Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Khushi Indian Buffet Restaurant, Middlesbrough - Restaurant Review

 Middlesbrough's newest Indian Buffet restaurant has opened up on the outskirts of Linthorpe Village. The less-developed end of Linthorpe offers few decent options to eat and drink, but Khushi may just be the thing to remedy that.
Formerly the Red Rose pub, the building from the outside seems secretive and enclosed, but once inside it is bright, airy and spacious. The whole place has been opened up so as you enter you are faced with rows of buffet tables stacked with food. The staff were ever so lovely, friendly and always helpful.
Buffet style is new for me. Without wishing to sound above myself, going out for a meal means being served. Here at Khushi, you must grab a plate, fill it up with whatever you wish, and then bring it back to your table - like breakfast at a hotel. But the advantage of this is you can take your time, take as much (or as little) food as you wish, and wait as long (or not) as you feel like for the next round. Eat starters the whole time if you wish! I almost ended up doing that... A selection of prepared starters included pakoras and samosas as well as some non-Indian sundry dishes such as chicken popcorn and onion rings. An entire buffet table offers sauces and condiments. Hot starters such as chicken tikka, lamb sheeshk, and fish masala sit in a row of chafing dishes, along with slices of naan bread.
In the centre you can choose your main meal from a selection of curry, including lamb Rogan Josh, chicken Karma, Chicken Karachi and the Khushi special. Rice, Tarka daal, and a range of aloos also available.  

Pakoras, Samosas, Bombay Aloo, Chicken Tikka, Khushi Special Curry, two courses, and raspberry cheesecake.
  Food is good value for money at £12.99 per adult, when you can eat as much as you like. Even non Indian food fans can come along as there is also a selection of pizza and various fried food to cater for them. Perhaps even tempt them to try something a bit spicy? The drinks are a tad extortionate at £4.99 a pint, but you can have a bottle of house wine for around fifteen smackers. The place is clean and the staff are attentive, taking your empty plates away as quickly as they are finished. Quality-wise, the food is freshly cooked onsite en masse so is a good as can be expected when it may have been sitting there for a while.
Desserts are currently a selection of cheesecake, chocolate cake and fresh ice cream, with a variety of Indian desserts coming soon. Overall the restaurant is clean and the service, despite some reviews, can't be faulted.

Newly opened, Khushi has potential to become a destination restaurant for Linthorpe Villagers and visitors alike. A few tweaks to the buffet itself, and with the help of some local development and clientele, I wish Khushi all the very best. Eat with Happiness.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Cake

Christmas is nearly upon us! How many times have we read that recently...!
Tis true though, only a week away. Lots to do, so I've decorated my Christmas cake today. I made it in November sometime, and instead of one big round one as I usually do I made it into two smaller squares.
My Mum's recipe, as usual, had a weekly bath in fine Irish whisky, and I've used whisky marmalade as a glaze instead of apricot.
My 9 year old wanted to help, as it's for Grandma, so I let her off with some red sugarpaste and access to my 'toolbox'. Off her own bat she used a stocking shaped cutter (from last year's crackers, I'm sure!) and a gold edible pen, and we stuck the stockings round the edge.
I wanted to keep it simple, so I simply made lots of little white sugarpaste stars and made a Christmas tree shape, with red and gold edible glitter.
The other square cake I simply covered in white sugarpaste, pressed in some snowflake shapes and sprinkled in white edible glitter. Simples. That cake is already gone, so no picture...
Happy Christmas Everyone!
Ho ho ho...

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Homemade Truffles with Orange, Cointreau and Pistachio - Recipe

 A last minute chocolate-y treat for a visit to my lovely friends. I had a rummage to see what I had in, and what I could make in the couple of hours I had in between everything else that's going on! I had a bar of white chocolate, a jar of Terry's chocolate orange spread (like Nutella, just even more delicious!), a bit of cream, and then the usual store cupboard ingredients. I read somewhere about easy microwave truffles, so I thought, hmm... that should work!
I was really chuffed with my friends' response to these so I thought I'd share the recipe. Although normal truffles are made with dark chocolate, I used the white, and added in extra cocoa. The texture was soft and gooey but no worse for it...
Chocolate Orange and Cointreau Truffles
Makes: about 20
Prep Time: 30 minutes plus freezing and chilling time (at least an hour)
200g white chocolate
2-3 tbsps Terry's chocolate orange spread (of course you can use Nutella)
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splash of Cointreau (for a bit of naughtiness and so the kids can't have any!)
To decorate:
Chopped pistachios
Edible glitter
Cocoa powder
Break up the chocolate, and in a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate, chocolate spread, cream and butter together in 30 second blasts, mixing in between, until it is all smooth and non-lumpy.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla and Cointreau.
Place in a flat dish and into the freezer for at least half an hour, longer if you have the time.
Once the mixture is quite solid (but not rock hard), remove from the freezer, and using a teaspoon make little balls. You can shape them in your hand, so prepare get messy! Ideally a watermelon baller thingy would work perfectly here, or a mini ice cream scoop.
Once you have shaped the truffle, roll it in either chopped pistachios, edible glitter or cocoa.
Pop on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and place in the fridge to set until you are ready to eat them. For a quicker setting time, stick them in the freezer for a bit.
Store in the fridge, as they lose their shape if they are not kept cool.
Gooey. But good.

Link up your recipe of the week

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Godiva Chocolates launch Come Fly With Me at Hix Soho

Honoured once more to be amongst the 'select few' invited to the launch of the winning Godiva Chocolate Challenge dessert at Hix, Soho, I popped into the Brewer St venue on an otherwise dull Tuesday evening for a real treat.

Come Fly With Me at Hix

Heather Bennett, last year's winner with her Conference of Chocolate, returned as creator of THE most sumptuous dish, Come Fly With Me. The chefs at Hix have, in their wisdom, adapted it slightly for restaurant service, but you can find Heather's original recipe for Come Fly with Me here, and trust me, it's worth it.

Fuelled by a specially designed Chocotini (that's a Martini made with Black Cow's Milk-distilled vodka - the perfect accompaniment to any chocolate dish), I had an entire dish to myself. Whilst talking to Heather and the PR people, I do believe I zoned out, savouring every single mouthful of milk chocolate mousse, surrounded by chocolate and raspberry meringues and infused with rose cream and fresh raspberries to perfectly balance out the sweetness. Pure heaven. Hix Heaven. Indeed I did feel as though I could Come Fly With Me... 'inspired by the classic French Concorde, like its namesake and Godiva it is a symbol of Luxury.'

Chocotini at Hix Soho

Godiva's brief this year was more complex than last year: Mousse, Meringue, and a touch of pink - a task which Heather embraced with her inimitable talent for chocolatiering. For every entry, Godiva made a donation to Breast Cancer Now, and continue to donate with each purchase of their delicious Mousse Meringues. (For what it's worth, I LOVE the lemon one!)


Heather Bennett, Godiva Chocolate Challenge winner for the second year 
As for Heather, well... not only is she an accomplished Chocolatier, AS A HOBBY, she often spends weekends making up delicious chocolate treats. She has a pop-up chocolate shop at work and you can find many of her products on her website, Coco Cat Chocolates. Will she return next year for the next Godiva Chocolate Challenge? Please yes!