A Little Bit About This Summer — June 1, 2018

A Little Bit About This Summer

Summer is Ireland is a myth. Lol. Not really, I mean we do have 3 months of warm sunny days with frequent light and heavy showers with the regular (chilly) wind. To be honest, there are few days that are actually bright and sunny with no wind. But it is also true that we can count them on our fingers. This year, we already have had some and few more to go.

No matter what is the status of the rain, wind or temperature, Spring and Summer are beautiful in Ireland as it is indeed a beautiful place to live.

I thought I would write down a series of posts on Summer as we have already done a few interesting things to celebrate the presence of sun. Hopefully more to come!

Let me mentioned first, that with the arrival of Summer I had to say good-bye to 2 of my wisdom teeth and the extraction for one of them did not go too well so I was sick for a good 2 weeks and lost some weight, blah blah blah.. But I want to keep that for a separate post as I also want to let others know what really to expect from a tooth extraction.

OK let’s go back to beautiful floral Summer.

We started it off with a lovely barbecue at our friend’s. It was a lovely calm day with no wind at all, giving me excuse to just sit down in my place with light chit-chat and delicious food while children were busy playing and men doing the BBQ.

What is Summer without a beach? Yes it is also true for Ireland ๐Ÿ™„ North Bull Island is our favourite beach because it is actually sandy (not rocky) and very accessible.

The girls went with the Dad to enjoy beachhhh…

At that point around, I was hit by my teeth extraction and after few days when I started to recover, we went for a casual walk in Phoenix Park. I loved the photos from that day.

Whether it is Spring, Summer, Autumn or Spring, it is incomplete for us without visiting the Kildare Village.ย  Not that I don’t like the shopping there but we love it primarily because they decorate the entire place according to the season. This year also, it was adorned in Spring/Summer theme. Here are some photos from the day.

With all this, we are also celebrating Ramadan, I don’t have any good photos to share because I was mostly sick to do proper justice to food in Ramadan except for the pakoras post that I shared a while ago. Still going on so hopefully will have more to add to my gallery.

Hope you all are enjoying the Summer while it lasts.

Bye until next time โค๏ธ

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Some Pakora Talk — May 22, 2018

Some Pakora Talk

All South-Asians know what a pakora (also called bhaji) is. It is a very common fried snack in Indian subcontinent. While it can be and is enjoyed throughout the year, it’s presence is vital in the month of Ramadan.

A typical Pakistani and I would imagine a typical North-Indian cannot imagine what might happen if pakoras are not found on the Iftar table (Iftar=breaking of fast at sunset).

A friend recently shared her pakora recipe. I really liked her technique and thought to try it on my recipe. So yeah, this post is about my pakora recipe and 2 chutneys to savor them with.

Ingredients

Batter

  • Chick pea flour (besan)
  • Red chili powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Whole cumin seeds
  • Dried fenugreek
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water
  • Lemon
  • Herbs: coriander, mint, basil chopped
  • 1 thinly chopped green chili

Veggies to use

  • Spinach leaves
  • Potatoes thinly sliced
  • Potatoes chopped or diced
  • Big green chilies
  • Onions
  • Eggplants/aubergine sliced

Method

Put oil in a deep frying pan to heat up for frying. For the veggie pakoras make the besan batter with water and all the spices; leave herbs and veggies. I keep a close-to-runny consistency because I do not want too much besan on my pakora.

Once oil is heated up properly, coat potatoes with the batter one at a time and put them in heated oil to fry. Once golden on both the sides take out on a kitchen towel. Do the same for aubergines.

Now mix together all the remaining items (herbs, diced potatoes, onions, spinach, green chilies) and get this consistency.

If you want more batter, you can keep the batter not-so-runny.

Now using a spoon or even your hand – if you prefer put small lumps of this mixtures into the oil and fry until golden and crisp.

Chutneys

Put these things together to make chutney # 1.

  • Yogurt
  • Mint chutney
  • Vinaigrette

Mix all these to make chutney # 2

  • 1 portion yogurt
  • 2 portions crรจme fraรฎche
  • Lemon juice
  • Dill+mustard+honey
  • Minced jalapeรฑo

Serve with vegetable and fruit juice, they are great to energize after long hours of fasting. If you need inspiration, check out the link to my old post on homemade juices.

Have a great Ramadan.

Many more posts to come from Ramadan IA.

