Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Meet the Bombay Sandwich

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When I first suggested putting spuds in a sandwich my flatmate almost fell of her chair in surprise, and I had to laugh as I witnessed her expression go from disbelief to disgust to disbelief to horror to curiosity and finally? Yup, to disbelief again. Cucumber, jam, tuna, cheese, ham - these are the beloved English familiars... on what planet do potatoes make a packed lunch? And so ensued a good half hour of trawling the internet for evidence that no, I'm certainly not the only (or first) lunatic to be indulging in such strange sandwich behaviours. 

Time to meet the Bombay Sandwich, one of an oligarchy of reigning Indian street foods. Now, if you were smart enough to have clicked into that link already, you'll have seen it's a pretty tall order for a sandwich. Make chutney, buy masala, boil potatoes, what the f... 

Enter....... *drumroll*

Ta da (available at all dodgy Cash & Carries plus large Tesco & Asda stores *pheeeeeew*)! 

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Hey, stop laughing alright? I've just eliminated the chutney and chaat masala stages so now, if you've a few boiled potatoes at the ready in your fridge (handy tip for speedy assembly) and those cheese slices, you're only a few steps away from a spicy, saucy, special sarnie. 

What you need: sliced boiled potatoes, cucumber, red onion, tomato & beetroot(optional), white bread, butter, tomato ketchup, the above spread, cheese/food slices and mayo (that's my little British twist FYI)

What do do: well what do you think? I'd recommend toasting the bread by the way.



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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

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Almost everyone who's seen it says Bond 23 is the worst of the lot. Faiiiiiiir enough, it doesn't have the best plot in the world but don't I recall some breath-taking action and cinematography? The opening car chase had me stumped in a jiffy. Well, just when I thought that couldn't be topped, off I was whisked to watch the latest of the Die Hard franchise. Now. I'm 23 - exactly one year younger than Willis' first adventure - so it's a little before my time. Even so, I'm assured left right and centre (mum, dad, brother, I get your point!) it's well worth a watch. Once more though critics are saying this one's a complete let down on what Willis has previously accomplished. 

I quote - "For anyone who remembers the Die Hard adventures at their vital and exciting best, this film feels like a near-death experience."

Lucky then eh that I've got nothing to go on 'cause I was won over once more (starting to think I'm too easily pleased... I never write bad reviews?!). If you're looking for ground-breaking, reality-hitting, awareness-raising cinema, avoid. If you're looking for entertainment, many-a-sarcastic giggle and a bit of our old Bruce - what are you waiting for? 


Monday, 11 February 2013

Desperate Housetimes

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One glance out of the window at the snowy scenery and I believe no justification is needed for my snuggling right back down under the duvet, tea and toast to hand (it is my last day off, go easy.) Truth be told, that's been the overriding story of my life for the past few months - bar work, university and a few dates here and there I couldn't afford to miss, I've avoided going out altogether. I'm really looking forward to spring - colour on the trees and sunshine on my cheeks. Winter, we're DONE with you. But, I hear your busy minds tick-tocking away, how exactly have I been spending my time then?

Let me enlighten you. Many-a-cupcake/sponge-cake/cheesecake have been reeled off my household production line. Nobody in particular to eat them, but hell we're still banging them out. New recipes tried and tested, a ton of reading accomplished and more shisha smoked than the doctor prescribes. Then there's home Zumba classes (flatmate, not me), arty-farty creative odd bobs - sketching, scrapbooking and the likes, plus the massive spring clean operation we have underway, to be completed in time for moving day. Failing that, well... then there's always, a site my flatmate should probably never have introduced me to. 

Remember this post? Turns out I had nothing to worry about, for 1channel houses every show under the sun. Gossip Girl was replaced by Sex and the City was replaced by Citizen Khan which.... could have been replaced by Homeland, One Tree Hill, Made in Chelsea or Big Bang Theory - all highly recommended for mindless series watching. But guess what I went with? Yup, Desperate Housewives. Shows I spent my teens evading are fast catching up on me - so addictive they should carry health warnings. And this one? 8 seasons?! I'm going to be here forever...


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Super-Speedy Spaghetti*

*can spaghetti really be anything else?

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Quick cooking without any compromise on the resulting flavour is probably every busy cook's dream. And all done in one pot too? Even better. I pinched this garlic spaghetti recipe from my mum, who, I can testify with absolute certainty never consults cookery books or shows. Nah. Sure Italy must have a million and one versions of garlicky herby spaghetti already but... seeing as mum drew inspiration from none of these, I hereby proclaim this recipe as authentic of the Ramanuj family.   

I'm not a huge fan of the bottled sauce bonanza if I'm honest - feels a bit like turning up to an exam with half the paper completed already; cheating. But the best thing about this sauce is its simplicity, and the fact that you'll recover most ingredients from your store cupboard anyway. And it allows for much adaptation - use up any mingy vegetables knocking about your fridge or add in left over meat - do what you will.

The last time I made this my friend said that it was the "best spaghetti" he'd ever had. Now, I am going to assume the kid's never been to Italy... but I am also going to dismiss the assumption because that praise is too good to let go ;) Try it out and let me know how you get on. 

