Street food dishes in London – FT.com

Street food dishes in London – FT.com.

If you are heading to London, here is a list of five street food dishes worth trying.

 

Belgium day trips (1) – Domaine de Chevetogne

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The equestrian centre of Domaine Chevetogne

If you are looking for ideas on what to do on a day off in Belgium, then you should really consider the Domaine de Chevetogne in the Province of Namur.

This is an enormous park just one hour drive away from Brussels. In the heart of the Ardennes, this park is a must not only for parents with children (though the number of activities which you can find here is enough to keep them busy for more than a day), but also for those who would like to be close to nature in a really calm and picturesque environment.

Whether you want a place to cook outdoors (there are dedicated barbecue areas), just a walk in the countryside, bird watching, having lunch or dinner in an idyllic environment or else enjoying a day out with the kids, this is a park really worth visiting.

In warm weather, if you are going with children, it’s advisable to take a change of clothes or bathing costume given there is a playground with a sandy pool of shallow water which will keep them busy for quite a while. This is just one of the many playgrounds in different areas of the park all with specific themes and aimed at children of different ages.

There are two lakes where you can either take a rowing boat or an Indian canoe. Once you pay the entrance fee, you can use all the amenities of the park (boats, mini-golf, small train going around the park) for free.

There is a farm for children, a swimming pool, mini-golf, tennis courts, basketball courts as well as a number of places to eat.

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The restaurant Les Rhodos

One restaurant, the Les Rhodos (see photo) has accommodation in the form of a small hotel. But there is also a camping area, family chalets as well as farm lodging. The setting of Les Rhodos is idyllic as it overlooks a perfectly kept garden and the menu looks interesting though we only walked past it in the morning therefore we did not have the time to try it out.

The park also has an equestrian centre for horse riding and even pony riding for beginners and children.

Entrance fee is 10 euros per person while children under the age of 6 go in free.

Tips: 

  • Take a change of clothes for children particularly if its a hot day.
  • Don’t underestimate the size of the park. You will walk a lot and young children may find it exhausting so you can take the train which goes around the park every half an hour.
  • Try the beers of the Domaine.
  • Make sure you check which restaurants are open on the day you visit. The one we wanted to go was closed on the Monday.
  • It is also an excellent place for a picnic or outdoor barbecue with special designated areas.

 

 

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Brussels – C’chicounou a little Syrian-Lebanese gem

photoC’chicounou just off Place Flagey is a gem of a place serving top quality Syrian-Lebanese food. Chef Georges Baghdi Sar is only 24 years old but definitely has a great future ahead of himself. Given he has been on a traineeship at the Brussels institution: Comme Chez Soi, you expect great things.

And you will not be disappointed. The food served is of exceptional quality, the prices are incredibly reasonable, it is no wonder the place was packed the two times we visited in recent months. All dishes are given a special touch with a scattering of pomegranate seeds which adds freshness and colour.

The interior decor is a bit quirky and might have to be avoided on a hot summer’s day given it is completely wooden though it does give the restaurant a warm feeling.

This is not your normal tapas place. The selection on the menu is great and there are also two menus which allow you to taste various dishes.

There are traditional Middle Eastern staples like Hoummos, a chickpea dip with sesame seeds, garlic, cumin and lemon, the Moutabale, a caviar of aubergine with sesame seeds, garlic cumin and lemon as well as the Tabouleh (a parsley salad) and Fatouche a salad of grilled bread, tomatoes, radish, parsley and olive oil.

Hot starters include excellent Falafel, different home made beef sausages, a superb broad bean salad with a sesame cream, lemon juice, tomatoes, fresh mint, cumin and olive oil.

The main dishes are mainly grilled meats which are simply grilled but seasoned to perfection and incredibly tasty.

This is a perfect place to go with friends but there is also a very generous menu at 35 euros for two people which includes a choice of three cold starters, two hot starters, a choice from the grill as well as a salad. It is also an ideal place for vegetarians, the choice of meat free dishes and salads is very large.

The only criticism for a wine lover is the wine-list which needs some work. The wines are from the same wine house in Languedoc, Les Vignobles Montagnac. The quality price ratio is excellent but one would expect a better choice though this is probably what keeps the prices reasonable.

Open daily except Saturday lunch time and Sundays, I would recommend you book well in advance given how busy it was on the two evenings we went.

Address: 29 rue de la Levure, Ixelles

Verdict: Book now and go as soon as you can. I guarantee you will return back time and time again. You might also be tempted to drop by and get a takeaway. Follow this chef, I am sure we will hear more about him in the near future. He has a passion for food and prepares everything himself including all the beef preparations and mortadella.

