Sunday, 21 February 2016

London Eats: Trishna | The Small Desk

Before we begin, I must apologise for not getting the best photos of the food, it felt too civilised and smart to be too obvious about taking photos!

On 14th February the boyf took me to Trishna, a Michelin star Indian restaurant in Marylebone, London. He previously went with work and has been raving about it ever since. I was excited about it, but was a bit sceptical about curry for lunch: there's something about having a curry at lunchtime that doesn't feel right to me, however the food was so beautifully refined that it felt like a light lunch even though I was absolutely stuffed afterwards.

When we arrived we were taken to our seats and asked if we would like them to take our coats to the cloakroom – always a good sign. The waiting staff were the most professional waiting staff I've ever come across: they treated us like kings! After every course they swept the table and were constantly topping up our water without us even asking.

For starters I had Punjabi Vegetable Samosa Chat, which was absolutely delicious, I could eat it every day! It was sweet and spicy with yoghurt to cool it down and coriander for freshness. For main I had the Narangi Salmon Tikka (see photo of the grey plate and the yellow square above), it was not what I was expecting at all, and was a small piece of salmon coated in the most gorgeous thick sauce, or perhaps it was a marinade, I'm not sure, I've never had anything like it! With your main you can choose potatoes or lentils with it and rice or bread – the trick is to get all four between the two of you. Everything tasted exquisite. The only thing which was not as amazing as everything else was the dessert: I had Tellicherry Pepper Bappa Boi, which is baked yoghurt with kumquats and a black pepper biscuit. It was nice, but I'm such a sucker for chocolate desserts that it didn't quite hit the spot for me.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to go for a special meal in London. I would advise booking well in advance, and dressing up a little bit, as it's full of smart Marylebone people. What's your favourite Indian restaurant?

Punjabi Vegetable Samosa Chat

Tellicherry Pepper Bappa Boi


Saturday, 20 February 2016

A Spool of Blue Thread: Book Review | The Small Desk

They say a man’s home is his castle, and this is no different for Junior Whitshank. A Spool of Blue Thread takes you on a journey through three generations of Whitshanks: sharing the highs and the lows, and telling the stories of love and loss. The novel revolves around the oldest member of the Whitshank family, Junior, building a house for a client, which by a strange turn of fate becomes his own, and subsequently his son, Red’s.

It all starts out in 1994 Baltimore with the latest generation of Whitshanks – Red and Abby, and their children: Denny, Jeannie, Stem and Amanda. Immediately Anne Tyler takes you into a home that can’t move for family problems. It begins off with small issues that slowly evolve into bigger problems towards the middle of the novel.

The first page leaves you with a question for the rest of the book that becomes more and more irrelevant, but I think this is the point Anne Tyler is trying to make throughout the book is that family life is constantly evolving and stories go unfinished, become irrelevant or simply fade in time. We read about Red and Abby with their grown up children, but then unusually we are invited to hear the story of Abby and Red’s early relationship in 1959.

Later in the novel we are taken back to the 1920s and told the story of Junior and Linnie Mae, Red’s parents. It is a surprising story that the latest generation seem hazy about; in fact it is really told from Junior’s point of view and even Linnie Mae wouldn’t have known the true depth of the story.

It is a good read for those who are a bit nosey, as you are introduced to the book as though you are part of the latest generation but are able to look a little deeper at Red’s relationship and then his parents’ relationship. I always think it’s funny how you will never really know what your parents or grandparents relationships were founded on and how they have grown through time. Obviously, this is inevitable because you meet your parents when they’re adults and by the time you can hold any type of meaningful conversation they are well into their adulthood, and as for your grandparents, well you’ve only known them as pensioners! It is a strange thing about life, that you will never really know what your grandparents or parents life was like before they had you, and I think perhaps Anne Tyler feels the same, and wanted to explore this further.

I must stress, this book is not a page-turner; it goes pretty slowly but with some defining events throughout. The thing that makes you go back to read it again each time is the description of the characters: I felt I couldn’t picture what the characters looked like, but I understood what they felt like. Anne Tyler’s descriptions of emotions are probably the reason this book was shortlisted. Abby Whitshank is known for taking orphans and misfits into her home and looking after them and this is very much how you feel as a reader: that even though you don’t know them you are being allowed into the very core of their family.