What you need: 

(serves 4)

400g spaghetti
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp asafoetida (optional)
2 tbsp garlic - puree, frozen or fresh
2 chopped tomatoes
salt, as per taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
a squeeze of honey
freshly chopped spinach
150ml double cream

What to do:

1. Cook the spaghetti as per instructions on the packet. Meanwhile chop your spinach and tomatoes. 

2. Drain the spaghetti and in the same pot, heat the oil and butter, add the asafoetida, chili flakes, garlic and chopped tomatoes. Fry on low to medium heat for 2 minutes (don't be tempted to turn the heat up, burnt chili and garlic smell acrid. taste even worse.) If you are adding onions or peppers, you will need to sweat these until they soften. 

3. Add in the spaghetti and fork through ensuring all strands are coated in the garlic mix. Add the salt, lemon juice and honey, stirring before adding in the double cream. 

4. If the sauce appears too thick add a splash of hot water. Cover and leave to bubble for a couple of minutes, or until everything is warmed through. 

5. Garnish with the spinach, fork through once more and turn off the heat.

6. Serve in obscenely large bowls (with a side of steamed and sauteed greens and garlic bread, if you're entertaining and feeling posh) and enjoy!


Saturday, 9 February 2013

New Year, New Page

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Life's about to change all over again - I'm moving home, starting over in a new place and best off all, got a new job - with a TV channel! Yaaaaaaaaay! *jumps up and jigs*. Aaaaaaanyway, going back to new starts, The Diary seems to be receiving more page hits by the day. Now, I'm hoping that's because more people are tuning in and not because it's so godd*mn boring readers fall asleep mid-page and have to refresh when they wake up (clarifications welcome). And so in a bid to make new posts and updates slightly more accessible, I've set up this wee FB page

for all ye avid readers (haha, am I just delirious from happiness?) to follow. Be kind now, the page has been set up... ooooooooooh precisely 36 minutes before this post. It's a work in progress. For now, that'll be all. Have un weekend fantastico.


Friday, 8 February 2013

'M' for Mangorita

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Lads, turn away now this isn't your cuppa t... cup of cocktail. Ha, you wouldn't be caught dead trying a Margherita would you now? But for all the margherita-mad-maidens out there, I have a new one for you. The classic M with a sweet squeeze of mango puree. Now, if you've been here a while you'll know of my huuuuuuge partiality to mangoes. And for a tequila-based tipple, where better to go than Chiquito? Hop on over, it's a Friday - every hour is cocktail hour. 

Happy Friday! 


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

To say I'm a temperamental blogger would be one helluv'an understatement. Cha, just scroll down would ya? Three in Three days Vs less than three in three weeks. So before I start on today's actual post, just thought to let you know I am indeed on the twitter bandwagon - and FINALLY getting the hang of it! @MissSeemaRaj so save yourselves the heartache of a post-less day (ha, I wish!) and feel free to follow me there.

Moving onto item 2 on the agenda. Zero Dark Thirty. A film about the capture of Osama Bin Laden, are you curious of the title? It apparently denotes the time of the U.S. raid on his compound. One of the best things about this film is that even though we know how it's going to end (no spoiler alert needed, unless you've boycotted the news since Kate & William's wedding) it sustains a unique suspense right til the very last moment. Even subsequent to his death, theres a morose sense of wonder as to whether all the 'Canaries' are going to make it out alive in time, or not.  

It's a somber, yet very real story that will move you to believe that really, most of us have it quite simple over here. As most critics would agree with me (;)), please do watch it.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Chowing Down at Chowki


Have you ever had a craving? Like a real gut-wrenching, tongue-teasing want for something so bad that when you spot what you're after, you have that eye-popping moment of pure lust? Greasy chips, for example, & dirty doner at the end of a night out? Or chocolate on a rainy day? No...? Oh, must just be me then...

Aaaaaaaanyway, the point I'm trying to make is how good it feels when something just hits the spot. And so it happened one cold Christmassy night out on the town. A few tipples later = tipsy time i.e. time to find food. With the wind making your eyes water, what better than spicy Punjabi food so your nose joins the party too? And so in the company of a well-seasoned city worker, off to Chowki (which I've just learnt is relocating, so don't go to the address I was about to give you) it was. Proper dhaba-style bench seating, Bollywood posters, Indian waiters all over - but retro-chic, bright colours encased in tall glass windows, of course. The service was good, choice extensive and the food? Lip-lickingly delicious. We went for the white box option (ha, good luck piecing that together) which was a dal pot, rice pot, naan and a curry of our choice. If you're going to ask which one, search me. Hmmmmm... Could have been something mushroomy now that I'm thinking about it.

7/10, well recommend, visit when it reopens.



Chowki Indian Restaurant, currently relocating.  

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Another Phoney Apology

Considering January's meant to be the longest & slowest month of them all - y'know, cold, dark, drab post-Christmas lull - it's shocking we're onto the last day so far out of it already. When did this happen? I still (yep, STILL) have loooooong overdue posts to get up here (can you tell, this one's six days late) but I've been unwell to say the least. SO, whilst I get right onto those (and I do hope you've been missing me!) here are a few things that kept sick Sim some company as she lay moping in bed. :'(. [Cue to cry]

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1. Waffle-eating. Just general, eating. Did you expect any less?
2. Quote-reading and soulsearching. If you're on my FB page, you'll probably have gathered. 
3. Citizen Khan... and I missed this HOW? :/
4. It's V-Day soon. The usual suck it up/snub it dilemma. Owwwww but look at all the pretty little pink things!?



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