Thursday 4 July 2024

An Evening at Ottolenghi's New Bicester Village Restaurant


I recently had the pleasure of visiting Ottolenghi's new restaurant in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire, to sample their summer menu. It was a lovely evening, filled with delightful surprises.

A Warm Welcome

As we arrived, we were greeted with welcome drinks. The drinks were a refreshing apple and hibiscus gin with Amalfi lemon and strawberries, and St. Germain with sparkling wine. Alongside these, we enjoyed an array of delicious canapés. The restaurant buzzed with excitement, and the ambiance was perfect for mingling with other guests.

Delectable Canapés

The canapés served were a treat for the senses:

  • Spiced potato samosas with apricot chamoy
  • Herby feta and walnut dip with pomegranate and chicory leaves
  • Beetroot pkhali filo cups with olive salsa

For the non-vegetarians, there were:

  • Cured-crusted salmon with peanut gochujang
  • Ricotta and beef meatballs with tomato sauce

Stunning Decor and a Deli

I fell in love with the décor of the restaurant. The deli, offering Ottolenghi products and cakes for purchase, added a unique touch. Now, you can enjoy Ottolenghi’s staple dishes at home or at events in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.

Ottolenghi Expands Catering Services

The Ottolenghi Group is thrilled to expand its catering services to the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. Previously exclusive to Greater London, these services are perfect for weddings, birthdays, and corporate events, making each occasion special and memorable.

Catering for All Occasions

Ottolenghi's catering service suits any event, from intimate dinners for two to large celebrations for five hundred. Their offerings include bountiful salads, breakfast spreads, celebration cakes, and full sit-down dinners, all radiating abundance, color, and generosity.

Expert Team for Unforgettable Events

Their team of fantastic chefs, bartenders, and waiting staff ensure unforgettable events. They can present your food, cook at your event, arrange waiting staff, or deliver your food anywhere in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. For a simpler option, you can collect your order from their new Bicester Village restaurant and serve it yourself. With no minimum spend requirements, their services fit any budget and occasion.

Diverse Menu Selection

Sample catering menus feature a wide selection of dishes, including canapés, salads, mains, and cakes. There’s something for everyone, ensuring a delightful experience.

A Journey of Flavour

Ottolenghi began in a small shop in Notting Hill in 2002. Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi developed a unique style rooted in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions, incorporating diverse global influences and ingredients.

A Growing Family

Over 20 years, Ottolenghi has grown into a proud family of nine delis and restaurants across London, and now in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.

A Vegetarian Delight

After the appetizers, we enjoyed our main meal, served family-style. As vegetarians, my partner and I were pleasantly surprised by the excellent options:

  • Lentils and pickled shallots with berbere-spiced croutons
  • Roasted cauliflower with pumpkin seeds and barberries
  • Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt and pine nuts

For the non-vegetarians, there were:

  • Seabass fillet with caponata and green peppercorn
  • Herby leek, hispi cabbage, and feta borek with caraway seeds
  • Lamb kofta with bulgur and caramelised onion

All the food we tried was tasty, beautifully presented, with the perfect balance of textures and flavours. The chef made good use of seasonal produce, and the variety of choices suited every palate.

Irresistible Desserts

When we thought we could eat no more, we were tempted with a trio of desserts:

  • Passion fruit meringue tart
  • Flourless pistachio, lemon, and polenta cake with orange blossom
  • Raspberry and white chocolate pavlova

All these delightful treats were served with our coffee of choice, ending the meal on a perfect note.


My evening at Ottolenghi's new Bicester Village restaurant was a delightful experience. The warm welcome, beautiful décor, and delicious food made it a night to remember. Whether dining in or catering an event, Ottolenghi's offerings are sure to impress.

**I was an invited guest at the Ottolenghi summer tasting menu event, all views and opinions shared are of my experience of the food and drinks.

