Delicious Street food: The Story of Bunnychow

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The Story of Bunnychow: Truck, bread and moving beyond curry

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 18.02.37The latest endeavour by Shanti Hospitality, involves a truck, some bread and some big global flavours. If you put them all together, you get ‘Bunnychow’, a new and intriguing fast food concept, recently launched in the UK. The interesting creation is essentially a hollowed out loaf of bread stuffed with an array of different fillings including ‘Bangcluck Chicken’, which is flavoured with a Thai inspired spicy ginger sauce, succulent chicken and an Asian slaw, or ‘Pork n’ Pickle’ slow roasted pork and homemade pickles or the signature ‘Monkey Gland Meatball’ cooked in a South African, BBQ inspired monkey gland sauce.  The Bunnychow received investment from Shanti Hospitality in 2013, and although it’s a new concept in the UK market, it actually originates from Durban, South Africa in the 1940s.

CEO of Bunnychow, Atholl Milton explains, “This is a South African concept which was created by the workers so that they could carry their daily curry to the sugar plantation fields, by using a loaf of bread, as the vessel for carrying the filling.  It was a good source of protein as well as carbs and helped them get through the day.   Bunny chow is now a legendary dish in Durban, South African and we loved the idea of using the loaf as a vessel for a range of exciting fillings, to keep the workers of London sustained throughout the day.  In 2013, we developed the bunnychow food truck which roamed around London showing up at events or festivals.  This really tested the product. Soon after, we found there was a huge interest in Bunnychow so we opened up our very own shop in Boxpark.”

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Bunnychow’s first stationary appearance thus came in the heart of Shoreditch.  Housed in adapted shipping containers, Boxpark offers a bunch of pop-up shops and global street food spots, the perfect spot to ensure Bunnychow is completely at home.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 18.02.26Speaking about the strategy to grow this new business, Milton said, “Since we launched, we have received great feedback from the customers and the press with the likes of Olive Magazine and Charles Campion hailing it as a key trend for 2014.  We have finally secured a location in Soho that will become our year-round equivalent to Pret-a-Manger, where you can get hot food, as well as breakfast. The roll out strategy is then to set up 7-10 of these in the next few years. There will be a variety of food on offer from breakfast through to dinner and we’re looking to launch our own branded products, in-store such as our range of healthy, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.   It’s also important that we continue to evolve and adapt the menu with the seasons and with an awareness of new trends and flavour profiles.  

Asking Milton what compelled Shanti Hospitality to choose this particular type of cuisine, he said, “Well, nobody has really done it in a big way, over here. A lot of people are doing sandwiches, pizza, burgers but that is everywhere.  Bunny chow is something which has a tradition to it and a history to it.  You can also adapt this type of food to the local culture and change the flavours according to the season. Also the bread itself can be varied to appeal to different types of customers, for instance gluten-free. 

bunnychow-‘hops-into’-BOXPARKAs fast food goes, Bunnychow increasingly attracts many lovers and Shanti Hospitality hopes to fulfil the demand by expanding the company across central London. Milton said, “At the moment our concentration is on launching individual outlet concepts such as Wardour Street in Soho, and from there, we’ll assess the market and move forward, store-by-store.” 

Bunnychow received investment from Shanti Hospitality, a part of C&C Alpha Group but has been conscious not to blow the budget on traditional advertising and marketing.  Milton said the secret is, “we decided to take a more untraditional route in the sense of talking about the brand. So, for example, we’ve used social media to get people talking about Bunnychow, taking pictures of it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, that has all created a huge buzz, which has been really encouraging”.

If the Bunnychow tweets, ‘likes’ and Instagrams are anything to go by, this new food phenomenon is set to be deadly competition to all existing fast-food joints!

‘Willow Trees Don’t Weep’

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Willow Trees Don’t Weep by Fadia Faqir

47924_Willow Trees Don't Weep.inddIn this swift and gripping narrative, writer Fadia Faqir explores the battlefield of family, politics, religion, terrorism and secularism. With extreme strength, the author explores some of the most challenging issues present today through the eyes of a young girl and her absentee father.

