Ladies Night: Dishoom – a Bombay Cafe in London

A recent trip over to the UK included a girls night with the mama and sisters in London, where we dined, drank, shopped and Ritzed! After a brief run in with a naked man in bed, in what was supposed to be our room, we settled into our (naked man free) rooms at the Morgon Hotel on St. Martins Lane. Though marginally embarrassing for all involved, okay a lot for the dude in bed, it certainly started our night off with a bashful giggle. Our original plan was to go to Wahaca, but call me a skeptic, I wasn’t thrilled about going for Mexican while in London. Having grown up with amazing Mexican in Texas, the bar is set quite high. We decided to do a little restaurant hop to make the most of our time in London, and to make this Mexican-food-in-London-skeptic happy.

A short walk from our hotel near Covent Garden was Dishoom – a Bombay Cafe in London, and it ended up being everyone’s favorite. The atmosphere was a mix of industrial-comfort-chic, while the menu evokes dishes you would find served at the original Bombay cafes that have evaporated over the years.Image

We ordered a few different dishes to share and with a vegetarian at the table, we focused on the meat free items.

We started with the Pau Bhaji, a bowl of mashed vegetables with hot buttered pau bun. This was a winner at our table!

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The Bhel really caught our eyes and we weren’t disappointed. Loaded with puffed rice, Bombay Mix and nylon sev it was tossed with fresh pomegranate, tomato, onion, lime, tamarind, red chilli, garlic and ginger. It was the perfect mix of light and refreshing to wash down the more rich Pau Bahji. If you’re in Vancouver, Vij’s Railway Express makes something similar.

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It’s not secret that I love fish and there was no way we could pass up the Skate Cheeks Koliwada. These tasty and deep fried morsels were amazing! They were full of flavor and umami, leaving us wanting more. The tamarind and date chutney made the perfect dipping accompaniment. You MUST order this dish!

The girls ordered some cheese naan, but I regretfully didn’t try any. My ploy to save room for Mexican later was a waste. I bet it was delicious.

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The final dish of the night was our least favorite, but considering each dish prior to it set the bar very high, we’ll cut this wrap some slack. The Paneer Roll lacked the POW! BANG! POP! that each of the other dishes had, but you may love it, so don’t take my word for it.

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If you’re in London, make room for Dishoom! We’re still drooling over it three weeks later…

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Tasty Tuna & Bean Salad

On a sunny weekend, you can likely find me at the Art Gallery Cafe’s patio with a group of friends, munching on salad and enjoying a cheeky glass (or two!) of wine. Today’s recipe is inspired by a salad I’ve had there before and I’ve been meaning to recreate it at home for some time now.  Cut from relaxing weekends on a patio, to chaotic weekdays and make way for a grab and go lunch! The mornings in our house can be haphazard at the best of times, and having a nutritious lunch on hand that’s quick and easy makes everyone’s life easier. The man of the house has a pretty physical job, so a filling lunch that’s packed with protein is ideal. This salad is refreshing from the liberal use of lemon and dill, while still very hearty from the beans, tuna and potatoes. It’s a great meal any time of year.

Serves 8 (hungry men) to 12 (lighter appetites)

You will need:

  • 2 tins of tuna (I like to use wild albacore that’s line caught)
  • 2 tins of white beans (I used 1 navy and 1 white kidney)
  • ¼ cup of red onion (Add more if you like lots of onion)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional, I just felt it was missing something without this)
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 – ½ cup olives, pitted and roughly chopped (amount based on your preference)
  • 1 roasted yellow pepper
  • 1-2 cups of boiled fingerling potatoes (again, depending on how much potato you want)
  • A few liberal glugs of good olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter leaf lettuce
  • Fresh dill (my fridge froze mine, AGAIN! So, I sprinkled in some dried tarragon instead. Amount is up to your preference. The man shook the tarragon for about 15 seconds, if that’s any indication for how much we used.)

Rinse and drain the beans and place into a bowl. Rinse tuna and break apart and put into the bowl with the beans. Tuna and beans!Now, throw in everything else (onions, celery, roasted yellow pepper, olives, parsley, potatoes, lemon zest, mustard, lemon juice, dill/tarragon, vinegar and oil) and season with salt and pepper.

Fixings

Mix it up really well and don’t be afraid to be a little rough with it. Spoon onto a bed of butter leaf lettuce and enjoy! This will keep for a couple of days, so consider your lunches ready!

If you have capers on hand, a few of those chopped and added in would also work. Or, fry some and use them to garnish the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

What’s your favourite go to salad that you can make ahead and enjoy for a few meals?

Celebrate!

You know when you crack open a bottle of bubbles, take that first sip, savor the tingles that spread across your mouth and think “Fuck yeah! I wish I could make this stuff.” Well, some of us have friends that ARE making bubbles. If you live in British Columbia, keep your eyes peeled this summer for Bella Wines bubbles – soon to be released! Not soon enough though for our celebrations the other night. You see, every artist has their first big sale and today is that day. So, it would be rude not to celebrate in (modest) style. I call this dinner “The Full Artist”.

I was in the market for some fresh halibut, seeing as it’s in season and all. Luck would have it that every other person in the Yaletown/West End vicinity also had it on their mind. No fresh halibut. All was not lost, and I spotted some frozen Wild Ocean Fish that was on sale (uh, ya).

I like Wild Ocean Fish because it’s all caught off of BC’s shores and is Ocean Wise – meaning the fishes are being caught in a much more sustainable way. They’re wild and caught by hook and line, or traps from the ocean, and that’s where my rant ends. Nets. Fish farms. Trawling. Barf.

