Travel Thursdays: Monsoon in Kerela

It’s Travel Thursdays and I’ve decided to blog on old travels etc – just because I haven’t got new exciting travels to blog about. ¬†We are saving for it! ūüôā ¬†Kerela is known to be the most beautiful during monsoon season – frankly I was skeptical as to why this was so. ¬†After going during this season I can safely say it is a paradise for PHOTOGRAPHY but that is about it. ¬†I like going out, being on the move without an umbrella and my feet soaked. ¬†So it’s all about perspective I guess!

Tips on where to stay:

  • Marriott Kochi Hotel– simply because you can’t go wrong with a five star in a country which is relatively cheap to your currency! ¬†Our stay a night was equivalent to a 3 star in London or a BnB! ¬†We had a buffet breakfast each morning. ¬†The spread was fantastic. ¬†Hot indian breakfast was made fresh ūüôā ¬†For those of you who are not accustomed to indian food – there was continental and english breakfast too. ¬†But I always say in India do as the Indians do! ¬†OK so I say that in every country! ¬†Why not try to enjoy the country locally? ¬†We go there for a different anthropological feel so we might as well enjoy it!
  • Taj Hotel – We stayed here for a night. ¬†It’s much pricer that’s why just a night! ¬†The style of the hotel was rather Maharaja-Type. ¬†That translates into the olden Indian Kingdom Type of Hotels. ¬†The architecture was amazing. ¬†The food was pretty immaculate too! ¬†Another advantage was that there was a complimentary boat trip around the Arabian Sea to see the Chinese Fishing Nets.

FYI – The floods were shocking!!! ¬†One night a road we went by was completely flooded that our car came to a stop. ¬†The driver sent his son outside to look for an alternate route. ¬†The water was up to an average man’s knee. ¬†Fortunately, we weren’t stranded for long. ¬†We also passed by random villagers who were fishing with their hands in the floods and witnessed a big catch. ¬†A man was flapping around the huge fish!

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This picture shows the minor floods in the daytime.

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My favourite local Kerela food – the Kerela Prata! ¬†It’s a flour based bread that you dip in curry. ¬†It costs about 5 Rupees which is about 5 pence!! ¬†OMG. ¬†SO CHEAP. ¬†Always go to a country where your currency is king! ūüėČ

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Indian Masala Tea that is being ‘pulled’ by the man. ¬†Some countries call this “pulling-tea”. ¬†It’s amazing how they do this. ¬†If it were me I’d end up burning myself! ¬†I was in awe. ¬†We actually let ourselves in the kitchen and asked him if we could take a photo. ¬†I can’t speak the language as this is South India and I know Hindi and Punjabi which are both North Indian Languages. ¬†Luckily, he knew a bit of english ūüôā

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TAJ HOTEL: The hotel swimming pool which looks like an infinity pool.  The sea the hotel overlooks is the Arabian Sea.  It was beautiful!  I actually feel this picture does not do justice to the place.

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The Chinese Fishing Nets. ¬†Apparently Chinese people introduced the method of fishing to people in Kerela. ¬†I saw this from the complimentary boat ride ūüôā

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Sunset view of the Arabian Sea. ¬†It was simply breath-taking! ¬†ūüôā

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The hotel had south-indian cultural dance performances which were interesting to watch. ¬†We watched for a bit but didn’t really understand what was going on.

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My happy feet!! ¬†There was a really nice spa where I indulged in a relaxing pedicure. ¬†I chose a bright color to cheer myself up from the perpetual rain. ¬†But I guess that’s what monsoon is about! ¬†ūüėČ

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The morning buffet range was wonderful. ¬†These were the desserts! ¬†ūüôā

Must-see shopping mall:

  • Lulu Mall – it has recently opened and has major brand names and also has designer indian wear. ¬†I picked up outfits to wear for upcoming weddings!

Enjoyed my trip there as it was different from what I’m used to for a holiday. ¬†It also really made me appreciate the devloped lifestyle that we lead and often take for granted.

xx

B

Foodie Fridays: B’s Easy Jacket Potatoes

Hello all… It’s Foodie Friday again! Yipppeee. ¬†Thought I’d blog about something easy, fatty and British. ¬†JACKET POTATOES. ¬†Simple to make and yummilicious¬†(It’s a word I swear- well it is one in Sparkle Bubble hahaha!). ¬†Here’s an easy recipe!

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Hmmm.. Doesn’t that just look delish? ¬†Ok and sort of like a heart-attack on a plate, but we can ignore the fat part. ¬†Whenever I indulge in Jacket Potatoes it becomes my brunch. ¬†I think that honestly compensates for how heavy it is. Spreading it across two meals makes it justifiable. Yes, I love making myself feel better. Hahahaha!

