Archive | October, 2013

The Breakfast Post – Poached eggs in baked beans

26 Oct

A few days back I tweeted about my love for breakfasts.

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It indeed is the most important meal for me and that love has been sown and nurtured by my mother who made sure we had amazing home-made breakfast on our table every day. I looked back to my archives and found what little love I have actually shown through my blog posts – very few breakfast recipes that showcase not even an ounce of what this meal of the day means to me.

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So to bring that a balance back I thought I really need to put out some breakfast dishes that are not only easy to put together but also sumptuous. Most of the times, you will notice that eggs feature prominently. That is because I LOVE EGGS. I find that they are filling, tasty and oh-so versatile to use.

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This egg recipe is the easiest of them all and can be whipped up in no time. I didn’t bother with making the baked beans from the scratch. Breakfast preparation is a hurried affair and there’s only time to flip open a can and pour the contents out on certain days. Not the method I usually prefer but at times I do pick convenience over ideology [ about eating healthy, less sugar, less salt, less processed food and all that]
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It also struck me that I want as many breakfast recipes I can lay my hands on. Especially the tried and the tested ones. So I call out to all the foodies and breakfast lovers to share their recipes either as  a guest post on my blog or on your own  blog with a link back or simply a recipe or even a photograph depicting why they love breakfast and what breakfast means to them.

Come join the BREAKFAST BANTER AT SLICE OF MY LYFE

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Grab a badge and tell me all your breakfast stories which may be laced with memories old and new. How a certain kind of breakfast brings out the best in you for the rest of the day.  Hope to hear from all the breakfast lovers soon. You can email me your recipes  and pictures at dazzler29 [at] gmail [dot] com

Now back to the recipe.

This baked beans can be made as spicy or as sweet as you want it to be.  With crisp brown toast they are a match made in heaven.

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW THE RECIPE BETTER

In other news, I am on Instagram now and you can follow me at sliceofmylyfe. I am a late entrant no doubt but I am quite enjoying keeping in touch with all the other lovers of life in pictures. This late entry gives me the opportunity of going back to my older posts and life and enjoy those pictures once again. I hope you do too!

Here’s a sample!

Instagram

Mimi turned 4…. ( A pirate princess party for my princess)

19 Oct

…. a month ago.

My little baby is grown up now. It is delightful and scary at the same time. Sounds cliched. I have heard every parent say this – Oh they grow up so fast and we with them. But as parents, we are such emotional creatures and it is easy to spot us if you find someone:

1. Tearing up in a movie hall anytime there is a emotional scene involving a parent and their child
2. Always ending every conversation with some detail about their children
3. Scanning the internet for kids toys, costumes, clothes, books, shoes etc
4. Vacillating between moods of extreme happiness ( while flitting through kids pictures on the phone) to extreme anxiety (on receiving a phone call from school reporting the kids behavior)
5. Appearing to be burnt out and sleep deprived yet smiling at the end of the day when it is time to go home to their child

What I describe above is the journey of being a parent ( sometimes all of it in a single day). But birthday party planning is something else. The madness starts a month before and continues till the child curls up and sleeps- tired and with a smile on her face dreaming about the wonderful birthday party. That is the sign of success and makes all the effort well worth it.
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Each year, I try to do something different keeping up with whatever is Mimi’s favourite. She enjoys the ‘Jake and the Neverland pirates’ and ‘Sophia the first’ shows on Disney junior and informed me that the theme of her party had to be either pirates or the princess. I wondered if it was possible to have them both and that is how the Pirate and Princess themed party idea was born.

I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s help and all the creative ideas from Namit. Starting from the pirate -princess themed invites to the cake to the decorations and the games – was planned, dropped, re-planned, dropped and planned again several times before finalizing on the details.
We urged the invitees to come dressed up as pirates or princesses and we supported them with more pirate/princess props. Even the adults were sporting enough to wear the props and pose for photographs.
The decorations ( entirely Namit’s idea and effort) were mostly pirate-y but balloons were mix of pirate and princess colours of black, white and pink.

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For the cake, we ordered a two -tiered chocolate buttercream cake with pirate -princess them. The cake was delicious and all the guests had several helpings.

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We had the caterers come in and serve tasty Indian food with desserts.
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We couldn’t go through with all the planned games because the party started later than planned. But all in all the kids had a good time playing in the play area outside the party hall. They all left the party tired, happy and with return gifts ( that Mimi had a huge problem distributing and wanted all of them for herself)

thats me (left) and a guest

thats me (left) and a guest

Pirates and princesses

Pirates and princesses

Party games ( The birthday girl)

Party games ( The birthday girl)

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For me the highlights of the party would be:(by now you should know I am a big list maker)
1. Mimi wore a dress (yoo hoo). Considering how she abhors dresses and all things girly, it was a big win for me. She even wore a head band with butterflies and such.
2. The 2 tiered chocolate cake- Mimi’s eyes lit up when she saw the cake in the morning. She quickly changed her mind about wearing pants and decided to wear a dress that matched the cake. All pink and girly, she looked like a star.
3. I baked a gluten free and diary free cake for a guest’s child who was intolerant. It came out wonderfully which wasn’t surprising as it was a Nigella recipe. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures and can’t do a post on it for the moment. What this means is, I will have to make it again to post it on the blog. ( I hear a big shout out from Gayathri for this)
4. My get up inspired by Penelope cruz from the Pirates of the Carribean movie. It was so much fun wearing the eye patch and the pirate hat!

