More Than a Month of Celebration – Happy New Year — January 15, 2018

More Than a Month of Celebration – Happy New Year

Every year one of our dear friends organizes a grand party to celebrate New Year but this year it was not possible because of our lives becoming ever so busy. ‘But’ something needed to be done ‘even’ if on a smaller scale; so suddenly on the day of New Year’s Eve, a couple of friends decided to meet at our place. I wish I could invite more if I had more time to prepare.

I decided to make it a bit special for the guests 😐 Thanks to the ongoing Christmas sales and to my collection of hacks for quick and simple recipes that I could make little new year presents and a humble dinner for all of us to relish together.

I love giving (and receiving ☺️) makeup and beauty related presents so I knew what to buy. I am happy that I could get little something for everyone.

Look how pretty they turned out:

With this, out-of-the-way, I still had cooking to tackle. I kept the menu pretty simple: Haleem (I mean using instant recipe), kebabs, Bihari kebab bake, Sandwiches, Fries, Samosas. For dessert I made my signature PinΓ£ Colada dessert – for which I will certainly write a post some time soon [super easy + instant hit].

Here are some photos from the Eve:

Although a little late but here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2018 πŸ˜€

Bye for now!

x x x

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More Than a Month of Celebration – Shopping & Food Spree — January 12, 2018

More Than a Month of Celebration – Shopping & Food Spree

Our family enjoys an extended holiday season since we have more to celebrate than just the Christmas and New Year!

My husband’s birthday and our wedding anniversary also fall in these months. Another thing is the sales that begin on the Boxing Day and run through December and January; which is a celebration in itself πŸ˜€

Well, this blog is not about shopping but the shopping experience, the infinite trips to shopping centers and all the meals in between.

This year I made numerous trips to various shopping centers in and around Dublin, but that’s just one thing; we also tried some of the most fantastic places to eat out in Dublin. The company that I had almost quadrupled the fun.

One sunny Winter morning I grouped up with a close friend and her daughter to make a bus trip to Dublin City Center. We decided to take a quick breakfast before indulging in shopping. By chance it was also her wedding anniversary that day and so the treat was on her πŸ˜‰

We grabbed a doughnut each from Boston Donuts and went into a nearby Butler’s Chocolate CafΓ©.

I tell you, those doughnuts were luscious. I chose caramel with salted peanut and Butler’s hot chocolate to uplift our shopping enthusiasm even more on that cold winter morning.

Here are some photos from that day!

Holidays are nothing without the traditional Halwa Poori breakfast. One such place called Darbar has recently opened in the vicinity of our house where enjoy Halwa Poori every now and then since the quality and price are very good. We made a couple of trips to Darbar to grab our dose of halwa poori during the holidays. Even kids loved it πŸ™‚

Another lovely place we discovered to eat-out was a Mexican restaurant located in Dublin City Center. The food was delicious and portions were huge. I chose the daintiest looking item – Tacos.

You could obviously customize them with condiments of your choice.

The highlight of all the food experiences was the Bubble Waffle Factory, the cutest, most colorful place to enjoy customizable bubble waffles. To my surprise, these waffles look gigantic but not heavy at all. I went for bananatella – bubble waffle + strawberry ice cream + chocolate sauce. Although later on I thought I could have chosen vanilla ice cream and caramel to make it taste like banofee pie, but no regrets it, as you can see it’s still worth it πŸ˜‹

So if, you are around Dublin, give it a try πŸ™‚

Among all these special tours, there were regular jaunts to McDonald’s for kids.

I really enjoyed this aspect of holidays at home.

How did you spend your vacation? Do you have special go to places that you like to go with your family and friends?

Will share more of my experiences from our little break, till then, Bye!

x x x

Homemade Fish Fingers & Vermicelli Dessert — January 10, 2018

Homemade Fish Fingers & Vermicelli Dessert

It has been a long time since I last posted here and it is good to be back πŸ™‚ Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year!

I have a lot to share in my upcoming posts but I have decided to resume activity on this blog with two simple recipes to get into the writing spirit.

Holiday season means a lot of time with the family and this calls for some easy to follow recipes between and after frequent rounds to the shopping center that take literally no time to prepare and be served on the dinner table.