In the aftermath of her mother’s death, Najwa, a young Jordanian woman, goes on a search to find her father who left them when she was only four years old. Being told only by her mother that her father chose ‘Allah’ over her, Najwa sets out to discover some harrowing truths about her father, and is placed in the midst of a battle between her mum’s secularism principles and his extremist commitment to Islam. During her quest, she is placed in various dangers as she becomes swept up with a mysterious organisation which sends her into the mountains of Afghanistan. Following in her father’s footsteps to track him down, Najwa unknowingly becomes complicit in a terrorist plot, when she follows her father all the way to Britain.

The narrative switches between Najwa and her father, with Faqir cleverly leading the reader to empathise with Najwa’s feelings of anger and hatred. What is also interesting is Faqir’s in-depth and all rounded portrayal of Najwa’s father. By providing the context behind his decisions and his guilt and sadness at leaving his family, we slowly start to see that his decision was understandable due to the pressures he faced.
Thus, Faqir presents the ‘terrorist’, not as a figure of perpetual evil but as a human who we can relate too.  

Willow Trees Don’t Weep is an insightful and thought-provoking novel, showing one young girl’s longing for order in a chaotic conflict-ridden world and a father’s sacrifice due to the disillusionment he feels. 

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*Restaurant Review*

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The newest offering from the 18-year-old Bayleaf takeaway service is its sister restaurant, providing the perfect fine-dining experience. The name Bayleaf, synonymous with the aromatic leaves of several plants used in cooking, reflects the distinctive flavours and fragrances of the restaurant’s new menu. Based only a stones throw away from its takeaway kitchen in Totteridge and Whetstone, this new eatery boasts the most stylish interior, ambiance and mouthwatering food. Whether it is the mango chutney, created with over ten different fresh ingredients, the appetising spicy chilli paneer or the aubergine main, dishes are freshly curated by hand and on demand. 

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The décor is extremely impressionistic upon arrival; elegant and modern, with a combination of white and dark wood, a large bubbling water wall and patterned Islamic fretwork, making it extremely unique from the typical Indian restaurant.

bayleaf_restaurant_gallery7-2wbavf5ng1t82x1wm1rls0The menu is wide-ranging, from appetizers including Mushroom Tandoori, fresh button mushrooms stuffed with potato and paneer, Gobi tree, a slice of cauliflower lightly spiced, coated with semolina and garnished with pomegranate and Tikka Nazaqat, three individual flavoured tikka (hariyali tikka, koyla tikka and malai tikka), to mains including grilled, seafood, chicken, lamb and array of vegetarian dishes. Amongst dessert options, you are spoilt for choice! Each dish is immaculately presented and served with extreme delicacy. A favourite is the chocolate mousse served with fresh strawberries and ice cream, all presented in the shape of a flower. 

bayleaf_restaurant_gallery14Though prices are a little steep in the a la carte menu, you truly get what you pay for here, fine-dining with delicious tasting food. Lucky for some, the restaurant has a specific set lunch menu available between 12 – 2pm throughout the week, which includes a two-course meal for only £11.95. 

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All-in-all, this is a fantastic restaurant that gives you the impeccable service expected for an all-round fine-dining experience. 

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‘Marriage Material’ by Sathnam Sanghera

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BOOK REVIEW: Marriage Material

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Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with the Topknot, is back again with his second more fictional and highly satirical novel, detailing the lives of a Sixties Sikh immigrant family and their present-day son, Arjan, who starts the novel feeling a world apart from his family. Having escaped from dead-end Wolverhampton and made a successful career for himself in London, and just about to marry his English girlfriend, a tragedy in the family forces him to return home. His day-to-day life quickly turns into a lifestyle selling tobacco to racist pensioners by day and facing the judgmental and value-obsessed Sikh community of his childhood by night.

