I was pretty kicked with my latest buy and was dying to wear them out on a sunny day. Finally I got a chance and guess what, I found matching yellow flowers too. How cute… More
Seem to be getting the Monday blues and Tuesday grey’s at the same time. Think I know what’s the instant cure.
Headed to one of our favourite restaurants and its bloody damn good, that’s why we don’t mind the wait. It’s the best for a reason and I am sure you will agree after what you are going to see. Trust me if you haven’t already visited, you are definitely missing out.
Barrafina on Drury Lane, that’s the one we go to, is a whole load of deliciousness on your plate.
We started off with the specials for the night- miso grilled aubergine. For some reason most people I know (and probably those that I don’t either) aren’t big fans of the vegetable but this one was wiped clean in just under 2 minutes.
Next up we got our prawns. I know its a sharing concept but with food this good no one was willing to share their piece.
The courgette flower stuffed with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey is my favorite dish on the menu. Trust me order a couple as you wouldn’t want to share this one.
The pork belly literally melts in your mouth. Its gooey yet crispy if you know what I mean.
The harrisa chicken wings perfectly fit the definition of comfort food done well
We forgot about the calamari but then reminded ourselves about the concept- food comes when its ready with finishing touches from the head chef standing right in front of you.
The crab bun is another one that features on our order every time we visit. The squishy brioche bun and the beautiful crab will only leave you ordering another one.
At this point we were soo full and soo aware that a massive leg of lamb was on its way. The chef was specially cooking the lamb for us as it wasn’t a part of the menu on the day. There was no way we could have refused. Of course we were not able to finish it and I think the chef saw the look on our faces. I wasn’t willing to leave a piece of meat this juicy & tender. Barrafina doesn’t do takeaways but a small exception was made for us this time around.
As I always say, there is a separate compartment for dessert. We ordered the orange sorbet and the torrijas. Both exceptionally amazing. The orange sorbet is like having a calippo in an orange and the torrijas is cakey, carameley, nutty……mmmmmm
Decided to take some pictures along the way.
Too cool for school……maybe
Posing failed. This is what happens when you eat and drink too much.
Finally, I am back!
Been collecting a few posts recently but just didn’t get down to sharing them with you.
I am quite fascinated with co-ords and have bought a few lately. Thought I’ll share one of my favourites with you. I absolutely love this white on white combination as it works perfectly during the day and blends well into the night. However, I think I might wear this with a pair of trainers and a turtle neck sweater because London weather will not permit me to walk out like this anymore. Sadly, I’ll have to give my Rossis a miss. The silver gold version might not be available anymore, I bought mine from the Harrods summer sale but the ones below are uber sexy for the winter.
For those of you who know me must be wondering where is the food. Yes, I didn’t come back home empty stomach. We did stuff ourselves up with some eggy cheesy brunch.
Thanks for stopping by! Food to follow.
As always the food seems to have taken over my last Caribbean adventure, however I haven’t forgotten to blog about our choc-tastic experience.
Our very own Hotel Chocolat gets all its indulgent, velvety stash from the Rabot Estate in St Lucia. This cacao plantation owned by Hotel chocolat is responsible for all of our guilty pleasures.
A and I decided to do something different this time around and not just lie on the beach and turn into brownies . The Tree to Bar tour set up by the Rabot Estate was a great experience and made the holiday even more special. If it wasn’t for A’s love for chocolates we wouldn’t have done this but i am glad he pushed for it.
It was fascinating to learn about a hundred different types of cacao and how they start to creep up from the tree trunk. The pods not only come in this beautiful deep red but also in an orange, yellow, green and burnt red- a good method of recognizing the type of cacao pod.
Don’t quote me, but i think this was No. 95. This pod isn’t ready just yet to harvest as the indentation hasn’t turned slightly yellow.
If I am wrong this man will definitely kill me. Mr Cuthbert was the man responsible for imparting all the knowledge about the plantation and the pods, and boy did he take his job seriously. He was so passionate about his job that it reinstated my belief in the idea of no matter where you are in the world but if you enjoy what you do it just makes the journey a little more worthwhile. I was compelled to pay attention to each word he was saying.
