A blog about Vegetarian home cooking, using fresh ingredients with easy to follow step by step instructions all accompanied by original photographs. Nayna Kanabar started this recipe blog in October 2008 as a place to showcase Her recipes. She is sharing over 900 vegetarian recipes all tried, tested and created in the simplyfood kitchens.
A short distance from Kingston-upon-Thames in Hampton Wick, Copper Leaf is a gin bar and restaurant with an extensive list of over 60 gins. It serves modern European cuisine with a fusion of many flavours.
The restaurant is tastefully decorated and offers an ala carte menu as well as a tapas menu. For the gin lovers the restaurant also offers a six-course gin pairing menu.
Gin is the USP of the restaurant and it is the perfect place to enjoy food with a choice of 60 different gins from their bar.
I visited copper leaf with two friends, Manjiri from travelsfortaste and Heidi from kitchentalkandtravels. I am a teetotaller and also a vegetarian but to my amazement I had the most wonderful dining experience at Copper Leaf.
My friends enjoyed the Gin of the week cocktail, which was Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin, served with Fever-Tree Light Tonic, orange zest, chocolate bitters and hand carved ice made by mixologist Hannah.
Since I don't drink Hannah made me their their signature mocktails, the Lychee Rose and the Tropical Crush.
Both were beautifully presented and tasted amazing although I I really enjoyed the Lychee Rose which was very unique in flavour.
For dinner we chose to sample the Tapas menu rather than the a la carte menu, this was a good decision as it really was exquisite. Each dish was lovingly prepared and beautifully presented. My friends tucked into various meat dishes, and were totally wowed by them.
Being a vegetarian I chose the vegetarian options:
The Tempura Asparagus served with lime Aioli and poached egg was really crispy and delicious. I chose not to have the poached egg with it.
The Manchego cheese croquettes, were crispy filled balls of oozing cheese served with caramelised onions and pickled walnuts. What a tantalising match of flavours this was.
My palate was craving Indian flavours and I was pleasantly surprised with the little bowl of rice with spiced chickpeas with pomegranate, potato, tamarind and chilli sauce arrived. The flavours and textures were well balanced.
Lastly I tried the pan fried green beans, sundried tomato, roasted garlic and pine nuts. The beans were al dente and perfectly cooked.
Accompanying this I also had the Batata Bravas, in comparison to the other dishes these were not as exciting in presentation but still were very tasty.
The chef also offered us the paella option, but we declined it as at this stage we were really full and would have not done justice to it wholeheartedly.
Finally when my palate was dancing with a flavour explosion and stomach was screaming no more, I was enticed with the dessert menu. Now a girl can never say no to dessert!!
We had Grilled pineapple, rum infused cherries, fresh mint and coconut sorbet featured above. My friends Heidi had the Peanut butter cheesecake, candied peanuts, miso caramel served with ice cream.
The final most watering dessert was lavender and white chocolate panna cotta, macerated strawberries and ginger crumble. It was so pretty like art on a plate.
The evening was wonderful, we had lovely food and the ambience was great too. We finally finished the meal with Negroni with tea cocktail.
I was a guest at Copper Leaf, all opinions shared are of my own experience. I will certainly be visiting Copper Leaf again with my family.
I enjoy eating out and always try to find restaurants that offer good vegetarian choice. You may like to read about my visit to Chakra and Ritorno for inspiration As both restaurants offer a varied vegetarian menu.
It's great fun being part of the Recipe swap group in facebook where like minded food bloggers join forces and create a recipe from their allocated partners blog. It's a great way to make new friends and discover new recipes from around the world. For the July challenge recipe swap, I was allocated Pavani's blog -Pavanis Kitchen . Looking through the blog I found many lovely recipes. I finally settled for Eggless Cashew and Pistachio cookies as I was having friends for tea and wanted to serve home baked cookies.
The only changes I made was that I added 1/2 teaspoon of rose essence to the dough, recipe turned out absolutely delicious. Since I used whole wheat flour, the cookies had a slight texture in them, which I liked but you can make the cookies using plain flour too.
I am really enjoying being part of the Recipe swap group in facebook where like minded food bloggers join forces and create a recipe from their allocated partners blog. This encourages you to discover new cuisines and broadens your culinary choice.
This is the June challenge for recipe swap and this month I was allocated by Priya Iyer' s blog The Photowawali. Her blog features many recipes as well as travel post which I really enjoyed reading.