B’s Easy Jacket Potatoes

Bakes: 4 servings, well if you use 4 potatoes. ūüėČ

Ingredients:

  • 4 Jacket Potatoes
  • 2 tins of Heinz Chilli Beans
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
  2. Wash the potatoes.
  3. Cut a cross in the middle of the potato.
  4. Poke all sides with a fork for even baking.
  5. Bake for 1 hour 20 mins.
  6. In the meantime, put beans in a pot and add salt, pepper and any desired seasoning.
  7. After the potato has baked, open the potato up gently and butter the inside.
  8. Pour baked beans generously and top up with cheese.
  9. Return dish to oven till cheese is bubbly!

Note: ¬†You can serve this with coleslaw as it goes very well. ¬†I’ve also made Jacket Potatoes with different toppings such as: ¬†Veg Tuna and Quorn Minced Meat.

Enjoy!

xx

B

B’s Been Busy – With Her Sisters!

My sisters just left London today (I’m missing them already btw..)! Had loads of fun- travelled around UK a bit and ate a bit. OK so no one would believe that – LOL! Yes, I completely pigged out. I think I’ve gained at least 2 KGS. I haven’t checked my weight yet as I’m horrified at the very thought!

A glimpse of our midnight snacking included left over scones topped with Nutella and hot custard:

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Hmmmmmm….

Well so my fat content has definitely exponentially increased.

X

B’s Afternoon Tea with the Husband at Waldorf Astoria Syon Lane

Hello! ¬†I got a birthday gift voucher for afternoon tea for 2 at Waldorf Astoria Syon Lane so it was time to drag my husband to one of these. ¬†He’s never been for one!! ¬†I usually go with my girlfriends, but since he loves food – I thought he would enjoy it ūüôā

It was lovely as expected. ¬†ūüôā

Here’s the menu:Image

We obviously went for the vegetarian option and omitted the egg mayo with an avocado sandwich.  It was yummy!

And here’s the result of our order…

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3 layers of heaven! ¬†I’m going to say something pretty vain here but my scones are better. They are softer and yummier just FYI. ¬†Even my hubby said it – and no I didn’t bribe him to compliment me ūüôā

Let’s look at each layer… Scrutinising food is always good ūüėČ

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ImageImageIt was all pretty delectable. ¬†My favourite sandwich was the cheddar cheese with chutney (not because I’m Indian!) ¬†Favourite scone – was well, my own. HAHAHA!

Favourite dessert had to be the chocolate eclair.  It was yummy with oozing custard inside.

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My enchanted tea (so it was called) Рwas mysterious. Kind of reminded me of the enchanted magical forest.  Yes I am in my own world. And yes, I love being in it!  It had a fruity flavour and was pretty interesting.

To end the afternoon tea Рsince it was an all-inclusive:  I ended it with a nice hot cappuccino!

ImageIt was a bit strong to be honest. ¬†Oh god, I sound like I’m complaining about a FREE MEAL. How is that even possible??

Ok the scone was pretty good, how can anything topped up with clotted cream and jam go wrong?

ImageEnjoyed my day out ūüôā ¬†My sisters are coming to visit London tomorrow – so I’ll be showing them around and exploring London as a tourist! ¬†xx B

Foodie Fridays: B’s Vegetarian Tuna Pizza (Without Yeast)

Hello everyone. ¬†I LOVE CHEESE. ¬†I really wish I didn’t as it’s so very fatty, but I just love cheese. ¬†Like love love love cheese. ¬†I hope I have¬†emphasised¬†my undying love for cheese to illustrate my passion completely. ¬†It’s funny how words do not do justice to your emotions at times. ¬†But I’m sure you’ve got the point, if you haven’t, I LOVE CHEESE.

Ater turning vegetarian, I really missed having Tuna as it was one of my favourites. ¬†Fortunately, I discovered Vegetarian Tuna (made from soya). ¬†It actually tastes like the real thing! ¬†I’ve had it in salads and sandwiches so far. ¬†Today, I wanted to try it warm. ¬†I thought I’d try it on pizza.

I’ve always been¬†terrified¬†of yeast. ¬†I don’t know why – I guess yeast rising is creepy in someways. ¬†I googled pizza dough without yeast and gave it a shot! ¬†I came across this link. ¬†Majority of the comments were good, which made me lean towards it!

Here are my photo-steps:

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A ball of yeast-less pizza dough. YAEY!!