The fun bit had only just started, these two men showed us how to graft our own cacao plant and once the plant was ready to face the real world and become a tree we would get a call from the Rabot Estate asking us if we would like to visit again and do the needful. I am soo ready to go back to St Lucia!
Tadaaaaa……… Choc-xited much!
The beautiful beans that are left out to dry. The farmers are meant to be extremely efficient as St Lucia is a rain forest and its very rare that a day goes by without a couple of passing showers. We witnessed one just while we were there and in no time all the beans disappeared.
This is one of my favourite pictures. Hands of a hard working man with his livelihood.
The second part of the tour involved us making our own chocolate bar with cacao nibs, cacao butter and sugar.
Me at work. This better be one hell of a bar.
I was tempted to lick the whole pot
I think the gentleman read my mind and got me a spoon
Those white things that you see are cacao beans and all the amazing chocolate martinis that we slurped on were made using cacao in its raw form
Having a bit of a Murad Osman moment with the gigantic pitons. Someone’s trying to be original, maybe not!
I did say a little farewell to St Lucia at this moment but that definitely didn’t mean that I wasn’t coming back.
Until next time! Sparkle on!
While carrying out my usual night time routine, of which Instagram is an important part I came across this small venture near spitalfields market. Gunpowder is the brain child of a young husband and wife team who understand the eating out audience of London. The food is delicious and represents the India and the young Indians of today. The flavours are a melting pot of all the different states of the country and sum up the food journey in just about 12-15 dishes. This one had no curries and no rotis only tapas style sharing plates.
I was most thrilled with the drinks menu as every cocktail sounded divine, mango and chilli bellini and pani puri margarita with crushed puris on the rim. It just doesn’t get better.
When it comes to drinks A and I have very different choices. He went for the gimlet with honey and lemon and I went for the mango chili Bellini.
Honestly, the gimlet only sounded half as nice as it tasted and drink-envy led to me having one all to myself.
We knew we had over ordered as always but who cares when you get a fresh hot crispy aloo tikki topped with yogurt, tamarind chutney and chickpeas. It was lovely however I wouldn’t have minded a tiny bit of spicy green chutney to finish it off.
Hold on, this one will definitely interrupt the conversation. The okra fries are the best I’ve ever had. The batter was extremely light and perfectly spiced.
The doughnut filled with spicy venison does catch everyone’s attention. The bhujia as we call it back home did add an interesting texture to the bite.
The tandoori chicken with a dollop of butter chicken gravy was the showstopper and my favourite
Actually I couldn’t decide between Ma’s Kashmiri lamb chops and the chicken. The lamb was tender and melted in our mouth.
Sipping on our cocktails or if I may say chugging away on our drinks and talking about the coffee festival we visited earlier we didn’t realise we were at our last dish of the evening. Aunty sulu’s wild rabbit puloa was scrummy but spicy. Why thank you Aunty Sulu!
We did need more yogurt than that as the portions were pretty generous.
See if something else catches your fancy. They do change the menu a bit every 45 days. I missed out on the duck and the Nagaland ribs. Saving something for next time.
It is a small space so to avoid disappointment plan an early dinner. They do text you when your table is ready but it could take over an hour. Luckily we got there in time and were seated within 20 minutes.
As I said earlier the streets of London never fail to surprise and there was definitely a sparkle about this gunpowder.
The glorious sun decided to make a short appearance over London town last weekend before the dark clouds took over.
We wasted no time and decided to walk to Covent Garden to grab some sushi for lunch. There were a couple detours on the way to pick up some nutella cupcakes from hummingbird and a photo opportunity to capture one of my first no fur or puffy jacket appearances this year. I usually feel frozen for 8 months of the year.
I absolutely love these jimmy choo’s and can totally live in them. Leather jacket from Zara, sweater from Uniqlo, leggings from Nike and of course my favourite boy (may be talking about my photographer or bag)!
We made it in time for some sticks and sushi. The walk took a bit longer as we decided to explore the glorious streets of London. They never fail to disappoint and I always seem to discover something new.