Looking through Priya's blog I short listed about 5 recipes but finally settled for the Bengali Style Pineapple chutney called Anarosher Chaatni. I recreated the recipe with very little changes and it turned out delicious.
Yield: 1 jar
Author: Nayna Kanabar
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Pineapple Chutney-(Bengali Style)
Sweet and tangy Pineapple cooked with an aromatic spice blend to make the tastiest chutney.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 30 M
240g fresh pineapple diced.
2 tablespoons jaggery
1 teaspoon panch phoran (Bengali spice mix found in Asian supermarkets)
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 red dried chilies
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons raisins (optional) I did not use.
instructions:How to cook Pineapple Chutney-(Bengali Style)
Add the chopped pineapple into a saucepan and add the water, cook the pineapple for 15 minutes until its soft.
Using a potato masher break down the pineapple. You can blend it in a food processor but I like a coarse texture so just used the masher.
In another pan add the oil , when it's hot add the bay leaf and red chillies.
Next add the panch phoran, cumin, red chilli powder and salt and saute the spices for 30 seconds.
Add the cooked pineapple and the jaggery and cook for another 5 minutes until the jaggery melts and the liquid has evaporated.
Remove the chutney from the flame and allow it to cool. Transfer it to a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.
Gingerline- The Grand Expedition gives you a Floating, Feeding & Falling Dream. This is a most unique theatrical dining experience that I have even tried.
The concept is simple you enjoy theater, whilst you are transformed around the world in a hot air balloon. You get to enjoy lovely cuisine in beautiful theatrical surroundings.
The USP of Gingerline is the secrecy of the whole thing. On the day of your booking you are sent a secret location text of the venue by 4pm. This is the start of your adventure. You have to follow the navigation instructions to arrive to the venue .
The journey begins once you enter the doors. There is no specific dress code however you are encouraged to dress the part by wearing flight goggles, scarfs and hats for the adventure.
Not having all the details and the surprise element is something that was really fun. In this post I am not allowed to share full details as I don’t want to spoil it for those who have booked the experience.
The entertainment is absolutely amazing and I loved the fact that the audience were invited to participate and be part of all the fun. I throughout enjoyed being asked to join in and had lots of fun.
The actual menu served on the day is also kept secret but rest assured Gingerline cater for all dietary needs and I was totally balled over with the efforts that were made to accommodate my vegan food request.
The vegan options were excellent and I was rather impressed with the fact that I did not need to remind the waiters once or ask if the dish was suitable for me as they immediately explained each course before serving.
The first course arrived in those wicker baskets in the photo. Any guesses to what it was?
Drinks were plentiful, there is bar service and diners can pre order drinks to be served at the tables during the show and meal, although you can also order at the table during the performance.
Tables sit 10 persons so this is means that you may be sharing a table with a total stranger, unless you have a group of 10 however this does mean that you can make new friends.
You can book your Gingerline Experience on their website. I would highly recommend it as it was really different and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. The food, the entertainment and the ambiance were amazing.
Gingerline experiences change periodically and you can check out their past themes on their website. There is a new show in the making but its theme is TOP SECRET at the moment.
** In collaboration with Gingerline, I was invited to the show and all the views and opinions are of my experience of the show. All photos provided by Gingerline
Keeping hydrated is extremely for our body and health Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions. During the day water is lost by the body in the form of sweating and urination, and this needs to be replaced. The amount of water needed each day does vary from person to person.However the average recommended amount for men is 3.7 litres and 207 litres for women. This seems rather a lot but this amount is made up from water you get from food, fruits, food, tea, coffee and drinks and drinking plain water too.
Water quality differs from area to area and this also affects the taste if it. With my 12 cup Zero Water jug gives me perfectly clear water no matter where I am. The jug is big enough for a family and is stylish in design. It is NSF Certified and comes with a 5-Stage Dual-Ion Exchange filtration system that reduces Lead, Chromium and Mercury and removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids.
The filtered water taste delicious and it's perfect for drinking and cooking with too. The Jug comes with a filter, a water quality meter tool for checking the water quality and it has a push button tap at the base of the jug to allow filling bottles easily. This function is handy to use when the jug is full and too heavy to lift for some people.
To encourage my family to drink more water during the summer months I make my own sugar free fruit infused waters using the filtered water from my Zero Water jug.
You can make zero sugar fruit infused waters, our favourites are cucumber and lemon, cucumber and mint, pineapple and mint, mixed berries with mint. You can add any fruits to your water to flavour it and it makes a refreshing healthy sugar free flavoured fruit waters. I also make my ice cubes with the filtered water to add to the drinks.