During the holiday, I tried a simple fish finger recipe followed by a heartwarming dessert and homemade fruit and vegetable juice that was savored by children and adults equally. Well, I will talk more about these juices in another post in detail because they are special to me.

Both fish and dessert are prepared, cooked and served in just a blink of an eye.

Ingredients for fish fingers:

  • Cod fillets
  • Bread crumbs
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • Oil / clarified or plain butter to shallow fry

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Method

Heat some clarified butter in a pan.

Add salt, pepper and paprika to the bread crumbs.

Cut the fish fillets into fingers.

Coat the fish fingers with egg wash and then bread crumbs one by one and fry for 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and piping hot.

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I served it once with homemade guacamole and another time with plain avocados and curly fries or straight chips.

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Ingredients for vermicelli dessert

  • Some vermicelli pasta
  • Clarified butter / unsalted butter
  • Condensed milk
  • Double cream
  • Chopped nuts of your choice
  • cardamom powder
  • cinnamon powder

Method

Fry the vermicelli pasta in melted butter.

Add condensed milk and double cream and allow to simmer on low heat for a while until pasta is ready (about 5-7 minutes).

Sprinkle some cardamom & cinnamon and then chopped almonds.

Serve warm!

This dessert is a bit high on calories but you can enjoy it after a light dinner of fish fingers in small portions πŸ™‚

If you are interested in looking at a quick video on this dessert, see the story on my Instagram highlight with the name ‘Vermi Dessert

Hope you try and enjoy it πŸ™‚

Do you have any special simple recipes when you are running short of time?

Happy New Year!

x x x

Poppadom and Hummus Fusion Starter – A Recipe — December 13, 2017

Poppadom and Hummus Fusion Starter – A Recipe

Who does not like ‘Fusion Cuisine’ every once in a while. I think it gives you a break from a customary cooking & eating routine. In my personal opinion South-Asian, Middle Eastern and Mexican flavors go quite well with each other, just remember: ‘don’t over-do it’ πŸ™‚ But again, it also depends on your personal choice and taste.

The recipe I am about to share today is also a fusion of Levantine hummus and South-Asian poppadoms. I am sure most of you are familiar with both; but if you are not, click to know more.

You can easily find both of these products in most big grocery stores in the Ethnic section. Hummus itself is very easy to make as well (basically chickpeas and tahini) plus you can create variations by adding items of your own choice like basil, smoked paprika, sun-dried tomatoes and you name it! I also plan to do a separate post on the variety of hummus that I have learned πŸ™‚

For now, let’s go back to the recipe and look at the ingredients I used:

Ingredients

  • Poppadoms
  • Salad leaves: I used spinach + rocket
  • Hummus: I used 2 different variations: beetroot and tomato & basil
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped tomato
  • *Can also add chopped red onion*
  • Mint sauce
  • Coriander and mint leaves
  • Lemon or lime

Method

Lay a bed of salad leaves on the center of each poppadom

Put a blob of hummus

Add chopped cucumber and tomatoes

Dribble some mint sauce, garnish with coriander and mint leaves and finish off with a squeeze of lime.

I served this alongside Indian red lentils and pilaf.

You can customize further by fusing some more interesting South Asian, Middle Eastern, Mexican and why not Oriental flavors like jalapeΓ±os, avocados, pickled red cabbage, raita, olives and condiments like mango chutney or sweet chili sauce. The options are infinitive.

I think it is a great starter or a side. What do you think?

Try and enjoy!

x x x

A Mini Winter Break — December 10, 2017

A Mini Winter Break

November brought a sudden bout of cold and chill after a relatively mild Autumn in Ireland. We had a few days left in our holiday kitty at work and so husband and I decided to take a week off to spend a few days together while the kids go to school, which meant we had to plan something new – not necessarily drastically adventurous but certainly something fun & keeping a few lazy days in between.

First thing, we had to think of a way to tackle the chill that existed in our sitting room being located in the attic (our actual living room converted to a drawing-room, downstairs πŸ™‚ ). After much consideration we decided to go for the Dyson Hot + Cool Linkβ„’ purifier heater and I must say it is a very efficient appliance. Probably, will write a separate review post on it after we get our first utility bill after, so that I have something solid to support the claim πŸ˜‰

The weekend that followed our last working day was spent lazing in front of the TV. On the first Monday, I hosted a brunch to catch-up with few of my lovely friends. It was certainly fun because the menu I chose for the day was slightly off my otherwise typical menu. I tried a few recipes inspired from the well-known Tasty Facebook page. Let me tell you, my loaded nachos, guacamole, stuffed puffpastry and beefy pinwheels were very well-received, not to mention my new a better than anything cake‘.