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Back to cooking. Miso halibut it is! The recipe kind of goes a little something like this:

Miso Halibut

  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tsp Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 pieces of halibut (or sablefish) that would satisfy each person. 112 grams in this case.

Mix and all together and brush a generous coating over your (in my case, thawed) halibut (or sablefish) pieces. I’d remove the skin if your fish has it, but that’s just me. If I was getting halibut from the fish monger, I’d get them to remove it. Halibut skin makes my skin crawl.

Turn your broiler on, making sure your rack is at least 6 inches away from the broiling ring. After you have smeared on your miso mixture onto your piece of fish, place it onto a baking tray and into the pre-heated oven. Let the first side broil for 4-5 minutes. Take it out and turn the fish over. If you have some of the miso mixture left over, smear that baby’s other side. Put back into the oven and broil for another 3 to 4 minutes.

We had ours with some simple sauteed wild mushrooms, bok choy (sauteed in coconut oil – for flavor and health), steamed quinoa and a fresh Thai salad of shredded cabbage, carrots, fresh mint, cilantro, birds eye chilis and avocado in a dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and more chili.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Treasure hunts; as children we all loved them and somehow they tend to get lost amongst the wayside as we grow older. There’s curiosity, a chase and something special at the end. Sounds much like a relationship, really. Well, Heatie’s relationship is on the road to something spectacular, a September wedding! Her lovely fiance is like a mullet, he’s business at the front and a party in the back and knows how to have a good time in any situation. So, when it’s his lady’s birthday, a scavenger hunt is the perfect present.

Vince gives a helping paw.

A scavenger hunt starts with some clues, and smarty pant eight year olds are a useful tool when figuring confusing shit out.

'At its heart, this is the story of two people who met by chance, fell in love and defied the odds to travel the world and follow their dreams'

This darling Kate Spade clutch was at the end of this rainbow. Fitting for a bride-to-be and the perfect accessory for her wedding day. One day, we’ll let you in on how they met, but it’s about as romantic as the quote on the back of the clutch. (see caption) In this case, first loves are forever loves. Magic!

Hello!

Inside, Heather will be able to store wedding day essentials like, lipstick, tissues and a flask of vodka!

Birthday scavenger hunts that end in Kate Spade purses are a good thing. Well done, you!

Pretty Little Things

This is the summer of weddings and there’s no better time to get a new dress. These two BCBG beauties are ranking high in the running and if you can expect me to recycle one of these at all three weddings, plus the yet to be found fascinating fascinator.

As Ida Maria said, "I like you so much better when you're naked. I like me so much better when you're naked."

Or, the colour I have my heart set on, Navy.

Ahoy hoy!

What’s your favourite place to go dress hunting for the wedding season?

I dream of a vacation

A Fair friend and I have been dreaming of a beach in Crete for months and months and if I won the lottery, I’d book a flight for her and I in an instant. Once there, we’d set up shop on the beach, buy some cheap wine (yes, even millionaires do that…I think? I hope.), stock up on olives and nuts and gaze at the beautiful men, I mean azure blue ocean and clear skies, while beads of sweat trickle down to remind us that we’re not in Kansas anymore. Kansas being rainy Vancouver. Or, temperate Toronto.

What does that story have to do with this post? Nothing, actually. But, these grilled vegetables, hummus, cured meats and cornichon can certainly be found in lands yonder. I dare you to say cornichon only once. See, you can’t do it. It’s a fun word. Cornichon, cornichon, cornichon.

Shoe bread! It's always 3:99 at my house.

Making bread may cause blurred vision. I’ve always wanted to give ciabatta a go and the first time wasn’t so bad. I should have let it sit much longer, but time was of the essence. It was basically a mix of

4 cups of flour (I used all purpose because that’s all I had, but next time I’ll use bread flower)

1 sachet of yeast

1tsp salt

1tbs honey (those little yeasties are hungry little turds!)

2 cups of warm water (I think…can’t remember)

The beautiful thing about this bread is that no kneading is required and the consistency is very peculiar. I used a spatula to mix everything together into a gooey slurry bowl of goop. It was strange because it looked like it would be super sticky, but it wasn’t. If I could imagine what the texture of sea cucumber would be like, this was it. You should let this sit for about 12 or so hours and in that time it will bubble away into something beautiful. When it’s ready, you can pour it out of the bowl onto whatever you want to bake it on. It doesn’t hurt to flour your sheet. And, if you think it’s too soupy or gooey, add more flour. Or, Google a real recipe. I baked this at 400 C for I think 40 mins.

Hello, gorgeous.

And then that happened.

I later made a meat panties with the leftovers.

Here we have some kind of hard cheese, olives, CORNICHON!, beef Bresoala and cured bison from the French charcuterie place in Granville Island. As someone that doesn’t eat pork, it’s hard to find smoked/cured meats, but this beef Bresoala (an Italian air cured beef) and bison are great. Not to mention, bison is super good for you and more lean than chicken.

Hummus, houmus, whatever.

To get our veggies in, I blended some chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice and finished it off with a little paprika and olive oil. I like my hummous to be a little on the thinner side, so I add some water to make it lest paste like and reduce the amount of oil that a lot of recipes call for and just do a small drizzle sometimes on the top after it’s made. To go with the hummous, we had some endive, peppers, grilled eggplant and zucchini. A little olive oil, salt and pepper touched the eggplant and zucchini before I used a cast iron grill pan to cook these babies.

Oyster Bay Merlot, surprisingly flavourful.

The main purpose of this impromptu Sunday dinner was because Dr. G and her beau were on their way back from Fanny Bay (yes, you Brits can insert your crotch jokes here) and came with a bunch of oysters. A simple mignonette, lemon juice and hot sauce were sloshed on them.

Sunday dinners, they’re a good thing!