ImageRolled out and ready for the oven!  I thought it was wise to bake them for 10 minutes first to avoid it to get soggy! This is the pic after the oven btw! Tried a thin base and a thick base.  Always good to try out to different kinds in your first go.  OPTIONS ARE GREAT. Good to know what you prefer!

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Toppings are on – and ready to go!

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It was that good. ¬†I left out photo-editing as I felt it would be unfair to the pizza to touch it up when it looks this good ūüėČ ¬†Yes pizzas can be personified in my world.

ImageThe pizza deserved a second angle ūüėČ ¬†DELECTABLE. DELICIOUS. SCRUMPTIOUS.

B’s VEGETARIAN TUNA PIZZA¬†

Makes:  2 Large Pizzas and 1 baby one (LOL)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • Tomato passata, basil, salt and pepper
  • Veg Tuna
  • Cheese

Method:

  1. Mix dry ingredients together.  Add water.  Add oil.
  2. Mix with hands to form a dough.
  3. When it forms into a ball make sure it is not too sticky. ¬†If you’ve added extra water, add a bit more flour to balance it out.
  4. When the texture is right (Smooth) start kneading on a surface with flour for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Roll it out to the desired shape.  I tried my best to make it look like a pizza but one pizza looked like the shape of India on the atlas!
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 C.
  7. Put tomato passata in a pot and heat it with seasoning.  Mix some of the sauce with the tuna.
  8. Add the tomato base on the pizza, top with tuna and cheese.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 C or more depending on how you like it!

Enjoy your Vegetarian Tuna Pizza that has no yeast in it’s pizza dough. Yeast is creepy. ¬†Until I overcome my yeast-a-phobia I will be using this recipe as I loved it! ¬†What a find – thank you Terry!

xx

B

B’s Easy 3 ingredient Ice-cream : Banana, Nutella & Peanut Butter

The title gives away the whole post ūüėČ ¬†I’ve made Frozen Banana Ice-cream before (just blend the frozen banana – I’ve blogged about it here). ¬†It’s a simple vegetarian ice-cream with added flavours. ¬†Delectable. Today I wanted a tiny bit of Nutella and Peanut Butter in it… I got started on whipping this up! ūüėČ

Got my ingredients ready:

ImagePut it in the food processor with a bit of milk and the additional flavourings:

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The end product – creamy yummy… delish… HEALTHY… Well relatively healthy, much better than an ice-cream scoop! ¬†So here it is… The end product:

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Nice creamy texture…photo (11)

This one has more chocolate! ūüôā

B’s Easy 3 ingredient Ice-cream : Banana, Nutella & Peanut Butter

Makes:  One Scoop

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana (cut into pieces prior to freezing)
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Nutella
  • 1/2 tsp Peanut Butter (home-made it better, check out my recipe here)

Method:

  1. Blend frozen banana pieces in a powerful blender or food processor.
  2. Add a bit of milk if needed.
  3. Add Nutella and Peanut Butter.
  4. Keep blending till smooth consistency is achieved.
  5. Serve immediately (Yes immediately!  Do not underestimate the melting power of frozen banana! haha)

Hope you enjoy it! ¬†It’s helping me overcome this terribly hot weather in London.

xx

B

B’s Eggless Oven Pancakes with a Mexican Quorn Minced Twist

ImageDoesn’t the picture speak for itself? ¬†ūüėČ ¬†So I have left-over El Paso Fajita Sauce (about half a bottle). ¬†Was thinking of using it for lunch but didn’t have tortillas at home! ¬†So I came up with this idea ūüôā ¬†It actually worked really well. ¬†I used my Eggless Oven Pancake Recipe and topped it up with minced cooked in fajita sauce and cheese. ¬†A¬†vegetarian¬†easy mexican meal!

Got my ingredients ready:

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And started baking the pancake base first.  This took longer than my recipe as I doubled it.

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Till its golden, and the tooth-pick comes out clean. ¬†You’re ready to go! ¬†Start topping it up!

B’s Eggless Oven Pancake Topped with a Mexican Quorn Minced Twist

Bakes: One pancake for 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp vinegar (for the buttermilk)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A bit of butter to butter the tray¬†
  • Quorn Minced (1/3 packet)
  • Fajita Sauce (1/2 bottle) + 1 tsp Tomato Puree

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 210 C.
  2. Pour a bit less than 1 cup of milk in a measuring cup.  Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to it and let it sit for 5 minutes.  This becomes your buttermilk.
  3. Pout milk in a bowl and mix in the flour and salt with a whisk.  
  4. Don’t overmix as it will lose its fluffiness as a pancake. (Just FYI)
  5. Pour in a greased pyrex dish.
  6. Bake for about 40-45 minutes till it’s golden (you can put a foil over it after 30 mins).
  7. Cook mince in the fajita sauce, a bit of water and 1 tsp of tomato puree.  Let it simmer till mince is cooked.  Stir occasionally,
  8. Top the pancake with the mixture and cheese and grill in oven till the cheese is melted.