I feel this book would make a good film; I can already see the young Linnie Mae being played by Reese Witherspoon. It reminds me of the film, A Serious Man by the Coen Brothers, as it is also set in a small American town and focuses on issues that any family could be beset by. It also focuses on the men in the family, which intentionally or not, Anne Tyler does in this novel. I feel I got to know the inner workings of the men’s thoughts more so than the women’s.

The book describes the messiness of life, the unpredictable nature of families, and the number of untold stories. It is one of those books that transports you into another world; I find myself remembering little bits from the book as though they really happened.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Good intentions and shit hot content | The Small Desk

I had every intention of finally posting my review of A Spool of Blue Thread today, and even perhaps posting a review of the Barbican exhibition, but there is just too much shit hot content out there to concentrate on writing my own! I will write up these pieces soon, but first I feel like I'm bursting at the seams with recommendations of brilliant content that I have to share with you. As you'll see in this post, often finding good content leads you on to find more good content, and so the distractions increase!

1. Updates on Serial podcast
I've spent my morning catching up on the updates on the Adnan Syed case through the Serial podcast. As with all good content I am always keen to find out more, or to go to the next phase of the content. In this case I found myself wondering about Sarah Koenig, the host of Serial, which led to me getting completely distracted again by reading this Vogue interview with her. I was fascinated to hear she is a mother.

Even writing this post I got distracted by watching this video about the American, Bergdahl, captured by the Taliban. This is the guy Sarah focusses on in season two. It always blows my mind seeing what people who you've only heard described through a podcast, actually look like.

2. YouTube videos
As always, I find myself in the depths of YouTube, unable to stop myself from clicking on the next recommended video. Recently I've been loving exploring the 'Home' feed and seeing what videos YouTube recommends to me. I've lost count the amount of times I've watched Casey Neistat's snowboarding video through New York.

I've listened to Zayn's new Pillowtalk video, watched it many times, and am still trying to decide if I like it. I'm still undecided, but I'm leaning to towards liking it! The video is a bit weird though. Ugh, now I've found the link I'm watching the video again!

I'm now also subscribed to the Canvas YouTube channel. I like the Jacob Collier one the best.

3. Where you would be happiest in the UK
As you may or may not know, I've been on the hunt for a flat recently, and this quiz on the BBC really caught my eye. It's funny because it tells me to move back to my hometown! And so, the distraction of looking for flats began again.

4. Reading about what the hell is happening to Twitter
Algorithmic timeline?!?! I love seeing random tweets that are served to me by the time they were posted!

5. Powerful article in the Guardian
Krupa Padhy talks about the death of her baby daughter, and what to do with sympathy cards. It is very moving, but also very powerful.

6. Lusting over Barbicania
When I visited the Eames exhibition at the Barbican I noticed there was a DVD called Barbicania in the shop. It is a film made by Living Architects about the people who live in the Barbican. As a former Anthropology student this is the type of film that excites me. It was £18, so I didn't buy it but I've watched the trailer many times now! Also, as per usual I was then distracted at looking more at the films made by Living Architects, they look amazing, and I want to buy all of them!

7. How to do your hair like Donald Trump
Time magazine published one of the funniest articles I've seen on Donald Trump. Now you too can achieve the quiff!

8. Jessie Burton's twitter feed
I've been loving the Twitter feed of author, Jessie Burton. She has some pretty damn hilarious tweets, and a fascinating life too!

9. Political commentary on my Facebook feed
Someone shared this incredibly important post on my Facebook feed that I felt obliged to share with you, as my Grandma almost died of meningococcal septicaemia. Make sure to click the link on the date.
Jeremy Hunt says "If you’re worried about a rash your child has, an online alternative – where you look at photographs...
Posted by George Reid on Sunday, 31 January 2016

10. Freaking exciting secret proof
Finally my friend found me a ridiculously exciting proof of a book that doesn't come out for a few months yet, and so I'm going to have to read that like right now.

See why I'm struggling to focus!? Anyway, keep making that excellent content everyone and feel free to share yours in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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