A Big Summer

A wonderful year so far…with the fabulously opulent Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and  atmospheric Euro 2012 Football and Olympics now here, we have an extremely sporty (and very healthy) summer to look forward to! Very exciting!

With Gary Linekar
With Gary Linekar

Mucho apologies for the radio silence recently but after a huge break I am back on full-form, ready to write about the food exploits and adventures that have happened so far.  What have I been up to? Well between studying for my medical degree, I am now taking a hiatus from medicine and I’m looking forward to the festive feasts of the Islamic month of Ramadan which are also coming up in late summer. Apart from its religious implications, this is a great time for friends and family to come together at each other’s houses each evening and try out the festive delicacies that are prepared for the close of fasting. One such delicious dish is the phenomenally rich and decadent dessert ‘Seviyan’ or as Bengali’s call it ‘Shemai’. This dessert has been a childhood favourite of mine and its hedonistic flavours, rich with heavy cream, sweet rose–water flavoured syrup, studded with jewel-like currants and laden with the perfumes of cinnamon and cardamom, always bring back memories of happy times.

with Konnie Huq
with Konnie Huq

I had the real honour of being invited to present at H.R.H. The Prince of Wales ‘Start U.K. Garden Party To Make A Difference’ in aid of ‘Sustainability & Sustainable Food’ at Clarence House, London. This was a cause close to my heart as I do believe that buying and preparing food ingredients during the seasons in which they are produced, rather than out of season, certainly does have positive health implications, in addition to improving flavour. Such an exciting event to be participate in, it was a real pleasure to be involved.

A recent red-carpet event I attended in aid of Kerala brought forth the best of Keralan culinary treats as well as the British A-List, and I was surprised and amazed to see the vision and scope created to bring to the fore the less known Keralan culture to the mainstream. The sea-food heavy gastronomic delights were absolutely to die-for as was the gorgeous sights and entertainments presented to us.

Last but not least, it was a pleasure to be invited and involved as a Guest Judge at the Tiffin Cup Restaurant Awards, at The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, by Rt. Hon MP Keith Vaz alongside the very funny and talented Eastenders television actress Nina Wadia, as well as the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow. It really was wonderful to see the huge talent and effort made by Indian restaurants across the U.K. to raise the standard and quality to such a high level, and I heartily congratulate the winning restaurant for beating such tough competition.

 Once again, enjoy the lovely British Summer! Until next time…x

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Holidays & High Jinks

Holidays & High jinks…

It’s been a few months since I last wrote, but definitely eventful to say the least! Something that I did do (and which was long overdue) was to take an all too brief Roman Holiday. Indulging in Italian treats…hmmm…now that definitely brings a smile to my face! Looking at the Roman ruins made me wonder about what exactly the Ancient Romans feasted on during their many celebratory orgies. Ahem…on that note, I’ll move along to what happened next when I returned to sunny London.

I recently had the pleasure of receiving an award for ‘Contribution to the Community’ at the glittering Channel S Awards 2010 for my contribution to the British Bangladeshi Community in the food industry. That of course tickled me pink, and the next few days were taken up with my representing the Change4Life campaign during Radio interviews, first at Oak FM with presenter Dee Bahra and then on Westside Radio with presenter, Raj Gogna. My article ‘Top 10 Healthy Cooking & Eating Tips’ for Change4Life was also featured in Eastern Eye newspaper and of course, the summer had to start with some ‘Seductively Scrumptious Recipes’ for Asian Woman magazine. Well, after those shenanigans, I think I’ll just have to take another holiday! Enjoy the lovely British Summer guys and girls! Until next time daahlings…..x

Exams, Parties & Awards Glitz & Glamour…

After lying low swotting up like a complete nerd on my medic exams all summer, (and all because I wanted to get a holistic view on food and see the science behind how the food we eat affects our bodies – which it does, quite dramatically I might add!), I was thrilled to pass with flying colours…cue huge celebration party at home!

But the partying was not over…there were more celebrations to come…in Autumn I was delighted to take on the role of ambassador for the Department of Health’s ‘Change4Life’ Campaign, something which I wholeheartedly support as I really do believe that the food we eat eventually shows up in our state of health and appearance, whether it’s weeks or years down the line.

But as there’s no rest for the wicked, (and I desperately needed a rest), I trotted off to Belgium and the Dutch Christmas markets in November where I spent a gloriously indulgent time eating my own body weight in Poffertjes (small sweet pancakes) and revelling in chocolate and waffle heaven.

I then came back to England to a whirlwind of parties galore once again, (goodness, I’m just a quiet homebody really!), where I attended The British Curry Awards where my family restaurant, The Maharaja was nominated in the South East category. The Bangladesh Catering Association (BCA) Awards followed next, and I’m delighted to say that The Maharaja was awarded the BCA Caterer of the Year.

Having had a mini-rest after the New Years Eve in London insanity, February saw me invited to the British Asian Sports (BASA) Awards as an ambassador of the Change4Life Campaign, to say a few words about the small, yet hugely effective changes we can all make on a daily basis, whether it’s in the food we eat or in the activities and habits we follow. It was a real inspiration to talk to some of the sports personalities such as Amir Khan and Denise Lewis, and a total eye opener at hearing some of their eating plans! Needless to say, I had a great time!

But my new year’s resolution is of course to make sure I have a bit of everything, including my favorite foods on a regular basis, (namely, ample amounts of chocolate), but only in small doses, and not in industrial sized portions like I’m used to! I know I am all for indulgence, but everything in moderation eh?