I love my new jug and as always I love my readers to get a chance to try it out too.Zero Water have agreed to send one simplyf00d reader a jug to try out.
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Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and for medicinal purposes. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae botanical family. Ginger is grown mainly in India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Nigeria and West Indies islands.
Ginger is very commonly used in south eastern Asia, India and China. Ginger contains very strong anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols. There are many benefits of the gingerols.
Ginger is known to reduce risks of heart disease and high cholesterol. It helps to reduce pain in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Chewing a piece of ginger helps in reducing discomfort and pain in the stomach, colic, and dyspepsia.
Those who suffer from motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweating can benefit from taking ginger either in the form of ginger tea, chewing on it or in capsule form. It also helps with nausea caused by pregnancy. not only is ginger widely used for culinary use but for centuries ginger has also been used in Ayurveda and beauty products. It is commonly used to help with acne, dandruff and anti-aging.
Ginger is available in various forms:
Whole fresh roots
Preserved or 'stem' ginger.
Preparation of fresh ginger:
Fresh root ginger will keep in the fridge for weeks f its washed and dried and wrapped in kitchen paper. Alternatively you can scrape the ginger root with a teaspoon and cut into slices.
Add the slices to blender jug like the powerful Optimum 9400 blender to make a pulp which can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to a month to use when ever needed. The pulp can also be frozen in a tray and then stored in zip lock bags in the freezer to use as and when needed.
Ground ginger is also very useful to have to add to baking etc. Ground ginger can be stored in a clean airtight jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
This is the May challenge for recipe swap and this month I was allocated F for flavour blog written by Shalini. Shalini is a software engineer, who is currently a stay at home mum. She gets her recipe inspiration from her mother, grandmother and aunts.
Looking through Shalinis blog, I shortlisted three recipes; veg momos as I have never made momos at home and wanted to try them, mango chutne as its mango season at the moment and the raw banana roast. It was a tough decision but finally I decided to make the raw banana fry as I had friends visiting and it makes a lovely appetiser.
I followed the recipe and the only changes I made was that I added a little chopped coriander and red chillies and doubled the quantity. The recipe was delicious and I will definitely be making it again.
Yield: serves 4
Author: Nayna Kanabar
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Raw Banana Fry
Raw bananas marinated in herbs and spices and shallow fried until golden brown and crispy
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 30 M
2 Raw green bananas (matoke)
3 sprigs fresh coriander finely chopped
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 .5 tablespoons Rice flour
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Lime wedges to serve
Instructions:How to cook Raw Banana Fry
1. Cut the top and bottom of the raw bananas and place them in a large pan with cold water.
2. Boil the bananas for 6-8 minutes . Do not over boil as bananas need to be a l dente and not fall apart when peeled and sliced.
3. Once bananas are boiled remove from heat and place them in cold water.
4. Peel and slice them in to 5 mm thickness slices.
5. In a bowl add the flour, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, red chilli and chopped coriander .
6. Toss the banana slices in the seasoned flour and leave aside for 20 minutes.
7. After 20 minutes add 1 tablespoon of water and toss the marinated bananas ensuring all, the slices are well cover with the seasoned flour mixture.
8. In a frying pan add the oil and heat it. Shallow fry the banana slices in small batches until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on kitchen paper.
NB-There are various types of raw bananas available in the market depending on which country they originate from. There is plantain which are the long green bananas mainly used in Caribbean cuisine or the little green Indian variety from India or the East African variety called matoke.
In this recipe I used matoke. I am sure the recipe would work well with any kind of raw banana. I have previous cooked with matoke when I made my Matoke Bhel and Kenyan Matoke stew
To see what the other bloggers created in the recipe swap check the links below:
Turmeric is one spice that is commonly found in most Asian kitchens. It has numerous health benefits since it is contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has shown that including turmeric in our daily diets helps to cure us of ailments. It is beneficial to people suffering from cancer, heart disease, skin problems, liver disease, arthritis, stomach problems, gallbladder problems, depression and Alzheimer’s too.
You can get turmeric in the fresh form or dried both are equally good for the health.
In most Asian household, one home remedy that is regularly used is Turmeric Milk known as Haldi Dhoodh. Butter, pinch of pepper and turmeric are stirred in to warm sweetened milk and drunk. It is thought that this concoction aids in a speedy recovery.
The Turmeric milk recipe varies from household to household and is made by adding various spices such as pepper, cinnamon and turmeric and butter. I grew up with this very simple and mild flavour but still with lots of medicinal benefits.
