A Homemade Sorbet-luscious Day!

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IMG_0737 So lately I’ve been in the mood for cool things seeing that it’s summer and all that and the norm would be to crave for minus numbers in your tummy mainly. The thing is I’ve also been loving sweet stuff too, so I was wondering whether there would be anything new out there to play around with that I could make at home but without too much effort. I’d browsed the groceries and their shelves of thick ice creams and uninventive ice pops did nothing for me, so I racked my brain and asked Google what I could do about this mind numbing problem. I also switched on my favorite food channel simultaneously. The background noise drowns out the buzzing in my brain momentarily. Then I see Mr. Gorgeous himself, Curtis Stone! Mammamia..Google, brain buzz all forgotten, I settled in to watching yet another addictive episode of ‘Take Home Chef.’ For those of you who aren’t familiar with this guy he’s Australian, innovative and looks generally fun to hang out with. The television was as far as I could go with getting to know him, so I watched his series quite faithfully. His ‘Summer Dessert’ on that particular episode was this mouthwatering granite over mangoes, papayas and other such citrus fruit. I could take it no longer, so as soon as the show was done I dreamt about that granita. His was a ‘Passionfruit Granita,’ but the basic idea here was Water, Sugar, fresh fruit juice, no machines involved but a pyrex dish, a fork and a freezer..hello?? I was beyond thrilled!

Getting down to making it..I decided on an ingredient I had in abundance. Some limes. Then I went all mojito on myself and fished out the mint leaves I’d bought the day before. It was all about a quick simmer and boil but during the process I had somehow messed up my quantity of sugar to water ratio and when I checked my dish 3 hours later I found something far better staring up at me. A sorbet! This is my thrill factor today, and it should be your too when you find out just how simple and lusciously cool life gets. Here is the recipe, and I’m hoping you guys get into it. It’ll impress the socks off your loved ones too! Do tell me how it works out for you guys when you give it a whirl ūüôā

Lime and Candied Mint Granita:
Granita:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Candied Mint:
1/4 cup sugar
12 fresh mint leaves washed and patted dry
1 large egg white beaten until foamy
Method:
For granita:
Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar to boil in medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup. Stir in lime juice. Transfer lime syrup to 11 x 7 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover and place in freezer. Stir every 45 minutes until frozen, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD Granita can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.
For candied mint leaves:
Place sugar on small shallow plate. Brush both sides of 1 mint leaf lightly with egg white; dredge in sugar. Transfer mint leaf to rack. Repeat with remaining mint leaves. Let mint stand at room temperature until dry, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Sorbets:
Lime Mojito Sorbet:

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 3/4 to 2 cups sugar
1 3/4 to 2 cups fresh lime juice
lime zest grated for decoration-put very little. the pictured amount was for emphasizing illustration only. I used a 2:2:2 ratio in recipe for water, sugar and lime juice. Depends on how sweet you want it. This was quite sweet ūüôā

Method:
Bring 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to boil in medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool syrup. Stir in lime juice. Transfer lime syrup to glass baking dish. Cover and place in freezer. Stir every 45 minutes until frozen, about 3 hours. Then leave to completely freeze overnight or more. Pictured above is a sorbet made only 3 hours before. It melts waay too fast in the summertime so making and freezing atleast a day ahead is key!

For those of you who are familiar with a granita this is very similar but the ingredient quantity varies abit which creates a gorgeous sorbet!

If you have a little leftover for the next day like I did whip it in the blender with more lime, a dash of sugar, 2 mint leaves and some ice and water..Hello mojito (quantities are for one glass)! What a refreshing way to kickstart the day ūüôā Pure bliss…

Lychee-Lime Sorbet with Candied Mint Leaves:

Follow the sorbet recipe as before but this time after boiling syrup and cooling pour into lychee and lime juice. I used canned lychees so the sugar quantity was reduced by a quarter at the boiling stage. Add one cup canned juice and one lime. You can add food coloring now as well if you’d like. It gives the sorbet a pretty color amongst other dishes. For a more intense color add more coloring now, or when the sorbet freezes up abit, before the scraping stage add it in.

Mint Infusion into Sorbets:

As soon as the sugar syrup has boiled toss in the mint leaves, as many as you’d like for that rich intense minty flavor, or as little, for a milder hint of it. Crush a few and toss in the rest of the mint leaves. Steep the leaves. After awhile you will see them losing color and going brown. Taste the syrup once it has cooled to see how well the mint has been incorporated. Otherwise boil syrup a little and toss in more mint. Strain the cooled mixture into pyrex dish with your chosen flavor and freeze.

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An Ocean of Blog Artistes!

