Monday, 22 June 2015

Spinach Pilaf

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Spinach Pilaf
Long grains of basmati rice cooked with spinach, spring onion and tempered with cumin seeds.
  • 240g Cold boiled rice
  • 90g Baby spinach
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pinch Turmeric
  • 2 Red dried chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1.Wash the spinach and chop it into very fine ribbons.2. Finely chop the spring onions both the white and the green parts.3. In a pan add the oil and wait for it to heat up.Once the oil is hot add the red chillies and cumin seeds and wait fro the cumin seeds to crackle and release flavour. 4. Add the spring onions and finely shredded spinach and saute for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts.5. Add the turmeric and salt to the spinach and mix well.6. Add the cold boiled rice to the pan and toss the rice and spinach mixture for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until all the rice grains are coated and flavoured with the spinach mixture.7. Transfer rice to a serving bowl.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 2

Submitting to:
Lets cook for DAD event by simplyfood
In my VEG BOX ~Onions event by citrusspice

Friday, 19 June 2015

#Lightscameracurrys ~ A masterclass in getting to know your DSLR

Photo with permission from Joe Blogs 

About 18 months ago I purchased my first DSLR camera. I am not a techie person and find even using the remote control on my TV hard at times with all the different settings and menus.  I wanted to be able to replace my old and faithful Panasonic lumix which has served me well for a DSLR. I researched the market for an entry level camera that would be not too difficult for me to handle and not cost the earth. I found my new friend the Nikon D3000. Together with the camera I bought a camera bag, a tripod, a 32GB Sandisk memory card, and an extra lens AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8D which is brilliant for my food photography. Since attending the photography class I have also bought a remote for my camera.

Over the first 6 months I tried to make friends with my new friend very slowly. I poured over the manual and tried to understand all the settings while I continued to shoot on the auto mode. Slowly I got the confidence to switch to Aperture mode and started playing with depth of focus in my photos. My readers encouraged me by leaving me some lovely comments as to how my photos had started to improve. This was sheer motivation and my next step was to try and use my camera on full manual mode but I did not have the courage in fear that if I changed some setting on my camera and I would not be able to put it back.

Photo used with permission from Joe Blogs. 

Luckily Curry's invited me to their lights camera curry’s photo class hosted by Paul Hames, an award-winning field photographer with 25 years of experience. I was really excited but at the same time super nervous as I was worried that I would not be able to follow the class due to my lack of photography knowledge. My worries were soon put at ease when I met some familiar faces at the class.
After a lovely brunch of pastries, coffee, fruits and juices we settled down to learn about aperture, ISO, bulb, shutter speed and lights. For my ability some of the information just went above my head but Paul was a great teacher and he patiently went over a lot of technical knowhow.

The three most important things I learnt from the session were:

Shutter speed- this is the time the camera shutter stays open to allow light to get into the camera. A faster shutter speed will freeze movement in a photograph; a slower shutter speed will cause a blur where the movement is.

Aperture- Where the light comes into the camera, Aperture is represented in f-stops. A lower number, like f/1.8, denotes a wider aperture, and a higher number, like f/20, denotes a narrower aperture. If you take a picture with a smaller f stop the background will be more blurred whereas with a wider f stop the background will be clearer.

ISO- ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera. This means that when there is lots of light use a low ISO and where there is limited light use a larger ISO

This useful hand out from Paul summarizes some of the key points.

Photo used with permission from Joe Blogs

Some other useful tips I took note of from the talk were:

  • Invest in a memory card with a large storage.
  • Auto adjust your focus on your camera.
  • Shoot from the hip.       
  • Shoot into the sun.
  • Over expose, this sounds strange but sometimes it enhances a photo.
  • Shoot through long grass.
  • Make use of reflections and shadows.
  • Less is more.
  • Fill the frame.
  • Be brave.
  • Blinking hell -take a few of the same shots you can always photoshop two pictures to make one.
  • Happy accidents, sometimes you just get that perfect capture from an accident.
  • Shoot in colour then convert to black and white.
  • RAW files are better than jpeg for quality.
  • Save photos as psd (photoshop document) or tiff (tagged image file format)as jpeg loses quality over time.
  • Use tripod whenever possible.
  • Buy a remote control for your camera; it’s a handy gadget to have.
  • Rule of thirds.
  • Be adventurous.

With the talk over it was time to put all the theory into practice. Our group headed over to Granary Square and the King’s Cross Pond to take some photos and practice what we had learnt. There were lots of opportunities to take pictures of the canal, canal boats, railway, fountains, Kings cross outdoor pool and pond club.

Taking photography seriously, everyone in action some more chilled than others!!

I am not sure I have achieved everything that I was taught, but below are my attempts at putting into action some of the things I had learnt at the class. (Serious photography experts please don't judge!)I am sure I am going to need lots and lots of practice but at least I feel a little more confident to shoot on manual mode now.

Here I am trying to use the rules of thirds in my photos.

Here I have attempted to use over exposure.

Here I have tried taking the photo using less light to give it a dark feel.

Here I have tried to shoot close up of the plants to show more detail.

I would like to thank Currys  and Canon for inviting me to this wonderful class and I would  also like to thank Paul for helping me to understand my camera a little better.I have a very long way to go but this is a pleasing start for me.

