japanese curry

30 October 2013

Was Japanese curry made famous by the Chicken Katsu Curry at Wagamama? I don't know. I don't even know if it's a well known thing. But it definitely should be.

Not the chicken katsu one - although that one is nice, I'm honestly not a huge fan of Wagamama's food. I know I'm a snob when it comes to Japanese cuisine, but aren't we all when it comes to the food we grew up with?

E absolutely adores Japanese curry, but I don't make it too often since it's not the lightest of dishes. However, it's not too unhealthy either and so incredibly easy to make.

The key ingredient is the curry roux. You can get all kinds of brands in Asian food shops.

You can use any vegetables that take your fancy - I chopped up a couple of onions, several small carrots and a large aubergine.

As for the meat, I would recommend going with something other than chicken breast. My favourite is bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for maximum flavour.

I de-bone them (keeping the bones for the curry), and E assisted in searing the meat to crisp up the skin (which I don't really like, but leave in for the flavour factor) and brown the other side. I don't think that this is a crucial step really, but simple enough if you don't mind the extra fuss.

(The random oven glove was to protect E's hand from the spitting oil. It looks very strange, I know.)

Next step?  It's basically the final step. Throw in the veg in a large pot and fry in a little oil for a few minutes, add water (the box of the roux will tell you exactly how much, for this amount it was about 700ml), and add the roux. Bring to a boil, and then simmer covered for as long as you can stand.

I cook it for way longer (and on lower heat) than the box usually suggests - that way, the meat literally melts off the bones and everything is tender and amazing.

Usually, I would serve this with rice. Japanese rice if I have any on hand, but Jasmine rice cooked a little sticky works perfectly fine too.

This time, we thought we would try to go the healthy route and try out this trendy phenomenon called cauliflower "rice".

I was too lazy to set up the food processor, so I hand grated a head of cauliflower and microwaved the lot for a few minutes until fluffy and warm.

I know it's not the prettiest of foods, but I can't let vanity get in the way of such deliciousness.

The cauliflower rice went down surprisingly well - even E, who normally hates healthifying things, didn't disapprove of the idea. I quite liked it myself, though obviously, it's no match for actual rice. It's just a good alternative if you don't want to be waddling off to bed with quite as big a food baby (and it justified us having seconds of the curry, of course).

It's comfort food at its most familiar, most warming and most of all, easiest.

Weekend snapshots

28 October 2013

Oats & coffee breakfast

Sushi on the train en route out of London

Countryside beauty

Falling in love with this little guy

Pasta & vino with E

Piano practice

At home facial

Lazy M&S salad lunch

Firing up this new Yankee candle that smells like clean laundry

What was your weekend highlight?

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Drizzle Cake for Drizzly Days

26 October 2013

Considering that I love to bake, there are quite a few classics that I haven't yet tried my hand at. Until now, lemon drizzle cake was on that list.

Today we are heading to the leafier outskirts of the city to visit someone special, and I knew I wanted to bake something. Knowing that she is partial to lemon tarts and having baked her one already a while ago, I thought I would try out its lemony cousin.

I used Jamie Oliver's recipe and pretty much followed it to a T without any creative flairs of my own, but from the looks of it I would say it was a success...

...but is there anything more agonising than baking a whole cake as a gift, and not being able to cut into it and check that the inside is as lovely as you hope it is? I've just got everything crossed that a) my clumsy self will not squish or drop it into an early grave on the journey there, and b) that the taste is the citrus-y deliciousness of my dreams.

I've got faith in you, cake.

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Throwback Thursday: Santorini III

24 October 2013

Another throwback thursday, another excuse to relive our days in Santorini last summer. (Part I, Part II).

E had done a lot of research and booked us a half-day trip on a boat. It was such a great decision - there was a small group of us, we had a barbecue dinner on board, we went swimming in the warm mineral water that a rich turquoise and great for the skin, we watched the sunset from an entirely different perspective and it was completely and utterly breathtaking,

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Lentil Soup with Fig & Chèvre Bruschetta

22 October 2013

Is there anything cosier than a big steaming bowl of soup on a rainy day? Especially paired with indulgent little bruschettas with perfectly ripe figs and goat cheese, you can't really go wrong.

Lentil soup is a favourite of ours since it's hearty, simple, and very budget friendly. It's also easily jazzed up by any additions that take your fancy - this time round I kept it simple with onions, lardon and vegetable stock, but I also like to add chopped carrots or any other root vegetable.

It's the ultimate lazy soup - no dusting off the food processor. I use a potato masher to crush some of the lentils once cooked, but it's really not a requirement.

Perfect with a side of flickering candles and a glass of red wine.

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Sunshine Bloggers

20 October 2013

When Bethan very kindly included me in her post of blogs she enjoys (Sunshine Award!), I thought it was time I also shared some of my favourites. Now, I have so many that these are just a selection (5, to abide by the rules), but I'm pretty sure I'll be sharing more later on and continue to spread the love.

Here are five blogs I am currently loving (Bethan's blog, a pretty place to play is included outside of this list of course - lovely London blog!):

Why: She writes about everything that I love, from books to beauty to honest reflections.

Why: Reading her blog is like chatting to a friend. She gives me glimpses of life at the other end of the world, and posts beautiful photos of her travels.

Why: This is a true, sunshine blog - it always puts a smile on my face. That's the best way to describe it. And do yourself a favour & follow their instagram - Piri is the most adorable dog that walks this earth.

Why: A fellow London blogger, I love reading and seeing what adventures she's got up to (and usually I want to follow in her footsteps).

Why: Her blog transports me to wherever and whatever her post is about. That's quite special.

And now just for fun, I'll do the random 5 facts about me:

1. I don't write much about it on my blog, but I'm a complete beauty products junkie. I probably own more make up and skincare products than all my best friends combined. 
2. Although I do own a ridiculous amount of clothing, when it really comes down to it, I think I'd rather spend my money on a delicious dinner with good company than on clothes.
3. I don't like any kind of mushrooms.
4. George Clooney is my ultimate celebrity crush.
5. I met my husband for the very first time when I was 10 and he was 14.

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Comptoir Libanais

18 October 2013

Last weekend, E and I had worked up quite an appetite after tackling a rather large wardrobe from Ikea. It was quite the task, what with tipping the bed on its side to make room for building the frame, coming up with a makeshift hammer so that we could both be at it at the same time, etc. All good fun (kind of..).

Anyway, we decided that we were definitely deserving of an evening out for some good food relaxation after all that, so we set out for a little date night. First, we stopped by The Sampler to try out some new-in wines as we had leftover credit on our card (read my post about this lovely wine tasting place here), and then we ventured in for dinner at Comptoir Libanais just around the corner.

I had come across a couple of their restaurants in London and heard good things, but never tried it myself. It's a no-book restaurant, but we went in around 8pm on Saturday night and we got seats right away.

The atmosphere was casual, lively and busy, and we got immediately stuck into our colourful menus.

We chose simply - one main each. Minced chicken wrap platter for her, lamb burger for him.

The food was so good. So so good. Nothing fancy, but everything was fresh and flavourful - I loved the wrap, the hummus was perfect, and actually the side salad was seriously delicious with the pickled vegetables.

I think that they do take away as well, which is a good option if you're on the go but want something other than a boring sandwich.

We did have a look at the dessert menu, but this time we chose to walk around and get dessert elsewhere. South Kensington station is surrounded by great looking cafés and restaurants these days, so you're spoilt for choice if you're in the area.

In any case, Comptoir Libanais got four thumbs up from us!

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