Paris: pélerinage chez Mariage Frères [fr]

[en] As the editor for ebookers.ch's travel blog, I contribute there regularly. I have cross-posted some of my more personal articles here for safe-keeping.

Cet article a été initialement publié sur le blog de voyage ebookers.ch (voir l’original).

Si vous êtes amateur de thé et que vous passez à Paris, vous vous devez de faire un détour au temple du thé qu’est Mariage Frères. Ouvrez grandes vos oreilles et vos narines, je vais vous faire envie.

Si pour vous thé rime uniquement avec  “un thé, s’il vous plaît!” ou les sachets jaunes dont on tire un breuvage brunâtre qu’il faut assomer à coups de hautes doses de sucre et de crème afin de le rendre buvable… passez votre chemin. Ou alors, continuez de lire, mais sachez qu’une fois avalée la pilule rouge du thé de qualité, vous ne pourrez plus faire marche arrière.

Achats de thé Mariage Frères à Paris.jpg

J’avoue que de loin, Mariage Frères m’ont toujours laissée un poil sceptique: le thé, n’est-ce pas japonais, chinois, indien, et ici, anglais? Les français, amateurs de thé? Que j’étais ignorante!

Paris compte bien entendu plusieurs “Maisons de Thé” Mariage Frères. J’ai pour ma part opté de suivre mon amie Nicole, grande amatrice de thé devant l’Eternel, pour me rendre dans le magasin “rive gauche”, rue des Grands-Augustins. Et là… non, pas juste les boîtes noires très classe (ou un peu snob, selon vos goûts) que l’on trouve chez les revendeurs Mariage Frères d’ici: des centaines d’immenses boîtes de thé en vrac, remplies de plus de variétés de thé que vous ne pouvez imaginer.

Difficile de savoir par où commencer: la carte, A3 recto-verso, liste crûs et noms de fantaisie sans donner beaucoup d’autres informations à l’amatrice néophyte que je suis. Je choisis un parfum ou deux qui me parlent, je demande à sentir, je cède rapidement, me voilà déjà avec quelques centaines de grammes de thé sur le comptoir.

Le jeune homme qui me sert est bien entendu un spécialiste, et j’en profite: “j’aime les thés noirs, épicés, fumés, parfumés, etc. etc. — qu’est-ce que vous me recommandez d’essayer?” Et hop, voilà que c’est reparti. C’est comme au karaoké, ce qui est dur, c’est de se lancer.

Je choisis des noms au hasard sur la carte parce qu’ils m’inspirent: Narinda, Archipel, Samouraï, Ylang-Ylang… certains me plaisent, d’autres moins. Je prends du Thé de Pâques, bien entendu. Ils n’ont pas de Thé des Ecrivains, découvert au détour d’un brunch dominical au Saint-Pierre à Lausanne, mais ils ont le Thé des Impressionnistes et le Thé des Poètes Solitaires. Ça devient amusant.

Quoi d’autre? Ah oui, du Darjeeling. Misère, voilà que je découvre que ce n’est pas un thé spécifique, mais toute une catégorie dans le catalogue que j’ai entre les mains. Le garçon derrière le comptoir m’en propose un, que j’adopte sans hésiter. Son petit nom: Rose d’Himalaya. Avant de clore mes achats, je lui demande s’il a une dernière suggestion à me faire, d’après mes choix du jour. Il me connaît un peu, maintenant, je me dis. Il semble qu’il manque à ma collection le best-seller de la maison, Marco Polo. C’est fruité, ça me plaît, je passe à la caisse et repars avec un grand sac plein de thés magiques, pour moi et pour d’autres. J’ai un peu la tête qui tourne.

Et encore:

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Indian Scrambled Eggs Improvisation (Potato, Tomato) [en]

So, just because it was yummy and if I don’t write it down I’ll forget how I did it (and because some of you are jealous of my Indian cooking skillz), here’s what I threw together for lunch. (Words in bold will give you the list of ingredients.)