Though the novel begins with a poignant tone, it soon has you in fits of laughter as you are transported into a comical world of auntijis and unclejis. Arjan constantly juxtaposes his life with that of his best mate, who lives the life of a weed-smoking teen with a fast car and secret girlfriends. He quickly sees how his life could have been and is both repelled and envious of it.

Sanghera’s novel is thoroughly engaging and will have you truly engrossed in the life of typical Indian immigrants in Britain. You read on, enthralled by the depiction of duty versus freedom. With humour, warmth and perception, it manages to be both a unique and necessary survey of modern Britain by one of Britain’s most promising young writers.

The Fashionable Year-Round Pencil Skirt

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Fashion dictates denim, flare, pastels, and sequins this season. Well somebody ostracise me because I’m sticking to my rights! The right to wear, love and cherish what I find fashionable, year-in year-out… The Pencil Skirt. Yes. That’s right, that super sexy, feminine piece of material that grabs a woman’s hips whilst accentuating the most flattering aspect of her body, her beautiful waist, whatever size she is. I love pencil skirts, not only because they are feminine, but because they’re a piece of fashionable clothing that actually looks better on curvy women (ie. real women!), rather than the barely there, size 0 models, parading the catwalks. In an ode to my love for the pencil and all stationary alike.. I give you a gallery of Kim Kardashian, who rocks the pencil skirt better than any other celeb out there!

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Excite your tastebuds at new spot Flavours

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Restaurant Review 
Flavours

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Flavour’s restaurant is London’s newest and hip Indian fusion bar and restaurant offering an array of unique, authentic north Indian dishes, fused with tastes from the far east. Conveniently located by Burnt Oak station, the ex free-house boasts its own in-house mixologist shaking & stirring the best cocktails, live HD screens broadcasting all major sporting events and a unique carrom board lounge with 3 boards. 

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Each dish is extremely unique, individually produced by a select few coveted chefs, including Head Chef, Anil Panchal, who has previously worked at a number of 5-star hotels including the luxury Oberoi Group and Centaur Group. 

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The menu has an extensive range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which are very affordable. Specialities from the starters menu include the Moga Chatpatta Lassooni, a traditional Kenya cassava dish, cooked with garlic and spices, delicately finished with fresh coriander,  a unique Tandoori Mushroom stuffed with paneer, mild cheddar, potatoes and fresh herbs, covered with a spicy marinade and cooked in a tandoor and Kurkuri Bhindi Jaipuru, crispy fried okra seasoned with spicy chaat masala.  

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Vegetarian specials from the main menu include Dragon Paneer and Subzi Chilly Milly whilst the non-vegetarian dishes include numerous choices of lamb, chicken and seafood curries. However, most unique of all, Flavour’s desserts steal the show, with their trio of chocolate pyramids, profiteroles, german apple torte and red velvet bundt cake being the best sellers.  

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The chic and swanky bar and stylish family dining area coupled with the outdoor area makes this spot perfect for summer lounging and a place that caters to all social tastes. Flavour’s bright décor, which includes memorable yellow, diner-style sofas in the ‘dessert’ area, mixed with its mouth-watering menu makes for a truly relaxing and delicious dining experience. If this doesn’t entice you, the photos will!

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 http://flavours-restaurant.com

Tête-à-Tête with Jim Rai

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And then you’re dead! by Author Jim Rai

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With Mother’s Day around the corner, this month is about remembering and appreciating the love, warmth and knowledge mothers, grandmothers and mother figures have given all of us. Jim Rai’s new motivational book And Then You’re Dead! is an extremely fitting tribute of this, a way to embody and share all the wisdom his late grandmother gave him, Sant Kaur Bajwa, who was the oldest woman in the UK when she passed away in July 2013, aged 115. This book summarises three centuries of wisdom into 47 chapters and explores different ways on how to make a difference in the quality of your everyday life.

What compelled you to write these books?

Writing the book was not conceived by design but just kind of appeared from nowhere as a result of feeling pretty down one January morning last year. I felt there were certain experiences in my life which had significantly impacted my everyday life and I needed to make some sense out of it all.