Ramadan Kareem to all ๐ŸŒ™

About My Daughterโ€™s Birthday Party – DIY Party Favors, Games & More… — April 27, 2018

About My Daughterโ€™s Birthday Party – DIY Party Favors, Games & More…

Contrary to my expectation and plan, I am writing this post quite late. This is about my beautiful daughter Saba turning 10. Her birth date is actually on the 11th of April but because the schools were off for the Easter break, we grabbed the opportunity and celebrated it on the 7th.

I kinda like doing themed parties and this time it was easy to pick because of Easter.

I was very excited to do the decoration and party favors. I always try to keep things simple and beautiful. I have kept my home decor every subtle and monotoned so that I can blast it with colors on different occasions and it will never look over the top and this way the decorations would stand out instead of just blending into the background or disappearing. Anyway, let’s forget about my home design ideas ๐Ÿ’ก this post is about Saba’s birthday party, right?

Party Favors

For favors, I bought little blue and pink plant pots and some cute stick-on bows from IKEA.

Girls are often attracted to jewelry so I bought little character necklaces and put them in pastel colored cardboard boxes from IKEA.

I adorned the pot with the bow, added 1 necklace box, 1 box of jelly, and filled the rest of the space with chocolate eggs.

Decoration

Saba likes unicorns so I had that in mind and as I said earlier, I don’t like too much decoration, I believe things like party favors, food, plates etc should be attractive and colorful enough to serve as decorations themselves.

I only bought some silly smiley and unicorn helium balloons ๐ŸŽˆ and voila!!! them, with party favor pots made a beautiful sight. Here are infinite photos of the setup:

Party Games

For party games, Easter Hunt was an apparent choice. I filled some plastic egg shells with chocolates, ready to be hunted on the day.

Another one was making birthday cards for the birthday girl and the birthday girl to choose the winner of the best card.

Third game was pass the parcel. The parcel was however, not the real-many-layered parcel but just a cushion!

Party Food

It was easy to decide the cake – unicorn cake ๐Ÿฆ„ ๐ŸŽ‚ For food I wanted to keep a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. There were cheese pops, margarita pizzas, chocolate rice crispy nests, cheese twists and chicken nuggets served with juice.

Party Time! ๐ŸŽ‰

The party started at 11am and everyone was on time ๐Ÿ˜€ I hid all the Easter Eggs around the house and garden. Girls were super excited to search for them. I must say, they all were very interested in all the activities we did that day!

After this was the card making competition. Girls did a brilliant job and made beautiful cards for Saba.

This was followed by pass the parcel.

The winner of each of these games was given a special Easter hamper full of Easter goodies.

Then came the party highlight; the cake cutting!

At the end was food, which everyone enjoyed.

Some parents stayed for a while before taking the kids and enjoyed a coffee or juice and some chit chat before leaving.

We had a great time with all the parents and I hope that children enjoyed themselves! We appreciate the beautiful and thoughtful gifts received, Saba loved them โค๏ธ

The Great Little Easter Egg Hunt — April 4, 2018

The Great Little Easter Egg Hunt

Hope you are having a great Easter Break. I like Easter break because you don’t have to do the morning getting-ready-for-school and school-drop off routines. You can stay in bed for a little longer too. This year was even better because my sister was with us and she minded the children ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Anyhow, keeping the children entertained is one big thing to do during such school breaks, particularly when you are working yourself and tired to death at 5pm.

Fortunately for us in addition to planning for Easter Egg Hunt we have my daughter’s birthday also that falls in April (11th), so it keeps us busy and in and out of the house.

This year I organized a little Easter egg hunt for my girls and 2 of their friends who live in our neighbors (also, they go to same school) ๐Ÿ™‚

I loved doing a mini setup of Easter crackers, decorative eggs, giant giveaway Easter eggs and some chocolate to enjoy – thanks to the great deals that are available on all the stores during Easter season!

I hid the chocolate eggs and little chocolate bunnies all around the house and outside in the garden. Well, I hid them so when that I myself couldn’t find 2 of them ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Anyhow, girls simply loved hunting the eggs. See some of the photos from that day. Loved the little bunnies hopping here to there ๐Ÿ˜„

Later after the hunt kids devoured the chocolates.

And finally the giant chocolate egg giveaway ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

So this was Easter Egg Hunt for us.

Do comment, how you enjoyed your Easter?

I am happy that I will be back with another interesting post soon IA

See you all xxx

My Green Kitchen — April 2, 2018

My Green Kitchen

Making a new home is not an easy job. May be it is a never-ending phenomenon. It’s been nearly 8 months since we moved into our new house and since then every month there is something big and multiple small things that need to be done. My expectation that my house would be ready has not been realized yet. And I do not see it completed anytime soon ๐Ÿ™ƒ

There is my pantry that needs some shelving done and some hooks drilled into the wall – not mentioning those little storage boxes and baskets that need to be bought for organization. The ensuite needs to be fully revamped. Good thing is, things are progressing and it will be finished mid of this month ๐Ÿ˜Š There is bathroom storage to be done and that shower door (yes, basic things like that are still pending).