Indian Scrambled Eggs Improvisation 2

  • slice a medium-sized potato finely (I do it with the peeler)
  • chop some variety of onion in fine slices (I used one small yellow onion and one shallot that was lying around)
  • put a large amount of butter in a pan (+ some cooking oil so it doesn’t go brown), maximum heat (I never lowered the heat till the end)
  • add 1/4 teaspoon of black mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon of whole cumin (not black cumin, eek), and a healthy quantity of curry leaves (10-15 I guess — they freeze very well btw, best way to store them)
  • when all that has crackled for a bit, add potato and onion, salt generously, stir around (and keep on stirring while you continue doing what follows)
  • chop some garlic and a small green chili (freezes well too) rather finely
  • add that in the pan, and half a teaspoon of turmeric (keep stirring!!)
  • chop a tomato (I did one and a half) into rather small pieces
  • when the onions start looking tender and the potato slices start being cooked (shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes in total) add the tomato, and salt again
  • break 4 eggs in a basin (or however many or few you wish), salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala (mine contains black pepper, cinnamon, black cardamom, and cloves) add chopped coriander leaves (they also freeze well), and beat that all up (don’t forget to keep an eye on the pan, you don’t want anything to burn)
  • by now the mix in the pan should be reasonably dry (if it’s swimming in tomato juice you’re in trouble), so add the eggs, and keep on stirring gently so the eggs start looking like scrambled eggs with lots of nice indian stuff inside
  • when the mixture seems dry enough and edible to you, you’re done!

I’d normally eat this with naan or a chapati or lebanese bread (sometimes easier to get by here), but as I had none available I just used a spoon.

Indian Scrambled Eggs Improvisation 3

Bon appétit!

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Comment faire du vrai thé froid [fr]

J’ai fait une razzia d’achat de thé il y a quelques mois, et la gentille dame du magasin de thé de la rue Enning m’a expliqué le secret pour faire du bon thé froid: il faut le faire tirer à froid. Après avoir essayé plusieurs fois (je suis ravie du résultat) je tiens à partager ce “truc” avec vous.

  • 1 litre d’eau froide
  • 1 cuillère à soupe de feuilles de thé
  • un carré de sucre (ou plus si entente)

Mettre le tout au frigo et laisser infuser toute la nuit (10-12 heures, ou même plus si vous voulez plus de goût). Il suffit ensuite de filtrer (en servant ou à l’avance), et voilà, vous avez du thé froid qui fera pâlir n’importe laquelle de ces mixtures industrielles qui essaient de porter le même nom!

Il va sans dire qu’on peut ainsi faire tirer toutes sortes de thé. Je suis plutôt amatrice de thé noir, donc j’ai déjà testé le Lapsang Souchon, le Lady Grey, le Thé des Moines, le Thé Paradis… mais comme m’a dit la dame du magasin: “on peut faire infuser à froid n’importe quel thé!”

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Champis vaguement indiens à la Steph [fr]

[en] Tonight's Indian-inspired culinary improvisation with mushrooms.

Allez hop, c’était pas mal bon alors je vous donne la recette (totale impro, donc improvisez par-dessus à votre tour!)

J’avais environ 250g de champignons blancs pour faire ça. Je les ai vaguement lavés (il paraît qu’il faut pas trop laver les champis) et coupés en lamelles.

  • du beurre au fond de la poêle, bien chauffer sans pour autant le cramer
  • un quart de petite cuillère de graines de moutarde noire
  • 30 secondes plus tard, une bonne petite cuillère de graines de cumin d’orient (pas le noir, qui pue l’anis)
  • deux gousses d’aïl écrasées
  • faire rissoler tout ça jusqu’à ce que ça commence à ne plus sentir l’aïl cru
  • une demi-cuillère (toujours petite) de turmeric, rissoler un peu aussi
  • ajouter les champignons, bien touiller pour qu’ils soient aussi uniformément jaunes que possible (pas facile, j’ai pas réussi!)
  • saler les champignons
  • comme ils ne voulaient pas suer et que ça commençait à griller, j’ai déglacé avec un tout petit peu d’eau, et hop, le tour était joué
  • touiller encore, les champignons commencent gentiment à avoir l’air cuits à un moment donné
  • ajouter feuilles de coriandre et jus de citron (pas trop de citron, enfin, selon le goût)
  • chauffer encore une petite minute pour répartir les saveurs et réduire le jus
  • manger!