Any photos supplied by Joe Blogs have been clearly credited. All other photography is copyright of citrusspiceuk

You can read more about our class here:

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Mexican Rice

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Mexican Rice
Mexican rice with peppers and kidney beans, delicately spiced with cajun spices.
  • 240g / 8oz Pre cooked cold boiled rice
  • 60g /2oz Precooked kidney beans
  • 60g /2oz Precooked Sweet corn
  • 60g /2oz Finely diced mixed peppers red, green and yellow
  • 1 small Finely diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon Finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 medium boiled potato diced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon White pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon Olive oil
1. In a large pan add the oil, when it is hot saute the onions until they are translucent.2. Add the peppers and saute them for 2 minutes, next add the sweetcorn, kidney beans and diced potatoes and saute for another 3 minutes.3. Add the salt, white pepper,paprika, cumin powder, coriander powder, oregano and mix all the spices into the vegetable mixture.4. Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and toss gently for 3 minutes until all the vegetables are mixed in with the rice and it is warmed through.5. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl and garnish with the fresh coriander leaves.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 2

Submitting to:
Lets cook for Dad event by simplyfood

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Restaurant review ~ Curry Culture

I love dining out and my ideal choice of place to eat is somewhere with soft ambiance and good food. I love being able to relax and enjoy my meal, whilst being able to chat to friends rather than have to shout at the top of my voice  to be heard in places with loud music.
Curry Culture is a lovely Indian restaurant which offers various regional cuisines from different parts of India and sub continents. It is located in Uxbridge a stones throw away from the town center. The restaurant is bright and airy, decorated in minimalist contemporary decor with lots of modern lighting.

My partner and I visited the restaurant one Sunday evening, fairly early at 6.30. The restaurant at that time was very quiet and we were able to enjoy a relaxing drink  and nibble on the poppadoms with some pickles and chutneys while we looked at the menus to select what to eat.

~ Both my partner and I are vegetarians, the menu had a large selection of vegetarian dishes to choose from. I ordered the Aloo Tikki chana chat, delicious potato patties served with chickpeas dressed in a sweet and tangy mint and tamarind chutney. My partner ordered the crunchy onion bhaji, a deep fried balls of onions, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. The chef also surprised us with  gobi manchurian,deep fried cauliflower florets coated in a spicy indo chinese style coating. All three starters were really delicious and very tasty, I could have stopped at these and eaten them as a whole meal. The flavours were well balanced and the presentation was lovely too.

Choosing the the main course was harder, as we were really full with the starters so we decided to choose some light vegetable side dishes. Raj the owner recommended bhangain ka salan, a lovely peanutty sauce covering small pieces of succulent aubergines, matter paneer in makni sauce -this is indian cheese cubes cooked with peas in a very mild and creamy gravy and the tarka dhal, lentils tempered with cumin, ginger and chillies.

The sides were served with lovely fluffy nan bread and tandoori roti and pulau rice. Again the chef surprised us with a very unique mixed vegetable grill served smoking on a sizzler plate. There was grilled broccoli marinaded in a cheesy sauce, grilled sweet pineapple pieces, vegetable kebabs made from mashed vegetables and spinach  and tandoori paneer served on a bed of fried onions. Personally I did not enjoy the cheesy brocolli or the vegetable kebab both had a bitter after taste, but the paneer and the pineapple were delicious and had a lovely smoky barbecued taste.

The main course was delicious but we particularly enjoyed the tarka dhal and the aubergines in the peanut sauce which we would highly recommend. The menu also had a selection of desserts but we were too full to try any and decided to end the evening with some refreshing masala chai.

Our culinary experience at Curry Culture was lovely  the service was excellent. The menu is vast, and extensive catering  for vegetarian and non vegetarians The restaurant also has a large wine list and has a fully stocked bar. We really enjoyed the food, next time we go we will try to go a little later or visit on a Friday or Sat night with a group of friends as it would have been more enjoyable to have little more atmosphere and buzz in the restaurant.

Food 4 / 5
Ambiance 3.5  /5
Service 5 / 5

Score - 12.5 / 15

Curry Culture-33 Rockingham Road Uxbridge UB82TZ  01895231074

We were guests of Curry Culture and all the views and thoughts expressed in this review are of our experience and are genuine and honest.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Announcing event In my VEG BOX ~ Spring Onion

This month In my VEG BOX event this month ,we have the spring onions. It is a  lovely vegetabl that can be eaten raw in salads ,used as garnishes or cooked  in stews , curries , stir fries to give a lovely onion flavour that's subtle but flavorsome.
I am inviting all food lovers to cook and link up any vegetarian dish that has the use of spring onions (Eggs Allowed) and sending it to this event.

To Participate:

1. Prepare any vegetarian recipe using Spring onion (eggs allowed) please link your dish using the linky below by entering your Dish Name and Post URL
2. Please link this event announcement with your entry, this is mandatory.
3. Use of logo is not mandatory but it helps to spread the word if you can use it.
4. Multiple entries are allowed, archived are only allowed if reposted and updated with this event link.
5. Please make sure that you follow this blog via googleplus, google friend connect or face book so that you can get regular updates of future events in this series and also so that you can receive notification of the round up of the event.
6.In the event of problem using linky you can email me the entry at

Please use this format:
Your Name: Recipe
Name Recipe URL
Image no larger than 300 pixels.