Travel pick: Holy cow

Posted in: Travel, Uncategorized

This month is a significant one for me; five years ago I popped my India cherry. And my holidays have never been the same since. Each year I try to break away from my spiritual addiction and fail. Since April 2008 I’ve back-packed (kind of), boutique hotel’d and eaten my way from sand and dust suffocated Rajasthan to tropical India’s most southern, sticky, coconut fringed tip.

Mumbai, India

I’ve stepped bare foot and cashmere wrapped onto the world’s most demonstrative declaration of love, the Taj Mahal; and breakfasted on Masala dosa with my benevolent, cattle class neighbour on India’s celebrated railway.

Indian train timetable

I’ve been served tea by our fawning butler, immersed in Munnar’s tea plantations and 1950’s rose gardens; and eaten Coorgi pork with Arabica coffee estate owners (and my hands).

Munnar tea plantations

Munnar's tea pickers

Coorg. Coffee drying.

Rehydrated on road side tender coconut surrounded by monkeys and wild elephants and contracted dysentery in Old Delhi. Served me right; even Hippy Mum was more discerning.

street food: Old Delhi & Coorg

Old Delhi

Cleaned (the dorm!) toilets, eaten off the floor, chanted and yoga’d away the controlled with military precision hours in an Ashram.


I’ve ridden on elephants and fed them turmeric rice (gut goodness). I’m slightly partial to elephants. Apparently the females are the calm ones which I’m sure we’ll all agree is unusual.

Indian elephants

Gawped in wonder at Udaipur’s breath taking lake palaces, street murals and washing Ghats.

Udaipur Lake palace & washing ghats

Hobbled, dysentery fevered, around the blue city of Jodhpur, its Red Fort, Ganesha’s and innumerable scabby and bony Holy cows.

Jodhpur & Ganesha

And `shed a tear for the wives who threw themselves onto their Maharaja husband’s funeral pyre.

Funeral pyre wives

I’ve recuperated in the sand city of Jaisalmer and nearly thrown up again at the site of the refuse collecting pigs capacity to inhale ANYTHING.

I’ve papped the entire local population of 15th century Hampi (again with the cows), escaping the sweaty, lack of AC on the night train for Bangalore’s slick hotels, roof top bars and Victorian parks. Once more photographing the entire, camera spellbound population; laughing and being touched by the unaffected warmth of almost every one of them. Minus the cows.

Holy cow

Hampi children

I’ve bought yoga gear in Mysore, stretched it in Goa and scootered my way from Bollywood star hangout, to Goan sausage stall, to samosa beach hut.

Goa beach

Goa samosa breakfast

Yet no-where has drawn me back quite like Kerala and Fort Cochin, which somehow manages to tick every chic, cultural holiday box. So strong is the bond, in fact that I may have returned upwards of 14 times. Annihilating my never go back in favour of seeing the world decree. Find out why soon. To be continued…

Anzac biscuits

Posted in: V

In honour of Anzac day next week (25th April), and of our Gather & Gather brand launch, my very talented Kiwi colleague and chef, Tony has somewhat altruistically shared his closely guarded recipe. Thank you land of Antipodeans!

Anzac Biscuits

Takes: 15 mins. Makes: 15 biscuits



85g oats
85g coconut
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
110g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate soda


Preheat oven to 180C
Combine oats, coconut, sugar and flour and melt butter.
Stir bicarb with 50ml of hot water and add to dry mix, followed with the melted butter.
Roll your dough to the size of golf balls and press to 1″ thick.
Bake on a lined tray for 20 mins and Bob’s your uncle.

Anzac biscuits were originally sent by wives to Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) abroad because the ingredients didn’t spoil easily. So you too can enjoy yours way beyond the 25th!

Gather & Gather talent

Pre joining us at Gather & Gather, Tony worked with Wholesome Seduction food guru and Favourite Places owner (see The Tapa Room or the new Kopapa), Peter Gordon. #yesthisiswork Sorry, gloating is so vulgar but I couldn’t resist.

Anzac day remembers Australia and New Zealand’s major casualties of the First World War.

From the streets: Village Bakery 100% rye bread

Posted in: DF, Featured, Reviews, S, SF, V, WF

Or more specifically, from Waitrose. In light of my recent The best thing since sliced bread article and Spelt & tahini soda bread recipe, here’s a good value, off the shelf option which is hard to beat.

Village Bakery Rye Bread

I’ve sampled innumerable rye breads over the past 15 plus years, finding all but a few either too chewy, dense or Pumpernickelesque. This one on the other hand, is a clear winner in terms of flavour, health and value. Lighter in texture, colour and taste, it’s perfect toasted with scrambled eggs, butter and Mum’s Seville orange marmalade, or smoked salmon. And it’s yeast free! All for under two quid. Thank you Village Bakery.

Gails Artisan Bakery also do an excellent 100% rye that many of my wheat loving friends ask for when they come to stay.

Fort Cochin: Chic, tropical India & chai

Posted in: Travel

Unable to withstand yet another day of bone chilling, sludgy (Spring!) London snow, I’ve fled to my Indian home: Fort Cochin in Kerala. Via a quick eating fest in Bombay. Here’s a snapshot to tide you over until full disclosure when I’m back on UK soil.

Fort Cochin, Kerala, India. Wholesome Seduction.


Bombay: Taj Palace & Tower hotel; Cafe Mondigar; Paan.

Bombay. Taj Palace & Cafe Mondigar.

Paan. Bombay, India.


Fort Cochin, Kerala: Art cafes, Indian Biennale, boutique hotels, street food and my Indian family.

Kashi Art Cafe. Fort Cochin, India.

Vineetha & Kashi.

Street Art: India's first Biennale

Chai & Gujarati sweets

Relaxation. Fort Cochin, India.

Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin. India. Wholesome Seduction.

Masala Dosa & Gujarati sweets

My Indian Family: Vineetha & Emily.

Vineetha and Emily: My Cochin family. And my Keralan cooking gurus. I promise to share…