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Isa and Sam's Birthday Salad [en]

[fr] Salade mêlée faite pour les anniversaires d'Isa et Sam. Tomates, oignon doux, poivron vert, piment vert, maïs, pousses de soja, feta, feuilles de coriandre, et une sauce à base d'huile d'olive et de vinaigre balsamique.

Here we go, another quick and dirty salad recipe:

  • 5 San Marzano tomatoes
  • one large sweet onion
  • one green bell pepper
  • one green chilli pepper (chopped fine!)
  • one box of fresh mung sprouts (blanched)
  • 2 tins of corn
  • 200g of feta cheese
  • a lot of chopped coriander
  • mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame, buckwheat — Coop sells the mix)
  • dressing: lots of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, some normal vinegar, some lime juice, mustard, tomato concentrate, pepper, salt (enough salt can make the difference between a tasty salad and an unexciting one)

Enjoy!

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On the Road to Being a Healthier Geek [en]

[fr] Il y a un mois environ, une petite conversation avec mon médecin a eu des conséquences remarquables sur mon mode de vie:

  • je mange plus équilibré (pas dur de faire mieux que le régime pizzas)
  • je me déplace plus souvent à pied et je vais vendre ma voiture.
  • Sans rentrer dans tous les détails relatés dans la version anglaise de ce billet, mon médecin a réussi le tour de force de me motiver à faire quelques aménagements dans mon mode de vie, sans me culpabiliser (ce que je faisais déjà bien assez toute seule). J'ai pris conscience que ma mauvaise alimentation et mon manque d'exercice étaient probablement en train d'avoir un impact sur ma santé (physique et psychique), et qu'il n'était pas nécessaire de bouleverser complètement ma vie pour arranger un peu les choses.

    Côté nourriture, j'essaie vraiment de viser 3 repas et 2 collations par jour, avec 5 portions de fruits/légumes (pas si dur si on construit autour), de la viande ou du poisson une fois par jour, moins de féculents et moins de produits laitiers. En gros, les machins verts/rouges/jaunes, c'est la base. Ah oui, et du poisson 3 fois par semaine, c'est bien.

    Puis l'exercice... les fameuses 30 minutes par jour, ce n'est pas si dur si on décide d'aller à pied au centre-ville plutôt que de prendre la voiture ou le bus (Chauderon c'est à 20 minutes de chez moi). Du coup, ma voiture s'empoussière presque sur sa place de parc depuis un mois. J'ai décidé de la vendre, et l'argent ainsi économisé me permettra moult taxis et voitures Mobility...

This is the [long-overdue](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/3927673) post about the groundbreaking chat I had with my doctor about a month ago.

I went through a rather rough patch in November/December. Those months are usually tough for me, but this year was particularly stressful and tiring. Of course, there were objective reasons for that: I started working for myself in the summer, burnt the candle from both ends during my first months of school-less freedom (yay! I can go to bed at 4am and not feel guilty about it!) and generally had a hard time saying no to clients’ requests even if it meant a packed agenda, because, hey, it was stuff I was excited to do **and** it was paying the bills. So yeah, I had every reason to be feeling tired. However, I was a bit concerned about the fact that I didn’t feel less tired even if I got more than enough sleep, and I decided to go to the doctor for a check-up, just in case I was “missing something” by putting the blame on my lifestyle as a freelance consultant.

After taking a blood test (I will now remember to systematically present the person holding the needle with my right arm, as the left one has non-cooperative vein) I sat at my doctor’s desk for a little chat. He asked me what was bringing me there, and I told him the story. He asked me how I was sleeping — not quite enough, but reasonably regular hours and overall good quality. He asked me how I was doing in the food department — and that’s where it suddenly got very interesting.

#### Food

**I’ve known for years that my eating habits are disastrous.** Diet based on pizza, bread, and cheese. Skipping meals. Not enough fruit or veggies. I used to joke about it and say my main source of vegetables was pizza. I’d evaluate my meat intake as roughly ok, but not enough fish — everybody knows you never eat enough fish, and I hardly ate any. The only thing I knew I was doing right was the fluids part: I drink a lot, and most of it (if not all) is tap water (healthier than bottled water around here). I hardly drink any alcohol at all and I don’t smoke.