Sunday lunch without a cheery drink is not allowed. I went for a yellow juice while A went for a beer.
While nibbling on the scrummy edamame beans with spicy sauce we discussed the new restaurant openings around town. Went to a couple last weekend.
The crispy ebi bites arrived in no time and before we knew it they were all gone. I could have ordered another one but didn’t want to be too greedy.
We ordered some of our favourites, spicy tuna, California roll and the prawn tempura roll.
The California roll was so fresh and the crab, avocado and spicy soy made for a delicious bite.
The star of the day was the crispy tempura roll. Who doesn’t like a bit of crunch.
Finally we got the chicken meatball and lamb chop sticks. They both will be ordered again however I might get a couple more of the lamb next time. I like mine medium to well and you have to ask for it otherwise they are served medium.
We ate to our hearts’ content and decided to walk back home to burn all those calories. A’s got a one up on sticks and sushi as this was his discovery.
I would recommend booking as they were really busy even after the usual lunch hour.
Its not only the clothes that start getting a tad bit happier and brighter during this time of the year, its also the food.
The breads , soups and pastas are replaced with salads, smoothies and sushi.
To cheer up our after workout Saturday afternoon I came up with an easy and quick quinoa and chicken recipe. I had some mini chicken fillets in the fridge and this preferred protein goes well with quinoa.
Now for the ingredients, just in case you are in the mood for some quinoa goodness
1 packet quinoa
8 mini chicken fillets
1 red pepper
1 red or white onion
1 tbsp. cajun spice
1 tbsp oil
Handful flaked almonds
I started off by chopping the onion and red pepper
Its up to you whether you want chunky chicken pieces or thin slices. I like them thinner so I further sliced the mini fillets into two
After all the chopping and slicing I added the chicken pieces to the pan along with the oil and the Cajun spices. Make sure the oil is hot before you add the chicken to the pan. Mix well to ensure even coating and cook the chicken for 5 minutes.
Slide the onions and peppers into the pan
Mix them with the spices and cook until the veggies soften and start to caramelise. Don’t let the chicken burn, keep swirling your wooden spoon for some sparkling compliments later
I used the quinoa and puy lentils mix for my salad and followed the cooking instructions on the bag
Once cooked I emptied out the quinoa into a bowl
By now my chicken and veg mix was also cooked to perfection so I transferred that to the bowl as well
Gave it a good mix and squeezed half a lemon over it along with some salt and pepper
Once I was happy with the flavours I sprinkled a handful of flaked almonds over it. You will be surprised how they add another layer of texture & taste to the recipe
Finally sprinkled some sparkle with fresh coriander. I absolutely love the smell and the colours of this herb.
I was starving by the time I finished cooking, just look at those colours aren’t they calling out to you.
I grabbed my bowl full and sat in front of the telly to finish off my guilty pleasure – an episode of Marvel Agents of Shield.
We were millions of miles away from the cold dull rainy London, its not like I don’t love home but it can get quite depressing during the winter months. A quick trip to re-energise yourself with some vitamin sea is much needed.
The second leg of our holiday was at St Lucia which was only a 50 minute flight away from the stunning Antigua. The domestic airline wasn’t the most efficient as we had to wait for over an hour at the airport before we finally got to St Lucia at 10 in the evening. Possibly not the best car ride at night, we encountered far too many hair pin turns as they like to call them and an additional 1.5 hours to get to the hotel. I am assuming the ride would have been more enjoyable in the day as St Lucia is a mountainous island with tons of fishing villages and some beautiful views.
I had already made up my mind about this Caribbean island and Antigua was at the very top of my list, not that the list was very long. I even remember telling A that I am so glad we had more days in Antigua.
However we only had to wait for 8 odd hours till our jaws dropped.
They dropped and how. We woke up very early in the morning as per holiday standards and there was no one at the beach at 7 am. We could hear the splashing of the waves and the cool breeze was blowing through my freshly washed hair. We had found another pearl in the Caribbean.
