- Chai masala latte

It was one of those days…. Cold, grey…. The kind of day that makes you want to stay at home and do nothing… So that’s what I did, kind of nothing, a bit of cooking, reading, eating, learning Spanish and looking after myself.
Looking after myself also means to drink a chai latte.

The best I’ve ever had is at Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, California, since then, the mix is very often pre-made, sometimes makes your milk taste sour, some are tasteless, bland and boring.

I have Indian friends and all of them told me that there are so many ways of making a chai latte, you can mix water and milk, you can crush your spices yourself or buy them in powder. 
Regarding the tea it’s the same, some people use tea bags while others use loose leaves or powder. 

Chai means tea in numerous languages (derived for the Chinese) and Masala is mix in Hindi.
I crushed my peppercorns, used cardamom powder as I had a lot and it needed to be used and fresh ginger and did half/half with the milk and water. For my vegan or intolerant friends, soy milk or almond is perfect.

Please, my friends, don’t be offended if I don’t do it exactely the same way as your mum (I’m saying that as I can be offended when someone is not making Niçoise salad the right way), I checked with a few people, read…. By mixing different recipes, advices, I made this one and waiting for your advices, comments…. As I know that I have followers in India :)


Chai masala latte,

for 2 cups

Ingredients : 

  • 1 cup of milk of your choice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 18 black peppercorn
  • 1 Tsp of cinnamon powder or 1 sick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger
  • 8 cardamom pods or 1/2 tsp of powder
  • 2 tsp of black tea powder or 2 tea bags

Method :

Bring the cup of water to the boil with all the spices crushed with a mortar and pilar or with a coffee grinder and the tea. Let it simmer for 2 min, add the milk,  let it simmer for 2min and turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let it set for 15min. Filter the liquid et c’est tout !
If you wish to, you can obain some foam by using a blender or a purée/soup maker just beofre serving and enjoying it.







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- New York ! New York !

It was a dream come true, a real one, something I wanted to do for years…. New York !

Now that I am close (not that much in fact as it’s the same flight time from London, but let’s say that I feel closer) I couldn’t not do it. Business is always quiet for me in July/August, I was supposed to go there with someone so I booked the same week and at the end we didn’t go together. Still I should thank this person as thanks to him I finally made it. 

People knowing me and knowing New York’s always told me that if I love London (and God knows that I do!) I would love NY.  Difficult to compare a city where I spent 5 days on holiday and another one where I lived for years, but, yes, I LOVED it.
I felt the same energy that I felt in London, the same crazyness, feeling its vibration always. London is busy, loud, tiring…. New York is worse. 
Manahttan is contantly moving, cars, taxis honk, builders everywhere who make a bit more noise…. But, yes, as London it’s a city that makes you want to wake up in the morning, makes you want to do things, realize yourself, feel alive. 

Wanting to go for so long, I was making researches from time to time and for years. Where to go, what to do and how, I read, watched documentaries, asked people who went there and people who are from there… So I arrived with a plan : make the most of it like everytime I travel, without feeling being rushed, it’s a city I wanted to visit by myself, at least the first time, I wanted to breath it at my rythm (which was a fast pace) with no constraints except my own and go with the people flow, walk, look at them living and ending up exhausted but so happy.

Manhattan is quiete small (oui oui) the New York county is the US second smallest county and also the most densely populated county and one of the most densely populated area in the world with 1.6 millions people, reaching nearly 4 millions on businees day with commuters etc…. In other words, it’s small and very, very crowded.

I wanted to do it all knowing that I wouldn’t because I couldn’t, I wanted to eat bagel, flat pizza, pastrami sandwich like New Yorkers, go to ‘Les Halles’ where Anthony Bourdain (one of my hero) worked before he bacame famous and at Katz Deli. I had heard a lot about Katz Deli and also from Anhony Bourdain which I follow and check his episodes before travelling, always.  

Katz deli is 129 years old. In Lower East Side, the world but also the real New Yorkers are passing by Katz deli.  To me, it’s the real New York, the old one like in old times. Lower East side was home of freshly arrived immigrant families and Katz became the spot where the community gathered due to the lack of transports and choice around.  During the peak of the Yiddish theater (pieces written and played by Jewish immigrant, Yiddish was the language talked by the Ashkenazi jews (Jewish from Eastern Europe)) it was filled with actors and singers. It’s still the case nowaday as they shot scenes of various films, amongst them, the very famous one of ‘When Harry met Sally’ when Meg Ryan simulates sex in a cafe  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdJm3DVg3EM Watching this scene still make me laugh,
It’s very meaty (they have vegetarian options still) very salami, pastrami so I had a huge delicious pastramily omelet, with bagel, coffee and orange juice, so good.