I told my doctor I’d been gaining weight (it’s not so much the weight itself that bothers me than the fact I feel too tight in some of the clothes I love to wear them anymore), and that during the summer I had tried to eat more veggies, but my effort had collapsed after a few weeks when my life became too busy.

This is where my doctor earns extra bonus points and good karma. Without making me feel more guilty than I was about my unhealthy diet, he managed to encourage me to try and improve things in small steps by explaining to me in what way one’s diet influences general health and well-being, and walking me through a few simple, concrete things I could easily do to eat better.

**A balanced diet is the starting point for all the rest.** When your diet is unbalanced, before getting into the really nasty stuff that shows up in blood tests, you are going to suffer minor hormonal imbalance, for example. This can make you a little more tired, fall ill a little more easily, and introduce subtle imbalance in your neurotransmitter levels. Neurotransmitters? Whee. I had never given thought to the impact food I ate could have on the chemical balance of stuff in my brain, and therefore my mood and general psychological health.

So that would seem to say: “a healthy diet might help me be less tired and in better psychological health” — did I get that right, doc? Now that’s encouraging.

Then he pulled out a food pyramid from a recent presentation he had just given a bunch of professional dancers on nutrition. I’ve found quite a bunch of those pyramids online, but they all seem to be different (here [the closest match I found](http://www.prevention.ch/ima31304.jpg), so I’ll just tell you what I remember of the one he showed me and our discussion.

The bottom of the pyramid is fluids (non-alcoholic). I’m good with that one. The second floor, however, is veggies and fruit (five portions a day). Then cereals, pasta, bread… three portions. Meat/fish/eggs are on the fourth floor (once a day, fish three times a week), sitting next to dairy products (here’s the catch… I can’t remember if it was once or three times a day for those… I suspect once).

Three solid meals a day **and** two snacks is the way to go. Oh my god, how on earth do I squeeze **five** veggie/fruit portions in there (two of them raw)? It’s not that hard, actually:

– orange juice at breakfast = 1 portion
– those little Andros fruit mushes you can buy at Migros = 1 portion
– a fruit for snack = 1 portion (or 2, if I do two snacks)
– stick pizza in oven, [grab a fruit or two, peel, chop up](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/4087943) and stick in a bowl for dessert = 1 potion (leaving them in the fruit basket doesn’t work, I won’t eat them)
– stick pizza in oven, grab a handful of pre-packaged fresh salad (Migros, Coop), add sliced tomato, sprinkle with a mix of pumpkin/sunflower/flax/sesame seeds (Migros), a little oil and vinegar = 1 portion with added [Omega-3](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid) bonus
– aubergine or other veggie sliced and steamed, add salt/lemon/whatever to taste = 1 portion (my best acquisition over the last year was my [Tefal Steam Cuisine](http://www.tefal.com/All+Products/Cooking+appliances/Steamers/Products/Steam+Cuisine+1000+Easy+Store/Steam+Cuisine+1000+Easy+Store.htm)– easy to use, great for fish, little washing-up after).

The trick is to think about eating as organised around the veggies. Before, I tended to have mono-meals: either a piece of meat, or some pasta, or a huge salad, or a pizza. Now, any of these things would *at least* be accompanied with a salad or fruit.

Three-minute salad One trick I’ve discovered for salads is to **not** prepare them in a salad bowl. It sounds silly, but one of the biggest hassles with food for me is the washing up. I have a bottle of balsamic vinegar which is made to be *sprayed* on things, so I just put the green things on a plate, spray them with balsamic vinegar and add a little oil. One possible result of this effortless process can be seen here in the photo.

Another trick (for fruit, particularly) is **not** to buy packages with 10 kiwis or 6 apples. If I buy two apples and put them in my fruit bowl, I’ll eat them. If I have 6 of them, that’s too much — and I won’t. I also noticed that so-called organic fruit, or simply fruit that you by individually, is more tasty.

Fish three times a week isn’t too difficult to achieve using the steamer (stick fish in steamer, cook five/eight minutes, yum!) — concentrate on the [Omega-3 rich ones](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#Fish) like tuna/salmon/sardines. Fresh raw tuna is delicious too, but don’t [overestimate how much you can eat](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/4209283).

