Indian cuisine doesn't begin and end with fiery curries - it's a rich, diverse thing, with all kinds of different dishes to choose from. Truthfully, it's not really even fair to lump it all under the same heading; each region of India has its own unique culinary experience to offer, from the tropical spices of Goa to the delicate flavours of Odisha.

Indian flag

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

British people who aren't aware of this diversity often fall into the trap of associating Indian food exclusively with cheap and nasty takeaways, seldom venturing beyond microwaveable chicken kormas and the occasional cheeky vindaloo. Still, it's never too late to broaden one's horizons - if you're in Cardiff and you fancy trying something a little more exotic than the standard Indian takeaway, here are 3 local Indian restaurants that we think you'll enjoy:

 

Mint and Mustard

134 Whitchurch Road, CF14 3LZ

The Mint and Mustard team describe themselves as having "pioneered the British new wave of Indian cuisine". Built upon the flavours and philosophies of Kerala (a state in South West India that's known for fresh, healthy foods), Mint and Mustard's delicious dishes are wonderfully presented and critically acclaimed.

 

Vegetarian Food Studio

115-117 Penarth Road, CF11 6JU

 Vegetarian Food Studio

Image source: @VegFoodStudio

 India reportedly has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world, with some estimates suggesting that as much as 40% of the total Indian population is vegetarian. As this restaurant's name suggests, they don't serve any meat, but meat-eaters shouldn't be put off - owner Neil Patel and his team serve up a huge variety of veggie dishes from India and elsewhere in Asia that may well have you wondering if you even want to go back to meat.

 

Purple Poppadom

185A Cowbridge Road East, CF11 9AJ

 Purple Poppadom

Image source: @Purple_poppadom

Purple Poppadom purports to be the "home of New Indian Cuisine in Cardiff", and the many awards that have been heaped upon Chef Anand George's restaurant suggest that this boast may not be misplaced. This establishment on Whitchurch Road takes a fresh, innovative approach to traditional Indian meals, and this - combined with the restaurant's colourful decor - makes for an authentic yet very modern dining experience.

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Christmas in Cardiff is often a special time, as it is in many other cities across the UK. The Christmas lights on Cardiff castle, the lights on Queen Street, the Christmas stalls in the Hayes and not forgetting Cardiff’s very own Winter Wonderland all make Christmas in our capital city very special indeed.

 

So to help give you some ideas of what to do entertain yourselves and the rest of the family over the Christmas holidays, we have come up with a list of things to do in Cardiff this Christmas.

 

WalesOnline Winter Wonderland

If you are lacking festive spirit or just want to get out and about to do some more Christmas activities, winter wonderland is 100% the place to be! The ice rink is the star attraction and with tickets starting from £9 for adults, £7.50 for youths aged 13 to 16 and £6.50 for children aged 8 to 12, it is a fantastic way to spend a winters evening. Alternatively, you can get a family ticket for just £28!

Entry in to Winter Wonderland for the stores and other attractions is free so you wander round and take in the sights. The other attractions include the Alpine Village, serving authentic German sausage as well as sweet treats such as crepes and the funfair with a variety of rides and games that are suitable for the whole family!

We visited last week and absolutely loved it, so why not head down yourself for a look!

 

Get more information on the venue by clicking here.

 

Cardiff Christmas Market 

The Cardiff Christmas market has an abundance of stalls that will suit everybody! Perhaps you want to sample some of the food or drink on offer? Why not head over to Churros Ole for some freshly made Churros with chocolate sauce, or maybe for the adults, some locally brewed beer from the guys at Crafty Devil Brewing Ltd?

Hurry though as the market is only there until 23rd December, so we recommend heading down to the Hayes soon to make sure you get to see all of the festive treats on offer!

 

For further information on the Cardiff Christmas market, simply click here!

 

Santa’s Grotto at Cardiff Castle

It’s not Christmas until you pay Santa a visit, and no matter how old we get here at Kitchen Economy, we still love it!

This year Santa has set up his grotto in the magical Black Tower at Cardiff Castle.

Prices start at £7.50 for a child with a photo and go up to £12 for a child, gift and two photos. Guaranteed to be an experience that your children will never forget, this will add that little bit of magic to Christmas 2015!

For more information and how to book, visit the Cardiff Castle website here.

 

So as you can see, there are some fantastic activities going in Cardiff this Christmas! Why not wrap up warm and head outside to experience some of those fantastic things!

 

From everyone here at Kitchen Economy, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Now the school holidays have been in swing for over a week, we thought we would share a few school holiday activities for kids with you that we think are perfect for children of all ages.

 

We all know just because it is summer, there is no guarantee of sunshine all the time! So we have been considerate with our choices and chosen summer activities that are both outside and inside!

 

Cardiff Castle

If you are a resident of Cardiff, all you need to do is take a utility bill or anything else as proof of address to get your castle key which will then be valid for 3 years.

Don’t worry though, even if you don’t live in Cardiff, you can still get tickets for adults for £12.00 and tickets for children aged 5 to 16 for £9.00. Any children under the age of 5 get in to the castle for free.

 

To get more information on the Cardiff Castle opening hours and a full list of what the key entitles you to, simply visit the Cardiff Castle website here.

 

Free Swimming Sessions

Great news this summer, if your children are under the age of 16, the Welsh government is offering them the chance to go swimming for free in one of six leisure centres across the city between July 20th and August 28th.

Included in this list are Eastern Leisure Centre, Fairwater Leisure Centre, Llanishen Leisure Centre, Maindy Leisure Centre, Pentwyn Leisure Centre and Western Leisure Centre.

