Emergency Tomato Achaar! (Nepali Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Tomato Achaar is a spicy tomato sauce that adds “swaad” to each dish. “Swaad,” I suppose, is equivalent to “umami” or adding serious flavour to a dish. We add it to many things, but I personally think it tastes best with Momo’s, otherwise known as Nepali steamed gyoza (either Turkey or Vegetarian).

The other day I was wrapping up some leftover momos and then realised there were no tomatoes left in the house. Good lord, what was I going to do? You can’t eat momos without tomato achaar. Momos without tomato achaar is blasphemy! It’s like having getting a burrito without guacamole – it’s just not done! I had to think fast, because people were hungry, and it only took 13 minutes to steam up the momos. Then I remembered we always have a stash of canned tomatoes and some coriander we had frozen and bagged in the freezer. Here’s how I made some delicious achaar in under 10 minutes!

Tisha’s Emergency Tomato Achaar

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Napolina chopped tomatoes
  • 2 finger chillies, chopped (1 red, 1 green)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorn (timur)
  • 1 tsp of demerara sugar
  • 1/4 a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1″ ginger, chopped
  • handful of frozen coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed powder
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons salt

Method:

  1. Open can of tomatoes and put into a small pot. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all ingredients and grind into a paste.
  3. Eat with everything!

 

 

HAPPY EATS!

XOXO

 

Quick Buttery Pasta {Recipe}

Today was a day where I didn’t want to cook, but had no choice. Therefore I wanted to make a tasty meal requiring the least amount of effort. I opted to purchase a few pre-made goodies, which helped dinner for 5 come along within 30 minutes.

DINNER:

  • 1 large roast chicken
  • 2 garlic bread baguettes
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Steamed tender-stem broccoli with garlic
  • Sautéed okra and wild mushroom
  • Buttery pasta ~> MVP

Buttery pasta was definitely the MVP at the dinner table. Best of all, it took such little effort to make. A buttery pasta is very common in Italy, and my version is simply boiled pasta tossed with salt, Italian herbs mix, fresh garlic, and organic butter. I also mix it with some Parmesan cheese for added flavour.

Today, I used linguini. I prefer the texture of linguini, but you can use spaghetti or angel hair if you wish.

Quick Buttery Pasta {Recipe}

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 5 adults

INGREDIENTS:

  • Linguini, 500g
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Italian herbs mixture, 1 1/2 TBSP
  • Minced garlic, 2 cloves
  • Butter, 125g

METHOD:

  1. Boil pasta in a shallow pan. Cover the pasta with hot water and season with salt and olive oil. Bring to a boil. Keep cooking until the pasta is cooked and all the water has almost evaporated.
  2. Add garlic and 1 1/2 TBSP Italian herbs mixture. Cook on low for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add butter in slices increments until reaching desired consistency.
  4. Add 2 TBSP of Parmesan cheese and mix before serving. Add salt as needed.
  5. Optional: add chili flakes or red chilli infused olive oil.

Happy Eats!

Xoxo.

Aloo Ko Achaar (Nepali Spicy Potatoes)

One of my favourite recipes is my Mom’s famous spicy potato dish. Any time someone asks for my Mom to make something, they always ask her to make this and her famously spicy achaar. Ah, my mouth is just watering thinking about it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 750g small potatoes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup roasted sesame seed powder (or 1/2 peanut butter)
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorn (timur)
  • 2 heaping tsps red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 cup hot oil (vegetable or mustard)

METHOD:

  1. Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes until cooked but firm.
  2. Cut into bite sized pieces, so that each small potato is 4-6 pieces in size.
  3. Mix salt, lemon, Szechuan peppercorn, red chilli powder – be very generous with salt, lemon, and chillies! It’s important for the dish to have a strong bite.
  4. Place turmeric and roasted methi on top of the potatoes. Heat the oil in a small pan, and then pour on top of turmeric and methi, and potatoes. You will hear a nice sizzle! Make sure to mix with a wooden spoon, so you won’t burn your hands.
  5. Serve and enjoy as a side dish or starter. Bon appetit!

 

Sautéed Fennel {Recipe}

Sauteed fennel is a vegetable a lot of people are unfamiliar with. Some people don’t like the flavour, some don’t know how to cook it, hence generally avoiding it.

I’m here to tell you some good facts about fennel!

It’s extremely healthy, cuts down on gas, and helps with digestion. When I was pregnant, I had to chew on fennel seeds like crazy to manage my indigestion issues. Had I known how it easy it was to cook, I would’ve been cooking it too! It probably would have helped with my digestion. (FYI, pregnant ladies have horrible digestion issues as their organs get squished together as the body makes more to make room for the baby in the growing uterus.)