One month later, I’m still happy with the improvements I’ve made to my diet. I have to say that the simple fact I “have this food thing under control” has taken away a lot of guilt and stress, and is in itself making me feel much, much better. Of course, it’s not perfect — but my experience with life tells me that striving for perfection is the best way to Not Get Things Done ™. I suspect I don’t usually get my three meals **and** two snacks each day. When I eat out, things go to the dogs (though I do now always order a salad with my pizza). I don’t think I get my five portions of veggie/fruit, it’s probably more around four. Well, you get the idea — but I’m headed in the right direction.

One thing I plan to do is to conjure up some kind of monitoring sheet where I can cross out my veggie portions, meat/fish consumption, meals etc. I tend to have very little awareness of what I’m doing/not doing — for example, I was totally incapable of answering many of my doctor’s questions on what I was/wasn’t eating. So writing it down would allow me to be aware of how regularly I skip meals, for example, or to notice if my fish consumption goes down to once a week or less. I’ll blog the document if I get around to doing it.

#### Exercise

Another painful chapter was opened when my doctor asked “so, what about physical exercise?”

Uh-oh.

What? But, don’t I, like, do [a helluvalot of judo](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/judo)? What do I have to worry about exercise? Well, the “helluvalot” part might have been true ten years ago, when I was training 4-5 times a week, but for the last years, between things like [injuries](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/11/11/correction-cerebrale/), too much work, and [car accidents](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/accident), it’s more around once a week on average over the year. And, let’s face it, with thirteen years of judo underneath my black belt, I can also go to training and not tire myself out if I’m feeling lazy or out of shape.

So, I need another source of exercise. Leading a [geeky lifestyle](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/13/ce-soir-scenes-de-menage/) is all very well, but even without being [addicted to the internet](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2006/10/internet_addict.html) (it might just be [technological overload](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/09/technological-overload-panel/)), one has to agree that sitting in front of a computer all day, many days a week, is not exactly physical exercise, and probably not what the human body was designed for. Specially when you’re working from home and you live alone — trips to the kitchen and the bathroom don’t really add up to very much.

First, as with food, motivation and encouragement: something like cutting the risk of developing breast, stomach or colon cancer by 50%, just by doing 30 minutes of exercise per day. Wow. There are a whole lot of other benefits on your health, of course, but this is the one that struck me. So, 30 minutes a day? Damn, that would mean I have to take “time off” to exercise.

In summer, I go rollerblading by the lake. It’s nice, it’s good exercise (an hour or so from university to Ouchy and back), but it’s not so great when it rains. I need something I can do whatever the weather, says my doctor. Hmmm. I don’t like swimming. Dancing counts, he tells me — I don’t really like dancing either. Walking is ok, if it’s a brisk walk and not a gentle stroll in Ouchy on a Sunday afternoon. Cycling is ideal, he adds, specially on an indoor bike. Well, I have a bit of a space problem — but as he says, it’s all a matter of me deciding how important it is. You can buy a kind of tripod that you can stick a real outdoor bike on to turn it into an indoor bike, so it’s not that expensive (150CHF). Unfortunately, I don’t already own a bicycle.

So I decided to give walking a try. [All the walking I did in San Francisco](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/12/im-really-liking-san-francisco/) certainly helped me take the plunge. Minimal duration for the walk to be worth anything is 10 minutes (so 3×10 minutes = 30 minutes, good!) [Café-Café](http://cafecafe.ch) rehearsals, my brother’s place, shopping, post office — all those are 10-15 minutes away. No more taking the car to go there. I tried walking down to town, without taking the bus. Gosh, Place Chauderon is only 20 minutes away! Café de l’Evêché, 30 minutes! That’s about as central as it gets. No more taking the car to go into town either. There’s a bus-stop a minute away from where I live if I’ve done enough walking for the day and don’t want to walk home. And overall, the [Lausanne bus system](http://www.t-l.ch/) is pretty good and can take you more or less anywhere in the city.

