Wa!? More like WOW Curry

Wa restaurantLast week I had the pleasure of trying out Wa! Curry at their restaurant in the Cinema complex near Kassam Stadium.

It doesn’t take much to twist my arm into a meal out at a curry house, but having spent 6 months living in Indian in my 20’s I can be difficult to please.

The best all you can eat India buffet in Oxford

Wa meat and vegetable selection of curryWa! Curry is an all you can eat Indian buffet with a difference. Founded by Prad Walimbe on the basic belief that we should help feed and nourish the less privileged, Wa! not only provides delicious curry’s to the public here in Oxford, it does its bit by feeding many needy mouths around the world every time you buy a meal.

Wa all you can eat buffetFurthermore, it also focuses on education in farming key ingredients to help the less fortunate to become self-sufficient. Don’t you just love the already?!? And if that wasn’t enough,  the curries supplied are nutritious, wholesome, locally organic and freshly prepared with minimal salt and no preservatives or sugar added; just packed with delicious fresh herbs and spices.

You may have seen Wa! Cuisine sold at delis, markets and food stores around Oxford? Their vegan and vegetarian soups, sauces and meal pots are a healthy way to get a cost effective ‘curry with a cause’ when you’re out and about.

Wa! Curry is situated to the left of the bottom of the escalator to the Vue Cinema – Ozone Leisure & Entertainment Park, Grenoble Rd, Oxford, GB OX4 4XP. You can’t miss it; it’s vibrantly coloured, yet slick and clean decor stands out. Plus you couldn’t possibly walk passed the wonderful aroma without noticing.

Wa PradWhen we arrived, we were welcomed by Prad himself and sat at a window booth. We ordered some drinks and took in the atmosphere.

The way it works is that you take a plate and help yourself. You can eat as much as you like, and come back for more, but you are encouraged not to waste food – after all, food is a precious commodity in many parts of the World. And here in the land of plenty we tend to forget this.

Wa Caroline eating curryIt took a while for us to choose what we wanted to eat. There was a huge selection of starters, poppadoms, rice, curries, bread as well as desserts!

Personally, I’m a fan of anything vegan and vegetarian, and it was a joy to see such a wide variety of choice for those that prefer to eat without meat. The Butter Paneer was rich yet delicately spiced, whilst the black dahl sumptuous and wholesome. But my favourite had to be the egg curry – reminiscent of my time spent in India. I had to have seconds – I’m eating for 2 at the moment after all!

Wa Alex and MelissaMy husband Alex’s favourite was the lamb Vindaloo. He said that it was the most flavoursome hot curry he had ever tasted! He also loved the prawn curry and selection of Indian starters including the pakora and poppadoms.

My daughter Melissa, who has been eating curry since she was in the womb, loved the coconuty chicken Korma and Peshwari Naan the best.

Wa Melissa strawberry icecreamShe was also delighted to see the a large selection of desserts including strawberry ice cream, chocolate pots and Gulab Jamon.

All the curries are gluten free so great for Ceoliacs, and there’s even a choice of chips and other British foods should you chose to come with a friend that prefers that.

We had the privilege of talking to Prad about his journey into the restaurant business. He said his passion for food developed from a young age while watching his mother create original infusions from wild vegetables and spices in their home kitchen in Karad, India.

Wa vegetarian curryIt’s obvious, from Wa! Curry that preparing and sharing food has been a huge part of his upbringing. And it’s clear that combining his zest for travel, history and culture as well as skills learned working in sales and marketing has proven to be a powerful and winning combination for Prad.

We wish him the best of luck and all our support in pursuing this worthwhile venture. As far as my family are concerned, every day is a curry day, and now I have so many more reasons to make it a priority to visit Wa! I hope that you do too.

If you can’t make it down to the restaurant, you may like to know that they will will soon be operating a delivery service. To book a table or discuss a party/event call
01865 395870 / 07713 942628 or email wecare@wacurry.com

Or to source meal pots, soups and sauces take a look in health food stores such as Gatineau in Summertown, The Athlete Centre in Oxford, The Market Garden, Eynsham, Cultivate Veg Van in Oxford, Farm Fresh Oxford, North Parade Market and the 1855 Wine Bar Bistro among other places.

