Chicken Xacuti – Goan Style

Chicken xacuti

Goa is one of the most exotic places I have ever been to. With it’s beautiful beaches, warm sunny weather and colourful culture, what else attracts me about Goa is its food.

With different cultures in India, comes different cuisine. And Goan cuisine is one of my favourites!

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Zesty chicken salad with homemade bread

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After a long day’s bike riding and dog walking, I didn’t particularly feel like cooking a gourmet dinner but my body was craving for some meat and fresh salad.

With my homemade bread I made this morning, I thought an easy quick salad might make for my perfect dinner!

I know that ingredients like cucumber and cherry tomatoes aren’t really winter food favourites but the sun was shining today, and my craving was influence by the anticipation of spring…I suppose!

This crisp and fresh salad has a refreshing combination of ingredients that would not only give you culinary satisfaction but also provide you with some nutrients that your body needs. It can be easily used as a side dish or a main meal served with some bread or even zesty couscous.

Wrap it in a tortilla for lunch boxes or fill it up in a pitta bread for quick snack – Zesty chicken salad will serve you well!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

Chicken breasts

Oil

Salt

Black pepper

For the greens:

Lettuce

Rocket

Cherry tomatoes

Cucumber

Bell pepper

For the dressing:

Finely chopped onions

Crushed garlic

Mayonnaise

Finely chopped basil leaves

Lime(s)

Dijon mustard

Black pepper

Salt

Method:

Chop all the greens appropriately and set them aside in a bowl. In another bowl, make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together.

Next, cut the chicken breasts into thin slices and marinate them with salt and pepper for about 10 mins or so. Then in a hot pan, heat up the oil and fry the chicken until cooked and golden brown. I like mine slightly crispy.

Place the greens on a serving bowl, add chicken on top. Add some dressing either on the side or on top. EAT!

Tips:

To make it healthier, substitute mayonnaise with yogurt. Vegans can use tofu instead of chicken.

For a fruity flavour, add some pomegranate or grapes. Yumm!!

Breakfast Smoothie Anyone?

smoothie with reuben

Smoothie could’ve been pinker than his cheeks

If you are anything like me you struggle with breakfast every morning!

This smoothie recipe is perfect for your breakfast or any meal that you can’t be bothered with.

It is also good for post-school snack to keep you/kids going until supper is ready!

So, the sun showed up today and we got lost in one of our dog walking adventures! Obviously, we came home tired and totally parched! It was one of those moments when water just won’t do the trick.

Kids and I put together a few ingredients and this is what we came up with:

Ingredients:

1 banana

Handful of mixed summer fruits (frozen)

Handful of oats

2 tbsp of yogurt

Splash of milk (soy/almond/cow)

Honey to taste

Method:

Put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and blend it (I used the hand blender) or if you have one of those fancy smoothie makers, by all means use that. Add honey as per your preference. Blend and serve. Drink slowly, relish it (make sure not to get a brain freeze)!

Tips: 

If you don’t have frozen fruits, use any fresh fruits add a bit of ice. I am sure it would be perfectly fine without any frozen items too. It’s got fruits, yogurt, oats – what can really go wrong!

Jungly Sausages with Cheesy Macaroni

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Today was that day of the week when my fridge had odd bits of vegetables and meat, that traditionally don’t go well together (I mean I even committed the Italian cookery crime of mixing different pasta’s together). But,since I couldn’t be bothered to go out shopping, with some creativity and instinct I made this experimental recipe which actually turned out to be delicious.

There is no real quantities or measurements as it is cooked from scraps.

Ingredients:

Quarter of a butternut squash

One bell pepper

One leek

4 sausages

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1tsp worcester sauce

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Splash of red wine (leftover from last night)

Oil to cook

1tsp corn flour

Pasta ( I combined different shapes including lasagne )

Cheese

Milk

Butter

Salt to taste

Method:

Pre-heat the oven for Gas Mark 7.

Brown the sausages on a pan and then halve them before popping them into the oven for cooking. In the same pan, add all the vegetables cut in slices and cook for about a minute or so. Transfer the veg into the oven along with the sausages (use the same tray). Then add flour (sprinkle half a tsp), red wine, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, mustard and worcester sauce.

