Ravishing restaurants ~ Havana, Wellington, New Zealand…

“For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the memorable meals we had in Wellington this trip was at the Havana Bar Restaurant. Located next door to the Havana Bar it is a wonderful match for its neighbour. The Havana Restaurant is light, airy and filled with wonderful aromas drifting from the open style kitchen.

Dave is the head of staff in the kitchen here. He is a cute and friendly chap and we had a lovely chat to him after our meal. The meals are tapas style which is a wonderful way to get a small taste of lots of dishes. Although the dishes are to share they are extremely generous in size. Dave and his staff use the freshest of New Zealand produce and have developed a menu which is extensive and delicious.

We were attentively served by lovely Sean. His tips and suggestions went down a treat with our group of six people.

Havana Bar Restaurant

32a Wigan Street

Wellington NEW ZEALAND

Phone: 04 3847039


Havana’s Spanish inspired seasonal tapas dishes will delight and inspire you. It is a perfect spot to while away a glorious afternoon in wonderful Wellington.

A Really Easy Recipe…

welcome 2

Namaste…travel and cooking are my  passions.

For those of you who like my recipes I thought I would let you know I have started a new blog called A REALLY EASY RECIPE. I hope you will be tempted by lots of quick, easy recipes and cooking tips. All of the recipes have been road tested by Rahul and my boys.

I will continue to post my Indian recipes for you on Lakshmi Loves To Shop as well. Thank you for your support.

Curry in a hurry…

pea and mushroom curry

Rahul is always out-doing me in the Indian cooking stakes so last night I turned the tables and whipped up a delicious pea and mushroom curry. However Rahul still had a major input into the meal with his yummy chappatis…

The recipe is from the fabulous Nita Mehta’s cookbook Vegetarian Dishes. It is a quick and easy recipe to follow:



200g mushrooms (trimmed and sliced), 1/2 cup peas, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds), 1 tej patta (bay leaf), 4 moti illaichi (cardamoms), 3 laung (cloves), 2 onions chopped finely, 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped), 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional), 1 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric), 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup tomato puree, 3 tbsp cashews ground to a paste with 3 tbsp water, 1 1/2 cups coconut milk


  1. Heat butter and fry mushrooms lightly then put mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat oil in pan. Add jeera, tej patta, illaichi and laung. When jeera turns golden add onions and garlic. Fry till light golden.
  3. Reduce heat and add dhania powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, haldi, amchoor add salt. Stir till onion is golden brown.
  4. Add tomato puree, peas, cashew nut paste, cooked mushrooms and coconut milk. Cover and simmer on low heat till gravy thickens.
  5. Serve topped with chopped fresh coriander and chappatis.



500g white or wholemeal flour, pinch salt, generous handful fennel seeds, 300ml water


  1. Place flour, salt in bowl..make a well in centre and add water then blend with hand. Alternatively use a dough hook on your mix master to mix into dough (Rahul’s tip).
  2. Roll dough into small balls and let rest for at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Heat ghee in flat chappati fry pan.
  4. Roll out chappatis into flat circles. Fry in pan on both sides till golden.


Mmm…Malai kofta…

malai kofta

Rahul’s delicious Malai kofta…

“If you had one last meal what would it be?”…I love when this topic of conversation comes up. For me the answer has been the same for years. It would be Rahul’s Malai kofta and a glass of chilled Sauvignon blanc wine.

His tasty recipe comes from the wonderful cookbook “100 Vegetarian Gravies” by Mrs. S. Mallika Badrinath. You can buy this cookbook all over India for 55 rupees…a real bargain.

Here is the recipe:

Malai Kofta Curry


Carrot ~ 100 gms, Beans ~ 100 gms, Peas ~ 100 gms, Potatoes ~ 100 gms, Cornflour ~ 2 tbs, Tomatoes ~ 1/4 kg, Breadcrumbs ~ 2 tbsp, Onions ~ 1 or 2, Ginger ~ 1 inch piece, Garlic cloves ~ 4, Cinnamon ~ 1 stick, Cloves ~ 5, Fresh cream ~ 1 1/2 cups, turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander powder

To make paste:

Cashew nuts ~ 1 handful , Poppy seeds ~ 1 tbsp


  1. Cut the onions into thin long pieces.
  2. Blanch tomatoes in hot water, remove the skin and make into a paste.
  3. Cut all the vegetables very finely and steam.
  4. When it is cooled completely, add 2 tablespoons of cornflour, breadcrumbs, salt and a little chilli powder.
  5. Mash together, make small balls, flatten them a little with hand and deep fry in hot oil.
  6. Keep aside. Make a paste of ginger and garlic.
  7. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil or ghee in pan and add cinnamon, cloves, ginger/garlic paste, onions and fry.
  8. When it turns into a golden brown add turmeric powder, salt, dried coriander powder and then tomato puree.
  9. Cook for a few minutes then mix in ground cashews, poppy seeds and fresh cream. Pour in enough water and cook until thick.
  10. Cook for 5-10 minutes and remove from heat. To serve arrange koftas in the serving dish then pour the hot gravy on top. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander leaves.


Today I travelled to India without even leaving my kitchen…

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Chai would you have anything else…

A truly joyful time of the day is when we visit the chai stall. The milky, fragrant, spicy tea is a traditional Indian drink enjoyed all over India. From early in the morning you can see people standing around stalls … Continue reading