I mean would you really queue for hours on end, fending off hundreds of co-shoppers in heaving stores to buy grandpa some fairly forgettable socks, at any other time of the year? Thought not. It's almost like we're so drunk on the Christmas Spirit that nothing seems unreasonable any more. Alas, Christmas Eve is upon us and tomorrow all our handiwork will be undone. Presents will be torn open, trees left bereft and all manner of indulgent food consumed. 

Today, though, is the day to step back, take a deep breath and admire our twinkling, glittering, festively attired homes. It's the peace after a storm when we can finally declare we are "done" and collapse in a heap on the sofa.

I think Christmas Eve is a hot favourite with a lot of people - probably because it treads that fine line between anticipation & culmination. The best of both worlds. But while most of us will reflect on the work that's gone into making tomorrow memorable, for me it's about what, if anything, I've achieved to render my whole year memorable. 12 hours of being 22 remain - I know I'll be spending those searching for my answer. 

Happy Christmas Eve.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Pi: Missing the Point? (spoiler alert)


"Technical marvel". "Mind blowing". "A bounteous celebration of the natural world." Yes I too (don't you roll your eyes at me!) am talking about Life of Pi, and no, I'm not disagreeing with any of that praise. Because a marvel in its cinematography it is. In my opinion though, it was well set up for runaway success even before it hit the screens - sumptuously shot, ravishingly coloured and based on a Booker Prize winning novel. The likelihood it wouldn't deliver? Nil. 

As the film drew to an unexpected close though and we slowly ushered ourselves out, a distinct murmur of debate hung in the air; "Which story do you think was true?". "I don't understand the twist". "I think the human story is much more believable". Now, as most movies go, a story is told about people, places or events over a certain time period - from start to finish. Simple. But this time round, film-goers expecting nothing more than a fanciful, colourful adventure out at sea were caught off-guard by the finale.   

If you've read the book, you already knew what was coming. And also understood why. Lets think this through - did Yann Martel win the Booker Prize for telling yes, the beautiful, engaging, enriching tale of a young man stranded out at sea for 227 days, or for managing to do that whilst simultaneously catapulting the reader into a moment of theological reflection when the story concludes? Don't forget that even in the film, from the very outset the Writer character was promised a story that would make him believe in God. 

The “truth”: Pi survived for 227 days at sea, married the girl of his dreams, had children, and lived to tell two stories.

Taking into account the first part of the narrative, in which we witness Pi struggling to reconcile the differences between faith and interpretations (he acknowledges that they all contain valuable elements), in reality, the aforementioned "truth" is of little concern to anyone. What is open to interpretation are the 227 days Pi spends out at sea. Faced with two mutually exclusive stories, we are left with a very simple proposition -

Which story do you prefer?

Whilst some of us might remain unconvinced, in the case of others, like the The Writer who openly admits that he prefers the story with the tiger, Pi successfully helps us overcome one of the largest hurdles to faith – believing in the unbelievable - "And so it goes with God." 

Evidenced by his multi-religion background, Pi does not believe that any of the world’s religions are a one-stop shop for the truth of God – and his goal is not to convert anyone to a given mindset. Instead, his story helps viewers consider which version of the world we prefer.

Do Watch. 


Recipe: Sunshine Sweetcorn Rice


Slightly overdue, written in November but forgotten to share! Sowie. I do advise you peak out the window (Londoners only) if you're going to deny the doom and gloom still looms. Rain rain go away!

November's a pretty glum month. Days grow shorter, nights colder and work busier. Don't you sometimes feel trapped by the endless cycle of going to and returning from work in pitch dark? Alas, if you can't bring a girl to the sunshine, you gotta bring sunshine to the girl. Et voila, sunshine served up in but a few swift seconds - sweetcorn studded, saffron scented rice. For those of you already having palpitations at the thought of cooking rice without a resulting gloop mass, don't worry - this formula is fool proof, you just need to remember that the perfect rice takes 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid. 

You'll need: 

- a glug of vegetable oil
- a sprinkle of cumin seeds
- one pinch turmeric
- half a dozen saffron strands
- chilli flakes, according to taste
- tons of super sweet sweetcorn
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can (use above) basmati rice
- 1 can boiling water
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- a scatter of sugar
- salt to taste
- desiccated coconut & coriander to garnish

What to do: 

1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes in lukewarm water. Then drain of excess water. 

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pot over medium heat - gently fry the cumin seeds, chilli flakes, saffron & turmeric for a minute or so. 

3. Add in the sweetcorn, coconut milk & boiling water, bring to a simmer and then add the salt, lemon juice, sugar and finally the rice. 

4. Cover and let cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Once done, scatter generously with coriander & coconut. 

5. Serve with yogurt & some sort of pickle or relish. 


Friday, 21 December 2012


It is OFFICIALLY my favourite day of the year. December is my darling, 21 my lucky number & Friday... well that can only mean one thing - the weekend is here! Need I say anymore. I've spent the last 48 hours indulging myself in all things Christmassy (better late than never, no?!) from home-made mince pies to toffee nut lattes, topped off by a flying visit from Santa(/Sunita) him(/her)self. Fairy lights are on, wrapping is done & the kitchen smells of fruit cake. I can almost hear the angels sing. As my work here is done, I'm off to celebrate the best weekend of the year. The last one before Christmas. Happy 21st to you all. 


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Currently Crushing On...



9 days to cram in some Christmas cheer. Or 10 to go if you're all about the sales. Happy Sunday lovely people.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Countdown

Two weeks to go and, don't fall off your chair in horror, I'm yet to indulge myself in anything vaguely festive. :/ I mean this coming from the girl who's totally crazed by the Christmas magic year after year after every single year. Remember this? Or this. Yeah, I'm as much in disbelief as you are. 


I've always loved all the holiday stuff in the build up to Christmas much more than the day itself - anticipation in the air, smiley faces and acts of goodwill everywhere. As they say though, better late than never so maybe I'll start out tonight. After all December's not December without a golden tree, sparkling fairy lights, festive films, a panto and lots of mulled wine, is it? 

Happy 11th December. 


Monday, 10 December 2012

Whirlwind Weeks, Windier Weekends


Aaaaand BOOM. Christmas is nigh. Ever felt it creep up on you soooooo sneakily? I definitely haven't. For lack of time, for now, here's the in on my last few weeks. Hoping you're all revelling in festivities & fun, enjoying each and every day of Advent. Happy December :)

1. Festive work times & wintry journeys home.

2. Too much cake?

3. Date nights, good lunches, new places. Stay tuned.

4. A wedding I've awaited since 16. No more to say. 


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Six Seasons Later

So the unimaginable has happened and I, having pelted through six seasons minus two episodes in what can't be longer than four weeks, am now faced with a GG-less weekend and the excruciating wait for Monday night's showdown. Now, don't judge me for this latest little craze of mine (it's addictive!) but I'm slightly anxious. :/ I mean... how on earth am I going to fill my time?(what?! I said don't judge, all recovering addicts need therapy or a placebo during the withdrawal phase). I've been advised that One Tree Hill & Made in Chelsea are formidable substitutes.  
I'm going to leave that with you...

Meanwhile, I have Fifty Shades 3 (I succumbed!), festivities and a special friend's wedding to attend to. And on the upside, you might actually see me around a little more now ;) Wishing you all a great weekend.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...