Friday 21 June 2024

Refreshing mocktail and cocktail ideas for your summer party and a giveaway


Summer and Garden Parties

Summer is the perfect season for garden parties. The warm weather, vibrant blooms, and long, sunny days create an ideal backdrop for outdoor gatherings. Hosting a garden party allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature while spending quality time with friends and family. To elevate your summer soirée, consider offering a variety of refreshing beverages. From invigorating mocktails to classic and creative cocktails, the right drinks can enhance the festive atmosphere. Here's a guide to some delightful drink ideas that will impress your guests and make your garden party unforgettable.

Mocktails: Refreshing and Alcohol-Free

Mocktails are delightful non-alcoholic beverages. They offer a perfect alternative for those who prefer not to consume alcohol. Bursting with flavors, these drinks are both refreshing and sophisticated.

Fruit-Based Mocktails

Fresh fruit juices create vibrant mocktails. For example, mix orange juice, grenadine, and a splash of soda for a Sunrise Surprise. Garnish with a cherry for extra flair.

Herb-Infused Mocktails

Herbs add depth to mocktails. Try a Basil Lemonade: blend fresh basil, lemon juice, and simple syrup with sparkling water. Serve it over ice for a cool, refreshing drink.

Cocktails: Classic and Creative

Cocktails combine spirits with mixers for flavourful, spirited drinks. They can be simple or complex, catering to diverse tastes and occasions.

Classic Cocktails

Classic cocktails remain timeless. A Martini, made with gin and vermouth, garnished with an olive or lemon twist, exudes elegance. Similarly, a Mojito, with rum, mint, lime, and soda, offers a refreshing choice.

Creative Cocktails

Creative cocktails showcase innovation. Mix vodka, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice for a Floral Bliss. Add a rosemary sprig for an aromatic touch.

Here are some amazing mocktail ideas:

Lychee Mocktail

Indulge in a refreshing Lychee Mocktail, bursting with sweet, juicy lychees, vibrant pomegranate arils, and topped with lychee juice. Enhanced with a hint of mint, grenadine syrup, and the effervescence of sparkling water, this non-alcoholic drink is perfect for any party or occasion. Enjoy the ultimate summer refresher!

Virgin Strawberry Mojito

Luscious strawberries, aromatic mint muddled to create this refreshing strawberry mojito.

Sangria (alcohol free)

Non-alcoholic Sangria is a refreshing drink that beautifully captures the essence of summer. Made with a blend of fruit juices, it’s infused with an array of fresh summer fruits like oranges, lemons, and berries. The fruit soaks up the juices, adding bursts of flavour with every sip. Often sweetened with a touch of honey or sugar and a splash of sparkling water, Sangria is both delicious and invigorating. Serve it chilled over ice for a perfect summer party beverage.

Hosting Tips

When hosting, offer both mocktails and cocktails. This ensures all guests have appealing options. Use fresh ingredients and experiment with garnishes to enhance the presentation. Mocktails and cocktails can transform any gathering into a memorable experience.

With the celebration of summer I am giving away a 8 Piece Cocktail Shaker Set with recipes and Ice Ball Mould so you can also create some delicious cocktails and mocktails for your party.

How to Enter:

·         Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below, and make sure you complete the mandatory options

·         Please read the rules they form the terms and conditions of this Giveaway

·         Closing date – 7th July 2024 12 am GMT

This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK or have a UK postal address.  Closing date – 7th July 2024 12 AM GMT

The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced on this page.

Prize:  1 x 8 piece Cocktail Shaker Set with recipes, and ice ball mould. 

simplyfood is hosting this giveaway  Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to withdraw the competition at any time should any unforeseen circumstances arise, in case that the prize is not available a similar prize of same value will be substituted.  No monetary compensation will be given.

Simplyf00d will be responsible for sending out the prize to the winner, by entering you are **consenting** to share your address for the prize to be sent and be contacted by email to notify you if you have won the prize. 
Please note to be compliant with the new GDPR rules by entering the giveaway you are consenting to allow simplyfood to contact you if you win the prize. Your data will NOT be used for any other marketing purposes.

