Sunday, 25 January 2009

Indian Food Therapy

This past Friday I was having a particularly good day in London. My teacher at school gave me some great compliments and I was able to finally open a bank account. These might not seem like reasons for a 'particularly god day in London' but receiving a compliment from my teacher was just what I needed after a week of feeling like I was falling behind but trying my hardest to keep up. And have you tried to open a British bank account if you are a foreigner recently? It's perhaps the single most frustrating thing I've been through in the past year. Someday, I will write a book about all the stuff people don't tell you about moving to London....then I will write a book about all the stuff people don't tell you about what's next after graduating from college...then I will write a book about all the stuff people don't tell you about living in the 'real world'. I digress.

I might seem a bit jaded from the last few sentences above but it's nothing a little spicy curry can't take care of. I was on my way home from getting the bank account when it dawned on me that I had nothing to eat for dinner and when I thought of the grocery store, I knew immediately I was not going to cook. So, in celebration of good remarks at school, conquering the British banks and the simple but amazing fact that it was Friday was all the evidence I needed to be convinced to take the tube an extra stop away from home and get some fantastic curry.

The stop is Tooting Broadway and when you come out of the tube station you are surrounded by ethnic eateries, all of which look and smell amazing. I started walking along the busy street past all the fruit and vegetable stands and open markets just waiting to see the perfect place to get dinner to-go. I finally found 'Al Mirage' and quickly decided that was my place. They advertised healthy Indian food along with fresh juices. I went inside and ordered everything I wanted. Vegetable samosa, 2 curries (hey, they were 3-4 pounds each....wouldn't you?) and garlic naan. All for 8 pounds. They even included a little side salad and some magical dressing to go with. When I unpacked it all in pure delight I realized that rice was not complimentary with my order, therefore leaving my hot delicious curries all by their lonesome. Reluctantly I made some brown rice and paced the kitchen, cheap red wine in hand, while my curry taunted me. I eventually ate. And ate. And ate some more. And went back for seconds. The healthy brown rice was actually what made the meal perfect because it had a nice crunchy, nutty quality that basmati does not possess, and it paired nicely with my dahl and palack paneer. The food I ordered would have easily fed me three good sized dinners if I had not been so greedy the first time around....and, as with most complex spicy foods it was much better the next day. So, will I go back to Al Mirage? Of course. Only after I try all the other places first.

Skip to the following Tuesday when I traveled back to Tooting Broadway to take some photos for you. How could I have missed all the Indian bakeries? Just how? Anyway, I made up for lost time to say the least. I went into Pooja and with my clear American accent said, "I've never had any of this before. Tell me what's good." The woman smiled and proceeded to serve up mango, peanut butter, chocolate mint, cashew and pistachio nut "pure butter ghee sweets". Holy cow. I've just walked in the door to type this and have already been distracted by them about 10 times. American fudge can eat it's heart out. It's not as chalky and cloyingly sweet as the fudge I grew up with. The flavors shine a bit more and there is a creamier texture to these little bits of heaven. I will surely do much research on how to make these little nuggets of gold and report back with a recipe- and a freezer full of the stuff.

So, who wants to meet me in Tooting for delicious food?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Hop, skip and a jump...

So, welcome to my new-ish blog. Instead of just writing recipes about vegan baked goods, I've decided to explore my new home, London, with tales of the food I eat or cook. As I'm adjusting to my new life I will also be adjusting to my new take on this blog. Talking about just vegan baking while living in Tennessee is so 2008. Looking forward to sharing many tales of eating with you in the new future! Also, this lady with a shit ton of 'chips' is not me, but I really wish it was.


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