A Little Taste of India, in Harrow

This is Maya, who I sat next to every day for about 3 years.  Or to be more precise, nearly every day I worked in the London office, we sat next to each other.

We had been invited to Paul’s wedding (another work colleague) and Maya kindly invited me to stay overnight with her as she lived much closer to the wedding venue than I did.fullsizeoutput_1110Paul and Michelle had their reception at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Gerrards Cross and we were invited to the evening reception.fullsizeoutput_1112Here we are with the happy groom.  It was a large and spectacular reception and I really enjoyed being part of Paul’s special day, catching up with Maya and meeting some of Paul’s friends and family.  I am still not quite used to the fact that I won’t be seeing them in the office on Monday!fullsizeoutput_1113As anyone who spends much time with me knows, I am very interested in food and I love trying new things.  I really enjoy Indian food.  I was rather spoiled by Maya who cooked samosas and a flattened rice and potato dish for me when I arrived at hers on Friday.  Today, she took me to a huge ‘Cash and Carry’ store she goes to which sells all the Indian food you would need.  I was limited with what I could buy as I had to go home by train but I enjoyed looking anyway and managed a few purchases.fullsizeoutput_1117I have never even heard of most of these vegetables.fullsizeoutput_1118I would like to try them.fullsizeoutput_1119I know what these are !fullsizeoutput_111aI bought a karela.fullsizeoutput_111bMaya has told me to slice it and steam it and either eat it as is or add to curries.  Apparently it’s very bitter but good for you.  Her Dad eats it to help control his diabetes and he drinks the water after the karela has been steamed too.  I will let you know how I get on with it.IMG_5363The scale of the shop and the size of the packets on sale was incredible.  This is different brands of jaggery ( a sweetener).IMG_5358Various savoury snacks, such as Bombay Mix and crispy bites made from lentil flour.IMG_5361Flours made from various pulses.IMG_5364This is the flaked rice Maya cooked for me on Friday.fullsizeoutput_111cHUGE bags of spices.fullsizeoutput_111dLots of rice.IMG_5367We went to another shop, Shayona,  and bought some pickles.  IMG_5368Next stop was a temple.  I have said to Maya and some of my other Indian colleagues that I really wanted to visit a temple and since I went to Colourfast I have been even more interested.  So Maya took me to Bhaktivedanta Manor – Hare Krishna Temple.

I immediately noticed how many beautiful flowers were growing everywhere.fullsizeoutput_111eThis is the nursery school.fullsizeoutput_111fThis is inside the temple.  The temple is within a huge manor house where many people live and work.fullsizeoutput_1120The manor house was donated by George Harrison who became very interested in Krishna Consciousness in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as he searched for peace of mind and happiness.  He was heavily influenced by visits to India in the late 1960’s.

Bhaktivedanta Manor is the largest UK centre of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness .  It is a theological college that teaches the authentic Vedic scriptures and is a place of pilgrimage where all are welcome.fullsizeoutput_1121There was a wedding in the grounds of the house; these are little baskets filled with rose petals.IMG_5378On the way out we wandered through the garden.IMG_5393Despite the grey skies and rain showers I really enjoyed being in this peaceful garden.IMG_5380Trickling water is a very soothing sound.IMG_5390

fullsizeoutput_112fThe temple is vegetarian rather than vegan and they look after a herd of cows which they milk.  They place milk before the Gods in the temple and make dairy products.  Hindus respect and worship cows; they do not kill them for meat but do consume the milk – I am not sure what they do with the calves that should be drinking the milk.fullsizeoutput_1122There are signs up telling you to not bring any meat (or alcohol or drugs) to the temple and lots of information.IMG_5384

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fullsizeoutput_1134I was very interested in the temple and would like to learn more about the courses and retreats they hold here.

Next stop was a restaurant for lunch; Maya took me to the Everest Lounge on Peel Road, HA3 7QU.  The food was Punjabi and Gujurati and I ate some things I have never had before.

This photo does not do this incredible food justice.  The large round pieces are Batata Vada which are potato fritters.  They are crispy on the outside and inside is spiced mashed potato and they were lovely.

The flatter pieces are Crispy Bhajiya which are slices of potato, covered in a gram flour batter and fried.  I ate these dipped in to a spiced tomato and chilli sauce.fullsizeoutput_1136The little brown balls are Manchurian vegetables and they were incredible.  Made from finely chopped cauliflower, carrots, peppers and maybe other vegetables, they are served in a sauce that tastes a bit sweet and similar to the Chinese flavours of spare ribs.  But vegan!  I also had some vegetable rice and chana masala.IMG_5396After a very enjoyable trip to Harrow, it was time to head home.  Thank you Paul for inviting us to share your special day and thank you Maya for your hospitality and for the fascinating day, having a little taste of your India.  I really enjoyed it.fullsizeoutput_1137Back at home I didn’t need much for dinner but with a hungry boy I needed to make something.  A recipe for gram flour pancakes and vegetables popped up on my Facebook page so I had a go at making my own.  I mixed together some gram flour with ground cumin, turmeric and salt.fullsizeoutput_1138I finely chopped some coriander, a green chilli I bought earlier today, red pepper, broccoli and tomato.  I only used a small amount of the vegetables above.fullsizeoutput_1139I added water to the spiced flour mixture to make a runny batter and then added the vegetables and fried them in a tiny amount of oil.fullsizeoutput_113cMy pan is rather large which made flipping a large pancake difficult and the pancake fell apart so it doesn’t look very pretty but it tasted lovely.  So did the cold beer!fullsizeoutput_113bThis was tasty and filling and I think it would make a good breakfast as it is quite similar to an omelette.IMG_5405I added some of the pickle I had bought earlier which went with it very well.IMG_5406So there we are, a little taste of India.  What an interesting and enjoyable day I had.

 

 

 

 

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in a small village in the beautiful Weald of Kent with my husband and 2 children. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. After all, I live in the 'Garden of England' so it seems silly to not take advantage of that. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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One Response to A Little Taste of India, in Harrow

  1. Sarah Forrest says:

    Wow Zoe, that really was an interesting and culturally uplifting day. Thank you for sharing so beautifully – I enjoyed that. x

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