Cook until all the juices are absorbed by the veg and the sausages are cooked. Takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Macaroni:

Simply cook the pasta in boiling salt water. For the roux, in a pan melt the butter, add the rest of the flour. Fry for a few seconds and then add the milk. Whisk it until all the lumps disappear. Add the pasta & Cheese. Voilà!!

Serve hot with a sprinkle of black pepper or chilli flakes! Enjoy!

C’mon mother, it’s half-term holidays!!

Something kids look forward to and parents despair! Half-term holidays are here and we don’t know what or how can we keep the children entertained.

Key to looking after children is to understanding the dog psychology a little bit. The more they are excersized, the better they behave. Once mentally and physically stimulated, they keep themselves entertained indoors, speaking from experience!

So here are my top 5 things to do with your children this holiday in Margate :

1. Family fun tea dancing @Morgan’s Margate – 17th February, 2014

Morgan’s Margate is hosting a fun filled tea party for adults and children. Dress up, show off and enjoy some tea and cakes along with some dancing.

Children can have scones and cream, grown ups who wish to start early are allowed to have some sparkling Prosecco.

The tea party start at 2pm. If you cannot make it on Monday, they are running them throughout the week. So checkout their website for more details.

tea party

2. Pick n Paint a Pot – Tuesday, 18th February, 2014

Children love to mess about with colours and, oh how they like to often break crockeries! Here is a chance for your kids to pick a crockery of their choice from the shop and paint it. Something they can learn to look after, hang on the wall and show off. That should keep them busy and I am sure parents would love to dip in their fingers as well (in the name of supervising of course).

The workshop runs from morning 10.30am – 12pm.

pick n paint

3. Turner Contemporary – Colours and Shapes – 19th & 20th February

Cut paper’s legitimately, make a mess but see them turn into some abstract artwork in the style of  Helen Frankenthaler at Turner Contemporary’s art workshop.

The workshop runs from 1pm to 4 pm. No bookings required!

turner's event half term

4. Storytelling at Powell – Cotton Museum – through out the week

Over the years, I have realised that all kids enjoy stories. Whether you have a kid who likes to play with made up camp sites indoors, or a wiz kid constantly playing computer games or watching television. Traditional African stories never fail to grab your attention. Enjoy some African stories at the Powell – Cotton Museum in Quex Park, Birchington. Oh and there is also a surprise element, that is making masks (I would imagine inspired from the stories). So get in there!

The storytelling runs from 11am – 2pm.

elephants

5.  Amusements & Arcades

We tend to take something(s) that are sea-side staple for granted because we live here. It is like one of those things, ‘kids who live closest to the school arrive the latest’.

So, why not give our seasonally struggling Arcade’s a chance and let our children run riot for as little as couple of quid or more (up to you).

arcade

I know I said five, but how about spoiling the kids and yourself with a big, delicious and creamy ice-cream at Morelli’s Gelato in Broadstairs with some friends. If worried about cold, enjoy some hot chocolate. For almost over a year, I had no idea that you get a refill for your drinks at £1 each. How cool is that! So don’t miss out on a second lush, hot chocolate for £1.

There are many more things to do in Margate despite the bad weather. Here’s wishing everyone a very exciting and happy half-term holidays!

Independent Margate

Margate is booming, and it is quirky, colourful and full of energy. Gone are the days when it was a big old trash can in every sense of the word. We have artists moving down here from London, small businesses using Margate as a platform to establish themselves and there is quite a comical mix of different cultures, people and their interests.

So here are the top 5 things to do/ visit/ shop from a quaint little sea – side town of Margate in Kent . Every tourist must use this as a guide – so I say it myself!

1. Haeckel’s – Made of Margate

Dom Bridges provides a feast for your nostrils with the smell of seaweed. Founder and owner of Haeckle’s, Dom Bridges has discovered a variety of range of skincare and beauty products made out of mostly – seaweed. I love the idea of a seaweed perfume and a body cream without smelling fishy at all. 

