Restaurant review: Gunpowder, Tower Bridge, London

I am so out of the loop with restaurants in London at the moment. I seem to have really cut down on going into town at the weekends to try out all the new places. But I'm keen to rectify this and start eating out a bit more! A good few weeks ago I finally did try someone new with Hannah and Sarah before we saw the incredible Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bridge Theatre.

Labelling themselves as a home-style Indian kitchen, the branch overlooking Tower Bridge is Gunpowder's second location after Spitalfields in east London. We decided to opt for the weekend brunch menu and what a great shout on our part. Brunch is my favourite meals and Indian food is my favourite cuisine so I had high hopes for it. Those high hopes were thankfully met. I'm a sucker for any type of baked eggs dish so went for the South Indian style eggs served with sourdough toast and salli. They were delightedly spicy, enough to put hairs on your chest and give you a runny nose! The portion was a great size and went down a treat.  We also opted for a portion of okra fries which were extremely addictive and bhuna aubergine and roast cheese salad which was the star of the show. So much more delicious that I ever expected. The aubergine was A*. I stole a couple of slices of Hannah's chutney cheese sandwich which was so nostalgic, updated with a spicy kick. Made with what tasted like Hovis' basic white bread from my childhood years and endless cheese oozing out, it was amazing and I could have eaten another portion immediately after.

I'm looking forward to going back and trying the evening menu. It isn't a cheap place to eat and prices will add up if you start getting eyes bigger than you belly with the ordering of small plates. But the food was delicious that I have a feeling it will be 100% worth it. Set out over two floors with some swoon-worthy interiors, it's a great option if you find yourself in the area.


Why I've become a mid-week vegetarian - and how I'm finding it

I made the decision back in January to try and be a vegetarian at home Monday to Friday. Part of the reason was because I was becoming more conscious on what we are doing to the world but the biggest part if I'm honest was to try and save some money on our shopping bill. Connor and I love to travel and do things but we don't have an endless pot of money to do that. So I'm always looking at ways to keep our bills down so we have more money to have a social life. I chose to sacrifice food.

We've always shopped in Aldi ever since we moved out so our food bill is never really too high. But since we've been going veggie our food bill has gotten even lower. I do buy a Abel & Cole British veg box every fortnight which works out about £6.50 a week. Our weekly shop at Aldi usually comes in around £30 so we spend £36.50 on a non-meat weekly shop. That includes dinners and lunches because I always cook for four in the evening so we can have leftovers. Not too shabby!

I do like eating meat but I think I was just buying it out of habit. I grew up in a meat eating household  and eating meat was just the done thing.  At the weekend we sometimes treat ourselves to a nice piece of meat from the butchers but now we even go without it at the weekend too. I find eating a mostly vegetarian diet at home really pushes me in the kitchen. I'm on a mission to help my boyfriend forget about meat! I'm much more adventurous in my cooking as it's so easy to just serve meat with some veg every evening. My favourite cuisines are probably Indian and Persian which are quite vegetarian heavy anyway. We eat a hell of a lot of curries now!

I'm becoming more and more aware of what we're all doing to the environment and trying to make little changes to help cut down on my carbon footprint. I invested in some bamboo make ups remover pads, bamboo cotton wool buds, washable freezer bags and a bamboo toothbrush. Eating more vegetables and staying away from meat is yet another way I'm trying to do my bit. If all of us make even the littlest of changes then it all makes a difference.

A few weeks ago I ended up eating meat every single day for a week because we had a BBQ at our house and had some leftover meat. By the end of the seven days I felt awful, I was so sluggish, gelt a bit gross and my skin really flared up. It really shocked me how much of an impact it had on me. I couldn't wait to get back to eating a vegetarian diet again. At the moment I do tend to go for meat dishes when I go out for dinner but over the next few months I'm going to try and ween myself off that and only opt for vegetarian dishes. I'm finding if I do it slowly then it's a lot easier for me to make the change. I'm not sure I'll become a full time veggie any time soon but I'm definitely looking to keep up being 80% veggie forever!


#52 recipes: 17-21

Otolenghi's harissa and confit garlic potatoes from Simple
I mentioned the roasted cauliflower dish I made for my blogger girls in the previous #52recipes instalment and the next three dishes are part of the same spread. Oh my gosh these are one of my favourite things in the whole book. I'm obsessed with Harissa at the moment. It seems to make everything taste so much better, giving it a fantastic spicy, garlicky kick. The potatoes could have been crispier which was my fault for being too impatient but were absolutely fine as they were!

Ottolenghi's two bean and two lime salad from Simple
I served this with roast chicken and the zesty lime really went well with the citrusy chicken. I made a boo boo and used freeze dried kaffir lime leaves which Ottolenghi said not to do. It was still tasty but I think it would be even more delicious with fresh. Ottolenghi just does side dishes so well and they're always my favourite recipes from his books. I seem to have misplaced so many of my pictures as couldn't find this one!

Ottolenghi's crushed courgettes from Simple
I love a courgette and especially loved them like this. It tasted very summery, so fresh and light. I think it was the mixture of mint, dill and thyme. The portion wasn't very big though for four people so I would double it to make sure everyone can enjoy it! Picture taken from Michelle's blog.

Rachel Allen's date and banana loaf from Home Baking
I'm always in the market for a new banana loaf recipe and the stars aligned when I had some brown bananas in my fruit bowl and half a packet of dates leftover in the larder. The dates help to give the cake a subtle caramelised flavour. A great upgrade on a banana cake recipe.

Diana Henry's greens on toast with chilli, feta, sunflower seeds and a poached egg from Simple
At the weekend I like to make more of an effort for breakfast rather than my normal every day cereal. We had some feta and kale left over in the fridge so this was the perfect brunch to use them up. While it was a little effort, it was well worth it. I loved the saltiness of the feta paired with the kale. Who knew kale on toast would be so delicious!

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