Anyhow, going through the recent house photos we noticed that our house plants look extraordinarily beautiful; be them food photos, be them party photos or just my Instagram photos after weekly cleaning, they add the extra beautifying impact from the background ๐Ÿ˜„

Also, they are the safest, most economics and above all greenest decoration option. Safest, because you can never go wrong when adorning with plants and flowers. They never look over the top!

May be I am biased, but I have seen garden living rooms and they look stunning!

To cut long (a bit too long) story short, we bought some more indoor plants for our kitchen. And I am planning for more, soon…

Here, my almost dead orchid got revived by blooming most beautiful singular flower, my citrus plant, however, shed all its leaves, the fruit is still intact though. Not sure it’s normal or it is because of lack of fresh compost – will know once compost is added! The new one here is the aloe vera plant – very excited to use it haha ๐Ÿ˜„

Most of the new additions are my favorite cacti that come with lowest maintenance requirements.

I had few already in my kitchen window but now I have more added on the press tops. Could not take great photos because of poor lighting but will try again soon and share ๐Ÿ˜Œ

My most beautiful is the following cactus plant that I later on decided to put on the sideboard alongside other plants and flowers.

There is one more big plant planned to arrive in next one week but I am already loving my kitchen.

Take a look. What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

See you soon with 2 interesting posts related to Easter break,

Till then, Ciao xx

The Do Nothing Cake — February 26, 2018

The Do Nothing Cake

You will end up searching for titles like such for recipes when you are tired of work hehe ๐Ÿ˜€

After the block buster cake recipe of ‘Better Than Anything Cake’ I was hoping to make ‘Better Than Nothing Cake’ but instead I landed up on another more appropriate recipe called ‘Do Nothing Cake’. I mean what else you could ask for on a working day ๐Ÿ˜Š

It’s a homey cake you can enjoy with your evening tea. Contains 2 of my most favorite ingredients: pineapple and coconut – Piรฑa Colada drink and dessert as many of my friends have enjoyed at my home most of the times ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s look at the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 of a cup soft brown sugar
  • Vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cans pineapple slices with juice (crushed)
  • Butter 150 grams

Frosting

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cups soft brown sugar
  • Vanilla essence
  • 4-5 Tbs Desiccated coconut
  • Chopped pecans and walnuts

Method

Make the batter using the first set of ingredients including crushed pineapple and bake for 40 mins at 170 degrees.

Soften the butter over medium heat and add evaporated milk, add vanilla essence and sugar and mix well and allow to cook until bubbly.

Take off of the heat and add coconut and chopped nuts.

Once the cake is ready, poke the cake surface using a wooden spoon and layer up the frosting over hot cake and let soak for 3-4 hours.

Serve the moistest cake ever ๐Ÿฐ

Do try!

x x x

Pizza Roll – A Quick Dinner Fix — February 20, 2018

Pizza Roll – A Quick Dinner Fix

Every other week, I have those days where I need a quick fix for dinner because I often reach back home late for variable reasons ๐Ÿ˜‘

For those frequent occasions, during weekly grocery I stock up my pantry/fridge with items like pizza base, ready-rolled pastry, olives, cheese, fresh Italian herbs, etc.

Today was one such day when I reached home late and we were all starving (as usual). Checked the fridge and came up with the idea of Pizza Roll – took hardly 25 minutes to prepare, bake and serve.

I chose the following ingredients, based on what was available to me, in my fridge at that time. You can add what you like.

  • Bell pepper
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Ketchup
  • Cheese mix
  • Green chili (1, chopped)
  • Fresh basil and coriander leaves
  • Black pepper, garlic powder and red chili flakes to taste
  • Beaten egg

Method

Unroll the pizza base and spread some ketchup. Layer up with some rotisserie chicken, chopped mushrooms, peppers and green chilies.

Put some coriander and basil leaves, sprinkle a little black pepper, garlic powder and chili flakes. Throw some cheese on top and roll the base like a Swiss roll. Brush some egg wash onto the surface of the roll.

Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 170 degrees.

Enjoy hot ๐Ÿ˜Š

P.s. deliberately did not add any salt, since most of the food items are ready salted so practicing no sodium/salt food these days.

Have a good night!

x x x