So I’ve been spending a lot of time just reading and going through a fair few people’s blogs, and its so heartening to see how encouraging we are about each other’s work. Everyone here has so many individual thoughts on such a vast variety of things and they really do feel what they’re pinning down in their posts. ‘Shape Your Life’ I’ve noticed you’ve been the most encouraging to all of us, following us and making sure we’ve got that extra drop of encouragement to keep going. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you can change someone’s perspective on things, or maybe even someone’s life by doing something so small it seems almost insignificant. But seriously, that one ‘Like’ changes everything, and a single comment on your entire blog even, makes it all the more worthwhile! “Smash‘ and ‘Clothospinning‘ you excel there. You are generous with your posts and certainly carry the torch of encouragement that extra step further ūüôā And then you have ‘Shiedlcamouflage,’ ‘Ohiocook,’ ‘Beckarooney‘ and ‘Seekingkhan‘ just as great with their time where you guys just take a few minutes off to make someone’s day. It’s incredible how much talent lies hidden within the bloggers themselves and all of a sudden it comes out in some brilliant post you guys have done. It’s very exhilarating to read up on our work and we get to know each other better just by the blogs alone! I was telling my friend the other day how great it is to be able to write, put yourself out there and let others see you for what you are. And so far I’ve seen great! ūüėÄ To all the writers out there, the aspiring ones, the ones who put the articles down for one, or with a goal in mind, do follow whatever dream it is you possess. What you write inspires somebody out there, and whether whoever has breezed on by after enjoying your post, or whether they’ve loved it and can only hit ‘Like,’ it’s so important to follow the dream. Keep doing what you do and you’ll be the best at it someday. I’m having so much fun reading and writing and its simply amazing to see others do that too. Here’s to sharing the world with more inspirational folk like you and I wish all the bloggers and writers out there the very Very best ūüôā

What Happens Next Door

¬† Today I decided to take a gander out on my balcony. We live on the first floor in a block of apartments, and unlike our previous one, this is a pretty big monolithic deal in terms of how many of these things on¬†so many floors¬†are there. Well the opposite side is no better,¬†but I’ve never been so curious to play ‘I spy’ with the other side…until today. We just moved house in any case, so this is¬†probably the aftereffects from settling in and then twiddling my thumbs for want of something better to do with my time than finding out who the latest ‘style celebrity’ on television¬†is. It’s hilarious how many people don’t¬†think of drawing¬†their curtains¬†and while I’m no¬†scary stalker¬†I just like ‘observing’ things sometimes. Here’s what I got:

Apt. directly opposite first floor: Indian lady busy hanging clothes in and out like a machine the whole day long. I swear that two bedroom houses ten occupants and she’s their special laundry machine¬†or something.¬†She’s like at it all day. First comes menswear, then kidswear, then more menswear..It’s like she has four husbands and six kids. So I smiled across to her after her umpteenth trip out and in and she just ‘harummphed’ at me as if I was some cracko offering¬†her something nasty instead of my friendly nod and banged the door shut. She was out a half hour later with more laundry though! Well, that wasn’t so¬†interesting, I thought.

But then I look up to see another lady. This time I knew for sure it was someone’s babysitting help. She was balancing¬†a little toddler on the balcony ledge and swaying her back and forth, which would have been okay if it weren’t on the fourth floor! That kid was squirming and bouncing and I seriously thought I should keep my phone handy incase the police or ambulance needed an emergency ring any second. Its interesting to know that the UAE has one of the highest rates of children falling off balconies and through windows in high rise buildings. Google it if you don’t believe me. Really tragic, but true. Every year and every few months there’s something to report in that area. I’m dead scared about my kids tumbling over. We always check balconies when we move house. It makes me so sad to read about yet another 5 or 4 year old losing balance on a chair and falling to their death from the ninth floor. Or worse yet, the child left at home under her ‘big 8 year old’ sister’s or brother’s supervision where they’ve been clinging for their lives to ledges or window edges, ultimately lose grip and plunge to their death so many stories below. The occasional guilt stricken adult has been known to jump over right after, but seriously??? How do you separate the preventable from the very rare ‘accident?” It’s a topic that’s caused a lot of controversy amongst many people and we’ve had debates about this stuff during lunch or dinner. Should parents be jailed or have they suffered enough? Are they really to blame? Or is the badly constructed, child unfriendly balcony that they were forced to take along with the apartment they had no choice but to rent, to blame? How on earth do judges ever come to a decision I wonder! I suddenly realized why cases get dragged out I court!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Anyway floor number one directly ahead had a less scary picture. They were the ‘unlucky floors.’ Apartments in a high rise without balconies. Some guy had strung his¬†flimsy looking rack¬†onto the window edge and his solitary¬†underpants were braving the elements. Next to it were some darling lady undergarments in¬†vibrant hues of mauve and fuschia. They were faring no better as each time the wind blew I was anticipating a drop to the basement below on top of some person’s jet black Range Rover.¬†Lucky for me¬†I was just about to go in when I saw a busty auburn haired madame open the window roughly, only to realize that her undergarments were breezing there. I heard her yell oh so foully and furiously at her¬†a’mour¬†who had probably been the idiot who hung it there in there first place¬†and lo and behold, some skinny small made dude appears. The plot thickens. I paused mid step, one foot inside the living room, the other on the balcony, too enthralled to even listen to my little¬†one asking me for some chocolate milk. The couple grappled with the wildly swinging clothesline and the woman snatched two garments off¬†it with her plump red fingers. Much to my great¬†amusement¬†the last one didn’t quite make her heavy¬†handed grip and it floated oh so gently and in such a feminine motion onto¬†some Range Rover below. Luckily for her¬†a security guard from the same building passing by looked up at the couple still grappling with the rack and went in his oh so Indian accent, ‘Ms.D’ Souza, if this is yours please collect it immediately ah?’ I had to tuck myself in at once but not before missing some spectacularly wild hand gestures from the Ms. to the Mr. and a resounding ‘thump!’ from the window!