Yield: serves 2
Author: Nayna Kanabar
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Warm sweetened milk flavoured with spices and turmeric.
prep time: 1 Mcook time: 5 Mtotal time: 6 M
200 ml Full Cream Milk
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to boil.
Leave it to reach room temperature then add sugar, turmeric and black pepper.
With the summer fast approaching I love cooking outdoors on the barbecue. Being vegetarian I have tried barbecuing every vegetable imaginable but my all time favourite is cauliflower. Cauliflower is a very delicate vegetable when it’s cooked as it falls apart if overcooked.
These Tandoori Cauliflower bites are done on the barbecue. The trick is to marinade them and then put them on Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Kitchen Foil on the non-shiny side, which has a unique BacoLift® surface, making it non-stick. There is no need to use oil or grease the pan as the Bacofoil® is totally non-stick and the cauliflower bits will just lift off without breaking.
I am so excited to have discovered The Non-Stick Kitchen Foil, that I have been using it all week in my kitchen. I made cookies, normally I would use grease proof paper, but I used the Bacofoil® and they just lifted off even better than using greaseproof paper.
My next day I made veggie burgers, my mixture was a little too soft, so I just patted it down on the Bacofoil® without greasing it. There is no need to use any oil to prevent the burgers from sticking, making it the healthier option. I was expecting to have to peel the foil off but to my surprise the burgers just lifted off.
I also made sweet potato fries , I just tossed them in a tiny bit of oil, added rock salt and black pepper and spread them out on a baking sheet lined with the Bacofoil®, the results were perfect and the sweet potato fries did not stick at all.
For my fussy eater, my daughter I made french fries, rather than fry them, I baked them again great results and so much healthier.
Baked apples who doesn't love them ? We always make them every time we have a barbecue. I wrapped apples in the Bacofoil® and placed directly on the barbecue. The cinnamon sugar in the apples caramelised beautifully and the foil protected the apples from the charcoal and retained all the lovely caramel.
At the weekend I also made Baingain Bhartha, a roasted aubergine curry cooked with tomatoes, onions and garlic. The recipe calls to oven roast the aubergines.
I placed my aubergines on the Bacofoil® non stick and the aubergines cooked well and just lifted off. Another success.
I am so happy that I have not had to scrub any baking trays. The Bacofoil® protected the trays and because it’s really strong it did not break and allow any juices to seep through. This is the ideal hassle-free solution to notoriously sticky food - no sticking, no mess and definitely no scrubbing. If you have not tried Bacofoil® I would highly recommend that you put it to the test, you will not be disappointed. You can purchase it from all major supermarkets.
I love all types of cuisine and especially those that include my favorite ingredients such as courgettes, aubergines, fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers and lemons. The cuisine that predominantly uses these is Greek Cuisine. On my trips to Crete, Skiathos and Athens I enjoyed the flavours and textures in many dshes and I have been creating a lot of Greek inspired dishes in my kitchen. Recently when I was sent the cook book Orexi - Feasting at the modern Greek table By Theo A.Michaels, I was really excited to cook from it.
The book is hardback and divided into section :
Eat like a Greek- Author introduction Yoghurt & Pita- Recipes for Greek staples Meze- A selection of lovely Meze recipes
Sea -A selection of seafood recipes Land- Maincourse recipes and a tale of family dining
Sun- Lots of vegetarian and salad recipes
Fire-Lots of barbecue recipes Sundowners- Cocktails and drinks and desserts.
The book is well writen with very beautiful family recipes and memoirs. It's well illustrated with lovely photos of beautiful Greek places.
It certainly makes you want to visit all the places to try out the food which all looks really traditional and authentic.
My favorite sections of the book are the sun and fire section, both these sections have some vegetarian recipes. I loved creating a few of them such as the Greek salad, grilled aubergines and feta, charred courgettes and the filled crispy filo rolls and my family favorite Greek Potato Salad.
I enjoyed the book however, I think the book is really more suited for a non vegetarian as a large percentage of the recipes are using either meat or seafood. I also found that the ingredient list would have been easier to read if it had bullet points and also the recipe instructions would have been simplier to follow if they were numbered instead of written as a paragraph. This little addition would be more useful for an amateur cook following the recipe.
Overall a lovely book that would make a great gift for a foodie with the scope to be able to recreate some lovely Greek and Cypriot cuisine.
You can purchase the book from Amazon and most large book shops.