I am sure the party was as fun for the adults as it was for all the children. All party pictures courtesy – Namit Bhatia

For a parent, their child’s birthday is the most important date on a calender. We strive to make it memorable for us more than our children (because they are too young to remember except when they would see pictures in the future). We do this for us, for our satisfaction and somewhere to allay some fears of how time is just bounding past us. I see my baby girl turn into someone new when I spot she doesn’t have chubby cheeks anymore, that her features are more prominent and that she is becoming her own person giving her point of view about everything ( sometimes it shocks me when I realize every moment she is learning something new and spinning her own thoughts around it).
This pirate princess party was for me and my joy+sadness of seeing my child move into another glorious year.

AliaApproved Maki Experience

12 Oct

Another opportunity knocked on my door (read- through this blog) where I was invited to attend a special menu launch at one of the leading Japanese restaurants in Bahrain.

Maki, a fine contemporary fusion Japanese cuisine restaurant,  that exhuberates elegance and culinary innovation had a special menu launch called – ALIAAPPROVED MAKI. Maki collaborated with Alia Almoayed, a nutritional therapist, author, health speaker, and consultant. Alia Almoayed writes health articles for various publications, runs TV and radio programs on health and nutrition, holds lectures and seminars on the on the subject, leads annual health retreats, and heads a number of weight loss projects. If you are interested in checking out her blog, here it is

"AliaApproved"

“AliaApproved”

Maki approached Alia to design her own maki, the latest addition to Maki’s series of health-conscious options. After carefully selecting the ingredients of the maki the “AliaApproved” Maki was born. The “AliaApproved” Maki is the first maki delicately made of brown rice and  wrapped with Mame paper (Soybean paper), fresh local grilled Hammour, with fresh Cucumber peels, fresh Avocado, and sprinkled with Wasabi flakes.

Alia Almoayed (right) and Zahra ( of Obai & Hill)

Alia Almoayed (right) and Zahra ( of Obai & Hill)

The “AliaApproved” Maki was officially launched on October 3rd when the dish was added to Maki’s extensive, diverse menu in a cocktail evening for key members of the press along with Alia’s close family, friends, and peers. I was lucky to be a part of the event through the vibrant PR and design agency OBAI and HILL who invited me to cover this event on my blog.

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Dunia of Obai & Hill

The entire media was there covering the event where I also met Suzanne of MyBahrain.ME who was covering this event for her tv channel. Since it was a Thursday, I had to get to the event after work hours and I was a bit late. I missed the sushi preparation part where the sushi chef demonstrated how the AliApproved sushi was made.

This was also an opportunity to meet Alia who is a strong advocate of healthy eating. She came across as someone who was warm and very much grounded despite her celebrity status in the country.  All the other invitees were digging into their Sushi with great gusto and all in all it was a great evening!

The guests enjoying their sushi

The guests enjoying their sushi

Next time I have a sushi craving, I know where to head. It would be to sample some of AliaApproved Maki

About Maki

The restaurant is located in the World Trade Centre in Manama. Maki has branches in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Beirut. For reservations or general enquiries in Bahrain, contact +973 17522733 or +973 36999102. For more information about Maki, visit http://www.olivermaki.com

#Zespri Kiwi Post – A smoothie & a pavlova

5 Oct

 Chris of MCS Action, Dubai contacted me to ask me if I was interested in an experiment.

All I had to do was to have 2 kiwis per day for 14 days and then write about the experience. He got a big box of kiwis delivered and since then I have been in Kiwi paradise. Correction, Zespri kiwi paradise. I have been having 2 kiwis per day and ….

1. 2 kiwis make for a filling meal. ( I have had them as smoothies, au naturale and juiced with other fruits)

2. Having replaced a meal ( usually breakfast) with a kiwi snack, I feel lighter

3. Other involuntary benefits that may have kicked in, in the background are increase in vitamin C, antioxidants, boost in folate, beta carotene and vitamin E.

4.  The last but not the least – improved digestion/bowel movements ( okay, too much information)

Zespri Arabia is encouraging people to take the 14 day challenge themselves for a chance to win a trip to New Zealand. It is worth checking out.

I am really intrigued to know how I would feel at the end of 14 days ( I still have some days to go) and the other interesting thing was I have never done any recipes using kiwi. So I made a ” Revitalizing Kiwi Banana smoothie” 

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It was refreshing to sip on this golden smoothie while watching the sun go down. This smoothie definitely goes down into my special smoothie list as a permanent feature. Zespri kiwi fruit ( the softer ones) were intensely sweet. I have never had kiwi fruit that was this sweet before. The  kiwi fruit with a tough exterior were quite tart but delicious all the same. I chopped some kiwi fruit into the smoothie to give it more texture and to keep it interesting.

Click on the image to view the recipe clearly

Click on the image to view the recipe clearly

Over the weekend,  I was feeling quite indulgent and daring. I looked at my culinary bucket list and decided to attempt the pavlova. As much as I dreaded to attempt it, I was excited to imagine the end -result in my head. A pristine white pavlova topped with velvet -like cream.  My imagination did not stop there and I further imagined the gorgeous green of the Kiwi fruit and the blood red of the pomegranate on the snow-capped dessert.

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There is an interesting history behind pavlova and if you are interested, you should read this.  Pavlova is quite easy to whip up if you only look at the ingredients – egg whites, sugar, cornflour and vinegar.  But the technique is what makes it a win or fail.  The heavily aired mixture  needs to retain the fluff till the end and baked slowly for more than an hour. Till the pavlova is completely cooled, it needs to be in the oven.

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Maybe I will try a few more recipes using the incredible zespri kiwi stock that I have. Kiwi Salsa is what I have in mind.

I used a Donna Hay recipe to create this pavlova and must I say it looked spectacular. It is a show-stopper dessert and is the most appropriate to impress a special guest.

Click on the picture to view the recipe clearly

Click on the picture to view the recipe clearly

Thank you Chris and MCS Action Dubai for letting me participate in this wonderful promotional event by Zespri and the boxes of delicious Kiwifruit.

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