Note: ¬†Serve with a salad to balance this meal ūüôā

Hope you enjoy it!

xx 

B

 

Review: Tastecard + Tastecard App

One of my favourite perks about living in London is the affordable prices of eating out. ¬†Eating out often is often seen as a luxury in many countries. ¬†In Japan, Australia and Singapore – all the countries I’ve lived prior to my move here had a common thread. ¬†Eating out in restaurants were expensive. ¬†A night out with friends in an average restaurant would cost about 30 SGD per head. ¬†If we take this value as a dollar-to-dollar value not accounting for difference in currency value, it is astoundingly high!

Eating out in London with the tastecard is very reasonable. ¬†You can walk out a meal paying just 8-10 pounds per head. ¬†The tastecard gives you either a 50% discount or a 2 for 1 deal in thousands of¬†restaurants¬†across UK. ¬†This even works in Dublin, Scotland, Wales. ¬†I’ve used it in all those countries. ¬†It makes travelling across UK more¬†affordable¬†as your daily budget factors less money to food.

Tastecard has an app which makes finding restaurants near your radius simple. ¬†Often we try new restaurants based solely upon the fact that there is a 50% discount. ¬†That proves to be an incentive to try an unknown restaurant. ¬†We have discovered many hidden gems this way. ¬†I’ll be reviewing must-eat restaurants in London that are part of the taste card group!

This is the home screen of the app:

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It allows for easy reference to history, recent search and allows you to search. ¬†I’ve recently searched for afternoon teas – as you can see! ¬†I love good afternoon teas!

If you click on the search tab below, the screen would look like this:

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This allows users to make specific searches. ¬†It helps me narrow down¬†restaurants¬†to the¬†cuisine¬†that I feel like eating ūüėČ ¬†(A girl needs what she needs!)

I strongly¬†recommend¬†this app to anyone who has tastecard. ¬†And if you do not have tastecard and live in the UK – you should get an annual subscription now. ¬†It’s usually 30 pounds (on offer). ¬†One of the best inventions in UK!

B’s Eggless Oven Pancake Topped With Frozen Banana (ice-cream)

Me again ūüôā ¬†Today I thought I’ll blog again – another healthy recipe to keep the vegetarians going! ¬†This oven pancake is eggless and puffs up in the oven – thus there’s no flipping required! ¬†Easy treat with minimal ingredients. ¬†Recently over my eggless home-made scones, a friend and I were having a conversation about eggless baking and she gave me a tip about¬†substituting¬†buttermilk for milk in the recipe and omitting eggs¬†completely. ¬†I had ¬†to give it a go!¬†

I lined a pyrex dish with baking paper.  This allowed me to omit buttering the dish.  You can slightly butter the paper though.

ImageLooks kind of iffy, but it comes out easy don’t worry! ¬†

The final result (I love this photo- it’s been edited using Snapseed):

ImageThis is a great low-fat treat. ¬†There is NO SUGAR (except for the chocolate sprinkles on top which is minimal if you ask me). Also – the ice-cream is frozen banana which I blended. ¬†That’s it! ¬†Easy! ¬†B’s food is usually quite easy!¬†

If you haven’t frozen banana before, here are the steps:

  • Peel the banana that is slightly browning
  • Cut it in small pieces
  • Freeze in ziplock
  • Can be frozen till 6 months (I’ve read online, but to be safer I’d say 3 months as I’m not a huge fan of freezing food to begin with)

B’s Eggless Oven Pancake Topped with Frozen Banana (ice-cream)

Bakes: One pancake for 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tbsp vinegar (for the buttermilk)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Vanilla essence to taste
  • A bit of butter to butter the tray (can omit this if using baking paper)
  • Frozen Banana
  • Chocolate Sprinkles (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 210 C.
  2. Pour a bit less than 1/2 cup of milk in a measuring cup.  Add 1/2 tbsp of vinegar to it and let it sit for 5 minutes.  This becomes your buttermilk.
  3. Pout milk in a bowl and mix in the flour and salt with a whisk.  Add vanilla essence. 
  4. Don’t overmix as it will lose its¬†fluffiness¬†as a pancake. (Just FYI)
  5. Pour in a pyrex dish lined with baking paper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes till it’s golden.
  7. Blend the banana pieces with a tiny bit of milk. 
  8. Top the pancake with the ice-cream and serve!

Enjoy a healthy dessert to beat the summer in London!

xx

B