Before we headed for breakfast we were told we could reserve our spot at the beach by keeping some of our belongings on the beach chairs. I didn’t need to be told twice to drop all our sun creams at our preferred location.
These huts made for some beautiful pictures or perhaps A & I were just over-excited.
Being greeted with these beautiful colours first thing in the morning would make anyone smile from ear to ear. We had a choice of fresh grapefruit, passion fruit or watermelon. No prizes for guessing but I may have single-handedly finished the jar full of watermelon. The grapefruit was calling out to us but we were bursting from all sides by the time we finished our omelettes.
We stayed at the sugar mill rooms which might not have had the same view as Hermitage Bay but they were a short walk away from the beach and had fluffy soft heavenly beds. I was almost on the verge of asking if we could buy their bed linen and mattress topper.
I have a thing for white and dark wood, they make for perfect hotel rooms. I also seem to have developed a liking towards these plantation shutters after our holiday. We have them at our new home but its only after this trip that I have started to warm up towards them.
I couldn’t get over our ibaby- his and hers. Useful tool for when you are on such a large resort.
We had a few jaw dropping, eye popping moments, which I have tried to capture to the best of my abilities but it was hard to keep up. Sometimes it was just nice to soak in the moment and be aware of the sensory pleasures that one may not witness everyday.
The beautiful Pitons as the backdrop for the pool had us totally immersed.
I wasn’t sure if I was in Koh Samui or the Caribbean but we had a crazy tuk tuk ride at Sugar Beach. I wasn’t going to get off so soon and only relented after much convincing from the driver who informed me that this was the primary mode of transport around the resort. Excited Much!
As most of you may be wondering, where is the food ?!
The Cane Bar culinary delights came as a refreshing change even though we had enjoyed all the grilled fish, prawns and lobsters prior to this meal. The soft shell crab cut roll with spicy mayo and a hint of mango and the chopped tuna with avocado and chilli were my favourites.
If 50 shades of blue is your thing I would recommend a trip to the Caribbean Islands. I’ve already started researching my next holiday even though I am not home yet. Its just my thing and keeps me going through the year.
Bye now from the beach. More on some rainforest chocolate adventures in a couple of days. I promise I won’t be too long.
Don’t blame me if you are bombarded with a whole load of pictures that might make you envious. Please read and view at your own risk. You may even find yourself booking a getaway to the Caribbean by the time you finish viewing this post.
Hermitage Bay was our first stop and we didn’t know what was coming our way. White sands, clear turquoise waters, bags full of sunshine and insane amounts of watermelon daiquiri’s and pina colada consumption summed up out time at Antigua.
I am not sure if words do justice to this island, see for yourself.
This is for real. I literally had to pinch myself sitting on the plane.
The drive to Hermitage bay is a bit rocky as to maintain the exclusivity of the resort they haven’t developed the nearby roads. However we were blown away by the view as soon as we entered the lobby. We were greeted by a lovely lady who checked us in by handing over a couple of glasses of mojito’s.
View from the room. Couldn’t get enough of it! Don’t forget to ask for suite no 26, it has the most stunning view of the bay from your infinity pool. Best place to sip some of those delicious pina coladas.
More from the room. The hotel had a panoramic view of both the bay and the harbour.
I always check out the bathroom first and this one didn’t let me down. The bath overlooking the ocean made for a perfect setting.
Missing those beach chairs and suite 26 perched on the hill.
We couldn’t resist, excited like little children who hadn’t slept the previous night. Finally the holiday had begun and we were on one of the most stunning beaches I have ever visited. Even though in Antigua none of the hotels had private beaches this one felt like one as it was on the southern end of the island not frequented by either locals or tourists, I guess not developing the roads came in handy.
Turquoise and gold!
And gallons of cocktails….
Demanded a selfie and……
As A said ‘are you a good model or am I a better photographer’ who knows… But the stunning location definitely made for some great pictures and memories for a lifetime.
What I didn’t do this time was take any food shots, probably too involved in capturing the the fifty shades of blue in paradise. However the food was delicious, all the veg and fruits came from the hotel’s organic gardens and we tried numerous new varieties of fish which were caught every morning. The menus changed daily so we didn’t feel the need to step out and the chef came to us every other day to ask if you we would like anything special on the menu.