One added advantage of walking places is that it means longer commutes (OMG! who would want that!) and allows me to listen to podcasts on the way. I miss the singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs sessions in the car somewhat, though. Longer commutes are also good because they force me to reduce the pace of my sometimes mad days — I can’t pack meetings or activities wall-to-wall in three different places in and around Lausanne because I think “it’ll just take me five minutes to get there”. I get breathing space, and I get alone-time (time spent on the computer blogging, IMing, Skypeing and IRCing does **not** count as alone-time).

#### Going No-Car

I was telling a friend all this during [LIFT’07](http://www.liftconference.com/2007/), and the fact that my as my car was now spending many a day sitting on my parking space I was certainly not going to get a bigger one, when he flat-out suggested that I sell my car. Yeah, but… I need it to go to my sister’s, to my dad’s, etc. “Rent a car when you need it.” Hmmm, why not, but rental agencies are at the station, which is quite far off… Anyway, I dismissed the idea and enjoyed the rest of the conference.

A few days later, the background process had worked its magic, and I ended up spending a fair amount of time on the [Mobility website](http://mobility.ch/pages/?dom=6), looking up prices and figuring out how it worked. Basically, it’s a web-based car rental service which allows you to book your car, open it with your magnetic card, use it and bring it back — without having to involve another human being. You can also [rent cars from AVIS and Hertz through them at a reduced rate](http://mobility.ch/pages/index.cfm?srv=cms&pg=&dom=6&prub=623&rub=754). And more importantly, they have cars **everywhere**. At the Migros where I usually do my shopping. At the Coop in Prilly. Down the road. Up the road. All within walking distance.

It made sense to have a car when I had to drive daily to Saint-Prex or Bussigny, which is not a practical journey by public transport from my place. But now that I’m not commuting regularly anymore… The amount of money I pour into the car sitting in that parking space could just as well be spent on taxis and rental cars and leave me with extra aeroplane budget.

Bottom line? I’ve taken a four-month Mobility trial subscription, and I’m selling my car for March 9th. I’m losing my license for a month on that date because of my car accident this summer — so it’s a good time.

Thanks for the nudge, [Stowe](http://stoweboyd.com/)! 😉

#### Wrap-Up

I don’t know how many people will have the courage to read through this horribly long post, so here’s a quick wrap-up of what I’ve effortlessly changed about a month ago, and kept up with. All because the importance of a reasonably balanced diet and regular exercise for my (mental and physical) health really sunk in.

– 3 meals a day, plus two snacks (I’m still working on turning my breakfast into a “meal”)
– 5 veggie/fruit portions a day — build the rest of the food around those
– fish 3 times a week if you manage, meat/fish/eggs once a day
– eating frozen or ready-made stuff isn’t disastrous, just add salad/fruit
– commute on foot — many distances aren’t that huge if you take the trouble to try
– if you don’t use your car regularly, it might be more economical to go cab/rental.

More important than the specifics, what’s to note here is a change of attitude. Details are important, of course, as they are often what’s needed to make an intention into Things That Happen (check out GTD again). But alone, they are not sufficient. In my case, it took a few months of feeling rather unwell, and the fact that my doctor **took the trouble** to talk to me about these issues, for me to realise (a) they were important (b) they were probably having an impact on my life right now and (c) I wanted to do something about them.

Today, instead of thinking “what do I feel like eating” or “do I want to go rollerblading/walking”, I think “where am I with my quota of veggies/exercise, and what do I need to eat/do to reach it”. I don’t do it in an obsessive way, mind you. It’s just that food and exercise have become goal-driven, and there are rather effortless things I can do to move towards a goal I find worthwhile — so I do them.

On the road to being healthier geeks!

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Great Indian Food in Leeds [en]

[fr] Maliks Restaurant est un excellent endroit où manger de la nourriture indienne à Leeds.

Besides telling you about an excellent place to eat Indian food in Leeds, let me try my hand at using the [hReview plugin](http://www.aes.id.au/?page_id=28).

ew, it breaks. Maybe it doens’t like Markdown? help?


11 Merrion Way,
Leeds,
LS28BT,

+44-1132-246-8828

place

Best Indian food I’ve eaten since India!

Maliks outside

I went to Leeds Market this morning with my Dad, and we had decided to go and eat some Indian food. The places he remembered were (un)fortunately all closed, and we ended up having a meal at Maliks, just behind Merrion Centre.