¬†Well that might be mean to say, but it cheered me up considerably after the whole car crack incident, and I could go about my day without feeling my insides squeezed too much. Just waiting until evening for The Man to see his beloved brand new beemer worse for wear ūüė¶

Maybe I should pump my insides with some coffee drowned in glucose. As a non-alcoholic I need a high from some source!

Hit and Run

So today I’m a little shaken up over my driving and a hit and run. Its ever so common in Dubai but its still a shock when it happens to you! I’ve just started driving around independently and today was only my second day but there you go. Out of nowhere a speeding van, oncoming, knocked the bejammies out of my side mirror and waltzed on. As a newbie I was busy checking the front of the car, putting hazards on and trying to check the damage out, when infact I should have been memorizing the other van’s license plate number to haul his butt into a police station ūüė¶ My three year old reminded me ‘mummy we should call police!’ siighh…Now I feel quite rotten and to top it off when I was parking I FURTHER damaged the darn steel piece off the side mirror that was sticking out. What more could go wrong today?? Considering the day just started its¬†depressing to know that things can, do and will continue to go wrong all the way no matter what¬†you do sometimes. I was wondering whether to cook dinner tonight after all¬†because I just might burn the house down in the process!¬†

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬† Anyway now its all out I feel much better. but now I’m busy foraying into the world of insurance policies and what it entails. The only good thing to come out of this whole mess would be ‘experience.’ When the kids start driving we’ll have knowledge at our fingertips here about what to do during any given situation..well almost ūüôā While I’m still in my twenties all this and more goes on, imagine what a wealth of knowledge I’ll have stocked up by the time I’m fifty?! Ofcourse by which time the kids will be in the ‘we know better than you mum and dad’, stage and sod all¬†our hard earned experiences! I feel like telling my husband to get a taxi back home. It might be safer for all of us…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Oh well, so we’re down to my third blog, whoopee and its¬†quite amazing¬†to see that this isn’t my happy place, but a diary to document the day and laugh at things..although some things I’ll be laughing about ten years from now. My son has promised to ‘buy mummy¬†a new car,’ then he changes it to ‘daddy will buy you a new car mummy,’ so there went that hope, and now we’re¬†seated companiably together on the sofa meddling with our separate instruments.¬†I can hear faint strains of ‘mickey mouse clubhouse’ coming through and¬†baby is asleep, so there’s more peace¬†in the house than¬†normal¬†during mid morning. I do like that very¬†much. Opposite our building I can see housewives and helpers hanging clothes out to dry too which reminds me there’s housework to be done.¬†Time to slap on my gloves and haul the Dettol into a bucket and begin the days chores. I’m sure if you’re at home you’ll be doing the same thing, so we’ve got a connection running there. Doesn’t everyone ūüôā Happy cleaning, and hopefully we all push through successfully with no broken bones or unwieldy tile skating in sight!

  

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Baby Talk…

IMG_0823So today I sat down in front of one of my favorite shows ‘E-News’ and yes, I still love ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ no matter how weird it gets. Seems like this is totally the year for babies. They are literally crawling out from everywhere right! How cool is it that some of my friends are sharing their kids birthdays with Prince William and Princess Kate, Jessica Simpson and Channing hotness Tatum’s little bubs not to mention ‘NorthWest” :p lol! My daughter just missed being a 2013. More’s the pity, but nevertheless she doesn’t realize she’s not in the ‘fame studded lucky year list,’ and continues to perform like a star with her baby babble and attitude! I also have a 3 year old son thoroughly impressed by the little madame and now he keeps squealing ‘I’m a princess too mummy!” Oh to be in a house full of baby giggles and to be surrounded by the things they say…and don’t! No one told my 6 month old daughter that while she airs herself out she shouldn’t be peeing on the hall tiles. I found her quietly babbling to a suspicious looking puddle on the floor this morning while her bare knees slithered excitedly trying to balance itself in a little pool of pee. Kids!