For more information visit www.wacuisine.com

 

 

 

 

Save our pumpkins!

photo (2)We all love a Halloween pumpkin lantern, but the mounds of pumpkins displayed outside large food shops for decorative purposes has been making me cringe lately.

Pumpkins are one of the most flavour-some and nutritious vegetables you can find. The yellow flesh is full of lovely anti-oxidants and beta-carotene. Plus you can get really creative with a pumpkin in the kitchen – for example – cumin roasted pumpkin, Pumpkin soup, pumpkin curry, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake – the list goes on.

I’m loving local Oxford events that are making the most out of the discarded pumpkin flesh. Here’s a few you should check out!

Drop in to Potions and Pumpkins and taste our scarily delicious pumpkin soup by the fire and make some Halloween potions. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Date/Time: Sunday, November 1 2015. 10:00 – 14:00
LocationThe Earth Trust, Earth Trust Centre, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ

Roasted pumpkinOr do as the lovely Hannah from Good Food Oxford suggests and ‘Squash food waste with the official Pumpkin Festival recipe book! Check it out for scrummy recipes to help you cook up that carved pumpkin flesh – everything from chutney to brownies’. The 2015 Oxford Pumpkin Festival runs from 24th October to 6th November. Here’s what’s on offer…..

Saturday 31st October

  • Pumpkin Carving at Sandford Market
    Times: 9am – 12pm
    Venue: Sandford Village Hall
    Cost: FREE
    Registration: Just turn up!
    Sandford are hosting a special pumpkintastic version of their Saturday market, with fun Halloween activities alongside the usual selection of scrumptious local produce and goodies from the cafe.
  • Food Surplus Cafe – Halloween Special
    Times: 12pm – 3pm
    Venue: East Oxford Community Centre
    Cost: Pay as you feel
    Registration: Just turn up or get in touch to volunteer.
    The third in a series of super successful Oxford Food Surplus Cafe pop up events, serving scrummy meals made by volunteers from food which would otherwise have been thrown away!The Oxford Food Surplus Café aims to help redress the imbalance in our food system by reclaiming surplus food and transforming it into delicious healthy meals accessible to all. Using the pay as you feel system, customers are able to contribute either what they can afford or what they think the food, space and idea is worth. They want to create an inclusive space to encourage community engagement and reconnect people with the food they eat.
  • Sunday 1st November

    • OxGrow Pumpkin Day
      Times: 12am to 5pm
      Venue: OxGrow Community Garden
      Cost: FREE
      Registration: Just turn up!
      Feeling hollow and empty post Halloween? Bring your empty pumpkins down to Ox Grow and get your inner lantern shining again! We’ll be turning old pumpkins into bird feeders, cooking up a feast, playing games and gardening galore.

Sesi Launching Cotswolds Flour

Sesi Launching Cotswolds flourPlease come and join me at SESI Cotswolds Organic Flour launch celebration. Where there will be free soup, bread and dips.

Superb talks by our guests from FWP Matthews and local authors and bloggers.
Free, family friendly and open to everyone. Click Here to book tickets.
22 Oct 2015 2pm-4pm
Cowley Rd Methodist Church
Jeune Street, OX4 1BN

Come and join us!

  • Hear the story of FWP Matthews Mill
  • Taste delicious bread baked with FWP Matthews flour
  • Enjoy homemade seasonal soup – ingredients from SESI and Cultivate Oxford
  • Dip into delicious organic olive oil from Granada in Spain
  • Make oatcakes with Anna Pitt, author of 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free http://rosiesecoblog.blogspot.co.uk
  • Learn to make gluten free treats with Caroline Mentzer of feedafamily.co.uk

Free apples across Oxford

If there’s one thing I hate it’s WASTE!!

Dene Road apple tree There are many hungry people all over the World – including Oxford. Yet on average, a family with children spends £680 every year on food that ends up in the bin. Nearly half of what is thrown away is fresh fruit and vegetables.

One way to help us value our food and minimise waste is to grow our own. Somehow slaving away in the garden, lovingly nurturing plants makes you appreciate how genuinely amazing nature is. It’s far harder to throw away a squished tomato that your child has sown from seed and endearingly cared for.