Well, let me tell you — this is the best Indian food I’ve eaten since I came back from India! We chose the lunchtime buffet, a real deal at £6.95: two delicious starters (fish and tandoori chicken wings, really yummy), vegetables and two choices of meat which actually tasted like they’d been cooked in India. I ordered a naan to eat my meat with (extra but really worth it), and I wasn’t disappointed: huge and fluffy.

Maliks first floor 1

There were two choices of dessert included in the buffet: Rasmalai (perfect, not chewy at all) and rose-flavoured rice pudding.

Unlike most Indian restaurants which tend to be a bit dark and stuffy, the inside is modern and well-lit. It’s a nice change. I mean, “exotic Indian” interiors are nice the first few times you go and eat Indian food, but one can get fed up of them.

We talked a bit with the owner at the end of the meal. He told us they’d only just opened. I asked him if I could take a photo with him on it for my review. He also showed us upstairs — there’s a huge room there if you’re thinking “reception”.

More photos:

Maliks Restaurant in Leeds: here it is! Maliks Restaurant in Leeds: upper room Maliks Restaurant in Leeds: location

My rating: 5.0 stars
*****

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Salade de la mort-qui-tue [fr]

[en] Mixed salad recipe.

Allez, c’est officiel, je fais des salades de la mort-qui-tue. Par exemple:

– un concombre
– trois tomates
– une boîte de maïs
– un reste de poivron
– une barquette de feta
– un reste de fromate à pâte dure (genre Gruyère) qui traînait au fond du frigo
– 3-4 tomates séchées
– 3-4 cornichons
– 3 oeufs durs
– vinaigre, huile d’olive, sel, poivre

On coupe le tout en morceaux et on mélange.

Varier la recette au gré des envies et du contenu du frigo.

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Inspiration culinaire de ce soir [fr]

[en] I threw a few things together in the pan tonight and it ended up being a very nice tomato-cream sauce. Here's the recipe.

Celui-ci, je le fais surtout pour moi, mais aussi pour vous, parce que franchement, mon improvisation culinaire tardive de ce soir est fort bonne.

J’ai fait des pâtes à  l’ail d’ours (Migros, elles sont délicieuses) avec la sauce suivante:

– une demi-boîte de tomates concassées
– un mini-berlingot de crème entière (125ml)
– un petit sachet de parmesan (50g)
– quelques giclées de jus de citron
– généreusement ajouter du poivre au citron
– un peu de bouillon de poule en poudre pour saler
– quelques fourchetées de câpres (miam!)
– un petit peu de sel d’ail et de mélange de condiments à  l’italienne

Faire chauffer la sauce après avoir tout mélangé, puis rajouter aux pâtes. Un peu trop de sauce pour une personne, mais c’est pas grave!

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Aleika’s Recipe for Masoor Daal [en]

Here is the delicious recipe Aleika showed me last time I was in Birmingham to visit her. It is an indian lentil recipe.

You’ll need:

  • masoor daal (the red lentils you find at any indian supermarket near you)
  • nigellas, also called kalonji (kind of small black onion seeds)
  • onions
  • tomato
  • butter (yum!) or oil
  • a green chili if you want
  • fresh coriander leaves

First, cook the daal. You can wash and/or soak it first if you like. Basically, you cook it like rice: about a cup of daal, roughly twice that amount of water, stick in a saucepan and boil until it turns pasty (take care, it foams a lot if you didn’t wash it really well). Let’s say it takes 20 minutes or so.

Chop the onions very finely while the daal is cooking (“more onions than you would think expect”, says Aleika) — I put a couple of onions in for a teacup of daal.

When the daal is nearly done (or plain done), heat the butter or oil, drop in a teaspoon of kalonji (or half, depending on your taste — they aren’t strong) and the green chili (or not). Add the onions and fry them gently until they melt. Then add the tomato and make it melt too.

Once the tomato and onion look as pasty as the daal (well, nearly!), simply dump the daal on top of them. Re-heat if necessary, stir well, add chopped coriander leaves (or not, but it’s nicer with them), and it’s ready!

Daal is usually eaten with rice. Pour the daal on top of the rice and mix, or eat separately if you prefer.

Bon appétit!

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