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Next couple of days were spent watching movies at home and a few trips to IKEA. Husband introduced me to Ingmar Bergman movies and we watched Wild Strawberries –Β  a must watch if you are a lover of art movies, gives you some insight into ‘introspection’ – just put those subtitles on πŸ˜‰

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The IKEA trips are a bit of a nightmare for the girls but they certainly do get excited when we tell them, we shall be going to the cafΓ©. I also enjoy eating there from time to time because of its affordable prices and girls certainly enjoy their trips to the drinks machine for refills.

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How could we forget our dear old Marks and Spencer’s CafΓ©, so went there for breakfast one of those mornings.

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One day we decided to go to Kildare Village after dropping the girls off at school. The decor there is always fascinating to match with the occasion; this time Christmas. We did not really go there for shopping but just hung around for a while, had breakfast, clicked some photos and returned to join a brunch at a friend’s.

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Next weekend and the following Monday were dedicated to a never-ending indolence to restore our energies to meet the reality – once again πŸ˜€

That was it from our little break at home. How are you enjoying your Winter and this Holiday season? Do share πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

x x x

Nankhatai – The Asian Shortbread Biscuits — December 3, 2017

Nankhatai – The Asian Shortbread Biscuits

The recipe I am about to share today is inspired by a friend’s version posted on her Facebook a while ago which tempted me so much to try it – but – with a twist.

It is called ‘Nankhatai’ or ‘Kulcha-e-khataye’ [Nann/Kulcha: bread & Khatai/Khataye: biscuit] – a shortbread biscuit made up of clarified butter, nuts and flour.

As said, I tried it with a twist, so my version is slightly different from the conventional recipe.

Let’s grab the ingredients:

Ingredients

  • Plain flour 1 & 1/2 cup
  • Ground brown sugar 3/4 cup
  • Clarified butter (ghee) 3/4 cup – you can use melted butter
  • Ground nuts 1/2 cup (I used pistachios & almonds)
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • An egg – yolk and white separated.

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Method

Preheat the oven (Fan 170 Β°C).

Combine the dry ingredients (leave a little bit of ground nuts for later) and add clarified butter.

When the mixture is crumbly, add the egg white and knead into a dough and leave for 10 minutes.

Shape the biscuits and put on a lined baking dish. I had to use 2 dishes.

The quantity of ingredients I used made into 13 biscuits.

Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with some left over ground nuts.

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Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the biscuits turn slightly golden and the brushed yolk turns coppery. Once ready, allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Serve warm with tea.

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They were so fresh and crunchy, all of us loved them…

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…and devoured most of them in just one sitting.

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A bit of an overdose of butter; but it is okay every once in a while, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed making these shortbread biscuits. Do try this simple recipe and let me know how you find it!

Happy baking πŸ™‚

x x x

Patchwork Kilim Rugs from the Ottoman Empire — December 1, 2017

Patchwork Kilim Rugs from the Ottoman Empire

Making a home is an unhurried task, one cannot just rush through it. After months of moving into the new house we are still short of a number of household items. But with most of the essentials covered, we are now slowly and steadily moving towards our list of priority 2 items.

This week, myself and husband are off work so have some time on our hands to ‘ruggify’ our house. We must have some Ottoman genes in us that we both immediately settled on choosing Ottoman styled rugs called ‘Kilim’; vibrantly colored Persian patch-worked and handcrafted woolen rugs.

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These rugs are made up of patches of different rugs, hand-stitched and embroidered, which appealed to our Asian roots πŸ™‚

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Each rug is unique in color, design and even the size because each patch making up the rug is different from the next patch!

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Our house has mostly muted neutral colors with accents of mustards and rusts here and there; these flamboyant Kilim rugs have added a bit of vividness in our happy place.

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Take a look at some photos from around the house.

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What do you think about our rugs & which one did you like? Do you have a thing for vintage rugs too?

Have a nice weekend x