All entries will be verified, failure to follow instructions correctly will result in participants being disqualified. Please do not cheat. Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 27 May 2024

How to make Khatta moong


Moong Beans

Moong beans, also known as green gram, play a crucial role in many Asian cuisines. Their mild flavor and versatility make them perfect for soups, salads, and curries. You can use moong beans whole, split, or sprouted, each form offering unique culinary benefits.


Health Benefits

Moong beans pack a punch with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and folate. They aid digestion, promote heart health, and regulate blood sugar levels. Their high antioxidant content combats inflammation and supports immune function, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.

There are many recipes you can make with moong beans such as :

 Moong Beans (Green lentils) cooked gujarati style

 Red Camargue and Sprouted Moong Bean Salad

What is Khatta Moong?

Khatta means sour and Moong is dried green gram. The name is given to a sweet and sour yoghurt based curry that is make with sour natural yoghurt and green gram. It is a very popular recipe commonly make in Gujarati Cuisine. A similar version called Khatta Urad is also made in the same manner but using black gram known as urad beans.

What type of yoghurt is used in making this recipe?

It is important to use natural yoghurt that is sour for this recipe, however if your yoghurt is not sour you can add some lemon juice to the yoghurt to make it sour.

Can I make this with plant based yoghurt?

You can make this recipe with natural sugar free plant based yoghurt such as Alpro Soya no sugars yoghurt, However you will need to add lemon juice to it to make the yoghurt sour.

What is Jaggery?

Jaggery is a traditional, unrefined sugar made from sugarcane or palm sap. It has a rich, caramel-like flavour and is often used in South Asian cuisine. Jaggery retains more minerals and nutrients than refined sugar.

What is a substitution for Jaggery?

You can add brown sugar, white sugar  or any sweetener of choice such as canderal or stevia.

Best way to cook the moong beans

Its is advisable to soak the moong beans 4 hours or over night before cooking them. I prefer to bring them to the boil in a pan and then simmer them on low heat until cooked. You do not want the moong beans to go mushy, The recipe works best with cooked moong beans that retain their shape.
However you can cook them in a pressure cooker or instapot if you prefer but make sure not to over cook them.

What can I serve the Khatta Moong with?

The khatta moong recipe is easy to make and tastes delicious with steamed rice. It can also be served with chapattis.

Lets get to the recipe now:

You can also watch the full recipe video for Khatta Moong below:

If you enjoy my recipes why not check out simplyf00d Instagram account for latestest updates , stories and reels.

Monday 13 May 2024

Refresh your day with 5 flavourful infused water ideas

Image  by Nawalescape from Pixabay

Infused water ideas

Let’s face it, plain water—while delicious and oh so good for you—can get a little boring. But infusing your water means you can switch up your flavours whenever you like, keeping your H20 game extra fresh.

Adding your flavour combos to your insulated water bottle or cup is also a good choice as it lets you top up your water and re-use those delicious ingredients. Plus, it’ll keep it all cool as a cucumber. 

So get your favourite cup ready to go, it’s time to get onto some recipes!

1. Citrus Zing Explosion

Infusing your water with citrus isn’t just flavourful, it’s good for you too. Citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit are packed full of vitamin C, helping keep our skin and bones nice and healthy. Plus, lemon and grapefruit can even help with digestion, so it’s great to sip on around meal times.

Citrus fruits are also delicious to add to other flavour combos, like with berries, mint or even rosemary. Just make sure you pick your drinkware carefully as lemons, limes and oranges can absorb into some plastics and materials. Your best bet is a reusable cup, as it keeps the flavours where they should be—in your water. 