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How long did it take you to write?

From conception to the moment I had a physical, printed copy in my hand, it took exactly a year. From January 2013, to January 2014. When I started writing, I wrote 19,000 words in one day, in one sitting. I was sitting in a café in Limassol in Cyprus and began writing in the morning and when I’d finished, I looked up and saw the sun had pretty much set.

Do you or are you practicing what you preach?

I try to as much as I can but I understand you cannot do it all in one go, you have built yourself up over time to get to that level. However, a lot of what I’ve written in the books is what I had been subconsciously incorporating into my everyday life anyway. The 70% rule is a perfect example. The rule basically encourages you to try and make at least 70% of your day positive, which is what I consciously aim to do. The 30% can be left for the negative stuff, as we all have a bit of down time each day.

Do you miss your life as a lawyer?

I do and I don’t. Obviously law was a career I pursued and worked hard to gain success in. I carved a career for myself in it and worked in the field for over 20 years, so for that reason I do miss it. But then at the same time, I realised that for a long time I was simply living a life of maintenance and my daily routine at work had taken over my life.

What do you do now?

I am a management and legal consultant. I very much hope to get onto the life speaking circuit where I am able to share the wisdom and common sense to help inspire others as well as improve the quality of the lives of many.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in a stressful job, going through the same routine day-in day-out and are seeing no way out?

I would tell them not to waste a single day of their life. Evaluate what is making them unhappy and then change it. If your job is stressing you out, then take control and make the change and don’t make excuses. If you want to know how to get there, then please get yourself a copy of the book …And Then You’re Dead! The accompanying notebook …And Then You’re Alive! allows you to make notes on what I’ve written as you go along. It will all make sense within the 90 minutes it takes to read – that I can assure you!

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London hosts 43rd Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting

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Welcomed by a number of MPs and peers at the House of Commons the previous day, the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers gathered together to attend the 43rd Meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) at Marlborough House, London on Friday, 14 March 2014. This meeting involved the nine foreign ministers from the Commonwealth countries gathering to discuss serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.

The CMAG meeting was chaired by Hon. Bernard K. Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania. It was also attended by Hon. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus; Hon. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana; Hon. Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of India; Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand (Vice Chair of CMAG); Hon. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on National Security and Foreign Affairs; Hon. Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone; Hon. Clay Forau Soalaoi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands; and Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka.

During the meeting, CMAG welcomed the significant progress made in Fiji towards holding national elections by September 2014. Yet the press conference that followed erupted into a series of questions directed at the Sri Lankan, Pakistan and Indian Foreign Ministers, all heads of countries known to have serious violations of human rights.

When asked why Sri Lanka, which chairs the Commonwealth and is accused of serious and persistent violations of CMAG’s values and has recently rejected in its entirety a report by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, highly critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights performance, was not included on the agenda of the CMAG meeting, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Mr Kamalesh Sharma said, “We agreed on a roadmap of Commonwealth partnership with Sri Lanka when I visited Sri Lanka last year. There are about 10 different tracks and the progress is there for all to see on our website. We are advancing at a different pace on each track. We are tackling difficult issues, such as reconciliation, torture and human rights. We are working in a Commonwealth way. We offer practical assistance and a helping hand and we strengthen national endeavours in the field of human rights and the rule of law.”

This question was quickly followed by Mr Sharma being asked how the Commonwealth is addressing the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir, to which he simply responded, “This has not been a Commonwealth issue, to look into national situations of this type.”

Professor G. L. Peiris was directly asked to comment on the fact that in the same breath, the Commonwealth emphasises its commitment to association and freedom of expression, and their responsibility to encourage and promote those core values, yet the recent revelation that one of the leading campaigners for the disappeared in Sri Lanka, a mother and her 14 years old daughter, was arrested, defeats their rhetoric.

