Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Ever had Koshari? It’s flavor fusion nirvana!

By Lakshmi:

During multiple trips to London, we’ve walked by Koshari Street, this tiny, narrow restaurant in Covent Garden that serves up killer “make your own” Koshari.  Koshari (also known as Kushari or Koshary) is an Egyptian dish that originated in the 19th century.

Given we were never at Koshari Street around meal times, we always gave it a skip, promising to be back at a future date.  On this London eatathon, we headed to Koshari Street to get a taste of a dish that is rated incredibly high across TripAdvisor, TimeOut London, Yelp and more.

As we walked towards the restaurant, my two teenaged travel companions wanted to know more about this dish.  I tried to explain it to them rather unsuccessfully.

Think of it as a Chipotle bowl; it originated in Egypt and is eaten by the rich and poor.  You start with a base of rice, pasta and lentils, top it with a tomato sauce, and then layer on spices and toppings.  It left them both confused.  Rice, pasta and lentils in the same dish? That’s weird they chimed.  They did not have a choice.  I had made up my mind and they were going to not just walk in with me, but try the dish as well.

As soon as you open the door to Koshari Street, the smell of the spices draws you in.  The friendly staff patiently explain how the dish is layered and you are able to build it to suit your palate.  Out came the bowl, in went the rice, pasta and lentils.  Next a healthy dollop of tomato sauce was spooned over the carb combo.  On went the chick peas, dukkah (a spice blend), veggies and the fried onions.  Aah the amazing fried onions which added the perfect crunch to this flavor medley.  The best news?  This entire meal was under five pounds.

As I savored the first bite of crisp onions, I got a little bit of the dukkah and tomato sauce. It was a lovely melding of flavors.  Next I blended the sauce with the rice, pasta and tomatoes and dug in.  It was truly a flavor fusion nirvana worth every bit of the five hundred pence I had paid for this meal.

And what did the teenagers have to say?  While they did eat it all, they said the combination of flavors was a bit confusing to them and they would have loved it more minus the dill!

If your travels ever get you to London and you want to have a frugal meal or snack, do head down to Koshari Street.  It is a very easy, delicious way to get introduced to the world of Egyptian street food.

 

 

Climbing Skirrid Fawr in Abergavenny – A photo essay on the beauty that greets you

By Lakshmi:

On my last birthday, I wanted to hike up the other mountain that we saw every time we walked about town in Abergavenny – Skirrid Fawr.  According to legend, part of the mountain is said to have been broken off at the moment of the crucifixion of Jesus.  So, early on my birthday, armed with a couple of water bottles, we parked our car at the bottom of the mountain and began our climb.  There were just a handful of cars in the parking lot and throughout our hike, we just saw a few hikers ascending or descending the summit.

The hike is neither easy nor difficult.  But there are definitely a lot of steep inclines and steps along the way.  So, be prepared to take your time and rest up along the way if you need to.  We simply followed the signs to the top.  The information from National Trust on How to climb Skirrid Fawr provides a good how-to as well.

And here is a photo essay of our climb!

 

 

 

Are birthdays meant for indulging in Michelin starred dining?

By Lakshmi:

The answer is a resounding YES!  Especially when you happen to be living in a town that has a Michelin starred restaurant in its backyard.  And when you spot the restaurant’s exact location during an intense hike, your desire to indulge is escalated to astronomical proportions.

This is how I ended up at Shaun Hill’s much raved about restaurant, The Walnut Tree.  A last-minute call for reservations, an open table, a short cab ride and we found ourselves seated for lunch in a packed dining room filled with professionals, couples and families.  I spent the first few minutes telling my date (my teenaged daughter) how lucky she was to be eating in a Michelin starred restaurant.  Her expressions appeared to be saying that I have a crazy mother and this mad dash to eat is another example of her love affair with food!

My fleeting thoughts on not getting enough value as a vegetarian evaporated as soon as we saw and tasted the offerings.  Let me walk through this lovely meal with pictures and you can tell me if you can’t wait to try this place out for your own special celebration!  Of course if you wanted to make it über special, you could stay at the inn adjacent to the hotel and make it a true romantic getaway! You can find out more about The Walnut Tree Inn at http://www.thewalnuttreeinn.com/Food

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