Its summer right now and totally hot. We live in Dubai so we’re battling it out Middle Eastern style and trying to brave it through like the desert sheiks and sheikas that we are. Its not easy when you have a three year old a little bored to tears wanting to riot in a space wider than our living room. I haven’t taken to driving the streets in style just yet because I’m a newbie to the steering section of life so I decided to play-doh him out instead. Being a great lover of the stovetop I wanted to cook him something delicious looking. It ended with laughter from his side, sighs of happiness from mine and great praise to this marvelous recipe I found online.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Playdough-Play-doh/

N.B.- For cream of tartar substitution put in white vinegar to that quantity or a little less..

You can even bake the figurines and it makes for cute ‘kiddie ornaments’ to treasure I baked a crocodile medium sized 130’c for half an hour on greased baking paper. You need some clear varnish brushed over for preserve and durability too
The doughy creatures made at home came out well, although when there’s extra heat circulating the house I might recommend kneading a drop more vegetable oil in after everything’s done if the finished product is still sticky. But if you must reheat then its best done on a flat frying pan. Littla man and I had a ball all the way! Here are some of his finished doh products. Not Van Gogh by any stretch of imagination, but he is happy and he played for hours! Chalk up one for the “Summer Mummers’ Team! My anticipation now lies in this; what will tomorrow bring??

Facebook Epiphany

 

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So I’ve decided to start blogging because I realize I’ve turned Facebook into a veritable ‘ramble round the bramble’ area¬†when all I needed was a proper site for¬†shouting out¬†all these wonderful things that popped into my head..or someone else’s. If you love food in any form, and you have a penchance for kids perhaps then this blog would appeal to you very much! I also do television chatter occasionally, shop,¬†malls and restaurants¬†as well¬†so if you like drama then there’s something for all of you out there.. It’s all ‘happening in Dubai’¬† though so we’re talking red, white, green and black with an Asian-American twist and turn. This should be appealing to everyone when you think about it. I mean who doesn’t love Arabic pita bread with BBQ chicken sandwiched inside in-between leafy greens and some spicy salad dressing right! We’re talking Pita Pocket Burgers. My very own creation from nowhere. So now everyone here knows I’m food crazy, and crazy in love with cooking so I’ll be posting recipes and pictures along with other fun stuff that happens to us all in general. But if you love food..hang around. You are in for a treat! Since I’ve just started on this I’ll post up my pita pocket burger recipe complete with ‘illustrations,’¬†to set the mood ūüôā We’ll take it from there!Image

Pita Pocket Burgers:

Pita Bread Pocket Recipe:

Ôā∑¬† 1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast = 2.5 tsp.

Ôā∑¬† 1/2 cup warm water

Ôā∑¬† 3 cups all purpose flour

Ôā∑¬† 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Ôā∑¬† 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Ôā∑¬† 1 cup lukewarm water
Method:

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon until elastic.

Place dough on floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic. Then you know it’s done..

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow to rest in a warm place.

After an hour you’ll see the dough has risen. Punch it down.

Or, just allow to sit for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 250 deg C. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. If its too thin you’ll have a poppodom like bread..

Bake each circle for 4 minutes or until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

Storing Pita Bread

Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Use a container or bag which can be tightly closed or sealed when storing in the freezer.

 

Chicken Breast Marinade Recipe:

Yield: Makes about 1 cup of marinade

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2¬†tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or fresh chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†paprika or chili powder¬†(optional)
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into a ziplock bag and add chicken breasts. This is enough marinade for 4 to 6 chicken breasts.

Bake in oven for 1/2 an hour at 180’C

.Assembling Burgers:

Pita Bread

BBQ chicken

Thousand Island Dressing

French Dressing

Salad Leaves

Paprika

Onions cut in rings and roasted on a frying pan for a minute or two

Nandos sweet chili Peri Peri Sauce to serve

Wash and pat dry salad leaves of your choice. Cut chicken breast into small cubes and set aside. Mix salad dressings with a touch of paprika if you like heat. Otherwise you may leave it out altogether. Assemble burger with chicken pieces, salad leaves and onion rings. Serve with sauce!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This stuff went down great when my husband was busy watching his cricket match, and he was just shoveling them in. Make them mini burgers and prick through with a toothpick, the colored ones look even better, and there you have it. One happy family ūüôā lol!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Okay, so now I swear I can hear the refrigerator calling my name. It’s singing ‘Pineapple-Lime-mint slush with umbrella inside is¬†sooo ready!,’ so I better run before someone beats me to it but trust me when I say I’ll send you a picture ūüôā Aloha!