Katz deli is just one of the numerous highights of my NY escapade as there are so many. 

Take the Central line, a boat,  for a 3 hours tour all round the island of Manhattan, it worth it. Have a drink at 230 5th avenue rooftop with a royal view on the Empire State building, I also did the Sex and the city tour which was funny, girly and where I learnt a lot about the NY and not only about where to find a rabbit ;)
Dance class at Alvin Ailey as they do drop-in classes, Grand Central really deserves to be seen, East Harlem for a very cheap hair braiding at Fanny’s, Ground Zero to never forget, Ellis Island, Kitchen Hell’s neighbourhood, Perry street in the Meat Packing district which is so quiet and pretty, then Magnolia Bakery one block away for a cupcake, Brooklyn Bridge to cross on foot and especially by night, Bryant park for an ice cream, Harlem for the mass on  Sunday and its eclectic restaurants, Central Park, Little Italy for a romantic dinner, Soho and Greewich village of course, Time Square by night and by day to feel overwhelmed and the Central Library, the Flat iron, Union Square, Madison square park….
For this time I had to put the indoors activities on the side as the weather was warm I wanted to stay out as much as I could. 

So no museum that time, not MET, no Broadway show, I think that’s the only things I missed on my to do list because I made the choice to sit down nearly everyday in the afternoon at a terrace for a glass of rosé for an hour before carrying on with my wandering, picture taking, stranger talking, little moments of life enjoying….

Museum and shows will be next time for my birthday, end of November, I want to go to see the Christmas lights, be cold and have a hot chocolate while wandering, taking pictures, talking to strangers and enjoying those little moments of life……























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- Coconut prawns fritters with mango chutney

You’re taking me just back from New York City.
I came back yesterday morning, just enough time to unpack have a shower and lunch and go to work.
It was hard… the return, this week in NY went so fast, too fast, and I did so much that I still haven’t had the time to process really. 
Process what I saw, what I did, because it was so great, NY was a dream come true and I am preparing you a post ‘special New York’. 

I am now back to the real life and it’s not bad at all. I am lucky, I do what I  love and can make a living with it and on the top of that, my job gives me a lot freedom. I am working now from my favourite café around the corner, drinking my coffee with Mozart in my ears. What more can I wish for ? 

So back to my first love : cooking, I still had coconut that I used on  my previous post : http://www.marlenefoodstyling.com/2017/07/my-homemade-bounty-bars/ and I really felt like having prawns so I made those coconut prawns fritters. 

The idea is to have some sweet and savoury tastes, or sweet and spicy/hot taste, to serve for aperitif or as proper dish with an Asian salad : http://www.marlenefoodstyling.com/2012/04/thai-salad/ for a bit of exotism. 

Coconut prawns fritters with mango chutney

Serves 4

Ingredients :

Chutney :

  • 2 small mangoes 
  • 1 cup / 60g of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 cup / 230g of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup/110g of sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 125g of water
  • 1 small red hot chili


Prawns fritters :

  • 20 prawns
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Some flour
  • 100g of shredded coconut
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Juice of lemon and/or lime


Method :

Prepare the chutney first by peeling and chopping the mangoes roughly, put them in a food processor with the chili to obtain a puree. Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to the boil till the sugar dissolves. 

Set 3 bowls, one with the 2 cracked eggs and salt, pepper and chili, one with flour and the last one with coconut. 

When the sugar is dissolved, add the liquid mix to the mangoes and whisk. Check the seasoning, it really depends on your taste, see if it needs a bit more sugar or a bit more vinegar or water. If you like it very hot add a bit more chili. For me, those proportions are perfect. Let it to cool down in the fridge. 

Heat up some oil in a frying pan, when it’s hot, roll the prawns one by one, first in flour, then in eggs, then in coconut and plunge them in the oil till they are crispy and golden brown on each sides. 

You can sprinkle them with lemon or lime if you like while they are still hot before dipping them, still warm, in the cold chutney. The warm/cold – sweet/spicy contrast is striking, it’s just divine, I am drooling, just thinking about it. 



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