 How to make citrus-infused water

  1. Add ice to a reusable cup. 
  2. Slice up half a lemon and half a lime, before adding to the cup.
  3. Gently rub a mint leaf between your fingers and put on top of the fruit slices.
  4. Fill the remainder of the cup with water.
  5. Carefully stir and let rest for about an hour.
  6. Head on down to flavour town.

 Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay 

2.Berry Bliss Medley

Berries are great to use as a base for infused water as they can either add sweet or tart flavours to suit your mood. Most berries will be a little more tart if picked before being entirely ripe, with blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and gooseberries known to have a little bite to them. Of course, strawberries, blueberries and cherries are the sweeter members of the berry family, so they’re ideal for quenching that sweet tooth.

The other benefit to adding berries to your water (besides the incredible flavours) is all the extra antioxidants you’ll get throughout the day. So while your taste buds are having a party, your hair, skin and nails will be thanking you too.

How to make berry-infused water

  1. In a reusable cup, add in a small handful each of sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
  2. Add in a couple of mint leaves.
  3. Using a muddler or the end of a rolling pin, lightly muddle and mix around the berries and mint leaves.
  4. Add in a handful of ice cubes.
  5. Top with water, mix and enjoy.

 3. Cucumber Mint Refresh

Cucumber is one of the most hydrating fruits and vegetables, made up of 96% water. So, not only is this vitamin-packed vegetable going to add so much flavour to your infused water, it’s also going to be a hydrating snack once you’re done drinking! 

 As for mint, it’s great for calming the mind and body, as well as the stomach. Adding cucumber and mint together is such a flavourful treat, and has the added benefit of making you feel more relaxed—almost as if you’re on a holiday.

 How to make cucumber and mint-infused water

  1. In the bottom of a reusable cup, muddle a small handful of mint leaves.
  2. Add in a quarter of a sliced cucumber.
  3. Throw in some ice cubes and top with ice-cold water.
  4. Gently stir and enjoy your new favourite beverage.

4. Tropical Escape Infusion

Food and drinks have the power to transport us to faraway places and distant memories. A tropical escape infusion is a way to add a little touch of holiday magic to your day with every sip. The combination of pineapple, mango and papaya is delightfully punchy and sweet, and can be infused overnight for an even more powerful flavour bomb.

On top of the flavourful surprise, you’re also getting a good healthy hit of vitamins. Papaya is renowned for its high level of antioxidants, while pineapple is known for being anti-inflammatory and mango has loads of immunity-boosting nutrients. 

How to make tropical-infused water

  1. Skin and slice the pineapple, mango and papaya into small chunks.
  2. Add the fruit into the bottom of a cup with a handful of ice.
  3. Top with water and stir to combine.
  4. Infuse overnight for the most flavour, or serve immediately to begin your tropical retreat.

BONUS TIP: Freeze mint leaves in ice cube trays with water to add to your drink for a refreshing twist.

 5. Herbal Serenity Sip

Herbal tea is a great way to unwind at the end of a long day. But did you know herbs make for delicious infused water too? 

Herbs (like rosemary and basil) and floral botanicals (like lavender) add a surprising, yet tasty, flavour to water. They can be combined with other flavours to shake up the recipe, or on their own for a relaxing and hydrating drink. Many herbs are also known for their revitalising properties, like rosemary for helping ease headaches and basil for being anti-inflammatory. Plus, lavender is a relaxing slice of heaven just to smell. 

How to make herbal-infused water

  1. In a reusable cup, add a few slices of lemon.
  2. Rub a sprig of rosemary between your hands before adding to the cup.
  3. Add a small spoon of honey.
  4. Fill the cup with water and ice.
  5. Gently stir in a lavender stem.
  6. Let the aromas transport you.

There are endless infused water ideas you can play with to find your favourites. Start with these recipes and try mixing them up or adding in your own favourite ingredients. The more you try, the better you’ll become at creating your own new flavour sensations!