 

Book reviews (3) – Give and Take – a revolutionary approach to success

We have all come across exceptional bosses or mentors who encourage us to go the extra mile or who inspire us by bringing out the best in us. And most of us have also experienced bosses who are the exact opposite. They will put their interests first and are more interested in the world of Machiavelli then in bringing out the best of both teams. The same goes for friends or colleagues. There are some who will do whatever it takes to help you, sometimes even ignoring their interest, then there are those who just take without giving.

3Dcover-Paperback3dAdam Grant’s book, Give and Take – a revolutionary approach to success shows that you do not have to be ruthless to climb to the top. This book is on many lists as one of the best books on management and the art and science of success and after reading it there is no question as to why it is so.

The book is simple in its premise. In life, most people are either givers or takers. Grant shows that while takers may sometimes win in the short-term, givers are not only at peace with themselves but have all that it takes to inspire people and do well in the long run.

I have no doubt that this will become a classic book on leadership and management. Grant makes a great case and includes countless examples of givers who have made a success out of their approach that you start to look at people in a completely different light.

This is a definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be successful in life. Grant shows with many examples to back his thesis that one of the secrets in life is that those who win most are often those who give most.

Some quotes I highlighted:

  • It takes time for givers to build goodwill and trust, but eventually, they establish reparations and relationships that enhance their success.
  • Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard day, but it is valuable in a marathon.
  • The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
  • If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.
  • Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give.
  • Advice seeking is a form of powerless communication that combines expressing vulnerability, asking questions and talking tentatively.

Book reviews (2) – Choose Yourself

I do not know how I came across James Altucher first. It was definitely not by word of mouth though I wish I had discovered him earlier. My hunch is that I came across him via Twitter though I cannot be sure. He has written many books but I first stumbled upon his book Choose Yourself a few months ago and it remains one of the best books I have read about oneself if not the best.

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Choose yourself – one of the best books I have read in the past months

To put everything into perspective, I subscribe to countless newsletters which i receive on a daily or weekly basis in my mailbox. Most, unfortunately end up not being read because of lack of time. Worse, many end up in the trash can even before they are opened. But those by James Altucher are different. There are always interesting insights and nuggets of wisdom which make you stop to think.

Choose Yourself is a fantastic book no matter in which situation you find yourself. Whether you are in employment, in business, in between jobs or careers, thinking about setting up a business or else unemployed, Altucher strikes many chords and makes you think first and foremost about yourself and what you want to be. He is blunt and says things which others might find difficult to speak about.

One of the most important lessons that I have taken from this book is to try and generate 10 ideas on a daily basis. Sit down, do it once, do it twice and you realise that generating 10 ideas a day, sometimes even 10 ideas a week is not as easy as it sounds. What Altucher however insists on is simple. Once you discipline yourself to writing ideas, you become an idea generator in whatever situation you find yourself in. When you look back at your ideas after a few weeks you can start to connect the dots and build connections which lead you to many executable ideas.

This blog came about from this idea generation. It has been on the back burner for I don’t know how many years but the problem with ideas is that unless you execute them, they remain ideas. So despite the fact that I have a busy day job and two young children, I have managed to carve some time to build this blog by writing every evening. Once this becomes a routine, it becomes so much easier.

It is the same with exercise. How many times do we procrastinate about exercise. But once it becomes part of your daily or weekly schedule, then it becomes easy no matter how bad the day is.

I read at least a book a week and I have found that in the case of this book, I end up recommending it to friends time and time again irrespective of the books I read in the meantime.

You can read about James Altucher on his website but he is a successful entrepreneur, chess master, investor and writer. His next book is “The Power of No”. Having seen his blogs, I am sure that he has a lot to say about this topic.

These are a few extracts from the book I have highlighted.

  • Rejection – and the fear of rejection  – is the biggest impediment we face to choosing ourselfs.
  • What you need to do is build the house you will live in. You build that house by laying a solid foundation: by building physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
  • Only do things you enjoy.
  • Spiritually we need to recognise the importance of wanting less in our lives, to the point that we want to disappear.
  • If you think you can do something, if you have confidence, if you have creativity (developed by building up your idea muscle), the big ideas become smaller and smaller.
  • Every day, read/skim chapters from books on at least four different topics
  • Write down ten ideas. About anything. It doesn’t mater if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want.
  • Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s all about execution.

Disclaimer: I read an e-book version of the book which I purchased myself.