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Being a Londoner we are always on a lookout for a special place. We have recently been to a culinary express to India through Hankies café. What is this place do you say? Being in heart of Soho and a short walking distance from Leicester square and Piccadilly square – Hankies is very well located. It is quite easy to spot when you reach “The Queens” theatre where they show “Les Miserables” you have almost reached Hankies. You now know the landmark next to it and won’t miss it. This is a good fact to hold on to if your group consists of tired children and parents with buggies and you don’t want to wander around looking for a place to eat. Its location means you can go and grab something quick or explore their a la cart menu for a full meal, before any West End show. The cosy environment with bar stools in front and a seating area at the back of the place – take into account the needs of different diners. Besides Hankies is one of the few places in China town, which is not Chinese or pizza for a change. “Hankies” is a casual Indian street food restaurant serving Indian Tapas since last eight months and specialises in serving Roomali Roti. A classic Indian roti which is hand spun till it’s thin enough to read through, cooked on a burning hot Roomali Tawa and folded into ‘Hankies’.

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Upon arrival, we have been greeted by a very friendly Asish, who helped me fold my buggy and to store it away. Having two children – the first thing they needed is the use of facilities. Hankies cafe is linked with the Piccadilly hotel, which means one can use their spotless clean toilets. My only concern was going down the stairs with the children, but later I found out there was a lift to reach WC too. Afterwards, we sat looking at the menus. They had a-la cart menu, kid’s menu and drinks menu. Both of the children ordered different things from the kid’s menu. The elder one went for grilled chicken tikka, aam gur ke kheer – Indian rice pudding and a juice. The younger one was not keen to excite her taste buds much, so she ordered fish and chips, kulfi ice cream and juice.  Once kids were sorted, it was our turn to order and boy was it difficult! The menu was bursting with flavours and just the names of the dishes were so inviting. After long deliberations  – the three adults -we ordered Bhindi bhel, dahl phuri, Hankies dal, pumpkin paneer, chilli lamb chops, fish tikka, keema kaleji, egg and crab gotala, chicken dhaba . For dessert, we ordered aam gur ke kheer, gajarela, homemade kulfi pistachio ice cream.

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While we were waiting for our food, we asked Asish and chef Manoj to explain us the food we were going to have. The passion they have for food they are cooking and the willingness of inviting the crowds of London to a gastronomic journey to India are unbelievable. Listening to them you realise, here at Hankies cafe the food is cooked with passion, all the spices are mixed here to please a rather neutral palette and not to be too fiery hot. The freshness of the food is guaranteed as everything is cooked from scratch here. No prepared, pre cooked ingredients – everything is cooked fresh from the minute you order your food. The children menu was thought through too. Kids do not like too spicy a food mostly, so the “grilled chicken tikka” was soaked in spices overnight and then thoroughly washed. So the little people wouldn’t be met with burning sensation but taste the flavour of the spices. My usually very fussy and reluctant to eat anything with a hint of spice elder child loved her chicken tikka, which was served with apple chutney with a side of beetroot/radish veggie swirls. This is a good way of starting introducing the children to the world of spices and other flavoursome cuisines. We have also ordered a blueberry lassi, which we all liked.

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Those meat lovers and culinary delight seekers like myself are in for a treat here. I was not a fan of Indian food, so it is difficult to sway me to go back to an Indian place for another meal. But the dedication of the staff, their love and devotion to the food they make elevates your dining experience to another level.  Their willingness to explain you every new fusion -explosion your taste buds are going through leads you appreciating the food more. You almost hear the hassle and bustle of busy Delhi streets with every mouthful of delightful Indian tapas at Hankies. We loved all of the food we were served. Do not be fooled with the tapas size small bites. They come with the relishes, raitas, kachori poppers and roomali roties and while you are taken on a gastronomic journey your stomach gets pleasantly full. I personally loved: bhindi bhel, chilli lamb chops and aam gur ke kheer.  Bhindi bhel is an unexpected dish with rice puffs, veggies and such a subtle delightful spice mix. I can not believe one can transform simple rice puffs to such a great culinary height.  Mexican food meet Indian fusion gave incomparably tender chilli lamp chops, the avocado relish on a side was la cerise sur le gateau! The caramelised mango rice pudding “aam gur ke kheer” was a really good dessert to finish off the culinary journey to Indian street food. I never liked rice puddings, but now I can say that I am a convert. The children liked their home made kulfi ice creams, particularly pistachio one was a hit.

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By this point, I was thinking of grabbing a coffee. The masala coffee on the drinks menu was promising, so I  ordered it. Can you imagine having a coffee with cinnamon, pepper, cardamom and coffee? Masala coffee is all about rich flavour and a pleasant scent. Move over other coffee chains, I know where I will be taking my fix next time I am around the corner. In conclusion, Hankies cafe is a great place to come and taste Indian street food tapas. A place to take your family and your friends on a culinary express to India in heart of London.

hankiNo need to queue in famous chains when you can get such a good quality, fresh food in a cosy cafe. The food, the dessert, the drinks are all a la hauteur- bravo! The price may be a little on a pricier side, but one gets filled quickly. To me, the quality was comparable if not better to some high chain restaurants. I will be going back there with my friends and family! The food was just right, not excessively spicy, yet flavoursome. What not to like, even writing this review my mouth is watering at the thought of this little place I have discovered and happy to share about. Go on try yourselves- you can thank me later.

