Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A busy few weeks...

Yum

I have had a rather busy week or so, which goes somewhat towards explaining the quietness on the blog. So I thought I would share a couple of the things I have been up to.

Last Friday I went to an Indian cookery class with Maunika Gowardhan, an Indian chef and blogger over at Cook in a Curry. I have never been the biggest fan of Indian food but I have been making an effort to broaden my culinary horizons. My idea of Indian food was your usual take-away, tikka masala, rice, naan... But the main thing I learned from this class is that there is so much more to Indian food and cooking. Including, I was surprised to discover, a vast array of Indian desserts.

The event started with me arriving my usual 30 minutes early, which actually worked out great as I got a chance to chat to Maunika, who is just the loveliest person. The event included a 3 course meal which started with some Punjabi chilli and garlic lamb chops, a couple of varieties of chutney (the grape one was delicious) and a savoury cake which I was a little unsure of at first, I mean savoury cake? It was in fact beautifully moist and packed full of flavour. It went really well with the spicy chutneys.

Whilst we were all demolishing the starter Maunika starting cooking our main course. While she cooked we asked questions and listened to stories about the origins of the dishes and the best spices to use etc...

The main course was so delicious I didn't even get a picture of it before it was gone! It included a chicken curry with coconut milk, a white cabbage dish, which had the most amazing flavour, and a potato curry.

The main things I learnt from the class was that the first flavour you put into the pan will be the predominant flavour of the dish. Also you should treat spices as you would seasoning, don't go overboard.

I will definitely be trying some Indian food at home, this course boosted my confidence and helped show me that Indian cooking is not as complex as the long list of ingredients may suggest.I would highly recommend going to one of these classes if you can; upcoming events can be found here.

The morning after the cookery class my sister and I hit the road. We were heading down to Suffolk to visit our Auntie (*waves at my Auntie Hilary, who will be reading this*). I love roadtrips with my sister as it normally involves warbling along to the radio and eating lots of sweets. We also tend to stop at the OK Diner on the A1 for burgers and milkshakes.

The trip was so lovely. On the Sunday I taught my sister how to use a sewing machine and hemmed some curtains. It was great to get to use my rusty sewing skills again, I will have to get myself a machine and get back into the swing of it.

On the Monday we headed for London for dinner and a show. We arrived mid afternoon so decided to wander around the National Portrait Gallery, which was lovely. We got to see the official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge (which is not very flattering to our lovely Kate) and there was a fabulous Tudor exhibition on as well. I love all the royal historical portraits, I could of stayed all day.

Around 4:30pm we headed for an early dinner at Bills in Soho. I consulted the twitter hive-mind before going to find the perfect restaurant and Amy and Ashley assured me it would be the perfect place for a relaxed pre-theatre meal. I really enjoyed my giant rack of ribs and sweet potato fries, my sister and auntie opted for the beer battered haddock, which was a little disappointing as the batter was a little under-cooked. The service was OK, although we arrived at a weird time during a staff handover from day to night. Our first waitress Francesca was amazingly helpful and friendly. Our second waitress (who did not tell us her name) was less helpful and a little grumpy and looked quite offended when we complained about the under-cooked batter.

Despite the challenges we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the puddings went down a treat.

The show we went to see was Phantom of the Opera, it was spectacular although the balcony seats were a little on the small side, I couldn't feel my toes by intermission and the view was a little restricted thanks to the frightfully tall person sat in front. It was a wonderful show though, exactly how I imagined it would be.

We traveled back up North on the Tuesday with a car loaded full of gardening supplies. I am embarking on a vegetable growing adventure! I am utterly terrified and everything will probably die the second I plant it, but it should be fun! Any tips you have please feel free to share them.

So that was my busy busy weekend, I am now looking forward to a relaxing Easter to recover. Happy Easter!

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