I was always a believer of Indian hospitality but I think this time around the Caribbeans may have just left us slightly behind.
I can hear you clicking away, just go ahead and plan a holiday.
I decided to brush up my makeup skills, not that they are great otherwise but I thought its a good thing to know. Definitely handy for someone who can’t even draw a straight line with an eye liner without drawing a few squiggles around the eye- get it right on the third attempt and I’ll consider it a good day.
So I booked myself an appointment with the lovely Bianca at Bobbi Brown Fenwick. She was brilliant and drew magical strokes with a wave of her wand in just a few minutes. However something that should have taken 20 minutes ended up taking a little longer as I pestered away with my questions and made her take pictures of each step so that I could try this at home.
Bobbi Brown is my absolute favorite and 90% of the products I use are from them. My fascination started from a lipstick called ‘true pink’ – a colour I adore.
We started off with some cleansing, toning and moisturizing. The hydrating eye cream is a new addition to my kit as previously I wasn’t really sold on the idea of applying an eye cream but it really does make a difference, especially during the cold when the skin dries up a lot more rapidly.
I like the stick as it allows you to decide how much coverage you want depending on the time of the day. I use natural no. 4.
Now for the eyes……
Eyes are the hardest but Bianca made it sound like a cake walk, I am hoping I can do something similar this weekend. So we used a brown base color and topped it up with a little bit of sparkle. A fine line along the edge followed by a bit of smudging to create a slightly smokey eye. Nothing too dark, just how I like it.
Don’t forget the eye corrector and concealer specially when you are going on a night out. It brightens up the under eye and lifts up the whole look. All this time I have been avoiding these products as I felt they take up too much time but genuinely they do make a world of a difference. They still haven’t made it to my day makeup routine but I will be spending those extra 2 minutes in the evening from now on thanks to the lovely make up artists at Bobbi Brown.
We used cocoa, all spice and rich brown shadows and a gel eyeliner in black to create this look.
Who doesn’t like a bit of shimmer. The famous BB shimmer brick in brown tones works as a great bronzer highlighter.
I am not very experimental when it comes to the lips and cheeks. I like to stick to pinks and nudes so this time we went for the nude peach blush and a pink beige lip color.
I loved my look and was really pleased with the lesson. The Bobbi Brown artists have successfully taught me some simple techniques and added a sparkle to my scribbles .
This had to be paired with one of my favorite dresses. Photo and artwork credit to A and his app.
More on the look and and night out tomorrow……
Super kicked with this recipe. I was so pleased with the final result and had a big smile towards the end of the meal. It was quick and tasted delicious, we could have had a bit more but I only bought two fillets. Will just have to wait until next time, which won’t be very long from now.
Started of by making the butter mix.
Roughly chop a small bunch of parsley and make sure the chili is cut into tiny squares.
Cut two small blocks of unsalted butter for two fillets.
Put the chili and parsley into the bowl with a small squeeze of lemon.
Add 1/2 tsp of paprika and adjust the flavor after giving it a good mix.
Have a lick and see if you are happy with the taste, if not add some more lemon and paprika. If you have the time and patience you can keep it in the fridge for an hour, if not just use it like this. I didn’t have the patience as we were very hungry after a long day at work.
Season the fish on both sides.
Place it on a pan with a few drops of olive oil. Don’t add too much as you are going to cook it in butter. Remember to keep the flame on medium.
Add the beautiful chili parsley butter.
Let it sizzle……..
Turn the fish over after 4 minutes and add more butter if you like. Depending on the thickness of the fish it should take about 4-5 minutes on each side.
While the fish is cooking, season the kale and drizzle some olive oil over it.
Keep it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150°C fan and do keep a watchful eye on it as you only want the edges to become crispy and not burn.
If you want you can sprinkle some parmesan over it once its roasted. Its entirely up to you.
Here go my January goals. I am allowed to cheat a bit, what do you think?