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Have you got a fussy eater. then these ideas will help you to get your children to eat their healthy 5 a day.

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As I have mentioned my dad is visiting us and he should follow a strict diet for his diabetes. Thus we have been quite inventive to cook some healthy yet interesting meals that can tickle his and our imagination.
This meal is one of those.
It is quick to prepare and is full of surprise.
Of course having a little one who is keen to help is a bonus.
As while I was grilling the chicken she was busy putting the prepared igneredients into a food processor. Before you start worrying the food processor was off from mains. I sized it all of course.
Then put some basmati rice in a microwave desirably glass bowl, pour twice as much boiling water and cook at 800 for 20 minutes. I also added some curcuma for it’s brain neurons restructuring ability.
The coriander chutney is a little on a spicy side. If you’ve got a child who doesn’t eat spicy, you can simply serve it with ketchup – as I did. And as it is on a spicy side we couldn’t have the seconds 🙂
This will be one of the dishes I will be making after heavy meals like Xmas dinners. As it is light and one serving fills you up quickly.

Seriously I typed more then I cooked this.
P.s.
I added 400 ml of chicken stock to brazen chicken as we like our meat well cooked.

The result is one yummy dish for around 546 kcal per serving!
Bon appetite 🙂

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This is a moist,tender and delicious cake that has fraction of the fat in it, thanks to the buttermilk and oil.

Serves 12:

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 cups sugar

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk (look further how to make your own)

3 tablespoons canola oil (I used sunflower oil)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Make your own buttermilk. Just add half tablespoon of white wine vinegar to milk and leave it while you are getting on with the rest.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Lightly oil a 6 or 8 cup pan. Sprinkle the pan with 1 tablespoon of sugar, tapping out the excess.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. In another bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Whisk in the 1 1/4 cups of sugar, buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Gradually add the wet ingredients to dry ones, whisking until just moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

5. Bake the cake 30 or 40 minutes, or until a cake taster (toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean. Loosen the edges and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Just took this one out of the oven. The smell is heavenly.

This has now become one of the family favourites. I can see myself baking this again and again. Happy days 🙂

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I have been in hiatus for quite a while.
Now that my hubby treated me to a new technology, I will be posting more 🙂

This is what I am cooking tonight. It is has only 328 kcals per serving and is suitable for those on diet or has diabetes.
Bon appetite!

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In a former Soviet Union this summer soup was very famous. Everybody used to rave about this Korean dish. (The Koreans came to the communist Soviet Union during Stalin and were disperced along all the 15 member states). Apparently the original receipt was made of dog meat! But we always had it either with chicken or pork. So I guess those were the rumours. Ok enough background talk and let the cooking begin.

For 4 people and a child you will need:

 

2 chicken legs skinned

2 onions

1  chinese cabbage

2 bell peppers (if colourful that will bring more colour)

2 tomatos

1/2 of a cucumber

3 garlic cloves

2 or 3 eggs

1l of water

salt, sugar, soy souce, vinegar

Egg noodles 1 packet

dill

spring onions

Method:

Chop the onions, chicken, cabbage, bell peppers, garlic.

Heat the frying pan or wok with some oil. Not much just enough to fry. I use oil pump it uses maximum of 1 table spoon of oil spraying it all over the dish, thus minimisig your usage of oil.

First fry the onions and when they are softened put the diced chicken in and fry them

Add some salt and black pepper from pepper mill. Once the meat is well fried add the cabbage. All of it. Then add bell peppers.

 

While all the vegetables are frying prepare the cold soup. For this take 1 l of water ( I used filtered water from my Brita). Add a table spoon of salt, a table spoon of sugar, a table spoon of vinegar, a table spoon of say souce. Mix well making sure it all dissolves.

Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers in Julien. Chop the dill and the spring onions and add all this to a cold soup.

In the meanwhile brake the eggs and beat with the fork. Fry a pancake out of it in pan. For this just spray your pan with oil put the egg mixture cover with lid and leave on a mild heat for 3 minutes. Once the egg pancake is ready, take it out and cut into strips.

Cook the egg noodles as shown in packet and you ready to serve!

Separate bowl visually to 4 pieces. Put some noodles in 1/4, eggs in second, veggies and meat mixture in third and could tomato cucumber soup in the last bit and enjoy!

Honestly I spent more time typing this rather than cooking it 🙂 Even my toddler loved it, so we all had second servings 🙂 It is cold, summery, has fresh salad (cucumber and tomatoes), noodles, eggs what else can you ask for?

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