“Haeckels is Margate’s own local premium organic seaweed skincare and treatment range made from hand-harvested wild seaweeds and other wholesome local natural ingredients, its not just made in Margate its made of Margate!”, Dom Bridges.

haeckles

2. RG Scott Furniture Mart Margate

RG Scott is a grown ups treasure chest .  If you want to buy someone a present and don’t know what, then visit RG Scott’s and you will not come out empty handed, but maybe with an empty pocket. It is one of those unforgettable guilty pleasure trips!

This is one of the many must visit places in Margate!

Scott's

3. Pop – up Margate

Pop- up Margate is exquisite little place located on the high st with 15 odd independent retailers selling their handmade and crafted products ranging from clothing, accessories, furniture to baby products etc under one roof. It is colourful, chic and inexpensive place to shop without becoming one of those “everyone’s got the same stuff”. Bet you won’t find these products anywhere else!

pop up margate

4. Shell Grotto

Do you like caves? Do you like shells? Most of all, can you spare an hour or so? If you don’t/can’t, you don’t deserve to be in here. It is a place to be devoured, to be explored, walked around in wonderment. Located in a rather odd corner of the town, Shell Grotto is an ornamental festival of Shell’s from inside. It looks like a cave dressed in jewellery made out of shells. There are various passageways and chambers full of mysterious shell mosaics. It is not like visiting a museum, it is an experience in itself!

shell-grotto

5. Morgan’s Margate

Morgan’s Margate is a new vintage dance hall, that is always hosting live performances ranging from jazz to house music. They organise events that will make everyone dance, even those with two left feet. It is also a great venue for hen nights, birthday parties and even wedding receptions. They also run various dance classes during the week. They are busy!  It is one of those places that provides complete entertainment with food and drinks. If there is nothing else going on in town, go to Morgan’s, they will look after you!

morgans

From creative, mad like artists, shabby chic to daring explorers, Margate is for all but for the faint – hearted! You cannot just visit the place, you have to live the place. Proof is in the pudding, trust me!

Dallas Buyer’s Club

dallas buyer

Mathew McConaughey might be taking home the golden statuette at the Oscars next month for his remarkable performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

Inspired by a true story, Dallas Buyers Club is a zesty drama about HIV/Aids, Homophobia and FDA regulations. The film revolves around Ron Woodroof (Mathew McConaughey), a part-time rodeo and an electrician based in Texas. Woodroof is portrayed to indulge himself in all kinds of pleasures, slightly hedonistic in his thoughts. Yet, the rodeo side of him, forces him to show distaste towards homosexual’s almost homophobic.

Ron Woodroof, finds himself stigmatised socially, when his flu lands him in the hospital and he is diagnosed HIV positive. Based in 1985, people in those days believed that Aids was exclusive to only homosexuals and one only had 30 more days to live. In fear of death, Ron Woodroof tries to get hold of AZT, anti-viral medication which was still being trailed; and then smuggling some other alternative medication from Mexico which was not approved by the FDA but showed impressive results, and helped people survive Aids longer by building up their immune system.

During his fight, he makes an unlikely partnership with a HIV positive transsexual man, Rayon (Jarred Leto), who helped Woodroof set up the buyers club that was selling monthly membership, as a result of which the members would get illegal supplies of alternate medication for free. It was all a big scam but it helped many fight the virus. It was a fight of public v/s FDA whose major concern was that the alternate medication would do more harm than good.

The director Jean Mark Vallee successfully portrays Woodroof as a fighter and not a pathetic victim. He keeps the pace of the movie going by bringing out the fun in the victims.

Mathew McConaughey, as Woodroof is brilliant with his accent and flamboyance that suits him in Dallas Buyer Club more than in his previous performances in mediocre romcoms. Recently, with Magic Mike and The Paperboy, McConaughey has shown his acting skills develop immensely but his performance in Dallas Buyers Club is outstanding. Both Mathew and Leto, have delivered an award winning performances .

Dallas Buyers Club is a combination of a good script and impressive performances, making it a good four star film which doesn’t come by very often.