Staying hydrated in hot weather is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. Adequate hydration helps regulate body temperature, supports proper organ function, and enhances cognitive function. Opting for drinks like infused waters with refreshing fruits or herbs, healthy fruit teas, and herbal teas provides hydration without excessive sugar or caffeine. These alternatives not only quench thirst effectively but also offer additional nutrients and antioxidants, making them ideal choices for staying cool and hydrated during scorching weather.

Some drinks you may like are:
If you enjoy my posts why not visit simplyf00d Instagram Channel for more ideas.

**Collaborative Post

Thursday 9 May 2024

Easy Mango Bhapa Doi -Bengali Baked Yogurt

What is Bhapa Doi?

Mango Bhapa Doi is a heavenly dessert that hails from the culinary treasure trove of Bengal, India. This delightful treat combines the richness of yogurt with the tropical sweetness of mangoes, creating a harmonious symphony of flavour's.

Origins and Tradition

Bhapa Doi, which translates to "steamed yogurt," has been a traditional Bengali dessert for generations. Its roots trace back to rural Bengal, where simple ingredients were transformed into exquisite delights. Over time, variations emerged, including the beloved Mango Bhapa Doi, adding a seasonal twist to this timeless classic.

The Essence of Mango

One cannot discuss Mango Bhapa Doi without highlighting the star ingredient: mangoes. Known as the king of fruits, mangoes lend their vibrant colour and luscious sweetness to this dessert. Whether pureed or diced, mangoes infuse every spoonful of Bhapa Doi with their irresistible flavour, elevating it to a new level of indulgence.

What type of mango is best for this recipe?

I highly recommend the Kesar mango or Alphonso but any mango that is available to you will work equally well

How to make Bhapa Doi?

Creating Mango Bhapa Doi is an easy and simple recipe to create with three main ingredients only.. Fresh yogurt is blended with condensed milk, and mango puree, creating a creamy base. This mixture is then delicately seasoned with ground cardamom and saffron milk and steamed, allowing the flavours to meld together while retaining the dessert's silky texture. The result? A decadent treat that melts in your mouth with each spoonful.

Individual portions or one larger bowl?

The Bhapa Doi can be made in individual portions, or one large bowl . there is no right or wrong way however just make sure the bowl used is heat proof and will withstand being placed in the steamer.

What type of yoghurt is best for Bhapa Doi?

Personally I recommend full fat thick and creamy Greek yoghurt. The authentic Bhapa Doi is make with hung Curd also known as strained yoghurt where water is drained from the yogurt  by placing it in a muslin cloth and allowing the water to drain out.. Full cream yoghurt works best for this recipe.

Variations and Innovations

While the traditional recipe remains cherished, modern twists on Mango Bhapa Doi have emerged. Some incorporate cardamom for an aromatic touch, while others add nuts or saffron for added decadence. Vegan versions swap dairy for coconut milk, catering to diverse dietary preferences without compromising on taste.

Can I make Bhapa Doi with vegan yoghurt?

Although you can make Bhapa Doi with vegan yoghurt, you will get the taste but the texture will be compromised.

Serving and Enjoyment

Mango Bhapa Doi is best enjoyed chilled, garnished with slivers of almonds, pistachio and fruit.  Its creamy texture and tropical flavour make it the perfect finale to any meal or a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Whether served in elegant bowls or humble earthenware, each spoonful is a reminder of Bengal's culinary expertise.


In the world of desserts, Mango Bhapa Doi stands out as a testament to Bengal's rich culinary heritage. Its simple yet exquisite flavours capture the essence of the region, making it a beloved treat for all occasions. Whether you're savouring a traditional recipe or exploring innovative variations, Mango Bhapa Doi is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

 There are many sweet dishes from around the world made with yoghurt. Why not check out this, Coconut shrikand with strawberries and Srikand


If you make this recipe I would love to hear your feedback . Please share them in the comments below. 
If you would like to see the video of the recipe check the full recipe on  my you tube.

If you enjoy my posts please do also check out my reels on  simplyf00d instagram
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