Here is the easiest way to cook fennel:

Method:

  1. Take a bulb of fennel and wash it.
  2. Slice it thinly.
  3. Heat up a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan or wok.
  4. Add a teaspoon of oil.
  5. Sauté and toss until semi-transluscent
  6. Add himalayan salt to taste
  7. Serve with rice and other side dishes of choice

 

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I find that this dish is simple yet so flavourful and does such wonderful things for my GI issues. Really lovely and underutilised vegetable. You can also cook it with braised meats and even mix it with potato.

Happy eats!

Xoxo.

 

Vegetarian Creamy Pasta (Vivera Veggie Mince)

Here is my lovely creamy bow tie (farfalle) pasta! Doesn’t it look delicious? Well here’s the kicker – it’s completely meat free. But doesn’t it look so much like a non-veg dish?

I’ve been eating a lot more vegetarian food lately and found myself stepping away from meat. That’s when I found some meat substitutions I really liked. To be frank, I find most vegetarian replicas of meat to be pretty gross. They smell like chemicals, they get chewy, or they just don’t cook up right. To be fair, I also find mince meat to smell gross as well, which is why I haven’t wanted to eat much meat lately.

I found Vivera‘s brand of veggie mince to be lovely. It doesn’t smell strange and manages to produce the same texture as ground meat. For this recipe, you can use Vivera’s or the brand that you prefer.

I use the same techniques I use for cooking ground meat it substituted beautifully into my pasta dish. I also didn’t have heavy cream, so I substituted with a small tub of cream cheese. Here’s the recipe!

VEGETARIAN CREAMY PASTA (VIVERA VEGGIE MINCE)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g of any shape pasta (I used Farfalle)
  • 180g full fat Philadelphia cream cheese (original)
  • 1 package of Vivera Veggie Mince
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Italian spices mix
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 250g spinach
  • 1/4 tsp Demerara sugar

METHOD:

  1. Boil water and season with teaspoon of salt. Add pasta and cook until ready.
  2. While pasta is cooking, take a large nonstick pan and heat up some olive oil on a medium high flame. I used a Circulon wok.
  3. Add minced onions and cook until translucent. Turn down the heat slightly and add garlic, stir for 5 seconds, then add all spices. Be mindful not to burn it.
  4. Add veggie mince and mix well to incorporate all the spice mixture into the mince.
  5. Add cream cheese and gently mix. I find that using some of the pasta water helped to mix it well without destroying the mince.
  6. Add the Demerara sugar and mix (especially helpful if the cayenne pepper is too spicy for you).
  7. Drain pasta and retain some of the pasta water. This will make a big difference in how you can control the consistency of your pasta. The starchines of the water will help you to achive that.
  8. Mix the pasta sauce with your pasta and add spinach.
  9. Add salt and black pepper (optional) to taste.
  10. Take the pasta water and add as needed to attain the consistency you prefer.

Hopefully you guys enjoy this as much as we did. It ended up being a little too spicy for Savya because I added way more cayenne pepper than I’ve specified in the recipe, but he still ate a bowl full! All in all, I’d say this dish worked out pretty well. If you want, you can add more spice or some parmesan cheese on top to finish. Either way, take this vegetarian dish and make it your own. That’s the beauty of cooking!

Happy eats!

Xoxo.

Call me Pooh bear because I need Christophe Robin! (shampoo review)

You guys need to try using Christophe Hydrating Shampoo with Aloe Vera. NEED. It’s frighteningly amazing, and my life is changed. I got a sample from my last purchase at LookFantastic (not an ad!) and one sample lasted me about 4 washes. It’s insane how little shampoo it takes and how it cleans so well yet manages to not strip my hair and scalp of the protective oils I need.

I have really sensitive skin and thin, frizzy, brittle, wavy hair. It’s gotten worse as I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (hair loss is one side effect). With other shampoos, my scalp feels dry and itchy after washing and it gets greasy after a day (and I’ve been using Aveda, Alterna Caviar, and Pureology!) I also use a water filter in my shower, so I know it’s not the effects of hard water on my skin. It’s literally that these high end salon brand shampoos do not mesh well with me.

Depressing much, because Alterna is a hefty £30 per item.

But ya…. I was seriously left shooketh when I finally opened this sample packet. Legit did not expect this to be this good. Now, this is a high end brand so it’s gonna be a bit expensive. It’s like £25 for shampoo and £30 for a leave in spray but I think that it’s seriously so worth it. My hair feels soft and healthy, it stays clean for 2 days without needing to put dry shampoo immediately, and it makes my hypothyroid dry, thin, brittle hair actual have some body and curl. Im always so stressed about my hair, so I’m very happy with it as it’s making me feel like I have a full head of hair and therefore giving me less to worry about.

The bottle does say it’s good for all hair types, but I can only speak for persons with thin, wavy and brittle hair with an oily scalp. I will have my little sis eventually try it (she has thick curly hair) and we’ll see if she has the same thoughts!

If you do want to purchase this, you can find it on LookFantastic, Sephora, and other websites including the Christophe Robin website.

Xoxo,

Tisha

Tisha’s Peanut Sauce Recipe

  • Love eating peanut sauce at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and want to make your own at home? Here’s my version of this delicious sauce.
  • Tisha’s Peanut Sauce:
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
    • 3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 1/2 medium limes)
    • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons chilli-garlic paste
    • 1 medium garlic clove, mashed to a paste
    • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    Mix everything together and taste to determine if you want to add more salt/sugar or more water per your taste and consistency preferences. Eat with spring rolls, noodles, or as a dipping sauce for anything. Enjoy!

    Xoxo.

    Korean BBQ Chicken (Dak Bulgogi)

    Thanks to Hyosun of Korean Bapsaang, my family now has a new favourite dish!

    Korean BBQ is always delicious. It’s grilled, full of flavour, and healthy. It’s like chicken teriyaki, but better. As I’ve been trying to phase out most red meats without giving up  rich flavours, this dish really hit the spot for both husband and little one. Little one said “ohhhh chicken? I have some?” when he saw this grilling in the pan. I can’t tell you how good that made me feel!

    This dish takes 30 minutes to marinate and 5 minutes to cook up. Perfect weekday dinner when paired with rice (or your choice of grains) and greens!

    Korean BBQ Chicken (Dak Bulgogi)
    Prep: 15 minutes
    Marinate: 30 minutes
    Cook: 5 minutes

    Ingredients:

    • 400g chicken thighs
    • 3 tablespoons light (regular) soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine (or mirin)
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (~3 cloves)
    • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (~1″ size)
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
    • 2 chopped green (spring) onions
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

    Method:

    1. Trim fat and skin off chicken thighs, and cut into equal bite sized pieces for quick marination and cooking.
    2. Mix together all ingredients and marinate chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes. (Tisha’s Tip: I like to use a mortar and pestle for the garlic and ginger.)
    3. Heat nonstick pan and coat with sesame seed oil.
    4. Pour the chicken and excess marinade into the pan. (sizzle! sizzle!)
    5. Evenly place the chicken in the pan and let it grill for about 2 minutes before flipping over. Grill for another 2 minutes.
    6. Add a bit of water to the pan if you notice the sauce is starting to burn. It will create a nice sauce and keep the integrity of your chicken while it continues to cook.
    7. Once your chicken is done, remove from the pan.
    8. Serve with your choice of greens and grains.

    We used short-grain white rice and gourmet kale, which is a milder version of traditional kale. Savya even asked for seconds. Mom win! You can use broccoli, broccolini, spinach, or a combination of veggies in your bowl. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

    Happy eats!

    Xoxo!

    In Your 30’s? Here’s A Foundation Review For You.

    After the birth of my son and turning 30, and I started to wear more foundation than I had previously, as a younger, single woman, with peaceful nights filled with sleep. When I started wearing eyeglasses in late 2017, I noticed how much foundation would transfer to them. I found it insanely gross and annoying to see how much product moved from my face, regardless of how much primer or setting spray I used. Aggravating to see, especially after beating a face. Overall, here is a review of 5 foundations which have the right undertones for pigmented skin, in order of least to most transfer-proof.

    5. BOBBI BROWN – LONG-WEAR EVEN FINISH FOUNDATION

    Product: This is a liquid foundation with SPF 15 with the objective to provide the wearer with a natural finish lasting 16 hours. The foundations are created with yellow undertones. This particular product line has only 18 shades available. My shade is 4.5, Warm Natural. This, however, is still a bit off from my skin tone.

    Review: Aghast. What is going on with this formula? It isn’t very long-wear and on average probably lasts 4 hours before it starts to break down on my face. This product also transfers like crazy. Don’t take a nap with a full face on because it will transfer to your shirt, your clothes, your pillow, your everything. This was my holy grail product in my 20’s, but now this product is a hard pass for me.

    4. REVLON – COLORSTAY FOUNDATION 

    Product: An affordable drug store long wear foundation, giving you 24 hours of budge-proof foundation. Available in Combination/Oily and Normal/Dry skin types. My colour is probably Golden Caramel.

    Review: Pretty good for the price. I took this on holiday, and throughout the sun and sweat, it did not budge! I’m really impressed they made it for both skin types. My only qualm would be that I looked slightly ashy (true beige), but it’s quite possible that I simply picked the wrong foundation colour because I am unable to swatch most drugstore foundations. I did notice that it felt heavier than most foundations, which wasn’t fun in hot weather. It also transfers a lot, so I had to be really careful when changing clothes, especially if I was wearing white. Overall, I wasn’t crazy about this product, but it’s amazing considering the price. Just maybe try and find a foundation matcher online (e.g. findation.com) before purchasing.

    3. NARS – NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION

    Product: One of the most popular foundations out on the market, NARS serves a clean finish with 33 shades to pick from. This long wear product boasts 16 hours of staying power. My shade is Barcelona.

    Review: This is a great product. The colour and radiance it gives your skin is lovely, but it transfers like crazy. The product needs to be vigorously shaken before use, so if you forget, be prepared for it to oxidize on your face, creating a dry and patchy look. Overall, this product had one of the worst transfers, but with adequate prep and prime, it does last at least 8 hours before it starts to break down. Unfortunately, it’s not very sweatproof. I like the product, but it’s not something I would reach for if I wore glasses on a regular basis.

    2. LAURA MERCIER – FLAWLESS FUSION ULTRA-LONGWEAR FOUNDATION

    Product: This product boasts it’s ability to last throughout sweat, humidity, water and transfer for 15 hours. Unfortunately, they only have 20 shades and don’t have more than 1 deep shade, so I find myself disappointed in that fact. My shade is Butterscotch.

    Review: HOLY COW! This foundation is full coverage and is virtually weightless. While it isn’t transfer-proof, it is very good at sticking to your skin and staying there. I wore this product with a full face of make-up and eyeglasses, but it hardly transferred to my frames. Closer to a perfect score, I’d say that this is a win for sure.

    1. LANCÔME – TEINT IDOL ULTRAWEAR FOUNDATION

    Product: 40 shades from pale to deep, long-wear foundation that lasts for 24 hours. Lightweight, even customizable to your specific skin colour and type at select locations. My shade is 050 Beige Ambre.

    Review: Girl let me TELL YOU how sprung I am that this product does not budge! It is truly a thing of beauty. I had to really rub my forehead to test how easily it came off, and it barely did. Hardly anything transferred to my glasses, and I got away with wearing minimal foundation, thanks to how full coverage the product is. It blends really nicely as well, which was so nice to experience. It’ô definitely my current favourite.

    FYI: The product has silicone in it, which helps it stick to your face longer. Silicone does not make you break out, but because silicone can cause your pores to get clogged if left on, you need to make sure to fully cleanse your skin to remove all traces to avoid breakouts. I highly suggest double cleansing and a 5-step skincare routine if you’re in your 30s. It takes me 5 minutes to get through mine in the evenings, so don’t skip it!

    Concluding thoughts:

    The only one missing from  this list that I REALLY want to try but haven’t been able to (because there’s no store out in Colchester) is the Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation, especially with its sensational blurring capabilities. Please help blur the shit out of my skin Giorgio Armani, it’s breaking out, thanks to my glasses.

    Also: TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN! We’re over 30, we need to take care of our skin with more care than before. It’s easier to prevent wrinkle than to try and fix them after they’ve appeared. Taking  5-10 minutes of care at the end of your day will pay off in the long run. Also, try Lancôme’s Hydra Zen line. SO GOOD.

    Okay, back to the post grad life. Let me know if you liked this review and if you want more like this, or other reviews.

    Xoxo

    How to Create a Colourful Veggie Platter {Recipe}

    I created this fun platter for a family gathering. What’s the best way to do start making your own? Pick a platter, count how many areas there are for placing food items, and pick out some colourful, yummy goodies that everybody likes.

    In this case, I picked out tortilla chips, beetroot, baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, celery. You can choose anything you prefer, and even swap one out for crunchy bell pepper.

    I chose to use hummus as a dip, but you can use ranch dressing, spinach dip, tuna salad, boursin, or anything else you may prefer.

    As I had a lot to prepare that day, I chose to buy pre-cooked beetroots and pre-sliced veggies. Simply wash, dry, and arrange in your favourite serving plate before presenting to your guests.

    img_5543

    It’s a wonderful way to present a colourful array of snacking foods and is a healthy too.

    Happy snacking!

    XOXO

    Tisha

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