Saturday, 23 March 2019

Lunch at Ritorno Covent Garden London

Covent garden is my favourite part of London, I love spending lazy Sunday afternoons strolling through the square and savouring the atmosphere. It is also the hub of London theatre land showing some wonderful shows.

There is so much to do in Covent Garden that you could easily spend a day there. There are many bars, coffee shops and restaurants dotted around and you will find all types of cuisine to suit your taste and pocket. On my recent trip shopping trip we decided to stop to have a light lunch. My friend Heidi and I love Italian food so we lunched at Ritorno a chic Italian brasserie in the centre of Covent Garden

The restaurant is tastefully decorated with stripes and a flamingo theme. It's very quirky and fun yet stylish too. The restaurant has an amazing fully stocked up bar and the menu had lots of choice. There was a choice of the brunch menu or a la carte.


We didn't drink any alcohol instead we settled for soft drinks whilst we waited to order our meal.
We decided to have order a main course only as we wanted a light meal. I choice the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina  a homemade baked ‘Sorrento style’ potatoes gnocchi in tomato sauce with Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. It was light and absolutely delicious in texture and flavour. Being a vegetarian I found adequate choice on the menu to choose from which is always a plus for me.

Heidi on the other hand chose the Ravioli Di Burrata -a housemade ravioli pasta stuffed with creamy Burrata from Andria fresh cherry tomato and basil sauce. She too enjoyed it tremendously.

After the delicious  pasta dishes, we enjoyed a mini dessert each. We both chose the chocolate cake, This was surprising different to what we had imagined, it was more like a brownie. Never the less it was still tasty.The warm chocolate cake was served with Sicilian ricotta cheese topping and an orange and chocolate crispy tuille. It was just enough to satisfy those sweet taste buds without making you feel over indulgent.

Finally I have to mention this the trip to the ladies washroom was a total surprise. It was a transportation to a pink imaginary world. You can see what I mean from the picture below.

Thank you to Ritorno who invited us as guests to dine with them. It was a really enjoyable lunch, the service was great.We would definitely return there again for another meal. All views and opinions are of our experience of the meal.
You can read about Heidis experience below.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Judge Radiant Saucepans Review

Being a foodie I spend a lot of time in my kitchen cooking. Having good quality pots and pans with a good non stick coating is a must. Non stick pans means you can use minimal oil and cook food to perfection making it healthy too.
I recently needed to replace my pans as over time they had got scratched and were not in good condition. My search lead me to the Judge kitchen ware. 

The Judge Radiant range is stylish in black, it has Teflon’s very latest Radiance non-stick surface which is PFOA free. This is very important as cheaper coating tend to peel off after prolonged use and can contaminate the food. The Teflon coating is a 3 layer coating with integrated ferrous particles that help to quicken heat transfer through and pan and maintain even heat throughout the pan surface. The pans have a high efficient aluminium body that is sealed with a heat proof metallic paint to make them strong.

The pans are all suitable for all hob types and they are oven safe up to 150 degrees C. They come with a Judge 25-year guarantee and also 10-year non-stick guarantee. The radiant range comes in 13 different pans including saucepans, fry pans, woks and crepe pans, and 3 and 5 piece sets. All the pans have matching soft grip stay cool handles and knobs on the lids. The lids have vents to prevent over boil. They are easy to clean and totally dishwasher safe too which is a requirement in this day and age. 

The full range is available to buy from Horwoods. Prices start from £20.00, the pans are extremely good value for money. I have the three pan set but I am planning on adding a few more pieces to my collection. I love the stylish black but for those who like to add a pop of colour to their kitchen you can get them in red too.

In collaboration with Judge Cookware, I was sent a set of judge pan to put to test in my kitchen, all views and opinions and photos are my own.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Matoke Bhel- East African street food

I lived in East Africa for eight years of my life and I have very fond memories of the food there. Street food was something we loved and I have a very vivid memory of one such street vendor who used to daily serve the Matoke (green raw banana) right outside my school gates. It was a simple dish but as they say its simplicity at its best and sometimes uncomplicated dishes are the ones that have the greatest taste.

Coming to the Matoke Bhel, it was simply matoke boiled in their skins, the vendor would then fish them out of the simmering pan and peel and mash them into a tin dish. He would add lemon juice, salt, chilli powder and a dash of oil and mash it all together. The matoke mash was then transferred to a serving dish, it was topped with thin slivers of red onion, finely chopped chillies and a generous helping of a crunchy snack called chivda (a spicy fried beaten rice, potato crisps and peanut mixture). Finally it was finished with a garnish of finely chopped coriander leaves and served with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and more sprinkling of chilli powder for those who liked it spicy!!

The spicy tangy flavours and the crunch from the toppings made this streetfood snack the best thing I have ever tasted. I fact my mouth waters every time I think of it. I have tried to recreate this dish again in my kitchen and it was definitely the best thing I have eaten. I can't believe I waited so long to prepare this amazing streetfood snack.

Yield: serves 2

Matoke (Raw Green Banana) Bhel

African Street food boiled matoke flavoured with simple spices and garnished with onions, chillies and a crunchy savory snack topping.
prep time: 5 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 25 mins


  • 6 Matoke (Raw green banana)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sun flower oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 springs of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 100 gram chivda (spicy snack)
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 small red onion finely sliced


  1. Place the matoke without peeling in to a large pan of water and boil for 20 minutes, you can see the matoke are ready when the skins start to split open.
  2. Once the matoke is boiled remove from the pan and peel the skin off. Place it in a bowl and mash it with a potato masher.
  3. Add salt, chili powder, lemon juice and the oil and mix well.
  4. Transfer the seasoned matoke to two serving bowls and garnish with the onion slices, the chivda and the chopped coriander. Serve hot with extra lemon wedges.