Mr Peiris passionately responded to this, saying, “It is a great pity that all of the progress accomplished in our country during the last four years, at the end of a devastating conflict that spanned three decades, all of that is ignored…Look at the economy of the North, how it is developing; the holding of elections in the northern province after quarter of a century. All of this is ignored.”

“Of course law and order issues are a different matter; we have to look at the evidence, the reasons why action has been taken in a particular case, but the trajectory forward, all the progress, is by any reasonable standard pretty substantial. Regarding the people arrested yesterday, we have to examine the evidence, the grounds on which it is done; that will happen in due course, against judicial scrutiny. I think it is very wrong to come to a conclusion before the facts are looked at objectively and in depth.”

Addressing Mr Sharma again, a question was posed on whether it is the duty of the Commonwealth to undertake initiatives to bring India and Pakistan, which are very important from the point of view of South Asia, together to resolve all the outstanding issues.

Mr Sharma said: “The practice in the Commonwealth and its political work is to concentrate on the reduction and elimination of tension inside a country, whether it is between political forces and parties or for any other reason. That is point number one; point number two: It is at the invitation of the government to work with them in this field. The Commonwealth does not involve itself in inter-state relationships between the Commonwealth members.”

The closing question was directed to Mr Salman Khurshid, asking him from an Indian point of view whether there was any particular issue he had brought to the table at the CMAG meeting. Mr Kurshid, replied saying, “No not really. This is the first meeting that I have attended and I am very pleased to see that right across the board, there is very reasonable consensus amongst all our colleagues. We did not have any issue to bring; we came here to participate in the discussions on the agenda before us, and we were grateful to the Secretary-General that he gave us a very comprehensive and extensive report on his good offices.”

Tanveer Mann for Asian Voice

Top 5 Apps that you need to kick-start your 2014!

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 1. MyFitnessPal

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 Get your healthy lifestyle in order with this extremely handy App. With over a million foods to choose from in its database, this weight loss aid helps users keep a record of their daily calorie intake, create personalised diet plans and track exercise sessions.

2. Flipboard

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 Flipboard is the easiest way to catch up on the news or connect with friends. You can also collect and save pieces you like to build your own magazine. All you have to do is pick a few topics and collate everything from world news to sports, travel and more.

3. Endomondo Pro

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The latest version of Endomondo lets you craft personalised training plans (duration, days per week and difficulty level) while continuing to deliver audio feedback on performance. Other new features include live tests to measure your fitness when walking and running. 

4. 4 Pics 1 Word

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Whether you’re on stuck on a train, having a little of ‘you’ time in the bathroom or waiting in a queue, this game is guaranteed to keep you entertained. Extremely addictive but educational at the same time, you are given four pictures that have one word in common. You get given a number of tokens, which decrease every time you ask for a hint and increase every time you get an answer right. There are countless puzzles from easy to hard and you can even get your friends involved by linking your account to Social media sites!

5. Food Spotting

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Foodspotting is a visual guide to food and where to find it. Instead of reviewing restaurants, you can recommend great dishes and see what others recommend wherever you go. More focused on the dishes, rather than the restaurants, you can simply put in your location and a number of photos of great dishes in your area will pop up that have been recommended by other food spotters. Then, if you like the look of it, you can click to find out what else they have to offer. You can even bookmark foods you ‘Want’ to try and recommend dishes you’ve ‘Tried’ and ‘Loved’.

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MAC ‘GIRL ABOUT TOWN’ LIPSTICK

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I’m not one to wear bright lipsticks but there was just something about this colour that instantly drew me to it! It is the perfect balance between a hot pink and hot red, whilst still being somewhat ‘neutral’ to wear with anything. I wore this on Xmas day and received so many compliments from everyone! Despite the fact that it feels a tad dry on your lips after a while, the up side is that it is long-lasting and probably would only require a top up once, half way through the day. It’s also not season-sensitive.. this colour can be used to brighten up dark, winter hues or simply to compliment floral, summer outfits! For £15.00, you definitely get your money’s worth!

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