However, we’re not all lucky enough to possess a garden, and this is where foraging comes into play. Getting out on a sunny autumnal day and spending an hour or so picking gloriously wildly grown fruit, followed by cooking up a delicious apple pie, is one of the most satisfying sense of achievements a child can experience.

Where to find free fruit

Apple and blackberry crumble1) Nosey in your neighbours gardens.
It’d be a shame to let some juicy apples or brambles go to waste just because your neighbour doesn’t know what to do with them. You could offer a crumble in return for some free pickings.

2) Public parks in Oxford.
At the moment parks are brimming with apple trees, yet the fruit goes to waste. Don’t be scared pick away and put the fruit to good use. We’ve got a glorious apple tree in the park at the end of our road in Headington. The apples taste yummy!

3) Foraging maps
If you search on google for where to forage, you’ll often find plenty of information on public picking spots. Just click the link here to find one for Oxfordshire.

Happy pickings!!

Cow mead allotment on Abingdon Road #zerowaste

Cow Mead allotment donation sale oxfordOn an outing to central Oxford the other day, I came across Cow Mead Allotment on Abingdon road. They had an open house and were selling their produce for donation only. There was plenty to choose from – Fresh damsons, swiss chard and giant marrows which would just go to waste if not eaten and shared.

What a fantastic way to support ZeroWaste week I thought! So I snapped a few pictures and bought some beautiful swiss chard which we fried up with some garlic to have with our fresh farm eggs. Delicious!!

Allotments in Oxford

Garlic tossed swiss chardOxford has 36 allotment sites across the city. Oxford council manage each one in partnership with a different allotment association and the Oxford and District Federation of Allotment Associations (ODFAA).

To find your nearest plot, please see the map here. People are often selling their fresh produce or asking for a helping hand to harvest in return for some delicious fresh vegetables and fruit.

After all, it would be a shame to see anything go to waste.

Remember to always keep a spare carrier bag on your person – we want to save on plastic too!

 

ZERO WASTE WEEK

Zero Waste Week is in its 8th year of running! It’s held next week from 7th – 13th September 2015. We’re looking for YOU to get involved and to pledge to reduce your waste.

This year’s theme is ‘REUSE’ – basically stop wasting money by saving resources!

Zero waste week

This could mean……

  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Reuse foil for zero waste lunches
  • Reuse jars for storage
  • Take clothes to a textile bank
  • Reuse leftovers as ingredients
  • Offer items on Freecycle, Freegle or Streetbank
  • Reuse blank paper for notes
  • Use a refillable bottle

I’m an ambassador for the week and my pledge is to buy food for a week without packaging. I’ll ‘reuse’ my old packaging when shopping. e.g take my own container when buying fish / meat / eggs / veg and fruit. No new packaging or plastic will be used!

I’ll be posting about my experiences here over the next few weeks.

You can sign up and make your own pledge here at – ZERO WASTE WEEK
Or alternatively just do your own bit at home for you your family.
Read more about Zero Waste Week and get inspiration here

Let’s fight waste together for a healthier future and planet!!!

British cherries! Get them before they’re gone

Melissa eating cherries 1 Unless you’ve been driving or walking around with your eyes closed, you’ve probably seen the amount of road stalls selling glorious British Cherries. Grab them whilst they are still around, because once the Season’s over they just won’t be the same until next year.

Melissa eating cherries 4

Better still, why not try cherry orchard picking? It’s such fun and particularly popular with children – so many of whom don’t know where their food comes from. PYO is a great way of letting them know how things grow.

Melissa eating cherries 3Melissa and I had fantastic fun at Q Gardens, the proud home of the Harwell cherry.

Q gardens also has a wonderful farm shop, which stocks deli and butchers selling cheeses, pies, sausage rolls and home made ice cream made from their own fruit! It’s open 9am-6pm daily and the tea room serving hot food until 2.30pm and tea and cake until 4pm.

Their Maize Maze has just opened – so make a day of it!

What’s for picking?
Their website offers information and advice about the pick-your-own.

Where?
Q Gardens, Milton Hill
Steventon, Abingdon
Oxfordshire, OX13 6AB
01235 820988
info@qgardensfarmshop.co.uk