If you dont have any chivda you can just add some potato chips scrunched and some roasted peanuts instead.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I am sending this recipe to an event hosted by Mirelle of The Schizo Chef to celebrate African Food week.

Other Diaspora Cuisine recipes:

I love food from all over the world and my next task is to sample some delicious food from Singapore shared here

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Blueberry Compote and a Review of A Kitchen Fairytale Cookbook

I really believe in healthy eating and I always try to include lots of healthy ingredients into my daily diet. For centuries it is thought that foods have healing properties and having Indian roots , I always grew up in a household where my grandmother and my mother would feed us all types of foods to keep up away from illnesses and ailments.

I too try and follow this thought and try and include natural ingredients in my cooking that have healing properties. Recently I came across a book called A Kitchen Fairytale.What is special about this book is that the author Iida van der Byl-Knoefel wrote the book after changing to a plant based diet to help her recover from a serious auto immune condition. The book supports the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

All the recipes are predominantly wholefood and plant based.The recipes are low in fat, sugars and salt and she uses whole grain, legumes and fruits. In the first few pages of the book Iida shares how the changes in her diet together with yoga helped her to overcome her  health issue. It is extremely interesting and unlike a standard cook book Iida shares a wonderful story of her journey to recovery.

The Kitchen Fairytale Cookbook has a selection of recipes, all categorised in chapters such as  breakfast, mains and desserts and drinks. The recipes are easy to follow and the book is beautifully illustrated with mouthwatering photos.

I have tried many recipes from the book. The recipes are uncomplicated and simple to make but are really tasty. The best thing is that most ingredients used in the book are all readily available in the supermarkets.

One of my most created recipe is the blueberry compote, I would not say its really a recipe as its just blueberries cooked in water, but you will be surprised at the burst of flavour you get with the compote compared to just adding blueberries to your breakfast. It just takes the humble porridge to new heights in taste and flavour.

You can purchase the book from Amazon and most large book shops.

Book Details : A Kitchen Fairytale Cookbook by Iida van der Byl-Knoefel
ISBN  978-178161-123-0
Retails  £24.99

My score for the book: 12/15

Content -4/5
Recipe Instructions-4/5

** I was sent a copy of the book to review as always all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Harissa- Recipe Swap February

I am a member of the facebook Recipe swap group where food bloggers are paired with another blogger in the group and they get the opportunity to discover their partners blog and select a recipe to recreate. This is a great way to make new friends, discover new blogs to follow and learn new styles of global cuisines. 

The month of February I was allocated Mirelle's blog theschizochef . I am very familier with Mirelles blog as I have been visiting it for anumber of years. Mirelle used to actively participate in my flavours of series and create and carve series. What can I say about this Amazing blog? There is a recipe from every nation you can think of and the choice is so big that it was super hard to choose what to make. Ater spending hours looking through the recipes, Iwas  particularly  drawn to Mirelles African inspired recipes as I was born in East Africa and some of her recipes evoked lots of childhood memories.

After short listing something like 10 recipes, I finally settled on her home made Harissa recipe as I love spicy marinades and this Harissa paste has so many uses. I followed the recipe exact to her instructions, only exception was I reduced the quantity  to make one jar full only.

Yield: 1 jar

Harissa Paste

A spicy North Afican Red Chilli and garlic paste that is perfect for marinades and using as a dip when added to yoghurt and mayonaisse .
prep time: 30 minscook time: total time: 30 mins


  • 4 oz. dried chilles
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


  1. Place the chillies in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes, until chilies are softened
  2. In a dry skillet, roast the coriander, cumin and caraway until fragrant. Let cool. Using a spice grinder, grind to a powder.
  3. Drain chilies, reserving a little of the liquid.
  4. Add all the ingredients to a blender jug like the Optimum 9400 and blend to a smooth paste. If the consistency is a little stiff add a little more of the liquid that the chillies were soaked in.
  5. Transfer the Harissa to a sterilised bottle and keep refrigerated.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I made my Harissa sauce in my Optimum 9400 Blender and it blended it to a lovely smooth paste in seconds. The blender is so versatile and powerful that it grinds, pulses, makes ice cream, soups and amazing smoothies and nut butters too. It is easy to clean and maintain too.

If you would like a high speed blender do check out the froothie website as they currently have a sale. You can also get:
  • Free delivery
  • 0% 12 months free finance
  • Up to 10 years warranty on selected products
  • 30 day no quibble return/ exchange policy if you are not satisfied with your purchase.

Special offer: 
You can also get an extra £30.00 off by putting AMB1572 £30.00 OFF IN COMMENTS BOX  when ordering.

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Please check out the other delicious Recipe Swap Recipes


Chana Daal Chutney

Fresh Green Chana Chaat

Koeksisters - South African Doughnuts

Til Ke Laddu - Sweet Sesame Seed Balls

Pineapple Ginger Bubble Tea

Masala Chai

Ragi, Banana & Dates Smoothie

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Mamra Upma

Spiced Plantain Chips

Fiery Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce

Sweet Potato Soup

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