Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Review: Gul and Sepoy

Gul and Sepoy opened a few weeks ago and is stage three of the Spitalfieds takeover by the Baweja husband and wife team. I have yet to visit Gunpowder or Madame. D but it seems there is a different theme to this restaurant, mixing north Indian and south west Indian cuisine. The menu is split into two columns themed around Gul and Sepoy. Gul was a north Indian courtesan and her menu reflects this through more elaborate, regal and rich dishes such as a whole leg of kid goat and three bird korma. The sepoy's menu is themed around the more rustic fare of southern Indian soldiers including potted pig with blood masala onions and burnt achari cauliflower and potatoes. The idea is to pick a 2 or 3 dishes from each side of the menu and enjoy the rich and the rustic flavours work harmoniously together. 

Chai cake truffles

Cake truffles are a wonderful thing and do not seem to be common enough in bakeries, even in London for me to indulge in on a regular basis. They are essentially crumbled cakes in chocolate, covered in more chocolate! They are also very versatile and can be made with a range of flavours if you would rather not have a spicy flavour, such as orange or lemon. I came across practically the perfect recipe for these which give a wonderfully rich texture to the truffles so this recipe is largely down to a previous Bake Off winner Ruby Tandoh and her full recipe can be found here. The main tweaks I made was the inclusion of the chai spice flavours - my recipe doesn't actually include any tea, and instead, focuses on the flavours added to tea to make it a chai. I also went for a coconut decoration or went plain rather than the shimmer.  


Monday, 16 October 2017

Diwali and festive recipes

Diwali has become far better known in the UK and celebrated outside the Indian community and beyond that one afternoon in primary schools where children would participate in a play about Rama and Sita. as the only Indian girl at my primary school I automatically won the prestige of playing Sita with no competition which would become the only time I played a leading role in a dramatic production.

While I would have liked to have posted my recipe for diwali before it actually kicked off to give out some inspiration for your celebrations, the fact that I made them on diwali and really wanted to wait for photos means that this is coming pretty late, but, it is the start of a festive party period, I would argue, and all of these recipes are great all year round.

It was mainly a table full of north Indian fare such but with some south Indian flavours included with the salmon curry. and I must admit I ran out of steam by the time it got to pudding but there were more than enough Indian sweets and tarts provided by guests to finish off the meal.

The salmon curry was a slight adjustment to the baked salmon recipe but rather than baking it the sauce was cooked on the stove as per this recipe with 2 can of coconut milk and curry leaves added to the sauce. The salmon was marinated overnight then baked in a foil parcel and gently stirred into the sauce.

The chicken biryani was my tried and tested recipe and was a good complement to the curry and the naan bought from the amazing shop in finsbury park that only sells naan (Bakhtiar's Naan) and acted as the mop for any remaining sauce. 

The aloo tikki was topped with melt in the mouth chick peas (chaat) and the recipe for both is posted here. I also made a simpler version of the chicken saag, with just spinach which was a rich and creamy side dish that went very well with the salmon and biryani. Another variation was that I stirred in a generous amount of butter near the of end of cooking process. I wanted to do something different with some paneer rather than the usual saag paneer so I made some paneer kebabs which was a great snack and accompaniment to the richer curries. 


Everything was washed down with a mango lassi (recipe here) and for those who needed a cooling affect, some dahi bhalla - a yoghurt dish with fried and cooled lentil dumplings, lashings of yoghurt and topped with chopped tomato, onions, a masala mix and tamarind chutney. Recipe for that coming soon. 

I hope you enjoy trying out some of these dishes over the festive period! 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Is turmeric a superfood?
































While doing some editing in a central London cafe yesterday, I noticed that there were more customers washing down their brunch with a turmeric latte than a flat white. This may say more about my choice in London cafes but it does also signify that the latest superfood trend, turmeric, is becoming as much a staple on the menus of cafes as it is the lifestyles of the celebrities and 'healthy eating' bloggers who endorse the golden spice as their secret to health, happiness and glowing skin. 

But, does the super spice have all of the healing properties bestowed upon it? 

Turmeric (haldi)  is a plant from the ginger family and looks rather similar to ginger when in its original form though we tend to see the ground, powder version of it in most stores. It is mainly south Asian in its origin and has been around for 4,000 years, with its primary use actually being medicinal rather than culinary. It is, however, used regularly in modern day Asian cuisine for its colour as well as its flavour and is the repeat offender when it comes to glowing orange-yellow stains on my clothes. It's warming, smokey and slightly bitter flavour makes it a prime target for being transformed into a hot drink. 


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Masala lamb cutlets and turmeric cauliflower puree




I won't pretend that this lamb does justice to the infamous ones at Tayyabs or Needoo Grill whose sizzling chops lie on a bed made of cast-iron hotplates rather than a puree. They do however provide a good homemade alternative and easy to put together and throw on a griddle pan, grill, or perhaps a barbecue during that balmy fortnight that usually constitutes the British summer. The turmeric in the puree adds a colourful dimension to the dish. Turmeric also seems to be the health food community's flavour of the month, so here is a way of experiencing it without resorting to a questionable, overpriced turmeric latte from a hipster cafe in London. The texture and flavour of the cauliflower with the milk and butter adds a dense creaminess to the puree so you are not assaulted by the bitter taste of the turmeric.