Teler Pittas Made By My Bosses Mum
Sweet, crispy and wrinkled around the edges, these deep fried Bengali style doughnuts were a speciality of my mums. Yes they were very unhealthy but oh my, they were soooo yummy! You can't buy them anywhere, these are home-made through and through. For a really authentic version you need to track down a Bengali mum who's making a batch for her family. Thankfully I have my boss whose mum made me a batch during Ramadan. I was so over the moon when he brought in a whole tub for me. Every mouthful was a bite of nostalgia - they have this sweet caramely flavour and are quite stodgy, but when warmed up they taste like heaven.
Masala Chai Chocolate
Generally speaking when it comes to chocolate I'll eat most varieties. Given a choice I opt for Hotel Chocolat though - they by far make some of the best in the world...but earlier this year I came across this Masala Chai chocolate made by Cocoa Hernando. It's the most surreal sensation to be eating chocolate that tastes EXACTLY like a cup of Indian tea - the traditional type you get in Mumbai, sold in little glasses on street corners. With a warming spicy kick and creamy texture, it really is something else in the world of confectionery.
Lovage Soup Taken From A Scottish Graveyard
Beetroot & Avocado Salad - An Ottolenghi recipe
For a family do this summer I made this salad which impressed all my sisters. I picked it because it contained broad beans. When we were kids broad beans were a staple veg for us as my parents grew them at their allotment - this meant we would spend hours shelling them. I have very vivid memories of coming home from school and shelling broad beans into huge buckets. But eating them became such a chore. I don't think any of us had eaten broad beans much since those days so serving them up in a gourmet salad was a treat for everyone. Here's the recipe.
A couple of months back I heard about a pop-up cafe that served up meals inspired by TV programmes - I booked to go with a companion except he arrived late and we missed our slot. To make up for it he said he'd make me the meal of my dreams inspired by any film or TV progamme of my choice....I chose Batman of course. He came up with a 'Bat Pie' (vegetarian...thankfully no bats inside!) I was incredibly impressed...especially with the aubergine bat wing detail.
I discovered hoppers (also known as uppams) in Sri Lanka four years ago but they are very difficult to come across in the UK. Yes there are Indian restaurants on every high street in the country but few serve South Indian dishes and those who do don't necessarily have these fermented rice batter bowl shaped pancakes on their menus. Then a dear friend of mine took me to East Ham where there are a large number of South Indian restaurants. Until now I have mainly stuck with ordering dosas from them but she showed me that uppams are also on the menu so now I know where to go for my fix and I am so happy about that.
French 'Space Cakes'
There's nothing quite like a trip to a French Patisserie. Earlier this month I popped to Lille for my birthday and bought six incredible birthday cakes (in addition to the Bat Cake at the top of this post!) from three different patisseries (I couldn't resist). The ones that impressed me the most were these incredible space themed cakes named after planets. They didn't just look fabulous...I bought Mars and it was incredible, like eating an artistic masterpiece.
Vegetarian Crispy Duck at Mr Kong
As a vegetarian there are some dishes you realise you will never eat in your whole life ...but then miracles happen - like Mr Kong, a Chinese restaurant in London's China Town that has a mock meat menu like nothing else I have ever come across. Their crispy duck is every bit as authentic as the real thing...it comes with plum sauce, pancakes, chopped cucumbers and is available by quarter, half and whole duck. I've had it three times this year on special occasions and it is so fun to eat.
Nutribullet Juices & Smoothies
Every health junkie I know (in real life and in cyber space) owns a Nutribullet. I was lucky enough to be sent one to review but it wasn't something I wrote about and forgot about - it's revolutionalised my life. Every smoothie I have ever made from it has come out tasting amazing - I make them around five times a week and carry them with me so I can sip on healthy good stuff when I am on the go. My fave ingredients are spinach and a shot of wheatgrass with whatever fruit I have in the freezer, blitzed up with it.
Fine Dining At The Ritz
For years I have joked about lunching at The Ritz....thinking it will never, ever happen. And then it did...well kind of. I ended up staying for the night which included dinner of a 10-course seasonal surprise menu. It took over three hours to munch my way through so much exquisite cuisine and I was STUFFED in a way I have never been stuffed before. The entire experience of being at The Ritz was very special and very dreamlike; it's definately something I will remember for a long time.