Spicy Rhododendron Chutney

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After learning of an edible flower indigenous to the Himachal region of India that blooms only from January to March, I couldn’t resist taking a bag-load back to my Palampur hostel, and trying my luck at being shown a local spicy chutney recipe made from this flower. This suggestion was welcomed with great enthusiasm, all the team were very excited that their dinner would have the special chutney alongside it, and were keen to show me the ropes!

This is not something that can be bought in shops anywhere, not even hear. It is made in Himachal homes and no where else, so I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity, not only to try it, but also to make it! Here’s how it’s done…

Ingredients

  • A good bunch of Rhododendron flowers
  • 4 cloves of raw garlic, peeled
  • 4 raw green chilllis
  • A pinch and a bit of fresh corriander
  • A teaspoon of chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • One  lemon
  • A tablespoon of water

Go eat flowers.

1. Remove the petals from the flowers and place them to one side

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2. Place the coriander and chillis into a blender and blitz into a paste

3.. Add the garlic and chilli powder. Blitz.

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4.. Add the flowers, salt and water. Blitz.

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5.. Finally the juice of one lemon. Blitz.

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Mmmmm

 This was really delicious. I’ve never tasted anything even remotely like it, which is exciting as I can’t remember the last time a flavour felt this new to me, but also gutting as it was so tasty but replicating it will never be possible! I’ve thought and thought, and the closest thing I can put the flavour of these petals to is a combination of grapefruit and plumb, but richer and not as sharp. Combine that with a chilli kick and a garlicky cuddle, and you have a taste sensation! IF you are ever in the Himacha region of India over January/March, you must force the opportunity to try this spicy chutney! It’s zinglicious!

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With due thanks to Sunil in Palampur, for showing me how it’s done and making my taste buds so very very happy!

Love, Life, Food, Adventure

First and foremost, I would like to dedicate this particular post to my parents Dawn and Kevin Maitland, who are celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary today. They are currently dining in the same Italian restaurant we went for Hana’s pre-wedding dinner just a few months ago. What a special restaurant!

Second, and with no less enthusiasm, I would like to give a great HOLLA HOO to my wonderful best friend Ali Cluney who is celebrating his birthday today. I can’t quite recall how old he is. 80 maybe?

I wanted to ensure I posted today, as it’s a significant memory, not just for my Mother and Father and not just for Ali but for me personally. And what better post for what I wish to blab about than this unusual salad I made for me and my Mum just the other day- The Thai Som Tum. Aka, Papaya Salad!

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THE HOB IS BROKEN!!!

It’s true. Our precious hob cooker is broken, which means certain experimentation is limited and it’s time to get creative with the oven.

Now, I’ve underlined my love for a good sausage casserole in the past, but it’s really more of a winter warmer than something to be tolerated in a summer scorcher. But I had these fine sausages when I barbequed the other day, and everything about their flavour screamed summer! I let the inspiration carry me from there.

Mango Sausage Punch

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WENGZ.

Tonight I am celebrating good news! I have just been offered a new job in Northampton (my new residence) which takes away the pain of the commute to London and also means my super secret surprise is well on its way (the announcement of which I’m sure is looming, but please, stay tuned!)

My last day in my current role is 14th February, and I start my new job (perfectly, perhaps, with a kitchen company) 17th February. I’m very excited!! And with tomorrow being my birthday, this is all shaping up pretty fine. I certainly am feeling positive about 2014 right now!

Good news like this (particularly when received midweek) can only be followed by one great simplicity. HOT WINGS!

We all have our own version. Here’s mine!

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WELL HOT DOG!!

11 days ago (on the 10th of October) was mine and Josie’s 3rd Anniversary! As a rule we like to keep it simple, so I made breakfast (fruit, yog and fresh croissants) while Josie covered dinner. She took me very much by surprise by treating me to one of the best restaurants in London- The Pitt Cue Co! (No, there’s nothing vegetarian on the menu, yes, she dabbled, but we all do crazy stuff on special occasions and I challenge ANYONE not to cave to their meaty delights!)

Ahem.

Lucky us, we had recently won a charity raffle, the prize being one night for two adults including breakfast and dinner at the beautiful Savill Court Hotel in Windsor! What an absolutely breath taking place- a mile long nature-ridden driveway, jacuzzi, pool, steam, sauna, room service, the works! If anyone wants a treat that’s not too far from our Nation’s capital but far enough to feel like another planet, I STRONGLY recommend staying here!

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Room service!

As I’m sure you’ll agree, there is nothing more exhausting than relaxing in a hotel. So when we returned on the evening of the 12th we pretty much went straight to sleep and the following day didn’t care much for cooking. Solution? Hotdogs!

Jamaica Dogs
While I’m yet to have the pleasure of visiting Jamaica, I’m an enormous fan of the traditional flavours used in Jamaican cooking. These hot dogs get all that in the laziest possible way!
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When getting my precious lamb sausages from The Ginger Pig at Borough Market, I also bought some Jerk Sausages to try, which was when I originally came up with this recipe. On this morning, however, I learned the hard way that Borough Market isn’t open on a Sunday, so I had to find the closest alternative. If you can, I strongly recommend you just get Jerk Sausages done for you, but this recipe will show you what to do if you don’t have such delights accessible in your area.

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