 

Each of the Leisure Centres offer free swimming sessions at various times during week. For further information, visit the designated Cardiff council page here.

 

Margam Park

Margam Park is a fantastic country park located just off Junction 38 of the M4. It is free to enter but there is a small car parking fee of £4.50 per car.

With attractions including a narrow gauge railway, a high wire adventure as well as all of the wonderful open space that Margam Park has to offer, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic day out in the great Welsh countryside.

Perhaps your children want to pay a visit to the Children’s Fairytale village which has a brilliant adventure castle and miniature houses, as well as picnic area!

The perfect day would be to pack a picnic for the whole family and head down to Margam Park to enjoy the views and attractions that this fantastic park has to offer.

 

For further information on all of the attractions at Margam Park, simply visit the parks website here.

 

National Museum of Wales

The National Museum of Wales is a fantastic building with many exhibitions and talks going on throughout the course of the summer holidays. A perfect venue for a rainy day, the museum has something for everyone to enjoy.

One exhibition that is a must see this summer is Wales’s Newest Dinosaur which is a skeleton of a 200 million year old dinosaur. The exhibition has been in place since 9th June and is there until the 31st August.

Sticking with nature, another exhibition “I Spy Nature” opened on 19th July and is there until January 2016. The exhibition is family friendly and offers a fantastic interactive experience on how different animals see nature, and even offers the chance for you to dress up to experience the exhibition differently.

 

For further information on Wales’s Newest Dinosaur exhibition, click here. Or if you would like more information on the museum itself, visit the homepage here.

 

Other events to look out for are Admirals Cardiff Big Weekend at the Cardiff civic centre on 5th August and the MAS Carnival on 6th August. For more places to visit, try the Museum of Welsh Life and Cardiff Bay. For events further afield, try Big Pit in Blaenavon, or Mumbles in Swansea.

We have a fantastic range of food in Cardiff with so many new bars, restaurants and cafes opening all the time! However this May and June in Cardiff, street food is the topic that is up for discussion thanks to an organisation called Street Food Circus! We love street food as it often gives the smaller businesses a chance to showcase their food to a food loving audience, which is what this is all about!

Starting this weekend, May 1st, and running for every weekend in May and June, the Street Food Circus is a pop-up street food night market which is sure to bring in huge crowds with all the wonderful food on offer! There are a few well known Cardiff names represented there including Purple Poppadom, Hokkei the relatively new Burger and Lobster and a staggering 21 other names that we’re sure you will recognise!

So you may be asking what you can get in terms of street food in Cardiff. Well where do we start? If you are looking for your fix of BBQ food, perhaps Hang fire smoke house will take your fancy? If it’s pizza that you want, Dusty Knuckle, Ffwrness or Tipi Pizza will leave your stomach feeling full! Or maybe you want a sweet treat while you are there; well they have you covered in that department as well thanks to Mr Churros and Dixie’s Vintage Ices!

For more details of the mouth-watering street food and drink that will be on offer, opening hours and what businesses you can look forward to seeing there, simply visit the Street Food Circus website by clicking here! We will most certainly be paying a visit, and we may have to go more than once will all the delicious foods they have to offer!

 

Have you ever seen A++ written on the label of an appliance and wondered what on earth it means? Well if you have, you’re not the first person to do so! We thought it was about time we wrote a piece on what appliance energy ratings mean and what to look out for when you are buying any new kitchen appliances, as they are becoming a more important factor for people when they buy a new appliance.

 

The scale of energy ratings varies depending on the type of appliance, but it usually runs from A+++ down to G. Below are a few points to make note of for dishwashers, fridges and freezers, washing machines and tumble dryers.

 

Dishwashers

·         Rated from A+++ (the best) to D (the worst);

·         If your appliance was purchased before 2011, it could have a G rating which will mean it is very costly to run;

·         The rating for dishwashers is calculated by working out how much energy and water is used in the standard program as well as the eco program;

·         Energy rating for dishwashers is shown in kilowatt hours per year (kWh);

·         Did you know? Washing up dishes by hand may not always be more efficient than using your dishwasher

 

Fridges and Freezers

·         As of 1st July 2012, each new fridge or freezer must have an A+++, A++ or an A+ energy rating (a selection of the best);

·         If your appliance was made before September 1999, it could have a rating as low as G (the worst);

·         Appliance energy ratings are calculated by comparing energy consumption with the internal volume of your fridge freezer;

·         Did you know? Refrigeration products are the second least efficient appliances after central heating in your home.

 

 

Washing Machines

·         If you own an older appliance it could have a rating of anything from A+++ (best rating) to D (worst rating), making it significantly less efficient;

·         Again, like dishwashers, the unit of measurement is kilowatt hours per year (kWh);

·         To get an energy rating, tests are done of both full and half full loads on various settings;

·         Did you know? In 2014 a rule was introduced stating new washing machines could only have an A+++, A++, A+ or A energy rating, making them very efficient

 

Tumble Dryers

·         How is it measured? Appliance energy ratings for tumble dryers are calculated by monitoring how much energy is used by the appliance in standard cotton drying cycle;

·         There are both electric and gas tumble dryers available, and as of 2012, energy ratings were introduced for gas tumble dryers;

·         Like the other appliance energy ratings, electric tumble dryers have ratings ranging from A+++ as the most efficient to G for the least efficient;

·         Did you know? Gas tumble dryers cost less to run than their electric equivalents

 

 

So if you are thinking of buying any new kitchen appliances or other home appliances for that matter, we hope that after this post you will be able to understand the appliance energy rating and get the perfect appliance for your home.