Eating our way through London for 192 hours!

By Lakshmi:

Can I make a confession? I’m a baby about my birthdays!  For many years now, I’ve made a resolution to not work on my birthday and fill the day surrounded by the people,  activities and food I love.  And every year I look forward to the 24 hours dedicated to me.  But this time around, I decided to extend the celebration to 192 hours. That’s right, eight days of eating my way through London with my teenaged daughter and her dear friend for company.

Now, this was going to be no random Eatathon.  I had a wish list of five places I definitely wanted to hit up on my trip.  Places where tables tend to get booked up months ahead of time. And here I was with my air tickets to London purchased barely two weeks away from D-day! OpenTable and the phone became my best friends as I wrangled my way to reservations at all five.  With those anchors set, I scoured my way through bookmarked clippings from food and travel magazines, Time Out London, and other sources to create a list of restaurants by neighborhood that served amazing meals at not too exorbitant prices.  This list was vetted by my travel companions, and the end product was a list accented with highlights and bold colors.  We were ready to forage our way through London!

The first stop on this journey was a dream come true.  NOPI, a restaurant by one of my favorite chefs, Yottam Ottolenghi.  He is the MAN who does vegetables like no other.  The flavors, the seasoning, the fresh taste, the creativity…I could just go on and on.

My excitement entering in was like a kid who had been promised a trip to a candy store for a long time and now had permission to pick out anything she wanted.  Let me walk you through a visual journey of what we ate!  If I had to pick one word to describe the meal? Divine.  Add another word? Magic!  Tell you how I felt? Like Royalty. How was the taste? It was a like a perfectly orchestrated taste festival on my tongue.  And my admiration for the creator of this culinary nirvana? Undying!

image (10)
The menu – presenting us with the agonizing tradeoffs we would be subject to!!
image (5)
Bread with the richest olive oil you could dream of
image (8)
AAhhhhh! Nothing like marinated olives with a glass of wine
image (7)
Jicama, smokey jalapeno and tomato salsa – I’m crying with happiness
image (6)
Mixed seed lavash with burnt spring onion dip – too bad we were in a place where it would be inappropriate to lick our bowl clean
image (11)
Roasted butternet squash, red onion, tahini, zatar – nowhere have I tasted squash this good
image (9)
Spiced potato cakes with a topping of parsnip chips
image (14)
Peanut and caramel icecream with chocolate sauce and peanut brittle – should I eat them separately or mix them?
image (15)
Baked chocolate ganache, plum soil, creme fraiche, the perfect backdrop for a candle

Stay tuned for our next post on this 192 hour food fueled journey through London!

A Photo Essay on the Baltimore Museum of Art

By Lakshmi:

We’ve driven by the Baltimore Museum of Art many times, but this time decided to take the time out to explore what we discovered to be a hidden gem! From ancient Syrian mosaics to impressionist paintings to the work of Warhol, this museum surprises you at every corner. Here’s a tiny sampling of what we saw!  PS.  The added bonus?  There is no fee to enter and there are beautiful outdoor spaces as well!  Here’s a link to learn more about the Baltimore Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Twist Tabbouleh

By Lakshmi:

It’s the fourth of July, a lovely summer afternoon begging for a chilled salad with a kick.  With some leftover quinoa and fresh watermelon at hand, here’s my tabbouleh with a twist!  This makes enough to serve two as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • One cup cooked quinoa
  • A cup of cubed watermelon
  • A quarter red onion, finely chopped
  • Six mint leaves finely shredded
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One green chilly, finely chopped
  • One to two tbsps of olive oil (depending on your taste)
  • Freshly ground salt
  • A teaspoon of black pepper or Aleppo pepper

Gently mix all the ingredients and serve as soon as mixed!  Enjoy 🙂

image

 

Three ingredients & ten minutes to a fit breakfast!

By Lakshmi:

Got to be honest.  With a little bit of travel and a whole lot of good food and dessert, I wanted something light but nutritious for breakfast.  Something really easy to prepare that would look awesome and be good post a workout.  Well, here’s what I had in my fridge!

Tomato egg avocado
Tomato, Egg and Avocao

I hard-boiled the egg and sliced it.  I sliced the tomato 3/4 of the way down. I sliced the avocado.  I inserted the sliced egg and avocado into the folds of the tomato, drizzled the assembled dish with some extra virgin olive oil, did a few turns of freshly ground salt, pepper and presto! Breakfast was ready.

Finished Breakfast
A healthy, post workout breakfast!

 

 

Discovering black bean pasta creates a new world of possibilities

By Lakshmi:

Today’s grocery trip to Trader Joe’s led to an unexpected discovery.  Black bean pasta made only with black bean flour! As soon as I got home, you can guess what I did….I went to the fridge and peeked in to see what could be made ASAP with this black bean pasta.  Out came the ingredients and a beautiful, yummy, Mexican inspired black bean pasta salad emerged. We think it looks beautiful and tastes yummy!  Would love to hear your thoughts.  Here’s how it all came together.

First, the ingredients:

I gathered what’s featured in the picture below along with two limes, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

IMG_5283
One red onion, one yam, one avocado, one jalapeno pepper, two cloves garlic, a small bunch of cilantro, a partially ripe mango and one bunch of spring onions

 

The prep:

Follow the instructions on the packet and cook the pasta till done (al dente).  Cook the yam in the microwave for four minutes (till firm but done).  Chop the cooked yam into small pieces and do the same with the rest of the vegetables as shown below:

IMG_5285
The chopped ingredients

The assembly:

Put the cooked pasta in a bowl and toss with olive oil so the pasta does not appear to stick. Now add all the chopped vegetables, squeeze the juice from two limes and add a liberal dose of freshly ground salt and pepper!  Divide into four servings and enjoy!

IMG_5287
The finished salad!

 

 

 

 

A little twist yields a memorable gnocchi dinner!

By Lakshmi:

Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was.  So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration.  Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores).  The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves.  And then the light bulb went off!  I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!

Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes.  Start with the ingredients below.

image (24)

Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.

Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.

Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.

When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!

Presto! Here’s the finished dish!  We did not have a morsel left over:)

image (25)

%d bloggers like this: