Friday, August 31, 2012


It all happened on a cold, dark night. I was sitting in the back seat of the car when my cousin's girlfriend turned around and offered me $120 worth of vouchers to an Indian restaurant. My eyes narrowed.

"What's the catch?"

"No catch, I just don't like Indian food and they will expire while I'm away on holiday" she said.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I got the chance to experience an Indian feast at Bolliwood.

Although I couldn't convince her to come along and try Indian with me (alas, she is more stubborn than I), I managed to talk my parents into trying something new. 

As I've mentioned before, my father isn't what you call a daring foodie. Although he is often heard bragging about all the freaky things he has eaten (rat, snake, donkey etc.), he finds it very hard to branch out and try different cuisines -so much that my mother usually ends up cooking a bowl of noodles when we come home!

Fortunately, this night was different. 

We arrived for an early dinner and were sat right in front of a big screen playing Indian music videos. Although the restaurant looked a bit empty, we noticed that most of the tables had been reserved and there was even a party on the mezzanine floor. 

Kingfisher Jug - $23
While glossing over the menu, we ordered a big jug of Kingfisher beer which was light and refreshing. 

Tandoori Chicken - $19.50
I have to admit that, before this dinner, I hadn't tried much Indian food aside from the occasional Butter Chicken and garlic naan from the university food court. And if I was feeling particularly advendurous,  I would have a Chicken Korma or an Aloo Gobi. But, because I was dining with others, I had the opportunity to be more adventurous with the ordering.

We started off with a full Tandoori Chicken which was very juicy and full of flavour. The yoghurt sauce was a great accompaniment.

Honey Cauliflower - $11.50
One of my favourite dishes of the night was the honey cauliflower. The battered morsels had the perfect combination of crunch while being tender on the inside. It's appearance is reminiscent of the Chinese sweet and sour pork (finding similarities make my parents feel more comfortable) but I would choose this over sweet and sour pork any day!

Butter chicken - $18.90, Fish Masala - $20.90, Goat Curry - $19.50, Veggie Manchoorian $16.90 and Garlic Naan - $3.90 each
Because it was my dad's first Indian meal, I felt that he had to try the very famous Butter Chicken with Garlic Naan ("it's like the Peking Duck of Indian cuisine" I said). As for the rest, we took recommendations from our very helpful waitress which turns out to be the best decision I've ever made. 

As I had predicted, the Butter Chicken was delicious. The meat was tender and the tomato gravy flavoursome. The surprises came with the new dishes recommended by the waitress. My favourite of the curries was the Fish Tikka Masala -fish isn't something I had ever associated with curries but I'm definitely going to order more in the future! Contrary to what I had expected, the tender pieces stayed intact and every bite was melt in the mouth.

The last was the Vegetable Manchurian which I am told is an Indian-Chinese dish. This mixture of chopped capsicum, cabbage, carrot and beans, with countless spices stirred through, was an explosion of flavour in every spoonful. 

After this experience, I can confidently say that I will no longer stick to Butter Chicken when I go to an Indian restaurant and will definitely convince my friends to do the same. 

And as for my father? He didn't need a second dinner when we got home. I'm sure that means a great big tick from him!

Bolliwood can be found at
110 Ponsonby Road, Auckland , New Zealand.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Prawn and Cheese Risotto

Approximately every 4 years, I tell myself that I'm going to take up running or swimming or a competitive team sport. It probably won't come as a surprise to you that these moments happen to coincide with the Summer Olympic Games every year.

I get super inspired, go for runs and join gyms until my enthusiasm inevitable fizzles out (which just happens to coincide with the end of the Olympic Games) and I'm stuck with a gym pass that I will only use once a month.

Sauté prawns with garlic until just before they're done.
This time I am 4 years older and, hence, 4 years wiser. Instead of rushing out to buy a gym pass or new running shoes, I stayed in bed and made a mental list of Olympic sports I could seriously consider and then reasons why it would never work:

  1. Diving - don't like heights or deep water.
  2. Equestrian - not rich enough to own a horse (and I don't understand this sport).
note: anything that requires large amounts of movement or generally being fit has automatically been taken off this list on the account that I have no stamina whatsoever.

These were the ones I was left with:
  1. Shooting - Pro: doesn't seem like there is an age limit. Con: have terrible eyesight and not very good at keeping still for long periods of time.
  2. Under 58 kg Women's Weightlifting - Pro: I fit the criteria. Con: cannot lift anything over 15kgs. Extra Pro: would be awesome if I could lift Jason.
Waiting for the wine to evaporate.
So in conclusion, I stopped myself before rushing out to buy weights or a horse and, instead, have started going swimming with Jason. We actually started a couple of months before the start of the Olympic Games so the chances of keeping this activity up is quite high (and besides, Jason is a great motivator).

Mixin' in the goodies.
It's probably best that I leave the real athletes to it. Meanwhile, I'll be sticking to what I do best -eating. This creamy risotto is one of my favourites to make when I have a bit of time on my hands.It is packed with all sorts of goodies and is a great way to get little kiddies to eat their veggies=)

Prawn and Blue Cheese Risotto (Serves 4)
(An original Lucyeats recipe)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock (or veggie)
1 Tablespoon olive oil + 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Zucchini, sliced into rounds approximately 0.5cm thick
4 Brussel sprouts, chopped
6 or so medium sized button mushrooms, sliced (or use portebello if you're feeling fancy!)
2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
200-300g fresh prawns, shelled and deveined (you can chop them up if you like, but I think they look nicer whole)
80g good blue cheese, crumbled
Handful of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and add garlic until fragrant. Add the prawns and sauté until just before they're done (approximately 1-2 minutes). Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rice straight away and stir to coat with oil. Allow this to 'toast' for a minute.
3. Add the wine. Allow to evaporate before adding a ladle of stock and stirring until it is absorbed by the rice. 
4. Add another ladle of stock and continue to stir until absorbed. Repeat this step until you have used up 4 cups of stock.
5. Before the 5th cup, add in all your veggies and stir.
6. Continue stirring and adding stock until you have used it all up. Check the rice is translucent - if there are still white specks in the rice, you may need a few more ladles of stock.
7. When all the stock has been absorbed, take it off the heat and mix in the blue cheese and prawns immediately, allowing the heat to finish off cooking the prawns.
8. Divide the risotto between 4 bowls and top with a grinding of pepper and some fresh basil to serve.